Sunday, February 22, 2009

Then, The Tears.

First, Numbness.

For days, weeks, I've felt nothing at all. The occassional pang of loss, twinge of excitement, but mainly just a monotonous, echoing nothingness resounding through my body and ringing in my ears.

Goodbyes are said, belongings sorted, sifted, packed into boxes, where they will sit in cold, dark storage rooms where time stands still and a lifetime of memories are preserved like pickles in a jar. What things are too precious or too necessary are stuffed into two overflowing suitcases.

And all the while, Numbness.

Farewell parties; days scratched off a calender; travelling mercies spoken.

Still, Numbness.

And then, a Trigger. Something insignificant, unrelated. A frustating cab ride, a split grocery bag, a missing button, and it's as if a cork has been forced out of the neck of a bottle and the result is explosive.
The tears come, and they can't be stopped.

Suddenly, all the emotions are escaping from the confines of my heart and are spilling out into the room. The confusion, the anger, the sorrow and feeling of loss, they all mix with the feelings of excitement and anticipation and form the saltiness that is swallowed by my pillow. My body convulses with grief and it's the first time in weeks that I've felt like it's really me in there; that I'm not just a stranger inhabiting a body which seems familiar but, when I look closer, really isn't, the way that in a dream you don't always recognize yourself until you wake up.

A small, non-committal part of me makes a half-hearted attempt to sweep up the tears and pocket them, push them aside for a time more convenient than this, but it's like trying to fix a broken hourglass. The sand is escaping and scattering in every direction and it's impossible to mend the glass fast enough to contain it.
The damage is done.

I can't be a robot anymore.

I hear you in the gentle sound of a smile, and it breaks my heart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Your Secrets, My Soul

You told me about your secret garden, once.
It took me hours, days, weeks to convince you that it was okay, that if you told me, I would lock it up deep in my soul and have you swallow the key.

An irretrievable secret.

You told me about the beautiful things that grow in your garden, the hundreds of flowers and their hundreds of colors and their hundreds of meanings. Not the usual meanings, not the ones that we’re used to – green for envy, red for love. No, not in your garden. Part of the enchantment was the way that everything in your garden was flipped upside-down, inside-out, so that you had to study something for hours in order to even begin to understand it.
Blue for integrity.
Red for loyalty.
Yellow for justice.

And the children that played there, protected from the outside world, from the expectations that society places on our children, in our world.
The children in your garden laughed when something excited them, cried with inconsolable grief when they were hurt. Even the boys. In your beautiful garden, there was no talk of “boys don’t cry”, none. Those children were free to feel, and express. And because of it, they were knowledgeable about the world and it’s ways in a way that we can never be.

And perhaps the best thing of all, the glitter that made the whole thing sparkle, was that in your garden, right in the middle of it, right at the heart… there was a well. A deep, deep well. And you told me that if one was to stand at the edge of this well and to just allow honesty to be predominant in your thoughts, then the depth of the well would swallow all your negativity, all your cynicism and dark thoughts and pessimism, would just take it all away and leave you as the purest, whitest version of yourself.

Then one day I became like one of the children from your garden. My eyes became brave and knowledgeable and pure, and as I looked into your familiar face, your stories were suddenly revealed to me for what they were: Lies.
You were unveiled to me, in all your ugliness, all your false hope. It was written all over your face, only before, I had been too stupid and na├»ve to see it. And when I took a shaky breath and asked you, you couldn’t deny it. Not even for me.

And so I ripped open the depths of my soul and found your secret, and threw it out for the world to devour; I made you stand and watch while people tore at it, throwing up scraps, dragging away the skin of it with their teeth and their sharp, sherp fingernails. Looking like the ugliest kind of cannibalism.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Mirror Has No Soul

What if mirrors had memories?

The stories yours could tell about you…

More honest than a child,
They would know more about you than your closest friends.

They’d be able to recall exactly how you look first thing in the morning, last thing at night; when all your makeup’s been stripped away and you’re left, just you, just as you are, staring back at yourself.
Nothing to hide behind.

They could recall your saddest moments: the hours you’ve spent standing in front of your mirror with tears streaming down your face, telling your reflection over and over again that it’s not good enough, not clever enough, not beautiful enough. All the times you’ve been able to do nothing else except watch the fierce, angry tears spill over, your vision distorted through liquid crystals.

And how many broken promises would they be able to bear witness to? Little things, petty, insignificant things - "I'll get the laundry done today", "I'll start that detox tomorrow", "I'll call home this morning" - but broken all the same.

Secret recriminations, between you and a silent judge sitting behind a glass panel.

Maybe there's good reason mirrors don't have memories.

My Mirror Has No Soul

What if mirrors had memories?

The stories yours could tell about you…

More honest than a child,
They would know more about you than your closest friends.

They’d be able to recall exactly how you look first thing in the morning, last thing at night; when all your makeup’s been stripped away and you’re left, just you, just as you are, staring back at yourself.
Nothing to hide behind.

They could recall your saddest moments: the hours you’ve spent standing in front of your mirror with tears streaming down your face, telling your reflection over and over again that it’s not good enough, not clever enough, not beautiful enough. All the times you’ve been able to do nothing else except watch the fierce, angry tears spill over, your vision distorted through liquid crystals.

And how many broken promises would they be able to bear witness to? Little things, petty, insignificant things - "I'll get the laundry done today", "I'll start that detox tomorrow", "I'll call home this morning" - but broken all the same.

Secret recriminations, between you and a silent judge sitting behind a glass panel.

Maybe there's good reason mirrors don't have memories.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lethargy

I don't know why I'm feeling the need to write again. Twice in three days is a lot of updating, even for me, but I'm sitting here trying to finish thoughts and all I keep getting is this scrunched-up-paper feeling in my chest, like there's something there that's trying to express itself, only the frustrated writer inside keeps messing up and wadding it up into a tight little ball, and flinging it into the trash. I've been feeling like this all weekend.

Restless, yet somehow unbelievably lethargic.

I've been trying to do a lot of things differently lately. Instead of allowing myself to get into situations that leave me tainted and guilt-ridden, I've been trying to live my life as an example to others. Instead of waking up in the morning and feeling grumpy and miserable about having to get out of bed and go to work, I've been trying to live each day as it comes and appreciate each one, as a gift from God. Instead of being cynical and pessimistic about everything, I've been desperately seeking the silver lining.

But sometimes - in fact, most of the time - I can't help feeling like my efforts are in vain. My life is not a good example for others to follow. I haven't been getting out of bed feeling ready to take on the day, and enjoy it. I have been feeling cynical and pessimistic about a lot of the same things.

Maybe that's where this restlessness is coming from; maybe I'm just impatient to start making a difference. I can't seem to help it. I just want to see the difference.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How It Howls

I'm sitting at my desk listening to the wind howling outside. This week has definitely marked the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall for Hong Kong, I think. It's started raining, it's been getting dark earlier in the evenings, the humidity's gone from the air, and now the wind has come.

Ordinarily, I hate the end of Summer. There's something about it, even if you've been working through the holidays, that signify an end to all the careless fun you can have when the sun is bright and the nights are short. It means no more impromptu visits to the beach, no more baking ourselves on my roof with friends, no more sitting along the seafront for hours and hours, late into the night, made sleepy by humidity and happiness. Summer makes my insides glow.

But this year, I'm feeling a little differently about it all. This year, rather than noticing Fall arrive and Winter fast approaching and being miserable about it, I find myself welcoming it. No, I don't like the rain or the dark early evenings or the wind that's blowing so hard it's making ghost-sounds through my apartment. But I guess blowing away the cobwebs is never a bad thing to do. And so maybe, whilst Fall means that everything around us starts to die, it should also signify to us that it's time to wake up. Shake off the cobwebs. Move forward.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How My Mind Works

Look up there, at the clouds. That one looks like a rabbit. No,
scissors.

I've noticed something. I don't think it's important.
Maybe it is.
Maybe nothing is.
Maybe nothing is as important as this.
When I watch TV, the volume has to be an even number, or else a multiple of 5.
Don't set the volume to anything else, I can't watch. I'll squirm and wriggle inside, and try and pretend to myself that it's 25, and not 19.

25 is my favorite number.
But

only for TV volume.

Stop touching me! Personal space!

I wonder if there'll be time to put in some laundry when I get home.
It'll be dark. Never mind then.

What do you call an obsession with the dentists?

I can't go on the roof if it's dark. They might be there.

It's not a heart-shaped stone. It's a stone-shaped heart.
...Of course there's a difference, silly.