Run, run faster than your thoughts
Being a fool is the only way to overcome intelligence
And all else that stops you from moving
Because in your journey,
your ungraceful stumble
And your undignified flight
In your crazy altitudes and gasping dives
In all of these paths
You’re shaping your life
And writing who you are
In bloodied strokes and mud splashes
And tears staining your soul everlastingly
So walk blindly
Leave pride, dignity and all that you know as life,
And be life in your moving, instead of your remembering
Be that artist
Because the world turns from detractor
But few dare to BE.
Friendship doesn’t need effort. It needs courage. The courage to reach out and say hello. The courage to not mind if they don’t say hello back. This is not the same as not caring. It’s caring, very much but not letting that stop you.
It needs a little bit of madness. The madness of looking at a total stranger and following a spark that you don’t even know why it’s there. The madness of turning into words and actions that feeling of ‘I don’t know why but I think you and I could be a part of each other’s lives.’ The madness that turns that ‘could’ into a ‘should’.
It needs selective amnesia. Forgetting who spoke first. Forgetting how many times they snatched an argument from you. Forgetting to keep tally of who made more effort.
And it needs a generous sharing. Not just of things that are big or impressive. In fact, probably none of those kinds of things. And all of things that seems mundane, likely to not be noticed, never get the repayment of acknowledgement or gratitude back.
I guess you could say all these things about love. I guess friendship is a kind of love.
A few months ago, I exchanged DMs with someone who had only been a Twitter name since so far back, neither of us can remember (selective amnesia, I told you). On an impulse I said, “Let’s meet!” and equally impulsively she said, “Yes! Today!”. There’s madness.
Never mind what happened after that. That’s not really as significant as the two actions of courage that led to us meeting, led to us happening.
Sometimes I send her a photo, a snapshot of where I am, what I’m doing. I think she might like seeing where I am when I think of her. She responds with the kind of curious, funny thoughts that run through all our heads but we rarely share because they seem so silly or mundane. Sharing mundanities seems to be a very important part of friendship, practically the spice of it.
Every now and then she writes about her life, deeply personal things, profound insights and cranky complaints alike. And once, then twice she mentions me in the same sentence as ‘peace’, ‘relief’, ‘listening’ and ‘perspective’. Also ‘beautiful’ and ‘big ear’ (though she meant that in the way that deep listening happens :D). It makes me happy to see her grow daily. And it makes me so, so YAYYY to suddenly find myself in her thoughts.
“We all need a witness for our lives.” I heard in a movie I once saw. Now isn’t that true? I need not just watching but involvement. Participation in my life and mine in others. My cup overfloweth today. I’m so very happy. And Reema, you make it so. 🙂
Ballsiness is a minute-to-minute discipline.
1% is taking a stand.
4% is risking being wrong.
95% is being willing to face disapproval.
I like this Reverb10 prompt. It reminds me of the start of a Richard Bach book I loved as a teenager – The Bridge Across Forever – where the author writes a letter to the boy he was. This is a letter to the future but I like the idea of communicating with other-time selves.
December 21 – Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
(Author: Jenny Blake)
Me in five years
I’ll be thirty-six at that time. If the bloodlines are anything to go by, I’ll retain my tall, lean frame and my youthful looks. I will probably also be beset by a number of health problems that don’t make themselves visible but make life damned inconvenient. There’s things I might forget by then, and will need to be reminded of, when I’m thirty-six.
Me in the year ahead
Breathe. That’s the most important thing. The trick is to just keep breathing.
I may fail. I may hit a wave of success. Everyone I love may die. Everyone I care for, may turn on me. I may be the most popular person on the planet. None of these may happen. But I need to make sure I keep breathing.
Me a decade ago
My dear 21-year-old self,
I know you’re not going to be surprised to read this because you imagine stuff like this all the time. Yep, I’ve been receiving all the letters you’re been writing to me, all this time. Communications across time have considerably improved. I’m glad you got the letters down and decided to worry about postage later.
What’s life like, a decade later? Well, there’s plenty of stuff that’s been invented. If you had any money of your own I’d advise you to invest it…but never mind, you don’t have any money of your own. Strangely enough, you’re great at managing it when you have little and as you get older and more money comes your way, you’ll lose that talent. Don’t stop hoarding and don’t shut down that habit you have of putting away little notes and coins in hiding places to surprise yourself later. Yes, of course I know about all of those. I found those little money-gifts, remember?
You’ve sailed over many of the body image issues that your peers faced in adolescence. You’re going to hit a biggie, in oh, about two years from now. It’s going to take everything you’ve got, even your bloody intestines and turn them inside out. You’ll be robbed of everything that can possibly be robbed from you, including what little weight you do have.
Are you still reading? Good, you always had nerve. You don’t realise it yet but you do. That’s the one thing that won’t -cannot – be stolen from you. And many, many years later, a whole lot of ‘Why did that have to happen to me?’s later, you will be able to accept that knowledge of that fact was worth all that you paid for it.
You’ve already had your horoscope drawn by an enthusiastic relative and you’ve analysed yourself on various pop-culture fronts. Have fun with it. Belief is a powerful toy, like fire but you have a strange ability to be able to play with it. Ignore what everyone says about your love life. I won’t tell you more. Just ignore it and follow your heart. It is about your heart after all, why should you listen to anyone else? Believe what they say about your talents and abilities, though. It’s true and what’s more, believing the good things that people say about you will give you the confidence to make it all come true.
Did it all come true? Well, I’m still standing here, aren’t I? Do I sound happy or unhappy to you? 🙂 I’ll leave you with just one thought. It only gets better with time. The thirties are fabulous and I’m off to a good time! I’ll see you in another ten years!
Okay, that wasn’t short but it was fun! 🙂 It reminded me of another very old post, also full of time travel.
“Have I changed?”
He was older, heavier-set, slightly balder. Success adding an unshakeable tower of confidence to the foundation of arrogance that he had always possessed. She took all of this in before pronouncing her verdict.
“You’re Jack, ten years later.”
“Better or worse?”
Ten years was a long time. Long enough for people and situations to change. But they hadn’t and it had only gotten worse. Or better, depending on where you wanted to come to it from. More intense, either way.
She thought about him constantly through the weekend, grimacing with each thought. It went against every principle she had imposed on her life, every value she had struggled to uphold. It was also secretly delicious, the feeling of being helpless in the face of forbidden thoughts.
On Monday, she was awakened by the sound of her phone ringing. Probably a salesman pushing a credit card, she thought and rolled over. But the caller persisted and with a grunt she rolled over. She had to prise an eyelid open to see the screen but when she saw his name, her eyes flew open.
“You’re still asleep?”
“Umm, yes. Was up late last night.”
This exchange had always been enough to terminate the conversation in earlier instances of sleep disruption. But curiously enough, ten minutes later, they were still talking and she didn’t even realize it until he made her catch her breath with,
“You do realize what’s happening here, don’t you?”
And sleepy or otherwise, she was alert enough to toss it back to him as she thanked a decade of mental discipline. To her surprise, he didn’t volley about. Yes, some things had changed. Maybe they had both grown older, more willing to accept things that were beyond control, less inclined to hide away.
“I’ve been looking forward to talking to you. I feel the need to call you, every day, every morning. That’s unusual, for me.”
She wanted to laugh with relief and exhilaration. And also curl up under her covers and never come out and face the world again. Or at least, never have to face him again.
On Tuesday, she begged off the morning conversation, citing work. In the evening, she refused a text invitation to meet saying that she just wanted to be ‘quiet’ for a bit.
“You can be quiet with other people but not with me?”
His message burned into the back of her mind and she had trouble falling asleep. Wednesday, she hoped would wash out uncontrollable feelings with wine. Instead, she found herself fumbling-thumbed messages of an erotic variety.
He called as usual the next day but his tone was cautious.
“What was that about last night?”
“Umm, nothing. I was drunk, that’s all.”
He didn’t comment further and their conversation proceeded. But in her mind, a wall had been breached. The much-discussed point of no return was in her mind and she had passed it some ten hours earlier. There was no going back on those messages, no turning back on the fact that she had propositioned a married man. That his response has been most receptive was of no concern. The horrific inappropriateness of it all was the most savagely desirable thing she had ever tasted. She had been a willing and more than active partner and the deed had already been set in motion.
Curiously enough, she only felt a sense of relief. You can’t be hanged twice she thought wryly, recalling a line from a movie. And now that she had begun down that road, she was just going to have to go all the way across to get through this.
Alive with these thoughts, she awaited his call the next morning. And told herself he must have gotten busy when it didn’t come. The day after was spent much the same way, albeit with a vague sense of panic camouflaged as restlessness. And then it was the weekend.
On Monday, her fingers shook as she held her phone and dialed his number. It was fear, from doing something she had always been petrified of – putting herself out there. And it was shame, of going back on her high principles. And it was resentment. And pain. It all tasted sweet, like blood in her mouth.
They met that evening. Three hours sitting in the carpark, the tension enveloping them both like a security blanket. Their relationship had always been defined by it, the crossed swords and it felt comforting to hold them again.
But when the clock on his dashboard clicked into place and he commented that he’d have to leave in ten minutes, she saw a glimmer in the darkness. His eyes, the ever hypnotic enchantment, full of intrigue and dangerous promise, were swimming in something she had never seen in them before. It moved her to something else, too.
He patted her on the head and told her to sleep well and not worry too much. The gesture made her smile and she in turn, put her hand up to his face and repeated the same thing. It made him smile too and then he pulled back his face into its brooding expression.
She completed his sentence,
“A scared child.”
It made him laugh, a deep, throaty rumble that made her innards twist with a familiar queasiness.
He wouldn’t speak to her for the rest of the week or the weekend. She spent the first few days in an uncomfortably suspended state of desperate desire. This was probably what it felt like to be a guy, she surmised, with a perpetual hard-on and no sign of release.
On Tuesday, she got up from her bed, her mind made up. They had repeated the cycle every few years. This time she had been sure would have been the culmination. But then again, she had only realized it was a cycle, this time round. It would occur again. It might be five years or five days. But they would dance around each other till, till…till fulfillment.
Her best friend, long-suffering from such stories told her that he had just lost interest. But Jill, she shook her head and firmly said,
“I don’t think he lost interest as much as he lost nerve.”
Burning with passion, she realized required courage under the fire. Maybe next time.