Moment of Clarity

Do dogs ever realize they’re chasing their own tail? Round and round in hilarious circles, jaw snapping to catch that elusive flash of fur. It’s always funny to watch them spiral about madly. But in my case, I didn’t realize I was pretty much doing the same thing: running after my own shadow.

It wasn’t as humorous when I noticed (well, in a self-deprecating way I guess). But I’ve been chasing my shadow, desperate to grab hold of its sable mass and fit myself into the vestiges of who I once was.

That sort of desire was so irrational — so pointless — but I kept panting after it. Cried for it. Because I was convinced that within it were the parts of myself that I no longer had. The best parts of me. I couldn’t write like I had once before and the more I felt that way, the more something inside me began to crack.

I was hit with this notion that I’d already exhausted what I liked doing. All the ink flooding my veins had dried up. Writing — trying to write — made no sense anymore.

I still doodled though. Still scribbled words in a clumsy manner, like a nervous hand pouring juice and missing the glass, splashing liquid all over a table. I kept writing one line over and over: what would it be like to reemerge from obscurity? And I couldn’t answer that question, because I still felt completely buried beneath this new ineptitude.

But then, there was a moment of clarity. It ricocheted through my head and shot itself all the way down to my stomach. It came with a warm feeling that eclipsed my resignation to just put away the books.

What I came to understand is that there’s a process of shedding bits and pieces of yourself. It’s never been limited to the physical; our inner selves go through it too. And our methods of expression change overtime. Nothing stays the same the more we do something, because we start to grow. And growth doesn’t always feel right in some cases. It can be painful, sometimes so scary that we want to reject it.

But if you follow the path and keep trying, squeezing through the walls threatening to crush your will, you’ll make it to the other side of an experience nothing short of exhilarating. It’s never a matter of “If” you make it, in this case, only “when”.

I wrote this for whomever reads this and may be going through something similar and may need a little encouragement. Just keep moving forward. Keep writing. You will make it.

Accepting Change

Change either drifts into your life like a morning breeze – rustling the grass and leaves at your feet – or sweeps in like a relentless typhoon. Destroying everything in its path, leaving you in the midst of hapless desolation to find some semblance of starting anew. We can’t escape change; neither can we control how it unfolds. It lingers at the fringes of our conscious: we know it can happen at any moment, we just don’t know when. And when it does happen, we can either accept its shuffling of the order we once knew or heartily reject its intrusion like Kun in Mirai no Mirai.  

Mirai no Mirai is a 2018 Japanese animated film exploring the dilemmas of domestic life and the disruptive changes of having a baby sister, as seen through the eyes of a four-year-old boy. Kun is the embodiment of pure childlike innocence, energy and unbridled emotion, with a fascination for trains and stories about a red-faced wicked old hag. On his parents’ return home, he goes around barking like a happy puppy, eager for their arrival and his new baby sister.

At first, he was intrigued by her tiny, fragile form and was excited to do all sorts of things with her – taking her outside to teach her bug names and what clouds look like – but that slowly flared into jealousy and hatred when his parents kept giving her all the attention. His mother only fussed about the baby and his father was always too tired to play with him. He had to become a big brother very quickly but didn’t understand the new responsibility being carelessly thrust upon him.

The film unraveled in bursts of raw, juvenile emotion and domestic chaos. Kun acted every part of what I’d call spoilt, petulant and bratty. And that was his way of expressing discontent with being pushed to the side as his baby sister unwittingly stole all the attention from him. Though I’m the last child in my family and never had to deal with such things like sibling jealousy or rivalry, I could still relate to Kun’s bruised feelings and sense of betrayal. He’d been ready to accept his little sister, but nothing went the way he wanted and throwing a tantrum didn’t hold sway as it once did.

Kun transforming into Yukko, the family dog, during one of his phantasmal experiences.

As is often special with many Japanese animated movies, fantasy elements decorated the film, illustrating Kun’s limitless imagination in breath-taking sequences. It was through these series of charming and emotional phantasms that Kun learned important life lessons: adapting to change, looking forward, learning to do things on his own and accepting his new role as a reliable big brother.

There were many heart-warming moments and sage gems throughout the film, showing the overarching unity of family through clumsy discord and how each choice we make are the fragments falling into the bigger picture of how our lives unfold.  

Whether we accept it or not, change comes in our lives with either a negative or positive impact. Perspective is the defining aspect of how we choose to make those changes factor into our future paths.

I didn’t reveal too much about Mirai no Mirai because it’s something you should experience completely for yourself. Perhaps your takeaway message may be different from mine.

The important thing is that we learn to embrace change and accept life as it happens. That’s how the magic unfolds.

The Love of Writing

We write to share our hearts. We write to comfort. We write to give life to the impossible.

Why do you write?

For many of us, writing is a cathartic escape. We run to the sanctum of white pages, where we shamelessly graffiti each wall in the melancholic greys and blues of our heartaches and frustrations; the raspberry reds and Tuscan sun yellows of our joys and aspirations. Sometimes our expressions are more aggressive – we shatter and stab at those walls. Splotch and sear the pages with hot, branding tears. Yet it doesn’t recoil from our brutality; it embraces our fragility and destruction. And in its quiet acceptance of us, helps to make us stronger.

Writing gives life and color to the abstract, shaping our emotions into concrete and visceral sensations that make them easier to understand and relate to. It provides a sense of organization – a sense of control. Like we are wizards and witches of our own making, waving a wand that creates limitless possibilities in our fecund imaginations. We spread our magic to those who read our work, sometimes rousing the slumbering dragon, embodying the potential resting deep within them.

We write to make sense of what is constant and good through the vicissitudes of life; to find sanity in the increasing conundrum that is our world; to connect with kindred souls and encourage each other through the storms of life.

We write to heal wounds unseen by the naked eye, covering our scars in cursive gauze until we can veritably script our pain into anecdotal victories. We write to create the best versions of who we are.

I write to share my heart, to connect with others and grow in the art.

Why do you write?