Courage is not the absences of fear but the ability to act in spite of it. This sentiment feels like the kind of idea that is supposed to be insightful but is really just a second layer waiting underneath the shallow idea that courage means “without fear”. Deeper understandings feel like personal luxuries in our lives, though we have taken up to flaunting our insights to anyone who even glances in our direction. Social media is a hive of bees all bringing and sharing these kind of messages, and more qualified people than myself point to the idea that this behaviour is for self-validity. Ironically, when you are holding up an image of your self in an international crowd of others doing the exact thing you are more likely to find similar shades of the colour you are. Worse is that those colours may seem vibrant or more pleasing than your own. Maybe you even seem dull. It is interesting how these kinds of vacuums suck people in by their hopes and ideals only to berate them with the ugliness they were trying to bury in the first place. Unfortunately, that ugliness within ourselves can breed and colonize with the worst in others out there as well.
Where does that leave courage? In a world that is no smaller than it once was but is easier to be overexposed to? In a place where anonymity gives you a different (or no) face to speak with? I have always been better at asking questions than providing answers, and so can only answer for myself. Retracing back to the idea of deeper understandings, I do not think there is a right and wrong to sharing insight. I am doing it right now, and I am not so sure I even have anything new to say. I think sharing ideas without using them as a sword and shield to charge at the war that can be the internet is healthy for me. I think presenting them as ingredients to be reworked and blended in to something sturdier and more whole is why I am here. As for courage itself, I believe and will always believe it is fighting for and remaining loyal to who you believe you are. The beliefs you carry, the aspirations, the loves, likes, values, and even the things you oppose are the bones of what you will always be. Support those, and support those that you find those things worth guarding inside.
That is what courage looks like to me, and it is up to each of us to understand what it means to ourselves.
The two stood frozen with perplexity. Not in space but in time.
Five others buzzed like May Beetles through a corrupted spring, then June bugs filling the air of a smoggy summer.
There was little joy even though knew they would leave it a poisoned memory, and vociferously and violent was the feel of air held in their lungs. They were sentinels of incertitude concurring with certitude until the summer’s bottom gave out.
Autumn fell and at last their knees creaked into motion. Long would the confusion and bewilderment of the events that had passed remain fresh in their minds though, and even some years later they failed to understand logic the beetles promised would be self-evident. At least one of them would eventually realize that that is what the acquaintance of a liar feels like.
Like itchy-footed sailors, they fled to the freedom of an open sea. The two never returned home, even though the liar promised them they would.
The two now walk far apart, and I only know half of where they roam.
Is it even morning when it’s this early? When opening my eyes just trades one darkness for another and the world outside still sleeps? I am not one to lose sleep from heartache, but the darkness behind my eyelids is more revealing than concealing so right now I am proving to be one less than thing than I thought. Maybe I’ll pull out a notebook and rally in words behind starting a journal? I think I have done that one too many times to fool myself. Besides, I reflect and analyze on the things happening during the day, as they happen and for the hours following, enough to make a journal redundant. I don’t really know if cutting my sleep short by several hours is any more helpful though, so maybe I shouldn’t be dismissive.
I feel lost. Three words and a feeling that are so dreadfully common I feel like a literary Xanax writing them, but I’m writing this for someone who’s up before the sun so it’s really irrelevant. I feel lost in a way that I haven’t before because in a lot of ways I feel more on course for something that I believe is right. The problem is that something strange has been riding shotgun along this road to discovery. The retina of my mind’s eye has been slowly detaching, and I have completely lost my own perspective in favor of another’s. It’s scary to think in a way that doesn’t feel like my own, and even worse when the one who you believed in, with a depth that’s pressure has been denting you for months, shows you how shallow their belief in you runs. The feeling of four hours of sleep and odd nausea measure a bit differently beside that. I don’t know how to cope with the feeling or the fact itself, and I’m only presently feeling any hope for the way the sunrise will illuminate my small apartment. Meditation, Tea, reading, and exercise are all steps I’m taking to keep a hold of myself, but the silvery light of dawn on a winter morning is making me feel my own selfish happiness. I’m not going to tell anyone about it and I could care less if anyone shares my appreciation for it, because in the daily compromising of my present life this is mine. It is unequivocally mine.
I will always be impressed by the human mind and the way it has created order out of chaos. Our lives and the way we experience the world within them is nothing but a long stretch of right now. Later is right now after a little while; tomorrow is right now after more than a little while has passed. We react and act and build while those around us do and call it time. We have a convenient cycle of daylight and darkness to further package the notion. The guidance of having a way to measure the progression of our lives is so flawless I do not know if our lives could ever exist without it. Imagining life somewhere outside of our atmosphere existing and thriving without their own system of time is wild and maybe even impossible. That is how quintessential it is.
The marriage of time and our lives is not perfect though, and it is easy to find oneself behind. Late or in delay of the river of time running with every tick of the clock; drifting with the current even if it means hitting rocks and the water over our heads on occasion. It may not sound like something to want but it is an easier way of seeing the land moving than straining to keep on a steady path, much less aspiring to see more than what is promised.
So some of us fall behind. Perpetually late and missing the appointments that, no, were never promised, but perhaps were expected of us. Appointment dates that may pass without repercussion until a time much later when you see kayaks speeding by you that you waded into the water with. You feel the repercussions hit you when you don’t have the upper body strength to paddle a boat for two, and companions feel bored letting the waves guide you both. It is then that you have to ask yourself if the minor thrill of rebelling against the punctuality of the journey measures up in any real regard to the possibilities of what could be downstream.
Lateness may overtake you and become a part of your life, but the potential to wake up tomorrow and start showing up on time is never gone. It can only be done one appointment at a time, but with some conviction and good habits, you may find yourself navigating the rapids through mountain ranges with far more joy in your heart than you ever had for a lazy drift on a river with common banks.
It is not something that I plan or make time for, but the album “A Rush of Blood to the Head”, the second Lp released by Coldplay, draws me in to listen to it in its entirety regularly. Much of my time is spent with some form of a soundtrack playing around me or directly in to the sides of my head, but despite all the music I share my time with I have few full albums that command such a strong and unified presence as this. I have seen the concept of album building and the narrative that has to be achieved recounted by several different artists of a mix of genres. Simply packaging songs together and selling them is not how it is done, but despite the lack of secrecy around the premise I have felt it fail far more times than succeed. A Rush of Blood to Head is my choice of a perfectly executed album, as it sometimes feels like it is greater than the parts it is constructed of. It ebbs and flows through quicker rock tracks like Politik and God Put a Smile On my Face, to the quiet rumination of The Scientist, and delivering tracks like the album closer Amsterdam that feel much larger than a song.
I only began listening to Coldplay three or four years ago, so it was somewhere in the honeymoon phase of that that I paid proper attention to their second (and most widely praised) sophomore record. It quickly claimed a spot in my heart, and as previously stated called me in for a complete listen with regularity. The most recent listening happened just the morning in the snowy midday of a Monday. There has been a hurricane of inner turmoil wreaking havoc through the hours of my day for, if we’re being honest, years now, but it was hitting harder than usual this morning. You second guess yourself on things that should be left alone. Feelings or thoughts that are firmly know in some part yourself to be good, healthy, and beneficial to yourself and future self. Everyone you are, have been, and could be is being slandered and dissected by an angry mob of your own self-loathing and insecurities. There is quite a bit being said by people all over about self-love and respect, but it is hard to use the words of someone else to change yourself. Over the years I have found myself entrenched in those same battles and I have learned how to personally fight back. Writing, the one thing I have ever only truly done for myself alone, at the desk of someone I love while drinking black tea to the music of Chris Martin, Will Champion, Jonny Buckland, and Guy Berryman is fighting back. A rebellion against the worst parts of myself as well as a nourishment of the better ones. I feel better right now with some hope that this feeling my stick around for at least some of the afternoon.
In the years that are to come, it would be nice to have a reliable place to retreat for strength and piece of mind, and with the recent release of Julien Baker’s second album “Turn Off the Lights” there is promise. Promise that even if I lose the feelings I currently share with ARBTH there will always been someone out there sharing their work and letting us cozy up with it for comfort.
The cold sucks out the warm inside as the door lets them conflict for a moment. It is not the first or last time the open door would come as it is a busy morning for coffee drinkers and pastry pundits. Watching those passing by through the large windows on the busy sidewalk along the busy street outside is a favorite pass time. One could stroll through a field of slipping hours guessing which will bring themselves inside the shop or just observing them go about their way. The spectrum of different personalities through the glass was a sight, but inside the comfort of the shop itself was group of faces differing from one to the next in the same manner. Perhaps the only thing that makes this group different is that they are affiliated with one another buy the walls in which they have all taken shelter here. Unsystematic are the people that pass, but in here there is at least one thin piece of string that touches them all. On the observations of a single day that string may seem as frail and imperceptible as tooth floss, but if given the time to watch the unique feet prints mark the floor you can see it differently. A footprint comes once, returns for a second time, then a third, and continues returning alongside many others in a similar manner. The time of day is understandably chaotic for some as it is precise and uniform for others, with all their own mannerisms and rituals orchestrating their symphony at this point of the grand show. Whether this little place is the stage on which they welcome their new day, the last retreat before they bow in to the night, or one of a thousand junctions in between does not dispel the connection. They all frequent the comfort as a group, unplanned and unknowing of how communal it all is.
As disconnected as the experience may be sometimes, we can never shake what brings us together. No matter how much smaller it may have become over time.
Writing has always been what I wanted to do. It gives me the chance to be creative in a multitude of ways and let’s me feel smarter than I probably am while doing it, That is not a feeling that can be replicated by anything I have experienced, and as such I’ve always found that it is my hole to retreat to. I figure that using my own personal means of escape may not make the best choice of career path, but I think it is worth noting that I do not experience any euphoria from writing; no rush or thrill for me in the act. It is simply something that makes sense to me and in that I find a kinship.
If there is one other thing to be said about writing and myself it is that I have always been afraid to pursue it on the chance that it reveals itself to be a dead-end. Imagine, if you will, that you prayed every night in faith that someone is listening. Would you ever like to truly know whether there is a god or not? Is it worth potentially losing the peace of mind and identity that your faith grants you? In this case I think I need to know. I need to know if this is anything more that a brief reprieve from the rest of the world. If it is nothing more than a placeholder for the “thing” I want to do with my life I’d rather confront that now rather than miss out on something real.