Light and Dark

I used to scan through your hints like one scans through a book with pretty pictures, without diving in first ... I did not understand. It sank in all of a sudden as I was staring blankly at the clouds beneath, flying back from the place in between the mountains where you were born and lived for one day. I had just closed the last page of Mandela’s biography, which took boredom out of the forever I spent in the airports. I was done hiding my tears from strangers, wiping them off the pages that struck me so deep. I looked into the thin stripe of blue light, the place of safety above the storm. My mind was wondering. I haven’t been thinking of you for weeks now, but somehow you have ways of intruding my head when I least expect it. "I am crazy," you whispered once, and "I am light and dark," you wrote another time using those little magnets on my fridge. Of course you didn’t mean the surface, the mere pictures in your book, the outside that sometimes fools us into walking in circles around the meaning that is so obvious. How blind was I to never dig deeper?

I dropped my bags in the doorway and rushed to my desk, frantically reading words and faces you put on the screen. There it was, sitting in the open, yelling at me for taking so long to hear. Forgive me my blindness. I would have strangled my pride in its cradle if I only knew how much of you I misunderstood.

One half.

I wish I could go back and touch your life, my dear friend, the way you touched mine. You woke me up like the rain wakes a leaf in a desert, helping it fight the draught for the right to grow again, washing its memory clean of the dry comfort of the sun, bringing back the time long forgotten, when it first tasted the storm and danced with the wind and bloomed so carelessly, when it wanted to live for the sake of the landscape around it, not the survival itself.

So does my mind.

Currently listening: Vuli Ndlela (Accept the Situation) by Brenda Fassie

The book mentioned in the post: Nelson Mandela: No Easy Walk to Freedom by Barry Denenberg



Stop chasing your shadow through dreams that are mine
The other you’s pondering crossing the line
Through nothingness rolling uphill in my sleep
The tracks you are leaving are twenty feet deep
I shiver, I stumble, I’m not in that dream
I run to the places that get what I mean
I crash into people that play it just right
I back out, I burn out, I’m dying tonight.

A little lost

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

How do people say things as pretty? Can I do that... please? Sometimes I think my words sit under this huge rock in the sea that is my thoughts, ideas, feelings and desires. The category five storm needs to happen for them to be thrown out to the surface, spit out by the waters that are too dark otherwise to tell where the sunshine ends and the abyss begins.

Sometimes I think lack of pain kills inspiration. Sometimes I think pain overdose does it too. I find chapters of comedy and tragedy as I try to frantically skip any prosaic pages in life. Slowing down seems to be a sure motivation killer so I run fast, and bump into walls, and get hurt, and get up again, and keep running, and bump into walls...

I jump between extreme thirst for social life and desperate need for solitude. I think we give up part of our freedom the moment we choose to depend on others, be it for attention, time, means to survive, understanding, kindness, affection... But then, if others choose to depend on us, do we fill that gap with some of their freedom? What right does anyone have for anyone else's freedom? Being part of society automatically means being, in one way or another, unfree. Being absolutely free then... means being unsocial? And then there is solitude, which takes away the freedom to be loved.

The only true way to be free as I found it is to be free within. It is that type of freedom that I seek out and fight for and worship.

* * *

As I get tired of this buzzing world I take a stroll to the land of no emotion, but I get too restless on my way there to ever reach the illusionary destination of absolute personal strength. Few days into my "independence" I feel the prose of reality crawling at me like a giant heat wave, leaving no air to breathe, no shade to escape to on the surface so hot it melts dreams.

That’s when I take a big breath and dive deep into my poetry, finding there the only relief and a place of safety.

Sometimes answers are hidden in words. More often, words bring out more questions. Sometimes I wish I had words when none come out. At other times I wish I could just stay silent for hours... days. I think good words are hard to get and it probably only adds to their beauty. Then there are angry words and words that are empty, and I haven’t decided yet which one is worse.

* * *

"Why don’t you go blog about it?" I heard last weekend, and thrown into the heat of an argument, it was meant to sound offensive. I'm afraid "it" just doesn't do it for me, my dear boy. Hey, look who’s stronger now. I am on one of those freedom strolls and you’d better not get in my way. I don’t mean to sound amazon-ish but then again, I am so tired of fighting you. We’ve been barking at each other for so long, it started taking a shape of some sick entertainment. Another round, and we might as well start taking bets. At times, it boiled blood. At this point, it tires me. I am not meant for hatred, I don’t like harsh words given or taken, even if, especially if, they are empty shells thrown one's way to offend rather than convey meaning. I am no angel but let me dwell on it some other time. How are YOU going to find your way through such darkness into which you let your thinking wander, such anger with which you let it out? You can’t make a real difference, you can’t right the wrong if you fail or refuse (which is it?) to draw the line between passion and fury. You can’t be truly kind nor loving when you let your pride guide you, wherever it is you are heading.

Not in love

“Most affections are habits or duties we lack the courage to end.”
~ Henry Millon De Montherlant

I stopped a breath short of loving him in a room where love was no longer present. Only a hint of it has remained, not in his look but in the little heart drawn on my window, long time ago, with someone else’s finger. His attempt of a touch was cold, it was late, it wasn’t sincere. I shivered. Sobriety was filling me up with every new hour of dawn. No matter how hard I held on to Saturday night, Sunday morning was dragging me into its empty stomach, into another time, another room. I choked on the air thick with things unsaid. As I lay there staring at the ceiling, I realized all of a sudden that I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to say.

So I let him go.

There goes the story of the night I found out that broken heart doesn’t mix well with tequila, but also discovered the strength in me I didn’t know I had.

I am now free.

* * *

Once in a house on a hill
A boy got angry
He broke into my heart
For a day and a night
I stayed beside him
Until I had no hope
So I came down the hill
Of course I was hurt
But then I started to think
It shouldn't hurt me to be free
It's what I really need
To pull myself together
But if it's so good being free
Would you mind telling me
Why I don't know what to do with myself…

~ Emiliana Torrini

* * *

To me, the image in this post symbolizes freedom. It’s hard to explain and might be even harder to relate to, because no two images are alike as perceived by two minds. I think uniqueness is not cherished enough. I think the gift of it can be most truly appreciated when we’re hastily poured onto canvas of life, mixed with other shades and brush strokes, spilled over blankness of fixed misconceptions and covered with layers of floating understandings. When engulfed by such vortex of existence, blending in means disappearing behind brighter colors of others, dissolving into nothingness. When stirred by trouble, it is our own inner tone, the color of that dream, the melody floating over this thought, the feeling evoked by yesterday’s rain, the way to lovingly wrinkle one’s nose in anger … the only one and impossible to repeat in a million years … that helps us survive.

What do you see?
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