A twittering tree is one in Yve Lomax text “A Twittering Noise”. It is not just a tree and a bird. It is a happening, an event – where the bird and the tree are inseparable at that moment. It is unclear where the tree ends and the bird begins. They are not as separate entities but as a single event, perhaps performance, but a one nonetheless.
Yet, how about us? How about me…or you? Are we ever one? Are we ever in isolation? We are born out of mother’s womb. Then we distance ourselves from the mother. And that distance increases.
But we are never one. Even when the mother is no longer there, we are never one. There are carers, teachers, friends, colleagues, fellow passengers on the trains, buses, cycling paths…At that point we form an event. An event full of possibilities of intimacy, of knowing of connection. We entangle ourselves in the maze of connections and disentangle… Sometimes we are moved towards others for pleasure – for joy of connectedness…other times for the goals, for things we need from them. Yet, we are never alone. We form and perform cohabitations with others.
“Comfort and happiness, in this scenario, are the result of aligning properly with the atmosphere you’re in. In other words, they-re affects of obedience: happiness is the feeling that proper behaviour generates. “To be willing to go against a social order, which is protected as a moral order, a happiness order, is to be willing to cause unhappiness, even if unhappiness is not your cause.”
“There is no way to win any justice without generating tremendous amounts of discomfort for ourselves first of all.”
“The question ahead is not just where we will arrive but, more frightening still, who will we be when we get there.”
Perhaps discomfort is something to look forward to rather than escape. Perhaps comfort is a place you need to allow yourself to step outside of. Yet, how to stay sane in discomfort. How to stay fully you when all around you is against you?
In collectivity? That’s the answer leftists provide. Perhaps, in having some comfort is the safe space for discomfort.
Thus, I keep asking myself, what is my comfort and what is my discomfort? Where is my point of struggle and which battle should I be fighting?
Where should I be fighting?
I have been constantly trying to pin down the difference of the reality here vs. back home, and I finally came across a sentence that materialises that feeling I could not grasp before – a society of pleasure seeking bodies. It probably exists back home too, but it (home) is a much more protected space where I am able to live without the desire to conform, without the desire to be accepted (because I am already loved).
It seems that the good and virtue in society is ones positive image. Such image enables acceptance. Yet, in the current reality infused by consumeristic desires – everything is reduced to ‘what is’. What is seen and tangible here and now, because there is no future. The reality is immediate here (without longevity), there is no certainty that there will be future, thus, the best left for us is to enjoy what currently is. No other certain dimension, no inner, no spiritual reality. Hence, a push towards being constantly happy and indulge in bodily pleasures while at the same time frowning upon those feelings of sadness.
Consumption of goods, of bodies, of relationships of…everything that is out there.
One of my colleagues constantly buys new clothes. Dispose and purchase. Purchase and dispose. In continuum.
The desired lifestyle is that of an independent traveller, foodie, sporty, fashionista without commitment…and so without depth to explore what it could be, what it could be to grow deeper spiritually, to grow deeper emotionally. We are without attachments (and depths) to human relationships, nature, environment and…just bodies seeking satisfaction.
I dislike and I love London. Perhaps it is not ever possible to love something without hating it a little. There are flaws everywhere and every piece of beauty has it’s ugliness and danger within it. And every ugliness and hardship has beauty within it.
I went away to Edinburgh for the weekend and was immersed in my past. No – I have not been in this city before, but I stepped back in my life that has passed through a reunion of overtime neglected friendships. One of my friend studies in Edinburgh, the other came all the way across from another continent and one more stopped by from Berlin. It felt as if I have moved back 5 years and it was me, an old me, again. Yet slightly different, slightly changed. So, perhaps not the same. A simulacrum of who I am. The city, Edinburgh, felt strangely similar and familiar like any other UK city. Yet, unknown. Similarly – my friends. Being with them felt strangely familiar, yet different. Strangely uncomfortable. Strangely estranged. Yet comforting and peaceful at the same time. My ways of walking, observing, slowing down and constant financial struggle and their reliance on apps, seeing the world through the screen, the lense, cafes and uber, and freedom.
I have never felt so much at peace returning to London as then. Into familiar and comfortable. A strange thing happened. The distancing and the estrangeness opened my eyes for recognising encounters in the library of a fellow student working on her photo project. A morning full of scones and a hug from Chelsea. A message from Hanna. A brief conversation with my housemate in the kitchen. The people that surround me and their moments of affection and love that my brain chose to discredit and to bypass. I love the place I am and the place loves me. More than I thought. More than I could recognise. Perhaps sometimes we need distances to be able to see. When you are too close to something – you stop seeing. When you push your head into the book – you cannot read. But when you step back a little – everything comes into place, and letters are formed into words and sentences. When you distance yourself a little, you can start recognising and comprehending. You can start seeing and appreciating the love around you.
A strange thing happens when you realise that old friends remain in the past. When an old connection can’t reach you anymore. When someone you held dearly has changed, and you and they are estranged.
A strange thing happens when you realise that you were growing in opposite ways, your lives have shifted in ways that result in departure, opening a gap between you rather than move simultaneously, in tandem, in closeness and proximity.
Perhaps, it is my pain that is speaking. Perhaps it is something inside that is crying and longing of being understood, and understand.
But I rather be faced by gaps around me and seek for someone willing to pull me out. I better be reaching out for hands that I can be a support and they can be mine, than living a life masked by false appearances, of empty meaningless conversations and the desire to fit someone else’s ideal.
Maybe sometimes growing apart is not a bad thing. Maybe sometimes it just means rediscovering comfort elsewhere.
Our brains are funny. Perhaps. They filter and choose of what the depths of our hearts desire to see. Biased. Selective. Yet, alarming. of the reality. Of one’s desires. Of the absences. Or the truth. Perhaps.
“A secret sadness that contains hedonism/consumerism pleasure permeated the 21st century. ”
“Frustration+anger+self-disgust+something is missing”
Kodwo Eshun, Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture, 2018
When I go to my room to rest. to find rest. something is itching. something is cutting the space. Inside. The inner child in me is weeping. Pierced by a bullet. Unstoppably. Yet, I lay down without a tear. I don’t know why I cannot, why I cannot cry and let it go, and be OK again.
I wish for that affective proximity. Of ending isolation and connecting. Of losing my oneness, of consenting not to be a single being. Of connecting. Not just by the surface. But in all. To melt. To feel and to give.
That was yesterday.
While I still long and desire, my heart is well. When entering the gallery today – I discovered that my favourite smell is sanded wood. My place of peace is composed of bright wooden floors, warmth in the space, aesthetics, curiosity, and harmony. And soothing colours. It is made of people not intervening but moving in the symphony. In slow motions. Stopping to see, to investigate, to care.
Matt Sounders @ Marian Goodman Gallery, London 2018 01 20
For my Autobiographies module, I was reading Michael Foucault on ‘Right to Life and Death’. In this chapter, he describes that the power of the sovereignty was to be able to possess one’s life by the ability to take it or leave it. It made me think what’s the greatest power one could ever possess. Perhaps quite an obvious idea – the ultimate power of taking away life – yet, something I never think about. To be able to have a life. To be able to breath and experience my surroundings. I do not question or ask about my existence – I just am. Yet, we are (I am) in the system, governed by rules that can ultimately take my life away. It can take my life away via someone’s (or maybe even my own) unintentional action of running over me on the road, crashing into the plane I am on…and millions of other ways. Or my life can possibly be taken away by my own actions against the system. Doing something that severely breaks a countries law. It could be quite literal by a death penalty or by sucking the life out of me by enclosing me in a prison cell.
Yet, sometimes I wonder too if by making certain choices I am sabotaging life out of myself. Making choices that deprive me of connection that deprive me of purpose, that push me down the hole.
What does it mean to have a life? What does it mean to live a life of purpose? What does it mean to live with love? What does it mean to live meaningfully?
Is there? Is there meaning? Or is it a void…an absence…?
Is there God? Who gave me the right to be? Who made that choice? Did I make it in that alternative universe by choosing my parents? Or did He do it? Why? Why do I exist on this planet? Why do I walk? Why do I breathe?
Is there an answer?