Do you have a happy place? A memory that you constantly hold dear? One that stops you from going to the deepest darkest places in your mind?
Kenya. I dream of you. I stop to drink everything in. The sights, the sounds, the long stretch of road between Eastleigh and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as we are zipping through- peacefully. The constantly busy and always bustling streets are silent, a ghost town of beings- almost eerie. Especially at night. The way the cold air feels against my skin- reminds me of October’s air. It is a relief from the sweat inducing heat that filled the air earlier- I am in love with the feeling of it. the way the air fills my lungs as I roll the windows all the way down. I am at a crossroads with my emotions- feeling peaceful and incredibly happy to have had this experience yet so sad- filled with anguish, beautiful melancholic heartache as I do not know when I will be back next or if I will ever be back. It is the uncertainty that hurts the most.
It’s October 25th. I’m back in the throws of my regular life in Toronto, life hardening me into someone I don’t recognize, everything in my life- up in the air. Sadness has become my default emotion. It’s quite interesting how you wish you could wish away your unhappiness when you experience so much of it. Sadness that seems to swallow you whole, the epitome of all consuming. I feel the same uncertainty I felt in Kenya, except the difference is- I am bombarded with questions about my future, about my relationships, about who I have become and what I hold dear. Anxiety becoming the silent killer, whispering doubt into my ears- uncertainty filling me up once more. Questions of- Will I ever be enough? Will you ever understand me like you once did? Will I ever be the version of myself that I have always yearned to be?
I hope so.
I had a dream where I was submerged in water, unable to move. My body scarily still- as if it has forgotten how to fight or swim. Paralyzed. My mind racing and head swirling with thoughts of mortality and all I could see is you. All I could feel was you. Perhaps it was the warmth and reassurance your words always give me or the sweet and serene smile you continuously provide but at that moment, I felt it all slipping away. The dream felt so vivid, it was as if my actual lungs were fighting for air, eyes flickering like a broken lamp, it was all a perfectly curated series of movements: going through the motions of working and breaking down all within the same last breath. Drowning in my dreams and gasping for air in my reality, I am awake once more.
Here we are in the last ten minutes of October and I am feeling content. The 31st has been quite a “full-circle moment” type of day. I found myself going through the day just completely and wholeheartedly content with where I am in life. It made me reflect on last autumn, where I was a little bit lost, a whole lot confused and muddled up with the misgivings of life. It has been a while since my last update post. I always do this thing where I post and feel very positive about the content I am posting but then I get lost in the grand scheme of things- school and life swallows me whole and I lose touch with what I want to say. I think of different prompts, ideas, poetry, quotes that inspire me to write but then it just falls flat- ideas forgotten before pen even hits paper.
The last time I posted something, I was 20 years old- excited for the start of October and for my birthday to arrive. Excited for the opportunities that October so often presents. With a new month comes new opportunities, experiences and ideologies so this month was no different. If we are being honest, October was supposed to be a month of finding myself as a writer- I dared myself to write a post everyday for 31 days, I dared myself to think outside the box as a writer. But then reality set in- MIDTERMS… STRESS… SCHOOL. These three factors teamed up to turn my attention away from my wants in life. Other than that, I have found this October to be a month of insight, of new experiences and shedding the layers of toxicity that once covered me up.
I am 21 years old. Alhamdulliah. Thank god. After a glorious 3 day celebration comprising of a surprise party on my actual birthday, dinner with the most amazing group of people on the Friday and hanging out with my soul sister on Saturday- I have come up with the conclusion that while a lot of things may constantly be up in the air- changing at a rapid rate, most things- especially wonderful and meaningful relationships- always stay the same.
It is interesting to see where I was a year ago- versus this year. You know that quote that people always throw around: “Think about it like this, will what or who you are worrying about matter a year from now?” is quite a true sentiment- the physical and emotional ties that were pulling me in different directions have been severed- my academic and personal lives have improved dramatically and because of this I feel so free. It is quite a liberating feeling to be able to live your day to day life without the baggage and influence of ideologies and ties that have once made you feel so hollow. Do not get me wrong- I am quite grateful for negative experiences over the past year. These experiences might make you feel broken in the moment but in the long run- it will reshape you and help you with your future self.
While 2016 has been a year of tribulations- it feels quite freeing to finally be in such a positive space- in all aspects of my life.
-Norvz Austria Art
“When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit. That’s why you can’t save it all up like that.
Because by the time you finally see each other, you’re catching up only on the big things, because it’s too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life.”
–Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
I was thinking about this quote a lot today. I thought about it when I first read the novel “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han and recently it re-surfaced in my mind as I was on the bus ride home. I don’t know if I would consider it to be an epiphany but I started to think about the truth in this sentiment.
Time is an instance that is always fleeting, it continues to evade us as we are constantly in pursuit of completing something. A goal, a task, a long-term or short-term dream. Some of the relationships we possess are placed on the back-burner. We do not even recognize that this is happening. We always believe in the fact that we have time, time to catch up. Time to reminisce about the good times, time to create new memories. We do not possess this time. Circumstances and everyday life interferes with the plans you aspire to create as well as the ones that are creating right now.
Before you know it, years have gone by and you are still on your grind, separate from the reality you once lived in.
The idea of living for right now is something that I am starting to grasp. We spend so much time trying to cultivate ideas of future dreams and future goals but we forget that living for today is just as important as dreaming for tomorrow. I recently found a list of goals I wanted to accomplish by 2016, strange feat as I am only 20 but the remarkable thing is, my goals are still the same as they were years ago. I knew that I wanted to start a blog (check!), maintain relationships with my nearest and dearest best friends (check!), make new friends at school and find my “people” at school (check!), lose 10 pounds (eh… almost check?!) and be happy (in progress). These goals are an ongoing process in my life but my goal for everyday is to live in the now… always.
“When feeling overwhelmed by a faraway goal, repeat the following: I have it within me right now, to get me to where I want to be later.” -Karen Salmansohn