A Special Feeling

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I am going to attempt to describe something I have felt many times before but have never properly put into words. It’s a feeling, what I’m trying to describe, or more of a mood, of sorts. It’s hard to put into words, it really is: it’s like trying to explain the taste of salt to someone who has never had any before, or colours to a person born blind and in the dark. There’s something transcendent and untouchable about it. The spirit animal of this feeling would be an albatross, drifting upon the winds against an overcast sky at a beach. That, my friends, is the “feeling” of this feeling. Okay. Here goes.

It only comes during the early hours of the morning, when the sun is only just beginning to rise, and the world is cool and quiet. It’s magic, I think. It’s dewdrops and anticipation and dying stars. Everything just sort of feels mysterious and wonderful, like when you stare at a spiderweb after it rains, the raindrops glistening on its silken strands. You are alone in the world, and yet, you are not. You are with the characters inside books. You are with long-dead authors who inscribed the words of their novels at these particular times, in the wee hours of the morning. You are with everyone on this entire planet, breathing in and out, full of life, of blood and sunlight.

There is no horror at this time of the day. No nightmares. It is a quiet time, when the baby lies in the cradle and is still asleep. The world is the baby, still asleep, still dreaming, and you are its mother, watching on, full of love and silent awe at this beautiful creature. This is the time of rich, earthy soils, so dark it is like the richest, most moist chocolate cake in the world, and of the tips of noses peeking out of burrows, investigative, inquisitive. It is the time of beetles that buzz and spin like clockwork and angels hiding in cathedrals. You are standing on the ground, inside your home, but you are also floating, like a star, hanging in the middle of the tapestry of life, everything glowing in bright pinpoints. When you make wishes at this time, they will almost certainly come true.

The best place to be standing when this feeling sweeps over you is at a door that overlooks a garden or some grass, with a cup of hot chocolate in your hand and a nice, comfy cardigan wrapped around you. Because when the sun comes up, the feeling, the magic, disappears, like Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage and horses and gown. The sun comes up, and it burns everything out; or, if it ends up being overcast, gloom settles, like an overgrown blanket, over the land, and everything is thick and stuffy. What this feeling is, ultimately, is pure childhood. As a child, for you, all was wondrous and fascinating, and at this time of the day, you return to that place again, woven back into that safe, snug pocket when every bumblebee was a shooting star and even the cracks in the pavement looked up at you like smiles. Oh, it’s so difficult to describe it, so hard to put into words; if only feelings could be distilled, like water, and then given to other people to be drunk, so they could experience it as well: this feeling is a kind of otherworldly loneliness: you feel completely alone, yet the world is so beautiful, all around you, soft and sleeping, just starting to stir, that you don’t mind it at all. It is happiness, a time when you spent your hours reading books and watching cartoons and playing make-believe, too in love with life to breathe or speak. It is the feeling you had as a child about Easter eggs, those striped and spotted colourful things hidden in nooks and crannies, chocolate delights waiting to be found. The colour of this feeling is the colour of water itself, smooth and beautiful, bright and sparkling.

Treasure this feeling, if you know what I am talking about, if my attempts at putting it into words has reached you in some way, because I do believe it is the closest thing humans have to real magic, and that, my friends, is something quite special.

A Rambling Diary Entry

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What to write about? For once, my ideas ran dry when I put my fingers to the keys, and I found myself completely at a loss as to what to say. So I’ll just let this piece be a stream of consciousness, kind of like a diary entry, and I hope you find some worth in it.

It’s strange, but I feel as though only now am I beginning to see life clearly and properly. As a kid, everything was so fun and every little thing a “big deal”, but now, as I’ve grown older, I’m finding life to be quite ordinary and mundane, even the exciting things, like going on holidays. Granted, I haven’t been going on holidays, but I have been watching tours of countries of Europe on Youtube, and that is almost just as good as visiting the places yourself, and it seems to me something even as fun as travelling could get boring after a while, if you do it for long enough. None of the books I read I find interesting anymore, nor do I find any movies particularly riveting. Life has turned into a blank canvas, and there’s no-one to paint on it to make it look more interesting, not even myself.

What is life, anyway? A blip, really, a short little nick on the surface of consciousness. One moment we are alive, the next we are dead and gone, returned as matter to the universe, to rot in the ground and float away as ashes on the wind. It just seems so pointless, sometimes, though I know people say that life is meant to be an adventure and you’re meant to go along it for the ride. But what if the ride is going very slowly, or has completely stopped? Then what? I’m still very young, and have years ahead of me, and suddenly I’m not looking forward to them with anticipation but with dread, because they promise only more boredom, the same old mundane reality as before. Wouldn’t it be amazing if something truly out of the ordinary happened, like a mass quarantine to prevent the spread of a disease, or something like that? Not anything that would truly hurt people very much, just something to spice things up a little, the way a fire drill might make school more exciting. Or if the Hunger games really started to happen? No, I take that back: that would be horrific, not exciting; but you get my drift. I just desperately want something to happen, something to break the monotony.

I suppose once I start studying and get myself occupied doing more things than just blogging things will seem much less bleak. Occupation, I’ve found, is the true antidote to boredom, and I can’t wait to start studying and then working, hopefully as a nurse in the near future, so that I have something to do with my time. Being useful, having some utility in this world, and working steadily most days, is, I believe the secret to happiness, not wealth and riches, because that can lead to boredom and idleness. There are only so many diamond rings you can buy and designer clothes you can try on before the “rich life” becomes dull. Let’s see. What else is there to say? I made chicken bone soup today. I bought the chicken myself, cooked it, made it into some chicken sushi, then I boiled the bones with some purple coins for a couple of hours in a pot on the stove. The broth was quite thin, but it was still a pale brown and full of nutrients, so that was nice. That, in case you were wondering, was the highlight of my day yesterday, making food, because I didn’t end up writing a blog post because I didn’t know what to write about. From now on, though, I’ll try to write everyday, if only for something to do, even if most of what I write is aimless like this piece. At the very least I am still writing. I have entirely given up on my fiction writing, my ideas have completely run dry and I have not a smidge of creativity left in my brain. It’s true. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know why, but along with the boredom has come a dearth of creative ideas. I’m really not the happiest camper at the moment, and I certainly hope you’re doing much better than I am.

 

Send Me A Miracle

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Lately, because I’ve been so bored with life, I’ve started praying to God for a miracle. Now, while I don’t entirely believe God exists, some part of me believes He does, and that was the part of me that was praying to Him these past couple of days. I wanted a miracle. No, I didn’t want Noah’s Ark to come trundling up to my front doorstep or anything like that; what I wanted was for something interesting and out of the ordinary to happen to me, just to break up the monotony of the days a little.

Isn’t that what we all want? To win a million dollars, accidentally meet a handsome stranger on the street, or land a book deal? A miracle? An ordinary but extra-ordinary happenstance? Incidentally, while I was praying, I did receive a miracle of a kind—there came a rumble of thunder from outside, signaling the arrival of a storm, though a natural miracle, while there are plenty of those in my life, wasn’t exactly what I was asking for. Because, at the end of the day, to be honest with you, as someone whose studies haven’t started and whose friendships mostly exist on the Internet, and especially since my fiction writing has taken a nosedive, I have become supremely bored with life. To give you an idea of how bored I am, writing these blog posts is the sole thing I have to truly occupy myself during the day. For the rest of the time, I visit the library, go grocery shopping, clean and prepare meals—and that’s basically it. Before writing this, I was lying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling, facing another day with nothing very much to do, which is why I decided to pray for a miracle, for something to break up the boredom, for a good solid ten minutes. These past few weeks have really made me aware just how much money is needed if you want to have some fun in this life, to go on holidays and purchase delicious food, or even to fund a little shopping spree. Without money, and work, life becomes a treadmill at a standstill, a photograph instead of a movie. I have neither of these at the moment—I’m not studying, and I have very little spending money, as well as few friends—so I’m left to my own devices for most days,  and my own company, I have found, isn’t always the best there is to be had.

I wish for things, so many things. I wish I lived in a nice house I owned, with wardrobes filled with beautiful clothes. I wish I had many friends, so I could invite them all to my house for dinner parties and other occasions. I wish I had the money to go on holidays, and trips, and to eat out at fancy restaurants. I wish I had a job that earned a good income and which I enjoyed. I wish—I wish—I wish—But these are all wishes, and while I am sure they will come true eventually, even when they do come true, I’m certain I would be bored of them, and have another whole different set of wishes to go with my boredom. Everything gets boring after a while, that’s the problem, no matter how charmed or un-charmed the life. Variety is what truly matters, and to have a variety of experiences, you have to go out and seek them, and often doing so, such as going to new places, requires a fair bit of money which I simply do not have right now. Ah, well. One must be content with the simple things in life; at the very least I am not living in a war-torn country,, or dying of thirst or starvation. But that doesn’t make it entirely better, because sometimes I feel as though I very well would rather die than suffer another moment’s worth of boredom again.

20 Habits of INFPs

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  1. Taking different routes to places because they feel more “unique” and “exciting”, like following fairy trails or something like that.
  2. Always trying very hard to focus on the other person and their face when speaking to them, in case we look like we are bored and are daydreaming, as we often are.
  3. Unable to resist the urge to try and befriend cats, and always getting disappointed when they turn out to be wild, feline creatures who do not warm up to us as much as they should.
  4. Falling in love with someone from afar. That’s it. There’s no plot twist, no ending: the only thing that happens in this love story is that the young woman or man pines beneath the balcony forever, while everyone else happily goes on with their lives, including the object of their affection.
  5. Wanting to be a writer but unable to realise this dream completely because of one’s scatterbrained nature or the reality of earning an income in this world.
  6. Scrolling through career options late into the night for the same careers or jobs—childcare worker, nurse, and other “caring” careers—just to reassure yourself that you do have some utility in this world despite your daydreamy nature.
  7. Feeling an urge to drop everything and escape to a farm somewhere and never letting this urge become a reality. Because INFPs, in case you haven’t noticed, are not good with reality.
  8. Wanting to escape into fictional worlds and lives for all eternity so the realities of life, such as earning a living in this world, never have to be faced.
  9. Feeling so lost in life in terms of career options you could scream, because it seems you were born for nothing more than sitting around in meadows, picking flowers and philosophising on the meaning of life. Unfortunately for us, no-one in their right mind would pay someone to do that.
  10. Making a decision to eat only organic and healthy food because that way one is more “in balance” with nature, but then giving it up because junk food is too tempting and you get too depressed not to rely on it sometimes.
  11. Contemplating, after realising how limited one’s career options are and how most of the ones INFPs seem suited for pay not very much at all, how bad would homelessness be, really, I mean, as long as you’re not starving it can’t be too bad, right?
  12. Wishing you were born into a different family, one that was able to nurture your sensitive, creative nature instead of trampling all over it, or worse, ignoring your “special needs” as an INFP offspring.
  13. Being unable to find things. Period. I don’t know about you, but there seriously must be an invisible wormhole following me around for much of my days, because that’s the only plausible reason I can give for losing everything I own.
  14. Gazing wistfully at other people and their lives and wondering how they manage to have it all together so well, so perfectly- poised and comfortable and happy. I can’t remember the last time I was utterly comfortable and happy in this world.
  15. Watching episodes of your favourite TV show instead of doing more important things, like chores. Actually, scratch that—reading books instead of doing chores, because reading is a much more pleasurable activity than pretty much anything else.
  16. Completing chores improperly. What do you mean, the dishes are still a little greasy? And that spot on the floor, I missed it? Well, I must have been thinking of something else.
  17. Getting lost when you go to new places and panicking to no end because when you get lost, you feel like you’ve fallen off the edge of the Earth and will never find your way home again.
  18. Rescuing tiny creatures, like slugs or ants, saving them from being flushed down the drain or drowning in a puddle of water. Because you care.
  19. Always being the friend who supports/admires/helps/compliments the other louder and more rambunctious friend, while silently daydreaming and writing on the side whenever you think the other friend isn’t looking.
  20. Having a long list of coping mechanisms for dealing with the realities of life—such as writing lists like these, eating junk food, and watching various movies—that do nothing whatsoever to help you to deal with the realities of life.

When Everything Seems Difficult

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One of the first signs that depression hasn’t completely released its hold on your life is if everything seems difficult, from the smallest of tasks, such as brushing one’s teeth, to bigger jobs, like applying for courses and making grown-up purchases. For me, it’s as if my brain has become, after the depressive episode, stuck in a kind of rut. In the past, I used to be able to write words and sentences with ease; now, they trip and stumble over each other on their way from my brain to the page, heavy and loaded with insecurities. When before I used to be able to immerse myself in fictional world for hours on end, now I find it a stretch to even write one scanty page of fiction a day.

It’s as if my mind has blacklisted, without asking me, all the tasks that I once found fun and enjoyable, and have now made them unbearable chores. It’s one of the reasons why I find it highly unlikely I’ll get published in my lifetime at this rate—not if even the writing of words sends me down a crazy spiral of despair! And to make matters worse, this lack of motivation and energy stretches to all domains of one’s life. Not only do I find the prospect of applying for my Diploma of Nursing next year complicated and unbearable, but I also find the very idea of finding a significant other and settling down and having a family an immense chore in the future, which, if I do manage to attain it, will require only more hard work and sweat and blood and tears. Laziness isn’t the reason for this—if that were the case, all I had to do was give myself a good talking to—but something more, a lassitude and lethargy of the soul, that makes all of existence as boring and monotonous as pushing pebbles up a hill with your fingers.

I feel terribly tiny and insignificant a lot of the time, and it is not a nice feeling. Sometimes, what I feel is anxiety—fear of homelessness, of not having food to eat or a roof over one’s head—but other times it’s this blank loneliness, wherein I feel myself to be little more than a speck of dust on the wind. In a sea of billions, I am nothing, and whether I live happily or miserably, die early or late, it matters little to the world, to the universe. Perhaps God, if He exists, cares, and a handful of people on the planet, but other than that, you and I, each and everyone of us, are tiny ants crawling across the surface of the planet, going about our daily lives, with our small cares and worries. Inevitably such thinking leads me back down into a state of depression, and I try to claw myself out of it by reminding myself that I am a miracle, and a part of nature and the Universe just like any other organism.

Life is hard. I think it’s hard because humans don’t really know what we want, and when we do get what we want, we often find we do not like it. Everything seems better when seen through the lens of “in-the-future”, but when that particular future becomes the present, we find that whatever we wanted–a family, a car, a house, a better job–actually makes life just as mundane and ordinary as when we didn’t possess it. And that’s the problem—after this depressive episode, I don’t know who I am or what I want anymore. At the moment, my only goal is to study so that I can eventually find a job and support myself financially, and that in itself will be a large mountain to surmount, but after that? Or during it? What do I want? Now that I no longer have the prospect of becoming a fiction writer in my life, I am left adrift, my identity scattered and broken. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put myself back together again.

 

 

 

Ways the World Could Be A Better Place For INFPs

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INFPs should have their own island. There, I said it, but it’s true: I sincerely believe that placing all INFPs on a particular island somewhere, preferably a place abundant in fresh springs and fruits, would be a good idea. So much of the world is industrialised these days, cities filled with bustling and busy people, that the entire planet has almost become a place difficult for INFPs to live on. A quiet island somewhere, a quiet retreat, dotted with clusters of libraries and crawling with cats, would be the perfect place for INFPs to live and flourish, for endless golden days.

Basic universal income should be introduced, whereby everyone is given just enough to live on—the barest minimum—so that way, artistic and creative people, as INFPs often are, can chase their dreams of becoming artists and writers without getting worried they’ll end up on the streets. Introducing a basic universal income will take the stress of money out of life for INFPs, who want very little in terms of material goods, and give us the time and opportunity to flourish in our own quiet and simple ways, without the threat of homelessness or unemployment hanging over us everyday simply because of the way we are—introverted daydreamers aren’t very hot on the job market—or our career aspirations.

The world would be a better place for INFPs if INFPs actually had their own “group” and “leader”, the way some political parties have their own leaders. Working together as  a team, we could advocate  for things for INFPs, such as the construction of quieter libraries, or a lack of discrimination towards introverted daydreamers when it comes to jobs. It would be almost like having your own family, except the famiy would be made up of thousands of other people who are INFPs but strangers, a kind of support network that I imagine would surely be very useful and comforting for many INFPs living in the world today.

Another good idea, as an alternative to the island, is to set up lots of INFP centres around the place, in every country on the globe. These would be safe havens for INFPS, filled with books, cats and other INFPs, for INFPs to go to when their home or work life in the modern world is getting unbearable (as it often does). Entry would require the applicant to fill in a Myers-Brigg test and have it turn out to be INFP, as well as the gauging of the prospective applicant’s personality  by various members of the faculty, and free food and water would be provided, just enough for a person to live on, and here INFPs, in the company of other dreamers, and plenty of books, movies and animals, pillows and dreamcatchers and comfort, would be able to rewind and recover. Everyone needs a refuge, and I can imagine little more perfect than official refuges for INFPs all over the world.

Another Dreamer’s Rambling

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These days I can’t help feeling a little bored and disillusioned with life. It’s hard to explain exactly why this melancholy has fallen upon me, but I feel almost as though reality has nothing very exciting to offer anymore. I can see my life mapped out before me, very clearly–a lot of studying, followed by working, then perhaps meeting someone and starting my own family, going on holidays if I can save up for them and spending time with family and friends—and it just doesn’t seem the least  bit novel or interesting. Reality is bland, as bland as the world you see before you at the very moment, and perhaps this particular dreamer is being too ungrateful—after all, reality still has many wonderful things to offer, think of the wonders of nature!—but that is the way I feel at the moment, and that, I believe, is the way things will stay.

Everything seems like a game to me, with money the social lubricant. All of society is set up like some immense game, with investments in particular things, like stocks or education, leading to increases in money, which leads to increases in pleasures, like nice food or holidays, bigger houses and better cars. Very shallow and materialistic, if you ask me, and also very isolating; I don’t know about you, but there’s something about modern society that feels very lonely, as if people, in their cars, on their way to work, or driven by some force to be separate from one another. This “game-like” quality to society was one of the reasons I got so depressed a while back—I felt like I couldn’t play the game at all, because  I was such an introverted daydreamer that no jobs were suited to me, and I couldn’t succeed as a writer—though thankfully I am no over that and once more feel myself to be capable of being a productive member of society. So this dreamer will play the game, if only for a chance to gain at some happiness.

I can’t imagine finding someone, though, and by “someone”, yes, I do mean a significant other. Sometimes, to reassure myself, I remind myself that there are 7 billion people on the planet for a reason, so that even the most introverted and awkward of people certainly eventually find a mate. Still, it is hard to imagine someone entering my life in that particular way, if you know what I mean, something so entirely foreign and strange about it. I’m so accustomed to life revolving around my mother and brother that I can’t envision another person entering the scene, penetrating the defences of my heart, and becoming enfolded into my life. As a child, I longed for the typical marriage, for the perfect white wedding and my Prince in Charming, but now that I’ve grown older, my view on love and romance as changed, become more realistic, and all I hope for is someone who is reasonably good-looking, has a job and life of his own, and is kind. Even the idea of someone expressing interest in me is  unbelievable, to the point where if someone actually did show an interest in me,  I think I could feel as though reality had warped out of shape for a split second, gone awry.

Until July, which is when my course starts, I won’t have much to do–and finding a part-time job, for this particular introverted dreamer, has not been the easiest of things–so I’ll probably be posting one blog post a day, simply because I have so much spare time, and because my fiction writing crawls along at a snail pace, at the rate of a page a day, to stave off boredom. So I’m definitely back for good, though I’m not too sure how I am going to fill the next four months. I’m thinking of doing some volunteering, or perhaps visiting the library a little more often than I already do, to borrow books to read, and seeing as I have nothing else to do a little housework. It’s still not much, though, and I’m afraid of my depressive episode returning if I stay at home for too long doing nothing very much. C’est la vie.

What This INFP Has Been Up To

 

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So it’s been a while since I’ve posted or written anything on this blog, but there has been good reason for it. For the last half year or so, I descended into a period I like to call “productive depression”. I was most definitely depressed, because I had all the symptoms—low mood, lethargy, complete lack of interest in activities, etc.—but at the same time, I was still able to write snippets here and there of my own fiction, so the entire period of time I was away wasn’t entirely wasted.

Finally, after a hospital stay for suicidal thoughts, I am partially healed of my depression and have returned to the blogosphere, to continue writing my thoughts and sharing with the internet my own, little life. So what, exactly, have I been up to, apart from moping about and trying not to kill myself? Well, I completed an 8,000 word children’s book, which I have already sent in to a publisher, but I don’t even have my fingers crossed for it because I have very little hope my horrible little book will be published. It just won’t happen, I can feel it, but at the very least I did something during my depressive episode, at least I did practice my writing a little bit.

Because of anxiety and depression, I had to leave school early, which means that I have needed to quickly find some way of gaining education that would lead to employment, because, suffice to say, this particular INFP has realized that her dream of becoming a writer, at least for now, will certainly not put food on the table; so in July this year, I will be enrolling in an Aged Care course that will allow me to take care of elderly people in a residential setting, helping them with tasks such as showering, eating, toileting and the like. It is not the most glamorous of jobs, but it will put food on the table, and even INFPs need to be realistic sooner or later when it comes to earning money; and after a while, if I want, I can transition into nursing by doing a Diploma of Nursing and then going on to do a Bachelor of Nursing, and becoming a Division 1 Nurse, So, basically, I will work in the aged care industry or go on to become a nurse, and do my writing on the side, as a sort of hobby, because the publishing industry is a very hard nut to crack, and I just don’t think my writing ability or the quality of my work is good enough to get published yet.

It’s not the most ideal path—I mean, I’m not too sure if INFPs are completely cut out for working with elderly people, I am a very caring person and I certainly would like taking care of and conversing with old people, but there is the small matter of dealing with difficult elderly people, who might have dementia or behavioural issues, that I am rather concerned about, simply because, like a typical INFP, I am terrible at dealing with aggression of any kind. However one needs to put food on the table, and this is the best educational option suited to my temperament that I have at the moment, especially since it will be a long time, if ever, before my writing pays for necessities like food and rent, so I’m sticking with it for now.

Anything else? Oh, yes. I cut my hair. Yes, that’s right: during my depressive episode, I cut all my hair off, until I practically looked like a man. Well, no, I still look like a woman, but it does, in my opinion, look very ugly; I feel exactly like a shorn sheep, bedraggled and naked. All my long, silky, beautiful black hair I cut off, because I was so depressed and felt like doing something earth-shattering and immense to snap myself out of my depressive state at the time, and now it will take forever to grow back. It’s a small and insignificant thing, perhaps, to the people around me, but to me, it’s enormous and horrible, and I feel almost as though I will never be beautiful again. It’ll take two years, at the very least, for it to grow back to shoulder-length, because my hair is very thick and grows very slowly, and in the meantime, I am miserable and morose whenever I look into a mirror.

As for my writing—well, this INFP is having very mixed feelings at the moment about her writing. Almost every INFP I know likes writing, and I am no different, but to make a career out of it, especially in fiction writing (in particular, fantasy, the genre I like to write in) is something very difficult to do indeed. My problem at the moment is that while I might have brilliant flashes of inspiration, I find it very difficult to flesh them out into proper books, with proper characters and things that happen; more often than not, whenever I try to write fiction, I just start off with a great idea that peters out into nothing, because I don’t have the ability or the writing skills to truly turn a seed of an idea into a flourishing beanstalk of a book. It’s very aggravating, and something that makes me feel as though I will never become a writer, never be published, because ideas without execution are nothing, little less than leaves on the wind. So this particular INFP is getting a bit more realistic about her airy-fairy dreams, and going into aged care instead—sometimes, the real world will break your heart, because unfortunately, banks are stronger and more powerful than castles in the air.

And money is something I cannot live without at the moment. I am turning 20 this year, and have very little money to my name, and still live with my single mother, who works as a cleaner and doesn’t earn very much at all. What’s more, what I’ve discovered with writing is that I can’t pursue it full-time, because whenever I write for too long, I get stuck, and the characters and the descriptions of the world start to go nowhere. Basically, my optimum level of writing, I’ve found, is a page of words a day, if I want to keep myself from getting bored with my own writing, and at that pace, I end up turning out short, mediocre childrens’ fantasy books. Not a good omen for a future in the publishing industry, I can tell you that. So in order to earn money I’ve had to be more realistic; even dreamers, after all, need to eat. I’ll be writing more posts soon—I’ve returned for good this time—especially about romance, and my own loneliness as a young INFP who has never so much as dabbled in the world of love—so keep tuned. I hope everyone is well, and has been doing much better than I have been.

Why Do I Write?

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Sometimes, I feel as though the only reason I write is because a lot of the time, I get lonely, and very bored, and writing is one of the best balms for both such ailments.

Characters, for instance when you are lost in their worlds and troubles, help you feel less alone, even if only temporarily (and isn’t that the case with people in real life, as well? Even if you were to snuggle up close to someone, your cheek pressed to theirs, and spend the entire night whispering your thoughts to them, your minds would still remain separate, and always would be). With writing, you also have the freedom—the luxury—to make the lives’ of your characters and the world they inhabit as interesting and fascinating as you want it to be, limited only by your imagination, and live vicariously through them to boot. In short, while others turn to drink, sex, gambling or other addictions to stave off their boredom and loneliness, I turn to writing, to the opium of fantasy and the drug of the imagination, even though, just like drugs and alcohol, it isn’t able to completely fill the empty spaces inside my heart.

Here’s something they don’t really tell you when you’re kid: the truth is, life is mostly made up of boredom, loneliness, pain and confusion. Much of life is dark, and dreary. Thus, to make things less terrible, to cope with this horrible reality, we tell each other stories, or tell ourselves stories—and that’s where the entertainment business, ranging from movies to books, comes in. Like scared, little animals huddling around a campfire, with darkness lurking around us, we tell each other tales to keep each other warm, and distract ourselves from the vast emptiness of the world, the wolves lurking in the woods beyond the flames.

I have quite a few “comfort” fantasies up my sleeve, which I take out when I am in particular need of a good fix. Most of my comfort fantasies are exciting and romantic tales, where I find myself stranded somewhere with a bunch of brave adventurers, one of whom is particularly dashing and handsome. Together, we venture across the lands, helping one another out of tight spots, sleeping in hammocks and camping under bridges. At the end of our journey, I fall in love, and together, the dashing and handsome fellow and I ride off into the sunset—well, we ride off towards the library, to live out the rest of our days amongst books and cats, in conjugal happiness. These days, though, even the prospect of falling in love, of “finding someone” is starting to grow lacklustre. You see, even if I do find someone, the loneliness, pain, boredom, sadness and confusion will still be there. I don’t think those feelings are anything a single person can eradicate. Yet I use romance as an escape, anyway, as I am sure millions of men and women all over the world do, because it is a fantasy that fits in so neatly with my idealism and my deep desire to be loved. Were I to find myself in a relationship with someone in real life, I am certain, after a while, things would begin to feel quite boring and normal again. That’s why I like books, you see—once you get bored of reading one, you can just cast it aside and pick up another and dive into that one, whereas if you practice the same method with people you are considered a douchebag and will probably, if you’re as desperate to do the “right” thing as I am, die of guilt.

In my teenage years, I used to long to look into a pair of eyes that would look back at me with understanding, and empathy. I have given up on that possibility; most of the eyes I look into these days are rather dead, and hold no kinship. Instead, I have learned to seek kinship and solace from dead people. Now, it’s not what you think—I promise you I’m not scurrying to the nearest graveyard at night and digging up corpses and asking them to love me or anything. No, what I mean by that is, I have realised that sometimes the people one might have got along very well with unfortunately have a habit of existing some years before one’s time. Like Sylvia Plath, for instance. Just by reading her writing, I can tell we are kindred spirits, that she, introverted and creative, depressive and tormented, would have been a very good companion to have in my more darker moments. But she’s dead. She’s dead. She killed herself, in fact. So the only thing I can take solace from are the pieces of her she left behind—her words. And then there are others, like Emily Dickinson, or Emily Bronte, these odd, solitary, introverted women, whose hearts were full of such great feeling, whose voices have only remained because they preserved them in words—why, they’re my best of friends, you know. Through their words, they have reached out to me beyond the confines of space and time, reached out and touched my heart, and whispered into my ears, “You are not alone.” They may be dead, but they still matter a great deal to me, and that, I think, is why writing, and books, are the closest thing humans have to pure magic.

So, why do I write? To cure, if only temporarily, my loneliness and boredom. But there is another, bigger reason why I spend so much time alone, spending hours slaving away, painstakingly putting down words on paper about people who do not exist and who live in worlds that do not exist: and that is to cure the boredom and loneliness of other people who read my words, some of whom might even read them long after I, myself, am dead. Adrift on the seas of life, we send out our messages in bottles, hoping some of them might reach other ships—and they do. They do. And that somehow makes the effort of sailing the seas, braving the storms and the waves, entirely worth it.

A Little Ramble

Well, I was going to come up with some snazzy thing to write about for today’s blog post, but inspiration seems to have taken a dive into the proverbial garbage bin (what do you mean there’s no such thing as a proverbial garbage bin?) so I decided to just spill some of the most recent thoughts that have been running through my mind, just for the heck of it.

You know, for the longest time I swore I would never have any biological children, and even if the urge were to come upon me to have messy little people running around my legs around the house (that’s presuming I’ll even be able to afford a house at sometime in the near future) I would adopt instead of having to go through the complicated and painful business of childbirth. After all, there are indeed quite a lot of children without mothers and fathers in this world, and this, coupled with the problem of overpopulation, makes adoption the most logical, intelligent and humane choice.

But then I got to thinking, and realised that perhaps childbirth and adoptions were two entirely different kettles of fish. I think there is something in the connection a mother feels with her own child, one she gave birth to, that is absent from the connection a woman has with an adopted kid, no matter how much she might love the child. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe something else. All I knew was, at the end of that bit of pondering, I realised I did actually want to have my own children one day, even if at this point in my life the very thought of being in a relationships seems a laughable impossibility.

Which then got me thinking about other relationships, and so forth. I’ve realised that the best way to determine whether a relationship is any good for you is whether it feels good. A lot of people, when they form bonds with other people, don’t take into consideration whether the other party makes them feel very happy and comfortable, which is why a lot of people end up in bad relationships. Instead, they form bonds for the wrong reasons—such as looks or status—or for unconscious reasons, such as in an attempt to replicate a relationship they had with a parent so as to, on a subconscious level, obtain the love of their mother and father they never received as a child. Good relationships, no matter how short the duration—an exchange with a cashier at the grocery store is a relationship, brief though it may be—make you feel good, and therefore if someone doesn’t make you feel good and happy, then maybe you should question whether you should let them remain in your life or allow their opinions and attitudes to affect you.

When it comes to relationships, you should never settle. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. For many years, I spent time around people I didn’t like and didn’t care about, ignoring the feeling of “wrongness” inside my gut whenever I was around them, smiling when I didn’t want to smile, talking when I didn’t want to talk, and, in the end, those relationships trailed off into nothing. What I learned from that very dark period of my life was this: it is better to be alone than to be in bad company. Take it from me. Being surrounded by the wrong people can honestly make you feel like you’re dying a very slow and painful death, the blood gushing from your mouth and eyes in red tides, while no-one around you seems to notice. Not a nice feeling. Not at all.

Something else I have been pondering a great deal about recently is the small matter of loneliness. All my life, I’ve struggled with loneliness, and it has only been in recent times that I’ve had a good look at this dark little portion of my soul and tried to come to terms with it. And I think I finally have. Accepted loneliness, that is. Accepted it, good and proper. In the past, I never really did. Whenever I got lonely, I would just let it eat away at me on the inside, like rats chewing away at my guts. But the thing is, loneliness is one’s only lifelong companion, from birth to death, and so the only way to deal with it is to accept it, and try find a way to happy in spite of it. That’s the way I see it, at least.

You know what’s something I’ve always thought was rather strange? The fact that there are such an awful lot of people on this planet even while relationships are so very gnarly and tangled things. I mean, how do people even manage to get together, and get close and intimate enough as two human beings to produce children? Is there some unseen and very powerful mechanism which allows the human species to continue, or are we only surviving because a billions of people over the course of history have decided they like sex a very great deal and think children will provide more meaning to their life? It’s the most puzzling thing, and it’s something I haven’t exactly figured out yet—though I’ll be sure to tell you when I do.