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Old thoughts and new thoughts

I seem to be recycling my thoughts instead of coming up with something new... Here's something from over a year ago.

* * *

I am frequently accused of not liking people, possibly because I walk around saying that I don't like people. Which is true, but not for the reasons you'd assume.

It's not because I think of humans as inherently stupid, weak or evil. My problem is that I am an optimist. I believe that people are brave, intelligent and kind. I believe that every person in the world has the capacity to get straight As, firsts, whatever, if only they work hard enough. I believe that everyone has the capacity to be patient, to be creative, to be wise, to be strong and resilient. What really pisses me off is that people don't bother. That people around me are not the incredible heroic beings I would like them to be. This is disappointing. What's even more disappointing is that most people don't seem to care. They're not trying to be the best they can be. Sometimes this makes me sad; other times this makes me angry.

The other day, my friends refused to watch "Peaceful Warrior", because it's "inspirational" and "New Age-ey". Gosh. What's wrong with inspiration? What's wrong with trying to better yourself? What's wrong with trying to figure out the purpose of your life, trying to make it better?

Why is it that in our world, anything deep or intense is subject to mockery and ridicule? Love, faith, ambition, dedication, devotion - declare a strong feeling and you'll be laughed at. Blandness and mediocrity are the way of life.

You could argue that I don't always practice what I preach. And quite often you'd be right. The pressure to be mediocre can do this to a person. (And so can depression). In the words of my tutors, I feel contaminated by the world. And yet I keep trying.

I look, I keep looking for something more, something that makes sense. I'm trying to be a better me, and I've come a long way. I fail on a regular basis; I fail daily. I often swear that this is not worth it, that I am not going to try any more, that I'm giving up. And yet I don't. I get up and I keep going. Because I am an insane optimist, because I am a dreamer. Because I believe in stories and fairytales. Because I believe in people. No matter how many times everything gets fucked over. Because I am actually incapable of giving up.

* * *

Back to today, 6th July 2010, the day Marty McFly went to the future. More clearly than before, I've asked myself why it is that I don't want to kill myself. Of course, I get the urge to do so frequently, and yet I have become adept at stopping myself. Why is that?

It's not because I feel some duty to keep living, or to support my family; it's not because I don't want to upset people. After all, it won't matter once I'm dead, and maybe they'd be glad to know that at least I'm no longer suffering. It's not that. It's not even because I believe that things will get better, or that life is worth living - speaking frankly, I can say that I don't think I have anything to live for.

And yet I carry on. I hold on to life with the tenacity of a terrier. I tie myself to the bed when I know that getting up would lead to sharp implements and drug overdoses; I keep away from bridges when I feel the impulse to jump; I keep hold of buildings and lampposts to avoid walking into the traffic. Why?

Because depression is not me, not what I naturally am. Because I know that without it, my life would be good. Because occasionally I feel the touch of the Divine. Because I have yet to figure out my purpose here. Because there are books out there I haven't read. Because linking fragments of Knowledge together lights a fire in me. Because while I have no faith in reality ever treating me well, I have absolute faith in fiction, and want to write my life as a breathtaking adventure on the interface of passion and thought, of exploration and contemplation, of dance and magic.

It may never come true in real life. But I'll be damned if I let an ugly disease steal my stories and dreams.

Summer Solstice

Another Solstice. A turning of the seasons, a time to reflect, a time for a change. Consider where your life is going, and where you want it to be going. Whether you are walking your true path, or simply being led. Whether you know what your next step needs to be. Whether you like where your path is taking you. While summer still stretches ahead, the turning of the seasons means it's time to start preparing for winter. Springtime was for waking up; summer is for refueling. You need to replenish your stores, to stock up on light and warmth and life. You need to live - because, for once, you can. It's easier to live in the summer. It is important to acknowledge the change of seasons - summertime is for growth.

States of mind...

Do you ever get the feeling that you do not exist?

I've been getting that... It's not unusual for me, but still rather inconvenient.

I've handed in the term's work on Tuesday, and am dealing with the aftermath. Trouble is, there's not much time to recharge - I'm supposed to have started work on my summer project already. Too many things have been falling apart recently...

Emptiness.

It's amusing how I've gotten into the habit of solving all my problems by writing to-do lists. So, one for today:
- go for a walk
- eat some good food
- tidy my room
- read through the entirety of my blog archive
- write the next to-do list :-)

So it goes.

Conversations

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "conversation" as "the action of consorting or having dealings with others; living together; commerce, intercourse, society, intimacy". That's right, having a conversation with someone equates to having sex with them. Arguably, it's even better than intercourse - lasts longer, is (probably) more enjoyable, and one has more to gain.

It's been argued that conversations are key to happiness. Partly because good communication improves the quality of interpersonal relationships, and partly because the act of a good conversation in itself is immensely enjoyable. It helps form new connections in your brain, it engages you, it helps you organise your thoughts while exposing you to new ones.

Perhaps that is why "talking therapies" tend to work - the act of conversing with someone, in a situation where the conversation is the main course rather than a side, is very valuable.

In my case, conversation, and I mean "real" conversation (you know, ones about things and concepts and ideas, rather than... You know what I mean) is one of the few things that make life worth living. And while wonderful conversational companions are insanely difficult to find, but once one is found, they become one of the most valuable things in my Universe...

Maybe I'm crazy... Probably.

As I've been braindead for a week due to illness, and continue to be braindead, I've been sitting at my desk watching sliced up QI videos on YouTube. About five minutes ago, Stephen Fry was saying (quoting some random Spanish general) on my screen:

"I am more afraid of an army of a hundred sheep led by a lion than an army of a hundred lions led by a sheep".

A second later, MSN popped up with a message: "Fluffy Sheep has just signed in".

My life is infinitely more insane than anything my fevered dreams could provide.

In other news, does anybody else find it hilarious how symbolic the current volcanic ash thing is? I mean, humans think they control everything and are lords of creation, and yet a simple act of nature (similar to this winter's snow) manages to knock us out of balance. I am, as ever, in awe, while laughing my arse off. Thank you, my dear planet, for this amazing piece of entertainment.

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Today I'm going to write about clothes.

You see, I like clothes. As an art form, as a source of comfort, as an extension of my personality. I like the feel of fabrics, the idiosyncrasies of buttons, the variety of cuts. I don't follow fashions - I don't see any point; but I am fascinated by the way clothing affects people, and the way people interact with it.

I've been wanting a hoodie for a long time. I knew what it was going to look like: large, red, with a kangaroo pocket. Really snuggly, pyjama-like, warm, comforting. One thing I've learned a long time ago is that things I want tend to be hard to find. Sometimes I have to ignore some of the requirements. So I now have a green hoodie. It has a kangaroo pocket and is very snuggly indeed. It's the largest size Primark had - an 18 - but it's still quite close over my chest. It's immensely comforting. I now wear it everywhere...

Bras are difficult. On one hand, their support is indispensable, and a comfortable bra may feel like a godsend. On the other hand, bra shopping can be near-tortuous, and endlessly frustrating. By the time you've found a bra that you like, that's in a cut that fits, that doesn't scratch or itch, it's never available in your size. And if you do find the miracle that is the near-perfect bra, and therefore wear it at all times, it betrays you by the unravelling of the underwire. Being poked in the breast by a rogue underwire is an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Jeans. A staple in most people's wardrobes. You'd think it should be relatively straightforward - you see, you buy, you wear. Not so. Finding a pair that's the right length, that shows off your arse in the best possible way, that matches the colour of your dreams, that goes with everything and withstands the onslaught of the elements is near impossible. And then, of course, it goes the way of the near-perfect bra, by falling apart when you've only just gotten used to the idea of sharing your life with it.

And then you go into a shop to buy some jeans, and encounter the most gorgeous denim corset-style sleeveless jacket ever, and of course it fits you just so, and shrinks your waist, and showcases your boobs, and of course the price tag leaves you in tears. So the vision of that perfect jacket will forever haunt your dreams.

Others' words

Everyone's making everything up
There is no one in charge except for those
Who pretend to be
No one is coming
No one is going to
Rescue you
Mind read your needs
Know your body better than you
Always fight back.

Ask for it
Say you want it
Cherish your solitude
Take trains by yourself to places
You have never been
Sleep out alone under the stars
Learn how to drive a stick shift
Go so far away that you stop being afraid of
Not coming back.

Say no when you don't want to do something
Say yes if your instincts are strong
Even if everyone around you disagrees
Decide whether you want to be liked or admired
Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out
What you're doing here
Believe in kissing.


-- Eve Ensler.

A Quotable March

Most of you will know that I collect quotes. Some of you will know that about a year ago I've started collecting them by month. It's usually just a random selection of quotes I've come across during that month. This March it's been different - I kept coming across quotes that felt like they spoke to me personally. So I thought I'd post some here.

* * *

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
-- e e cummings

Many wordsCollapse )

A Tuesday Miscellany

I have had an epiphany today: I now know why I love turtles and tortoises so much! Because they are so much like elephants. Slow, graceful, kind, beautiful and wise...

* * *

I am still shaken up and upset about yesterday's train bombings on the Moscow underground. Luckily, as far as I know, nobody I know was hurt, and my family are ok.

* * *

I am forever disappointed in people. We went to an aquarium today with my photography course. We got there at 11:30am, and were told that we'd be leaving at 4pm. I was the only person who suggested that four and a half hours weren't enough; everybody looked at me like I was crazy. By 2pm the majority of people had buggered off to the pub. I was the only person still shooting at 3:55pm (with a half-hour break for lunch). When I was talking to one of the guys later about how four hours weren't enough to shoot everything, his response was "you don't need to shoot everything - this trip was not assessed". *headdesk* I weep for humanity in general and my coursemates in particular. How could you be at an aquarium and not shoot? How can you be doing a photography course and not enjoy shooting? Choose a pub over photography?

I need more passionate and committed people in my life.