Friday, 17 May 2019

the art of siblinghood and loving persistence

May 17, 2019 0 Comments
Film stills from The Dreamers, dir. Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003
A piece of prose and a simple, birthday gift dedicated to my eldest sibling and older brother about the challenges of overcoming personal differences. A piece of prose and a simple, birthday gift about strengthening the bonds of relationships through learning to accept and embrace each other's individualist streaks and personas. Happy (belated) birthday Wendell. Though the physical distance between us poses a challenge in strengthening the bond of our siblinghood, there is a subtle beauty in the way we have both managed to maintain a sense of faith in each other's actions. There is a subtle beauty in the way we have managed to manifest a wave of support as we both find ourselves overcoming challenges in our everyday lives to both reach our dreams and aspirations. 

We are both blessed to have grown up in an environment that allowed us to dream big whilst living small. We are both blessed to have grown up in an environment wherein the three of us have developed an admiration for artistry and creation. Despite differences in opinion and personality, it's amazing how our love for art, film, literature, anything born out of pure creation and a blank slate of imagination, has allowed for us to cultivate open-mindedness... has allowed for us to slowly - but patiently - better understand each other's positions, whilst also teaching us how to properly communicate our feelings and ideas to each other over time... I figured that since the three of us are siblings who bond over the power of the arts and its escapist tendencies... that the best way to express my love and gratitude for having a loving, supportive, and patient brother is to create something to prove the extent of those emotions. Wendell, I love you, and perhaps my actions may not show those sentiments directly, but every day I pray and reflect upon the way we have treated each other in the past. I pray and reflect on the way we have thought about each other in the past. All the good and bad. All the confusion. All the frustration. All the laughter. All the tears. All the quick glances of admiration we have given each other in the brief moments of pride we may have held onto for a quick second we've found something bemusing in one another... It's the small and seemingly candid, inconsequential details that I've come to realize define the admirable persistence and strength of our relationship. 

In the past, I have let my selfishness and stubborn, naive ambitions get in the way of wanting to get closer to you. In the past, I've let overthinking and overanalyzing and delving into a toxic state of competitiveness get in the way of properly understanding who you are as a person, and properly learning to lovingly accept all the big and small details about you. Your natural and candid form of reserved expression - what I assume is your preferred method of internalizing your own complications and contradictions - is something I feel everyone should be inspired by and learn from. There's a slight sense of caution and guard over the way you express yourself, but that energy is paradoxically contrasted in this mode of dreamy idealism you appear to exude. Whether or not you are aware of this impression, it makes for a positive projection onto others. It has surely made a positive impression on me. It has surely made me want to become more self-sufficient in dealing with my emotions and has taught me to value a private display of sentiment and thought. How you represent yourself, and what others admire about you, has taught me to value the art of balancing your vulnerabilities alongside your pride and ego. You have an earthy, and grounding presence. You try your best to show kindness and empathy. You try your best to stick up for the underdogs and outsiders. Your strength derives from your persistence to become a better person. Your strength derives from your persistence to slowly embrace uncontrollable forces and necessary changes needed for yourself to grow, and for others to grow. 

What we have is a siblinghood that teaches each other to become better people, and though sometimes I can sense your skepticism and confusion over why I say the things I do, love the things I love, and display the frantic, anxious energy that follows me around in a grandeur manner - I am extremely lucky to have a brother who is accepting of those quirks, faults, and flaws. I am extremely lucky to have a brother who can calmly wait and support me (and everyone else in the family) in a journey of creation and personal growth. The art of our siblinghood and loving persistence derives from the constant need to manifest our dreams and ideas into something bigger. The art of our siblinghood and loving persistence derives from our privilege to have grown up in an environment that allowed us to manifest creative energy. The roots of our bond allow us to utilize an artistic state of mind to service ourselves and other people. We are different, but we are both dreamers. We are different, but we are both curious people. We are different, but we are both constantly looking for ways to escape the inevitable difficulties of life through being inspired by what other people can create, and what we can create by ourselves. I hope we continue to grow with each other, and I hope we continue to better understand and learn from one another. Wendell, I love you, and I hope you realize how proud and inspired I am by you. We are different, and we are not perfect people, but we are willing to move forward. We are different, and we are not perfect people, but we both attempt to seek a deeper understanding of reality to give our own lives a nuanced meaning.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

conversations with strangers (chapter two): a little sick inside

May 08, 2019 1 Comments
A film still from Jeune et Jolie (Young and Beautiful), dir. Francois Ozon, 2013
"Are you alright?" 
"Yeah." I respond aloofly, "Why?" 
"You look like you're about to cry... Is something wrong?"
"Are you sure?"
"You have nervous energy around you." 
"Do I?" 
"Well maybe. Maybe I do..."
"So you do..."
"Probably, but maybe I'm just feeling a little sick inside."
"What do you mean by that?" she leans in flirtatiously, gazing back and forth between my eyes and lips.
"What do I mean by that?" I question back before focusing my gaze towards the distance between us, "I simply mean... that I feel sick right now..." I tell her truthfully, and with no more thoughts to share through mindless implication.
"Sick in what sense?" 
"Sick in an emotional sense."
"An emotional sense?"
"Yes. Sick in an emotional sense. The sort of sickness that consumes you with endless anxiety..." 
"Anxiety over what exactly?"
"Anxiety over what?" I pause calmly, before declaring in utmost honesty and vulnerability, "Over love... Over loss... Over the fact that you can only win some by losing some... and quite truthfully, nobody seems sure what they want to give up in order to win." 

Film stills from Chungking Express, dir. Wong Kar Wai, 1994

I don't believe in good or bad people. I don't believe in the personality of words thrown against you. I don't believe that people can take the judgments of others personally because people don't really see you for who you are. People don't really see what lies above the complications and contradictions, and people don't seem to be interested in wanting to know those hidden complexities that define you. People only see an image of you that they've created in their own heads or an image of yourself that you've imposed upon the world whether conscious or unconscious of that own projection... people only know you for what they seek and what they want. People only know you from a superficial framework of assumption and false deduction, and it can be terrifying to know that every single one of us has been and will constantly be an unwanted victim of black and white thinking. An unwanted victim of fixed perspective. An unwanted victim of "walking automatons" unwilling to break free from their own monstrosities and hypocrisies. An unwanted victim of alienation and constantly being misunderstood by the rest of the world. Sometimes, not knowing how to cope or deal with that facet of loneliness and undesired self-victimization. Sometimes, not knowing if you're losing yourself in overthinking, and losing yourself in trying to maintain humble, benevolent energy.

The thought of constant suffering. The thought of neverending mistakes. The thought of imposing pain upon yourself and others. It's the thought of the unbalanced sense of self. The sort of sense that makes you question whether or not you deserve the forgiveness of others, or whether or not the mistakes you make are a matter of seeking forgiveness in your own voice than through the words of other people. The worthlessness of meaningless and insincere apologies. The worthlessness of being dragged down by the past, and consuming yourself in guilt over people who never really cared for you in the first place. People who point their fingers to blame you for your vulnerable form of admittance and honesty... People who point their fingers in hopes to see you crash and fall by imposing a scapegoated titled upon you... People who are unaware of the destructiveness of their desire for normalcy and perfection... People who are baffled by those who confidently revel in their own faults and flaws... People wholly consumed by their ego to the point where they can't fathom accepting their innate imperfections, and how denying their own sense of flawed humanity is the worst form of unrealized self-destruction.

Film stills from Taxi Driver, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1976
Sometimes there's no time and place for apologies and forgiveness. Sometimes there's no place for conversations to happen when you lose something in yourself, or when someone has lost something over you. 

The latter case is difficult to accept. The latter case comes with the consequence of short term pain. The latter case is allowing yourself to drown in the reflection of your own sins, and allowing other people to temporarily define you through the monstrosity you choose to unveil to the world. A form of cleansing yourself from the past to move on from the burden of insecurities... to move on from the burden of hatred... to move on from the perpetual toxicity of self-victimization. The antagonizing state of laws of attraction gone wrong. The antagonizing state of trying to figure out when to pick yourself up, and how to pick yourself up safely. Deconstructing the illusion of sanity, and trying to land on both of your feet with a steady stance ready to face the chaotic state of the world and your existence - because nobody wants to hear the truth. Nobody wants to hear the truth as much as it can be the only weapon to set yourself free from chains that have been dragging you down to the past. Nobody wants to follow that instinct in the back of their hearts and minds consuming the subconscious thought that sometimes you need to take that extra step of courage. That sometimes you have to admit to yourself when you have wronged and robbed and stolen the light in yourself and other people. That sometimes it's okay to revel in your imperfections because you can only grow through suffering and pain to bring yourself back to the balanced sense of self. The idealized and realistic form of existence - a neutral form of awareness.

Loneliness is less physical than we've been brought up to believe. Loneliness can manifest beyond a point of isolation whether imposed or involuntary. You learn a lot from just being by yourself, only to realize how loneliness hits you the deepest when you're surrounded by so many people asking and taking, giving and receiving. Coming in and out of your life as if you belong to them, and they're in this entitled position to take hold of all your precious time and space. Take hold of every inch of your life as if you are nothing of autonomous value... devoid of freedom and individuality... pigeonholed to their own superficial standard of supposition... They are people who foolishly correlate isolation to loneliness... people who don't see value in what you can learn from being on your own rather than intervening and diving into the existence of others. Avoid those unwilling to respect your time and space. Avoid those who try to dictate your thoughts and beliefs. Avoid those who constantly define you through their own assumptions and the superficiality of physical illusions, because you are not in their best interest. You are not the people they truly want to know, and you are not the people they truly want to rescue. They are not friends, but unconscious enemies of the body and soul. Only you know what's best for yourself, and the more you learn to revel through an individualist framework the stronger you'll become as a person.     

A film still from Carmen, dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1983