We Can’t Keep Things Simple, So We Complicate

And yes, in most cases, keeping it complicated is a choice. Other times it’s just consequence.

I’m afraid of a kind of attachment that won’t ever be simple. And I don’t mean with romantic relationships exclusively. This can be translated to my work, friendship, personal life, family relationships, and more importantly, to myself. Clinging on to patterns that add fuel to the fire is the only skill I know. This is because I am an exposed crop of my past; and so am I an unsteady nine-to-fiver of this chaotic world. Aren’t we all some kind of nine-to-fivers? If not for work, then for our emotions. We don’t have to belong to a company to have to cluelessly follow a sort of routine that is often explained away in less than a second — in brief excuses and hesitation and subconscious condemning of a much larger entity. Be it religion, constitution, government, society, or flawed human nature itself.

Hence, we can’t keep things simple. It’s a thought process we’ve been tweaked and monitored into habituating. And in doing so, we’ve lost meaning from thought itself. Giving importance to thoughts has defeated our ability of thinking without us even realizing it. Where is the “why” of living, of doing, and of being? This can only come from stopping thoughts. Better, in silencing them for a while. This won’t be a switch like you would TV channels. This silencing of thought and being in the present moment has to be the evolution of logic, judgement, and perspective. And if you go far enough, it could become your only reason to become a better human than you were yesterday. To grow from your silence, your pain, your experiences, and shortcomings.

This is simple. It’s taking what you already know and directing it to what’s real and right here. Sometimes not giving importance to certain thoughts is one of the best decisions you can make. For yourself. For others. For everyone. This lacuna is from where you grow to become original and thoughtful. And on days you get caught up with too many things to do, this little trick will do wonders to how you feel while doing them. This is a kind of freedom you create for yourself so you when you’re in the middle of chaos and confusion, you start to feel more like yourself and not the opinions and projections of those around you.

There’s No Such Thing As The Secret To Happy Living

As if happiness is a destination and “the secret” is the journey to it.

It’s a complicated feeling: happiness. And it’s hard to define it to myself or somebody else. If you haven’t felt it, it becomes sort of like a wavering dream you haven’t seen yet. But I often ask myself why my mind always aims to contract my understanding of happiness. Is it in freedom? Is it in traveling? Or is it in writing this article? Where is it? Seeking or aiming for happiness in moments when I most need it makes me skip a few steps. It’s all a thought process.

We’re always trying to skip ahead a few chapters to get to the good part. The part when feeling good feels good. The part when we don’t have to cut short on happiness just because the moment is over and it’s time to face reality again. The part when we don’t need or have to feel guilty about not wanting to feel the rest of it. And time is as it always does. It moves on just as effortlessly in the storm as it does in the calm. Just the perceptive and emotive sensation of it is unique for each of us. And that’s what matters.

So, coming up with the definition of happiness and its secret that we often want to know more about in self-help books and articles is a waste of time for me. It’s just a small part of what deception looks like. You can choose to remain cloaked in your delusions about achieving happiness as one does nirvana. But happiness is not real enough to feel as if you deserve it. Being grateful, at peace, and honest are much more important in life. It isn’t a singular feeling which is what your individual self makes up as varied facets of happiness.

With that in mind, I learned to respond to happiness by being the better version of myself in negativity and positivity. I learned to focus and re-focus what it takes to know myself even though its trajectory afflicts me with feelings of loneliness. But I will not fall prey to separating my personal experience — breaking it apart — and labeling it as happiness. This does not mean I’m giving up on the good things in life. It just means I’m refraining to bridge experience to emotion because I’m so struck by the logic and uncertainty of it.

On Silence and Loneliness: In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

I can’t help myself. Embracing solitude in anxiety and comfort is greater than remaining habitual. But as humans, we do both. Extract the good from the bad. Accept it. And still remain confined to what feels familiar and ours. I felt this conversation clinging to me when I was reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which is wired to her emotions as my own. Revisiting her The Bell Jar, I found myself taking down notes page after page, not to review, but to deeply connect to and understand her work. And modernity doesn’t meditate on such loneliness the way this book does. These sentences, for example, extract the singular meaning of what makes humans vicious yet so purely beautiful:

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”

Some of us feel loneliness in the lack of physical contact, some in conversations, and some in emotional and sexual intimacy. And there are some souls that feel it all; all at once and for a long time. This stretch of time refines our sense of being, doesn’t it? And while this happens — we lose things too. We lose our ability to familiarize with words that we used to manifest so conveniently. Words like hope, happiness, responsibility, strength, love, and loss. For me, my loneliness is the embodiment of invisible objects awakened for silent protests of intimacies that go beyond my understanding.

Somewhere in the space between the present and the future, this silence has consumed me. But here’s the interpretation of it: it’s not something that has happened, is happening, or will happen. It’s the kind of lacuna that exists as is as a part of me. If there’s a word for self-reflection — for the feelings that appear and re-appear in a sequence of time — each time it devotes its significance to my own prelude to existing and living: then this is it. My loneliness is my vessel of familiarity, of being erratic, and of having to succumb to cause and effect in the happenings of my life. And suddenly, my own silence occurred to me as if I was thrown back into placid reflections. Reflections as inescapable as breathing and as delicate as dust that I can’t help but embrace time’s inevitable passing. I am sure of what my loneliness means to me — and The Bell Jar reminds of its unwavering significance. What is loneliness? Is it yours as much as it is mine, or is it the measure of what we don’t say? I am not sure — but of what I am is, for me, a breath of fresh air.

The Strength That You Wake Up To But Don’t Sleep With

When you learn without the help of another person, you’re not entitled to anything. You’re making your own mistakes and saving your own ass. This sort of dependency on another human being is toxic, I believe, when you want to take things slow. You need to adapt and review what you’re learning without the adamant judgement of others. And this is what makes you a deep thinker. It forms inside you a mind so complete and original. And you might not be as adept as the person sitting next to you when it comes down to conversing unabashedly. But the fact that you learned in solitude makes comparison seem narrow-minded and meaningless. It’s time we disregard what matches up to the standards of our culture. And regard what makes us unique, however unconventional to learn.

I never thought I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for my chase. My chase to learning what solitude means to me and why does it mean to me what it does. My chase to struggling with relationships. My chase to my anxiety and feeling lonely. My chase to not getting out of my comfort zone like so many people I know have told me to. My mind is full of instances where I’ve gotten passionately obsessed with my chase. Whether it was good or bad — I never questioned its substance. Instead, I questioned the ordinariness of my life. My routine, habits, thinking, emotional stability, and the likes. This shift in thinking was the cause of many vulnerable and upsetting experiences since the day I was born. And some parts even before it. And now you see me trying to make sense, not of my past itself, but of my present as an outcome of my past.

The strength lies in acceptance. Of unravelling the past in relation to the present and in the becoming of the future. The strength you wake up to is not the same kind of strength you sleep with and dream. It’s strength that’s created with attention, realization, and acceptance right from when the clock strikes 00:00 to 00:00. Your ability to ask what, why, how, and when is your strength. Not the destruction of it. If you destroy anything, you do the you that’s the consequence of where you are just so you aren’t defined by the unfairness of it. Your strength is the sum of all the good and bad things that have happened to you and around you. And that strength isn’t inherent. It is bred; even agonized when you’re struggling with life’s meaning and fallacies. Out there, whatever you do or say is quantified in material terms to an extent that even you begin to materialize them. But that’s not growth. That’s a human paradox: to attach quantifiable sense and direction to something that the world thinks relevant and convenient. But to you, it’s a waste of effort because what comes in strength isn’t verifiable.

You can look at two pictures of the same object and still feel differently about one from the other. Sometimes the thing about strength is that it can feel so heavy and light, at the same time, you don’t want to let it go. And to this, the world says you’re being too selfish, too opinionated, or too set in your ways.

To this, you say —

“When the bad dreams finally catch up to me, my strength will not want to let them go. My strength will be my antidote to wake up the next day. And until that day starts, today is all I have to continue my chase. For what is today, is enough.”

Hope in A World Without Sensibility

Hope in a world without sensibility is much like a world lacking the ability to change attitudes toward people, things, and experiences.

Considering how human relationships evolve or limit or furnish what is known and what is not, hope is a dangerous word to believe in without giving it any conscious thought. So what if the balance of hope and sensibility becomes one of the most enduring ideas of living? And in moments of meditation, its breakthrough leads one within one’s own mind and not without. 

How did we end up being so conflicted with hope and so intrepid with everything that defeats the purpose of it? It’s because we thought we’re born with sensibility and that it doesn’t require constant rehearsing. Journeying through childhood into adulthood is an emotional and physiological roller-coaster for everyone. One that offers no validation and forethought. The very fact that it leads us to inevitable phases of critical self-evaluation, which causes what most people refer to as a “frame of mind,” strikes me as a philosophy that is often side-stepped in the initial stages of the loss of hope without sensibility.

I do not mistake hope for anything else. Hope- without the sense of being present in the moment, with looking forward to pleasures so much you completely fail to enjoy the experience of it, and without the understanding of thought and the implementation of it – is, to me, the definition of its destruction. This is the main problem. With people and ideas and relationships with people, experiences, and things. Hoping has become as essential as breathing. What it is, has almost been forgotten for who we are and what we want to be. And here is its meaning- it’s nothing. It’s a void without the presence of fear. It’s not an escape. But it’s a routine. A routine to hope, regardless of what is available to you and what you have to (or want to) work for.

But since when did routine become unfavorable? Have we become so naive to think that routine isn’t a part of our “getting out of the comfort zone” fetish? That we constantly strive and desire and insist to reach. The fact that we do things to challenge routine is, in itself, a routine we’re so afraid of accepting. So hope is just like a routine that we have tried to and will continue to try to challenge, along with all our existing preconceived routines.

While this exists without sensibility. What is hope with it? While I do not know the definition of what it really is, I do know what the definition is deprived of. And that is obligation. Hope with sensibility is when I’m on my own. Essentially, I decide how I feel when I’m supposed to feel about something. That can be anything. Being hopeful about a new passion project, a new book, a new hobby, a vacation, or about writing itself. Hope comes in many forms, so many that it exists as an infinite loop which repeats itself in moments of solitude and the understanding of my existence and the brevity of it.

The difference between sensibility and the absence of it feeds my ability to have a vision. To remain perceptive of not just my own, but other people’s emotions, intelligence, wit, judgment, and presence. After all, aren’t I the only existing finality of my own sensations, insight, and discernment that I take so seriously- and that which keeps purposely growing every day through thought and action?