Lies are Exhausting

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“Lies are exhausting,” said the heart.

“But some things mustn’t be said,” said the brain. “Sometimes the truth does more harm than good. What’s more important to you? Truth or peace?”

“Can’t the two co-exist? Doesn’t truth seek justice?”

“The truth seeks nothing but itself,” said the brain. “The truth is selfish, if you ask me. It wants the spotlight. It wants to be heard. And it has a right to be, but in reality, whether or not the truth is uttered, the truth still is, regardless.”

“But the truth must be sought, must be proven, must be shared, must be lived,” said the heart. “It mustn’t be suppressed.”

“The truth is never suppressed,” said the brain. “The truth just is. People choose their own truths and choose their own lies. People are free to choose. And each choice comes with sacrifice. That’s when one must prioritize.”

“But lies are exhausting,” said the heart. “And you yourself can’t even keep up. Each time a lie is uttered, another must be made to cover it up. Must we lie? Doesn’t the truth set you free?”

“The truth only unburdens the liar,” said the brain. “It’s impossible to appease everyone. The truth is uncomfortable and it stings. Once uttered, it merely becomes a burden to someone else.”

“But the truth is not a burden! Lies are the burden! Lies wrap me in shadows,” said the heart. “Lies choke my breath. Lies are exhausting. Lies make a fool of everyone. The truth is the truth—it simply is, as you said—and so it must be. It’s a lesson for the ears that don’t want to hear it. The truth is inevitable. It doesn’t go away.”

“The truth!” said the brain. “Don’t you see it’s all relative? One person’s truth is another person’s lie! What is the truth if everyone chooses to believe what they will, to see what they want to see?”

“Even so,” said the heart. “Lies are exhausting. They bring me no joy.”

Masks

imagesCA9D5L4MEveryday we wake up, get ready and dressed, maybe eat some breakfast, and before we head out the door, we pick up our masks and our keys and we go.

We step out of our homes, shielded, and sometimes, armed with coffee, and sometimes, clinging to old pains or grudges. But we feel prepared. Our cell phones are charged and we have our plans for the day.

The world is jagged, demanding, and unpredictable. Anything can come flying our way at any moment. Birds poop recklessly from the sky. Umbrella edges threaten to poke our eyes out. No city is too small for coincidence. And then of course, there’s the weather, and small talk, and gossip, and bullies.

Masks are for protection, sometimes for survival. Shards of words bounce off our masks as we go about our day, and the ones that stick we clean off later with a sponge—when no one’s looking.

Masks remind us that some things are better left unsaid. That nothing at all is what it seems. Masks reassure us that there’s a time and a place for everything.

Masks are filters; not all people will recognize our true value or appreciate what we have to offer, so we only show what we want to show, depending on who is worthy.

But sometimes, masks shield us from what we need. Shield us from those who are worthy. They can shut people out, render us fearful or paranoid, and relationships that were or could have been disintegrate… because we become too attached, too dependent on our masks. We come to prefer them until we forget why we wear them, and who we are without them.

We sometimes forget to take them off at night.

Until our masks dissolve into our skins, slowly, night after night, day after day, infusing into our fibers, discoloring our cells, disfiguring our memories, so that one morning when we wake up, our faces are fixed into the shape that the world wants us to be, and we become nothing but diluted versions of ourselves, fooled into thinking we are safer this way, more attractive, more likeable.

Sleeplessness

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For anyone who suffers from this awful waking state that captures the brain at night… you are not alone.

I lie awake in infinite darkness. My mind is a tunnel. My thoughts a kaleidoscope of images… visions of what if’s and maybes and if only’s. Faces of people I love and people I once knew flash through my mind, still photographs, moments trapped in time. This is the night. Sleep eludes me and this is nothing new.

I try to focus on my skin, on each toe, finger, limb, then on my breathing, the mysterious energy in my chest, my heart, my only companion—aside from my dog who lies beside my bed, seemingly asleep but contentious of my movements. If I get up she follows me, my little dog, no matter how deep we are in the night, as if to ensure I’m not sleep walking, as if to ensure I’ll come back. And like this in the darkness we are alone. I don’t know what time it is and I don’t want to know. Putting a number on the night will only deepen my desperation to fall asleep, to silence the constant buzzing in my mind, my thoughts that pinch my eyes; electricity is my brain.

There is no heartache here. My life is not in shambles. I am not in the trenches of a tragedy. My life is not perfect but I am not suffering. Fears and worries cling to me like pollen, but this doesn’t make me anyone special.

I could blame stress. I could blame technology. I could blame distance, parting. I could blame wanting. I could blame not knowing. But blame changes nothing. We choose to carry the burdens that we do, some burdens at least, and we can choose to let go. But can we? And thus my thoughts tumble like marbles down a stair case, scattering everywhere, everywhere…

Rain begins to fall.

It patters against my window and I think… no one knows it’s raining but me. And this is somehow comforting. The rain becomes my lullaby, mine and no one else’s. We share this moment, me and the rain, and it’s almost as though it came for me, like the clouds gathered and agreed that rain would do me good, it would help me sleep. It would help me see that all things can be washed away, and are. That nothing is permanent, not the night, not my thoughts, not even me.

And yet, despite this state, I love the night. It’s when the world curls into itself, lets everything fall away, just for a moment, let’s go and pulls back, just for a moment. It’s when we remember we’re human, that we can’t go on forever, and we don’t. The night is a life line. A pause. It’s silent and still, and many times mine. And I suppose the night loves me back because clearly it wants my company. Perhaps it too wants to feel wanted, not just needed. I suppose… the night gets lonely too.

And I envision my bed fall away beneath me, the walls of my room folding outward, the night swirling about me, holding me like a cloud holds its very last rain drop, flicking my thoughts into darkness, and I am flying now, or floating, I am a being of the night, I am lifted by this darkness, not burdened by it, I am awake but it’s okay because this is the night, I am the last sleeper, I am the smallest vein through which the night must pass.

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“Cool” kids

woodstock-snoopy-joe-coolIt makes me sad when I see loud-mouthed pre-teens cursing so confidently on the train platform during rush hour. Their school bags dangling from their backs a blatant testament to just how oblivious and silly they sound. They curse like the words are new toys, like they want all of us boring adults (safe strangers who won’t tell them off), standing around on the platform with our boring work pants and purses and buckled flats and ties and buttoned shirts, to know that they know these words— they are cool and they know how to use them (but not really). As if they’ve uncovered some secret insight to a realm reserved only for adults.

It makes me sad not because I don’t curse or because I was an angel at their age, but because they know so little of this world—they have yet so much to experience and to curse about; they know so little of just how powerful (and empowering) words can be, and just how much words can cut. Or maybe their little curse words are just a reflection of how much the world has cut them, and that makes me even sadder.

Good luck to you, kid. One day you will curse and actually mean it and feel it and you won’t feel so “cool”, just sucky, and most likely frustrated, and you will curse under your breath because you wouldn’t want anyone to hear you… you’d want everyone around you to think that you have it all together. That you are all right. And that you have no need for curse words because you are much too cool and sophisticated and content with your life. And because the serious matters on your mind cannot be translated by those words, only exasperated by them.