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.

Life is a hypocrite.
A liar, a cheat.
A tease, a bully.
A carrot-dangler.
A lover of never-ending cycles.


To see who is brave enough to call it out.
To see who is smart enough to catch it in its lies.
To see who is strong enough to stand up to it.
To see who is wants it enough to get that carrot.
To see who is determined enough to break the cycle.

And if you’re not?

Then it teaches you how to be.
Only, it’s up to you to learn the lesson.

Isn’t it beautiful?

They were sitting on a bench overlooking the water, the city’s bright lights and impressive skyline reflected on the ever-moving surface. It was cold, and they both felt it, yet by unspoken decision they moved no closer to each other.

Finally, the silence became unbearable and he had to speak, if only to remind himself that he still could.

“Are you really sure it will work this time?”

His companion glanced at him, then went back to staring at the water. “I am.”

“How?” The word was out of his mouth before he had the chance to stop it. He sounded disbelieving and he felt horrible for it.

To his surprise, he caught a small smile flit across his brother’s face. “Because I don’t believe it will.”

He looked at him in confusion, wondering if this time, his brother really had lost his mind entirely. He could tell that he was trying to find the right words, so remained quiet.

“Before, I would work on my projects fully convinced that I would succeed. That this would be it and I would never have to worry again. I was tireless, exhilarated. I had complete faith. And every time, I would be proved wrong. This time, though, while all other emotions remain the same, I no longer have that conviction. And that is how I know it will work.” At last he turned to face him, the small smile back on his face. “I know it’s a strange idea. But it makes sense, somehow.”

He smiled back, understanding, and they both returned to staring at the ripples running across the city.

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.

Witches’ Storm

{Inspired by a dust storm.}

“Get away from there!” Nat yelled. The double-glazed glass gates were shaking ominously, despite the many hands of other students pushing against them. She was terrified they would come crashing down on their heads.

She was the eldest, so they did as they were told, stepping beside her while their eyes remained fixed on the doors. Nat cursed inwardly. She was deeply her regretting her choice of transparent curtains. A set of dark thick ones would have kept them from having to look at the sight ahead, maybe even muffle the noise, which was bad enough as it was.

The ghosts of burned witches past continued to howl then attack the doors all together, their wails and screams combining to form one mournful, blood-curdling sound. Beneath her terror, Nat couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. All they had wanted all those years ago was salvation, and even now the doors were barred to them.

It went for hours. After a while, the others grew used to it. The novelty wore off and they continued with their work, but Nat gazed on. She felt like she owed it to them. That to ignore them would be disrespectful; like their torment meant nothing.

She watched as they raised dirt and dust until nothing could be seen. She watched as they gathered storm clouds, speeding them up and pushing them to crash together and thunder their rage. She closed her eyes, shaking, every time they launched another attack, convinced that they would break through.

Finally, she watched as they faded away one by, one each with a mournful wail. Then she made the mistake of looking into the eyes of the last witch to go; the last to have died. As the sun returned, a single tear rolled down her cheek at the great sadness she’d seen within them.

“At least the town will never forget what they’ve done. They won’t let them. And we too shall always remember the betrayal of our ancestors, which is why these gates are made of glass. We must never forget, no matter how far out into the world we may one day reach, how we turned our backs in fear and pride.”

Nat looked up at her mentor and nodded. Taking her outstretched hand, they walked together to continue their Potions lesson. She turned back one more time to where the witch had been, and promised to never forget.

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

Words Are Useless

I dreamt of words that free and that bind
Of words from heart and words from mind
Words so cruel, words so kind
Words that reveal, words that blind

I dreamt of words bitter and sweet
Of words that fool and words that teach
Words better read, words made for speech
Words of small consequence, words of far reach

I dreamt of words of love and hate
Of words that destroy and words that create
Words of agreement, words of debate
Words that bring together, words that separate

I dreamt of words of hope and light
Of words crouched in weakness, words standing in might
Words that feel wrong, words that feel right
Words from the unrepentant, words from the contrite

I dreamt of words hidden within screams
Of words about reality and words about dreams
Words respectable, words obscene
Words that err, words that redeem
Words filled with sorrow, words full of glee
Words of generosity, words of greed

I dreamt of words that praise and defame
Of words that alter and words that stay the same
Words excitingly mad, words boringly sane
Words that don’t stick, words that remain
Words of pride, words of guilt and shame

I dreamt of words of anger and reprimand
Of words that give and words that demand
Words of the sea, words of the land
Words small and simple, words complicated and grand

I dreamt of words whispered and yelled
Of words organised and words thrown pell-mell
Words all in motion, words that stood still
Words of friendly greeting, words of sad farewell

I dreamt of words of peace and war
Of words despised and words adored
Words from the present, words from before
Words for tomorrow and forever more

I dreamt of words of prose and rhyme
Of words of innocence and words of crime
Words for forgetting, words to remind
Words of dark sin, words pure and divine

I dreamt of words of ugliness and beauty
Of words irresponsible and words of duty
Words that spoke of desire, words that poured with need
Words burning in passion, words hollow in apathy

I dreamt of words and they consumed me whole
Stripped me down and laid bare my soul
And when I woke, I woke in pain
For the very last thing they spelled was, “Words without action…
…are words in vain.”

Inspired by a strange dream, where I could take hold of words. Some slipped from my hands, some were in bold, others normal. Different fonts, meanings, textures. Jolted awake and wrote as much as I could before I couldn’t any more. Continued throughout the day. Changing, adding. Here’s the final cut. There’s no particular order, really, except the structure of the verses.


With a smile, I push off the edge of the bridge, plummeting straight down into the rocks below. I can hear exhilarated screaming, and soon realise it’s me, my voice being carried up by the wind. My eyes stay open despite the sting of rushing air; I want to see it all. The world blurring past me, the ground rising to meet me, the bridge moving away, as if not wanting anything more to do with me. I feel my body cutting through the air, scattering the molecules, making them envelope me as I feel them run up my sides, from a singular point on my head. I am an arrow heading straight down. Gravity pulling me towards it gleefully, glad of the great prize it has captured, eager to share it with the earth that grows ever nearer.

And then, with a jerk, I stop, just inches over the ground. Before the bungee rope thrusts me upwards, I’m just able to reach down and touch one of the outcropping stones.

I’m pulled up, removed from Gravity’s grasp. I don’t have time to wonder how disappointed it must be, as the crowd claps and pats me on the back, congratulating me on my first jump. I nod and smile, then look at my instructor, who is beaming with pride. “Again.”

His smile falters for only a second. Surely such a thrill would be enough experienced only once? I can almost hear him think it. But then he nods, and announces it. Everyone looks at me as if I must be insane, or a thrill junkie, or just plain daring, but I ignore them and climb over the ledge once more.

This time, I don’t scream. I don’t even keep my eyes open. I simply feel myself falling. Enjoy the sensation of being completely out of control. There is nothing I can do. Nothing I want to do. I hear the air whispering in my ears, imagine those rocks growing closer and closer, almost anticipate what it would feel like if the rope snapped and I came crashing down with the full force of the momentum I’ve been gaining all the way.

But then I feel the jerk of the rope once more.

I’m almost disappointed.

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.