One Skeleton. Whole, Please.

Skull

I’ve heard it said that stories are like fossils – they need to be slowly chipped away at, bit by bit, before they can be unearthed. Sometimes, you remove the piece intact. Other times, parts of it are crumbled away, or left lodged in the soil. It all depends on the skill and precision of the archaeologist.

If that’s the case, then I’m like a kid trying to unearth an ancient skeleton with a plastic shovel.

It seems no matter how hard I try, I end up ruining the fossil in the act of digging it up. The artifacts crumble to dust in my fingers. And the harder I try to bring my story to life on paper from my imagination, the worse it gets, until I’m left stabbing furiously at the sand under the hot desert sun, getting more and more frustrated every minute.

Just imagine being an apprentice archaeologist, delicately brushing away the dust to reveal the fossil, then chipping away at it with all manner of tools, for hours on end, only for it to disintegrate once you lift it out of the dirt. This monumental frustration drops on you like a tombstone, and you want to scream your frustration until your lungs are empty. Or, in my case, slam your fist into the laptop.

But, in the end, all we can do is practice in order to bridge the gap between our ideas and the execution of them. Every day, I wake up only to be disappointed in myself, in my words and thoughts and ideas, in the lack of truths in my writing and dearth of well-fleshed characters. I sit at my computer, and I wonder whether what exists in my head will ever translate properly onto paper. I begin to doubt my own imagination. I begin to doubt myself.

Practice. The first fossil, the third fossil, the hundredth fossil, the thousandth fossil, may crumble away in my fingers, but one day, eventually, a piece will be lifted up to the sunlight in its perfect glory. All those hours of slaving and chipping away beneath the sun, in that moment, will be worth it. I know this in my heart.

In the meantime, I’ll be here if you need be, scratching at the ground like a doleful chicken, the sand stinging my eyes.

INFP Conversations

Random Person: Why are you smiling?

Me: What? Oh. I just thought of something funny.

Random Person: Care to share?

Me: No. It’s an inside joke.

Random Person: Oh. With whom?

Me: As in, you know, inside my head.

Random Person: Ah.

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Friend: You do realise that there’s a shortcut, right?

Me: (fascinated) Really?

Friend: Yes. It’s right next to the main road. Like, right next to it. In plain view. People go down that way all the time.

Me: Wow.

Friend: You’ve been walking this way for seven years.

Me: I know, I can’t believe I never noticed it before! Isn’t this exciting! It’s like discovering a secret pathway to some other world.

Friend: (shakes head)

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Concerned relative: Um. Are you taking all of that?

Me: (throws a couple more books for luck into the suitcase) Yep!

Concerned relative: (eyes the mound of books) You do realise it’s only a three day trip, right?

Me: Yep!

Extremely concerned relative: You’re not going to have any room left for clothes, or toiletries, or anything.

Me: I shall stitch together clothes out of the pages of books. Like the Paper Bag Princess. Is there anything better than readable clothing? I think not.

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Me: He is my soul mate.

Friend: You don’t even know him.

Me: I have read the constellations in his eyes, and deciphered the galaxies of his heart. We are star-crossed lovers, destined to be as one in this lifetime.

Friend: (verging on hysterical exasperation) You’ve never even talked to him!

Me: (places a finger to her lips) Shh. Words are not needed when the heart has spoken, my dear.

Friend: Okay. Fine. So he’s your soul mate. When, exactly, are you going to have a conversation with him? You are going to have eventually, you know.

Me: (sighs dreamily) One day. When the stars align.

Friend: So, never, then.

Me: That is the most exquisite bird I have ever seen. Have you seen a more exquisite bird in your lifetime?

The Strength Of A Princess’s Heart

Heart

All my life, I have been a romantic, and I am not ashamed of it.

It is patterned into my DNA, a string of hearts twined with the twisted thread of the Double-Helix. It is an element of my soul.

Every now and again, however, this lands me in trouble. Not anything catastrophic, mind you: just little irksome occurrences that eventually add up to sour a day, or a week. Or a month.

This is because I have an unshakeable habit of idealizing every creature who I feel the slightest stirrings of romantic feeling for.

Which is fine, if I do end up talking to them, but not so fine if the years drag on without any human contact, as by then a bumpkin will have been transformed, unfortunately, into a Prince.

That happened. Recently. The worst part was the scorn, or ridicule, I received, from the object of my idealization. The way the lad carried on, you’d have thought I had shackled him in marital chains or something. To him, it appeared as if I were stalking him, though if you happen to attend the same school it’s hard not to bump into each other now and again.

And yet, I still haven’t given up a teensy-tiny hope of a possible connection, or friendship.

How loathsome, to find your heart entangled with someone so egotistical and cruel and arrogant, and yet for some part of you to still go on hoping, hoping, hoping, like a silly, pining, little princess.

I’m not a silly princess: I have my own dreams, my own goals, I am independent as any girl my age can be considering my family situation, and I do not need someone to love me to feel complete. Not when I have my art.

After all, why chase boys when you can have books?

Most of all, my ego, my pride, is hurt, at being scorned so; and I am, if you get to the core of it, angry at myself. Furious for funneling my imaginative energies into romantic impossibilities. Furious for lowering myself to the level of a silly, pining maiden. Fairy dust can leave a bad taste in your mouth, I’ll tell you that.

In these cases, the best thing to do is to forgive, and love yourself, and not to go on hating yourself, as this means you are only absorbing the scorn of others. Only you live your life, through your particular lens of consciousness. Only you know your own suffering, and joy.

Being misunderstood or shunned or ridiculed by others has cost many lives throughout history, be it bullied students, or scientists ahead of their times. If we just keep things in perspective, and realise that only we ourselves are the true sovereign of our minds and bodies, irrespective of external stimuli, then we can stay strong.

Hurt pride is a sorry thing. Shame ensues, and hate for the perpetrator. But there is no need to hate, or resent.

No: I do not resent him, for his arrogance, and coldness. Instead, I shall respond from a place of love, a bottomless reservoir of affection that lies within me for all living creatures.

I do not hate you, for what you did to me.

I do not hate you (though I do not forgive you), for the lack of respect and kindness you showed me.

I do not hate myself, for blinding myself to your flaws, or seeking love. In fact, your personality reminds me a good deal of my father’s, who never bestowed any affection upon me; perhaps my yearning for your companionship was even a subconscious desire for reconciliation with my father. Who knows?

I also do not hate myself for possessing this romantic little soul, though I have learned a lesson, however small and imperfect.

No. No. I do not, will not hate.

From a place of love, I will not chafe against your ego anymore by clinging onto dream-threads.

From a place of love, I will live my own life, and let you live yours: if our paths do ever cross again, it will not be from any design on my part.

From a place of love, I will forgive myself for my schoolgirl fantasies.

From a place of love, I will allow myself to rise above this pain, and surface a stronger being to build my own castles, not in the clouds, but on earth.

Love brought me into this mess. It can get me out of it. My heart is strong – very, very strong.

The Dissatisfaction Of Existence

Unhappy

Why is it that life is so often but an endless dissatisfaction?

How difficult it is to appreciate the present. Nothing is as good as the anticipation of it. Nothing is as good as the dream of it. Reality is insipid.

Even if we possessed all that we wanted in the world and more, eventually, a day would come when the discontent would once again set in. That strange, indefinable discontent. A wrongness, lodged like a stone in one’s essence.

Some seek escape from it through art, and the egotistical desires tangled up with creation.

Some in beauty, fame, wealth and power.

Little toys to amuse little children. Our parents aren’t coming; they’ve left us at the nursery to die, alone. Whenever this reality sinks in, we thrust it away and distract ourselves by playing and painting and enjoying ourselves.

Why is this so? Wherefore does this unhappiness underlie everything? I loathe it. It makes me squirm with discomfort and feel a hankering to do something mad: set jewels into my pupils, jump off a plane, pet a tiger, climb up the side of a dome. Something to feel alive, to not feel the feeling of being.

Quite similar to the sensation of a young writer whose head bubbles with fantastical worlds and ideas, yet does not have the skill and experience to properly bring them to life. A sort of perpetual precipice of frustration that compels one to scream at the surrounding cliffs until the thousands of stone nooks and crannies and caves echo with the howl of one’s voice, multiplying in millions of tiny screams upon screams.

Everything feels like an echo of an echo.