A New Hole

The cup is only useful when it is empty.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that I needed another hole in my belt; a new one, further along the belt. A year ago, I did not even need a belt for the pants I was wearing that day. They fit perfectly then, slim-fit khakis that accentuated my long frame. Now, I need a new hole on my belt to wear them. I lost a good deal of weight, something I will vehemently deny if we were to meet, “This is my body”, “I am coming into myself”, “I’ve got the kind of genes women would kill for… Ha ha haaa!”. Why? Firstly, I am a poor eater. Even on a good day I find eating, and the dish-washing it often entails, cumbersome and there are a myriad of other interesting things I could be doing. Secondly, when my mother was found to have diabetes, I grew an irrational fear of being overweight and going down that road. I cut out a lot of the sugar from my diet (except chocolate. This is my unabashed unguilty pleasure). The results were remarkable.

Back to the belt. In the interesting way my mind works, I sought added meaning to this ‘a new hole in my belt’ and I came up with this: the new hole is symbolic of all the holes we create for ourselves. More aptly, the emptiness we need in order to go about life. We often shed parts of ourselves, for the better I like to imagine. We change by subtracting from what we are and from what we have, to create space for new things, material and otherwise, like new beliefs. In fact, any change starts with a new belief, and different ways of thinking and looking at the world are, at first, filling, as it were. We grapple with the new information; it takes up most of our time and intellectual and spiritual horsepower. We fumble with it, relishing it and despising it in equal measure, congratulating ourselves on taking one more step on the journey to wisdom, ruing ourselves for not languishing in comfortable ignorance a while longer, because change is painful.

A no-sugar diet is as cringe-worthy as it gets for a self-confessed sweet-tooth, but I would not have it any other way. I get to get a sinful pleasure from the occasional slice of cake and my taste buds are not as fuzzy as they used to be. The mark of a life being lived is flux; constant physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual change. Maybe one day I will fill out my belt, maybe I will go back to not even needing one (I highly doubt it will be soon). This is probably a poor analogy of the inconsistency of living but I hope you catch my drift. It is not always a bad thing to shed some aspects of our lives: we need to create room for growth, even at the expense of disappointing and outright breaking ties with the people we care about, at the expense of being ridiculed and gawked over. (I keep being made fun of how I slimmed down because of thinking too much. Ha!) So, what holes will you be making today?

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Sublime


Peppered sugar?

honeyed bittersweet lips,

furtive dances at our edges.

Hearts skip beats,

mine at imagined quiets,

labored noises

beautiful exertions. Together apart.

Hot sweat on hot afternoon,

hot insides, hot outsides.

Stolen kisses, stolen lusts gladly given,

taken. She remains, as do I,

nothing changes, everything changes,

better with time, or sorely missed?

Sublime.


 

 

“Tell me you love me…”

She asks me gently and I think to myself,

“What if I don’t? What if I can’t?”

“I love you.”

, I say, and it feels venal. I know she is already mine. I don’t need to say it to get her. To keep her, yes, not to get her.

“I love you too.”

How do you know you love me? You do not even know me. I am an imagination, a beautiful illusion. I may be married, a family man, and I do this for the kicks, as I am waiting to pick up my children from school, or as I keep my wife company, as she tells me about her day.

She turns and gives me that look that says, “Put that phone away. You belong to me now.” Tee hee hee.

She jokes that I may be, what with all my unexplained disappearances and reappearances and slick apologies. I am not, by the way. Maybe to myself and my thoughts, heavy ones as befit a young man.

“I love you and I don’t even know you.”

“We may as well enjoy this madness, then.”

This is going to be a bloodbath.

The Rose

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is. ~ Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis

Fire

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved watching things burn. Even now, I find myself mesmerized by the dancing of the flames in a jiko (charcoal brazier) or in a fireplace, drawn in by the heat and the knowledge of the immense power breathing gently in that confine. In fact, lighting up a stack of wood on those cold mid-year months is something of a guilty pleasure, although I often pretend to go about the task grudgingly.

Every so often, when I am frustrated for some reason I cannot yet fathom, or whenever I feel crowded, I go through my things; old notebooks, collected business cards and sundry scraps of paper like receipts, bank statements and such, which have my thoughts and then some written on them. Rummaging through these, I come across a few old gems that bring a smile or a crease to my face. I am not one for sentiment, though, especially as far as physical belongings are concerned.

So, I gather all these up and set them ablaze. Slowly, I rip the pages apart from their spines and lay them gently on the compost heap. I only ever need one match. The whoosh of the phosphorous is music to my ears, the flame, a miniature brilliant sunset. I set one page dancing to its gray death, and slowly add the other pages, taking it all in, squinting but never looking away. I immensely enjoy the searing of the bright ephemeral paper flames on my skin. Then it is all done and I am all the lighter.

I am not a pyromaniac, no. The process of clearing up, cleaning up and getting rid of the at-first important things we seem to gather over the course of our days is liberating. I actually look forward to it. It may be that this is a manifestation of my underlying mindset, the tangible representation of a never-ending mental catharsis. This could also explain why I do not particularly mind crashing my computer every so often and then having to re-format the hard drive. The first time this happened, I was deflated. I had lost two-years worth of important data. How was I going to live without my music, my videos and my books?

Barely three months later I had reacquired most of the information and new music, new videos and new books. The most absurd thing was that I was just fine in those blank months with a little more to stare at than a new operating system, Ubuntu 12.04 at the time. Maybe this had to happen. I had been telling myself for the longest time how one day I would learn Linux, invariably taking the easy way out, live-booting and feeling smug about it, knowing there was Windows to fall back on. Now there was no going back. There was nothing to go back to. Like a volcano-scorched plain, there were seeds waiting to germinate beneath the ashes, unseen, biding their time. Tabula rasa.

Perhaps this is the greatest metaphor of fire: change, newness, growth by death, destruction to rebuild. Fire cauterizes, purifies, hardens, softens. Say what you may, but fire is a singularly altering force of nature. The word ‘fire’ connotes ambition and drive, desire and longing, and these are not far removed from what an actual fire does. And similarly, these things do achieve the same results as an inferno, sometimes in negative ways. This could be its allure, fire; dancing with death, as it were. Death, after all, is the ultimate change. Maybe this is why fire entices so much: its ability to change. Reflections of life are in the flashes, the implications of metamorphoses. Everything is aimed at a change, everything is a fire.

How to be Happy and Productive


We live in a world that constantly emphasizes personal improvement and productivity. Like a good internet boy, I have decided to give my two cents on this by coming up with a simple guide, in easily digestible list form (listicle. See, like I said, good internet boy!), on how to be happy and get the most out of your day. Here goes:

  1. Uninstall WhatsApp.

I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it. Now, go ye and conquer the world!