Real Life


I wasn’t ready for it. All those years of education and now, I was about to plug into Real Life.

It seemed as if everyone considered Real Life to be normal. Something nagged at me, screaming silently that it wasn’t so.

“Education over, I guess it’s now just Real Life from now on”, and endless varieties on that phrase had covered Facebook for weeks. After a while I even started to believe it myself; that all I had ever worked for was simply to plug in.

London’s main office for Real Life was directly next to King’s cross, to help workers living in the outreach connect quicker. Quicker, I say with gritted teeth and a particularly large metaphorical pinch of salt. No one seems to have asked why, with all the developments in work technology, why did we still rely on this outdated transport system?

We have to get to Real Life somehow, after all.

All offices were near train stations. Some thought it would be better if all the offices were merged with the head office at King’s cross, but imagine the havoc if the entire country’s population descended upon one station each morning? It’s bad enough spread across three.

A cold breeze pushed unforgiving across the grey platform. The crowd shifting towards the exit barriers payed it no heed, to them it was just another insignificant part of the daily commute. To me, it carried a sense of the forgotten. This place was new, yet I already knew something was missing.

I spotted a sudden burst of colour on one of the walls. “Remember 9 3/4” sprawled decade-old graffiti, the red paint lonely in its surrounding sea of grey. No idea what it meant. Most graffiti was just surreal, nonsensical phrases. Maybe it meant something in the past, but now each message seemed hopelessly lost. I don’t remember where I learned that word, graffiti. Most people don’t know it exists. Some are vaguely aware of the images and of the words that appeared from time to time splayed across walls. Most however didn’t even see it. As I watched the other workers scrawl like ants across the platform, it was clear none of them could even see the graffiti within a stone’s throw from them all.

A distraction. Today would be my first day of Real Life, and here I was staring at irrelevant markings from another, insignificant age. As cynical as I was of plugging in for the first time, it was a rite of passage in this most modern of ages and I couldn’t be seen as being distracted on my first day of joining the system.

Eventually I followed along with the crowds and got off platform 79. The crowd headed towards the signs marked ‘REAL LIFE – LONDON MAIN OFFICE’. It made sense to follow the pack.

It suddenly dawned on me that I had no idea what kind of work I would be expected to do at Real Life.  If I think back to when I was younger, my parents never talked much about work. Sometimes I might hear if they were forced to be plugged in for an hour longer, or if Reality shut down unexpectedly for part of the day, but that was about it. It suddenly struck me; I wasn’t sure what Reality even was.

The mindless flow of the crowd didn’t stop for my thoughts. I shook my head and managed to weave my way through the last few steps to the station’s exit. The doors led out to huge square dotted with lifts heading straight down into the ground. It was surprising to see such a wide open space considering how tight for space London was supposed to be, but it was clear from the lifts that the majority of the city was underground. The square was just a worker sorting pen: queues lined up solemnly at each lift as they filed out of King’s Cross. Anxiety filled me – I didn’t know where I needed to go. There was only one option. I followed.

Someone was watching. In a crowd in near-perfect unison, the slightest divergence is a scream in deafening silence. I kept walking, panicking that something terrible was about to happen. No one else seemed to have the slightest sense of fear on their stone-etched faces. Maybe I was just going mad, pressured by my new surroundings. This wasn’t the outreach anymore. The crowd marched on.

A red flash filled the square; a deafening crack followed. Terror now gripped my being; there wasn’t even as much as a blink to sense from the snaking bundle of bodies surrounding me. Was this normal? Were they all completely desensitized?

Suddenly red banners fell from the top of towering citadels enveloping the square and revealed a one word message as they draped downwards to the ground.

“DISCONNECT”.

I could just make out miniature shadows now, seemingly running along the citadel’s silhouette, releasing more banners as they went. The message of the mysterious figures surrounded the square. The message was for all the workers of Real Life to see, and yet it remained unseen. There was just me staring in fear and awe. The crowd waited for their lifts to arrive.

It became lucidly clear how much I stood out and promptly moved into a queue. I had no idea if I was going where I needed to go, safety is in the crowd. I still however felt watched. It must have be the shadows on the citadel. I stole one more look to the skyline. The figures were gone, but dull flashes could be seen from behind where they had been. One last banner had appeared in the short time that I had looked away:

“Real Life is not real life”

In a state of deep fear and confusion, I reached the doors of a lift down to the underbelly of London. I tried my best to forget the shadows and their banners. Maybe they never were even there – anxiety does strange things to a person.

The lift arrived. I guess it’s Real Life from now on.

Disillusion. A new way.


The world seems helpless and it seems hopeless.

I find myself in total disillusionment with everything. The work of several years to better myself and to come to terms with myself, work which was going so very well, is collapsing.

I learned to trust and love my friends, my family even my enemies. I moulded the remnants of depression and confusion into a beautiful contentedness. It became an unshakable grounding from which I could approach each wonderful day with joy in my heart.

I learned to meditate each day, to foster only positive emotions and to discard all negativity from my life. We only curse the earth with our presence for so long; what madness would make us choose to spend it in sadness and suffering? My inspiration was calm. I lost my anger.

I lost something else too, something which took me years somehow to spot.

I lost my spark. I lost the inner fire that makes us fight to live and love each moment, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. I was at peace, but all passion was gone.

And what now?

In a matter of months, the world I see has changed for the worse. The leaders of the world have gone wild and their supporters wilder. Racism, nationalism, sexism; every imaginable form of baseless, weak-minded discrimination is on the rise. It becomes increasingly clear that we have pushed the earth to her limit and the environment is close to a point of collapse. All that is solid melts into air  and this time we are entirely to blame.

How can I then, in a time where it all is falling apart, possibly remain content? How can I hold firmly onto the contentedness  that I have fostered, even nourished in these past years?

I cannot.

That time is gone. It taught me much and I am thankful for a truly essential development in my self, but now is not a time where apathy serves. I have joined the disillusioned.

How can I sit in acceptance, as hate becomes the norm of society?

How can I sit in acceptance, as the people become divided over lies?

How can I sit in acceptance, as we burn nature to the ground in pure, brutal indifference?

I am a liberal, left-wing, environmentally-minded, vegetarian, bi-, non-binary, creative, introspective, radical human-being. In these times, the only element there I regret is the last.

In these times, where to sit in acceptance is as dangerous as to fight against the rising tides we face, my fostered neutrality has been smashed into tiny little insignificant pieces.

After years of purging pain and anger from my life in the name of breaking through my negativity, I am letting it all back in. Perhaps that seems like a truest form of madness, as if I were a monk jumping out of deep meditation to burn his temple in spite. I think however that this is a necessity.

Now?

Now I feel an uncontrollable rage at humanity’s encroaching madness. The world seems to me to be on the edge of a crumbling cliff: Past it is the void. The void is growing, in size and in strength. It can’t and won’t be stopped.

A curious feeling has grown however out of my new rage and this feeling is perhaps even stronger, or at the very least more striking. Out of the rage has grown an uncontrollable love. Suddenly I have so much joy to see the magpies each morning as I leave for university. Suddenly each falling leaf is a universe with its own story to tell. When I see my friends, they cannot possible know how thankful I am now to see them, and know that they are well, that they survive in the face of our world in flux.

I feel some of the other disillusioned are giving up. But no, why should helplessness mean giving up? Are we not still alive?  Are you not still breathing, thinking,  whilst you read my twisted  words so lacking hope?

Let me tell you then, that these words are of hope, at the very least for myself. With this development of new emotion – of conflicting love and rage – I realise: Our experience here, no matter how dark it turns, will always have glimmers of intense beauty. For each person who joins the ranks of mindless nationalism and discriminators, we can fight back with rage-fuelled love. As contrary as that seems, Love and anger are linked in impossible ways. The enemy here is apathy.

It has often been times of darkness where great writers have appeared from the shadows. I am not one of them, but I have learned from them how important the mighty pen becomes in such moments. Brecht attacked national-socialism. Lu xun gave up a medical career to take up the pen and challenge the early 20th century society of China. I am writing because although I sense a painful future, I see glimmers within its blinding darkness. I am one of the disillusioned, and it has made me see the beauty we will have until the last moment. It may hide in caves or under rocks at the very end, but it will always be there.

And so I throw away the work of years to become a content soul, thankful and accepting. I embrace now my new-found love and rage. I will stare into the encroaching void, and laugh with pure joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

firelight


Come, firelights,

Show me a path through mountains.

Aid my broken steps,

Set each on stony ground, not to fall

And fail again.

 

Come, light my way.

Weave round trees and silver leaves;

Guide this weary heart,

Bring back its beat to the strength

Of the drum.

her truest love


the wind sighs gently over the branches, almost bare of their mantles of crisp leaves. With each break in the wind, the branches too sigh, a peaceful burden lifted, letting them rise back to the sky. With each lifted burden, another leaf falls.

Weaved from the tree’s old cloaks, a carpet of red and gold forms, slowly yet surely. One more leaf tumbles on the breeze and makes its way to its place in the golden carpet.

A fox sits contemplating, watching the leaves drop, one after another after another. She stares all around her in wonder, as if she has realised her kindred spirit with her home. In the blazen colours surrounding her being, she feels an impossible warmth, a truest love.

The wind sighs gently through her fiery coat, but the wind lacks the forest’s new love. The fox turns to face the breeze, chilling now, as if it were ice itself. Looking up, she sees one last leaf on the branches. Alone, like her, in a forest of naked trees. She feels more forlorn than she ever has, knowing that when it falls, her truest love will be gone and the snow will replace the autumnal hearth.

The wind sighs and the last leaf flickers, struggling against its gnarled branch to stay. The fight is lost. It twists and turns, as if in excruciating pain, through the ever colder air biting it as it falls. It takes its final place, filling the final hole in the golden carpet.

The fox lowers her gaze and turns away. The bitter cold is come, her truest love is gone.

If I were to wake



If I were to wake;

  breath the unknown air,

The life I live and love a lie,

A cover to a truth near death.

If I were to wake.

.

Remember the lakes and golden fields,

Hurtle away

 beside me and my madness

A glance of peace

Before a sudden painless storm.

Where there is no pain,

There is no fear:

The final flight knew only joy

And resignation.

.

If I were…

.

Remember the flight; the memory gone.

Instead a hole, a lingering cave

Hidden within, a moment a lost.

The choice: to forget

Accept and go

Or risk the world

And know.

.

If I were to wake,

A Life I lived a lie

If I were.

Brilliant Disguise


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We all wear disguises.

Some are elaborate, entwined with layers of truth and deception, so closely wound that no one can tell one strain from another.

Not even the wearer of the disguise.

Some are simple, a brief disguise to get out of a meeting, or to say you’re ok, when you’re actually sad,happy, tired, excited, angry, at peace.

I have disguises. You do too. We all do, but Some don’t know they have disguises. They worked on them for too long, without paying attention to where the thread and needle went. Now they are tied up completely, helplessly.

I have many disguises.

One is a brilliant disguise.

For an age, no one would break that brilliant disguise. Until necessity called for the string of deception to be cut. and cut. and cut.

And one day, my brilliant disguise will be gone. A painful yet beautiful truth let loose to a world that burns and punishes the unknown.

I await the final cut. I await a brilliant disguise to become a brilliant truth.

..

part of blogging101, inspired by the given prompt ‘Brilliant Disguise’