I can’t figure out why I’m so moody lately. Maybe it’s been too long since I smelled the wood of my guitar. Maybe it’s the fresh Autumn colours that tend to magnify my emotions. Maybe I’m feeling overworked, overstimulated, and too rarely understood. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a moment to myself in what feels like weeks, with so many feelings of loneliness amongst so many people.
I always think of exile in times like this, and in particular, a stanza from Yevgeniy Onegin:
From all that to the heart is dear
then did I tear my heart away;
to everyone a stranger, tied by nothing,
I thought; liberty and peace
would serve instead of happiness.
Luckily, I’ve been reading The Poisonwood Bible, which reminds me that the only problems I have are first-world problems, and that I’m rich in ways many will never be.
I find it amazing, the immensity of it, how any single person can be responsible for a tome of such rich storytelling, observation, and wit. It’s the only book I’ve picked up in years, and I only started reading to get into her head as much as possible (and piqued by my curiosity on how she could describe a story of the Belgian Congo as sexy). Unsurprisingly, her favourite character is the strong, faithful, warrior daughter. Mine is like me too; the dark, brooding, intellectual child, dizygotic twin to hers. It makes me wonder if liking one character over all others is too often an exercise in vanity.
In the end, Onegin realizes he was wrong about exile, that he couldn’t fill himself with emptiness to replace the sadness, something he only figures out when he finds someone worth loving. That’s what’s pulling me back too, keeping me grounded amongst those dark moments of untempered emotion. I carry the image of her smile with me, the only thing as distinguished on her face as her Spanish eyes, and the reason I call her Cheeks from the way the flesh pulls up to round her face. I’ve studied this smile for so long that I can see it every time I close my eyes, and with that, I carry a strength of my own too.
Don’t have much to say lately. Sometimes I get stuck at the title.
I’ve been holding off on starting various classes cause I’m not quite into my regular pace of life. I’m still riding the crests of over-stimulation from my trip, not yet ready to be routinely seeing people. Consequently, this means I lose sense of time, weekly classes once being my anchor points for certain days of the week.
I always look forward to grey and dreary days, when it’s the perfect excuse to stay inside and just tinker on the guitar.
I never feel lonely anymore. I’m too comfy in the house, too occupied with this sense of hedonism, too busy pouring myself into my projects, too spoiled by life I’m living, too blessed by the cards I was dealt. Sometimes I end up parking my car at a strange angle one could never hope to replicate, and I’m sure this is how my neighbours can tell I haven’t been out in more than a week.
All I ever wanted was a little bit of peace. Now that I’ve found it, I’ve stopped thinking about the future. Right now is good enough.
When you no longer work in an office, sometimes you don’t find out it’s a long weekend until the Friday of. My friends have also replaced their ritual barbecues with babies and play dates, so no invitations were sent out that may have notified me of the holiday.
I wanted to get away cause I’ve been dreading any time alone. Loneliness hits me hardest when I’m sitting at home wondering what everyone else is doing. A road trip to Toronto was the best way I could avoid that. Unfortunately, the only people I can drop in on with such short notice happen to be five hundred kilometres away.
The truth is I never watch sunsets anymore. I’m usually too caught up in my projects cause I’m worried about being left with nothing but the thoughts I’ve trying to put in the back of my head. That’s why I don’t mind the five-hour drive at this time of year; it gives me an excuse to see what I never make time to do. When I leave at a quarter to seven, I hit the richest1 part of the sunset halfway through the 401. For a glorious stretch, there’s nothing concrete curves and crimson colours bleeding through the trees.
All I wanted was a quite time with the right company, no heavy plans or personalities. I’d be kicking myself for all the shots I missed cause I was too comfortable to pull out my camera, but I know that’s what those moments are about.
To lose yourself in the haze and summer heat finally upon us is to live like a child again without a worry or thought of anything beyond the next five minutes. Regression is embracing the itchy sweat breaking out on your face, as your fingertips mash the ice into slush in a white cream soda freezie.
I’m always fighting exhaustion on these trips cause I don’t get enough sleep. There’s too much to do. It’s a test of constitution to be driving in the darkness and city lights, wondering if I’m too tired to be driving, let alone navigating the infuriating construction and traffic of downtown Toronto. When I survive another day, it’s a reminder that not everything has to be perfect, that the world still turns no matter the state of my heart or mind.
Over a particularly heavy blend, I was asked what it would take for me to go all out, to say fuck it and lose control. It made me realize I’m already there, siding with indulgence over moderation, trying to break myself down so I can rebuild myself again. That’s why I always lose myself on those warm summer nights, when I tell myself I’ll be in bed by 10 every night, but the company keeps me up till 3.
I have such a mixed past with Toronto. It was such a chaotic time in my life when I lived there. I was cripplingly undeveloped, but that also meant I still had the innocence none of us ever return to once we hit adulthood. Much like those memories, this city will always be a part of me.
Now I’m back in Ottawa, returned to the little things that make it home like a familiar pillow and a cat’s particular purr. In my case, the exile is always self-imposed, a controlled escape, and I always wonder if anyone would care or miss me if I never came back.
- The time when it just starts to get dark, a balance between the rich colours and brilliance of light, since they both compose. [↩]
The weather has been lovely. It’s the perfect temperature, though the humidity has given my ukulele a much more pronounced buzz on the C string. Spring officially begins when I can take the mittens out of my car and drive with the windows down, my only concern being that my music isn’t too embarrassing, and I don’t get a sudden burst of I BE ON THE HOTLINE LIKE ERRRRDAY when stopped at a red light.
I’m still physically recovering from last weekend. I got back to Darren’s late after working a very intense 14 hours, and since it’s been so long since we last saw each other, that was just the beginning of the night. Then we woke up early to see Chris. On the way home, I had to pull over at a comfort station to grab a few winks in my car, but I was too uncomfortably exhausted to fall asleep, and ended up driving home bug-eyed. I’m sure this is why my colitis is acting up.
Probably not good that I’ve been living such a hedonistic lifestyle. I stay up far too late, drink too much caffeine, and indulge in too many sweets close to bedtime. I can’t tell if I’ve stopped caring, or if I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it.
I’ve been going through long stretches without contact from the outside world. It’s forced me to face my own isolation, yet I don’t feel lonely. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s cause I tend to get obsessed with my small hobbies, and it distracts me enough. I worry that I’ve become a little too complacent in this introversion. It makes me wonder how long I can keep going down this path, and whether I even want to be on it or not.