My bed is empty. My mind is full. I am tired, fighting a headache. Lying in the dark, I am listening to the rain. The window is open, and I feel the breeze on my skin. I know I should be asleep, it would ease the headache and maybe prevent the bad mood I am sure I will suffer in the morning. But I can’t fall asleep. I had troubles letting go the last few nights — dreams; not a nightmare, just unsettling dreams.
I have so many things to say and to share, and yet, they don’t matter, and so I keep them to myself.
There are times when I share most everything on my mind. I let my fingers write, and my mind think, and I just float on that wave that jumps from one thought to the next. I can’t seem to do that right now. (Although I am doing it) It just feels like stealing your time and attention. I know that you give it freely or else you wouldn’t be here, but my mind is trying to tell me that no one cares and that I don’t matter?
Why am I sabotaging myself this much? After all, I am an okay person. Ordinary, but okay.
I ordered new music today (her name is Calla – animal choir). And I watched two movies (untamed heart and pump up the volume) with my favourite actor (Christian Slater). I also listened to music by Coastlands (postrock from Oregon/USA), burnt down an incense stick (sandalwood) and ate pizza (prosciutto). I read a couple of pages in my book (the I undiscovered gyrl by Allison Burnett)…
Who cares?! I want you to care, to be honest, because I want you to care about me. But again, who cares about this narcissistic vanity.
Do you dream about specific colours? I am used to having dreams that repeat themselves. They used to be in a green hue. Like a green veil or fog in front of my eyes… Nowadays that fog or veil is blue, but the images I see – the pictures in my dream are still the same.
Maybe the breeze and the rain will let me fall asleep eventually anyway… Who knows?
The title of this post is French and could be translated to “the time keeps running”
One of my biggest and most irrational fears is to be forgotten. Rationally, I know that we don’t forget the people we like. We don’t forget the people who we invite in our lives or hearts. And yet, I am afraid to be forgotten. Once in a while, I ask people not to forget me. It must sound strange to them; maybe even annoying. Just, at that moment, my mind needs a reminder that I am unforgettable.
2:45 am. I can’t sleep. I woke up from a dream – not a nightmare, but unsettling too. I keep trying to recall my dream, but it is gone – lost in the corners of my mind. I just know that I was wrong about something. I did the worst one can do when unable to sleep; I took my phone and checked notifications. I was on Twitter and on a whim, I unfollowed a couple of accounts, the one of my former favourite band too – turns out they are a bunch of pretentious bellends. It took me almost 20 years to see it. I still appreciate their music; it was the soundtrack of my life, and yet… I really don’t like the people they became. Or is it me?
Am I drifting away from the person I used to be? I feel empty and overflowing. Sad and happy. Tired and wide awake.
How did that happen? When did everything change?
In a little more than 2 hours my alarm will go off, and I need to go to work. Early shift. I like that – if only it started later, lol.
Birds are beginning to chirp outside (the window is open); my husband is snoring next to me, and my mind is thinking too loud.
I sit, and I wait. Sitting and waiting. And I hope that no one will ask what I am waiting for. I would answer “Life”, and they would quote John Lennon “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. And they wouldn’t even know that it’s not a simple quote but that this sentence is a line of lyrics from a song he wrote for his beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy Julian. And I would bite my tongue because information like that is plenty in my brain. It’s just – no one cares about it. And that’s why I keep sitting and waiting. For life to happen. And to understand it. But that is not entirely true. Because from my place, I have a nice view. I observe and analyse, and I keep to myself. The things I know, are not the things I need to share. But on the other hand, all the half-truths and snippets of misinformation I know, are not the ones others want to hear. It’s a circle. And if I don’t find the right corner to get off, I will stumble, and my clumsy attempt to catch myself will end with me lying face down enduring the spiral, the slipstream that brought this upon me. Upwards or downwards? Which way does it go? Maybe just sideways? Either way, I will end up puking on the floor and emptying what little is inside me. All of it, until the heaving is dry and the acrid smell of bile chases everyone away. Everyone left the building. Including me. I need to pay attention to the little things. Hold on tight to the pillars of this meagre existence, to keep myself from stumbling. And while I am doing just that, all these unfiltered thoughts are rushing down onto the screen.
I put the cigarette to my lips and inhale. No filter. Rolled with my own shaky hands. Because – yes, why? Because it is edgy. Cool people roll their cigarettes themselves. It’s all pretending anyway. Oh yes, I’m a great pretender. Who gives a crap about my cigarettes and my thoughts. But I keep writing. Someday, the romantic voice inside of my head suggests, someone will read the mix of weirdness and eclecticism my brain produces. They will beg me to publish a book – a memoir – a biography of this writer and all will be good. At least, I have dreams. The other possibility, far more probable, is that the words stay unread. I will die in a stuffy room with overflowing ashtrays and too many empty bottles.
Maybe a cat or two. Sheets of papers with the start of the next big novel is strewn across the floor and the bed — music loud and on repeat. And in the centre of it all; me. Picture me like Jimi Hendrix, suffocated on my own vomit. A rock star death. Don’t be alarmed, though. I am not a rock star. I don’t play the guitar well enough and all in all, I am just a coward who never did any drugs. On second thought, aren’t most rock stars ridden with anxiety? Isn’t that why they turn to alcohol and drugs and whatnot? Always on the hunt for the next high? But one day your brain (and your soul too), are just too used to the girls screaming your name and the papers printing your photographs, your name in the headlines. And while you pretend to crave your privacy, the thought of being left alone and forgotten scares you to death. And so you power on, with some chemical help, because you couldn’t do all the shows and interviews and all that other crap that comes with being famous, without it. I don’t envy these people at all — not one bit.
And so I stare out onto the lake. The sky is grey; the water is too. And I wait for the next idea to come up. A real writer wouldn’t wait. They would write. Or am I wrong and a real writer would draw charts and write every idea down? Being organised? Where’s the fun in that? So – no labelling my ideas. Just sitting. Waiting. Staring. Smoking. And while I am doing that, the music plays softly in the background. It’s not loud enough to drown out the voices that keep telling me that I am a waste of talent. I can still hear them judging me and how I spend the days. For them, I am doing nothing. For me, I am savouring the moment. It’s as a friend told me once: We need time to understand who we are before someone else comes along and makes us into the version they want us to be. So maybe – just maybe, my answer to the question “What are you waiting for”, would not be “Life”, but maybe the truer answer would be “To understand”. I guess the reaction would be close to the same. They would urge me to get up and do something.
But, if they don’t see it, does that really mean that I am not doing anything? Because in my mind, eccentric as it may be, I am doing a whole lot. I am not giving up.
Written in March 2016.
I haven’t had a cigarette this year… And, I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think that the last paragraph in this piece of writing is the most important thing I have ever written. Whenever I encounter people who are struggling with their mental health, whenever I am struggling myself, I remember these words. I am not giving up, even if people are not seeing that I am fighting.
“Come to me…” She heard the whispered words again and again. She saw the hand reach out for her, and she tried to grab it. But it was in vain. Her fingers never touched the ones that were outreached to her. She saw the despair in his face and tried harder to get to him, but the last inch to be there, grab him and cling to him was always missing.
Startled, she woke up. Drenched in sweat and tears. She had had this dream so many times before, and each time it became more real and more intense. She wanted to be with him, that was all she knew and cared about. The yellow streetlights illuminated her dark room, casting gloomy shadows on the ceilings. It didn’t appease her. A storm was raging outside, and branches of the large tree in front of her window whipped against the glass. It made for a frightening soundtrack of the night. She laid down again and punched her pillow a couple of times until it had the desired shape and turned to the side. She never closed her eyes. They stayed glued to the window. She was waiting for him. She waited for the familiar shadow to appear.
“Come to me…” He whispered the words in her ear, trying to soak in her familiar scent. She was asleep and didn’t hear him. He reached his hand out to touch her, and she tried to touch him too, but it was to no avail. As much as he wanted to feel her skin against his own for one last time, it was impossible. He couldn’t hide the pain he felt, and he knew that she saw it. He tried harder to reach her, but the last inch to grab her and take her with him was always missing.
Her time hadn’t come yet. And until then, he had to wait and be patient. He visited her every night, but on one particular night every year, she could see him. He sat on the windowsill and listened to the storm while he watched her sleep with her eyes wide open.
She saw him. He sat on the windowsill with a smile on his face. Occasionally, he looked outside as if in deep thought and when his head turned back to face her, she thought she had seen a frown. This night, this particular night was always the same for her, and she loved and dreaded it alike. It was the night he was back, and her dreams seemed so much more real than every other day. Days prior to this particular date, she didn’t sleep, because she waited for him to appear. She wished he would stay longer than only that night, and she wished he would talk to her. Instead, he sat there and watched her. It was all a dream. A hallucination. That’s what they said. But she knew better. She knew better because she didn’t only see him; she felt his presence.
He smiled at her and watched over her. Occasionally, he looked outside, and it reminded him of that fateful day years ago.
He had been drunk after the party. He shouldn’t have walked home in his state, but he had also known that he was in no shape to drive. She had called him on his phone, and he had slurred that he loved her. He had wanted to see her and took a shortcut through the woods. It had been raining that night and dark. Really dark. He had started to run with an unknown urge to be with her and then, it had happened. He had fallen down a slope, and he had hit his head on a rock. When he had woken up, he had laughed because he had known that the fall could have killed him.
And it had killed him. I took him a while to realise that the lifeless body he had been looking at was his own. It had happened so fast. A bright spark had appeared, and light-tunnel had captured him. He had fought to stay and go see her one last time, but the force that had taken him from this earth was stronger than anything else he had ever experienced. He had made a deal with the invisible force then and there. He had stopped struggling and floated willingly up into his afterlife after negotiating one last wish; he demanded to be able to see and watch over her. And he did. He came back. Every year. Until the time had come to finally take her hand and take her with him.
The night was fading, and the storm was calming down. The shadows on her ceiling slowly vanished, but he was still there staring at her, and she kept watching him intently, trying to remember as much of him as possible. In her mind, she told him that she loved him and that she missed him. In her mind, she told him everything she couldn’t say out loud anymore. She didn’t react when there was a knock on the door. She knew what would be happening next. A chubby woman in a lab coat bent over her and pushed her hair out of her face. He smiled at her and waved, then he blew her a kiss, and she saw him say “I love you”, but she didn’t hear the words. She fought to push the nurse away, but she obstructed her view. When she finally moved, he was gone. The woman who had entered obscured the view to the window again and helped her sit up. She stopped struggling and fighting. It was all in vain anyway. They didn’t understand. They didn’t see what she saw.
“It’s time for your pills honey.” Two cups were put in front of her, and she obediently emptied them both before she opened her mouth to show that she had swallowed everything, just like she was supposed to do.
The nurse patted the patient’s shoulder and retreated. She key locked the door again once she was outside and sighed. Halloween was always the worst day for this patient. It had been five years now since she was with them and although she was better on most days, on October 31st, she was suicidal and had to stay in lockup for her own safety. She had never talked, but everyone knew about the events that had ended her in the mental institution. The nurse didn’t need to hear the details of the tragedy; she knew that only love could make someone lose their mind the way this woman had.
(written in October 2014. I would change many things about this story – more details, and the writing style is weird too, but there is potential in this couple of paragraphs)
She was fifteen when she first heard the song that changed her life and became path and direction of her journey. Music had been a distraction and a companion for most of her isolated childhood and youth. Being subject to emotional abuse, she had found somewhere safe to hide in her mind when music was playing. When silence reigned in her bedroom, thoughts threatened to destroy her fragile mind. Once in a while, her older sister took her to the city. They browsed stores for clothes and, her favourite part, for music. Their shopping spree always ended with an obligatory trip to the newsstand. Her sister bought the latest teen magazine, and she invested the last of her money in music magazines that came with free CDs.
On the bus home, both girls looked out of the window, trying to find ways to ignore what was awaiting them at home. The older one retreated to her own bedroom as soon as they walked through the door; the younger one was greeted with new chores that were added to her list and verbal abuse when she was not able to do the things she was commanded to do. She was not innocent though, she replied to every insult thrown at her with another insult. Inside, she broke apart, but she refused to show it to the outside. They would love to see her cry, and she was not willing to grant them this victory. Once done with everything, she too found her way to her sanctuary, where the first thing she did was putting on some music. But the music she listened to made her angry. Angrier than she already was. Her friends had suggested those bands, and for once, she had wanted to fit in, and something was appealing too, but she was beginning to see that those friends were morons who weren’t able to see past shallow lyrics and worshipped ugly minds and ideas. This was not her. She was too open-minded and free-spirited for this hate and ugliness. She had enough of those at home already, and she wanted more; needed more. Somehow she always knew that she deserved more.
She unpacked what she had bought, new CDs to put in the stand next to her stereo and listen to one after the other; a new black top with a large white and silvery bird, and the magazines from the newsstand. She wanted to give the new music on the free sampler attached to the magazine a listen first. Awaiting rejection, she knocked on her sister’s door to ask for the laptop they were sharing. With relief she saw that the older girl was not using it and with a warning to bring it back within an hour, she could take it. Once everything was plugged in and mounted, she was in for a surprise.
4 minutes and 42 seconds were about to change her life. The CD started on its own accord, and the first sounds she heard was an acoustic song by a band that was unknown to her. She didn’t know much about music, but she knew when she was touched by something good. She looked at the screen in front of her and was intrigued by the two men she saw with their guitars. One was sitting on a chair, strumming and singing; head slightly bowed. The other lay on the bed cradling his guitar like a lover; eyes closed. A myriad of emotions ran through her mind and body, too many emotions to place them and all she was capable of doing was sigh and smile. Wow! The song ended. The screen faded to black and she, she released another long breath. She was mesmerised by what she had heard and seen. Before the next song came on, she had to play this one again. The repeat button was the only option there was. This time, the smile was there from the beginning. As soon as the song had ended a second time, she knew she needed more; more of this beautiful and sad music. She was greedy, but this music, these lyrics, and the men somehow too, they had touched something deep inside her. Something was born and awoken in those few minutes of having listened to the song. In a frantic nearly obsessed way she browsed the internet to find out who this band was. They were brothers and part of a band. The clip of them in the hotel room was made to advertise their newest release. This British band had been around for a while, and she made a point to purchase as much of their back catalogue the next time she would go to her preferred record store. It was 1998; she was fifteen and deep inside, she knew that this band had just changed her entire life and thoughts.
She was twenty-six when an unexpected bout of depression hit her. It was the first time she felt helpless, hopeless, obsolete. Friends had long gone; only a couple had survived and morphed into adult friendships. Life had changed; she had moved on with a family of her own. She had a house, a husband, and two kids. Her mind had changed too; of course, it had, she was not a child anymore but an educated and intelligent woman. The music she listened to had changed, as well as the meaning it had in her life now. The band that had changed her life in her youth was still there and had stayed the same; more or less, releasing new music regularly.
It was 2009, and everything looked good on the outside; to some her life was perfect. But inside; inside everything was different; she had lost hope. She had forgotten how to have hope for a better future. She had no dreams, no goals, no future. She was existing, but not living. No one had ever promised anything to her. No one had ever punished her for dreaming. And yet, she was bruised by the daily struggles. Hurt by her own high expectations and standards; and yet she couldn’t change. She was powerless. Hope was lost.
She sat in front of the computer. It was silent in her room. Just she and her tormenting thoughts that became louder and more vicious with every passing sleepless night. She clicked YouTube links by the dozen to distract herself from the noise in her brain, but the music didn’t bring her peace anymore. The songs were filled with melancholy, and they all made her want to cry and hide from the world even more. Until seemingly out of nowhere, the song came on that had changed her life a decade ago appeared in a random playlist. The exact same version. With both men in a hotel room and the camera focusing on the guitarist who lay flat on his back playing the intro to the song. Forgotten Hopes.
The song that had changed so much such a long time ago was doing it again. She didn’t smile once when it played. She just watched. Frozen. Her mind was empty, devoid of thoughts. This hadn’t happened in a very long time. And when the screen faded to black to begin playing a new song, she paused the playlist and buried her face in her hands. She finally cried. She cried the tears she had kept in for years, and when she was all cried out, she felt freer than she had ever felt. Snot was running down her nose, and dark dots that used to be warm tears adorned her shirt, but it was okay. Her head hurt from the sudden release of those locked up emotions. But that too was okay. And once again, this song, this band that was ever-present in her life, had changed her train of thoughts. It was okay. It was okay, and everything would be okay. Music was healing her mind.
She was thirty-two in 2015, and after supporting one of the musicians of the band that had been her longtime companion in a crowd-funding campaign, she received a personalised song. It was the most unique gift she could ever receive. Forgotten Hopes, and it was sung just for her. It took her a couple of tries and a lot of headshaking and worrying, but in the end, she dared to send an email to the man whose lyrics had guided her through her life and whose words were inspiring her own creative mind. She thanked him and told him briefly how much she owed to him, his lyrics and his passion. He had touched her in all the right places, and now she wanted to touch him too. Give back a little. And by doing so, her life changed again. And maybe, his did too. For her, it was Important that he knew and understood that his presence on this earth had saved her, that it mattered. In her mind, every artist deserved to know that their light gave hope.
Forgotten Hopes. A vivid reminder to her to never lose hope.