The only cloud in the sky 

He’s the only cloud in the sky
dwelling in absent companionship
while the sun shines from behind
as if there’s a reason to go on

Perhaps there is
since above is still blue
and the birds are still singing

It may be a time for alone-ness,
which isn’t the same as loneli-ness
Could be a time for solitude,
intentionally fixated on himself

Knowing that one day
some clouds will return
and perhaps he’ll float away from them
so they can find themselves too

Would you like an update?

I’VE BEEN WONDERING WHAT I CAN HOLD ON TO…

***

Everything in life is coming and going so quickly, as if nothing has meaning. Meanwhile, I know that everything does. Mostly. Fleeting, is stability, love and hope. Happiness, clarity, and contentment. So the secret to life is balance. You can apply it to any situation when you feel like you’re doing too much or too little of something. That’s what I tell myself.

Lately I have experienced lessons in self-compassion. If you think you lack it, you should read Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff. I am reading it very slowly but it is changing my mindset for the better.

Pushing myself had turned into punishing myself and I didn’t like that. So over the past months I have learnt to be kinder to myself, speak kinder words to myself, and practise patience with myself. I learnt that I don’t have to be harsh to be successful. Success can derive from love as well. It’s an approach I prefer.

Every night, I put down my phone and lie on my stomach. One leg is bent at 90 degrees and I have one or both arms on my silk pillowcase. I think to myself, I hope my mind doesn’t go where it’s been going every night for the past few months. But just like that, thoughts plague me. People, habits, worries, regrets. Wonderings – if I could just go back and change something… where would we be now if it never ended… look how much changed in a year… I wonder what next year will be like… will things slow down soon… will I be in the same place for 7 years, accompanied by memories that fail to radically change with time? My childhood wasn’t like that.

Seasons are changing again; I can feel it. That’s why peace is hard to find every night. There’s so much I realise I haven’t let go of when I lay my head. Heartbreak is the most excruciating thing I have ever experienced. And none of it even lasted that long. But I have carried hurt for months upon months now. This feels different because it was placed on me. This pain isn’t a result of my inner-turmoil, but rather a result of opening myself up to the possibility of love. I was unlucky.

The craziest thing about this season changing, is the fact that I hardly dwelled in it. I’ve spent the whole time feeling unadjusted, getting to grips with a new environment, and now it’s changing again. That’s why I’ve been wondering what I can hold on to.

I fall asleep eventually.

And then I wake up.

My birthday is soon. I’m not particularly excited about it. But I’m excited about the month of July because it is the month of my birth. I tell myself that only good things happen in July. It makes sense to me.

I think I still have joy, deep down. I may presently be at the depth of a rollercoaster but I am never without hope. Joy continues to trump happiness. I guess that’s what I’m holding on to.

I knew it

The bag of compost was £7.99. I knew I could carry it home, as long as I left my gym bag at work, a place where I’d found myself drifting again. I was reminded of the pain that comes when you drift away from what you wanted while you’re in it. Projections of naivety take you over and you wonder if you’ll ever know what’s best for you. All I ever wanted was to be free. And the practice of self-compassion tells me to show love to myself even when I feel like I made a big mistake. But it was hard to think about that when I pulled the bag of compost off the counter. It was heavier than I expected. I thought about my left shoulder, the only shoulder that I put my bags on. Even backpacks are unlucky enough to be slung over it. On my right side I may carry another bag in my hand. But sometimes I won’t even do that.

While the sense of my decisions continued to play in my mind, I envisioned my journey home. It was a warm June day so I was open to walking; it never really phased me. But I knew it would be a struggle by the time I reached the station. Yet as I stepped out of the dark shop into the best open air that London could provide, I found myself walking. An image of myself sitting on the train with a heavy work bag carrying a laptop and a notebook I scarcely used with a bag of compost from a shop in Old Street beside me plagued my mind. What will I be thinking about? I asked myself. Probably this. Probably an ache in my shoulder and the smell of a long day that was bound to surround me. A plan to shower when I got home that I may not commit to. An assessment of the fridge and consideration of a home-cooked meal. I won’t have the energy. The thought was interrupted by people in lightweight clothing, sunglasses and sandals breezing past me as I trudged against them. I had sunglasses in my bag but I didn’t feel like I should wear them. You have to be in the mood to wear sunglasses, they’re a feeling. My AirPods told me that it ‘gets better with time’ and I wondered what ‘it’ is. I wasted a whole day.

Back home in my mind, I will close the fridge door and lie down on my bed, fighting thoughts that I wasted another day, and because of that, I am a waste of space. Here, I passed over a zebra crossing. And I adjusted the bag of compost in my right hand. I had to loop the handle because it was too long, still hoping no one would move my gym bag at work. Just like I did in my November existentialism, I wondered just how many of the people walking past me went through something like this. Probably most of them. There, I will stay in the position I fell into on my bed, and scroll for a bit, in search of an immediate laugh to remind myself that things aren’t bad. Here, I finally made it to the train. And I settled in a spot I knew I would find. It sat for a while. I’m always a bit early. I breathed out, ideas of what home would be like in an hour dissipating as I grounded myself with where I was.

I knew it. The bag of compost sat beside me, an attempt to take some joy home with me. Though all it really was, was a bag of compost. Tomorrow I’ll buy an actual plant. I wanted one today but I didn’t know how I would carry it. The train left the station as I leant my head against the window. Another unremarkable day. At least this story was something to remember. I hope.

Learning

In a place where I don’t know much. So all I can do is listen and learn. Be sensitive to information. Swallow my pride when I make mistakes. I tell myself that mistakes are evidence of my space to grow. So here I am, growing. It’s been a while since I learnt this much, so practically. School again.

How close am I

How close am I to the jazz lounge
I’ve only ever seen it in my dreams
In the same way that I see him
When I close my eyes at night

When writing poems in the pages of novels
Peering out of windows from behind 3 monitors
All it takes is some jazz and rain
And I begin to wonder
If this is it

Surely there’s somewhere else I belong
Where I can slide into my dreams with ease

I wonder how long I can keep up this gag
Until the desire to express overtakes me
And I’ve no choice but to succumb.

At that point I’d be a slave to emotion
Incapable of turning my mind off
Losing myself in thought
Convincing others that it’s not a good thing

But proximity won’t let up
Because time only moves forward
And I know one day I’ll arrive,
The jazz lounge of my dreams

My battle

I’m told I don’t say as much as I think I do. But I think I say more than you can hear. I am hesitant towards exposure – a desire for perfection still dwells in me.

I realised that everyone has an ongoing battle – a thing they’ve been dealing with for long enough for it to define them. Mine is thinking. It’s a maze and there are land mines at every turn. I’ve been stuck in my head for years and years.

I’m in the water

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE. THE PHYSICAL WILL ALWAYS REFLECT THE MENTAL – THE SEEN WILL EXPOSE THE UNSEEN.

***

So this is what it means to be figuring things out…

Still lost

I wish I had more to say because I haven’t written since December. I made it clear enough in Peace in my mess, that I don’t have an assuring grip on life anymore. I have been floating around ever since. Sometimes I feel very free because of it. My book really helped me with that. Other times I’m fixated on the fact that there’s more freedom to possess. But it leads me to thoughts of whether any freedom I attain will be enough. It’s in my/our nature to crave an impossible satisfaction.

A plan

People always advise having a plan; one that you don’t necessarily have to stick beside, but an idea of your future nonetheless. I would like to implement that advice into my own life because I listen to clichés. But I can no longer see past a few months at a time. Up until a month ago, I couldn’t see past February 23rd. But I started an internship this month that I could only dream of. It’s for 6 months. So, I know what I’ll be doing until September. But that’s it. I don’t have a 1-year plan talk less of a 5-year one.

I was meant to make a vision board this year, I just remembered. But I am afraid that there will be nothing on it. I don’t know what I want anymore. I left 2021 so deflated that my only aspirations were my book, a new job, and happiness. I am almost there. Now I’m hesitant to ask life for more in the upcoming 9 months. What if I am disappointed? I know there’s no telling really. Now that I’ve achieved something big, I strangely wonder if I am strong enough for anything bigger. I’m paralysed by this new fear and I have never been scared of dreaming big before.

Lazy?

I have dimmed my light a bit, to come across unknowing of how much I could achieve. Then I get lost in my mind wondering if it’s faux humility, delusion, laziness, or nothing at all. There are people so close to me that I didn’t tell about my book because felt like I was being self-concerned – bragging or asking for money. I have regrets from some brave behaviour in the past. Bravery is another fear of mine.

Novelty

Sometimes I think very far ahead. And I see novelty eventually wearing off everything – myself included. Pure dissatisfaction. I worry that I will get bored of my career and hobbies, a husband and children, travelling, my faith, living…

Because novelty can wear off anything. So I don’t really want any of it. All of that makes the present very bleak and that makes me existential. I wonder what the point is of anything. So, befittingly, my biggest goal is contentment.

In the water

Somehow I am still happy – I achieved that goal.

I know happiness is a tide. But for now it’s here, and I’m in the water.

Whenever I reach this conclusion, I calm down a bit. “Well, at least you’re okay now.” Perhaps that’s why I don’t like long term plans anymore – I know that not being okay is on its way.

I have made choices lately that probably aren’t the best for me. But I’m hiding behind my youth concerning it all. Maybe I’ll learn something from this. Maybe I’m just 22 and figuring life out. I get what that means now.

But no matter what, I always hope that I will reach my truth in the end.

how 2 be hurt

Open yourself up
even though that’s hard
find someone who
makes you believe
they want to see that side of you
that they can take it

allow them to be closed off to you
and stay down when
they throw you away
and tell you it was a
misunderstanding

think about them
for months afterwards

let them back in
when they knock again

repeat.

(good luck)