24 of January
Five months ago, I began to chronicle the series of events that are my life as they folded out before me. Each night, I’d type ravenously on the itsy-bitsy iPhone screen when the lights were low, and I continued to journal my life in that way for two months before I graduated to an actual blog. Tonight as I was sitting at the computer after a long day, something made me dig deep into the archives of my writing and click on my first post: Life Here Begins: A Prologue. I thought about the routines, the streets, the people, the way of life in Playa I accepted as if I’d known them all my life when I arrived; the way I molded into an expat (please see last post for definition) as easily, as smoothly as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Which I guess for people like me, it is.
I reminisced on the time when I was naive to true life as I sipped on pomegranate tea in the shower. I find myself not without the ability to place myself in the bed I woke up in for the last time in California- no, that is quite simple- yet I cannot retrace the evolution of my naiveté back to the place I once was in. So destitute of vision, amaurotic to the world and passion and beauty. I am the new Christian in this sense: overjoyed to boast of the beauty of creation.
Words truly are mightier than the sword, especially when you learn to use them. I’ve finagled my way through life because I am my mother’s daughter- she is the strongest, most persuasive woman I have ever met- and as I grew up imitating her irresistible pseudonyms, I find myself in a position of immense power. The way people use their words not only conveys things: it draws minds together, illuminates expression, empowers and equips people, ordinary and spectacular, to do miraculous things. Words are the melody to asseveration, the utterance of emotion.
I love the word retrospect. And- I’m pleased to have the opportunity to use it- in retrospect, I am amused, not to say a little embarrassed, by my choice of diction back when my naiveté was worn on me like a coat. I’ve swallowed books and words faster than a champion food-eater ( do they have those?) for as long as I can remember, so I am quite satisfied to report to you that my vocabulary was always quite large for someone of my age. But, in retrospect, although I seemingly knew innumerable assertions of my tongue and used them to my advantage, there was a facet of words that I never opened. I never even knew it was there, in the States, although all the time it waited, hunched and poised, for me to expose myself to the other side of words like rolling open the aluminum to a can of sardines. I was blind to the roar on the other side of phrases and letters and the whimsical curl of a cursive b I thought I knew through and through. Now I am wholly enthralled with the possibility of words, the way that each word can perfectly convey a certain object, emotion, or person in every aspect. The sounds of the word, the impossible way the letters curve and dance around the page in my black, octopus ink, the tentacles sprawling haplessly, yet purposelessly, across the blank canvas.
Sylvia Plath is my favorite writer, and when I happened upon her masterpiece ravings a few years ago, I indulged myself in her sanity as if it was Sylvia and me, against all the world. Now I realized that Sylvia and I aren’t fighting the world, we are fighting boxes. Constraining, coercing cardboard boxes with rules and regulations and schedules and the loss of originality; it wasn’t really a fight though. We never fit into those boxes anyways: we are individual, impossible to contain, larger than life, and there was never a question that we weren’t in those boxes solidified by the loss of passion. With our actions and our thoughts we defy mediocrity, but with our words we gather a core of like-minded individuals, floating free from the ropes and pulleys of the average elevator. It is words that keep us at bay, and the raven that guards the writing desk. Sylvia penned a poem filled with words and phrases that I roll over in my head and copiously rewrite into almost every school journal I have; for some reason I never get tired of the verses and am entirely ecstatic to share even just a line with someone. It broke the limits of my bounded consciousness and whispered my darkest thoughts, ink and blood, the way I have never been able to capture them myself.
|Insomniac By Sylvia Plath
The night is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars Letting in the light, peephole after peephole —
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Under the eyes of the stars and the moon’s rictus
He suffers his desert pillow, sleeplessness
Stretching its fine, irritating sand in all directions.
Over and over the old, granular movie Exposes embarrassments–the mizzling days
Of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams,
Parental faces on tall stalks, alternately stern and tearful,
A garden of buggy rose that made him cry. His forehead is bumpy as a sack of rocks.
Memories jostle each other for face-room like obsolete film stars.
He is immune to pills: red, purple, blue —
How they lit the tedium of the protracted evening!
Those sugary planets whose influence won for him
A life baptized in no-life for a while,
And the sweet, drugged waking of a forgetful baby. Now the pills are worn-out and silly, like classical gods.
Their poppy-sleepy colors do him no good. His head is a little interior of grey mirrors.
Each gesture flees immediately down an alley Of diminishing perspectives, and its significance
The bald slots of his eyes stiffened wide-open On the incessant heat-lightning flicker of situations.
Nightlong, in the granite yard, invisible cats Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease,
Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions. The city is a map of cheerful twitters now,
And everywhere people, eyes mica-silver and blank,
Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed.
So. Six months ago, when I woke up in California with slants of soft sunlight irradiating the flecks of dust in the pale pallor of dawn air, I had no idea the changes I was about to undergo. Obviously, an (almost) continental shift was about to take place, and in regards to this change I happy-g0-lucky, go-with-the-flow. I had no worries or reservations. But at the time I was still naive to how I was about to be awakened, because unless your eyes are opened like mine are now, it impossible for one to envision the mental growth, the way doors to the universe are opened, when you truly live life. I wasn’t justified to use big, engulfing words I so arrogantly believed I understood before this chapter in my life, but now I can say I feel each note I speak in my heart like the way it feels to write a song. Nothing is wasted, and nothing is held in regret. We only have so long to live, so why not make every second count so when you look back as you lay in your deathbed and can say: I lived. Because the word live, that’s a word that takes every word to understand.