On Life

November 20, 2011
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ON MOMENTS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE

Life is made up of moments. Little flashes that stick in a memory and burrow down into the crevices of the brain. Small ideas that stay with us after everything else has faded; memories that are so strong, they cannot help but leave scars, even if those scars are unseen. Moments that take your breath away or reduce you to tears, moments that form a person. If you look into someone's eyes, you see those moments, ever flashing, ever playing, the thread that sews a being together. Some people live in these moments, disregarding every memory that came before for the new, the present. Some people live in their thoughts, stuck in the past, bogged down by haunting ideas and thoughts. Some people live for the moments, to reminisce upon them and to make as many rich, full moments as possible. Some live in fear of the moments to come, scared of what they will be faced with. And some people live to capture the moments, hold them, keep them safe to pull them out and look at them again. They live to curl around the moment like a cocoon, preserving the past and therefore the future. Some people, with the blink of the eye or the press of a button, not only make history, but protect it.

ON WORDS AND THEIR MEANING

People are made up of words. They weave history and tales, they prove value and worth. A well placed word can make or break a career. A messed up sentence can change the meaning of the entire story. A grammatical mistake saves lives. Words have only the power that we give them, only the meaning that we lend them, yet they have more power and more meaning than we realize. For all human beings interpret words in different ways, all human beings see the world in a different way, through separate eyes and lenses. Descriptions are never the same twice, and that is why photos and words are so closely linked; a picture is worth a thousand words. But these words must be well chosen. For one out of place adjective and the whole image changes. One misused verb and the scene is a different scene. Pictures are clearer, though fuzzy at times around the edges. Words are delicate instruments, used as weapons or to heal, to soothe or to agitate. Mending, shifting, breaking, and ever transforming, words are as delicate as glass and much more pliable. Some can mold them, some do nothing more than break them. But all can use them, and on every person's lips they preform differently.


ON EXPECTATIONS AND THEIR WEIGHT

When one realizes one is pregnant, a world of possibilities opens in ones mind. A parent will begin to imagine, imagine a life. A life that this person, a person who exists only in theory will lead. They see success, jobs, happiness. They see A+ report cards and skinned knees and broken hearts. They see a wedding in the far distant future and even more children to come, generations stretching on like a fanatical railroad that leads into infinity. And then the child becomes real, concrete, and these paths are pressed upon them: the parents hopes and expectations, the future and all it holds.

A child stands, as though in a train station, observing the many lines it can travel, and all the outcomes that will appear. It hears from it's parents what is the best line to take, which train will bring you furthest. It sees in it's parents eyes a future, a future of promises and opportunities, and it boards one train only to get off stations later and choose another, going in the opposite direction. It's life is lead with turnstiles and ticket stubs as it hops from one railroad to the next in desperate search of the path that will take it to great heights. And it's parents watch, eager and anxious for this child to not only reach it's goals and finish it's journey but to eradicate any errs the parents have made, to become the proof that the parent can do good, is capable of producing something that will do good. The child is born into a mold, a mold that they must fill, a mold they must fit. They have their history already half written, their destiny set out. They must do this, they must work hard, they must achieve. They must take the line their parents have chosen and do with it what they will, they must become a passenger on a train carriage and use what is given to make a life. And finally the child boards the final train, chooses it's path, and forever leaves the station.

ON HOME AND ITS FORMS

Home is the place you feel safest, but home is not always a four walled place with a roof. It can be a lover's arms or a school building, it can be a guardian or an action or a scent. Home is the place you belong, even if it is not the place you originally derived from. As a general rule though, home is a building, a location, something solid that you can claim and call yours, something definite that you can show to the world and proudly declare ownership over. Proudly declare connection to. Some people spend their whole lives trying to get away from their original homes, some striving to find a new one, while others just want to find their way back.


ON FAMILY AND ITS IMPORTANCE

Families are made of blood. From the genes in your cells, to those connected to you by marriage contracts and other pieces of paper. It is made of the blood spilled and the people who would be willing to spill their blood for you. Family is made of bonds, either willingly made or forced upon oneself by fate. It is made of the discipline and the love, the care and the hurt, people who tie themselves into the most intricate parts of our lives. These people become priority in your life. They carry on your memory after you are gone and embed your legacy into the stream of time. Family is made of those you trust more than anything, with or without reason. It is made of choices and blurred lines and all the laws we would break for those we love. For some family is more precious than gold. For others they wish nothing more than to form a new family of their own. Family is an escape or something to run from, a burden or a blessing or somehow both at the same time.



ON ART AND ITS EFFECT

It's in everything, everything that we can see and touch and feel, and even those things we cannot grasp. It's in the very air we breath, in things that hum with life and things that are stationary. In some, it is realized through the sounds of music. In some, through the whispered word. In others it pours our through the hands to meld something new out of something old. In others they simply appreciate it; the subtle hints and the vibrant hues, the tales and stories and emotions expressed in a variety of ways. But the fact of it lives in all of us, art, the act of the soul, the proof of the living, the loving, the human and the beast.


ON LAUGHTER AND ITS FORMS

A baby's laugh is perhaps the most joyous sound in the world. It twinkles like a star, pure and unbound. A baby has no regrets to slow its laughter and no thoughts to control it. Everything is funny in his eyes, everything should be celebrated. Laughter is the force that keeps the world turning successfully, keeps the world balanced. Finding the silver lining, the joke, is one of the most important skills one can master. Laughter becomes a relief, a way to ventilate stress or clear your mind. It is an escape from the mundane and the transformation of sorrow. Darkness is conquered, with a simple giggle.


ON TEARS AND THEIR REASONS

Babies come into the world crying. Water, salty as the sea, gushes from their eyes like a stream. People cry, to show emotion, fatigue, anger. To express those feelings they cannot express with words or action. Crying is a form of our body, trying to communicate with us. I am sad, it says. I am in need. I am broken. We leak to show pain, to show the fact that something is not right in our lives. We leak to show weakness and to humble ourselves, to connect to others or push them away. We cry as a reminder; we are human, capable of injury in both body and mind. We are mortal, capable of loss. Our fragility shows, through the tears that leak from our eyes, our greatest flaw.

ON STRENGTH AND ITS ABILITIES

For some it is physical. The ability to lift twice their weight or run incredible distances. The skill to maneuver minefields and swim oceans without breaking a sweat. For others it's mental. The ability to go through a stressful situation - perhaps a job interview or an interrogation - without succumbing to pressure. And for still others it's emotional. The skill to hold back your feelings, hold back your thoughts, to remain strong for someone else, because they need you, they need you so desperately. Either way everyone has it, the field in which they are strongest, most skilled. Everyone can say that they excel in at least one thing, that they can prove themselves worthy with at least one amazing skill. We find it in ourselves, the strength and ability, the prowess and the fire. Passion, determination, a natural or learned craft that will become our strength, the things we are most known for and most proud of. And it shines from within us, this strength, enabling us to move through the world with confidence. It reassures us that we are good, truly good, at something we try. And who wouldn't want that?


ON WEAKNESS AND ITS REPERCUSSIONS

With great strength comes great vulnerability. These are the things we succumb to, the things we fall prey to. These are our Achilles heels and our pressure points. They are the ways to make us scream out in fear and the things for which we would surrender all. When pushed, they are the buttons that will undo us from the inside out. They are our fault lines that cause earthquakes to shake our soft skeletons and our breaking points. They show how fragile we truly are. They make us mortal. They bring us to tears. Or perhaps they are simply the areas in which we have never developed skill. The subjects we have never grasped or the crafts we have never mastered. Perhaps they are simply skills we lack or abilities we distrust, or people we cannot stand. Weakness comes in many forms, weakness undermines us, but overall it makes us human, and reminds us that we to are fragile like glass, but we can be made into something great. After all, glass is formed when sand is at it's hottest, flaring up into something solid. And therefore must it be so that we to can flare into something brilliant, even at our most vulnerable moments?


ON LOVE AND ITS POWER

It's the comfort of a mother's embrace. It's warmth from a fire and the sting of the first snowflakes on your skin. It's a parting kiss, a whispered promise, a crumpled note. Yet it is not physical. Sometimes you cannot feel it, nor see it, nor touch it. We cannot taste it or hold it, or even explain it, because for each individual it is different. For each individual it has it's own weight and meaning, but overall it is the same. It is the reason we are alive, the reason we have a heart to beat and blood to flow. It is the reason we can think and reason and make choices. The reason we seek out other people, other humans like ourselves, the reason we mourn and the reason we laugh. It is a steady rhythm or an unruly river. It is an endless ocean or a tiny grain of sand. It's poetry and verse, death and lies. It's action without thought and thought without action, unexplainable but it's there, we know it's there we just can't harness it with words or lasso it with tongue. All we can do is open ourselves up to it, accept its existence and seek it out until the end of our days, because love is the thing that every soul craves.

ON HATE AND ITS PERSUASION

Hate spawns lies. Hate comes from jealousy, from dislike, from tension. It comes from the frustrations you feel toward yourself, projected onto your victim. It is the finding of all your flaws in another. It is the mistrust of the unknown, the fear of the unpredictable. Hate blockades dreams and does nothing but stand in one's way. It is a brick wall that grows larger the longer you pound away at it. No mallet, hammer, or wrecking ball can dismantle this. No, only through kindness can you disperse the wall, brick by brick. But hate is cement, gluing your fingers together. Hate clogs logic and reason. Hate leads people to do things they are later ashamed of, to give ridiculous justification for despicable actions. It shows only darkness and never hope. It shows only the path of the desperate. Hate breeds insanity. Hate breeds trouble, like a poison, a plaque, an awful beast within you that begs to be released. It is pure instinct that has yet to be tamed, pure venom that feeds on pain. Hate is you, the you whom you cannot stand. The despicable things within you. Hate is in your blood. Run from it? Hate laughs at the notion. Try as you will, one can never escape the weeds of hate, tugging them down down down, into the depths of your despair.


ON DEATH AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

At some point we will all pass on from this world. It is inevitable, for everything has both a beginning and an ending. Whether we have influenced the world, done what we came to do, whether we have lived a long happy life or not, is all up to us. Some look forward to death, this next great adventure, for they despise their lives. Some cling to life for they fear the unknown, they run from death foolishly. Some live, knowing they will cease when their time comes and there is no worry. Death comes in all forms; silent, quick, painful, publicized. You can be snatched unfairly in your sleep or murdered by another human being. You could leave with your last words hanging on your lips or tucked tightly into the hands of your loved ones. So many ways, and only one chance. So much fear for something so unpredictable, so many stories beginning around what is, ultimately, the end.


ON SURVIVAL AND IT'S COST

It is guilt. It is guilt that keeps you awake at nights with absolute, pure terror. It is guilt that freezes you on the sidewalk, that causes glasses to shatter in your hand. It is the "if only" and the "what if" and the "I wish". The should have, could have, would have. It trails you like a lost puppy dog looking for a home. It follows you like an orphan child begging for attention. It is selfishness, it is bravery and cowardice, it is fleeing when you should fight and fighting when you would be better off fleeing. It is keeping your sanity as the world crumbles around you. It is forgetting, ignoring, the pain. It is breathing, in and out, a rhythm that you can no, will not, end. No matter what. Because this life and everything in it means more to you than anything else. Because if you do not breathe, you will fall.





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