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Broken heart; and tired mind.

Useless body, set out to find,

A solemn place to belong,

Where you can dance, and write your song.

Where worries past, will not follow,

Torture you, obsess and swallow.

Where what you grow into; matters more,

Than what you were, from long before.

 

Companions come, and surely go,

And while where they went, you’d like to know,

Free they are; let them wander over hill,

And out of sight, forever still.

Love you’ve had, has left you to dwindle,

And still with open heart you’ve managed to rekindle,

Time again sparked hope from ash,

And time again, your body’s been smashed.

 

Bruised and cracked, imperfect and scarred,

Your thoughts and feelings, permanently marred.

Trust and expectation are always cautious,

Every bout of closeness, makes you noxious.

Never been given reason for kind,

Yet still your heart, and that word entwined,

And so through fog you wander on,

To find the place, where you belong.

 

It’s darkness out there, with fumbling hand,

You cast it out, searching for land,

In lieu of that, as you’ve found times past

Instead you feel somebody, at last.

They hold you tight, and pull you close,

You could not tell who needs who most,

But of course you would not let on,

Your defences are up, you appear to be strong.

 

You’ll try not to care, for fear of ridicule,

It will go unnoticed, that it’s yourself the fool.

You’ll talk and wonder, and eventually you’ll share,

And at some point you’ll come to realise you care,

You capsulise and notice, every detail

And while you try to find the bad, every time you fail,

While every other has given you reason to doubt,

You find yourself in wonder of what this person is about.

 

There’s hope and wonder now in your eyes,

And try as you will; you can’t disguise.

They’ve broken through; see who you are,

And they adore you still, for that every scar.

Through imperfection they’ll see you perfect,

They’ll see beauty where you see defect.

And as paths ahead split, you wish; nae you know,

They’ll follow you wherever you go.

 

Then at some point, as you both foot down path,

And you try to anticipate what could be aftermath,

You realise you no longer travel simply side by side,

But you walk hand in hand, and together you stride.

You don’t look ahead, and rather stare into eyes,

As the dawning sun, breaks the burning skies.

Together you slow, almost down to a crawl,

Amidst dewy grass, wild land critters answer the call.

You both seem to hear, you need not travel any more,

As together you understand, what you’ve been looking for.

Come away; take them in hand, and lay, for no longer you roam,

What you searched for was love; and so with love – you’re home.

 

There are no stupid questions.

There are no stupid questions; only stupid answers.

To be a good teacher – and not just a successful educator – it is important to remember that the idea of being stupid (a horrible thing to think of someone, or to address someone as) could only be reserved for someone who lacks intelligence. And you know the only way to gain more knowledge, and to be more intellectual as person? Asking, questions.

Fundamentally, the sentence “They were asking stupid questions” or “that was a stupid question” is flawed – you’ll most likely either have said this in a moment of fury, or have overheard a disgruntled friend or colleague complaining. While it’s easy to understand why someone might say this, as they’re just frustrated, its equally not a helpful phrase for anyone.

Let’s suppose that you have never learned how to wash your clothes. You are a teenager, and have just moved out for the first time in your life. There is no washing machine in your apartment, so you head to the nearest laundromat with a couple of bags of dirty clothes, that you’ve no doubt put off washing. Nervous, you stumble your way towards a stranger, and in a moment of courage, you tap them on the shoulder and explain to them your predicament. “I’ve just never learned how to wash my clothes” You’ll say, “So… How DO you wash your clothes? Is there a system for putting it in the washing machine, or do you put anything in with it or… ?”

They laugh in your face. They sputter their words, and they repeat it, “You don’t know how to wash your clothes!? Are you stupid!?” They continue their merriment, maybe chuckle to themselves or turn to a friend. And you sit there wondering… “Am I stupid?”

What’s happened in that scenario, and in every other scenario where a variant of this has happened, is that someone asked for help to improve their own understanding, and was made to feel small in return. As though because they did not know something, that they know nothing. Which, ironically, is a stupid thing for someone to think. By acting that way, or by saying these things, you’re only conditioning someone not to ask questions, because when they do, they’re reprimanded. So they may stop asking questions. And without questions they don’t know answers. Now you’re hurtful comments have sustenance to them, but only because of what you did. And by doing that, you are far more stupid, and worst yet ignorant, than they could ever be.

You may not consider yourself a stupid person, and yet – do you know anything about botany? Or rocket science? Or fishing? Maybe even geology, sociology, psychology, phrenology? If you are not an expert in all these fields, it would be expected that at some point if you wanted to know more about the subject you would have to ask a question, no? So, does this make you stupid?

Fundamentally, we are all uneducated in some aspects of life. To call someone stupid, or make them feel small in any way, because you excel in an area they do not; is arrogant. It’s unkind, it’s unfair, and you are objectively helping to numb society to the pursuit of intelligence.

Curiosity IS intelligence. To wonder what lies beyond. To wonder about that which you do not know, and pursue it relentlessly. Do not stifle someone, and trip them up at the first hurdle of understanding. You are hurting someone’s potential more than you know.

Next time someone asks a question you feel they should know; that you feel is a stupid question – be patient. Take your time to think of the appropriate answer. For it is you who is on the ropes. Because there are no stupid questions; only stupid answers.

Don’t Do It Alone

You don’t have to do it alone.

No matter what it is; or how you feel; if you are right or wrong; or if you feel you are too far along. Whether the outcome will be a success or a failure; whether you will be forgiven or not; whether things can go back to the way they were or not; whatever you are going through – you do not have to do it alone.

Loneliness is such a hauntingly beautiful concept; because it’s so ironically universal. It’s something that unites us all together. We have all felt alone.

Sometimes in a dark room, with a beer or a glass of wine on something resembling a table in front of you, you will feel alone. As you monitor friends and family, who seem to be having fun. Perhaps you’re sitting and wondering who that person you think about, is thinking about. And maybe you’re wondering why they aren’t here beside you.

Sometimes, shoulder to shoulder, or on a busy street, you will feel so alone. As no one looks your way, or perhaps that they do and choose to stay at a distance. Perhaps it’s even one of those times, when people are talking to you; but the words they say and the ways they relate to their life and yours around them, you would be better off talking to a lion who has been taught your native tongue – for your two frames of reference are so far apart you no longer understand each other.

Sometimes it’s our own pride that brings about our true sadness. The thought that we should be able to shoulder the weight of the world, for this is what makes us strong and tough. This is a fallacy. A whisper that loneliness will repeat in your ear for hours on end. If you have convinced yourself this is true, then know this instead. It is not brave, to accept burden alone. It is not more dignified, or more humble, to pretend the world does not beat you down, and get the better of you on some days. Or perhaps for weeks or months on end.

This is the cruelty of life. It does this to everyone. If you believe you are the only person who asks for help, and are convinced that others you know to be calm and collected never ask for help; you are mistaken. What they really do, is share the load. They distribute the bombardment amongst those they trust, whom they hold dear. And in return, when they can, they offer kindness, love, and reciprocation. They offer an ear, and a shoulder, when it is their burden to do so.

This, I would wager, is not opinion, but fact. Four people carrying 100 kilograms of weight on their shoulders seems reasonable. But one person carrying the same weight, will injure or tire themselves after not too long at all. Remember this; it’s science.

Sometimes the hardest part, is that it seems as though there is no one to even accept your requests for help. It’s a friend, who knows you’re alone, and is unwilling to alter their behaviour to accommodate you. Which arguably is the only thing worse than being alone or being sad. Being alone, and someone else knowing you’re alone. Someone else being perfectly aware of it, and yet choosing not to act upon it. It feels as though no one would care.

But someone does care. People who contact you without a reason to do so. They care about your day, for the sake of hoping it was a happy one, and nothing else. Do not forget them, or their kindness, even if they are not the person you wish was bringing it to you. They can bring some light into your life, as long as you let them. Loneliness is only a darkness. People are not further away; you just cannot see very far in front of you. Or how far your sphere of connection stretches.

Put it does not matter if it is a trick – because it feels so real, to you. It feels empty. When you are scared of what you may find beyond your vision. And your fingers shake, and your arms wave all around you hoping to find someone there, to hold their hand and pull it closer. To feel their warmth against yours, even if they too are afraid.

Whatever makes you afraid; whatever in the future scares you – don’t do it alone. Don’t push those away whom you do find in reach. If they call to you, call back.

And if no one answers – call for me. I will follow you into the dark.

Shorts: Mother’s Day(s)

According to the dictionary, to mother, is to;

  1. bring up (a child) with care and affection.
    “the art of mothering”

And so apt a definition it is. It’s an art, because it’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. It’s hidden in plain site, and often it’s significance forgotten. If you’re looking for a definition of kindness, or a reason to continue believing in this world in a time of tempest and uncertainty, motherhood should be your guide.

Your mother has held you in the cold, with cotton wrapped around your infant body. She has held you against her, when tears have streamed down your face at matters trivial or otherwise. Your mother has taught you; inspired you; in ways more than one. She has clothed you, paid your debts, and listened to what makes you unique as an individual. She’s cared about it, and listened for countless hours, for the stories you tell her, she will surely tell to anyone who will listen, including strangers, in moments of pride.

She does all this from the moment you are born, knowing you will one day lie to her. Knowing you will one day upset her, move on to other things without her, and act selfishly towards her. You’ll put your feelings first, you’ll reject her advice, and you’ll forget in the moment, all that she has done.

And yet still, unwavering, she will be waiting with forgiving arms. She will not remind you that she told you better, she will not put you down, but raise you up, and she will not ask for favour in return. But only love.

I cannot think, of a kindness, grander, than a mother’s. The act once itself, is so gorgeous one could write a poem. But more astonishing, is rather the constancy of the act.

To all mother’s out there, thank you. For birthing and raising every one of us, since the dawn of human kind. Thank you for your unimaginable kindness, for so many years. So grand a span of time, to consistently be kind. Thank you for listening to us, seeing who we truly are, caring for us, and sharing yourself with us, so that we may learn, and grow.

And to my own mother, thank you. Words sadly fail me, for I cannot describe how wonderful you are. How inspiring you are, every day of my life. How decisions I make, and thoughts I have, are done with you in mind. You’re a thought that does not leave my mind, even though some things pressing may appear for it to be so. I love you with all my heart, for everything that you’ve done.

I love you for your support, your kindness, your friendship, and for being my inspiration to be a better man, for as long as I live.

Happy Mothers Day.

P.s. Spoil your mothers. Treat them. Remind them you love them, and you’re thankful for all they have done. Just be sure, not to limit it, to this one day.