Tomorrow Will Be A Better day?

There it is. Brewing in the corner of my eye: darkness that eats light whole. How long could it stay away? I light lamps everywhere, that’s what I’ve taught myself to do. It’s the only way I survive. But the dark always watches from beyond the boundary of my light, sitting at the edge of my laughter, waiting. It is a shrieking gale that comes time and again to blow the flames out. And at times I’m too tired to light the lamps all over again.

I’ve been enchanted by a magician’s trick, too focused on the diversion, on the distraction to see through the illusion. Now the trick becomes clearer, and I wake up from this drugged stupor I’ve been in, happy and high in my head. The withdrawal is acid. In my heart, in my gut, in my windpipe and in my sight.

If I am one of the lost, floating on these dark placid waters in my little dingy with the rest of these adrift souls, then I see more than I should to remain calm. I taste my purpose and don’t understand its flavour: like seeing a person you have loved your whole life and being unable to conjure up a drop of love for them. You know you should love them because you always have, and yet one day the love is dead and it has been dead so long, you didn’t even notice when it turned to dust and vanished.

I am appalled at how comfortable I am in the jaws of this staid, numb life. Afraid to rock the dingy, afraid to follow through on what I know makes me happy. Always the fear. Be brave, the magician told me once, as he pulled out the rabbit from his hat and handed it to me. I thought he intended it as a gift solely for me. But the rabbit was the diversion: a side road into the pretty countryside when the moon was at its beautiful best. For that one night, the world was lit silver and blue and my mind knew no other colour. But then came morning, bright and blazing and yellow, and I was suddenly reacquainted with the sun and how little I had done to reduce the distance between us. The sun no longer questioned me, I had silenced him long ago. He had been my dream and now he asked me for the first time in years, “What happened to you?”

When I whisper about this darkness to other lost souls they shush me. With fluttering hands and soothing murmurs they stroke my bruises. “Don’t think too much, here drink.” “Don’t worry too much, here smoke.” “Don’t be too much, here eat.” “Don’t say too much, here sleep.” For them tomorrow is a land of perpetual comfort. Today is just an off day, tomorrow will be good. But today, in this pain, I feel more awake, more alive than I have been in a long time. I don’t want pipe dreams. I want the jagged truth. Even if I cut myself holding it to my chest. I don’t want to wake up to a tomorrow that numbs me, that allows my mind to anaesthetise itself so I can go through the day without screaming out loud. I don’t want a tomorrow as much as I want a today.

And I don’t want a today as much as I want a now.

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To you, who can’t let go.

To you, who can’t let go,

Was it a boyfriend, a brother, a friend, a sister, a girlfriend, a mother, or maybe a father? The one or ones who disappeared, who took a pen, signed their names onto the fabric of your heart and then left. Now you can’t wash off the indelible ink and it feels more like a stain than a memory of love. Most days you shrug it off, the present is full of incredible, sugary distractions that you stuff yourself with till you bloat. But now and then these phantoms come back for a cup of tea and a tete-a-tete. The ink turns moist again, like they’ve just picked up the pen and traced their essence all over you.

So you wonder why they keep popping up on the radar at random moments, why can’t they just disappear from memory, as from life? They are here to teach you a skill that you need to learn. It’s called the art of letting go. Not the kind of letting go that our generation is used to: the no strings attached, won’t-fight-for-the-ones-you-care-about kind of letting go. I mean the kind that despite you having given everything, more than everything to someone, they can’t seem to stick around. You need to learn that people come into your life and go, that is the ultimate truth. Even if they stick with you their whole life, eventually they will die and leave you. So, it doesn’t matter if  they move on while they live or when they have to, the more important thing is, that you need to accept that that is how the world is. And that letting go isn’t a bad thing.

You should love someone with abandon, with such depth, and unbelievable recklessness that your love should be seared into their memory for all eternity, irrespective of where they are or where they go. Don’t treat love like an investment where you put effort and time and energy into someone for returns later and then when the investment goes kaput you think, ‘I could’ve just done all this for someone who actually deserved it.’ You should love someone with the entirety of your yearning, dancing soul not because they deserve it, but because that’s the only true way to love. If you’re looking for someone who will stay, always, then you need to look into a mirror. That’s who will always be with you, and so you need to love that person and be the best of friends with that person. Then anyone who comes around is an added joy, not the source of it. And then when their time in your life is inevitably up, because they need to move on, or because you have tried enough and more to hold on but it isn’t your call anymore, whatever the reason, you should kiss them goodbye and wish them luck.

Perhaps it is only natural that you stare with longing in the empty direction that took them away. But that’s where you have to learn the art of letting go. Don’t stay at that spot watching a closed door, hoping for it to open. Don’t return to that spot either. Stand up, hold your head high, take a deep breath, look to the horizon, and say, “Who’s next?” Because there is always a next.