I don’t know if you’re going to exist, but I’ve grown a few maternal bones over the years. Whether you will be born from me or another woman, or even at all, I now often daydream about you.
There was once a time I didn’t want any children. It was in my later teenage years when I first saw how horrible the world was, when depression grabbed hold of me, when I knew what it was like to be purposely misunderstood. I couldn’t bear the thought of bringing anybody else into these feelings of helplessness. Then I got older and wanted to kill myself.
Children still weren’t a thought, but this time it was because every day that I lived was a day that wasn’t even meant to come, so I really took it one day at a time. I didn’t look further ahead because there was nothing there; I literally woke up thinking ‘nice, another day. Here we go again’. It’s only now that I can see a future in which I can almost see old-age. I have love to thank for that.
I realised that my mind and heart had sustained way too much for me to not pass on what I’d learnt. I had too much love to give, I had masses in reserve. Some for a lover. Some for his family. Some for friends… and some for those I will call my own. I learnt what love for a child was through learning what it wasn’t, and I suddenly felt that part of my purpose in life was to give it. It may be selfish of me to want you to exist simply so I can give you what I didn’t have. Is it bad to desperately want to give the good to someone else so that they never have to feel like they should just.. jump? Maybe. Everything I once thought I knew about family had been destroyed, and the concept of it no longer exists to me. I want you to love, not because you have to, but because you want to. It is my responsibility to teach you that.
Let me start by telling you the objective truth. Read more
Some would say a broken heart fuels creativity; that’s why we write, paint and make music.
The pain and the hurt that translates into art feels good because we love ripping it out of us and pouring it onto a page. Sometimes the feeling transcends words, so we put it into metaphors and abstract oil paintings, and people lap it up because they love the feeling it gives them. Sometimes the art touches them in a way they can’t explain, simply because of that incomprehensibility.
They love to read about it, to watch it, to hear it. Driving home as the rain hits your window, pretending you’re in a music video whilst you listen to songs about cheaters and broken homes, songs about violence; it’s cathartic. Marvin’s Room makes your tears feel hotter, but you listen to it on repeat and God knows why.
I have a hunch.
Misery loves company, and nobody wants to know they’re the only one suffering. Maybe they want to know their feelings are valid and shared. Maybe they desperately want to see how much worse it could be. Maybe they like the idea of other people suffering because the feeling of bitterness is perversely satisfying. We like pain and we like to know that we aren’t the only ones in it. We all exist somewhere on this spectrum of sadomasochism.
The cheers, the whistling, the joyful jostling consumed the room as the clock struck midnight and we were pushed, suddenly and violently, into 2020.
People were hugging, kissing, drunkenly singing Auld Lang Syne, slurring ‘happy new year’ into the phone, to their families miles away. Or just down the road, having a quiet one. We made our annual vows to make this year better, messier, louder, than the one that had just passed us by. In a blink.
We vowed to live our lives to the fullest, to travel the world, to quit our jobs, to cut people off, to make more money, to find love, to achieve things we hadn’t achieved over the last 365 days. We vowed… that this would be the year. Women in bathrooms telling each other they were too beautiful to let that man into 2020; leave him behind, you’re stunning, he doesn’t deserve you. Take my number, we should all go out one night.
The atmosphere was all joy; vodka, rum and whiskey sending sentiments sky high.
By the end of the night, strangers were sitting knee-to-knee, having wide-eyed conversations as they took shots together. Tequila, to melt away old memories and make space for new ones. The room softened and lines blurred.
‘2020 will be our year.’
Okay. Hold tight, because we’re venturing into my favourite topic.
Who are we?
I do love a bit of psychoanalysis. It’s the question we will explore… forever.
It will never end, and we like to try and exhaust all avenues for as long as we live. There are questions we’ll ask ourselves for the rest of our lives; after all, what is there to do once we’ve found the answers? Self-sabotage, perhaps, so we can start again. Or, more sensibly, create more questions. Find more unexplored areas.
What is the meaning of life? What’s the recipe for success? What is true happiness? How do you heal from heartbreak and trauma? How do you know when it’s love? How do we even define all of these things?
I think most of the difficulty in answering these questions lies in a lack of awareness about the self.
Unless we really know who we are, we can’t truly know where we stand in relation to topics that require introspection and deep understanding of ourselves … and questions like the above do not have universal answers. There is no right or wrong. As the world evolves, the answers change. For some, success is living so comfortably that you never have to shop price low to high. For others, it’s being able to comfortably cry whilst staring into your lover’s eyes; it’s being unable to find the words to truly tell them how much you love them in that moment and that’s the only way your body will let you. And for a handful, it’s living carefree and alone in an art studio with a Wholefoods around the corner.
Our perception of love begins when we’re kids, only we don’t know it.
Love is normal, the standard against which we’ll later measure every act ever committed; anything anybody does is measured in terms of where it exists on the Love meter. If it makes you happy, it’s a 10. If it hurts, it’s a 1. Burning down trees and using products with palm oil is a lack of love for the Earth and orangutans. Giving to charity is empathy materialised, and empathy is a form of love. Not necessarily for the individual with whom you’re empathising, but a love and understanding for other human beings in general. Or maybe it’s simply a love for your religion; maybe even just no love for Hell.
This is how the meter works in theory, anyway. As you get older, it becomes a lot more complicated and it makes no sense when you love someone who makes you want to shoot your own brains out.
You are so strongly in my purpose bred
That all the world besides methinks they’re dead
– Sonnet 112
I’ve been wondering how to write about this for the longest time. And I mean the longest time. A lot of my work is tinged with love, or the lack thereof, so why haven’t I said a word on it? I talk about it and I feel it. Hopefully you can feel it when I write about it.
But what is it? What is love?
I’ve had to split this into an indefinite series; I don’t know how many posts it’ll spill over; if it’ll even spill over (it definitely will). I don’t know if I’ll reach a conclusion, but I don’t think there is a conclusion to be reached. I don’t know if it’ll be anything more than waffle, because love is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing to talk about.
When I think about love, an indescribable feeling washes over me; the closest I can think of being warmth, but specifically the warmth of an everlasting glow. Sometimes it can feel clinical, but I’ll come to that later.
I think of a colour that I can’t bring to fruition in my mind. The colour I’m thinking of doesn’t exist, but I can feel it. If I had to pick a colour on the known spectrum, maybe it would be a deep red. Wine red. For passion and fierce loyalty. But sometimes it’s yellow, for family and joy. For innocence. It might be white, for purity, untouched by the hues of any colour. Or black, for the endless pit of despair and heartbreak into which it can send you.
It is every shade of every colour because it lives in the crevices of everything around us; it cannot be defined by one single thing. Love is all we have left when everything else in the world disappears.