I am so lost, so busy — and perpetually tired.
In today’s English class, we were tasked to write for half of the period – a letter to ourselves, ten years in the future. Not on pen and paper, no blue-and-red striped envelopes or lines and grids to guide me by. It was going to be through an email, using a website that seemed to date from the early beginnings of the internet; no guarantee of it even reaching me in ten years time, or if I would still be using the same email address, moreover if I would actually still be alive.
So in the span of twenty-five minutes, I tried my best to write something down. Comprehensive, powerful; though I was already struggling to make something sensible. A letter to yourself in the future is something that is a constant, “I should do that.” though we never often get to it. iPad Mini nearly drained with a stranger’s charger in my hold, me standing at the back of the classroom and looking at everyone – conversations that didn’t mean anything yet meant everything in that moment; it was nearly surreal. It is so weird to survey a scene, it is so weird to know that to anyone I can be that minuscule and fragile; just a mere blur. It brings me back to those moments wherein I’m not doing anything in particular – and just begin to stare at the sky and try to comprehend how vast everything is and all in my vision is barely a portion of the world around me. It makes me feel small, insignificant, pretty much brings me into an existential crisis; yet also – I feel so human.
Looking back, I try to think of all the things that have happened recently. Everything is such a confusing cluster that I am mixing all the world for each other – starting with songs, I have forgotten the ones that I long loved, the music that played endlessly in the background – so cohesive and seamless that it’s almost like generic ambient noise in the grand scheme of the world. Our retreat for the school year was so early, unexpected, and last-minute, but it was beautiful in every way and I adored everything except for the actual retreat in itself. Waking up at 5AM, drowsy and groggy but getting up anyway; late to the sunrise but not late enough to appreciate its beauty – I remember that viewing deck. It smelled of rainwater, humid fog covering and seeping up the retreat house scorned to tread over the mountains. I couldn’t see the sun, but I saw everything that it had touched. Water, riverbeds, fallen logs and spayed leaves that fluttered along the ground, cities and cars slowly moving past in highways so far away yet still close enough to take in. There’s nothing that I am more scared of than walking to the front door in my house, going upstairs – I still don’t care to call it a home. Imagine sleeping on the bedside of freedom within foreign territory every single night; and let me tell you how badly I imagine one day waking up with sheets unstained and the sunlight peering through curtain-blockades and never fearing the sounds out of the door. Call me when I am no longer afraid of the sound of knocking, and tell me that I’ve made it that far – because right now the sound of friendly knocking is just a far, far dream.
And in an instant, I grow so jealous of the beauty, of the cities and the red rooftops that were so far away yet so near – of waking up to sunlight and birds and the wind hitting the blinds as they waver through the dancing sunlight in a consistent, flowing stream. I am so jealous of all the things that are so close to me, that I just can’t reach.
With fingers flying, I write what I can down.
There’s a recurring theme in letters that I have written – just another constant for me, I suppose. They all feature apologies, thousands of ‘I’m sorry’ streaked across red writing. It isn’t the best way of thinking, but there is always something to be sorry for. “I’m sorry for forgetting that one thing a fortnight ago,” to recalling mistakes in the dead of night and spontaneously deciding to write a long letter to the people that I have wronged. “I never thought that you would say that, thank you,” and my heart tears but knows that it’s the right thing when I next see, “but I don’t think we should talk anymore.”
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to grasp, and forgiving myself is yet another challenge. From one of my favorite spoken word poems, there’s a distinct line that brings itself back up in my memory every now and then. “How do we forgive ourselves for all the things we did not become?“
Whenever an ideal goal rings in my mind – when the long passionate late-night talks about love and worth subside, there is always the core of who I am, everything that people know of me, everything that I know of my very own self. All I want to do is to be a lot, and even at this age I claw on my own skin and turn my bones hollow when I am still a makeshift work in progress, a canvas undiscovered and unaware. Today, I ran through the rain with only a dull pink jacket to cover my head, my skin exposed and arms grasping at the rush of air anyway. Over empty parking lots and orange highway lampposts — there are so many things that I have yet to discover, so many things that I have yet to experience – why there’s always something missing, why I am so in love with traveling and exploration. That’s part of it – isn’t it? Not ruining my mind and wrist with paper upon paper, desks trashed with insomnia and bulimia, spread out fears and sensitivity turned to the max.
There’s a difference between playing songs on repeat while lying on a swiveling chair to sitting down in front of a worn pianist, dust and life breaking him apart as you hear the notes and the unrequited symphony of his fingers meeting the piano keys. There’s a difference between reading about love in spine-cracked books with that new book smell that still lingers after months, than being in love. Love smells like rain and ash, love smells fragile and withered. Love is an ever-growing, ever-changing scent, but love lingers for far longer than a book could ever.
Downpours are so common nowadays, I was running and rushing and gliding throughout the rainstorms. Like it was meant to be, that wet concrete and pounding drops were created alongside each other. Early sunsets, nonsensical laughter, sizzling matcha, wasabi-drenched soy sauce and the sounds of footsteps other than your own are all experiences that help one grow, yet I am so deprived, so longing. Tire from wrist turns, stares and intonation shifts have conditioned me to see the world in a way. And I repeat, I want to grow, I want to grow, I want to grow. Two days ago I bought a popular poetry book that I’ve only seen in lousy pdf scans and recreations – milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. I find it endlessly difficult to find poems that I can relate to but when I do my mind memorizes corner numbers like they reign over all other thoughts. The rain is still scarring but I see the sunlight peaking out over a friend’s Starry Night umbrella – and god, do I feel so free – do I feel like this is what being alive is like. It is still so missing, it is still so lacking but the air rushing through me is no longer just from pounding fists and whisking winds; the laughter is no longer a solemn solo performance. The tiled wooden floor is cold and dusty, but it no longer crosses my mind for a few moments.
My letter is filled with apologies, regrets, and hopes for a person who is not even sure to still be walking among the waking world. My letter is filled with false promises, false I-wish-you-were’s, sixteen-year-old expectations for a time-bound, ticking and deprecating soul. In the back of the classroom, as blurred and obscure as that moment sung of — in an instant I swore that there is more to that. Ten years from now I will learn that love is saying sorry only when sorry is needed, love is listening and going on, love is not expecting the worst and love is living. Living is to love.
So let me share with you the last two lines that I have written to myself – hopefully ones that will ring in my mind when I’ve long forgotten about this very post and the happenings of my day. Hopefully ones that will be as alive as I.
“I know you’re in love
You always will be.“