Fight or flight?

What is my dominant trait? Easy – running away from things. Fight or flight? Flight, every time. Or at least that’s the overwhelming desire I have, burning every moment of every day. Run, just run, into books, movies, TV, computer games, my head, another country, a tiny deserted island in the middle of the ocean, another universe entirely. Away from unpleasant realities, responsibilities, work, duties, hardship of any description, expectations, people. Run, run as fast as you can and pray that nothing catches up with you.

 I’m ashamed of it and for as long as I can remember I’ve been aware of it and tried to develop some fighting spirit instead. Because deep down I know, running away isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, there is this wonderful moment, when you feel all free and ecstatic. Just a shiny precious moment of ultimate potential. But then, then comes the guilt, shame, loneliness and fear, and lessening of the mind until there’s so little left you couldn’t fill the matchbox with it. So instead I try to go against that chanting voice in my head, that constant background of “screw it, just run” and try to make a stand instead, an every day warrior, doing the sensible shopping (even when I have to buy toilet roll, detergent or cleaning products – the most hateful purchases), filling the forms, cooking, cleaning, remembering people’s birthdays and anniversaries, working on myself, trying to get better, trying to learn things, understand, be kind.

It’s human, I know, that desire to run away, to hide, or at least defer unpleasantness/responsibility/obligation of any kind. We all have it to a certain degree, the “fuck it” voice in our heads. I allow myself little escapes, in wonderlands and Narnias of this earth, in written pages, and made up histories of my head. These I have to have just to stay sane. Otherwise I try to fight, keep going, get through, and it turns out, as tiring as that is, it’s rewarding beyond anything running away has got to give.

What is my dominant trait? Easy – I persevere.

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Verbal archaeology

verbal archaeology

resurrection

however temporary

of lives once lived

and migratory people

by the means

of old past-due-date

words

smiles covered with

spiderwebs and ash

frozen mid-breakfast

in your own Pompei

…………………………………………

I fall into

the between space

where life is not properly lived

but rather

flickers like the old

movie tapes

all jerky movements

and unearthly glow

faces all look like

they’re wearing too much

makeup not real enough

sounds much too loud

blaring their insignificance

I walk

through moments

like through separate frames

wondering

what post-production

will turn these

incoherent days

into a story

with a beginning

or an end

or a moral

or a cautionary tale

I don’t flow

I blip in and out of

view throughout

the sets

verbal archaeology

Dissonances or Hang the DJ

For the first time in about a week, I’m sitting in my sitting room, dressed in jeans and a cozy jumper, instead of my pjs, almost like a real person. I’m still a bit of a snot-monster but definitely on the mend now. I even went for a little walk, because I’ve been getting cabin fever.

It’s a Dublin kind of a day (I have to stop saying that, I used to say that in Canada when the weather reminded me of Ireland, but now I’m back in Dublin every day is a Dublin kind of a day really) – fierce mild and drizzling. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, or maybe it’s the remnants of sickness but the world feels a couple of degrees removed from reality and shimmering on the edges. It’s not unpleasant, just a touch trippy.

On Grafton Street Christmas decorations and lights, in Stephen’s Green some trees are losing the last of the colourful leaves, while others, a few confused cherry blossoms, are blooming like they’ve decided December is not really a thing they could be bothered with. Half-walking, half-swimming through the misty, muted universe in which the seasons and moods change on a whim, without discernible rules.

My music selection only intensified the sense of the surreal. I made this massive eclectic list and put it on shuffle. For a while, as I was walking, my phone decided to play solely Polish songs for some reason. They sounded so out of place, a soundtrack of a bygone era, of another life, not well suited to Edwardian redbricks, uncomfortable strangers unaccustomed to the rhythm of Dublin streets, and all of a sudden, I found myself looking at familiar places like I never saw them before, missing a heartbeat of the town, and a step or two in the process. Shortly after that “How to Disappear Completely” came up, so painfully perfect, so at home in this city, in this day and this dreamlike state that I could feel every last note, every scrap of lyric pouring out of the headphones, straight into me, coursing through my veins, liquefying into perfect rain(or possibly tear)drops at my fingertips and falling onto the expectant ground, spreading in the mist, flowing down the Liffey, the canals, the sea, and for a couple of minutes the whole world vibrated enthralled, the impeccable reflection of the song as I stood rooted to the spot, letting it carry me, letting myself dissolve and disappear.

I feel such love for this city sometimes it’s bruising my heart, it makes it hard to breathe…

dublin2-softfocus

On the subject of magic

Sometimes it doesn’t come naturally all the time. Sometimes I playact, I pretend, I go through motions, hoping for my clothes to turn into a magician’s cape full of rabbits, flowers and Queens of Hearts. Sometimes the stick doesn’t want to turn into a sword, a lightsaber or a wand. Pots of stew obstinately refuse to transform into witch’s potions and brews. Sometimes the stars remain beyond reach and distant planets full of alien life go undiscovered. Sometimes animals never want to talk and sentient software doesn’t learn to love. The world doesn’t spontaneously spring to bloom nor burns with colour in the fall. Sometimes angelic hush doesn’t cover the parks in blindingly white snow and summer’s gentle dusk doesn’t rock me to sleep in the hypnotic scent of roses, jasmine and night-scented stock. Sometimes the magic eludes me and the days run into one another, gray, and dark, full of numbers that don’t add up, sharp pointy elbows and burnt milk on the stove.

But then again, sometimes it takes nothing at all, a play of light on a fallen leaf, a music note juicily clear, a snippet of conversation overheard on the bus and there it is, the awakened dream. My eyes fill up with swirling galaxies, I dance and fly above the mountaintops, on rainbow wings, a jet-pack, or a travelling spider web. I play with dragons in the air, threading my way through the sky-scraping columns of some mysterious civilization long gone, like a ribbon. I traipse through the ancient ruins of heroic castles and shake hands with the noble ghosts while we await the mighty battles against the evil hordes. I swap gossip with the halflings over goblets of mead at the roadside inns and grow the first ever tomatoes on Mars. I bring dinosaurs back to life, explore the Antarctic and build a hut on an enchanted glade in the middle of the forest older than the oldest tales. I melt in with a smooth silver beech tree and live a life of majesty and peace, singing a quiet song along with the Universe. Sometimes, the wonder is right there, underneath the eyelashes, spinning with the planet under my feet, beating its rhythm right into my ears, breathing quietly, waiting for me.

wonder

15 minutes of worries

I worry and stress a lot. Nearly all the time, and always, always before going to sleep. I’ve read recently about a technique that is meant to help with that. It’s a very simple thing really, you just assign specific time for worrying, say 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. During this time let your anxiety run wild, list your worries, try to come up with solutions, stress to your weird little heart’s content. But once the time is up, you put the worries in the box and not touch them until the next worrying session. If the worry starts bothering you during the day or night, just remind yourself that it is locked in the box. Again it’s a simple concept, and perhaps just a little bit silly and smelling strongly of pop psychology, but I’ve decided to give it a go.

My first 15 minutes of worrying starts now.

  • I’ll never find work again, ever, nobody will ever even give me an interview. The only job I have any hope of obtaining is one that no one else wants – like cleaning vomit from the cubicles of a dingy pub’s toilets.
  • I’ve no money.
  • I will never have money and will end up homeless.
  • I’ll end up old and alone, forgotten by the world, in some institution and nobody will notice when I die, for like a week, until I start to smell and rats are chewing on my decomposing remains.
  • All my friends secretly hate me. I’m not sure why they continue to hang out with me, I never said I was rational.
  • I’m not rational.
  • I’m not a proper adult, I don’t understand adult things.
  • I’m too much of an adult and I’m becoming boring.
  • I am boring.
  • My English is not as good as I want it to be and my Polish is starting to disintegrate.
  • When we get a dog it will never love me, it’ll sense my inner wrongness and will judge me for it.
  • I have an inner wrongness about me.
  • My teddy bears don’t like me.
  • I own teddy bears and sometimes I’m not ashamed of it (see “I’m not a proper adult”).
  • Sometimes I’m ashamed of having teddy bears (see “I’m too much of an adult”).
  • I don’t read enough these days.
  • Some days I read too much.

15 minutes is up. Into the box you stupid things! Aaaaand breathe….

15minutesofworries

Head above the water… Barely, but it’s possible to breathe…

 

 

Variations on Black

Black, like my soul! (Maniacal laughter ensues.) Bwahahahahahaha!

For real? The sun is shining, the birds are singing (well, the gulls are screaming, they’re sort of birds, or at least very small flying dinosaurs, it counts!), I have nothing to do today, I can laze about in my pjs, I can go for a lovely walk later on,  I’m having smoked salmon on soda bread for lunch, and all the cups of tea I want, I have a new book to read, and finally some mental capacity left to do it, and you want me to think about “black”? That’s not on daily prompt…

(Some time later, after lunch, a walk and buying of Harry Potter themed underpants – I can now be a witch in my pants and no one will know! That sounded dirty… It wasn’t meant to sound dirty…)

Black is the underside of my life. Like a lining to an otherwise colourful and cozy coat. Sometimes it gets flipped over, I wear it inside out, and for a while I’m walking around swathed in darkness. Black is always present to some degree, even if you can’t see it, I know it’s still there. And mostly it’s ok. You need it for contrast. For the light and the colours to shine all the brighter.

Black is the dungeon part of myself. The endless corridors, and vast unfriendly caves, filled with blood-thirsty monstrosities. There are traps, and the ground can open into the abyss if you don’t watch carefully where you go, and let’s face it, who does that all the time? Odds are, at some point you will fall in. But how else do you get to see the dragons?

Black are the creatures that dim out the stars. They lie in wait, reach for me with smoky dark tendrils as I pass by and weave their cold deceptions into my brain.

Black are my thoughts after pointless anger burns them out.

Black are the words on the page, the ones I read and the ones I write. Black contains all the possible and impossible universes. All adventures that were, are, will, could or couldn’t be.

Black is the cloudy and velvety night in the wilderness, or deep countryside, where no light pollutes the horizon, and all is sound and air on your face, and you don’t fight it with a lamp, but peacefully dissolve into dark.

Black is the space in between the dreams. A moment to take a breath and hold it in, and hope for a peaceful flight.DSC_1190

A post about nothing in particular. Random stream of thoughts. I had itchy fingers and wanted to write some words.

I haven’t got the faint-est idea of what to do with today’s writing prompt… Sigh… Yeah, that’s how much I don’t know what to do with it. At first, I thought I would write about how I used to faint a lot as a teenager and consequently spent unholy amounts of time in hospitals with a small army of doctors doing their best to figure out why I keep hitting the floor like a heroine of a 19th century romance novel, but that’s boring. I’m bored just thinking about it.

Then I thought “faint” as in “unclear, indistinct, vague”, that rung more of a bell, but then, I’m most likely writing about depression and sad, or at the very least melancholy, things again and I don’t feel like it. I’ve had a good day. Tired and tiring, I had problems getting to sleep last night, and was a bit knackered today, but a good day nonetheless. I want to think about things sparkly and shiny, defined contours, juicy colours, frames in focus, clear sharp air. No foggy banks or misty rains, no faint, barely guessed outlines on the horizon of thoughts. I’ll grant you, they have their own beauty, and tomorrow or the day after I’ll be all about that, but today I want to think about alternative universes and favourite poems, and quotes that make my brain fly, and the red fluffy blanket I bought earlier (it’s fabulous, imagine skinning loads of really, really fluffy, vibrantly red teddy-bears… no, that’s horrible, don’t imagine that! But if you did murder and skin these innocent teddy-bears and merged their furs together, that’s what you’d get).

I like bright colours. A lot. I rarely wear anything else. Scarlets and oranges, yellows and fresh-cut greens, bright blues and deep purples, I have no interest in pastels, muted tones, whites and grays. On me at least. This vibrant plumage serves various purposes: as a warning sign; or sometimes I feel so profoundly invisible that I need some way of letting people know I’m still there, so they don’t walk through me, like through air; to cheer myself up; to gather energy; and then, best of all, not as a disguise but to express the true joy inside.

When I was a teenager, I went through a blue phase. It was just a little bit insane. Everything I wore was blue, and blue only: shoes, coats, dresses, jumpers, tops, trousers, handbag, backpack, underwear. My room was painted all blue (including ceiling), I had blue duvet covers, sheets, rug, curtains, furniture, you name it, it was all blue. Please don’t ask me why. I honestly don’t know. It had perhaps something to do with me reading about the supposedly calming effect of that particular colour? Or maybe it was because at that time I got fascinated with the English word “blue” and it’s dual meaning? Or perhaps I was simply a pretentious teenager, I wanted to have my own “thing” and black was done to death by goths, emos and metalheads? Who knows. The point is I breathed blue for about 2 years. And then, overnight, I got so sick of it that I vowed to never wear it again. I do, wear it I mean, but it took some time to embrace it again.

——————————————————————————————————

Sometimes in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, I like to stay up listening to something gentle and crystalline, and make up little stories about things that could have been but never quite happened. The lives I could have lived if something in my past didn’t happened, or something that never was came to be.

There is this quote I love, from an otherwise pretty unremarkable book:

“The Future is an illusion because, at the most fundamental level, Choice is an illusion. I am a believer in the theory, popular among physicists, that every time there is a Choice, the universe splits: both choices come to pass, but in now-separate universes. And so on, and on, with every choice of every particle, every atom, every molecule, every cell, every being, coming into being. In this universe of universes, everything happens, and every combination of things happens. Our universe is a mote of dust in an ever-growing dust-storm of possibilities, but each mote of dust in that storm is generating its own dust-storm of possibilities every instant, the motes of which in turn… But you get the general impression. Indeed to think of ourselves as single selves, and our universe as a single universe, is to be blinded, by the limitations of our senses and our consciousness, to the infinite-faceted truth: that we are infinite in a universe of universes that are each infinitely infinite…” (…)

(…)”I had immediately to file all the fiction on my shelves under Non-Fiction. For it is an unavoidable corollary of this theory, that Fiction is impossible. For all novels are true histories of worlds as real as ours, but which we cannot see. All stories are possible, all histories have happened. I, billion-bodied, live a trillion lives every quantum instant. Those trillion lives branch out, a quintillion times a second, as every particle in every atom in each mote of dust on land, in sea, and sky, and space, and star, flickering in and out of being in the void, hesitates and decides its next stage. All tragedies, all triumphs, are mine, are yours.

“It is a curious and difficult thing, to think that all is possible. No, probable. No, certain,” I said, attempting to grasp the largeness of the thought. “That nothing is improbable.”

“It is a comforting thought, some nights, to this version of me, now,”(…)

                                                Julian Gough from “Jude: Level 1”

It really is, somehow, a very comforting notion, even if I’m not so sure it’s true. That somewhere out there, just beyond our grasp, but close, closer than we can imagine, there are worlds in which I am an airplane pilot, a scientist, a writer.  Somewhere I am right now experiencing everything, all at once. Admittedly, there is hurt, pain and terror far greater than I have ever lived through. There are all shades of misery, boredom, failure and grief. But there are also all the unknown joys, ecstasies and wonders possible and impossible. Somewhere, just behind the veil I am driving a truck in Oklahoma, eating a duck in China, kissing my girlfriend in Edinburgh, meeting you for the first time in a pub in Bolivia, researching sustainable energy sources in an institute in Tokyo, emptying my bank account to run away from the law, stealing Mona Lisa from the Louvre, becoming a Buddhist, colonizing Mars, baking a world record breaking cake. And every instance, every decision, every conversation or lack thereof creates endless possible alternatives, multiplies mine and everyone else’s versions of lives that we live elsewhere, cascades of innumerable existences. And it’s breath-taking. Is it not?

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