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Music & Mortality

Music is such a fascinating art form.  Unlike other arts (cinema, sculpture, painting, literature, etc.), music forever remains in the ethereal realm that art originates from.  The other arts all take on some sort of physical manifestation.  Music is unique in that it does not.  Though one could make the argument it DOES take on a physical form in the shape of CDs, disks, sound files.  But even then, the CD itself is not the center piece.  It is not the music one is meant to experience.

In any case, this allows music to be a constant reminder of mortality.  Music is a temporal art, which only adds to my argument that it never achieves a physical state.  It is an art rooted in time: the arrangement of notes, constancy of rhythm, layers fading in and out throughout a song.  A song lasts three minutes and every single note is arranged temporally to ensure it achieves a psychological and emotional effect.

In addition, there is the culture of music.  I’ve found that musicians tend to be people who live quite in the moment.  It makes sense why music attracts such personalities.  Every time a musician performs a song, it is different.  His/her mood is different.  The audience, the stage, the energy.  It is so spontaneous and fleeting that the musician has no choice but to revel in it before it’s too late.

And for that reason, music makes mortality all too real.  For as long as a song plays, the listener is in sync with it.  The listener allows the song to take them on a ride, a journey through time to feel something, anything for just a moment.

Then it’s over.

The moment dies, just as we all will.  But as long as the song plays, we can enjoy the sounds.  Pure vitality and spontaneity for what else is life?

The Difficulty of Existence

Someone told me recently, “Sonia, you breathe like simply existing is the most difficult thing in the world.”  It made me stop and think for a moment.  My reply was, “It is.”  But then it led me to ponder why.  Where does this come from?? — this feeling that existence is difficult and treacherous.  I feel danger constantly pulling at my hair, yet excitement and adrenaline rushes are my coping mechanisms.

I realized that a significant factor is creativity.  Creative people straddle the line between reality and imagination.  It’s not a place that we “go to” once in a while or when we’re working on a project.  No, creative people EXIST on that line.  And it is exhausting.  We want to free ourselves from the constraints of so-called reality yet we have to pull ourselves back into reality and maintain connection with it.

I think that’s why many artists isolate themselves or are generally considered to be part on the “fringes of society”.  The farther away they are from reality, the more they can exist on the other side of that line.

And depending on the artist and what sort of art they produce, they will experience this schism differently.  Being a writer, but also being a fiercely independent person to begin with secludes me from other people at times.  It’s easy to isolate myself from the world for several days at a time and then realize that I should probably hang out with people and engage in human contact.

But briefly, writers have to exist as other people in their minds.  We take on our characters, try to delve into their psyches, shatter it and then put it all back together.  In doing so, we inadvertently end up doing the same thing to our own minds.  We break and then we put ourselves back together.  It’s a strange way of living because writers essentially live out a hundred lives.  One life is hard enough to live; imagine living out a hundred lives. 

For the creative, existence is difficult because we understand the cycle of birth, life and death all too intimately and we are forever spinning on it.

Stories, Moments

Stories are found in between moments.  Moments are arbitrary.  They pass too quickly and only felt in their wake.  The realization of a moment’s significance occurs a second too late; the moment has gone. But a story…that takes place between these moments.  A story is the flux and flow of a psyche, constantly shifting with precious few moments of clarity.

The tragedy and beauty of humanity is the impermanence of it all. We all just become stories to each other.  All the faces, the voices, the places.  They become mere ghosts, veiled and shrouded by memory like foggy mirrors.  Reflections of our true selves that can never be clearly seen.  It’s terrifying.  We long for permanence, a lasting connection with  others, a single individual, with ourselves.

Yet everything, including (especially) ourselves, is doomed.  Uncertainty defines rather than confines.  Be anyone, be everyone.  Know nothing and know everything.  Keep in mind everything will be gone so enjoy it now.  You are beautiful and perfect simply because you’re here now.  As much as we want to hold onto each other, the reason we love each other is because we’re aware of our ends.  

This is also why stories begin and end.  They’re the progression from who you were to who you are to who you will be.  

Three Seconds

To be honest, I don’t have anything profound to say in this post.  I just want to type and type and type to fill this space with words.  It’s fulfilling in many ways just to see the black letters pop up and string across the screen.

I guess it’s my personal way of trying to leave a mark on this world.  My version of climbing up to a rooftop, looking out at the city lights and screaming, “I’M HERE, MOTHERFUCKERS!” underneath those faraway stars that could not give a damn about us tiny humans.  

This is just random rambling now.  I used to be incredibly nihilistic.  I truly believed that there was no meaning to life.  Now, it’s difficult for me to talk to people who think that way.  Perhaps there is no definitive meaning to life.  There probably isn’t.  But why does that even matter?  We’re here.  This is happening right NOW.  And it’s so precious.  I remember in undergrad, my friends and I used to have philosophical discussions about existence and our own selves.  We had this one discussion about how the present moment only lasts three seconds.  In three seconds, the present will become the past.  In three seconds, the future is going to become the present.  

Isn’t that scary?  In essence, you only exist for three seconds at a time.  The version of you three seconds ago no longer exists.  And in three seconds, you’re going to be a new version of yourself.  We’re so transient.  We’re just passing through.  We’re ghosts drifting through space and time, trying desperately to connect with ourselves and with other people.  And all we have is three seconds.

The Seven Dark Character Flaws

As a writer, I’m constantly psychoanalyzing myself.  It’s a bizarre feeling sometimes.  Freud had to do the same since there were no psychoanalysts before him.  The idea of looking at yourself is bizarre because like your reflection, you’re never quite sure if what you’re seeing is truth or the mirror opposite of it.  What is the true image? Is there any way to tell?

Something about myself has become more and more clearer.  The funny thing is that my mother has always told me this about myself.  But for some reason, it never really sunk in until now.  I’m an extremely impatient person.  Waiting for the subway? Hate it. Walking an extra block to get somewhere? Can’t stand it.  Waiting for someone to call or email me back? I’ll be constantly checking my phone.

In an attempt to understand the root of this impatience, I Googled “impatience” and discovered the seven dark character flaws (similar to the seven deadly sins).  But these are character traits, not necessarily the dark notions and deeds of humanity.  Upon reading about these character traits, I realized that I possess all seven, but in varying degrees and shades.  It is my belief that everyone possesses all of these traits in different degrees. But I also believe that every person carries a dominating dark character trait: one overpowering trait that throws the rest into shadow the majority of the time.

Regardless of which of the qualities is the strongest, the reason these qualities exist is because they are our methods of attaining control.  Ultimately, it boils down to a fear of losing control of your Self.  For example, my impatience is due to the fact that I do not like to be kept waiting.  However, people are people.  They have their own priorities and worries.  What is important to me at the moment is not important to another at the same moment.  I fear losing control of my priority.  Hence, I become impatient with people when they are not prioritizing in the same way I am.

This selfishness is inherent in people, I think.  How can it not be?  We cannot read minds nor can two atoms exist in the same space at the same time.  The paradoxical thing is that we always succumb to this fear of no control.  In an attempt to maintain control, we lose ourselves.  Therefore, I think it is incredibly vital that in these moments, we dissociate ourselves and remind ourselves in any possible: “There is a choice here and I alone can make it.”

Questions of Morality

Finally.  The weekend.  A day to myself.  I love writing, but I’m beginning to realize that one cannot entrench oneself too deeply into an activity for too long.  Energy is infinite, but the energy one possesses at any given point in time is finite.  Your energy needs to be replenished after being depleted.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Working with a director and producer has made me realize how important it is to be emotionally stable.  It’s also forcing me to confront many of my own issues as a person.  The two weeks (two whole freaking weeks!) in particular have pushed me into moral and ethical crises.  It’s bizarre when you begin to question whether or not you’re a good person; whether or not you made the right choice; whether or not you’re actually a selfish person deep down and you don’t ACTUALLY give a shit about other people.

I know I am not the sole individual to have gone through these crises.  This isn’t even an existential one.  This is specifically about confronting your morality, your ethics: Am I good a person? Do I really care about my loved ones or do I just care about myself?  

It doesn’t matter what race, occupation, background, lifestyle you stem from.  All humans at one point have asked themselves these questions.  They’re frightening.  The moment they’re even asked or thought about, the fear seeps in.  Then the implications of the possibilities overwhelm you.

However, let me just say this.  This is not an answer to any of those questions. But, it can be incredibly helpful to keep in mind that, in the very end, you are fine the way you are.  For some reason, the psychological design of humanity is so that this statement is the most difficult for people to accept. 

The choices you make at a specific given moment are only reflective of the person you are AT THAT MOMENT.  And at that moment, you may not be the absolute best version of yourself.  You must love yourself when you are unlovable. This is so easy to forget but so essential to remember. 

Lost & Lonely

Why did I fall in love with you like that?

The strange thing is, you’re already fading away like a ghostly memory. I’m trying to hold onto your face, but you’re disappearing.  I wish I had said something to you. Given each other our names so you would remain solid.  You’re vanishing into wisps of smoke, escaping through my fingers. All I’m going to be left are, “What if’s” and “could have been’s”.

At the same time, I have to admit that part of me still holds hope. It is the romantic within me.  Wherever you are, I need…I want to know: are you thinking of me too?  God, why do I do this to myself?  I’ve always wallowed in my loneliness.  It’s not difficult to see I’m in love with my own sadness.  We don’t even know each other, but I desperately want to be with you.  In my mind, we’re lovers lost in the infinity of each other’s minds.  

It’s scaring me how difficult it is to let you go even though you’re a stranger. You’re just an ethereal idea, not a person.  That makes me wonder: who am I to you?  Was I just some girl at the bar who you happened to appreciate in the moment?  Am I fading away from your memory like a dark pencil smudge on white paper?

I think I’ll always unconsciously search for you in the streets of this organism of a city.  When wandering through Hollywood at 2 in the morning, lost in my own thoughts and the sea of people, I’ll look for the expression of recognition.  ”You.  I was hoping to run into you again.”  What I wouldn’t give to hear those words from you.  

Missed Connection

I’m sorry I didn’t have the guts to talk to you last night.  You are gorgeous and gorgeous people are a little intimidating.  I never am sure if my words will be beautiful too.  My instinct is to let my words conceal my mind rather than reveal.  I’m trying to break out of this habit.

I hope we get to see each other again.  I don’t know who you are but I’d like to get to know you.  Those moments our eyes were on each other were like nothing I’ve experienced before.  Is this how it all starts? A few minutes of gazing at each other, two total strangers whose lives were on completely different paths, suddenly intersecting through the eyes on a random Saturday night?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  I want to find out.  Do you? Why do I feel the need to find you again?  You’re not the first or the last cute guy I’ll see at a bar.  But it was as though your energy wanted to sync with mine.  At least at that moment.

Who are you?

Where are you?

Do you want to find each other again?

Please give me a sign.  Something that lets me know you want to know who I am too.

Growing Pains

So I’m packing.  So far there are only a few clothes, my family photo and apicture of Stanley Kubrick inside.  The suitcase is becoming a symbol of my life.  It’s as though the past 23.5 years have led me to this point.  This is what I’ve dreamed about for so long.  It’s nerve-wracking, it’s exciting.  This is going to be a turning point.  I can just feel it.

I won’t deny though that leaving my family is scary. Moving to Mississauga for my undergraduate years was an ordeal.  But I felt as though I had a bit of a security blanket because Mississauga and Toronto are not that far away from each other.  And the other part is that I have gotten comfortable at home.  

There are also higher expectations.  Times like these are a moment of change.  Without a doubt, these moments are the ones that reveal our abilities.  They are called “growing pains” for a reason.  You feel your bones shifting, your cells trying to accommodate your expanding spirit.  Your mind suddenly feels too large for your skull and your physical body can’t keep up with your thoughts.

Acceptance of the pain is key.  The pain itself is inevitable. You’re lucky if you see it coming.  But the choice is always recognized: let the pain take over you or let yourself take over the pain.  It become manageable.  It’s naive to think you won’t feel pain at all.  Eventually, the pain subsides and you adjust.  Your mind and body meld like man and woman to become one.

Eros & Thanatos

Love is the most unexpected circumstance.  And it truly changes you on an incredibly deep level.  It awakens something in you.  Movement where there was stillness.  A voice when there was silence.  Solidity where there was formlessness.

I realize now that I was only pining for him because I am just lonely.  At the time, it was blown out of proportion in my mind.  Intimacy has never been comfortable for me.  Yet the desire for it holds me in chains sometimes, dragging me through the dark waters of insecurity and desperation.  I was one of those “desperate” girls. 

We’re just desperate for love.  Some sort of validation of our existence by the connection to another’s existence.  But isn’t that a selfish pursuit?  Isn’t that the complete opposite of what “love” is?

Isn’t love actually the death of our own desires for the support of another’s?

I made a friend recently.  She made me realize that she changed me in the very short time we’ve known each other.  I can genuinely say that I care about her very much, as a person and as a friend.  Isn’t that strange?  Well, when was the first moment you realized you cared about your friend?  Your family?

It led me to the conclusion that I do have the ability to love someone else.  The ability to put another consciousness, another ego in front of my own. 

Love is the sacrifice of yourself.

Love is death.

And this is all how all the redemptive stories end.  The noble and pure hero is annihilated so that an entire world will flourish out of the hero’s ashes.

He certainly seemed like the world to me.  But it’s time to set myself on fire; I want nothing more than to spread my new wings.