How Do You Know?

how do you know when you love someone? the answer to this question has taken different shapes for me, casting long and short shadows over time, like all my love and all my years have been compressed between a sunrise and a sunset. each time, however, one thing remains the same – which is that i feel more love than my heart can carry. the only way i can describe the sensation is that i am bursting with joy. i feel it through every inch of my body. my mind feels like it is on fire. my soul becomes lit with freedom, curiosity, and clamour. everything is messy and chaotic, but perfectly wonderful. and by the time that love is gone, my heart is bigger. it has expanded just that much more, aching to be filled and coloured in with the next love that will save me. but do i know, or do i fear that it isn’t quite love if it is not more than my heart can carry?

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In Open Fields of Wild Flowers

i am in a place now where the sea envelopes the horizon, and monkeys are darting from one thatched roof to another. the sounds of The Shins are filling my ears. there is a light wispy breeze in the air. and suddenly it feels like i am 15 again – that big year, that wonderful year – when i inhabited a whole world that wasn’t mine, was new, and yet all mine to have for as long as i could pour myself into it. a lot has changed since then, giving me more reason to truly appreciate this rare morning.

it has struck me often how much i ache to revive, or relive, a part of myself that in pensive moments i am unsure will ever come back. i wonder if it is part of aging and somehow i’ve realised this loss without intending to, sort of like waking up from anaesthesia during surgery. or is this what life is always going to be like – losing things and always forced to be acutely aware of the gaping tear where something once was? and so, time travel is a reprieve from this dull ache. music helps. when the opening chords crash into me in the least expected of times and places – it is a small rift in time that allows me to disappear into the cracks of the earth, deep down into what matters, to look at the me and the things that i know inside out. the eventual experience feels like it lasts a long time. but in reality, on the surface of the earth, it only lasts about a minute.

and then it’s back to this art and science. until the next strains of Jars of Clay as i walk past a shop…

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sometimes i can’t tell if i have been dismembered or if i am paralysed. my heart feels like it is beating far and away in a glass jar, shriveling smaller with each passing day. big events become meaningless, and good friends feel shadowy and phantomlike, as if i had only observed a motion picture about them from another plane. if i had to choose one moment to live eternally in the after life, which would it be? the stairs, at IAB, the purest bliss i had ever experienced.

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Every Tomorrow

to the best of my memory, it felt like i was trapped in my skin and bones, screaming his name over and over in hopeless panic as we were both pulled further apart from each other, across sand and gravel which i could not feel but could hear the rushing scratchy heat of. as my mind slipped into a quieter state i wondered if this was representative of a subliminal state, and if so, what was it really wanting? i could not stop tears from welling up under my eyelids — they just kept coming, and welling, and falling, down my cheeks, but my fingers felt too heavy to brush anything away. and some part of my consciousness was aware of a growing dissatisfaction around me, which made me feel worse, but then i wasn’t sure if that was real too. it’s funny, but it’s possible to feel acutely alone in the midst of many people. what was i really wanting? if i close my eyes i can feel it, the sounds of the slithering sand go away and i can feel — his hand across mine, as he sleeps lightly breathing next to me, easily awakened and always full of fantastical stories from the edges of his dreams. my heart feels like it might burst from joy at the proximity and the possibility of this thought. is this love or is it a dependency, or are the two not separable? i am grateful today for technology and grace of being. i have the sun on my back now and it feels nice. i content myself with the knowledge that at least one of us is asleep and safe from cruelties, even if just for a short while.

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i fell into a tunnel. and not unlike the tunnel to wonderland, it is either very deep or i am falling very slowly. the transit time gives me the opportunity to revisit the far past and also to consider if i had thought about how i was going to get out. i suppose i haven’t, because here i am, not knowing where i’m going to end up or if there is even a way out of wherever i find myself. maybe despite any form of rationalization this is still what i am all about — the journey and not the destination. but it is easy to say that, just as it is easy to escape. it is easy to feel fortuitous and push my luck. it is, unbelievably enough, so easy to love. but i am alone now, with nothing but my own thoughts, music and a book i chose, with no tangible mementos except the fleeting, flitting stardust in my porous mind. perhaps this is how i deserve to be — by myself and grasping at golden threads as i fall.


january usually feels like a period of awakening. i keep urging myself to put place-markers along the path on which i am stumbling, to remind myself of how i felt at pivotal moments, or the decisions that i find i’ve dreamed myself into, lest i end up changing my mind or forgetting key events. this place-marking is critical. when i was very young, i cried easily whenever chastised or hit by grown-ups. very often they would scream at me to stop crying. this was something i could never understand — how can adults hurt another person and scream at them to stop crying? i always wanted to scream back, it is not easy to stop crying when you’ve started crying! especially when you are in pain! it is altogether some mix of stopping yourself from breathing, swallowing hiccups and quelling your very anxious heart — it is just not possible. and so i promised myself that when i am older and have to deal with crying children, i must never forget that it is not possible for someone who has started crying to stop themselves from crying instantly, and that i should not make them feel sorry or terrible for not being able to do so. adults are forgetful and as they grow older they think they know everything because they have the benefit of hindsight and experience. but this thing about the crying: it is something my 6 year old self knows is true and important and will carry forever into the future. my only wish for this cold but hopeful january is that my 25 year old self can be as strong, steadfast and clear-minded.

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