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Stuck in the Moment



For Dianne
to whose pink lips
a daisy cannot compare




She said:
Maybe its purpose was to show you what you're missing, show you the possibilities, so you'd finally decide to get out of that current situation you're in, and get moving again. Don't get stuck.

***


Mondays are the most unforgiving days.

For this soul, they are far from being manic Mondays. While the rest of the world hurriedly albeit lethargically fly off back to school or work, I feel left behind by everything. I am left alone in the house with only my self, a cup of coffee and today's newspapers for company. I imagine my parents, especially my mother, immersing herself with the work left over from the weekend. They say that no one talks to her on a Monday unless it is a matter of life and death. I picture my sister fighting off the hangover from the weekend as she crawls back to the office. Then there's my sister, too, who has to take her quarterly exams today in math, a subject she despises. They are all pretty much busy with something because it is back to the salt mines today. I, however, am back to the solitude I must again face.

Alone in the alone, as I always say.

While initially and for the most part my forced solitude brought with it the freedom of being able to do anything I ever wanted to do but never got around to doing so, I now find myself running out of options. The black night of boredom has set in. The passion of writing now comes only every now and then. Being able to do research and reading have come to a complete stop. What I would have then called the leisurely life has somehow turned into a life which has to pretend and fight for its worth even if it has already nothing to show for it. I now cannot fool others if I can't even believe it myself. It has ended, that glorious rise of freedom and that pretentious life of the mind. I have come to admitting that, well, I am an unemployed man who spends more than he makes and who burns the days and nights without conscience, consuming life and its cheap pleasures.

Have I become a bum? I have to honest here.

Yes. And I feel it most especially on Mondays.

***


She said I should get a part-time job.

But I do not know how to do anything. No. Let me take that back. I can do anything. I was brought up and trained to be anything I want. And that's just it. I do not want anything. Nothing moves me, nothing strikes me. Not money, a career, business, achievement. Not now at the least. How about a hobby? But you cannot live by a hobby. They are for those who have that one dream already. And I knew of no other dream than the dream that was taken from me and that I also lost by my own madness. That killed me. Perhaps, I have not been able to pick myself up from that fall.

And when you fall from the heights of the only mountain you wished to climb, you fall hard into a pit where there are no lights and no other stepping stones. And so you wallow in that pit. It is also in that pit that you confront the soothing face of the devil that offers you a way out if you only surrender your life for him. It is there where you contemplate killing yourself. And as you see, I've won. Many times. That is victory enough.

They say that you should collect yourself, stand up, and get out of that pit and move on.

But that is easier said than done. For as you said, my dear friend, I am stuck here.

***


I understand and know what it looks like from the outside.

When asked the question on what I have been up to lately, I always say, "Nothing." I am neither embarrassed by it nor proud of it. We are talking about honesty here. I pretend to sleep away the whole morning. But in reality I am just trying to catch a dream or two--anything to feast my mind on. I then walk around the house, surveying my present mood, thinking about something that caught my imagination, imagining what to write. To the maid in the house who sees me, I am doing nothing. And that is true, if by nothing, you mean not being able to produce a thing. Most of the time, I do not in fact produce nor imagine anything. Yet there are days when the mind soars and nothing could be more beautiful. The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's day. Then I throw myself into the pleasures that only the cool hand of the night can bring.

A day spent that way may not seem much. But a lifetime spent that way may perhaps be called a blessed life.

I am a man who does not have anything to offer to the world. You say that this life is unhealthy and might eventually drive me insane. You are right. But I already gave up my sanity and so I have nothing more to lose.

Yet what I have not given up is my awareness of what is happening. I know. I know that I am stuck in this moment. And perhaps this is all that I can offer to the world which counts me for nothing. This lucidity in a mind that has given itself away, this clarity that my heart feels and the certainty that I enjoy constitute the only wealth I have that has not been taken away from me. This is what makes the night bearable. The difficulty was in the beginning and you make it through the sleepless nights.

This is also what affords me to laugh at my fate with scorn.

***


This does not mean to say, however, that this life is a life worth living. Very clearly, it is not. It is full of melancholy, full of regrets. There is no future seen from this vantage point, thus, there is no hope. It is a succession of presents which do not build on each other or point to new horizons. It is what it is: a repetition of days which offers no consolation to those who cannot see farther than the walls that surround him.

But it is not a life without possibilities. And this is what struck me with what she said. Life cannot be too cruel. It gives us glimpses of other lives in our daydreams and blessings of gray moonlight in the darkest of nights. It projects upon the towering walls of the void pictures of possibilities, imagined or real--it does not matter. It makes you feel in your bones that there is an other true life which is out there, an absent life but nonetheless a real life.

I realize now that I am missing something. Not that I know what it is or know where to look for it, but I just feel that perhaps, what leaves me stuck here is the inability to look for that one thing that I really long for. Not just the job I want, the fulfillment I seek, or a person to love, but that which feeds the soul and makes a life worth living. That maybe, all this while, I have been limping and winging my way through life. (I've had an easy life, you see. That is my blessing and at the same time my burden. It gets you started yet it leaves everything up to you. You do not have excuses.)

I now wonder what it is that I long for. I know that the answer to that question seldom comes by in a man's life. But when it does, it changes lives. Aristotle said that in the different pursuits that man has in life, all that he longs for is happiness. It is no wonder that I have been asking myself what makes a man happy since I was a child. The answer remains elusive to me.

Nevertheless, that is enough for now. To admit to myself that there is something lacking is humbling enough. That is where I can begin. She is right, I cannot go on this way. The possibilities are endless and they remain so until I choose one or another. This is why, as she said, it is a matter of deciding.

To tell you honestly, I also want to get moving. But I am afraid.

For I do not know the way.







Comments

  1. orenda3/20/2007

    This is amazing, really. I have to spend some time with it.

    But, until then -- and if I can write more then -- thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. unfamiliarity may breed fear and anxiety, but change is ineluctable. change may be painful, but not changing is even more painful...

    the ability to move on is inherent to man. for some, it will only take days or months. for emotional and temperamental beings like me, years... nevertheless, we all move on lest we succumb to death...

    ReplyDelete

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