The Light, The Dark.

Upon reflection, there’s a beauty about being anonymous, and lost in a city, even though there’s a similar amount of inner crisis that ensues observing people moving so freely and knowingly. It is quite the paradox, and difficult to explain, but something that must be felt.

First and foremost, being totally alone and overwhelmed provides myself at least, with the opportunity to be precisely who I am. By this, I mean instances and occasions of human interaction, where your innermost personality can be shown by the way in which you deal with such a situation. For example, you’re late to work, marginally. Five minutes at the most, and you’re panicking. On the platform of the Underground, noticing the yellow writing on the display boards tick down.

Two minutes.

One minute.

Due.

Boarding the train ordinarily, you’re suddenly consumed by that subliminal yet constant ‘what am I actually doing here? No, really, what is it that I’m contributing, to myself (how is this helping me?) and to the world. In the great scheme of things, how is my journey going to change anything?’ The tube is a coffin of thoughts. You’re buried alive, with no phone signal, with only your thoughts for company unless you’re a lucky one. So, you’re bound to think of these types of questions, about what it is you’re doing. It’s a simple and almost meaningless question, perhaps even impossible to answer, but thinking about it isn’t necessarily going to change anything, but it may open up a few options.

Underpinning the journey is the grime. The subtle dirt around you that you’re aware of, which gets under your fingernails from the escalator and the almost fluorescent yellow handlebars as you hurtle down the pitch-black tubes filled with rats, and the feint hum of electricity. It’s somewhat surreal, that dirt and blackness can get under your skin, just as complex thoughts can be so intrusive into your body. You shrug it off. Wash your hands and your face at the toilet. Shit. Another thirty seconds to the journey time, and thirty pence to keep a cleaner in a job. Supposing that thirty pence hand-wash does indeed keep somebody’s job, it’s a worthwhile investment.

(What am I doing here?)

Trudging up the steps is a daily routine, the suited and booted rushing past you with their over exaggerated sense of self-importance. They’re earning themselves a lot of money, an incomprehensible amount. I suppose that’s what matters to them, and that’s good, isn’t it? But who knows, some of them could be on their way to a job interview, a meagre manager of a restaurant or hotel. You simply never know. The whole affair is anonymous. That’s what’s daunting about this type of place: the hidden millionaires, the hidden poor, the kind, religious, the hideous, murderers. They’re out there, but hidden. Then, there’s yourself. You’re simply earning a living, innocently comparing hand washing to the questions of life. How simple it is. C’est la vie.

A woman crying. She stops you dead in your tracks, forgetting all sense of time and awareness for everything going on around you; it’s as if Moses has parted the sea of people between you and the lady, and so you feel compelled to intervene; how you react and respond to this scenario. That is who you are. That is the important thing about being alone in a sea of people, an ocean of personality, love and lust, selfishness and selflessness.

Option one. Indeed, you’re unaware of this woman’s story, who she is, what series of events has brought her into your path, and too, what has made her tear. But, that does not stop you from going over, noticing her shiver and so handing over your coat entirely selflessly, draping the wool over her slender and pale shoulders. You demand to go for coffee, to make sure this woman that has been identified to you in an almost unworldly type of way is in control and okay. A somewhat bizarre surge of courage and uncertainty possesses your body. You’re unaware of whether you’ll be able to survive skipping a shift at work, but making sure another, fellow and normal human is surviving is surely more important?

Option two. You arrive for work on time, and the image of her tears caressing her face stay to haunt you for a little while, as if it’s a nightmare that you cannot do anything about. That’s the point. You haven’t helped her. You have been selfish, and so you must pay. An old cliché, what goes around comes around. You cannot live so fruitfully that you become disenfranchised with the humanness of people, with the raw emotion that death and sadness, happiness and birth provoke.

And so day to day, reaching the same spot, the top of the stairs with the slight whiff of real air and natural light, where you witnessed one of the most innate human actions which impacted you so profoundly, you can be reminded that is who you are. You choose not to act, when you could have. How you react to events independently signals who you are, in whichever scenario. It is not with friends, as you’ve grown accustomed to them, and a new type of normal has been created. It is entirely independently and individually that a type of meaning can be established.

Wild Eyed

I suppose a lot can change in seven months. Potentially not so much about a town; a few more houses maybe, people coming and going, the usual. Yet, when it comes down to the linear change in that time, however quickly the days and hours go by, your perspective and the way you ultimately view things has changed the most. You’re still largely the same, your morals are still similar, your goals and ambitions perhaps too.

However, stepping off a train and entering a city which you’re more than aware will unlock vital-parts of who you are is bound to promote an almost surreal sense of ‘where the fuck am I? what the actual fuck am I doing here?’ Of course, you know that it will create some positivity and it will show itself to be the right direction for you, but the first time you step over the picturesque footbridge into the town, your need to be transported back to the place you’re most comfortable is at the forefront of your mind. Peering over the edge, forty feet down is the cold, but flowing river.

You see the river as yourself; upstream is where you’ve come from, meandering throughout your life, through towns and places, interacting with people and the environment alike. You remember all the faces of people that have made an impact upon you, and looking into the horizon, you understand how those important figures have impacted your present self, as you go to peer back down to where you are in the present. The water is unfamiliar, constantly changing, just as your mind is in a new place. Left or right? If you go left, will you go on to meet people who are entirely different to the people you may meet if you veer right? Will such a simple decision significantly impact your life? You do not know. You will never know. There’s beauty in that.

Crossing to the other side of the bridge, seeing the water travelling to its destination, an entirely different, and new sensation overcomes you. It’s like you’re over a millpond, beautifully tranquil, comforting, but not eerie. You’re standing at the edge of the jetty, the morning mist is gently hovering above the water, with the outline of the surrounding mountains peering through the gentle cloud. That’s what you imagine. Forty feet. That’s doable.

A surge of newly found confidence fulfils you, you aren’t who you used to be, this is you at your most you. There is nobody you have met yet, nobody to change you into a force of habit. Deciding to put it to the test is an extremely nerve-wracking concept. You decide to go. The forty feet dropped in a matter of milliseconds, and the thrill was second to none. The exhilarating sensation of a plane ever so gently leaving the ground is a similar feeling, a sense of adrenaline, the start of a journey looms.

You expect a splash of coldness, but water in Northern Europe when the leaves are a golden yellow will never be welcoming. What you receive is an overwhelming chill, but something you need regardless of the icy cold. If anything, it’s refreshing. Luckily, the current isn’t strong. Leisurely you can swim, but the most sensible thing is to get to the bank. You feel almost cleansed of the other side of the river, the past haunting and creeping behind you. You have delved into the new; experiences and interactions await. Letting go of the comfort, through deciding to go to a new city, a new culture and country, diving into the unknown is something completely necessary in your being, however hard it might be.

Sitting on the bank of the river, knowing you’ll slowly warm up serves as an excellent point in time to reflect on what has happened, as ever so clearly, you can see your metaphorical past, present and future in the form of a river flowing. You owe a great deal to the past, which has carried you to where you are now, through serenity and storm, challenges and success. A combination of all those things is where you need to be. Secondly, the bridge being crossed is the transition from old to knew, and a drastic decision has been made in order to accomplish that. You chose to jump. Weighed up all the options, of safety and security, of excitement with a mix of determination. The bridge reflects that, from one to the other, an image of transition and transportation, a vital element of the journey. And now, running your hands through the grass, turning your head downstream, with only the faintest glimmer of the horizon and future in your sights, you understand that drenched through and almost cleansed of everything that came before you, this is the place you need to be.

And So It Begins

They’ve given me something. They said it’s a drink to ease the pain. What’s most disturbing is that I drank it without even so much as a hesitation, yet it really helped to ease the pain, not just my physical pain. My ribs, my head and hands are in obvious need of numbing, but then, so is my head, my emotions need to be put on hold. Whatever this is, it’s made me feel tipsy, even amongst the numbness. That’s when I articulate myself best, when I become most reflective. I suppose what I write will just be words on a page, thoughts, in my subconscious, a scheme I’m blissfully unaware of. That’s okay though, I’ll still articulate myself, and who gives a shit if anybody understands, my thoughts are certainly open to interpretation, I don’t mind in the slightest. My journal, I cherish it dearly, despite it being a decrepit old thing with undecipherable drivel written and drawn all over it. But, again, what does that matter anyway? What’s here is real, my journal, and therefore my thoughts. What’s on that page before me is equally real, and that’s what really matters:

Flow. A slow and steady movement, remnants of onomatopoeia if you say it like a swoosh. It’s good like that, intricate descriptions can be extremely telling. You’re flowing in a direction, you’re on a journey. Who am I to say what flows, everything flows, the wine you sip flows from the pit of the glass, to the pit of your stomach; you don’t even think about it, the greed, the incessant feeling what you’re doing is wrong, but it feels so fucking good. So why stop? Well, because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do I suppose; something which is taking me a while to find out. Yes, a while is an understatement. It feels like an eternity. I would suggest therefore, that it’s a process of perpetual motion, a fleeting glance of a drunken you which is far more honest and ironically reliable. How is that, a drunken, almost incomplete and ill-functioning individual is more coherent and able to tell the truth, able to relay ideas which are forthcoming in vital introspection. That shouldn’t even be the case. Right, fuck. This is the most coherent I’ve ever been. Not knowing where I’m going has given me some clarity, some much needed grounded and realism. My thoughts are happening before me like it isn’t me, and that’s what’s most worrying. I’m sitting on a train which only goes in one direction, forwards. Yet, the air around the train flows over it, it’s curvaceous frontage pushes the wind out of the way, as it continues towards its end, it’s final stop. Anyway.

A spiral, just imagine it right now, in glorious depth and detail. It’s a clockwise purple swirl, slowly enclosing on itself as it rotates downwards. Now, imagine that’s a personality; an intricate, detailed and complex personality; rich of emotion, understanding and experience. Oh my gosh it’s good to write drunk, it flows. The spiral starts off as being open (open-minded, full of awe, wonder and imagination). As time continues, we develop into cynical, self-interested beings who want to look after themselves. The spiral starts to close in on itself, we become more suspicious, less forgiving and less friendly. What really matters at this point is ourselves. For me especially, all that matters is me. I suppose others have mattered, my own mother for one, but she’s long gone. The end of this spiral depicts my truest self. Just as the end of this journey depicts the end of my introspection. 

***

So you’re changed by your movements, you’re an inwards flowing spiral. You’re scared because you know everybody is out to get you, so you enclose on what you know. This is not a negative phenomenon you must understand, but a natural and normal process which must happen in order to know truth, to know ourselves.  And ultimately, you eventually find yourself, become who you are, but that’s not always who you wish to be, but you’re moulded out of experience. I know I certainly have been. I’ve killed. I’ve fucked. I’ve left. I’ve destroyed. It’s left me curious, it’s left me drunk, but it hasn’t left me unhappy. I’ve not enjoyed this journey, reflecting on the past, but it has to be done once in a while. You can close one chapter once you’ve fully left it behind. People get on at each station, just as others also get off. This is interaction, you gain and you lose, but ultimately it’s just you, flowing as one, as yourself. Finally to end up somewhere you weren’t expecting, but something made out of yourself. You’ve moved down your spiral, you’ve encircled yourself, and everything remains closed.
And so it begins.