thoughts

~ A Slow Depletion ~

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~ A Slow Depletion ~

“Alone in a rented room, just a desk and a single bed, and a laptop to write. But the laptop’s battery was broken and its charge slowly depleting down to zero. It was a symbolic situation I guess. For a long time now I had felt myself being drained of whatever life was inside of me. I knew the people beyond those walls didn’t understand or care. It was a sick society and people had their own problems to overcome. Depression. Anxiety. Past traumas. Redundancies. Divorces. Midlife crisis’. The horrors of everyday life were being raged upon many out there. Faces passing you on the street were masks hiding a mess of internal troubles. Life was a constant storm and it was only natural that your eyes looked up to the skies for some sort of help. Myself? I figured if there was a god, it was a trickster god. There was no way these sorts of scenes could come into place by some benevolent force. I looked out and saw a society where people emptied out over years of monotonous routine; where people went insane in small rooms alone; where people’s dreams were suppressed and their prayers remained unanswered. Meanwhile, I stared out the window and watched the birds in the trees. They didn’t have money or jobs or civilisation or dreams. But I saw more victory in their existence than I did in the one we had entered ourselves into it. I figured the reason behind it too. Life was incredibly simple at its core, yet we insisted on making it complicated. Our brains are over-saturated computers that buffer and crash and stall. Our senses have been overloaded by the noise of society. We are the computers that crash, the batteries that deplete. We are slowly running down to our destruction as we become more and more convoluted. For now, it’s trying to make sense of this crazy world while hitting the keys of this slowly-dying computer. Just another person trying to make their mark before the life leaves me completely.”

thoughts

~ Exploding with Magic ~

~ Exploding with Magic ~

“I know it’s hard sometimes to believe in your own voice. You’ve grown up in a world where it has been suppressed from a young age. You’ve felt the influences of the world – those heavy hands of authority fall on your shoulder and tell you what it is you have to do to be accepted. Those things you felt in your heart, you were made to believe they were incorrect or wrong. You were asked to abandon your dreams and passions in order to ‘get real’. You were told it was fitting in that was important rather than keeping your unique shape. It is like this in our world. The pliers of society will cause many out there to abandon their magic for the sake of social sanity and acceptance. It is insidious and happens often without us realising. Dreams die a cold death. Songs are silenced. Wings are clipped. That is why we stop and stare when we see someone who has not let their spirit tamed by society. Those free birds sing the sweetest songs because secretly we all crave to do the same; to be unashamedly ourselves and to live in line with what our hearts truly desire rather than what is blindly expected of us. A different way is possible and this is not something for you to just read about on a travel blog or in a poetry book. You too can break free and live a life of immense personal truth and authenticity. It’s all there waiting inside of you. Just spend some time alone and have a look at your life. Learn to listen to your inner voice once again. Know what it is you need to do then summon up the courage and belief to do it. I promise you, you’ll find yourself enriched with something that will make the world around you explode with magic.”

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thoughts

~ A Crazy Little Idea ~

~ A Crazy Little Idea ~

I have this idea in my head that some may call a little crazy. I believe that my time alive here is precious, and I am not ashamed to say that I do not want my life to be one with a predetermined path, a generic job and the sort of life that makes your parents’ heads nod with approval. In my heart, I know I will not find satisfaction with the things that are expected of me, and I guess I am choosing to sacrifice the comfort of normality for the thrill of living a life defined by my own rules. The truth is that I’ve always felt that I am a little at odds with this world; whether it has been in school or in jobs – in crowds or alone – I have felt that my spirit is from another realm than the one I find myself in. The life of blindly following established traditions fills me with dread, and it is with the burning passion inside of me that I must go out into the world and forge my own path. These feet of mine will not allow me to be bound to a place of silent heartache for the sake of social acceptance and security. Instead, they will know the movement of adventure, tread the ground of the unknown, and carry the weight of a man whose every step takes him further toward the shores of his own destiny. This is the way I am and the way I always will be. Another dreamer on the run, chasing my bliss and living every day of life as if it were a rebellion against death itself.

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thoughts

~ Incompatible ~

~ Incompatible ~

“At the tail end of my twenties, I stood and looked out at a society of sane and stable minds. I saw people who were settled and content. I saw people who fitted in neatly to the system. I saw people who strolled through life without any real problems. To see myself as one of them was almost impossible. Everything that came so easily to everyone: jobs, sanity, expectations and small-talk was like poison to my soul. I was one who didn’t see the world as they did. I went on adventures in my mind. I looked out for the birds overhead. Instead of thinking about laying roots, I dreamed of flying away to far-off lands. I walked those streets and felt like a foreigner in a strange land, looking out for someplace I belonged or could at least take shelter in. And those faces that passed me: I couldn’t relate to any of them. The mouths that moved but did not speak; the eyes that looked but did not see. Who were these people? Where had they come from? To roam alone your whole life craving connection with another but to somehow never find it is perhaps the greatest loneliness of all. Alone in the crowd you yearn for some sort of communion, but those streets leave you feeling like a creature from another star system. As time goes on, you gradually accept that those people aren’t feeling what you’re feeling and seeing what you’re seeing. Your place among their world is non-existent, and consequently you become a wanderer of the outside spaces. Those spaces are ones of constant reflection and for me I do not know what awaits me out there in the future. I didn’t ask to come to this place and now I am here I hope to find my way to some sort of home. I’m a long way from that but I will carry on toward a place where I understand my reason for being. Before my death, I hope to know what that is.”

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short stories

~ A World Not Made for Lovers ~

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~ A World Not Made for Lovers ~

Her hazel eyes dimmed with a sadness. There was a heaviness in them which pulled them down to the ground. There was the light of love still in there somewhere, but it had been suppressed down to the tiniest flicker in the vast darkness that enveloped every horizon of her inner universe. Like most lovers in this tortured world, she sat alone in silence and stared emptily into space, confused at the situation of existence before her. She knew deep down a sensitive soul like hers didn’t belong in this society of cruelty and trickery. She wanted affection but got rejection; she wanted passion but got apathy; she wanted to fly but was tethered down by the concrete gravity of reality. In her heart, she felt betrayed that the gods had left her stranded in this foreign environment. Her cards had been dealt and now, like a little bird in a cage, she flapped around hopelessly within her confines, aching inside to return to the place where her spirit belonged soaring free.

We had met recently out on the road and now by circumstance, I found myself with her in the Netherlands. A Spanish girl in Amsterdam, Sara, away from home, trying to get by and make her way out in foreign lands, but stuck in a struggle I knew all too well. “The people are cold here,” she told me. “They are like robots. The men just fuck you and then stop speaking to you. I can’t make any friends. People put up barriers if they don’t know you already. Honestly, I have no idea what the hell I am doing here.” She carried on spilling her pain and frustration, talking about her ex and her past failures in relationships. “I am broken but everyone is broken after a while, you just have to keep looking and find the person who is less broken than you are.”

Her words struck a chord with me and naturally it felt good to be around a fellow scratched and scarred soul also stumbling through life. We continued sharing our thoughts as we roamed around Amsterdam, spending our time drinking in the cafes and bars, strolling down the canals and checking out the sights of the capital. At one point we walked around a museum and talked about life and travel and relationships. We looked at Van Gogh’s paintings – another lover driven to madness and isolation by the weight of the world. In his self-portraits, you could sense his simultaneous love and despair for the human condition. Speaking to Sara while viewing the paintings, I stared into her eyes and saw that same tortured look. I saw that little bird inside longing to be free, to be loved and to belong to someone or something. I had seen it before in the most beautiful souls I had come across out there on the road. It seemed that if you walked this world with an open heart, you were sure to suffer more than the average person. If you truly loved without a filter than people didn’t know what to do; often the other sex saw it as a weakness and inevitably you were left heartbroken and dejected. I thought of Van Gogh cutting off his ear giving it to a woman to show his love for her. Admittedly cutting off body parts was perhaps a little extreme but, like Van and Sara, whenever I fell for someone, I went in with all my heart and was inevitably left shunned. Ironically, I was here with her but had recently fallen for another girl who had rejected me, and now I had only added to her misery by misleading her. I was also part of the problem. But I had my own problems too. We were both drowning in our own way.

When I really thought about it, it seemed that it wasn’t just relationships where the ones who loved without a filter suffered. It was life and society in general. The more open-hearted you were, the more you were beaten and broken down by the nature of humanity. I couldn’t make sense of it. I looked out at the world around me and saw a brutal and backwards system. It was a place where the cruel and cold-hearted flourished. It was a place where sociopaths and narcissists rose to the top while the most caring and thoughtful were trampled underfoot. A strange game was being played and the winners were usually the ones with the fake smiles, the smooth lies and a cold, calculating nature. It seemed that to be sensitive and caring was considered a weakness in this society. It wasn’t good for the economy. It wasn’t good for survival. It wasn’t good for business or strategy. The best rewards were reserved for the merciless and uncompromising. Dog eat dog, as they said. Every man and woman and child for themselves.

Meanwhile, those who loved with reckless abandon didn’t make it. They lingered in the solitary shadows and sidelines. The lovers. The dreamers. The idealists. Often this world didn’t know what to do with them. So many of them were cast out, shunned, misunderstood or neglected. In the worst cases, they were gunned down by the fear and hatred of humanity. John Lennon. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Malcolm X. JFK. Abraham Lincoln. Aside from them you also had the sensitive and artistic souls driven to suicide or early death by the crushing weight of it all. Kurt Cobain. Hemingway. Winehouse. Kerouac. Ledger. Sylvia Path. Robin Williams. For such people to survive in this world, they needed to put up walls and toughen themselves up, but so many of them were clearly unable to do that, and consequently they were left burdened by feeling too much in an uncaring and hostile world, slowly being driven to death and destruction and alcohol and madness.

Yeah, no matter how you looked at it, it was a world not made for lovers and I guess, like Sara, I knew opening my heart up to it would also leave me sitting alone and staring into space, hopelessly confused at the situation of existence before me. But I didn’t really know what else to do. I was a man ruled mercilessly by his own heart. With child-like curiosity, I explored the world around me. I tenaciously followed my passions. I lived fiercely according to my ideals. I loved without a filter. I expressed myself from my heart and soul. I thought these things would be good qualities in life, but so far it had only made my existence extremely difficult. People abused my kind nature. My authenticity didn’t give me acceptance. My ideals and passions were not compatible with society. Speaking from my heart often caused people to distance themselves from me. I guess I had the ability to stop being this way, but a part of me refused to let the essence of myself be diluted down by the hostile environment I had found myself in.

  “You need to stop being so sensitive and ruled by your emotions.”

  “Man up.”

  “Learn to play the game like everyone else.”

I’d heard it all before just like the others had, but by now I knew I wasn’t going to change. Speaking to Sara as we strolled around the streets and canals of Amsterdam, I was reminded how much better the world was when you had those sorts of people around you. Just a day or two in her company and suddenly my faith in humanity returned. Suddenly the grey streets of society didn’t all seem to be doom and gloom with people like her somewhere out there. As long as you just came across a few of those pure-hearted people every year, it restored something in you; it relinquished the dread and fear of your own species. No matter where I went in the world, I knew I would always look out for them. Normally those people were the most troubled souls, but in my eyes, they were the most courageous, the most beautiful. They were the ones who reminded you that there was still some hope left. The ones who reminded you that humanity wasn’t totally doomed. The ones who reminded you that there was still a chance to find some gentleness in the craziness of this world.

To the lovers out there fighting on in this world where so many cold-hearted creatures and demons run amok, don’t let yourself be swallowed up by the storm. Keep the flowers growing in your heart; keep the doves flying in your mind; keep the sun shining in your soul. Sara, little bird, if you are reading this, I hope you find your happiness and learn to smile a little more. Don’t let the weight of this concrete world grind you down. Don’t let yourself be broken down by those hollow-hearted and empty-eyed creatures. Keep your heart kind; keep your soul pure; keep loving fearlessly without a filter. When all is said and done, it’s the people like you that keep the soul of humanity alive.

thoughts

~ Finding Meaning ~

~ Finding Meaning ~

“Days that feel wasted. Days that play out the same old way. Days that leave you wishing for something that cannot be explained in words. And you feel it deep inside, that itch in your bones to get out and live your life in a new way; to go beyond the boundaries of the ordinary. You look at people on the streets and know that so many have chosen to dwell in lives not meant for them. So many have feared the unknown and neglected things inside themselves. And slowly you see it take its toll: in the eyes, in the heart, in the mind, and in the soul. The thought of facing the same fate leaves you feeling empty, but please know that there is a way out of all that. There is a way out of the drudgery and the misery of the mundane. It’s a life-changing move and it begins with a simple decision. It’s the decision to choose faith over fear, freedom over security, adventure over comfort, authenticity over expectation. The decision to rise and follow your heart away from it all; to follow that voice that calls deep within to the things you desire deepest, and to not let it be drowned out by the voices or judgment of others. Yes, your road will be a little rockier and your skin a little more scarred, but when you get to the end of it, you will know that your life was more than just a solemn march to the grave, but instead a thrilling run through the wilderness, a wild dance in the waterfall – a dive deep into the ocean of the unknown. You will know that your life was one that was experienced to the full; a life bound by passion and purpose which did not know the tragedy of wasted days and wasted years.”

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thoughts

~ Letting Go ~

~ Letting Go ~

“Sometimes it’s not a person or thing that saves us. It’s not clinging on to a ledge in fear or running for the hills. Sometimes the thing that saves us is simply letting go – of having the courage to abandon whatever it is that we know is not meant for us. So many out there have been emptied out by allowing themselves to clutch onto things that were corrosive to their own being. Usually it is done out of fear of facing the unknown. People will continue living lives that slowly degrade and destroy them because the thought of leaving what they know was all too much. It is a decision that leaves people haunted by what could have been; sometimes it is even a decision that is a form of spiritual suicide. The price of fearfully clinging onto things can cost you dearly, and knowing when it’s okay to abandon things that do not speak to your soul is essential to the evolution of yourself.  So, if every ounce of your being knows it’s not for you, then go on and do it. Summon up some courage. Lose your grip. Embrace the new and unknown. Do not cling to a broken boat as it sinks into the abyss; let go from the wreckage and learn how to swim.”

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short stories

~ Seriously, What’s the Point? ~

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~ Seriously, What’s the Point? ~

“Seriously, what’s the point?”

“The point to what?” I asked.

“Life, of course.” She rolled her eyes. “All I’m doing is working, eating and sleeping – just struggling to get by and survive. It all seems so meaningless. When am I actually going to live?” I paused for a second, trying to think of a helpful response.

“Maybe you need a change of environment,” I suggested. “Or perhaps to go on an adventure?”

“Adventures cost money,” she said. “And what little I have I need to keep a roof over my head.”

“There are ways to do it,” I told her. “I’ve never had a lot of money, or a good-paying job, but I’ve found ways to get out and see a bit of the world.”

“That’s because you do those medical trials,” she snapped. “I don’t want to do that. And besides, I’m getting too old to travel now. All my friends are starting to buy houses and start families. I’ll fall behind if I go bum around in a foreign country now. I’m almost thirty, you know?”

“So?” I snapped back. “You need to stop caring what people think. You say you want to really live so open your mind and explore something new. Who’s to say a little adventure won’t give you a new perspective on life? There is more to life than just ticking boxes and trying to fit in with the crowd.”

“Is there? You went out and travelled the world, but yet here you are back home seeming unhappy with your situation once again. Face it: the best thing one can do is just find someone you can tolerate and settle down and maybe go on a nice holiday every now and again while trying to not go insane. Those who do anything else usually end up homeless or something.” This time it was me rolling the eyes.

“You are looking at those people and thinking they have ‘arrived’ or something because they have the classic components of a ‘normal life’. In reality, many of them feel just as lost and confused as you, if not more so because they are trapped by contracts and commitments. Maybe they are looking at you and wishing they had the freedom and lack of responsibilities you have? The grass is always greener on the other side. Don’t be fooled. Create your own reality. Write your own story.” She shook her head with a look of annoyance. I could see she was reaching the end of her tether.

“You know what, you give all this advice but look at you: you’re almost thirty and you have never had a proper job, you live in a flatshare with people you don’t like, and you don’t even know how to drive. I don’t think I’ll be taking advice off you, thank you very much.” An awkward silence fell over us for a few seconds before she looked away. I opened my mouth to say something but decided against it. The conversation was beyond saving and I walked off to leave her alone with her thoughts. 

I should have just brushed her frustrated comments aside, but her words stayed with me for the rest of the day. I thought I had some wisdom about life, but maybe she was right and I really was just a no-hoper that no one should have taken advice from. I guess I was a bit of a loser by society’s standards. I was quickly approaching the age of thirty and had never had a ‘proper job’ (whatever the hell that meant), a girlfriend, a car, my own place or even an Instagram profile with a load of pictures of myself on a beach in Dubai. I was now at the stage where I was clearly ageing too. I looked in the mirror and saw the hairs on my head begin to grey, as well as the first wrinkles start to make their mark across my forehead. Apparently I was now an official adult, fully grown, but with absolutely none of the things that were expected of me at this age. I guess I had at least seen a bit of the world and climbed a few mountains, and done things many only dreamt they could do, but how much further could I really take it? Maybe my current method of living was not one that was sustainable past your twenties, and that I was just going to end up homeless like my friend suggested. The thought of it all made me also think: seriously, what’s the point?

The point to our lives? The point to our paths? The point to our struggles and trials and battles? It just seemed that it was an endless fight. No matter how far you had come or what position you were in – whether you were poor or rich, famous or obscure; whether you were in a relationship or single; whether you were young or old or good-looking or bad-looking – the one thing that stayed the same no matter what was that you were perpetually dissatisfied and always looking for more. True contentment and fulfilment was something you only read about, and the few who said they had it were usually lying, secretly trying to fulfil inner voids with whatever vice they could find. All in all, life just seemed an absurd joke in which no one really ever got lasting happiness or inner peace, and that people were constantly searching for it like my friend. Like she had alluded to, so much of it was a struggle to get by – when were the times when we actually arrived? When we actually lived?

I guess the futility of it all is what led men and women to get ‘fucked up’ – as many tended to call it. The bottles, the joints, the pills, the powders – whatever recreational substance you chose on the quest to alleviate the pain of being human. That was what I did that very night as her words continued to grow in my mind. I poured myself a large glass of red wine and prepared to sink once again into a bubble of being comfortably numb. This was it: the universal vice. No matter what culture or creed you were from – no matter what age in history – one thing that stayed the same was that people always looked to get out of their ordinary states of mind. It was the great escape; tricking your brain into thinking that something exciting was happening because the reality of your normal life was too much to bear at times. All across the world, weekend warriors could be found finishing work on a Friday evening, then heading straight to a bar to pour that poison into their blood so they could momentarily escape the dreary drudgery of human existence in a hazy blur of liquor, neon lights, and late-night takeaways. Then there were the pill-poppers who lived for the raves; working and waiting for that next time they could use up all the happiness chemicals in their brain in one swift swoop. Ultimately, then came the comedown which brought them sharply back to the gnawing aches and pains of reality which was always waiting for you.

That reality ceaselessly consumed each and every one of us. The girl I had the conversation with continued, I knew one day she would have it a bit easier, perhaps even have the house, the partner, the steady career and a few offspring running around on a rug in the living room. But I also knew she would still be standing beside the curtains and looking out at the world, dreaming again of something more – something that would finally allow her to feel like she had arrived. She resented her situation now, but she would also still find new things to resent her future situation. Even for me, I was now at a stage I always hoped I would be – having seen all the places I wanted to travel, wrote a couple of books and had a bit more confidence about who I was – yet I was getting easily derailed by a simple conversation with a friend; spiralling down into a state of unhappiness and alcoholism and feeling like I had gotten nowhere over all the years. I guess this is it: the reality that human-beings were never meant to be happy or content or satisfied. Our brains have gotten too big. We contemplate and think too much for our own good. We now look at the animal kingdom in jealousy that they live so simply in the moment without our trivial pains and worries and concerns and conundrums. What is left to do but get drunk and try to find a point to your absurd and trivial life. Even if it’s just supporting a football team, or teaching yoga, or searching for love, or writing a book. What’s the point to it all? I’m not really sure either, but if you have any original ideas, do let me know. We’re all secretly grasping at straws here.

      

thoughts

~ Embracing the Gift ~

~ Embracing the Gift ~

“Stumbling and staggering down the streets of life, staring into skies and spaces – into the eyes of pretty girls passing me by. My mind always entertained the same question. Was there a home out there for me? In this society? Inside the heart of another? The more I interacted with the others, the more I felt that the answer was a resounding no. There was something that would just not grant me the same peace that came so easily to others. My mind was corrupted by a strange madness; my heart possessed by a wild force. I lived a life of constant isolation and separation. I observed the world around me as a spectator, never feeling like I truly belonged to something or anything. The disconnection weighed heavy and whenever it all became too much, I retreated to the spaces beyond the borders. The woods. The fields. The streams and solitary spaces. It was out there in that nature where my courage returned. The mystery and magic of the natural universe was like a drug to me. Seeing something as simple as a singular leaf dance in the breeze or the ripples skate their way across the pond surface gave me enormous strength. Then there were the twisted patterns of tree branches. The smoky transience of cloud formations above. Even the birds’ songs told me something important that I could sustain myself with. Life itself was profoundly beautiful and worth living, and although a few times I had considered the alternative, I knew it was a foolish throwing away of the gift I had been gifted.”

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thoughts

~ A Certain Type ~

~ A Certain Type ~

“There is a certain breed of person in this world who is destined to always be in conflict with society. They are the type that does not accept a way of life simply because it is ‘traditional’ or expected of them. They are the type that feel a thunder in their heart whenever they’re asked to change in order to fit in. They are the type who will not let themselves be influenced by slogans such as ‘the real world’ or ‘growing up’. Watch out for these people. They are the ones that will not bow down to peer pressure. They are the ones that will not be bought off with money or possessions. And usually they are the ones that will cause others to reflect on their own life choices as they fearlessly chase their dreams without regard for others’ opinions. But know that more than anything, society will always need and depend on this type of person. It is those misfits who saw things from new angles, who charted the uncharted and made new discoveries. They are also the ones who bring us the books and artworks we love. Without them, humanity would have been deprived of many treasures and riches. We weren’t all born to fit into the same mould, so let the wild be wild and the weird be weird. Some birds were not made to be tied down in the same spot.”

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