The Force of July

Its this process of “collective” grief.

It’s the feeling like you are not recovering as fast as the rest of the collective. When you feel like your rage is overblown because you do not see it mirrored communally but do not realise that you, too, are moving through life silently, simmering, but only below the surface. Rage on mute. About to boil over but not yet, not quite. When is the bounce back, the recovery? And as you are doing this, as you are moving through with your muted rage, your comrades are moving through with theirs too, maybe not as silently, maybe not very loudly either. Unbeknownst to you. This perceived silence – the sweet, elusive recovery time- is ripe and heavy with the weight of pent up rage. No one is bouncing back. Communally. And sometimes, the only catharsis achieved in these moments is through witnessing the turbulence, the pressure cooker of emotions roiling in the depths of the “collective” eye, in the burdened beat path routed to the reality of connection with the kindred in community. Collective healing, from the vantage point au milieu; the crowd clamoring for justice  to remain in full view. Change, unspooling, whipped in old ideas of the “new”.

Change.

I don’t think the process of change is intended to be pleasant. We have never asked the butterfly how it feels to be in the chrysalis. We just rejoice in solidarity when it breaks free and begins to fly. And what was the process like in that shell? Did the wings rip it’s body apart as they formed? Did the caterpillar fear being reborn? What must flight have looked like for one so close to the ground? Are there screams of protest against the metamorphosis with voices too shrill to translate into sturdy vibrations? Are we not paying enough attention to hear them or is the silence it’s own picture of strain. When I feel pain, I curl, I shut my eyes tight and squeeze; tensing muscles till my hands are unyielding mallets and the mounds that clog  the barely formed arches on my flat feet, spasm. I experience pain in flows I want to ebb into oblivion. So perhaps there is a tortured silence in a changing pulse. Or maybe this is out of the loop and there is no pain at all. Just discomfort. Just a longing to hold on to the stable we have built before being dragged by our wings into verdant fields of unknown. 

Perhaps the caterpillar lived in pain and discomfort every aching moment till it was freed. Perhaps change was the road not taken that led to peace.

Peace.

No justice. No peace.

Rage is rage. Muted or shrill.

Inconsolable, is the collective grief.

Journaling Prose et Poesie

Society in Motion

Forgive them

Forgive us

Forgive the deep parts within you cannot trust

 

Time spent but never earned because this is a bus with no stops 

The fog in the rear is not slipping into the exhaust

It is purged

We are running, leaving it behind.

We cannot earn because we cannot bind

We are dust waiting to return 

We are rust waiting for the sun

To burnish us, turn us to bronze that flickers and wreathes like gold

The gold is nowhere but in our souls

The bronze is all that shows

 

And for what? For us to lose the precious little, trailing away like black smoke that unfolds,

pouring out the maw of a backside, not worth a gather

Not worth the sole you exhaust

Not worth the bronze you won’t buff

The rust that needs to wait for the sunrise to feel lust

Of self

 

None other than heavy mist beyond the veil

The dust and the fog and the time-shares of clutter

How you can breathe through the same pipes where all that sputter and gunk choke the inhale.

Choked

Unprovoked

Choke and roll over and sink down like the sun 

Unable to purge through the rays the bronze run.

Unable to shine and burnish itself to a gold spun by society; to relive that choked one

You know the one

Life. 

Let’s pick up the run.

Journaling Prose et Poesie

Transparent Markers

In relationships, where is the marker between ego and self respect?

In respect, where is the marker between ego and sense of self?

What do we know about sense of self? My sense of self shifts everyday, from its very foundation. I spend a lot of time oscillating between an understanding of my scope of self and then an understanding of how many of those parts are interacting on a daily basis. 

How many people are convinced that they haven’t looked deep enough into themselves? Like they haven’t peeled back the layers far enough and what they understand to be of self might very well have left a few layers unexplored. What if you’re only a talented liar when it comes to lies you tell yourself?

I’m convinced this is the case with a lot of people who harbor the fear of being hurt, or who have at some point or the other in their lives, decided against the long hard road of emotional unease, opting instead to pretend that something never mattered that much, never got deep enough to hurt them to distraction. That fear of vulnerability is an acceptance of self deception; a contract to lie to oneself for as long as necessary and maybe till the day they die, a bed of uncertainty made that will grow doubt and confusion for a significant portion of one’s life. It’s as simple as this – if I fear my hurt to the point where I am unwilling to feel it all the way through, I will throw up blocks with varying levels of dishonesty in order to build a solid enough labyrinth in my mind to prevent my access to the truth aka the pain. That labyrinth will only serve as the shaky foundation to my continued perception of my self and my values and my strength. This foundation will leave cracks wide enough for anxiety, self doubt, self loathing, and depression to seep in and find purchase. If one is susceptible to these things, at least.

Whenever the day comes that I then want to dig out, break down this house on its shaky foundation, I will find that it’s been welded with a variety of stuff I had no business gathering. Now the chaff and grain are identifying as self, now I identify as part chaff, now I’m doubting my worth. Now I’m doubting me. How does one go about untangling that? And how does the building’s demolition not feel like self destruction? How do you start from scratch when the scratch you’ve so far come to understand has been a lie?

Where is that marker exactly? Where is that sense of self?

Anyway, I’m a stone in this quarry, a sailor on this sea. I’m currently struggling with these questions. I’m on a constant search to find me.

Inspiration Journaling

Strength

Hi you. Yes, you.

You’ve been telling yourself that you aren’t strong. A direct contradiction to the face you put out every morning; the one others filled with their own expectations and emotions judge you by. And that contradiction is killing you. Slowly.

You’re strong! You’re strong. Not every time, now. Not every hour of every day, and certainly not every day of every week.

It’s okay that you struggle with yourself and your mind, and the anxieties of work, which you can’t stop conflating with the anxieties of life. It’s okay when you feel like the people in your life with whom you can be vulnerable for their strength, no longer have their own secure foundation and so cannot carry you. It’s okay to want to take a break from them then, as you learn. It’s okay, too, to forgive them for being human, even as you forgive yourself for being the same. But then, remember, you are strong. You’ve just gotta pick yourself up.

 

Inspiration Journaling

Trust Me. Please?

My iPhone has had this little problem ever since I got it – it doesn’t sync with my laptop. It never has. Whenever I plug it in, it asks me if I would like to “trust” this computer. MY computer (Yes, damn it, I said yes the last plug in as well, and put in the passcode to prove it!). Now, I got it in my head almost immediately that I would not be able to retrieve my phone memory if I went to the apple store to have it looked into; that they would do a factory reset and that would be it for years of obsessively preserved (and sometimes stolen) photos and other random virtual memorabilia. Did I ever actually go to to the apple store and find out my options? Nope. But somehow, every time this point of frustration has come up over the past year, I’ve treated it like some given part of life; some fixture that will never change as long as I own this phone – like when I dropped the 1000 dollars for the purchase I had also signed some very small dotted line agreeing to a couple years of growing pains.

I say that last part like a joke but in the end I actually had. My brain had jumped and jumped from mental block to mental block; skipped one mental hurdle just to trip over another, only to arrive at this absurd conclusion. And now? I’m the individual in possession of some really stodgy alternative facts simply because I refused to do my research. More absurd than that was the ease with which I allowed my brain convince me that I did not have the 30 minutes of energy or time to stop by the apple store on my way home from work one day to ask the question and perhaps get it fixed. Even more absurd, if one could believe it, is the certainty with which I accepted this fact. The phone trust issue became a “known” precept, something around which I had to adjust myself if I intended to feel more at ease. All it did was increase my resting sense of discomfort. Yet I knowingly (most days really on this subconscious level) and willingly allowed this to continue for a year. And there are so many other things and areas of my life that have lain dormant and unquestioned for eons past their season simply because of this passive mindset I’ve kept.

I say passive because it has surely not been something I’ve actively thought about in this manner. If I had earlier, perhaps I might already be a few steps down the road to remediation. It is, however, never too late. It’s just still crazy to me how we sometimes let ourselves be our own biggest blocks in what are, sometimes, the seemingly most innocuous ways. All we can hope for is discernment and the spirit to tell your goddamn lazy ass to get the hell up and keep pushing for you. To come through for you. To love you enough to BE you, fully exploring and realizing all that potential, all those possibilities. 

The hope is that we do this always; that we manage this without wasting accumulating minutes repeatedly telling one inanimate object to display the very animated, human emotion of trust for another similarly inanimate and decidedly non-human object. Over and over again. My God. What a bloody waste of time.

Journaling

Vingt-VI

26 was a funny age. I’m glad I saw it, I’m glad I’m letting it go. No pro necessarily outweighing a con, just a centredness, which, I guess, summed up 26.

My girlfriends  and I were talking recently about regular millennial things – podcasts, tv shows, Mindy Kaling, partnerships, hip-hop hot yoga, when it dawned on us that 26 could be a more pivotal year sometimes than 25. And in more ways than the American loss of that comfort umbrella that we call a parent’s insurance plan (this particular group of girls were mostly immigrants anyway). Perhaps it is because 25 leads right up to it with all its expectation and promise; the expected quarter life crisis that always comes before or after that milestone age. Perhaps it’s the feeling of stepping away from something young, even if it is just your early twenties, and youth’s firm, unblemished hand is still firmly gripping your shoulder.

26 is perhaps the age, we decided, where you first realise you just might need to put your hand up in a yoga class when they ask about any pains or injuries. Because you suddenly realize you have some of those, and they might be lingering aches rather than fleeting injuries. And then there’s the second puberty – where did these hips come from??? 

It is for all accounts and purposes, supposed to be a filler year. Nothing of significant glamour is supposed to happen; nothing with significant weight is supposed to shift. And that is perhaps what makes it the most surprising – the continued realization that our calendars are arbitrary things and that wisdom and erosion can and do occur at any age. (But somehow these are aged concepts one doesn’t really linger on till after 25).

This last year I chased festivals and faffery, fortitude and fuel, fiercely. I asked new questions about old things – lineage, culture, status quo, and searched for peace, as the self-knowledge I had previously been seeking brought its fair share of turmoil.

In the end though, 26 came and left, just like I wanted. Cheers to 27.

Journaling

Save.

Come, pour it all out to me. In a moment of true need.

 

Shiiiiiittt. You woke up hella late, slept through hella alarms, and cost yourself 20 bucks this morning. Best believe you’re broke enough right now that that makes a difference. A huge one.

You’re having a rough day – can’t you tell? Can’t you smell the doubt, anxiety and self derision – sulfur fumes rising from the well? You’re tempted to gather, to push through, to self-love, to pull loose of this infernal grip.

But today? No. Today, you could have maimed a man in a UPS outfit, if he’d turned out to be a burglar.

Save.

You don’t save. You haven’t yet managed to save yourself. It’s been years in this war that you’re fighting; Constantly engaged and projecting to the world so you don’t have to face yourself. So you can face another and hate the shell. It’s hollowed out – that hologram, because the mirror’s a hoax.

You can’t project your worst on to the world and then face the demons that stare back because you can’t slay a reflection of a problem when the problem is you.

Save.

How can you save others, how can you save yourself? Service. Full service pain. Full service problems. A continental strain.

Why you can’t win at this war? Why you’re always losing? You’re not being you. You’ve been hiding under years of rock and shield. Under years of cover from soul. Sometimes you can’t feel it anymore, what you would do. You see it sometimes in quiet bursts. In eclipses of fear-defying proclamations. You see it hide, retreating tactically as you backtrack your ‘lapses’ and pad over the cracks in the sculpted suit you present as yourself. You see it. Can you save it?

Can you save you from you?

Being honest to yourself is a war you have been losing. But the war, not the battles. You see the truth through the chinks in that armour. You will save yourself – piece by stone, hard, metallic, piece. Then you will save that armour. To remind yourself of what it is to live in the fear, in emotional squalor.

You’re having a bad day.

No one can save you but yourself.

Because no one else can save you from yourself.

Journaling Prose et Poesie

Gifted-Public-Figure Has Died at Aged-age

“Gifted-Public-Figure has died at aged-age.”

 

Seldom do I swim in a sea of envy. I lie.

Envy waits patiently for me at my door each night and stands sentry till morning. It accompanies me – walking ahead on my route each day, morphing into fantastic shapes of alternate states of being. It pops out at each corner to say “I’m an option, if you’d heed it”. It draws in with play-fighting and truth-meandering; faux soul-searching.

Envy fears all things

Gnaws all things

Seethes through things

Corrupts good things – envy never mends.

Gifted-Public-Figure has died and I, I was inspired. And envious.

Not of their death, or even of their life. But of all those who are finding or have found their purpose, and are thriving in pursuit of the thing, even at 39. And then, I was envious of their mind.

But then that left no space to grow!

That left no space to ponder my own issues and grab my own weights.

It left no roads on which to be bare-back, worn down, weary, and soaking.

It left no reason for me to find a valley to fill with a sea of my pain and dive into, so I could swim to the other side and sing. All it did was encourage me to drown.

All I heard were songs at the corner with tempos of mourning, of cries to drop down, dig a hole and bury my soul. Then use all my powerful potential to water the seeds of waste and prune their poisonous vines where I had laid them.

All it showed me was waste when all I desire is grace.

 

Today hit’s different. Because I saw a light, just the one.

Then others quickly rose to affirm it. So I knew it was the light at the end of a tunnel and not a train hurtling towards me on the tracks.

Gifted-Public-Figure has died at aged-age. And I took my envy of perceived accomplishment and I put it on the road. I shaped and carved and filigreed till I was sure it would hold. Then I set it beside my other fears and worries, anxieties, doubts, and excuses.

I set it with no spaces between the cracks as my next stepping stone.

Journaling

Doubt I

M: …You live in fear, my friend.

 

Y: I’m not sure I live in fear as much as uncertainty.

But I don’t believe those two things to be very different.

Fear feeds doubt, doubt feeds fear,

vicious cycle of imaginary people spitting in each other’s eyes.

Inspiration Journaling

A Reaction to Aziz Ansari

“I believe Aziz and ‘Grace’ are a product of a society and a culture that places consent in the realm of strictly ‘No’ means no, without a lot of focus on ‘Yes’ or silence not necessarily meaning consent. This same culture (whether partly rooted in patriarchy or evolutionary biology) pushes for men to mostly take the initiative in establishing communication and taking the lead in heterosexual interactions,while also defining seduction as a dynamic process.

With that being said, I am conflicted on absolutely placing the blame on Aziz regarding reading the non-verbal cues in that interaction. At some point she expresses that the speed at which things progressed initially made her unable to properly organise and articulate her thoughts to him. Following this, she performed oral sex on him at his request and then expressed her disinterest in having sex with him afterwards, to which he seemed to agree. Then she added, ‘Next time’. We live in a society where we police verbal communication and this is another reason I’m conflicted about this.

Fast forward to the point where they were around the couch and he requested she perform oral sex on him to which she agreed. I believe she felt some pressure- possibly stemming from her feeling bad about saying no partly because she went to his apartment, her inability to reconcile what she truly wanted, who she thought he was and what she was experiencing, and also possibly being too star struck to disagree. All of those reasons make me sympathize with her. However, I do not want to blame Aziz for not understanding this pressure due to the context involving romance.

I do believe there was some inappropriate behavior displayed by Aziz in continuously persuading her to have sex after she expressed her disinterest in that.

To wrap this up, I think the main issue here is ‘Yes’ and silence not necessarily meaning consent and an indication for us to keep dialoguing what consent truly means in sexual interactions.”

 

– C. Ilozue