Adventure is the new ‘cool’

We have never loved risk and safety more than we do right now, because we want to live, scream our lungs out then laugh, tick boldness of the checklist, and break the law – but we also want a familiarity to return to. It’s easier to be daredevil when you know you have somewhere safe to go back to at the end of the day. (Not everyone has that kind of privilege.)

I want to try new things, because I’m afraid of missing out. FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, my generation calls it. Because that’s what spontaneity sometimes feels like: not a pleasure, not the burst of adrenaline pushing you out of a comfort zone, but an intentional act of trying to replicate what is ‘cool’, and a fear of failing authentic replication. It used to be the latest clothes or the latest Tamagotchi or the rarest YuGiOh cards. But these days it’s all about action: you skydived off a plane! you bungee jumped! you leaped off a cliff into water! you danced in the rain and then under the stars! you crowd surfed! you partied until 5am! road trips!

The braver you seem – the more exhilarating your adventures seem – the better you become and the more you are envied. The internet has perpetuated vicarious experiences more than ever before, turning them into a trend. These trends in turn become propellants for individuals to try those experiences out for themselves.

I am no exception to this whirlwind. These days as I sit at my desk with a book open, reading, I cannot help but wonder. Could I be as exciting as those characters who are driven by circumstance and admirable will into the shining light? Could I really gatecrash a formal dinner party, like James Bond? Could I really hop on the next plane to New York City and dance in a flash mob in front of Times Square? Could I really run down the streets in tears and find myself knocked over by Ed Sheeran wearing a disguise and trying to escape paparazzi?

No. No. No. The rational part of me highly doubts any of this would happen, unless I put in the effort to make them happen (even then, the chances are slim). But the irrational part of me? The part that wants to believe this urge to pursue the idealistic is more than just a trend? More than just an attempt to be ‘cool’ and to feel that I’ve lived a life worth living?

That part hopes.

Friends go and gone

“Friends come and go,” people say. As though friendship’s a conveyor belt, rolling off used items to make space for new ones.

I’m too sentimental for that kind of analogy. I can barely toss out a plushie toy from my primary school days without severe contemplation and several goodbyes. Some would say I’m teetering on the margins of insanity.

It’s not really that though. Whether it’s a beloved soft toy or a close friend, leaving is never an easy choice on my part. In the case of the latter, leaving rarely is my choice. It just happens. And as I make my way through my university degree, I find this fact growing alarmingly present, like a bruise or a mosquito bite: you never see it coming, but when it does come, you can’t help but feel irritated and frustrated that you didn’t notice the signs beforehand.

I’ve never been good at writing detached. A previous teacher of mines called my writing “melodramatic”, too overwhelmed by emotion, too theatrical to feel real. It was bitter criticism to swallow, but I’m glad I got a taste of that medicine. It reminded me that even in writing, I am too sentimental. Every word oozes, like mud. Every word feels like it’s having difficulty breathing, like it’s a pack horse carrying too much.

I wonder if the friends that I’ve grown distant from feel the same way. That I’m an extremely heavy load, and now, in their new school and their new life, I’ve become less of a rock that keeps them grounded and more of a burden.

Or maybe I’m overthinking all this. Maybe we never even notice the distance, and by the time we do, the space separating us is already too vast to patch up and we’re no longer sure where we once stood. Maybe distance’s like an asteroid, hurtling towards earth and our heads and we have nothing to do but to watch it collide.

It’s too easy to say “friends come and go”. The phrase misses too many steps. What use is a recipe that only shows you the ingredients and the finished product, with no instructions on what to do in between? 

I wish there were some way to stop this fear of losing. But like Donald Trump winning the presidential elections, we must work with what we’ve got and go on living, sentimental or not.

Storms in sunset

Leaving felt like sending my heart a drunken text: a fuck-it-all that was uncomfortable in the wake, as naked as raindrops trickling along skin when he dropped me and my broken umbrella by the doorstep.

Footprints on the mat, and words so soft they dribbled into socks, and slipped through my soles like echoes.

I heard them resonate: while ripples widen, circling their predecessors, his letters shrank and when I tried to catch each escaped breath, I could only hear my own ears beating red and black: the aftermath of storms in sunset, a beautiful kind of ache.

A storm to never pass

A storm is supposed to pass, but these days, a storm is something more.

A storm is a cloud rolling and rolling and hurling repetitions of itself, out of itself,

without ever stopping, without ever spinning the centre of the wave

because it itself is the eye, all-seeing but unseeable.

 

A storm is supposed to pass, but these days, it’s just a touch

Not even heard in echoes but in the mind that is somehow more profound

a footprint than a million unnamed feet, a million hearts you do not know

because a storm you can define but can never really settle.

 

This storm is supposed to pass, but these days, it breaks

off into leaking hourglass and spitting sand specks that are impossible to catch

and impossible to avoid, and dying to escape the burial of a windless grave,

because the storm is wind and we’re all trying to escape the life it gives.

 

 

 

 

The ocean is soft

The ocean is soft, I’d never noticed before. The waves crash, the tides claw back, the seagulls shriek, but the ocean is soft

The engine of the last car rumbles into silence, and I’m left with my own footprints, and his next to mines.

The waves are breathing, steady then erratic, a little like the hearts that lean in then apart.

Shadows touch each other, the sun does not die but becomes the moon – round and beaming, a light that is shy, alight

Your fingers cradle, it’s forgotten how to loosen when your fingers lace each other, knit into each other

knuckle on knuckle, the ocean’s soft

the only sounds come from your own chest, and his.

The ocean is breathing

the ocean is breathing

the ocean is breaking.

Mosaic of musings

I’m good at putting you aside. I’m not good at forgetting you.

I’m staring out the window, but really I’m staring into my thoughts.

I’d like to pick a lock and go where I shouldn’t go. Because sometimes going where you shouldn’t go leads you to where you’ve always wanted to go.

When you jump, you’ll fall. But I’d rather be falling than be standing still till the end of time.

I’m silent, but my heart is loud.

You’re like the night: littered with stars, drowning in ghosts.

rain

How to reignite a heart

Why
She took a risk expecting nothing in return,
Embraced the dying embers in the swallows of her palms
And planted tiny seeds of warmth in the centre of its ebbing heart.

Why
She wasn’t brave or sharp or any way remarkable,
All she did was listen
A single unsteady pulse playing to the tune of hers
Her hands were worn but her heart was soft,
Like the first drops of rain

Drumming, falling
Never breaking into any less than power
The sound of life tearing through the skies
Raining down the streaks of night and day
Until the embers in her palms
Rose and reignited
And grew to a shadow, to a breath,
To the flicker in his
Beautiful, bold eyes.

Then and Now.

(I am just a shadow of who I used to be.)

I try to remember a time when the world was still innocent. When I was still innocent. The earth tremored in delight, not in fear… did it not? And blue… blue was the colour of fine skies, not of sadness. The flicker of every heartbeat signalled to life, not to this creaking pain. I was once unhinged, free to roam and dream and smile at the thought of having those dreams because fantasies defined my realities. But now, fantasies have become just that – fantasies and nothing more; a testament to what could have been but will never be. I am just a rusted piece of metal, too frail to swing open, drowning in my own papery breathes. The doors that once beckoned at me with the vitality of a billion lights have now closed upon me. I am alone. And it is dark. And it is cold.

Innocence is not ignorance. If life’s greatest purpose is to be happy and I was happiest in my innocence, then surely I was at my wisest point in those childhood years? The older I grew it seems, the more unsatisfied I became – it was as though age impaled upon me the inability to see the good through the bad; so much did I acknowledge the bad that I forgot to consider anything beyond that.

But maybe… maybe I think… there’s no point comparing who you were to who you are? Maybe to lose your innocence is to gain a deeper understanding of suffering? And maybe understanding suffering equates to understanding happiness… because how could one ever know how it feels to be happy if one did not know pain and sadness first?

I think maybe I shouldn’t try to remember, because to remember is to accentuate the differences between the past and present – differences that cast a dark cloud of longing and unfufilled dreams over your head ’til you’re reaching for a version of your childhood that never even existed. The doors are closed now, but maybe I still have a little energy left in me to open them up again. Maybe this is a choice. Nothing’s easy and simple anymore, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s achievable. And I have a choice now: either to stay in the dark or take a step forward towards the light.

(You know what I’ve always liked about shadows? They are indications that even in darkness, light exists close by. And you are the reflection of that light.)

Aligned hearts.

They can change the way we speak and the way we act, but they can never change the way we feel. When paths are altered, lines withdrawn, our hearts will stay the same. In the constancy of change lies the constancy of our pulses. We may not be the same people as we once were, and we may soon be different people to who we are right now, but one part of us will forever remain the same: we will remain human, alive in our breaths, and even when we die, alive in the ashes we’ve left behind.

a music to a heartbeat

The beauty of music, I always thought, was the way you could immerse yourself into it simply by putting on your headphones and the way it deciphered for you those feelings you otherwise had so much trouble deciphering. It was the way it gave you the tears you needed, the heartbeat you yearned for, the flash of life you searched for.

Sometimes when I play the piano, I find myself wondering: how could something black-and-white simultaneously be so rich with memories and emotion? How could something that is in essence just a series of sound patterns, become so meaningful to the ear? Maybe it all rests upon our interpretations of these sounds, our innate abilities to find points of resonance within the music and to connect.

Music was never about isolating yourself from the world, it was always becoming more in tune with it. You turn on the music, block out the white noise and listen to the world as though you are listening to it for the very first time.