“Everything in its right place”

It took only a few days, a couple of days to be exact, for everything to be back the way it used. The phrase I hoped to avoid using is that everything is back to its right place.

I don’t where the feeling that I shouldn’t be alive comes from, but I’ve had it for as long as I remember. Even if it went away, I wouldn’t know how to live otherwise.

It amazes me how I can have the slightest amount of confidence. Maybe that is how confidence works: you are confident as long as you are certain. It doesn’t matter what you are certain of.

It gets annoying to realize the right response only after the window for it has passed. But it is nothing compared to the helplessness of thinking that it has always been out of my hands. The very core of my identity is flawed, and it has always been that way.

It feels more helpless to see that flaw in the eyes of others. When your mistakes are immediately forgiven, and when you are not expected to be any better. I sometimes wonder how many people who know me looked at me and thought to themselves: “I have so much to be grateful for” in the same way that statement is said when looking at terminally ill people.

It’s me against them, everyday. Even the closest people to me seem so distant at times. Like everything else that’s flawed in me, I notice my flaw but I cannot fix it. At times, I wish I wasn’t even able to tell when I’m doing something wrong. But I’m paranoid, and I can’t stop it.
Because I believe that the moment I stop being paranoid would be the moment I am most vulnerable for those who are plotting against me.

My mind is going away. I don’t know the medical term, but I know what I feel.

Everything good in my life I sought because I knew I had nothing else. It was one-dimensional; transcripts, awards, and any physical evidence I could find that I was good. Almost every time I am mentioned, the evidence is mentioned too. As if to balance out everything else about me. An average of two extremes.
Everything good in my life was the compensation I offered for my identity.

What I fear is that my mind will go before I have more evidence. Everything is in its right  ugly place now. But in a few years it might not be.

The same

 

The potential was always missed in places that are too familiar. All the cups of coffee that I drink to avoid wasting my mornings half-asleep. All the pills that I take to avoid wasting my nights half-awake. All the calculations of whether I really seized my energy, if it comes.

I chose travel, so that even if I worry about my present and my future, I would be comfortably far from my past.

But it’s the same.

I miss my past, until the new place becomes familiar. Then I realize it’s the same.

I write again in my crowded notebook. In a new language, but along the same lines. I have not seized the potential, if there’s any, in two different countries.

I should have never travelled, and the potential should have always remained not fully explored. So that it gives reason to avoid wasting everyday half-awake and half-asleep.

So that one could always say: “There is potential for things to be generally better in the future as a result of some of my actions.”

A night darker than average

 

The night was darker than average, and in my dark room what I feared most was invisible.
My thoughts were summarizing all my memorable experiences. It was all tiring, both living them and recalling them.
I heard familiar voices outside discussing general matters.
Am I dead?
(“It’s just a chemical imbalance in the brain. When there’s something wrong with your stomach, you take medications. It isn’t different with the brain.”)

I cannot deny this evil feeling I am trying to keep hidden.
I am evil, inherently evil. I can see the big picture now; all these memories fit together. They’re telling me the truth. I am evil.
(“Remember to say: I am ALLOWING these thoughts to negatively affect me.”)

I am tired of living and recalling, and this is a reasonable time of the year to feel tired. This isn’t patience, it’s uselessness and wishful waiting. You were right, Steve, you were right all along.
(“Give the bad voice in your head a name. Call him Steve! Now whenever Steve is talking to you, catch him. Call him on it. Say it in your head: “Steve is talking to me again.”)

 

 

A Pure Apology

Nothing remains but memories of feelings. And only now do I have a more objective view, perhaps (somewhat) similar to yours.

I still remember you on occasion, when the moon is especially bright, or when the night is especially dark and missing something.

This is a pure apology; nothing but an admittance of guilt and an expression of regret.

I am sorry.

I guess this is the classic procedure, how things like this end; nothing out of the ordinary. Many stages, but at the end is a pure 100% apology. A letter devoid of anything but guilt, regret, and memories. A letter so unlike anything I have written for you in the past.
But I stand by my apology, I was wrong and I regret having written any of them.

It’s a near impossible task for me to write more, though I want to express more. I want to remain in touch, if only by writing letters that you cannot read. But how do I address you? A past lover, or a past opponent? A stranger ? but I cannot see you as a stranger anymore.

It must be part of the classic procedure. If the apology is pure, after it comes nothing.

 

A day to remember: at night

I ordered some food. It took longer than I thought to be done, but I didn’t mind it. I sat looking at myself and thinking.

I looked at my jeans, so washed up and faded. I bought them during my second year in my previous college, and they were always my favorite. They had coffee stains from last year, and though I washed it many times, they were still there. I wondered how many people have noticed them.

I looked at my arms. My younger brother joked a few years earlier that they were hairy; he called me a werewolf.

 

It was silent in the restaurant, and I remembered the noises the new students made throughout last week. It was orientation week. I observed that they seemed young. I was amazed by the difference between us, even though I was only older by a year.

I asked myself if I envied them. But I quickly dismissed the thought. I hoped and assumed that I didn’t.

 

I must have done a perfect job of making my last birthday unremarkable. I don’t remember what I wore, where I was, or what I did. Really, if my age is counted by the birthdays I remember, I would be still 23 years, or much much younger.

This year, however, I failed to do the same.

I thought too much. In fact, I thought enough about today that I thought of a birthday wish.

I wish I never have to go through another day like today.

 

I would have preferred if my birthday was confined to a physical place, and I could choose whether to attend it or not. It would be only a minor detail whether my age became 24.01 years or remained 23.99 years.

 

My food was done, and I was hungry but I didn’t feel like eating anymore. I took a bite, and planned to take the rest home.

I stopped by a shop to buy a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. My only other pack was consumed throughout the last year of college. I thought the day was already abnormal that it didn’t matter what I did anymore.

I remembered when my older brother and I were talking, and he said to me that we should be very grateful our parents warned us a lot about smoking. He told me that most of his friends smoked, but he never smoked and never wanted to.

I also remembered when I was in summer camp, and in the chemistry lab they showed us how much smoking is harmful through an experiment. Later, we saw the assistant for that lab smoking and we were surprised. He was in the same lab, he even prepared some of the materials on the harmful effects of smoking.

 

As I was driving back home, I regretted not going to see my sister.

I smoked the first cigarette, and then I followed it with five more. Unlike smoking in college, this time I enjoyed every second of it. I listened to Present Tense by Radiohead on repeat through the ride home. The smokes hurt my eyes a little bit and it was more difficult to see in front of me. I reminded myself that I don’t need to smoke. I could just drive off a ledge. But I always feared I would regret it when it was too late.

 

I really wish I don’t have to go through another day like today.

 

CAM00021

The Easiest Part

is seeing you genuinely happy.

Why should it bother me?
Maybe it is something close to the definition of jealousy.

La jalousie. That was the word we were taught when the French lesson was about personalities.
Remember the question about your ideal partner?
You were there taking the same class, but how could I limit you in words (no matter French or English)?
Discutez avec une partenaire!

Do you really remember?
Has that memory ever been replayed?

Today I am further from you that I have ever been, and tomorrow I will be even further.

The easiest part is wishing all the best for you knowing it will be far from me.

“Such is love; the easiest part of it is most difficult.”

 

Three Words (3/3)

I looked in the mirror, and all the ungroomed hair that covered my head and face couldn’t hide who I was, and it couldn’t hide the resemblance to my two uncles.

I used to think that something went wrong somewhere, and it led me to this. But I’m starting to see that this man in front of me is exactly how the child I was could grow.

An average of two extremes, but even every commendable achievement was earned for the wrong reasons.
I was terrified of becoming like my uncle, of quitting everything I have and simply living to die.
Then I remembered what my grandfather said.
Yes, I may avoid my uncle’s life, but it is equally terrifying to live a difficult life only to provide an excuse. It is equally terrifying to punish myself for their evil genes.

As if I was born undeserving of life that the meaning of my life became to justify it.

As if the limit of my life’s meaning is to push myself as far away from the evil extreme, so that the likes of my grandfather can describe me as “OK.”

Grandfather, I don’t know if you can hear me, but I want you to know that I have never hated anyone in my life as much as I hate you today.

Three Words (2/3)

“Why don’t you go inside and eat with others?” That’s what my uncle asked. He saw my habit of eating on the stairs outside because I wanted to be by myself.
Even in college, the many times I ate on the stairs of buildings.

“He’s always like that, even at home.” My father used to tell people, sometimes even those we meet for the first time. As if something was so visibly wrong that he had to explain.
I started writing only after I have read so much in middle school. When I hid everyday in the individual cubicles in the library.
At the hospital, where we woke up at 6 and went to bed at 6, I revisited my favorite hobby of reading.

The more I remember of my past, the more likely it seems. Things have a better explanation now.

Things like the girl whose shoulder I burned with a wire hanger trying to approach her when I was 10 years old (funny that we were visiting my grandparents at the time).
Things like molesting another student in elementary school when I didn’t even know much.
Things that were only tolerable because I was “gifted”. It was the reason I was allowed in society, the excuse for my life.

 

Today, my thick folder of transcripts and acknowledgments shares the room with many empty medication bottles. Nothing gives me more pride and more humiliation than seeing my name written as the recipient of praise and pity.

How sickening to live as an average of two extremes.

The stars that rose above us both

Look at the stars that rose above us both. Shed a tear for your troubles. I’ll shed one for my troubles, one for the distance between us, and many tears I’ll shed for that distance is not all that separates us.

Not someday; never. The decision of a superior being, terrible luck, or just something no possible universe can tolerate.

I am aware of everything that separates us, but I can’t stop looking at the stars that rose above us both.

I remember you most when I laugh, and I know I am not happy.
And I remember you most when I cry, and I know nothing could make me sadder.

There is always an end, and it will only be when I can’t see those stars anymore.
Not like an unwatered plant that died of thirst. But like perfume that has completely spread into the air, becoming an infinitesimal part of it, but a part nonetheless.

 

The problem with letting go

“Letting go” sounds much more physical than it is.

It is a change of perspective more than a change in actions. It is viewing something not as part of the controllable present anymore, but as part of the unchangeable past. It is believing that nothing can be done about it, and if there was, it should not be done now. It is an acceptance that what already happened is all there is, and all there will ever be. The possibilities, that were hoped to happen, become understood as vacuous; they were possible only in the sense that they did not contradict the laws of physics. In hindsight, only facts are important and possibilities mean nothing.

Although it can be hastened, it cannot be delayed. Time dilutes everything, eventually. The pain that you should feel as long as your loss stands will be taken away, carving more helplessness into an already weak structure. Not only to fail, but to be denied the ability to truly “appreciate” every detail of that failure. The pain that remains is a general one. An indistinguishable pile that was formed by failures of the past, only larger by a degree of one failure. Immovable, and continuously growing. Once, it seemed to be a reasonable price for everything else. Now, it has pushed everything out and it is all that can be seen. Troubling to deal with, and too troubling to ignore.

A distinction has to be made between failure as a cost of learning and failure as an unchangeable characteristic. A characteristic that continues to define every new memory.