ON MEMORIES

“No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.”

Haruki Murakami

When all has vanished, all we seem to be able to hold on to is the past. For, in the foregone moments lies the hope of forthcoming bright times.

Memories are reminders that everything fades. All significant or meaningless matters come to an end. The storms break off. The sun rises. The rain ceases. Day turns into night, and so it goes on. Everything dies and then gets reborn.

Memories are the essence of life. They are the oath binding one to the undergone experiences that one shall not forget. A pledge to remembrance. For, as one remembers the entire journey, one can thus also devote themselves to rising above.

Whether the caption is bliss or sorrow, its avail remains paramount. May unlocking them from their safe soothe one, rather than wound or give rise to bitterness.

May reminiscences hearten and uplift, for the memories recalled and intended for the grave were not designed to be impediments. May our recollections embolden us in lieu of the poisonous nostalgia of our past.


A thousand memories
Do not have to be of perfection
For as long as there were discoveries
There will remain some connection 

On Failing

Truth be told, we have failed.

We have failed to be honest with ourselves.

We have failed to remember an important day.

We have failed to pass an exam.

We have failed to make someone smile.

We have failed to persevere.

For most of our lives, ever since our very first experiences, we are encouraged to list our successes. In school, good grades are celebrated and highlighted by the teachers, almost as though the bad ones remain unnoticed. A negative perception comes as a result of it. Our ego seems hurt, our self-esteem scarred.

Yet, foremost, we have failed to see that failure was a success, one more step towards the achievement, one part of the story of this accomplishment. All in all, failure is an intrinsic part of a success.

***

When we fail, we learn to embrace the darkness. For, without darkness, there is no light. Failure is a springboard. When we fail, we are meant to grasp where it went wrong. We are meant to understand there was either an unsuitable choice made or merely bad timing involved.

Failing is learning. Failing is strengthening oneself. Failing is climbing one staircase ahead, not falling one floor behind. The act of failing is comparable to the climb of a ladder, uncovering one more layer of your very own self. To a certain extent, failing is a self-discovery.

Failing means trying. And what greater gift is there than being endowed with the boldness to take a leap of faith and dive straight in? Failing is thus what makes the journey ever more meaningful.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

— Truman Capote

When we fail, we learn to embrace the darkness. For, without darkness, there is no light. Failure is a springboard. When we fail, we are meant to grasp where it went wrong. We are meant to understand there was either an unsuitable choice made or merely bad timing involved.

Failing is learning. Failing is strengthening oneself. Failing is climbing one staircase ahead, not falling one floor behind. The act of failing is comparable to the climb of a ladder, uncovering one more layer of your very own self. To a certain extent, failing is a self-discovery.

Failing means trying. And what greater gift is there than being endowed with the boldness to take a leap of faith and dive straight in? Failing is thus what makes the journey ever more meaningful.

Failing at making the attempt might in the end be the greatest failure of all.

Oscar Anton. Cereals and milk.

ON AFFABILITY

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

Brené Brown

It all started when news report, worldwide, starting mentioning the words ‘social distancing’.

However substantially, first and foremost with the rise of social networks this past decade, new technologies seemed to have reinforced our social bonds, the following emerging phrase appears to have crushed it significantly as well: social distancing.

Social distance: to be away from society ; or in other words: to be secluded.

In the first place, governments all over the world started implementing regulations forbidding any social gathering, with close to complete lockdowns, which largely lasted for about a month. Afterward, the new measures of setting a certain reduced capacity in all public spaces appeared. As one leader was enacting such new rules, another elsewhere seemed to follow. New lifestyles had to be taught and learned, dismantling the system of each social activity in order to reinvent it.

***

SOCIAL : late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin socialis ‘allied’, from socius ‘friend’.

PHYSICAL : late Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to medicine’): from medieval Latin physicalis, from Latin physica ‘things relating to nature’ (see physic). Sense 2 dates from the late 16th century and sense 1 from the late 18th century.

The adjectives ‘social’ and ‘physical’ are therefore not synonyms. From its etymology, we can denote that to be social means to be everyone’s friend. It signifies being courteous, expressing common civilities, greeting people, and using closing formulas when leaving a place. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize the fact that being a social being (i.e. the definition of ‘human being’) does not necessarily mean being a social butterfly.

And yet, lately, staying away from other people has broken all social bonds between people, regardless of how intrinsic it is to human nature. A friendly handshake has left, only to leave the place to fear. Fear of the other, fear of the unknown, fear of other people, fear of society, fear of closeness, and intimacy. The already existing climate of fear between individuals ruled by differences (whether that be racism, homophobia, or any other prejudice) has been cultivated by the fear-led speeches of administrations throughout the world.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

Louise Erdrich

The world has forgotten about human connection; the core value of everyone’s life. To share ideas, values, experiences and connect on a deeper level with one another, no matter the gaps between social, ethnic, professional or cultural background.

Life is a journey to be shared, otherwise, it is one that shall remain purposeless. Trying to reinforce our social bonds through social media and constant online messaging services may resemble a productive attempt, and yet may as well result in a failed endeavor. In recent years, leaders in new technologies have put the main focus on bettering relationships between people separated from a physical distance. However, the inference drawn today is that the offline, real-life connection has thus been neglected and strongly negatively impacted.

And although loneliness can be embraced, it cannot be the sole ruler of our lives. For eventually, through any way, life is meant to be shared.

what does social life mean to you?

Blinding Lights. The Weekend.

ON KNOWING YOURSELF

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
–  Carl Gustav Jung

Who are you?

I do not mean ramble on what is your personality like according to the Myers–Briggs type indicator, nor to prattle on the origins of your family name or your zodiac sign. These are details that, of course, do contribute to your identity. How attached to them are you? Doesn’t the importance you give to them hinder you from achieving potential change?

When undergoing a self-assessment of his personality, one tends to remember better the positive aspects. This makes sense as one shall generally choose to introduce himself to new encounters through a favorable light in order to make a good first impression, rather than denigrating his own self. As one thus keeps presenting himself according to the very same set of values, the negative parts are often left out of the equation, making a seemingly very little mark on his mind.

Isn’t it human, after all, to simply choose to focus on the good rather than the bad?

At times, concentrating on the favorable elements in our lives is indeed the only way to perceive the end of the tunnel. In some cases, it may even serve as a life-saving action. Yet, one ought not to forget that as human beings we are works in progress. Life means constant evolution, embracing changes, undertaking new experiences. This means learning to navigate through the ebbs and flows of life. In order to manage it, one has to accept that there is a balance in the way he is, but that shall not hinder him from modifying its weight. 

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.
– May Sarton

oouui
BCN, May 2020, GC

Aren’t you willing to grow?

I recently fathomed out that the great and prime patience I, for so long, believed I had was not truly reflected in my actions. I can be quite impatient at times and with my stubbornness, it is often likely to lead me to waves of anger. It is never pleasant to realize that you possess such and such flaw, let alone acknowledging it to your peers. And yet, it is also the only way to work on it. It is always the first step to take in order to progress.

It seems needless to say that this is not an easy task, for it requires a constant self-evaluation. Moreover, it demands a certain kind of strength to accept ourselves in our most vulnerable state  – the most genuine and authentic. Many people, as frightened as they are to conquer their fears, are not willing to confront themselves. In the same way, they could be intimated to disclose their true self in front of their peers.

Indeed, it takes a lot of courage to be authentic but there is no other alternative to self-growth. Perfection is unattainable. One cannot forever hide beneath the covers of an illusory self, as they eventually fade. This does not mean proclaiming all of your defects from the rooftops, but simply not pretending to be someone you are not and thus not lying to yourself.

***

All in all, to fully know know oneself requires to, sometimes, shift the focus, see yourself through a different lens and be ready and willing to evolve.

Do not worry, the universe will test you and if you pay enough attention will always show you the way.

how well do you truly know yourself?

Le Canzoni. Jovanotti.

ON FEAR

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever been paralyzed? Have you ever bailed right before doing something you had longed for and yet, at the very moment you were going to take action, felt so overwhelmed that you could not move forward anymore? I did, umpteen times, when I was younger, encounter that dismaying feeling. It was as though, submerged, my being was suddenly stuck, as if it were drowning in a sea of fears. 

Letting the fear take control over me was the easy way out, as I believed I had no willpower stronger than the fear I was facing, whatever that may have been. This was up until the end of my first year at university. For summer 2016 did not only turn my life around but also transformed me. I referred to it as ‘The Day It All Came Crashing Down’ in a piece in which I shared this harrowing episode of my life, in an attempt to be as concise and raw as possible to convey my feelings. There was still some anger, strain, and shame at the time I wrote it, three months after the situation was seemingly sorted out. And it is only later on that I realized what that day had really meant for me.

The long hours of this 28th of July represented a paralysis. It was being powerless, facing such a shock, while witnessing these actions we could not defy in any sense. The immobility was striking. There was absolutely nothing we could do at that moment. 

I never wanted to feel so impuissant ever again. As I fully grasped the meaning of that day, I had my own very real epiphany about myself. It occurred to me again the countless times I had described myself as a ‘puppet to my own life’, for all I seemed to be doing was witnessing life happening to me, whilst I was staying in my comfort zone, avoiding as many opportunities as I saw appearing before my very eyes. Eventually, with that realization, I knew. I was finally becoming aware of all that it entailed. 

All in all, this meant I had to face my fears, each and every one of them. 

Portsmouth, May 2019, GC

Barely a few weeks went by. I packed my suitcases, wrote a note to myself that however daunting this experience might be I would survive, and I never looked back.

Perhaps I took the best step possible to move away from my fears. For, over time, even though I was lacking a great deal of self-confidence, I did overcome the most trivial of fears, and learned how to handle each kind of fear. From moving abroad on my own to conquering numerous other fears, I have learnt that fear can be a powerful source of joy. How exciting to do something that scares you. How empowering to achieve it. How encouraging to realize that the best things can happen to you out of fear.

***

Fear holds one hostage from the myriad of potential outcomes. 

Fear is the disguise that self-esteem issues take.

Fear is the voice of doubts and insecurity in your head.

But fear is also what leads one to a state of enlightenment. 

Fear is the path of progress. 

Fear is the symbol of the first step boldly taken.

Fear has the power to turn everything around.

Fear is the embodiment of your former self, as well as the creation of your future self.

What if you asked yourself: would I rather be stuck with my present self or be aware that there is a new me waiting on the other side of fear?

Too often we praise the so-called fearless ones. Yet, fear is human. Indeed, one does not have to be fearless, but merely use their fears cleverly.

Fear is my driving force. And it can be yours too. 

Pomme. Anxieté.

what is your greatest fear?