Restless souls write

Restless souls write

Anxious souls read

Complacent souls pay no heed

And then there’s me. Fitting uncomfortably in each space, while not fitting in at all.

There’s a blessing in being anomalous. It spares us the slavery of living by rules.

But blessings don’t occur without burdens, and the burden of being anomalous is the restlessness that it spawns.

As we look around for familiarity, but only find much to scorn, we see the drudgery of the complacent and the fear of the anxious.

And in that is born our restlessness that stirs us from our sleep.

Once you’ve tasted the sweetness of living, existing feels like a curse. And once you’ve tasted the beauty of love, its absence feels like…nothing…it feels like nothing at all.

#life #authorsofinstagram #ramblings #rant #loneliness #lovestory #mybeloved #reflection #itdoesntmatter
#zaidismail #poetry #prose

Opportune Moments

Tonight I was reminded of many things. Important things. Calling them things undermines the significance of it, but such is life. It turns the ordinary into elusive extraordinary moments, and turns the defining moments into passing glimpses of what was or what might have been. I was reminded of something I read on the blog of a troubled soul many years ago. It said, quite plainly, that life has been one long longing for a place I’d never been. That’s what tonight reminded me of.

It reminded me of everything that I cherished and romanticised about, everything that is fragile but resilient, and everything that has felt like it was always meant for someone else. There is a taunting accuracy in driving around with a number plate that reminds me of the divinely ordained destinies that visit us in moments of distraction, and sometimes in moments when we are so deeply immersed in the essence of it that its passing feels akin to the ripping of thorns from the deepest recesses of my gut. But there has always been a glory in being able to experience moments so deeply.

I look around at the oblivious that flit from moment to moment each time only looking to see if they were noticed or celebrated in that moment, but rarely allowing anything of that moment to affect them in a way that tears away at their defenses. Control is often blamed on the need to be functional or dependable, but it is most often called upon when we would muster the last breath in us to ensure that no one ventures close to the most cherished wounds of our souls. Until moments arise that remind us that control was only ever an illusion. A state that we created by blocking out everything that we could not control, and convinced ourselves that if we believed it hard enough, it would be willed into truth.

Abandoning control in favour of feeling my humanness is an embrace I savoured a long time ago. I now convey the image of control to others, because what they see is the absence of impact of the fickle ways of others, and assume that it is in fact a control of response on my part. It is not. There is little control that is needed when you recognise the world for the fleeting annoyances that it offers. When a response is not warranted, most interpret it as restraint, simply because such a fickle occasion would have exacted much seething on their part. Not feeling any need to respond requires no control. It simply requires an awareness of the futility that any response will offer.

Such passion for righting the wrongs that none care much about is easily subdued and eventually abandoned in favour of serving the passion that promises to oil the lamp that shines the light that makes the darkness bearable. There is nothing so bad that there is no good in it. These words have grounded me, and brought me comfort in times of despair by prompting me to recognise that there is more to life than wilting away in the darkness in memory of a past that never blossomed. Life is too short for such indulgences of the ego.

Everyone talks about how short life is, but never about how short their memory is when it comes to remembering this sobering fact. I recall a movie whose title escapes me, in which Mini Driver screamed at her father after yet another disappointing betrayal of his trust, and complained that he keeps taking her to the top of the mountain only to show her what she can’t have. Perhaps that is what life is about. Dreams and aspirations that drop sparkles on the path for others to find their way, while the road ahead beckons you towards adventure and the promise of all things beautiful. So we willingly drop pieces of the essence of us as we travel along that path, until eventually we are spent. Those of us that are fortunate are met with our final moments at the time that we have exhausted the last shards of what we have to offer the world. The not-so-fortunate find themselves spent before their final breath approaches leaving them scurrying in their twilight moments looking for hope or purpose, finding none, and denying everything that ever tasted like reality, waiting patiently for the taunt of death to finally cease so that death itself may arrive.

Opportune moments are most often recognised in moments of good fortune. But as always, moments that remind us of the beauty we take for granted, or the companionship that we barely recall are the moments that are most opportune. It defines who we are in provoking the responses of our true selves in its wake, while leaving us bare and vulnerable only to the eyes of those that see beyond the aesthetic. Thankfully they are in short supply so living with such brazenness is possible without attracting the attention of the distracted.

Tonight, I was reminded that it is not loneliness but isolation that breaks our spirit. Because as they say, you are never alone if you like the one that you are alone with. Isolation is what you feel when you are in a room full of people, all of whom are close to you, but none of whom truly know or appreciate you. Isolation is felt most deeply when you feel the warmth of an embrace so close that it sets your heart racing, but it leaves without being fulfilled leaving your heart breaking.

There was a time when such expression was reserved for anonymous posts that protected my dignity in the presence of those that have spent much time and effort in trying to prove that some humanity rested within me. Only, the humanity they sought to expose was in fact humiliation they wished to impose. It makes others feel less weak or pathetic when they are able to prove that the strong have moments of weakness just like them. Little do they know that it weakens them even more instead. These are all opportune moments. Moments that define our contribution to the world, and moments that define what we wish to finally accept the world is able to offer us.

Shame is only felt when the opinions of others matter. When those opinions hold no weight at all, vulnerability and hope become companions that walk side by side, with optimism pretending to be the mascot, and reality being the path on which we travel. Incoherent ramblings offer solace and repose, even though after bleeding at the keyboard the gravity of what was not will once again visit a heavy heart.

Despite all this, I would have life no other way. Living in half measures, even when surrounded by ingrates and mirages, is no life at all. Fortuitous it may be that I was reminded of a quote from Shakespeare just last night. It said, “Life is but a walking shadow that struts and frets its hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” I think he got it right, except for the last part. It signifies everything. That everything only loses its value when we hope for it to be valued by those that don’t recognise the value in us, or sometimes, the value in themselves. Either way, rubbishing the good or chasing the bad is only ever a cry for sympathy. I pray that I will never be met with such weakness in what life remains ahead of me.

Authentic Toxicity

Therapeutic expression has been elusive for some time now. Deliberately writing to finish a compilation of thoughts tends to constrain the thoughts themselves. It feels like herding cats, a sensation akin to seeking constructive engagement in a toxic environment. The benefit of a toxic environment is that it tends to provide sufficient distractions from the emptiness that it fosters. That emptiness is most prominently experienced when you exit from such a toxic space.

The toxicity provides a sense of morbid purpose at times. That morbidity, however, is only ever felt when the efforts to achieve a positive outcome from herding the cats results in the dispersal of the cats, and a box of litter in your hands. The optimist looks at the litter in the box and celebrates the fact that it is contained. The pessimist looks at the litter and feels cheated out of the purring comfort of the cats that littered only to be left with the litter and not the affectionate embrace. The realist takes the litter box, empties it out, and moves on to find another cat to fill the litter box in the hope that the next round of litter will be accompanied by an affectionate exchange as well.

Sometimes we’re so fixated on the hurt or the pain of betrayal that we hold on to that litter believing that it is an essential and defining part of the box. The box, of course, being our capacity to embrace life. Speaking in metaphors remains a cryptic skill that avoids unwanted scrutiny. Scrutiny is only good if not practiced for the sake of gossip or morbid curiosity. There are too many that show an interest in the problems of others simply because they need to feed their egos by internally (sometimes overtly) comparing the wholesomeness of their own lives to the life of the one that is feeling at odds with the world. Far too often that sense of wholesomeness is grounded in the convenience of being surrounded by others that have less. It doesn’t feel so wholesome when surrounded by others that have more.

The sincere ones focus on those that have less so that they (the sincere ones) can gain an appreciation for what they have, while the insincere focus on the same so that they can feel superior and be recognised for their superiority. Authenticity does not feature for the kind that live their lives in the spotlight, even though that spotlight is powered up by their own egos for most of their lives. The meek under-estimate what good is in their own lives, and therefore celebrate the same icons who power up their own spotlights. Icons can be created through manipulation of the truth, but authenticity will continue to escape such a manufactured reality. That lack of authenticity leaves most feeling unfulfilled, including the icon worshipers. The realisation of such a lack of fulfilment manifests itself in the lives of the worshipers as an incessant subconscious yearning to have more and do more than the fickleness of the idol.

We cannot wish away problems or adversity just as much as we cannot wish happiness into reality. Both are outcomes of our contribution towards its ends. Inactivity never yields happiness, it only ever yields complacency at best, and a festering of adversity at worst. A sincere choice made towards alleviating the adversity will provide a sense of fulfilment even if the outcome was unsuccessful. There is much joy and reward in knowing that you tried and failed, than to one day regret not having tried at all. That reward lies in the fact that despite your best efforts, the good you tried to impart was not thwarted because of a lack of effort on your part, but rather because of a lack of gratitude or awareness on the part of others. In that lies the secret to a peaceful life. The willingness to accept that despite our best efforts, success is not guaranteed, but in spite of the threat of failure, we chose to prevail.

A brain dump carries its own sense of release from the angst of existing. Existence is a consequence of being, whereas life is a consequence of choice. I have always chosen to live, rather than to survive. A deep breath was never about regaining my composure or my footing, but instead, it was to take in the sweetness of everything that defined my experience in that moment, be it good or bad. Internalising the whole of the experience builds character, while internalising only the palatable feeds the ego. The ego does not exist independent of our choices. It is our choices. Too many blame their egos on their innate nature, when their innate nature has been stifled from fear of owning their life because of the risk of ridicule, or failure.

Authenticity is in short supply. Everyone goes out searching for it in others, but very few offer it to those that seek it. Even less offer it despite them defining it as the minimum standard against which they will choose to show others due respect, or consideration. In a transactional culture, instant gratification is only a symptom of the insincerity of the masses to give before they receive. The epic proportions we have reached in this regard means that dignity is optional, and self-respect is not a consideration because self-respect has come to be defined by the trinkets of success that we have on display to the world, rather than the sense of accomplishment we have as a human being.

Being human eludes us, while doing in humans has become a global sport.

To Write the Wrong

I recently set out in earnest to write the book that I’ve been threatening to write for so many years now. The better part of the last few years was spent contemplating whether or not I had anything of real value to add to the clutter out there. This was easily over shadowed by whether or not I wanted to put myself out there to be challenged by pseudo intellectuals (they probably say the same about me) and academics (are they one and the same?) and recognised authorities in the fields in which I dabble. The realisation I was left with was the fact that even if there was truth to either of these considerations, I had not tested it to determine the veracity of it, and therefore it was nothing less than a failure of conviction on my part.

Conviction is an awkward thing, because more often than not, I’ve found my conviction tested not long after I boldly professed to hold said conviction. It’s like a game of tempting fate that I tend to play quite often. I square up bravely, pretending not to flinch, while internally steadying myself for the onslaught that has proven to be inevitable since the earliest days of my recollections. When it hits, I’ve pretty much prepared myself for most eventualities and therefore am able to remain composed when most around me are losing their minds.

But getting back to the point of this post, in my time using this blog to vent and rant and express myself in colourful ways at times, I’ve developed some bad habits in the way I write. I only realised how many bad habits I accumulated as I started writing the book. Chapter One has been re-edited several times and still needs a lot of work to make it reasonably coherent. The key difference between ranting on a blog and writing a book is that the blog is mostly intended to offload, whereas the book is intended to draw the reader closer so that they may be able to appreciate the perspectives that I share.

Therefore, on the blog, it’s a matter of resonating with the collective angst on a subject, while the book can’t stop there. It has to go beyond the resonation and reach a point of meaningful progression. At least that’s the aim from my side. So I’m having to take a critical view of my writing like never before. The play on words, or the clever puns and alliteration is now only a small portion of this iceberg that bops around in the sea before me. I could be safe and navigate my way around the iceberg by adopting tried and tested writing techniques from other authors, but that would firmly land me in the land of clutter, with all those others that have taken the safe route.

My challenge is now to retain some sense of my individual expression while also communicating in a way that reduces the cryptic vagueness of my writing. I guess someone that browses through a blog post is expecting something very different compared to someone that picks up a book to read. It’s that difference that I need to learn to appreciate so that I can adapt my tone and pitch in a way that does not detract from who I am and what I have to offer, while simultaneously engaging the reader enough to want to keep reading without growing weary of the content.

I guess the requisite level of narcissism required to put myself out there appears to be setting in. Whether innocently informed or self-indulgent in motivation remains to be seen. But that’s just another distraction that I need to avoid because contemplating how I’ll be received versus how I wish to be received is a fine line that is easy to trip me up without realising it before it’s too late. So best to avoid the fine lines, the assumptions, or the excessive questioning, and just dive straight into the deep and work my way to the shore. Perhaps in that lies the secret of conviction.

Time will tell.

The Silent Statement

My thoughts are often as complicated to grasp as my writing is to read. I sometimes read through some of my older posts and wonder how anyone could have gotten the point when I struggle to follow the thought process myself. I used to relate it all much more simplistically in the past. It was relatable, not just to me, but to others that it resonated with. It’s not so easy to relate anymore. I find myself slowly receding into silence again. It’s like I’ve come full circle without having completed the journey. The contradiction glares at me while I try to make sense of it all.

Silence often says more than any vocal statement we make. It’s the language of both lies and compassion. For me, it’s the language of understanding. When I’m inclined to believe that my perspective will most likely be misunderstood or unappreciated, I tend towards silence. It’s my restraint and my statement. It restrains me from verbalising much that will be found offensive, often because of the harsh truth it contains given my poor bedside manner, and it’s my statement because I choose not to engage about something that I believe will not have a meaningful outcome. That’s how I use silence to make my statement.

Unfortunately there are too many that use it for very different reasons, the most common of which is to avoid being perceived unfavourably. In those moments when the truth is needed for closure, to understand the reasons for betrayal, or to know why the good we put forward was reciprocated with dishonesty or insincerity, silence cuts sharper and deeper than any harsh truths that could have been offered. In those moments the silent one tries desperately to hide their shame while maintaining a facade of arrogance or feigned hurt. Silence, in moments like those, is employed for no reason but to save the betrayer from having to share the truth of their betrayal.

I think it gets worse when we hold the key to justice but deny the rights of the victims when we choose not to get involved because of the potential repercussions for us. At times when world powers abstain from voting or acting against rogue nations or human scum in order to retain political alliances, their silence does to the victims of those oppressors what the silence of a lover does to their no-longer-beloved. The impact is the same, it’s only the scale that differs.

Every betrayal destroys a soul, and every soul holds within it an entire world. Each betrayal forces a reinvention of that soul, and each reinvention creates a more brittle soul. Brittle is not necessarily weak. It simply becomes more unpredictable as it gets closer to its limit. Fortunately for most, that limit is significantly more than most because of the reinventions. But when it is reached, the brittle snap that ensues leaves a wake of destruction that can rarely be understood.

But there’s a more important point I wanted to make about how we use silence for selfish purposes. Perhaps my use of silence is not as noble as I’d like to believe it is. Perhaps just writing this post will provide insights that will disarm me at important moments when others will correctly interpret my silence and take the offence I was hoping to spare them instead. Perhaps there will be none of that because as we’ve seen so often, a shared sin is often overlooked because the collective guilt pacifies our conscience anyway.

I think we all use silence in this way. I think the silence we maintain at times when we should be outspoken or brutally honest reflects our priorities in that moment. If speaking out will result in an increase of clutter or responsibility beyond what we currently wish to bear, then silence becomes the obvious choice.

Another incomplete thought process. I know there is a truth in there somewhere…but like life, the essence of it eludes me.

Writer’s Block

I recently advised someone that when faced with writer’s block, the best remedy is to write about it. Seems counter-intuitive, but it seems to work for me. My problem though is that I don’t recognise myself as a writer. I vent through words, often carefully selected to maintain the level of neutrality needed in my sentiments so as not to offend many close associates that I was bold enough to invite into this blog space. That, and the fact that I would not want this space to be turned into a sensationalist’s whoring for attention. I think it works beneficially for me because it forces me to focus on the issues at hand, rather than taking an easy swipe at soft targets.

Soft targets, on the other hand, make for an easy solution to writer’s block, if I were a writer, that is. The problem I have with subscribing to that label is that it assumes that I have writing worth sharing, or more importantly, that I do justice to the part. I ramble. A lot. That rambling is often my attempt to make sense of the internal conversations I’m having, while my focus is to articulate it in a way that will make sense to someone witnessing my cycle of insanity, if they were privy to it. So I write the way I think, often without filters, with the exception of the scenario described in the opening paragraph. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen. But again, it only remains to be seen if it was written for the audience and not primarily for my own sanity.

Thoughts that have threatened to prompt me to write in recent weeks appear to consistently centre around the acquisition of knowledge. I’m caught between the need versus the want of knowing something. I know that one is driven by the ego and the other by sincere curiosity, but the words are so easily interchangeable that it’s difficult to make a definitive observation about it. What I am convinced of though, is the fact that there are times when we demand to know something simply because we feel entitled to the information, or because we wish to use it for ulterior motives. The lesser frequent motivation for acquiring knowledge is because we are genuinely curious and seek to understand, rather than judge. While both have their place, I think there is a significant imbalance leaning towards the former. Given the state we find the world in today, it’s not surprising that most knowledge is acquired for egotistical purposes before anything else.

Perhaps in that is some hint at what would cause the writer’s among us to block. Perhaps writer’s block is what happens to all of us in different ways, whether we’re writers or not. I think that when we lose sight of purpose, we struggle to find reason. In the absence of reason or purpose, we’re most likely to act in response to an expectation rather than to act towards fulfilling a greater purpose. If we’re fortunate, we realise it soon enough and refocus our efforts which clears the mental block that stifled our progress. If we don’t realise it soon enough, chances are that our ego will succeed in clouding our judgement further, and in our efforts to allay our fears of insignificance or incompetence, we play to the audience and slowly erode any sense of purpose we had in what we set out to do simply because we cannot afford to be seen as lacking.

The fact that we may be travelling the same path that we set out on does not necessarily mean that we still take joy or benefit from travelling it. I think there’s an important point in there somewhere. I also just realised that writing about my mental block spawned thoughts that were hardly at the forefront of my mind when I started. I guess the trick is to be able to express without judging yourself first, or without considering if what is to be expressed will be seen as wisdom, or whimsical. I generally don’t care much for the opinions of others, although recently I have been distracted by it from time to time. When that distraction reared its head, I found myself floundering in my ability to be decisive which is a very frustrating place to be.

Re-centering my thought process on what I subscribe to has made the difference between bobbing around aimlessly in the sea of dysfunction around me and setting the current to disrupt that same sea. Disruption is often frowned upon, but usually only by those that lack purpose. Disruption in thought and deed is needed to avoid slipping into a rut of routine while believing we’re part of something great. That something great is usually the energy of the masses that are in that rut with us, while the volume of our collective trudging quickly turns that rut into a trench. The distracted masses then look around and celebrate their time in the trenches as a select few rise to the top and exit the trenches because they became the champions of the dysfunction purely through tenure rather than contribution. It’s the age-old celebration of a struggle. The duration of our struggles is often what defines us, more than our emergence from the same state. It’s the shortest path to pacification of the meek.

The cynic in me is thriving, which is usually a sign that I need to abate and reflect. Introspection is a good place to be. It’s a pity that it is so often disrupted by a need to act on its fruit, where the absence of such action will leave us being as impotent as the foam on the ocean. Writer’s block be gone.