Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Been a while since I’ve climbed a mountain. Haven’t felt that rollercoaster of physical exertion and rest hack at my endurance and sanity thousands of kilometers above sea level. I have been living in a plateau and am enjoying the time off.
But it’s time to get back to the saddle. My new employer will be proud. It’s been a few weeks, and not surprisingly, I’m basking at the non-existent attention. I find peace in experiencing the coming and goings of a structured office without feeling the need to join in. I bask in the shadows, and I know that sounded creepy, but what can you do? It’s my plateau.
But how are you? Which mountains have you crossed lately, both physically and mentally? I hope you’re taking notes of how the world moves. It matters still. Remember to rest, though. You need it, no matter the speed everyone moves around you.
You’re always in my thoughts. Breathe.
I’m going to cut the bullshit here and admit something to myself. The past year has been nothing but a waste. I wasted a whole year letting opportunities pass, depending on others, and letting my dreams sit on themselves. I wasted a whole year.
There’s no one else to blame but myself, of course. My life has never been this out of axis before. I used to follow and stick to some sort of structure–high school, college, work. But now that I have released myself from their hold, I feel directionless and mundane. It’s as though several fast trains have come and passed, and I have just been sitting at the same station for a year, waiting for the perfect one to come, that one with squeaky clean seats where all my dreams are. Stupid, stupid really. You see, my main problem is that I waited for the train. I waited for my dreams to come true. I did not go the extra mile to search for it, to even check if it’s going to pass by. I did not go after it. And now, a whole year has gone.
It’s time to move.
These days, when I go through my life, I can’t help but wonder at the many things they don’t teach in school. They don’t teach you how to turn off the gas after cooking. They don’t teach you how to reset your habits into healthier ones. They certainly did not even touch on how some things stick with you for life and no matter how you try to move on and find meaning or happiness elsewhere, it remains at the back of your head. I guess there are just some things that teachers thought are best left for us to learn.
It’s a universal truth that heartbreak is one of the biggest lessons the world teaches us at the worst of times. When you think about it, can there really by a perfect time to break someone’s heart? I guess not. The one heartbreak I got was not foreshadowed by anything other than the promise of a better future. But I guess it’s okay to talk about it now. Thank you, anonymous Internet.
There are so many things that I want to say to myself that I still can’t. There are hundreds of things that I still will not admit because they hurt every sense of my being. Up to this day, I am still stuck to a past long gone, and that’s just fucked up. I am so tired of being heartbroken, so tired of being alone even with the best of company, so tired of hanging on to a lost love even as I find the warmth I once sought for. I am tired, but I am never without this burden, and it’s my fault. I can’t seem to let it all go. How can I still cry for what she told me years ago? How can I still keep the memory of that perfect day and long evenings when I should already be happy with new ones? How can I not let this go, and why is there only me? Are there other people in the world who go through the same fucked up thing? How do they cope? How do they keep away?
I try my best to keep away. She’s happy now. She’s done with me, her phase of betrayal and hurdle. Honestly, the idea of her peaceful smile is all that I hold on to to keep myself from greeting her, from sending links I know she would like, and from asking her if everything’s okay. That’s it, really. When I feel sad, I just think that she’s okay now, and that’s enough for me. I miss her every day, but she’s okay. I’m okay. I just have to repeat that, so I don’t feel so pathetic. Damn, I need to get ahold of myself.
I need a stranger. I need to find someone impartial, someone sitting in a random park in a city where secrets are welcome and the winds dare not tell. I need them to listen, even just for a minute. I guess that’s enough. I want to tell them about the seasons that have passed, and how they haven’t taken my burden from me. I need to tell them that something still feels heavy, and heavier still because I have to appear as though nothing is. I need them to know that no one else should know where I am because I don’t want to bring anyone over where I am. It’s all mine to keep, this place. I’m here alone.
I just want someone to know, while their ships sail past and their afternoons carry on, that there is a part I left when last my ship was held in tow. I can’t seem to get it back, and ironically, its loss have left my cargo heavier. How deep can a ship sink before it capsizes? Surely, it wouldn’t, right? I mean, I tried. There’s no Bermuda Triangle to disappear in.
I want to ask the stranger if they’re even in the same ocean as me. Where they are, are ships slow-moving too, burdened by something invisible and just running in empty, directionless loops? If so, maybe I can save them and tell them to steer away while they can. Even if I remain the last ship on this ocean, then so be it. Everyone, even strangers, deserve to see what else there is outside of here. Everyone deserves to be okay.
I see now why people compare sand with time. I see where the futility of trying to grasp them, the inevitability of their passing, and the crazy idea of trying to count them haunts each of us with so much pure recognition. We already know these to be true, and yet, we try to make sense of the whys. Where does sand go, where does time? Why should we know? Why do they have to go?
It’s crazy how things, which feel like they were done yesterday, were actually done a week ago, a month, a year, or even a decade ago. Do you also feel the gravity of the idea of their loss? Do you feel the burden of the imaginary weight of lost time mocking you? Do you also catch your breath and pant at the sense of trying to catch up with everything moving around you? Does it also feels as though the Earth has suddenly shifted to spin a bit faster, but only for you?
And yet, the sands, the hands, of time, their movement, they lull me. I can bury myself in the coarse memories of lost time. I can try to enjoy time passing and to be fine as the fleeting grains of sand.
This goes out to you, the first of your name and the bringer of storms from a house of your own making. You have gone a long way from where you have been a couple of years ago. Searching and finding happiness is really your strong suit. Stay warm.
For a few times every year, I let myself open all that I folded and kept easy. Do you remember how it felt to be swept into a whirlwind of emotions? That was how it was. It was nowhere near perfect and perhaps that’s why I held on to it.
Here’s a gesture of a toast or a shared puff of smoke. You taught me about the depth of every action and maze of emotions that each one goes through before they’re done. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did.
Brushing the hair off someone’s face then stroking the stray strands behind their ears is, for me, one of the most comforting gestures in the world. It was always my favorite thing to do when she tells me, “If you leave me, I would understand.” It was my way of easing her mind without promising anything I can’t fulfill.
I have been in this moment countless times. I have it on repeat in my mind. Sometimes the statement is not a statement but a question that changes from “why do you love me” to “until when.” Sometimes I hear a man’s voice, these days I just focus on hers. Every time, I am back, in that same moment greeting the silence and standing in the precipice of a cliff where I let her go.
I have been on the edge of this cliff and have pushed many off it, but not without letting them hang on for a while. This is the edge where need and malice resides, taunting me to keep holding on.
For one and a half hours, they grilled me. They asked questions about my expertise, limited to be honest. They got me guessing about their process just to check if I can catch up, petty to be honest. They were thorough, though, that’s for sure. Toward the end, the lady said that she was wondering about something: “We are going to spend a lot to get you settled here. We saw getting your degree is one reason you left. What assures us that you are not a flight risk?”