C’est la vie.

Life is hard. It’s a private battle. Scars remain on the inside.

No-one cares. No-one cares about anyone, and everyone is uncared for.

Reality is dull. Day-to-day life is dull.

People are good and bad and in-between. Most are in-between. That’s worse, somehow.

Physical pain is the greatest pain. Torture is worse than mental-flagellation. Sticks and stones do hurt more than words. Our bodies fail us, and we rage, and whimper.

The strong hurt the weak because they can. Compassion is a limited resource.

No-one can truly understand us but ourselves. We live on tiny, separate planets in the universe of consciousness.

You are who you are. You must live with who you are, until the end. You do the best with who you are.

It does not matter if you die. It does not matter if anyone in the world dies, right now. The living are good at living on.  

There is laughter, but mostly sorrow.

There is love, but mostly loneliness.

Nothing is as good as we wish it to be, but surprises still delight our hearts.

We don’t know much. We are kind of scared because of that.

But we cling to the threads of joy that we can.

So that our death shroud can glimmer slightly in the dark tomb of eternity. Because we are vain like that.

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INFPs Never Grow Up

Fairy

I will never grow up.

I think I’ll always be a kid. Deep down, I am still trapped between the pages of the fantasy books I read as a child, crystallised in time. No matter if I end up having a family, getting a job and shouldering grown-up responsibilities, one of the fundamental reasons I feel so different from people is because I will never grow up.

Rather like Peter Pan, only without a Neverland to return to. Is that how it is, with most INFPs? Or perhaps it is just me. Look: I only have interest in delight and magic and wonder and fantasy. That is all I care for. The world, with its problems, its racist and prejudiced people, politics, stocks, shares, laws and legislation – all of that, though important, is a tremendous bore. I react to all of it as would a six or seven-year-old child. In other words, all that feels like a big, stately study-room in the house that awes and intimidates me, with its smell of leather and sophistication, but which I have no interest in occupying, not with the nursery a few paces down the corridor.

This inherent childishness is the source of my idealism. Through my childish lenses, the problems of the world seem silly. Why can’t people just have fun with each other? Why must we hoard all of our toys? Sharing makes the game more fun! Oh, look, that creature is hurting. Poor thing, let’s go see if we can comfort it and make it smile so it can get up and play once more. Are you sad? Here, I’ll give you a cookie and let you play with my teddy bear. I’ll even make it talk for you.

Sure, I know that ‘that’s not how the world works’ and ‘life is hard’ and ‘bad people succeed’ and all that ‘realistic’ stuff. Children can be aware of that, too. But they know it distantly. They do not make it the core of their thoughts. All that negativity, that harsh reality, takes a backseat to fun and games and magic and play.

No wonder so many of us INFPs might be at odds with the world around us. We truly are children masquerading as adults, playing dress-up, giggling behind our masks at everyone else’s serious faces. I play. When I’m alone, I’m ridiculously childish. I can’t stand formality, or prissy people. I can’t stand authority. I’m just kid. I want other people to be happy, I want to care for animals, I want to read and imagine.

Growing-up is overrated. Inappropriate thought it might be, I laugh at the stresses people place on themselves over random pieces of paper and numbers in a bank account. It seems all wrong, to stray so far from what the core of life is. Trafficking humans, hiding from the police, killing others, smuggling goods – all that feels wrong, like children who are hurting because they’ve been pushed into the adult world, of indiscipline gone out of control. Some adults need a good time-out session, and I only wish there was some universal parent to enact some order. Teach them to do good things, right things.

Nothing gives me more joy than contemplating being by myself in an enormous library with high ceilings and wooden walls and shelves upon shelves of books. I will sit in the corner, on a pile of cushions, and devour one book after the other. That is childhood, for me. That is happiness. To be away, far away, to fly to other lands and worlds, because they still seem more real and true than the one that exists outside my front door.

Peter Pan may never come knocking on my window, but I can create my own Neverland, here in the real world, whether through reading or imagining or writing or watching movies. Any living that I do outside of these things is a sham. It is a wrongness. It is not life.

And so I dream.

My Tiny Love Life.

Happy

So. There’s this boy I like.

I think that’s the most teenager-ish phrase I have written on this blog.

Years ago, I tried to talk to him. When he socially rejected me (not really, but I was in a sensitive phase at the time), I promptly swore to ignore him for the rest of my school years. He, having picked up on what I was doing, did likewise.

So we did this for a few years, this strange tension hanging in the air between us whenever we came in close proximity, all the time, invisible to everyone but ourselves.

And I hated it. I hated it because I wasn’t in good state of mind at the time. I hated myself, a lot. I had an inferiority complex, knotted and gnarled from a young age, and didn’t even know how to begin unraveling it. I hated that I was hurt by his lack of attention, as if I were a beggar starved of love. I hated my own idealization of him. I hated my own coldness towards him. I hated that I felt lesser than him (he is a very confident and extroverted person) and I hated, most of all, that I liked him.

He is nothing like me. Nothing at all. They say attraction doesn’t always make sense, but my brain is truly open-mouthed and agog at the idiocy of my own heart. For one thing, he denounces (if playfully) everything that I believe in: creativity, imagination, literature, books, art. He prides himself on his rationality, adores numbers and science, and believes anything other than what is objective and can be proven is airy-fairy dream dust. He’s blunt. I’m sensitive. He’s assertive. I’m passive-aggressive. He’s intimidating. I’m about as intimidating as an earthworm. He’s loud. I’m quiet. He’s surrounded by crowds of people. I always walk alone.

That just screams incompatibility.

But I…like him? Why? It doesn’t make sense. Really, it isn’t my heart speaking at all. It’s something else. Lust? No. I’m not a lustful person by nature. It’s more about the mind than the body. The body is just a flesh receptacle. Is it my soul? I don’t believe in souls. I think. I don’t know what I believe. I’m a mad, alternating mixture of rationality and irrationality. One moment, I believe in destiny and fate; the next, I denounce it as mere coincidences.

That’s another thing. Despite forcefully telling my brain to forget about him, we keep on bumping into each other. Everywhere. Not just at school. Out of school. Just, everywhere. In the most unlikeliest places, even far from home. Once, I was at some far-off area, and then I literally froze at hearing his voice right behind me, talking to someone. I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there, in utter disbelief at my own senses. Was this happening, in actual reality? Of all the places, times and days, he just had to be where I was, for, what, the fifteenth time? It’s happened often enough to veer into the surreal.

And part of me wants to shut it all down. To fire arrows at each of my flying feelings so they fall to the earth as wounded birds. Better for me to hurt myself than for him, or my hopes regarding him, to hurt me. It’s just coincidence, that’s all, I scold myself. The universe isn’t prodding you two closer. That’s just your stupid, little, hopeful heart talking, and you know how much trouble that can get you into.

Sure, he is intelligent and a lover of justice, but are you sure that it’s not all in your head? You can’t trust your heart because you dream too much. He can also be calculatingly cold and conventional and arrogant, at least in public, though you secretly think it’s a social front he puts on. You know very well you idealize people. Maybe you’re just seeing what you want to see.

But I there are some things I can’t ignore. Some things that I feel are true. That slightly embarrassed but disarmingly sweet smile when he greeted me in person for the first time. That internal pain and sensitivity that he tries so hard to bottle down by building up an armor, kind of like the way I put on a cold and aloof front so that people can’t hurt my feelings or get too close to me. And just a feeling. Of rightness. A chirp of golden light behind my left rib.

When he smiles and looks, I smile and feel seen.

Gosh, this is melting into sappiness.

I’m in a much better place now. Though I’ll never be the girl strutting down the sidewalk, I’m much more content with myself. I’ve accepted myself. I like myself. My confidence is not flashy, but quiet and understated. I have a surety in regards to who I am, what I want, what I love, and that keeps me strong. Of course, I’m still prone to the odd surge of self-loathing and criticism, but I’m getting better at it. I’ve always had high standards, and I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. Everything in moderation, as they say.

And even if nothing happens between us, his existence has been a blessing. Each time he crops up in my day-to-day life, I’ve re-thought some thoughts I have regarding other people and myself. His very existence has made me a more optimistic person, because he is an optimistic person. It has encouraged me to smile and laugh more, to not take everything so seriously. To even love myself, by using him as an example of steady confidence.

I do dearly want love. I want to be understood, for who I am  – to be seen. I feel like he can understand, better than others, but I don’t want to think about that because I don’t want to hope too much. If I ever did love someone, I would be utterly loyally, and give it all my heart. I love very, very deeply, when it’s the right person. It’s just the right person has never really come along.

And now maybe he has. Or maybe I’m just seeing shapes in the clouds that aren’t there. Either way, I’m learning, I’m growing. I’m concentrating my efforts on bettering myself rather than pining. Love isn’t about devotion, laying your life down for someone. It’s about deep, mutual respect and deep friendship and sweetness and laughter.

Love is a gift. If it comes my way, I’ll be incandescently grateful. If it doesn’t, I will still be wonderful. I will still carve out my own dreams. Build my towers. Weather the rains and storms. Become a better person. Grow. Live my life.

I’m happy with me. I’m nice and kind to myself.

Inside. Outside.

Outisde

There is nothing more romantic than snuggling up with a loved one to watch a film.

There is the comfort of another human by your side, along with the prospect of a brief burst of sweet escapism.

And as the movie unfolds, so the two joys twine and blossom as one: delight in the magic of the motion picture itself, the playing out of life, and delight in cupping love against your body.

Occasionally, the two of you will laugh at the same time at a joke onscreen, and that only sweetens the experience further. We enjoy more the sharing of joy than the source of the joy itself. We like to hear our loved one laugh, to know that he or she is happy. That is love: to be happy, because they are happy.

Soon, it culminates in a bittersweet, lovely ending, that leaves a black but ripe ache in your human heart. To soothe the bruise, the bruise that is like a black-hole wound, empty, empty, you turn to your loved one. Arms embrace; necks lower to allow heads to alight upon shoulders, safe as swans nestled in each others’ nests.

Such a flourishing of gorgeous feeling. It tastes like a soft, jeweled fruit. It feels like thousand rains and a thousand more safe cozy rooms and crackling fires. It is the pressing of hand against hand, so they warm each other and warm the hearts, even when the body is cold. It is quiet ecstasy. It is the creating of womb atmosphere. Two squirrels, curled up against each other, in the hollow of a tree, while lightning slashes at the forest without.

But from the outside, you are just two flesh bodies occupying a close space, with the yellow-green flashing glow of the television illuminating your faces. Your smiles are black shadows, secret. Hands clutch beneath the blankets, unseen. And then someone turns out a light, plunging the room into darkness.

So it is.

Roiling storms on the inside.

All is quiet without.

Love Is Very Simple.

Love

I have no time, right now, for love. The romantic kind, at least.

There is growing-up to do, stories to write and books to read, futures to plan and scrap and plan again.

But I have thought about it. I have thought about it a good deal. It seems silly not to, being so central a part of the human condition. Follow the umbilical cord of anything, and you’ll return to the same, warm womb: love. All we do, all we feel, is but a manifestation of it – yes, even hate, which is but love turned sour.

So many people yearn for it. Our culture is saturated with the concept. For some, it has turned into an obsession, a fairy wand that will magically create happiness and self-esteem. People kill for love. People weep for love. Debase themselves, manipulate others like tin soldiers, froth into monsters. Many things are mistaken for love: lust, ego, status. There are entire industries catered to those who are having trouble with it, and still more for those seeking it.

Frankly, it all seems like a lot of unnecessary hullabaloo.

Love is very simple. You don’t even need to experience romantic love to know what it is, what it feels like, and what it’s true form is. If you have anyone you love in the world, be it a sister, a brother, a mother or a father, or even a pet, then you already know.

Love is a feeling, in your chest, warm and liquid.

Love is when you wouldn’t mind hugging someone for an eternity.

Love is cuddling up to another human being at night when the world seems so big and strange, so you don’t feel so alone in the universe anymore.

People lie, side-by-side, across the globe, knitted into pairs, in their little bedrooms, because they are lost and confused, deep inside, and being with each other makes us feel a little better. Never underestimate a hug or a kiss, or any sign of affection. That kind of thing can heal you, in a tiny way, each time, and in the absence of it, souls wither.

All we have is each other. We are spontaneous organisms, swirling in a mesh of unasked-for consciousness, sleepwalking and dreaming strange things. No matter how much success, wealth or status we have, at the end of the day, we all just want to come home to a pair of warm arms.

Love tells us everything is okay, and we need this because everything is not okay. Everyone is making it up as they go along. No-one knows anything: why we are here, if there is a purpose, what it all even means.

So we cling onto each other, so that we don’t tumble into the abyss.

It may be a false comfort, but it is a sweet one.

Musings Of A Romantic

BeautyIT has been another dreary day, a grey overcast sky, cold winds and weak sunlight.

I have sat at my desk and looked out over the city and wondered of all the little people playing out their little lives in the honeycombs of the apartment buildings, whether they were happy and how they occupied their days, what nightmares dissolved their nights. Attempted to write a bit more today, but failed rather miserably and am now procrastinating by casting fragments of my thought on my blog. On here, at least, I don’t censure or criticize myself as much: what I write on here is not so much about beauty and elegance and flair but slapping my heart down before you, so that it spasms and pumps, a red fistful of muscle, raw and true, to leave an iron taste in your mouth. Yes, I like that metaphor: an iron taste in the back of one’s mouth, from chewing and coughing on the life itself.

It has come to my attention that there are certain places, certain spots, that are easily wrought idyllic and romantic. What makes them so is a combination of factors, ranging from isolation to the beauty of the scenery, or even the pure poetry conjured by the place itself (as you and I well know, poetry isn’t only art, words, pictures, but the world itself. The world, the universe, is a song, a grand, grand poem, and it is beautiful). Here are a few of these delightful nooks:

  1. The countryside. Or, where I live, otherwise known as the Outback. There is nothing better than a little cottage situated in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but grasslands coloured sand-green and parchment-yellow for miles around. You feel yourself to be perched on the edge of the world, with nothing but the cows and the birds for company. Yet, there is a barrenness to such a setting that lends it a certain withered beauty, I think.
  2. A wooden house in a snowy glade. That crisp, white hush of the snow overlaying the world, the icicles and glints of frost crusted on the fir trees, their branches like wreathed arms, with no-one in sight for miles around, except for a certain prowling Bigfoot that leaves fresh footprints in the snow to be found with thudding hearts every morning. Imagine: a crackling fireplace, ever so cozy, and to sit before it while the elements rail against the windows, sipping a mug of hot coffee, suspended in your own warm, sweet microcosm.
  3. Train carriages. Not exactly sure why, but all my life I’ve adored trains, the antique ones, mind you, with the handle yanked that blows a whistle, that puffs smoke heartily along its journey. The cramped and cozy nature of the leather-seated carriages, with the compartments up top for housing your luggage, and most of all the view out of the window, of a world rushing past for you to observe. To go to sleep with the streaming of stars without, and the steady rattle of wheels below, to know that there are so many others, likewise, on this journey with you, leaning their heads against the window and thinking their own thoughts out into the scenery. Lamps, brass lamps curving out from the walls, glowing faint halos. A good book. Bliss, I say, bliss.

Sometimes, I yearn so terribly to exist in those romantic surroundings, but I know that they will not compare to what I have imagined them to be. Perhaps, seeing as I imagine them so fully, down to the last detail, can smell the leather, feel the cool cocooning of the winter wonderland, there is little point in seeking them out in reality. I would only be disappointed. It seems the anticipation of holidays is always more enjoyable than the holiday itself, and to be a dreamer is to live in a perpetual, rosy state of bittersweet anticipation. Applying this to one’s love life might not be ideal: an imagination may be able to bring to life scenery and surroundings, but human beings are a different matter. There are some things which no fairy dust can ever make shine, and I would take flesh and blood over golden statues that smile and speak whatever I want them to say any day.

How Are You? Bad.

Scream

There are some terrors that move beyond fear into a nameless, indescribable territory, where nothing lives but shadows and madness.

A terror that is a wrenching, tearing agony, a great claw descending to slice you open from neck to navel and tear out your organs, one by one, until you are left an empty flap of bloodied skin.

A terror that makes you want to throw up so hard you’ll turn yourself inside out in the process.

A terror that slams against your skull until your eyeballs and tongue and brains spew out like coins from a winning slot machine.

And when this terror hits you, there is nothing you can do. Curling into a fetus position doesn’t help. Drowning yourself in fantasies doesn’t help. Even killing yourself wouldn’t help. All you can do is exist, and howl, mouth twisted open in a wailing vortex.

Right now, I am terrified of time. Time is slipping by, so quickly, ever so quickly, a stream that bubbles by with a mocking gurgle, and what have I been doing? Procrastinating. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to put every minute of my time to good use. Fat chance. I have done the opposite: whiled away my time on frivolities that do not enrich my life but dwindle it. There is a sense of failure, lodged like a calciferous tumor in my gut. I am sick with my own failure.

I am also terrified of my own inadequacy. This is not a matter of high standards: I know very well that I could be a much better writer than I am right now, if I had put in the extra time, worked a little harder. Countless people my age have been published, while here I sit, procrastinating at home, and I have no-one to blame but myself. The greatest self-loathing rears its ugly head when you realise what you could have been, and what you are not.

If you have read this far, I congratulate you for indulging me in my self-pity. Or perhaps you can derive some comfort from knowing that someone else out there is suffering as you are. The future looks dreary. Every word I write is a little shard of agony. The thought of ever getting published, and achieving the dreams I want to achieve, is almost an impossibility. How laughable it is, to think that someone as small and puny and talentless as I am, could ever rise to the heights of others. I shake my head at the delusion. My world has morphed into a fairy nightmare.

And for the dark, glistening cherry on the cake: I hope you are feeling better than I am right now. I hope you are not frightened out of your wits. I hope you are not steeped in the sludge of your own inadequacy. I hope you do not feel small, insignificant and hopeless. I hope you look towards the future with the ghost of a smile on the edge of your lips.

And if you aren’t, if you are, also, writhing in a tiny Hell of your own, then…

…let us howl and howl and howl as much as we want into the abyss. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mind.

Because it doesn’t care.

What Is True Love?

Two Trout Kissing

Our culture is saturated in love, like a handkerchief soaked in blood.

It bleeds into every aspect of our lives, be it the movies and music we listen to, or the conversations we have with friends.

If there were ever to be a global flag, it would have two dark featureless faces bent towards each other, lips almost touching.

People pine for love, they create imaginary beings in their head for love, they debase themselves for love, and when they do actually experience the real thing, or what they believe to be the real thing, they are disappointed, as it so often falls woefully short of the scintillating fairytale encapsulated in their hearts since they were old enough to understand, like an insect frozen in amber.

That’s when you realise we are a world in love with love, and most of all a world in love ourselves, a grand, collective stroking of egos, and that kisses and sex and roses are all nice and good, but what truly matters in regards to the blood of our lives is not how we spend it, but how we collect it, whether it be in the form of art, or literature, work, aid, kindness.

These are the kinds of love that remain to touch the hearts of others long after the flesh has decayed from their creator’s bones, and the rot crept into their hearts.

And it is true love.

Our Dark Little Hearts

eyes

Let me tell you a story.

As a very young child, when I was, as they say, “at a bad time in my life”, I would sit outside in the courtyard for hours because I didn’t want to be inside the house, that toy-box filled with angry figurines, and I would sit outside and I would have a stick in one hand, and I would poke at the ant-holes in the dirt, and then crush the ants that spewed from them by the hundreds with my feet.

I would stomp, and I would stamp.

I would do this with a grim yet satisfied vengeance, as if I had a personal vendetta against the tiny creatures, and the more frantically they ran, the more I furiously I crushed them. I wanted to exterminate each and everyone of those ants so I would not see their crawling anymore, their crawling that was like a crawling over my skin and my eyeballs and my heart. I would get buckets of water and slosh their contents over the stones to drown them. And I would watch them as they died, or drowned, tiny, black things dragging their straggly legs, still trying to move even though they were mortally wounded. And I liked to see them die, see them suffer, see them small and broken by the hundreds, because it made me feel all-powerful, in a time when life was crushing me under its boot.

Nowadays, being older and having developed a sense of morality, I shudder at the thought of my childhood cruelty. I don’t like to hurt anything, now. I don’t even like to kill any insects that scuttle or fly into my room: instead, I open the window and put them outside after capturing them, or I just let them live with me, in my room, until they die of their own accord, or find their own escape. Right now, there is a tiny spider in the corner of my ceiling. It is too far up for me to reach. I have named him Midnight Guard (even my spiders must have romantic names). He watches over the room while I sleep, making sure old monsters don’t come crawling out of the shadows at night.

But every now and again I am reminded of that wild, frenzied killing, one hot summer holiday, as a child, and I wonder.

I wonder whether that darkness still exists in me, that madness to destroy, to overpower. I wonder about the pleasure I took in killing those ants, just so I could feel strong. Sure, I was just a child, and maybe I killed them out of curiosity, and maybe something more, but I knew what I was doing, and I kept on doing it, fed by a strange, dark compulsion.

And I wonder if that urge, to kill, to destroy, to hate, to exterminate, exists within the heart of every human, like a tap on the shoulder in the dark now and then.

I wonder if all the terrible acts in history were committed because some man, some woman, some child, was being eaten up from the inside, and to distract themselves from the monsters nibbling at their guts, they became monsters themselves and ate others.

I wonder, when I lose control out of frustration, and lash out at my loved ones, whether we will be the end of all – of ourselves, the world, each other – because of that little demon lurking in the deepest chambers of our hearts, cackling to itself and biding its time.

The Battle Between Hearts & Heads

Angels

Now, now, let us be reasonable. Let us use our head for once, rather than our soft and useless heart.

Over the past few years, you’ve learned to see the nitty-gritty parts of life, the shadows within the shadows.

Good people die. Bad people die. It is all the same.

People are wicked and selfish, killing others, sometimes by the millions, and everyone simply continues on with their lives as if nothing happened, because there is nothing else to do but to live on.

Life itself does not have any meaning: it is all what we make of it, and once we have made what we have wanted to make, we die. It can be taken away from us at any time, and even if it were, that would not matter, to you and those who still walk the earth. Death is simply a happening, just as a leaf falling to the ground is a happening.

Most people are selfish, and do not care; if they do, their caring is often tainted by other desires, that of being seen in a good light, or of gaining public approval. Sometimes, you’re not sure if there is a single good, true, pure person in the world, yourself included.

And marriage. Eventually, those we become accustomed to turn into flies on the walls, you know that very well, and that love is passionate and lovely for only the first few years: after that, it peters out into complacency, and, most terrible of all, stagnancy. Really, love is not the end goal, and perhaps there is no single person out there who can truly understand you; after all, do you even understand you? And what if someone did? If they truly understood you, knew all the snarling monsters crammed cheek-by-jowl with the singing angels within you, how could they possibly love you? You can be quite a terrible person sometimes, a far cry from the kind-hearted creature you propose yourself to be. Only yesterday you judged someone, and spoke to another harshly, the words dripping from your lips like black venom.

Yet, despite all this, you still dream. Of that one treasured person who can make your heart glow. That, deep inside every human, there is a golden wellspring of kindness, no matter how hard and cracked and water-stained their exterior. That there is an innate goodness in the world, if one only knew how to find it, and tease it out, for good things so often tend to be shy. Each day, you dream your dreams, even when the world shatters them again and again, with a rueful and mocking shake of the head – will you ever learn, my dear? – and you will dream no matter how many times they break you.

And so you go to sleep again, quite alone, with tears trembling down your face, and a quiet hope in your heart. And you live on.