Nothingness & Creativity

I’m not as depressed as I sound. I’m more…stuck. And that’s been making me depressed. I feel like all my posts combined on this blog make me sound like I’m completely depressed. But the whole reason I started this blog was so that I would have a space to vent and let go, so, you know, there you go. 🙂 

It’s been so easy for me to get lost in the nothing-ness, to create the nothing-ness, even as I yearn to create something. It’s not that I enjoy the nothing-ness, quite the opposite actually. I despise it; it’s the worst thing in the world. The more I go into it, the harder it gets to pull myself out of it.

Why is DC so hard to get to? Why is it so out of reach? What is it about me that isn’t good enough for DC? What is it about me that isn’t good enough for any of the guys I like? What is it about me that isn’t good enough for Allamiah? How much longer can I continue this way?

If it’s not one thing, it’ll be something else. What happens if I do get accepted to graduate school? Who am I kidding that I’ll allow myself to get $75,000 into debt to pay for this dream? Who am I kidding that I’m ever going to find what I want to do, be truly content that what I do matters, makes a difference, and makes me happy? Who am I kidding with all of this?

I ache to create something. I want to grab a notebook and pen and sit down and…create…something. But when my life is in limbo and I’m allowing myself to ignore it, allowing myself to push it away so I don’t have to look at it, pushing it away and away and away. Well, that’s no solution obviously. If I can’t get anywhere by ignoring my problem, the reasonable and normal thing to do is to face it and find a solution. It’s not that I lack the courage to do that, it’s that I lack the tools. It’s like math all over again: I’ve convinced myself so well I can’t do it that I don’t even bother trying to find a way anymore. I can’t go back to Houston. I can’t. I can’t face everyone, and God knows, God knows I can’t do the wedding. I hate weddings. I hate seeing everyone. I hate the entire community. I’m not going to go back, no one can make me. No one’s going to make me go back and sit quietly through hours, and days, and weeks of people telling my mom that I looked like this and I looked like that and oh, why can’t she buy me nice fashionable clothes? Everyone, everyone, everyone. Don’t understand why I can’t just be normal and happy? That’s why. I’m a different person completely when I’m in new company. I ooze confidence and charm and happiness. People love me. And why wouldn’t they? I’m such a normal, happy person around them because that’s who I am. And then I go home. To the community. Ahh, the community. And they take who I am at heart, and they twist it, and I become stressed out, so stressed out, and I completely lose my confidence, and I’m therefore no longer happy. Without my happiness I’m not me. Why take someone who’s natural tendency is to be happy and turn her into that? I. Don’t. Know.  

In India

Written this morning, July 8th, 2013:

I’ve completely lost all sense of time and place. I know for a fact that I’m in India, but I can’t begin to comprehend what that means. Perhaps if I stepped outside it’d become clear, but I can’t be so sure anymore. It was the same in Italy; I understood that I was in fact in Italy, but even while I was out the whole day and going to different places I couldn’t comprehend it fully.

So now I’m in India. How did that happen? When did I get here? It’s July 8th my computer tells me, but how did I live so much during the month of June that I am now lost? How does enjoying oneself too much lead to so much confusion?

If I had a plan for the fall, if I knew even remotely where I was going to be, what place I was going to call home and what people I was going to interact with on a regular basis, then maybe this would be easier. As it is, I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to have a plan with the state I’m in. After two sleepless night, I slept last night at 5 am, then was woken up by the people who came to clean the apartment at noon. I went back to sleep, woke up just now, and since my computer’s not set for India (or even the UK or Italy!) I have no idea what time it is. Calculating time differences between Houston and the UK and then between the UK and here is too much effort. All I know is that it is now 7:28 am in Houston, whatever that means. Oh, and the internet’s not connecting.

So time now for a gazillion istikharas. Self reflection, putting things into perspective, which, amazingly, I didn’t do a whole lot of during the past month.

I also really need to sit down and just write. I’ve needed to so much the past several weeks but I didn’t have time or enough time alone. I must write everything down before it’s lost. It’s too beautiful to lose.

Sidra and I were talking near the end of my trip and she commented on how she’d noticed that I’d changed, just in the 3 weeks that I’d been with her. I was so excited when I got there, like a little kid who’s just entered Disney World, and then, by the end of my 3-4 weeks, I had calmed down, “gotten it out of my system.”

The thing is, I know I’d changed. But I hadn’t expected to, at least not at that level. I hadn’t expected my trip to be that amazing. I’d been worried about so many things. So much could go wrong: I would miss my parents; I would get bored wandering around by myself; Sidra and I would begin to get irritated with each other. Not only did none of that happen, it turned out to be the complete opposite.

And boy did I need to get that out of my system. I can’t remember the last time I’d needed something so much. I also can’t remember the last time something so exceeded my expectations. Even with all the heartbreak and sadness. I needed that as much as I needed the good times. I needed the uncomfortableness, the awkwardness that goes along with living with a family that’s not your own for close to a month. Allah reward them for everything. I must have been uncomfortable for about 10 minutes every 3 days, which is absolutely nothing. The kindest, most generous, sweetest family in the entire world. And I was blessed to have them as my second family in the UK.

And of course I had Modern Vampires of the City to keep me company. To hold me up, help me feel normal and at home. There’s such comfort in that album for me now. Vampire Weekend hasn’t produced one single song that I haven’t fallen in love with, but this album is really something else. I think it’s Ezra’s voice, or it’s the beats, or it’s the lyrics, or it’s just everything combined. God, I really love them. 

British Greetings

My best friend’s younger brother greets me every morning and evening with a smile, a nod, and, in a thick British accent, a “You alright?”

It is seriously the most adorable thing I have ever heard. Then, when I told him how adorably-British I found it, he added a ‘mate’ to the end.

“You alright mate?”

Makes my day every time I hear it.

Panic. Nowhere Near the Disco.

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Why does life always hit you when you’re on the plane? Journeys are no longer real to me until I’m on the plane. And then the plane lands, and I get off, and the trip happens, and the trip is almost unreal the entire time it’s happening, and then it’s over and I’m back home and I’m never really sure what happened. Why must journeys be like that? If it really is about the journey and not the destination, why do I always make it about the destination?

Journey, or Destination? Why am I panicking? First I was panicking about forgetting something, then even when I’ve checked, and double checked, and triple checked, and quadruple checked, I’m still in a panic that I’m going to forget something, or that I’ll need something and it won’t be there. But I realized that I wasn’t really panicking about things, I was and am panicking about the trip and I don’t know why. I’m panicking and I don’t know about what so I can’t reassure myself about it. About time? That it’ll be over as soon as it starts and I won’t get the experience I hope for? Is it possible to stress yourself out about something that’s supposed to be fun? That I won’t have enough fun? That I won’t…what?

I still have lists I need to work on and things I need to do, but I’m waking up in the middle of the night panicked not about those, but about something intangible about my trip.

I need to sleep. It’s almost 3 am and I have work and work and work tomorrow. The panic might be arising from the fact that I haven’t had a chance to collect my thoughts since I’ve been running around so much. Hopefully I’ll be able to do so in the next couple of days, at least two days before I leave, so that I’m calmer and more relaxed. That might be why life always hits me on the plane; because it’s the one time after the chaos of getting everything packed and ready fro the trip that I’m able to gather myself and collect my thoughts, really give myself time to breathe and mentally sort my life out.

I need time. Time, time, time. Time. Time to think. Time to breathe. Thinking is more important to me than breathing at times like these. If I can’t be clear about what’s happening, or why or when it’s happening, it’s like I’m in a daze and can’t function. T. I. M.E.

Birthday? Who’s birthday? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Being in a daze results in posts like these, where the topics are all over the place and I’m making very little sense to anyone but me. This must be what it’s like to be drunk.

Yup, drinking reference, time to go to sleep.

I blame my lame title on my current, dazed state of mind too.

On Being Shy

I remember the first time I was aware of the fact that I was blushing. Junior year of high school, I was the defense attorney for Daisy Buchanan in a mock trial we put on after reading The Great Gatsby. 

I’m a writer. All this means is that I am far, far more comfortable expressing myself and getting my point across through words than I am through speech. Our roles were assigned by slips of paper we picked out from a bowl, so my being the defense counsel did not come about through some great oversight on my teacher’s part, it’s just the way it happened. I was doing wonderfully, asking the right questions, getting the correct answers, but I got confused asking Daisy something. I have no idea what the question was, but I paused to make sure I wasn’t ruining my argument…and I could not for the life of me get my mind to continue working. I lost my train of thought, and I stood there, staring down at my paper, willing my mind to restart. It didn’t, and I became very uncomfortably aware of the meaning of two phrases: ‘sweating in panic’, and ‘turning red.’ 

Amazingly, as shy as I was and/or am, I’d never experienced either of those emotions before. The more time went by the more panicked I became and the less my mind would cooperate. I broke out sweating and turned bright, bright red. 

I thought I had outgrown my shyness in the years since school and the early (who am I kidding? mid-late!) years of college, but it’s still there, hidden underneath, and it comes out more and more often now. I may not want to make my career being a teacher, but it has done for me and my confidence what nothing else could have. 

I was breaking out of my shell midway through college, and even in the early years of college with some groups, mainly people I met in class, but I really and truly am confident now of who I am in social gatherings. Alhamdulillah. I’m shy, but I have a lot of really interesting things to share and I enjoy sharing them. Family, immediate and extended, sit and stare at who I turn out to be in social gatherings. 

Anyways, my point is that even underneath all that, I’m still very shy and I find myself blushing more and more now. I’m brown, so half the time the person I’m talking to won’t even notice that I’m embarassed, self conscious, or uncomfortable. This is positive in some ways, but I wish my blushing was more apparent, at least then they’d be able to understand why I’m suddenly quiet and don’t have an immediate response to give them.

Someone I know started talking to me about marriage the other day and whether I was interested in anyone. An uncomfortable subject to begin with, but then he began mentioning mutual friends, asking if I would be interested in any of them. Supremely embarassed, bright red underneath my brown skin, I gave a handful of non-commital answers and tried to end the conversation. He took that as me not being serious. 

First of all, I’m not going to tell you if I’m interested in a mutual friend. Second of all, this was completely and totally out of the blue; I wasn’t prepared and I honestly don’t know what answer I could give to “are you interested in person x” if person x is your friend even if I had been prepared.

I’m shy. I can’t do much about that. I’ve done pretty much everything I could; I am now not-shy on the surface, but that’s as far as it’s going to go because I am a naturally shy person. Shyness is a virtue and I’m not going to apologize for who I am. But don’t take this trait of mine and use it to your advantage. Don’t misunderstand when I don’t answer or when I avoid eye-contact. I’m shy. I get very uncomfortable when someone pays me a compliment and I’ve honestly never learned how to accept one. Don’t take that as rudeness, please. And don’t bring up uncomfortable topics and think I’m not taking my life seriously if I give you short answers. I  am interested in someone. He lives in Austin, and the way I know him is almost comical: I don’t. Not really. I met him once and I would like to get to know him better but I don’t know how. 

At social gatherings, it’s always the other girls who get asked for their numbers, not me, because I’m shy. I don’t know how to approach you if I’m attracted to you, I’m shy. Is that making sense? 

Why would I tell you that I’m interested in this person? I don’t know him. I know how ludicrous it would sound. I would sound like I’m 13. But I’m not, I’m just shy.

So, yes, I do want to get married eventually, insha’Allah. I just don’t want to discuss it with you. 

Liege and Lief

I keep discovering how alike everyone is. I know it’s a cliche, but the more I see it the less depressed I get. I’m not actually depressed, alhamdulillah I’m happy most of the time, but I am in this weird place in life where I’m not sure what I’m feeling half the time. Am I sad? Confused? Apathetic? Sympathetic to the state of the everyone’s (including my own) lives? 

So I keep discovering how alike everyone is, especially regardless of skin color and ethnicity. And the more I live my life in this weird feeling state, the more I think, “we’re all so alike, in fact, that they make sitcoms about situations exactly like ours” ‘Ours’, because I’m exactly the same as my white neighbors and my black neighbors and my Asian neighbors and my mixed race neighbors. Family is always, always the same. There are but a few different families in the world, and they all repeat themselves in each of the millions of families in the world. If you’re blessed enough to have both parents living together happily, the problems you have with them are the same problems the family down the street has who doesn’t share your skin color, your religion, your culture, or your language. If you have a single parent, you have the same problems that your other completely-different-from-you-neighbor-with-one-parent has. And on and on. 

Ellen DeGeneres has an hour long stand up routine called Here and Now: Modern Life and Other Inconveniences. In it she talks about the trouble we have opening CD’s, getting the brand new roll of toilet paper to start, having someone accidentally spit on you while you’re talking to them, receiving insults disguised as compliments, and the ‘universal sign that you’re irritated’. It’s hilarious. But it’s hilarious because we can all relate to most of it in the end. 

So, to quote the album I’m currently listening to, I’m loyal and ready to be a part of it. 

Incredible.

23thorns

I was very young when my father discovered Jesus. He was walking around his garden, as was his wont, when he heard Jesus next door. He popped his head over the wall to ask the neighbour who he was listening to, and from that day forth, Jesus became part of our lives.

We knew his every word before we had seen out our first decade. If you asked me now, I could repeat every one to you without even pausing to think about it. It set us in good stead, because most of our peers only discovered Jesus in late high-school, or university, or the army. But one of those weird quirks of history ensured that generation after generation of young white South Africans were all destined to find Jesus eventually.

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Wasting Life

Here’s how you know Warm Bodies is going to be good just by watching the trailer, even though it has Zombies and is therefore weird: it features music by Broken Bells. It’s a no brainer (pun intended), Warm Bodies has to be good.

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I just sit here all day long, every day, and do nothing. I watch TV, I go on the internet, and I just sit. I’ve come to an impasse that I do not know how to pass. Because, just because. There’s nothing in the world I want to do that is worth doing. That is a Very Big Problem. I’ve been through it again and again and again and again and again, and there’s nothing there. Not a single thing that is worth my time. So, instead, with the wonderful logic that my life is full of, I sit here and do nothing. Because what better way to spend your time than to waste it. It’s better than wasting it actually doing something. I might as well waste it by not doing anything. What? 

I don’t know how to move on from here. I don’t enjoy reading anymore. I mean, actually, I don’t know if I enjoy reading anymore or not because I have absolutely no desire to read. What on Earth am I supposed to do with that? I can’t remember ever in my entire life not having the desire to read. I’m sure I had the desire to read even when I didn’t know how to read, I just couldn’t follow through with that desire. 

I have no desire to read, I have no desire to do anything. Except sit here on the couch in the exact same place every single day from the moment I get up till the moment I have to to go sleep and watch TV or go on the internet to…do nothing. 

My life is so pointless I don’t even know how to fix it. I want to move toward a larger goal but I can’t…because there’s nothing to move toward. It’s like every thing in the world reaches back to that point. 

I don’t even have the desire to explain myself more fully so that you might actually understand what I’m saying. I just don’t know what to do. 

I love using my head, but there’s nothing to be gained from that so why do it? I would love to go to school, but what’s the point? What am I accomplishing by reading some book on political theory and then writing a paper on it? I would love to read that book and write that paper, but what have I accomplished by doing that? Have I saved a life? Have I made an actual difference in anything, for anyone? I don’t even like work. I hate work. Unless it involves reading a book on political theory and writing a paper on it. Actual work, the kind that’s called a job that you get paid for doing, I don’t like it. I don’t want to do it. Unless it involves reading a book on political theory and writing a paper on it. But that’s useless. It’s a waste of time. What am I going to do with that paper once I finish it? Absolutely nothing. 

Even if I were to humor whoever is responding to this and say that it could get published, so what? What does it matter if it gets published? Who’s going to read it? Either someone who agrees with it, nods along the entire time they’re reading it, then puts it off to the side, or someone who disagrees with it, writes a rebuttal, and then gets that published. Big frikkin whoop. What is that accomplishing??? I could go back and forth with Jean Locke 5,000 times and it wouldn’t accomplish a darn thing. 

So there’s nothing in the world worth doing. I would like to get a PhD, but that’s a big waste of my life. None of the jobs in the world in my field are worth doing. What am I supposed to do with that? 

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Wordless Emotions

“We Will Become Silhouettes” by the Postal Service:

I’ve got a cupboard with cans of food,
Filtered water, and pictures of you.
And I’m not coming out until this is all over.

And I’m looking through the glass,
Where the light bends at the cracks.
And I’m screaming at the top of my lungs,
Pretending the echoes belong to someone I used to know.

I don’t have a someone I would think this about. But the intensity of the emotions in the song stayed with me, and I was able to sort of put into words what I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. The beginning is slightly plagiarized, but it becomes my own after a couple of lines. If I knew how to create music, I would set this to music and the result would be much more powerful. As it is, I read the beginning to the beat of “We Will Become Silhouettes” anyway.

 

I’ve got beats running through my mind,
Wordless emotions swirling around.
I’ve listened and I’ve heard,
I’ve yelled and I’ve absorbed,
And when nothing seems to end,
When it piles on and on and on,
I let it build it up and build up and build up,
Compressed to absolute zero where words cannot exist.

You forced me to lose myself,
To arrive where words cannot exist.
Meaning is pre-eruption.
Post condension, post compression.

Voices lost and never heard.
In the family rooms and tv rooms, abandoned and left to roam.
Pushed away by fear and stress,
Kicked away by depression.

When they come floating back, the time’s come and gone.
When they never return, it doesn’t matter anyway.

(This is why I blast music in the car.)