It’s a funny thing, love.
It’s completely uncontrollable. You couldn’t possibly control it—you couldn’t possible force it, not in a million years. Not with the all the money and promises in the world.
I’m in a bit of a melancholy mood today. I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood, and of my teenage years, the strange sort of happiness that comes with “youth” (I place youth in quotation marks simply because I’m still considered quite young, at the tender age of 21) and being oblivious to the world and all it holds. If anything, as I’ve grown older, and learned more about the world, I’ve grown more jaded and old, not old in the physical sense, but in my mind and my heart. I feel as though I trust people far less, that I’ve seen the ugly side of life, seen the scabs and wounds underneath the make-up and masks, realised the truth of people’s hearts and found out what motivations lie behind people’s tick-ticking eyes.
I’ve always thought I needed to dig deep within myself to find the characters I write about, to flesh out their hopes, dreams and desires—and that’s what I do. But in doing so, I’ve realised how little I truly understand myself. Sure, I am quite self-aware and introspective—anyone who glances at my blog can tell you that—but who I really am, deep in the innermost parts of my heart, is sometimes a mystery even to myself, just like my characters, no matter well I write them, always have parts of themselves that surprise even me. Am I surprising? Do you ever ask yourself that question? Do you ever wonder what lies at the core of you, what you would do under extreme situations or pressure, who would come rearing out of you, a lion or a lamb? As I type this, I’m listening to a childhood favourite song of mine from the Lizzie McGuire movie called “What Dreams Are Made of”. It’s tune is so reminiscent of my childhood it makes my heart ache just to listen to it. I remember what my childhood was like—idyllic. Incredibly idyllic. A happy family, a happy home. Before my father left me. Before the man I loved with all my heart abandoned me. Before I realised that not even my father was strong enough to shelter me from the world’s pain. I grew up with books, movies and films, outings, visits to restaurants—we didn’t have much, but since we grew up in a first-world country, we had enough, and whatever money was leftover after the bills were paid were lavished upon myself and my siblings. I was lucky. I still am.
It’s strange how much of a hold your biological parents and siblings have over your life, especially if you’ve grown up with them. It’s a kind of bond entirely different from the kind you make with people who do not share your blood, or you haven’t grown up around, a kind of deep-seated familiarity nothing can undo. Then again, sometimes I scorn this relationship—aren’t the relationships we choose later on in life just as strong? But no, there’s something about growing up with someone that strengthens a relationship like nothing else. And it can’t be faked. If you’re biological family member was an absolute terror, there’s no changing that, and you couldn’t force yourself to love them, even if you tried.
I’m wondering about the next chapter of my life. The chapter of my life where I fall in love and have children, build a home of my own. I’m wondering about that. I’m also wondering about how many jealous and cruel people there are in the world. For some reason, I seem to attract them the way food attracts flies. And don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing particularly special about me, not my looks, not my intelligence, not in the way I carry myself; but I’m certain there’s a look in my eyes I get sometimes, as if they’re staring out at the sky instead of at you, that makes me people feel on edge around me and wonder if I’ll become more than they’ll ever be, even if it is only imaginary.
Children. A husband. A house. Holidays and money. The ordinary life. In an ordinary world. Is that what I want? Is that the life I’m headed towards? I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed beyond having a book published and for it to be enjoyed by people all over the world. I honestly haven’t really looked at my life beyond that. I haven’t craved things, like mansions or visits to five-star hotels. With the internet at my fingertips, and the ability to imagine myself into any magical world I desire, I have to admit, I am quite content, if not completely at ease. I sometimes wonder if I spend far too much time in the world of the imaginary than reality. My mother always complains that I’m off thinking about “magic” when I should face the real world and think about my future employment opportunities—but the real world is so dreary and boring, so awfully real, that I can’t help but want to retreat into books, films and movies, where everything is lovely and entrancing. I can’t help it. Oftentimes—heck, what am I saying, all the time—the magical worlds inside books and films seem more real and life-like than the real world, even though one is meant to be only a facsimile and imitation of the other. I mean, there’s nothing like a real person, is there, compared to a character? People are usually never so interesting as characters, and sometimes, characters are far more interesting than real, live people. Or it’s the other way around. Characters are exaggerations and unrealistic, full of quirks and hopes manufactured by the writer, while real people, made of blood, flesh and bone, are realistic, and have motivations and passions ruled by real hearts and minds.
Honestly, it’s very late, and this is just a stream-of-consciousness spewing forth from my mind; I hardly know what I am saying. I just finished reading a book called “Memoirs of a Geisha”, it was a marvellous book, but it made me feel terribly inferior about my own writing, because the writer’s prose is absolutely perfect and glides along from sentence to sentence, page to page, like a swan. I sometimes wonder why I am alive. I really do. Is it just to live an ordinary life, to live and die, or does some great destiny await me? Am I special at all, if everyone else in the world has these same thoughts sometimes, and why, in the world, do I want to be so special, anyway, except for the sake of my ego?
It really is strange. I want to belong, yet I want to stand out. I think, deep down, everyone feels this way, this desire to be special and different but accepted, recognised and loved. I think, in the end, it comes back full circle: we all want to be loved. To be accepted. To belong. When it happens, we are content, but when it doesn’t, we start to hurt ourselves and each other, turn nasty and jealous, cruel and conniving. I’ve had peculiar instances of people trying to gain the upper hand or intimidate me, from placing a hand on the same pole I am gripping on a bus and staring snootily down at me, to getting on her scooter and going faster than me the moment I started to run and glancing over her shoulder to see how far she had left me behind, to speaking outright insults to my face. And I wonder if they were all searching for love, or lacking some kind of love, deep inside. If someone had just made their dreams come true or their husband properly kiss them or their job a little more pleasant, would they have treated me that way?
I better go to sleep. This post is already turning into an essay, as all of my posts tend to do. I wish you a good night (or a good morning or afternoon, depending on your time-zone), and I hope you find love in your life. I hope if anyone picks on you, you remember that you are a child of God and stronger than them—but also to remember to bless them, because those who hurt you are in great pain themselves. They hurt you in order to try and take their pain out on you, but it never works. It never does.