The Rock in the Sea of Storms

Dec 12th, 2009 3:49:00pm

There are people in this world who need help. There are people in this world who need someone by their side, or else they suffer all the worse if they have to deal with things on their own. People who need someone to talk to. People who need a hand to hold them up, so they can stand.

Then there are the people who offer that help. There are people who stand right there, by their side, through thick and thin. People who listen. People who offer their hand every single time, with a gentle smile. People who are there for everyone during times of need.

I have a question.

Who’s there for them?

It is a lonely thing, being the strong one. It is lonely being the secret keeper, the support, the helping hand, the silent listener.

It is lonely, because you are so busy being there for others, but no one can be there for you. It’s because you can’t let them. You are so used to helping everyone else, the mere thought of letting someone help you sounds selfish, ridiculous, unfair, wrong. You are honoured they give you their trust. Honoured they ask you, when they have the choice of anyone else in their lives who would be just as willing. You take it seriously, open to assist in any way you can.

But while you listen, you do not speak.

While you hold, you do not let yourself be held.

While you stand by their side, it does not go both ways, not because they don’t want to repay the favour, but because you are too used to being the strong one.
So used to it, in fact, that you can never afford to be weak.

I wonder how many are out there. The steady rocks in other people’s sea of storms, keeping them from drowning. Have you noticed them? Those solitary stones smack dab in the centre of the sea, waves crashing around them, yet they never falter, never shake, never sway? A lighthouse with a light shining all around.

Have you ever noticed just how alone they are?

The strong ones are always the silent ones, because they know that there are far too many people who always talk and never listen, and feel that if they open their mouths just once, they’d be joining them. The strong ones are always there because they know that there are too many people who walk away when they are needed most. The strong ones always keep your secrets, because there are far too many people who would shout them out to the world. The strong ones forgive as much as their personalities will allow them, because they know there are too many people who hold on to hate. Hold on to past hurts. Hold on to past injustices.

The strong ones would never willingly let you down. Their conscience would not allow it. They care too much to ever want to. The strong ones wipe away your tears, and try so hard to put a smile on your face, because there are far too few smiles and far too much pain in the world. The strong ones are your lighthouse when you’re lost at sea, guiding you.

The sad part is, though… The strong ones? They never show how weak they truly are. On the inside.

And I don’t know whether that makes them strong at all.

 

Depths of Despair

Sep 11th, 2009 2:41:00am

You know what I find truly interesting about us humans? Our ability to feel so awful about ourselves at any given moment. Everyone has felt it at one point or another: that sinking sensation that is not in your stomach, nor your heart, but in every part of you. There is that immensely heavy feeling in the core of your being that weighs you down; you feel lifeless, defeated, destroyed.

This could be triggered by a small mistake, or a whopping failure, a simple comment someone made to you or to someone else about you, or blatant abuse. Whatever the cause, there is no denying that there are times when we feel lower than low, with no hopes of ever coming back up. When cynicism and apathy rule supreme and any bit of optimism you have is shot down by the aforementioned cynicism and apathy.

Some people call it being “down in the dumps”, while others more crudely refer to it as “feeling like shit”. Therapists, psychologists and the like may term it “depression” or perhaps the milder but no less impacting “low self-esteem”. It goes by many names, but that feeling remains the same everywhere, for everyone.

What really gets to me, though, is how… silent the emotion is. Think about it. Anger is all chaos. It’s a torrent of roarings and screechings, hissings and spittings, clawing and tearing that takes over your insides. Sadness is this huge gaping pit; a black hole that sucks away any joy with the a sound reminiscent of the last swirls of water going down the drain in the sink. Happiness is buoyant, bright and bouncing; laughter and music, Jealousy similar to Anger, but on a different level.

Losing faith in ourselves, however, is a quiet thing. It’s like an early winter morning of thick fog and mist, and a slight chill that makes you wish you were in bed under the blankets. It’s feeling worthless, useless, a waste of air and space. It’s not bothering to do anything because you feel there’s no point – you’ll just screw it up anyways, right? It is not the sudden going off of a light bulb, but the flickering and subsequent fading out of a candle. It is all those things, yet it doesn’t make a sound. Not one peep. As swift and as agile as an alley cat, with the silence of a ninja making his way through the night, it just comes over you.

And then you sink further, deeper, until you choose get yourself out. No one else can do it for you. They may throw you the rope, but only you can pull yourself through it. It’s all a matter of rousing up enough determination, enough hope, and not letting them get attacked, until you are not thinking of yourself as anything less than you truly are. I freely confess I am being completely and utterly hypocritical here, by giving out advice that I myself refuse to take. However, that doesn’t make what I’m saying any less important, any less true, nor any less necessary for you to read and remember.

Masking the Truth

Sep 8th, 2009 3:43:00pm

It has recently occurred to me that I have been described as “cold” rather frequently this past year. I am sincerely hoping, as I had not the heart to ask, that they meant it in the context of me being very calm on the surface, and not referring to the less flattering description of being unemotional and robotic. I find it amusing they call me that at all, for in truth I “freak out” quite easily.

This brings to light how often we hide our true selves, our real emotions and reactions to the things around us. Why? Why do we wrap the cloak of a whole other personality over the one we have now? Smiling when all we want is to cry, keeping a stoic face when all we want is to punch something, laughing when inside you just want to curl up and die… Everyone has their own personal reasons, but did I not say in a previous column that everything we do has no true reason at all? One could say they put on a mask because they are afraid of others seeing them for who they are. What if who they are is more amazing than what they pretend to be? The argument would be, “What if they’re not and are just hiding a horrible, evil self?” Well, we won’t be able to figure that out until the disguise has fallen apart. We won’t be able to help the person, if help is possible, unless we see what needs that help.

The desire to keep things bottled up is present in many, many people. Sadly, probably more than there are people who are not afraid to be themselves. We feel other’s emotions are more important than our own; our emotions are invalid, unjustified, and stupid. We quell them, keep them at bay, suppress them and push them down into the farthest recesses of our hearts. First, it’s hard, having to hide what makes you you. However, as time passes, it gets easier, until it has become second nature. At this point even if you wanted to you wouldn’t be able to bring those emotions to surface, so deep have you buried them. It starts to build, after a while. All you have kept inside for so long, never letting go, begins to demand release, pounding harder against the container you imprisoned them in, and you have to explode, let it out somehow. Sort of reminiscent of a volcano, no?

Sometimes even our talents can never be displayed, because we are afraid of being teased for them. Also because we are scared they are not as significant as we thought they were, that they’re not special, and that if we show them to someone else those suspicions and doubts may be confirmed. We might even be ashamed of them, as they may not coincide with the expectations and desires of others.

It all boils down to fear, doesn’t it? Fear of being ourselves, because of fear of ridicule and mockery; fear of us not being good enough; fear we’ll never be good enough; fear of not being as “perfect” as we think people want us to be. So we build walls, we wear masks and hide behind them. We act. And what a draining performance it is.

Maybe one day, no one will ever feel the need to act anymore. Maybe one day we can all unashamedly, unabashedly and completely be ourselves, without dwelling a single thought on what people might think or do or say. Maybe one day, we won’t put on a whole new face for the world, but display our own with pride. One day, we might be able to remove our veils completely, instead of just bit by bit, or not at all. Maybe one day we won’t be so afraid.

Curious, very curious

Sep 6th, 2009 12:05:00am

Now that I have returned, after such a long absence, to this blog,* I itch to write. It is surprising I have not started twitching yet, I desire to so badly. Makes me wonder whether this is how true passion feels like. Passion for an occupation, I mean. Does it take you over, that urge? Control you, overwhelm your senses until it is all you can think about, all you want to think about until it is done?

That is how I feel now. Inspiration is flowing through my veins, and, to quote that rather cliche idiom, “I’m on fire”. It’s curious that this happens now, after only recently considering Media as a major. It’s also curious that I now see ads for the course almost everywhere I go. It’s curious that right now, at this moment, I can think of nothing else I’d rather learn to become than a writer of some sort.

It is curious that, even though I know it is no more than a dream, I can see myself so clearly behind a laptop, writing for some magazine or newspaper. I wonder at the ability of us humans to dream, to visualise so clearly. As far-fetched and unrealistic as those dreams can be, it does not stop us from having them anyway. People could say that we have our heads in the clouds, and that we should come back down to earth. Well that may be so, in my case at least, but those who pay the nay-sayers no heed; those who stay up among those clouds and build their castle in the sky; they prove them wrong everyday.

It is curious how, when we believe in something strong enough, we can achieve those dreams, despite the circumstances. It is curious how determined us humans are, when it is our dreams are on the line.

It is curious how some people give up on their dreams, believing the ones who say it can’t be done. Sometimes, it is even themselves who say it can’t be done. I, admittedly, am of the latter group. It does not stop me from admiring people who have pursued their ambitions honorably, and who have succeeded, and that’s curious too, for should I not be envying them, instead of applauding them?
However, most curious of all, is that those who say you can’t do it? The people who claim it’s stupid and wrong to go after what you want? They only say it because they didn’t get what they wanted. They didn’t make it; they gave up, and they are all the more bitter because of it.

*”This blog” being the blog this was originally posted to all those years ago.

Without Rhyme or Reason

Sep 5th, 2009 10:44:00pm

A good friend of mine once asked, “Why do we do the things we do?” My answer to her was that our emotions, our experiences and their effect on us, our reason and logic, that’s what governed our actions. However, it occurred to me that this was not as valid an answer as I thought at the time.

Thinking about it, I realised that it goes far deeper than that, to a place where our minds cannot comprehend. Because when you break it down, you still have the questions, Why do we feel the way we feel? Why does our experiences affect us to the extent that we base our actions on them? Why do we think in the way we do, and reason things in the way we do? Basically, the question here is “Why?”
Do any of us really, truly have that answer? It’s different for everyone, after all. Perhaps why we do what we do has no reason whatsoever. Or perhaps the reason, though seeming a good one at the time, is not really valid as you thought during that moment. Be honest. How many of you have looked back at a situation and asked yourself, “WHY did I do that!? What cause could there possibly have been to make me act like that!? If only I’d thought clearer, and done this instead.”

With every action you regret, there is a reason you performed them in the first place. It gets blurry to your future self, fades away, and all that is left is that feeling of remorse. Sometimes, even with things you don’t regret, it still fades away. So perhaps, in essence, we have no reason at all for what we do. If we did, would it not remain in our memory? Instead, what remains after time has passed is the action itself, its consequences and repercussions, and almost never the cause.

Perhaps we are governed by something beyond ourselves. Perhaps our free will is only an illusion, and we are slaves to our emotions, even if we don’t know why we feel the way we feel. Perhaps, in truth, the reasons don’t even matter, only your actions. If you’ve done something bad, it stays that way. No one really considers why you did it, only the fact that you did it. If you’ve done something good, it’s just the same.

“Without rhyme or reason.” That describes everything we’ve ever done or ever will do. Because everything is without rhyme or reason. Your justifications and arguments don’t matter. No one is going to remember them, not even you. The only thing they’ll remember, the only thing you’ll remember, is your actions.

And if I do say so myself, that is a very scary thought.