Tag Archives: writing

Final flight home.

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I’m lucky to be sitting on an airplane for the fourth time this holiday. I like being carried in this slow rhythmic motion, up and down, as though in a cradle. I like the gentle vibrations, the soft blankets, the quiet dimness, the isolation from the world.

It’s been 3 weeks away from home, from the white slopes of Hokkaido to the cluttered, vibrant streets of Tokyo, to the cold marshy meadows of the Cotswolds and the familiar grey streets of London. Before this journey I was in such a poor state of mind that I didn’t even want to fly anywhere. It seems characteristic of disturbed minds to desire for all things to remain as they are. And perhaps it is that which leads to the curious tendency of depressed people to cling to their depression and reject possible routes out of suffering even where such routes clearly present themselves. In retrospect now, I am glad I embarked, glad for the excitement of Japan and the comforts of London. Three weeks away from the writing and reading and the anxiety of too many words and too many muddy thoughts, I feel like I’ve had a good mental reset.

The past few days the thought of going home and school starting has been filling me with a sickening sense of dread. In part, I am afraid of the sadness coming back. A few days ago I heard a song that I used to have on endless replay on those difficult nights where the pain prevented me from getting done any of the work in front of me. Suddenly I felt a wave of memory and an accompanying anguish. It is strange how sounds and smells can trigger such sensation-rich memories. Every time I think about looking at notes or cases I feel sick inside, as though I can no longer separate the sight of my law materials from the inner anguish I struggled with whilst they sat in the background.

I’ve been bathing in comfort since coming to London. Though many people have been away travelling or busy with family, I still had ample time in the presences of familiar people. I sat in friend’s flats, enjoyed high teas, went for walks through the familiar greys and reds and dark greens of the streets. I enjoyed being the sole occupant of a large bedroom. All these things relaxed me, and also made the thought of going home more daunting. I fear being separated from all that is familiar and kind. I fear the harsh programs and structures, and how artificial and inorganic they make life feel. I fear that sense of disconnect and the anxiety of not knowing what is going on and not wanting others to know it. I fear the fatigue from having no place to rest at home. I fear how it made me lose the quiet assurance I have always forged ahead with.

I remember whenever it rained and I needed to get out of the house I would just put on a jacket and hop onto my bike and cycle out into the downpour, with hardly a sense of the silliness of it. Just go, I would tell myself. It can’t be helped. Now I wonder that I did such things. It was that constant disconcertedness, coupled with anxiety and depression that numbed my sense of reality and drove me to do silly things or to carry things out in a silly way.

As I type this the plane has just gotten rocky. Over the PA a crew member tells everyone not to use the lavatories and the lift infants out of the bassinets. Perhaps I also ought to stop writing for now, and just allow myself to rest in the rocking of this vessel for the last 3 hours of my flight. Perhaps now, after bringing home these pieces of my London life packed into my suitcase, I will be able to live a little more like myself.

Good night.

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I have a story.

I have a story I need to tell.

It needs to be told, because words are so much of who I am. It was words, and the people who taught me to use words, that saved me, giving my heart a voice. And it would only make sense that now that I have words to say, that I should tell them. It needs to be told, because just as I have needed other people’s stories, someday someone might need mine. It needs to be told, strangely, because they story itself will not come to a close until it is told. It needs to be told because the telling will, if nothing else, give me courage.

There was an evening, sitting at my desk, where the gears turned in my mind, and suddenly I felt that there was no other way, except that this story must come to completion. At the same time, from my heart, came a desire to make sure the story is told.

But now is not the time to tell it. This is a story that is unfolding slowly as I move towards the day I can bring it into the light. By the time I am ready to tell it, I will probably no longer be the same person anymore. Everything will change.

Or will it?

Maybe you have a story too. When you look back to your past and you look into the mirror, what do you see? Are there traces of a narrative there? Is there something hidden, something broken, something redeeming? Where hide your dragons? Where is your sword? Are there any conditions that you must adhere to on your journey, and which benevolent spirit imparted them to you? What magic words do you use against the darkness? How many turbulent waters must you cross to come home? Does your story have a theme? What is your theory of everything, and where does your story fit in?

What happens at that moment we begin to look into the mirror for real, and understand all that we are and what we have become? A story begins there, I think. And with the beginning comes the trembling of the heart and the need to find new strength. Redemption begins there, I hope. When we go through the wall, what waits on the other side? I sure hope to believe it is nothing less than goodness and fullness – the end of a tale, and the beginning of one ten times better.

I have a story. Stick with me and someday I will share it with you. Whether or not you will remain my friend at the end of it, I know not. But whatever the outcome, it is my greater hope that you too, will one day discover the magic of a tale, of telling, of words and remembering. And maybe then, you can tell me your story too. Right from the beginning.

All tales may come true;

and yet, at the last, redeemed,

they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them

as Man, finally redeemed,

will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.

– On Fairy Stories, J.R.R. Tolkien

Thoughts after 8 weeks of blogging

I started this blog worrying that I would not have enough to write about. I never seem to think or feel very much about anything, compared to most people. I also worried that I would regret my writing, should I say something overly emotional, or offensive, or just plain silly.

But I ended up never having a shortage of things to say. They say reading is like conversing with a friend. I reckon writing is the same. Except that friend is yourself, the deepest part of yourself, the part I thought only other people had. I realise now, that there is magic in words. For when I write I never end up where I intended to go. I learn new things and discover what is hidden. I am comforted, amused and inspired.

Not that I love my writing. Indeed, I don’t like it. It is at best, juvenile, and at worst, just plain weird. Reading my writing often seems to me like listening to bad pop music – it all sounds the same.

But I do not despise my writing. I cannot appreciate my posts as pieces of writing, but I appreciate them as pieces of myself. They are as much a part of myself as my body or my voice or my mind. And we must learn to love ourselves, however much we might want to change. In self-expression, the shades and patterns of meaning that emerge are unique only to us. That is also why I must remind myself to appreciate other people’s thoughts, even if I don’t agree with them. For the colour of the thought that is expressed is unique to the person’s heart, and can never be replicated

I tell myself now not to worry about previous posts that might have been a tad bit strange. Strange or not strange, they are still reflections of what I was at that point in time. We must value what we were as much as we value what we are and what we can be. Though the first is often the most difficult thing to do.

I somehow ended up writing a lot more emotionally than I ever intended to. I would like to assure my friends that I am as much myself as I ever was, perhaps even more so than ever. Here, where I have been released from both the burden and the comfort of the mundane. If I am sad, it is not a complicated sadness. It is actually simple. It is that deep central emptiness that haunts every man. Most of my days are good days, and I don’t feel it too badly. But bad days do come, days where I feel I might be going a little mad. But perhaps, it is those days where we feel like we are going mad that we are actually becoming sane.

I started writing not really knowing what I was writing for. And I’m still not really sure what I am writing for. But it has brought me closer to myself. I’m grateful to everyone who has dropped me a message to encourage me, or liked and commented on my posts, or just stopped by to read them. Here on this rainy night, conversing with myself on Microsoft word and filled with a mixture of self-doubt and self-amusement again, I feel like I have only been given too much to treasure, from the hands of those who love me.

 

“My father never talked to me, except when we studied together. He taught me with silence. He taught me to look into myself, to find my own strength to walk inside myself in company with my soul.”

~The Chosen, Chaim Potok

Lessons from growing up with friends

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In my free pockets of time, I’ve been writing some farewell letters to good friends. I think I’m doing it just as much for my own comfort as I am for theirs.

I’ve always been blessed with really adorable, sweet, kind and sensible friends. In writing, I take time to remember these good people in my life. It brings me back to my roots, and helps me remember the lessons I’ve learnt growing up.

It helps me remember never to kill a mockingbird, and that most people are real nice when you finally see them.

It helps me realise that clothes and image don’t matter, but your commitment to be the better person does. And that at the end of the day, what you achieve is not as important as whether you’ve done your best.

It helps me remember that the truth is it is better to give than to receive.

It makes me believe that you really don’t need things or boys to feel good about yourself. You just need to grow, learn, laugh and love.

It’s been said that mistakes are the best teachers, because they make us hurt. But good things and good people passing through our lives can be good teachers too. Except sometimes, amidst the increasing demands and pressures of an adult life just beginning, it takes a bit of work to remember. But boy, is it important.

“All I really need is a song in my heart, and love in my family”

~All I Really Need, Raffi