On Hard Work

28 July, 2016, 10:25 PM

Sometimes I’m terrified that I’m more in love with the idea of hard work than hard work itself.

I like making plans and planning routines. I like the fresh beginnings and I like the idea of having reached the end.

The middle, though… That’s the part I’m not too keen on.

Sure, there are some things that I have to do whether I’m keen on them or not. I have to write that paper for class, I have to study for that exam, I have to write that article for that magazine or blog or newspaper. But when I sit down and do those things I’m forced to confront the question of whether, if the grade, or disappointment of my boss or teacher, were taken away, I would still do it. Would I be able to sit my ass down and do it for me rather than for some extrinsic reward or fear of punishment?

I like to think that I would, if I loved it enough or was excited about it enough.

But truth is, I’m genuinely not sure. And I live with that fear every day of my life.

Holidays are the hardest. When I feel myself paralyzed by all the things I’d “planned” to do, laying around in bed or on the couch letting the hours fly past in uselessness. A blob of nothingness. Even an hour of productivity ends up feeling rewarding, but contrasted with how many hours I’ve wasted away, that so-called “accomplishment” is just a pile of crap.

I need to learn to fall in love with the process. I need to be more disciplined, have more willpower, create good, productive habits and stop sustaining and falling into the bad ones. I need to stop saying “tomorrow” or “next week” or “when I move out” or “once I start university” or any of those things.

Get organized. Get better. Do better. Keep trying. Try Harder.

I am better than this. I can be better than this, I know it. But working towards it… That middle between who I am now and who I want to be… That’s the part I’m not to keen on.

But it’s there, yawning out before me like an endless uphill trek to a peak I can’t even see. And I’m hoping that somewhere in the middle of all this middle, I’ll learn to fall in love with each step onward and upward.

Before the rain

My god. This is beautiful. The sky is at breaking point with the weight of those beautiful ominous grey clouds. They’re lurking over us, and I can just tell they’re smirking as they wait for the right moment to let loose. Hanging onto our anticipation, feeding off the tension of the Earth as she waits for her thirst, and that of all she has borne, to be quenched.

The wind is doing its job too. Blowing fiercely, enjoying making plastic wrappers and aluminum cans rustle, rattle and crackle about. Making spirals and puffs and swells of sand and dust, a tribute to the clouds above, an imitation that even the arrogant wind knows does them no justice.

The world is quieter. The tension is palpable. Even the normal early morning sounds are muted down. Everything. Everything can feel the presence. That unique presence. Strong, confident, patient, wise. The presence of Mother Nature in beautiful glory.

The clouds tease us further, allowing the scent of what they carry to drift earthwards, tantalising us with the promise of what’s to come. What we HOPE will come, for it may very well be that they decide to ask the wind to take them elsewhere, or perhaps decide to perform another day. In the meanwhile, all we can do is wait, and feel that presence, and be oh-so-grateful to be alive.

But what’s this? The sun making its appearance, slowly dyeing the sky pink and orange. And the clouds drift towards her like moths to a flame, entranced, in love, not caring that the energy she emanates will be their undoing. Floating lovingly to be as close as they can. The wind too has lowered his efforts to that of a small, cool breeze. He knows the sun can do nothing to him, so he is safe and and watches admiringly as she shyly reveals herself.

It seemed strange that such a beautiful thing knew not of her effect. That she could tame winds and turn thunderclouds to mere mist had never occurred to her. She just did what she did best, and loved doing: she shined her light bright as she could, without discrimination. All that was in her realm of giving, she gave to, content with that. Happy with it.

So there may not be any rain this day. But at least we have the sun, just as beautiful, if not more. No. Wait. Definitely more.

She was unreliable. Sometimes she shined her light too brightly, or gave out her energy too strongly. Sometimes she got too shy and hid away behind clouds only too glad to do as she wished and hide her away. And there was that matter of her dalliance with the moon… But since she did that while shining somewhere else, it’s alright really.

For all that, though, she is beautiful.

Magnificently so.

And I’ll just leave it at that.

I think too fast sometimes.

Thoughts will race through my head, then suddenly one, or several, will pass by without me even really knowing what they were. Only a vague impression of them. Then I’ll have to stop my train of thought, and go back, and slow things down, sometimes repeat them, over and over, so I won’t forget. Make sense of them, put them in words, proper sentences, describe them. I can’t stand thinking in chopped words or phrases. I always have to sort them.

It’s probably why I need to write so often. It’s easier to sort my head out this way. I can see the words, feel them beneath my fingers. But the irony of it is, when I get the tools to write, the thoughts disappear, only to come back once I’m away from this place.

Pen and paper, I can’t use. It’s too slow a method. One that can’t keep up with everything I think. Whenever I try I just get frustrated and then the thoughts go away again, to be replaced with what I’m typing now. Frustration at there being too many thoughts to take down at once.

How do we handle it? It’s like our brains are being shot with multiple machine guns.. ratatatatatatataratatatatatatataratatattat.. And sometimes it all goes so fast and so hard, I can’t understand how we haven’t succumbed to this incredible amount of pressure inside our own heads, controlling our body, never stopping, hardly ever slowing down.. How have we not exploded?

No wonder people go completely and utterly insane.

No wonder they end up losing their minds… They don’t lose them, they give them up, toss them away, unable to take that goddamn pressure.

I don’t want to miss a moment.

I’m tired. Really, really physically tired. This is a combination of short lived amounts of sleep and disturbing dreams to go with them. It’s taking its toll, and right now, the temptation to just lay my head down and close my eyes is growing so great the backs of my eyelids sting, as if trying to give me a sign. “Go on! Let us close, you moron!”

Soon. I’ll give in soon, promise.

Resentfully, though. Because this time is mine. The time when everyone else is fast asleep, so I have no demands to meet, no errands to run. There’s no one to interrupt me from whatever I choose to do, like write this post. And the silence is not confined to the many walls that make up our apartment, but to the outside world, as well. I am awake to watch the world fall asleep, and savour each moment of quiet solitude. I am awake to watch it wake up again, before visiting sleep myself. It’s become a routine that I am, for once, rather fond of. Almost like tucking a child in at night, then smiling as you watch them set out into the world in the morning while you finally rest. It’s a need to check that the earth is alright, to watch it and feel it come alive.

I wonder what it is that makes night and day feel so different. Fewer cars on the road? The darkness? Less people walking about, if any at all? Is the silence just from the lack of noise, or from something within us? That connection all humans share, letting us know the collective consciousnesses of the people around you are at rest. Their brains have slowed down, relaxed, stopped buzzing, and so it’s quiet.

Whatever the reason, I like it. I love it. It’s these times that I am most at peace, which is why feeling so damn tired is annoying me. I don’t want to sleep and waste away what would be another hour or so of delicious tranquillity. I don’t want to miss sensing it slowly sneak away as the world awakes, and grows louder with the clamouring thoughts of conscious minds as they go to work, go to school, build, talk, laugh, yell, live or at least exist.

I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

But since I really can’t help it, eyes drooping right now in fact, I’ll just console myself with the thought of another night to enjoy, and savour. And I will cherish it to the very last second.

So for now, Goodnight

Is it possible, I wonder…

For emotional wear-out to manifest itself physically?

If so, then it’s starting at my knees… Sorry mom. Knee caps are wearing out anyway, from running away from everything that scared me so. Running away from me. I see the fear in your eyes, you know. When you look at me. I see it. You, scared of me, of what I might turn out to be, what I might end up doing. And you’re scared for me, too. I can see it. I’ve always seen it. Maybe it’s my fear of myself reflected in your eyes. Or maybe I started being scared of myself because of the fear I saw. Maybe it’s both. Who knows?

I know what will be next. My hands. My hands will wear away from the harm they’ve done. To me. To anything and anyone else. Or rather, everything and everyone else. It’ll start at my fingertips that clutched blades, typed words, held, touched, hit. Then my knuckles, that tried to shatter walls in fury and pain and anger that I refused to let out to anyone else. Never them.

My mouth and tongue, too. From lack of use and too much use both at the same time. Harsh words spoken, and words bit back in fear, clutching at self-control with only the tips of my fingers so the words can be swallowed down to make a home in my heart and stay there, eating away.

My eyes. Dark and closed off. Eyes are the window the soul, it is said. I keep mine hidden away, and the blinds are closed, sorry. You won’t see that devastation so easily. That smoke and wreckage are no sight for anyone. She used to say that she could never see anything in my eyes. She could never read them, even when I tried to let her. Tried to show her. Only two things could she ever decipher. Pain and Passion. And both hurt her to see. Yes, they will wear away too. They have been denied their duty, after all. To reveal just as much as they observe. I made them selfish. Taking in, but never giving out.

My shoulders, from the burden I myself placed on them, and have now become too scared to ever take it off them for fear of the consequences. And fear that someone else might have to take it up in replacement.

Oh, and of course, my heart. I say nothing of it. There’s nothing I could say, no way I could describe it that could quite convey its true form. It… It won’t wear out. Because it already is, bit by bit. No. It will shatter.

One day. One day it will shatter. It will trigger a chain reaction of explosions; the rest of me will be in splinters and shards. When it happens, I will lay there in all my pieces and wait until I turn to minute dust, to be blown away in the wind and vanish forever.

In the meantime, I am wearing away, bit by bit by bit.

Shhh… It’s a secret. Until I’m ready to say my goodbyes.

I am not a morning person.

I used to be, once. I can vaguely remember looking forward to waking up early and being out there in daylight with the mist starting to slink away in shame and that.. “morning smell” as I used to call it. I used to love the sounds the birds made as they chirped about getting breakfast. Watched them hop about, telling each other random stories and singing random songs. I used to watch the wind blow through the trees, the leaves rustling in greeting, and I’d say hi, too.

I’m not a morning person anymore.

I’m not really a night person, either. I like peace, and if you knew where I lived you’d know that night is just as alive as day. Possibly even more alive, because with the night comes freedom, and with freedom comes the carefree joy of temporary irresponsibility.

I have become an in-betweener. The time between the witching hour and daybreak. The precious few moments between dusk and nightfall. These are my favourites. No matter where you are, the hush of these times are ever-present. You may be busy enough to ignore it consciously, but subconsciously, you know the world just slowed down. You know.

Mornings depress me, now. Sure, there is the beauty of the sunrise. The reflection of the sun’s rays picking out diamonds floating on the sea. But there is also the cars. The tall buildings. The smoke rising out of fumigated rubbish bins. I look outside and see the ghosts of what the earth once was. Where a building stands once stood a tree, or a sand dune, or an oasis. A forest, a wood, a lake, even… with an entire mini ecosystem of all five Kingdoms.

Then a car beeps its horn and the image vanishes. I am returned to the present to watch the smoke float into the earth’s lungs, tearing at her alveoli and making her heave with the effort to keep breathing, like an 80-year-old with an asthmatic attack besides.

I am not a morning person anymore because that is when I am most disappointed in what we have done to the world.

I am not a morning person because that is when I can feel the earth choking.

The earth is choking.