The Quiddity of Each Thing

I don’t consider myself to be a hipster. I don’t feel inclined to purchase a sweater because it is ugly, I don’t listen to a certain band that nobody else does, and I don’t claim to have discovered something “before it was cool.” I don’t see the sense in that.

I do however find that I take joy in things that others don’t, and over the years I have discovered this natural quality in myself, and have found that it is a rare one. Everyday I find myself hopelessly falling in love with people and things, whether they are beautiful or ugly, but I justify my love by seeing exactly as they are, and accepting the truth of their queerness to be lovely. 

I have found that in order to acheive success in this practice, you must completely surrender yourself to the environment or person that presents itself to you. For example, imagine that you are in the most wretched cheap hotel room you’ve ever been in, find a stain on the yellowed curtains in the room and drink in their grime, soak up their filth, and them raise them up to a place of near grandeur. See them as the grimiest things you’ve ever laid eyes on. And then love them for that. For what they are.

Whatever it is, be it a person or an object or a setting… Rubbing your nose in the wholeness of each thing with what will allow you to absorb it as a whole and cause you to see it for the wonderful thing it is.

I have found that rejoicing in beings translates very well into how I react to humans. The people I meet, whether conventionally beautiful, or completely annoying, or entirely worthy of hatred and rejection, grab a hold of my heart with their character. I find that they do this, by making myself think of them as exactly that, characters. I don’t mean characters as in “people with qualities that give them character”, but characters as in beings in a fictional world. If I take a step back and look at the people around me as if they were characters in book, each the protagonist of their own stories, I find it hard not to like someone. A mixture of sympathy, understanding, and curiosity overwhelm me, and I can’t help but love people for exactly what they are.

I’m not trying to be ironic or creative here. I strongly believe that this is how I feel and live my life every day. With a ravenous lust for the aesthetics, texture, smell, sound, and presentness of the things around me, I manage to love everything with an undeniable glee.

To immerse yourself in the quiddity of each thing and take it for its magnificence in its own field gives you the ability to enjoy virtually everything.

A Second Person Account of Frankfurt to Brussels

You hate forgetting things. You hate the idea that this is the last time you will see the sun set on an old, brow, graffitied European town as your train begins to take you “home”.

And thats when you truly understand how the beauty here is different.

Nothing is pristine, nothing is palm-treed or pastelled or cookie-cut.This beauty is like the beauty of a messy house; it shows life. It shows homes and hangouts and places where teenagers and artists scrawl pieces of themselves onto brick. Somehow, its beauty shows a respect for nature and a beautiful equilibrium between nature and the urban creation of humans. You think of how there’s no way the landscape could be any more beautiful than it is at this moment. You like the way the sun flickers orange-yellow as you train speeds past trees. You love the silhouettes of countryside houses and small town apartments, mixed in with rolling hills and bridges and trains going the opposite way.

Next you think about the beauty of flying, and the strange reality that men have learned to fly like birds and kites. It seems so silly and amazing to you.

You like flying on cloudy days the best. You like looking out the window and seeing the blanket of clouds below you when the plane is at its highest point, but on this particular day you enjoy the descent the most. There are mostly grey, rainy clouds in the sky, but your plane is soaked in sunshine flying above them. You like it when the plane seems to hover above the first blankety layer of cloud, because it looks like every picture of heaven that you’ve ever seen. You love that. You love the moments of silent, grey turbulence as you break through the layer, but you especially love it when the grey is gone and you can see the world below you.

The countryside is a brown and green quilt, stitched with fences and dirt roads, and embroidered with houses, barns, and wind turbines. You love that. You love the birds eye view of everything, you feel like you’re looking in on life as you fly over the miniature buildings. You like the idea that there are a thousand lives being lived below you. There are a thousand people that don’t know you exist, and a thousand people with their own worlds that revolve around them. Your favourite part is still the clouds. They are becoming patchy, and from the top they look so different. When you look at clouds from the ground they look like simple pieces of sky, like Bob Ross just painted them happy and little into the blue expanse, or dark like a curtain in front of the sun. But you realize that when you yourself are a part of the sky, the clouds suddenly look different. They become their own units and show new dimensions. They look like levitating cotton balls, and you like that you can see the shadows they cast over the land.

The gold of the sun above you, the blue of the sky around you, the grey of the clouds, the green of the life, the red of the roofs.

Fears

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

 

I am afraid of most animals. I don’t know how to touch them or play with them. They confuse me. I am especially afraid of fish, due to traumatic deaths of pets and camp boys cutting minnows into pieces and throwing them at me when I was a chubby elementary school kid. A fear of fish is nice an simple, and maybe even a little irrational. But I find comfort in my irrational fears because I know that facing them isn’t usually something I have to do. But when it comes to being scared about the inevitable, I get a little bit worried.

 

I am timid and scared about the inevitable that is my fast approaching future. I am afraid of leaving the comfort I have known my whole life. As I enter grade 12, there is only one year left of it. One year left of schedules formed by someone who I believe knows better than me. One year left of knowing my way around a school. One year left of knowing who my friends are. One year left of security. One year left of knowing what I’m doing as I do it. One year left before I am pushed off the deep end into my own decisions and plans for my life.

 

I have to keep reminding myself that every working person today has been accepted to a University. I keep trying to remind myself that I am in the same place that millions have been before… But it is especially terrifying for me because I want to realize my dreams. I wonder how many working people today are doing what they had always dreamed of doing growing up. I wonder how big or small the percentage is of people living their American dream. I wonder how many winners there are out there. I’m so scared of losing sight of my dreams and giving up on them because I think that they’re too difficult. I’ve always grown up under the romantic impression that I will grow up to be everything I’ve ever wanted to be. Only now am I realizing that I’m probably going to have to put some work in if I hope to achieve this life that I have had floating around in my head for such a long time.

 

I am afraid of responsibility and decisions. I am afraid of requirements, money that I don’t have and grade requirements that seem impossible for this girl who hates every subject that isn’t a language. I’m afraid of leaving my comfort zone and the friends, the places, and the routines I have grown to love. I’m afraid of having to prove myself. I am afraid of being a sheet of paper looked at by people who will judge what I have and haven’t accomplished and turn me into a number. I am afraid of seeking approval and acceptance from those people. I long for adventures. I yearn for beautiful people to enter and leave my life. I hope to inspire and be inspired by them. I want experiences, passion, and natural talent to be what decides my career. Not education.

 

But right now I’m afraid. And its true, I am afraid I’m powerful, but I’m afraid I’m too lazy and terrified to use that power. So that’s where I’m at.

 

Happy last week of summer vacay.

Why a Blog?

Over the last 8 months I have been contemplating starting another blog. I have never liked the idea of blogs without a purpose or a goal. Writing my blog while I was away with my family on sabbatical filled the purpose of informing my friends and family about the information I retained and the emotions that were produced from experiences so foreign and fantastic to me. It was exciting. I loved to have readers. I am cursed with the weakness of loving to hear that I do a good job at something, I thirst for appreciation in my work (in writing. If I had this kind of motivation in my Math 20-1 course I’m sure the results would have been something much greater than they were.)

Of course, contrary to being in a country strange to me, my dilemma now is that I have no inspiring content. There are no African children to love, and there are no places to explore, or places that will make me feel out of my element. At home, in my city, my birthplace in fact, I am mostly comfortable. It’s discouraging.

Entering my last year of school is comfortable to me except for the fact that I don’t know what the H-E-double hockey sticks I’m doing with my life a year from now. I want to pursue writing, but I have been second-guessing myself, primarily because the act of writing in my many journals has become more of an obligation than a joy. I was discouraged and confused for many months, wondering if writing was really something I could seek after as a career if I couldn’t even keep a journal. But, tonight I have come to a realization: There is no drive for me to write when I know that the only person locking eyes on it will be me. This didn’t seem like a realization until I realized that as a journalist or a professional writer, there would rarely be work, especially good work that I would have to keep to myself.

So here comes the great experiment. A blog. I am writing for two main reasons, the first being the readers, as I explained in my last paragraph, and the second being to track my progression in writing. See if this possibly humiliating risk could be beneficial to my skills on a chronological scale as I write to most likely myself, under the impression that I am writing to a crowd. I am not convinced, not even slightly optimistic that this humble outpouring of words on the Internet will draw me more readers than my immediate relatives, but I am (I don’t believe selfishly) doing this for me.

After months of a drought in this desert, words flow freely from me as I write with a renewed purpose. I hope that this blog will help me, because I am thoroughly convinced it wont make an impact on my readers, at least in these beginning stages.

Bear with me my friends.