This is not the beginning or the end. Others have come, others will follow. You are not the first, nor will you be the last. You have to trust life. Life has a purpose for you. Everything will be ok. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t stress, it will only make things worse. Why don’t you talk to someone? It’s not you, it’s me. It will only make you stronger. Time will heal. You need to focus on other things. You should focus on your career. You should focus on yourself. Why don’t you join a class? You should try mediation. You should get out there. It’s time to move on. You should drink lemon with honey. You need to rest. You should take some Tylenol. You need more sleep. You shouldn’t be drinking so much. You should eat lots of garlic. How do you feel? Are you feeling better? You should drink mint tea. Let me rub your back. I’ll make you ginger tea. You shouldn’t smoke so much. You should drink less coffee. Don’t worry so much, everything will be ok. Having you been taking any meds? You should go out for a drink. You should eat something. Drink lots of water. You should wear a jacket, it’s cold outside. Just eat some plain rice. Just eat some bread with butter. Do you have an umbrella? I think it’s going to rain. How many times have I told you? You need to try harder. Are you even trying? Don’t worry, you’ll learn. Just try again. Take it slow. Don’t rush things. You can’t force things in life. If it’s meant to be, it will be. You should call him. Don’t talk to her, it’s too soon. You need to give it space. Don’t see him. Have you told her how you feel. I’ve been there. The exact same thing happened to me. Follow your gut. Well, what do you think you should do? I just want the best for you. I’m worried about you. Don’t over analyze. You need a hobby. We’ll have a girl’s night. You need to get laid. Let’s do shots. You’re way better than her. He doesn’t deserve you. Remember what she did? You don’t need that in your life. You need to concentrate on being healthy. You should eat less red meat. You should eat less processed food. You should go on a walk, it clears the mind. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t still care. Don’t take it personally. He doesn’t know what he wants. You can do way better. You should go fuck that guy. Practice makes perfect. You need to concentrate. You can still be friends. You need to sweat it out. Everything will work out for the best. At least you have your friends. At least you have your family. At least you have your health. Don’t give up. I believe in you. You can always talk to me. I know how it feels. We don’t have to talk if you don’t want too.
I forged a way through the barriers of my preconceptions. I allowed myself the freedom to live, but lost it in the realization of my existence.
Complication brings satisfaction, accompanied with unease. Grasping for what’s there and thus losing it all together. Pressure is an excuse, physical limitations are inconsequential. Trying to find the words to describe a feeling is fruitless. Everyone knows the answer but is unwilling to commit to the solution. Reveling in your weaknesses only brings comic relief. But straying from a familiar state, no matter how miserable, brings anxiety. How easy it is to despise others, those that lack the prized quality of insight, for which we feel superior, but there is also envy at the ease with which they live their lives.
We colour the world with a spectrum that has yet been proven to exist. And when we forget ourselves a true bliss emerges, a bliss that has been suffocated, waiting for the opportunity to emerge. Is it possible to find a balance? Do we need to lose one part of ourselves to gain another? To sacrifice that which we take pride in for what we ultimately crave. We know the choice we’ll ultimately make, we can’t help but make, it’s a part of us that will not dies, it’s a part of us we will not kill.
There was a point in my travels, I think it was in Portugual, when I picked up a sketchbook. At first I drew whatever images came into my mind, usually inspired from what I saw around me. Then I started to documenting little imprints of the people I met, snip bits of conversation that left an impression on me.
A Russian woman I shared a hostel room with in Granada, Spain. She was over on a seminar, she was a language teacher if I remember correctly. I told her that I planned on visiting Russia, and she eagerly offered to show me around when I got there, but making it clear that she was not inviting me to stay at her place. She had an abrupt manner about her, maybe it was the language barrier or the eastern European way, but without there being any lead up in our conversation she began telling me about how life is in Russia, and in case I was under any illusion, “life isn’t beautiful.”
While in Paris I found a family to couchsurf with you were on the outskirts of the city. I was the girl’s first couchsurfer, she was about 18 or 19, and her English wasn’t very good, and instead of using say a phone when we came at an impasse with a word, she would consult a massive tome of an English-French dictionary. Therefore, I spent most of the time talking to her parents, actually her father, who’s English was the best. I learned that discussing travel plans was the safest topic after a few of our discussions about politics and other world affairs led to butting heads.
I met this man while eating in a Moroccan restaurant in the Belleville neighborhood in Paris. I had some bread left over on my plant and he inquired as to whether I was going to finish it, I informed him I was. We started talking and he offered to show me around the arsty parts of the area. He was from Armenia, if I remember correctly and now lived in Paris with his partner. He was an artist, his work was predominantly text based, notebooks filled with scrawled words and symbols, he also dabbled in found art, such as a plastic hand making a peace sign, with a potato peeler between the fingers, he had displayed this in a gallery.
I arrived in Porto, Portugual, unbeknownst to me, on St. John’s Day. This festival is celebrated in different ways across the world, it usually involves jumping over a fire. In Porto, it starts off during the day, with everyone out on the streets grilling sardines and vegetables. You’re walking down these narrow steps, through the town, weaving through tables precariously set up on ledges, billows of smoke filling the air with the smell of charcoaled fish, it’s like the whole city is partaking in one big family meal. In the evening the streets are intensely packed as everyone heads to the river to catch the fireworks. The hammers also emerge, the plastic hammers that you’d win at the carnival, the ones that toddler’s harass their pets with. And for no explicable reason, people are bopping each other on the head with these hammers. Everywhere you go, bop, bop, bop, actually, squeak, squeak, squeak, as these hammers aren’t of the silent variety. There were also the more traditional head boppers of garlic flowers, you were well advised to avoid this as they gave off a pugnent smell. After the initial perplexity and annoyance (I was sure I was becoming a target because of my mop of curly hair), I joined in the bopping festivities myself, although I did have to be restrained when I attempted to dispel a fight with some ‘comic relief.’
The hostel I stayed in Porto, Portugaul, was owned by two brothers. It was in this old factory I believe, with high ceiling and big windows, a beautiful building, as many of the buildings in Porto are. The elder brother was friendly and chatty, he could go on at length about the history of the city, the politics of the country, whereas the younger brother came off as the the partier type. The younger one had a tick and at first it was hard to not get distracted by it and feel pity at his condition, but after talking with him for a little while it began to develop a rhythm to his speech. He was quite small, covered in tattoos and with a pony tail. He took us out a few nights to some concerts and we got to talking about life, sharing about his daughter and ex-wife.
I was sitting beside a group of young girls at the skate park in Barcelona (MACBA). I gathered they were journalism students, as they were discussing the best way to approach the skater’s and what kind of questions to ask (not to be judge, but they could have done with a bit of research beforehand). After drawing straws about who would go, a few minutes later the girl returned a little bewildered by the lack of enthusiasm on her subjects part, at least she was able to apply the age old journalistic technique, making something out of nothing.
Javi was my landlord during my two month stay in Barcelona. It wasn’t always easy to follow what he said, he called it his alien tongue. He had a message he wanted to share and a community he wanted to create of like minded people. He had such expressive eyes, sometimes he would just look into your eyes and you had to look away, not just because it was uncomfortable, but it was as if he was seeing things in you that you were trying to hide, other times his eyes had a deep sadness, his eyebrow’s would raise in the middle, almost cartoon like, as he’d talk about rejection and killing the ego, and when he was in high spirits he had a simple giddy humour, jumping around, excitable as a child. There were times where I would patiently sit with him, trying to understand, decipher his code, hug him and feel his love. Other times I had to get away, I couldn’t listen anymore, he was beyond help and was bringing me down too. He had a perception of things that were sometimes so right, that it could be hard to hear. Javi died a few months after I left of heart failure.