Magic

Through literature and writing, we understand our actions, our choices, and our decisions. Words without actions are…a form of art. While some actions may seem impossible, there’s always a thesaurus to shift a perspective.

I’ve encountered fiction that appear impossible in real life, but there is always a way to actualize an idea into a reality. Surprisingly, concepts such as transfiguration in the Harry Potter series, vampires and werewolves in most contemporary fantasy, or even serial murder mysteries by Doyle or Christie can be done.

How? Allow me to demonstrate.

As a child, I enjoyed reading Harry Potter. I wasn’t one of those fans who had to have a wand, or wanted a cape and rounded glasses. I simply experienced the story and wanted to know what happened next. It wasn’t until later on in life that I discovered how much literary metaphorisation I had unconsciously “experimented”.

Transfiguration and levitation were metaphors of changes in life, of rising, or ascending to a “higher self”. A better, more improved (upgraded, one could almost say) version of me.

Then there were the vampires and werewolves: the immortalized entities that I soon found were projected by textbooks that had captivated me over the years. The law books, the political theories, the philosophical doctrines, the economic downturns of the century…to name a few.

Vampires represented immortality; philosophical thinking is arguably so. They go around in circles leading nowhere except deeper into the discovery of “self”, and that constant flux of how being in the here and now causes one to feel “stuck in the present”, or “stuck in forever”, as the story goes…

Werewolves are obvious; they shift and “transfigure” at full moon. It indicates that there are cycles and moments in life that force one to reflect. Why? Because, um, the moon is…reflective…? It reflects the light from the sun, stealing a radiance that was never its to have.

Finally, murders and mysteries. Does this represent aggression and violence? Well, yes and no. Not physical aggression or violence, but a relentless anger that is channeled into destroying my demons. Into terrorizing the hell out of them. My demons see me coming from a mile away, and are either subservient to me, or they run in fear of being slayed.

I’m friends with some of them though, don’t get me wrong. Pain and Anger are fun. Pain gets me paid, and Anger keeps me awake. Anxiety and Sadness, on the other hand, seem to have found themselves a nice little hiding spot; I haven’t seen them for ages. Can’t say I miss them, they kept thinking the world was running out of oxygen so we had to conserve it by sitting around doing nothing. Strange ones, they were…

So, through literature and writing, we understand our actions, our choices, and our decisions. Words without actions are…a form of art. While some actions may seem impossible, there’s always a thesaurus to shift a perspective. Magic!

Peace!

MG

Couldn’t, Shouldn’t, Wouldn’t

Here’s to all who’ve ever said that I couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t (and meant it).

To those who said I couldn’t, I appreciate the projections of self-doubt you placed upon me. You’ve taught me what it looks like to pass on insecurities that were instilled in your childhoods. From you, I’ve learned not to stunt people’s growth, you’ve taught me not to constrain them into walls, boxes, or categories.

To those who said I shouldn’t, I sincerely appreciate the caution and concern. There are some of you whose warnings I did heed, and for my own sake too: you were saving me from myself. But to those who were self-centered and not self-experienced in this regard, I appreciate how blatant you were about the lack of effort you were willing to make for me. It made it easier to gauge how much I’d exert.

To those who said I wouldn’t, it was always for one of two reasons. One, you thought my ideas too farfetched and overreached, didn’t believe that I would come up with a way to make it happen. You projected your insecurity onto me, and only challenged my intelligence to see if I’d push. The arrogance in me caved, at one point — always had to be right. Always had to have an answer for everything. I’ve learned, now, that when you properly define the problem and get to the root of it, the solution presents itself.

Second reason would be that you did believe I could come up with a method, but also that you could foresee better than I could how much effort it would truly take to convert certain dreams into reality. Thank you for humbling me, and keeping me grounded when I flew too close to the sun. Thank you for allowing me to soar, but not to get burned.

All of you, lovers and haters, makers and breakers, you’ve inspired me to be authentically me. I got caught up in the mixes of each and everyone’s insecurities, the empathy in me went mad with apathy until eventually I just reached an overload and shut down. I’m sure many of you can relate to this, we’ve all been in it together. We’ve all been running around in the chaos just trying to survive, figuring a way out, a way in, a way forward, a way backward.

But what if…what if we just…embraced all of it. It’s not about changing, friends, it’s about expanding.

My darlings, I tell you this from the heart.

You’ve come this far, not just to get this far. I did, I do, and I will do, again and again and again until it gets better and better and better.

“It’s time to more than just survive. We were made to thrive.” (Mark Hall)

Grow, expand.
Don’t change.
Embrace.

It’s less about finding yourself,
more about letting yourself be found.
MG

Memory, or Dream?

To You:

I never did get around to telling you why I was disappointed, did I? I suppose you never stuck around long enough to realize I actually am capable of emotions. At least, I seem to have discovered this capacity to be true.

You did ask what it was I wanted. I wanted to see you write, to be a part of the process and not apart from it. I didn’t want to merely be the “muse” that inspired your creations, I wanted to be the brush you dipped into the ink.

I watched as you traded your soul for your body; your writing for your running. One could only hope you were merely creating the experiences you would later on depict. I realized, perhaps whatever we were was that experience you never knew existed…

But, I was disappointed, nonetheless, for you were so fixated on being a result that you skipped the entire process of us.

Pain, that’s inevitable. It’s part of life. Not the only part, of course, just the part that motivates people like you to write. Your projection of me was the pain you sought; loving me was the provocation you were looking for since you discovered your wellspring of creativity. It was the darkness you needed after being in the sun too long. Somehow along the way, you lost your torch, so you ran ‘soon as the shadows moved with the winds.

Anger, however, that was on me. That was my storm. I was looking for that provocation, knowing that your childlike desire for a utopian creation would most definitely invoke my rage. Why? Because for me, growing up was never a choice. My innocence was stripped from me the moment I could put two syllables together and figure out what words were.

Believe me, innocence of the mind is not something of which I am familiar. Innocence of the heart, perhaps, but mind? Nay.

And there you were, a physical representation of all that I had left behind, a version of my younger self that you had chosen to portray in my present. A self I thought was history. There you stood.

Still, I write this now, after all this time, because being both blessed and cursed with an infallible experiential memory renders you an experience I cannot forget.

Cannot, and also choose not to try.

While I do miss the memories we only halfway created, darling, I find it hard to miss you. What disappoints me, love, is that…

…I never knew you.

Not the way I wanted to anyway, you never let me. You feared me more than you loved me, and ran though there was nothing to fear. By the time you discovered I’m actually harmless, your shoes were so worn and torn that you wondered if it was even worth coming back. To me.

And yet here we are, after all this time, still writing, still breathing the same air, still sharing the same city space — that unrefined space of a place you know I can only call home. Here we are, after months, and all my unspoken feelings and untold truths spill like word vomit, time and time again. Here we are; here I am, still writing. Still thinking of you. Still loving you.

Still wondering…if your existence is a memory or a dream…

I miss…the you I never knew.

MG

P.S. HB, R.

Where Am I Now, They Ask

“Where are you?” they ask, then don’t stop to listen to the response. Well…

I am capable of anger. Rage, too, mind you. It is not an anger that reacts to the ordinary, mundane trivialities of social construct, such as religion, race, gender, and class. No, it is a genuine anger, not a projection. It is an underlying one, the undercurrents, which have found different mediums of release so that no more human collateral is necessary.

However, I am capable of anger. And pain. And rage.

Some call them demons, I call them artists; exploding paint into an array of beauty, of wonder in the making.

But more than anything, that anger comes from disappointment. Sweetheart, I’m disappointed. I know you are, too, but part of that springs from the knowledge that we both want the same thing and just not from each other. We want it from ourselves.

Yet, I have the audacity to write this to you, knowing that you’ll never read it –  I use audacity in the context of “courage”, not “entitlement”. I am that flux between your best dream and worst nightmare. It is my humanity I present to you, as sincerely as I know how.

You’re free to come and go as you wish, you always have been. But darling, you have become as apathetic to my presence as I am resilient to your absence.

So for once, I just wish you would meet me halfway. That said, I don’t know if I should be reaching or settling…but I’m present, somewhere in the middle. That’s me.

Balanced.

Present.

Always, the last one standing. The one they’ve left to hold up the fort.

And I do, using the pain and strength that came from shattered bones regrown. On cold days, the scars do burn a little, a reminder that there is still a fire within me. On hot days, the anxiety levels rise and my aggression is channeled into “midnight strolls” that turn into 20 kilometer strides around the city.

I have no choice but to be strong. My weaknesses are merely “assignments I have yet to complete.” The disappointment in me springs from always feeling incomplete, from the perfectionism that has been instilled in me through knowing that I can only ever improve. The disappointment in knowing that I have become who I aspired to be, and now need new aspirations so as not to become complacent in the results. There is no end to the learning process, only expansion and improvement.

But they say, moving forward sometimes means allowing the future to unravel and unfurl, the seeds that have been planted through time.

They always say “reap what we sow”, and then leave out the entire “growth” process. The longest part of the journey. They say it as if one can plant a bean and it magically sprouts into a beanstalk, instead of describing the journey of how it took to turn into a plant. So yes, we reap what we sow, but in between, there’s a whole ton of adventure and growth.

Those are the challenges: the long days in the sun, plowing through the soils, finding the right fertilizers, weeding out bad roots…and yet…those are the parts they all skip…and you ask why I’m disappointed.

I feel betrayed. Betrayed by the lies you didn’t mean to tell. Because the lies you tell yourselves, are the lies you tell me. And then expect me to swallow it like it’s not insulting. Expect me to stand there and take your projections of insecurity because I’m “strong enough” to ward them off, apparently.

Well, I’ll tell you, I’m not warding them off, darling. I let them sink it, taking the place of what used to be “respect”. Perhaps it’s not that respect needs to be earned, but that disrespect should be earned. I approached you with respect, the respect you hadn’t earned, but still expected. So I handed it to you, sampling it to see what you’d do.

You took it for granted, love. You took me for granted.

It’s not a line you’ve drawn between us, or a wall you’ve built between us, darling.

It is an abyss you’ve created, a canyon, where we’re both on the edge wondering who’d fall first.

I assure you, I’ve already taken that plunge. A long, long time ago. I’ve been down here a while now, exploring the caves and digging for diamonds.

But I’m not staying down here alone, so when the storm comes and floods this canyon into a river, I’m letting it carry me wherever it leads.

Because this, darling, is out of my control. And evidently, out of yours too.

I love you. And I’m sorry that loving you hurts this much, but I’m not sorry that hurting grows me this much.

So join me, or don’t, but know that I won’t be here forever…

MG

The Women in My Life

(True story, biographical.)

“How do you know you’re at peace?” I asked my mother once, in my teens. She told me “when your masculine and feminine stop fighting each other, when you stop fighting yourself, that’s when you’ll find peace.” So I asked, “which side should I be then? Which one wins?” My mother smiled and said “figure it out.”

I watched, trying ever so hard to understand how my mother could be so at peace despite everything she had been through as a mother. Then I looked at both her sisters, and realised they’re made of that same metal that makes my mother who she is. Naturally, it made sense to get to know my parents’ siblings better so that I could better understand them…

In the last two years, I’ve learned that mother’s younger sister has been doing remote work from home for almost as long as I’ve been alive! What my generation aspires to do, she’s already an expert. Last month, I discovered that mother’s older sister is one of the first women who ever  wore trousers as work attire in corporate London, back in the early 80’s. When she told me this, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a specific “skirt / dress only” dress code.

“We were supposed to only wear skirts to work,” my aunt told me, “but skirts can get very uncomfortable, you know. So one day I put on a pair of trousers because it was more comfortable. Next thing you know, other women start doing it too. Eventually, it just became accepted in our company (Ernst and Young).”

I reflected, and pondered: it stood to reason that the strength came from my grandma. With R20 (USD 1.50) in her pocket, my grandma moved the family of ten (five went ahead, I was told, the other five came later) to the city in the 1960s during the apartheid in South Africa. As a family, they never let the Apartheid become a factor hindering them from just living their lives. When survival is your main focus, and it slowly seeps into the “norm”, you learn to embrace the better parts of life.

My grandparents always opened their homes, always welcomed those in need. Though they didn’t have much, they gave what they could: love, shelter, and a hot cup of tea. They didn’t discriminate who came through the doors. They were loving, but they were tough.

To the kids, they were very disciplined, from what I was told. Swearing warranted washing your mouths out with soap, dishes had to be cleaned immediately after dinner. Beds had to be made and tucked in completely, without an angle sticking out anywhere (although, I was recently informed that bed-making was my great grandmother’s rule). Disciplined, but always out of love. They knew that as long as the kids were disciplined enough to later be self-disciplined, then they would be able to take care of themselves.

They were right. And so it continued in the family line. I see it in my mother, I see it in how she is with our family. I know it comes from her family, that strength, that unity, that togetherness. The way she always did her best to stay strong for all of us when we were all falling apart; when we’re at our worst, she’s always the one motivating us, holding us up, comforting us and letting us know that “it’s okay not to be okay, as long as you get up again when you’re ready.”

My mother is the strongest woman I have experienced. She taught me everything I know and more, at least by providing the platforms where I, too, could become self-disciplined and self-motivated. I am where I am (literally) because yes, she birthed me, but also because she is the one woman who has always, always been there for me, through thick and thin. The one who has lifted me when I was down, but humbled me when I was arrogant. The one who can fight me when I need it, and calm me down when I diverge.

I am strong because my mother is strong. She is strong because the women in her life are strong.

So how do I know that I am at peace?

Because my masculine energy and my feminine energy are no longer at war.

I am a person, a human. A human with strength, both inner and outer; a person with emotions, both aggressive and passive. A human with weaknesses, both external and internal; a person with flaws, both on the outside and on the inside. A human with motivation, both physical and emotional; a person with compassion, both expressed and empathised. I am not perfect, but I am balanced, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Balanced, and equal.

Within myself.

Peace,
MG

(Re-blog from https://mikavelli.com/2017/03/09/the-women-in-my-life/ )