Latest occurences

Shiny Things

Good evening ladies and gentleman

All this thinking about missing the past, about finding a purpose and not being able to understand the point in the monotony can be difficult. It can be very easy to fall into a depression through times like this, so i choose to think, to wander and attempt (at least) to understand.

I find myself fixated in particular on our purpose in the universe and its unfortunate relationship with the materials we “own.” I’ve tackled the materialism problem a few times before, but here the desire for “stuff” seems to be a symptom of a much wider problem. Chasing.

Always chasing, running towards something, someone. Running away from things just as fast as we ran towards them. It’s as if we don’t know what to do once we catch what we are chasing- like a dog whose already caught its tail. We seem as a society to have been taught we need something. We need to have this latest thing, a better car, a nicer house, a better paying job but work more hours, work harder, sleep less, see your children as much as you can but “duty calls.”

We are being led down a dark path by the very idea we use to cope with the stresses of modern life. Similar to how magpies are attracted to shiny things, we seem to be too. We sit there in a job we can’t stand, hoping to move up, get promoted and smile every time you ever lock eyes with anyone even with a mask on in an attempt to keep face in a place you are never ever going to be able to be yourself in, as you chase the next “big thing.”

Like i said before, the materialistic society is a symptom of a wider problem. Things are just that- things. They can’t hurt you, will never try to control you (the power you give them is all you) and ultimately will always be there for you. They are a constant, until they get boring. Then they have to be modified, changed and upgraded. For every person you see driving a nice car, there are probably 5 people driving one bored of it and in need of an upgrade.

The desire to chase and win seems to have spread to the pursuit of relationships too. A great number of the population (in the western world in particular) don’t want a relationship. Truth be told they don’t even know what a relationship is beyond what they’ve seen in movies or been told about by their friends who think their relationship is the “one” – whatever that means these days.

Let it be known I’m not hating on these people, if whatever they’re doing in their lives makes them happy, all the more power to them. I just choose to believe things aren’t that simple, that even in the relationship with the “one” there is still someone chasing…something.

The infamous, brilliant speaker and comedian George Carlin was a man far beyond his time and in one of his most famous routines said this:-

“Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. “

There are people in the world that have vast sums of money and things. More than you and I could even possibly imagine. In the infinite irony of the world we live in these days, those who are the “richest” in the modern sense of the world don’t seem to live all that far away from some of the “poorest” people. How can this be so? Chasing….always chasing.

These people may all be happy, they may all be sad. It’s hard to tell and ultimately for the person sat reading this, shouldn’t even matter. We as a whole species seem to waste so much of our lives chasing this perfect ideology to impress people who aren’t paying that much attention to us anyway. Thats the truth of it, you are chasing the point where you are able to control someone else’s thoughts about you.

That shiny utopia. The ultimate shiny that means pain, questioning, self exposure to potentially negative feelings or ideals never has to happen, because you always know what’s going to happen.

We are chasing a life without pain, so having money means you don’t have to worry about money, having a partner who cherishes and virtually worships you can mean you are able to do as you please without the potential for loneliness. This is what we have been convinced of ultimately, this learned behaviour to not be happy with what you have, to always want more, to want to be more, to have this never ending itch you will never be able to scratch.

The world will tell you this is what makes you feel alive, that drive to do and be more. I agree to a certain extent, but it leaves very little room for self understanding. You spend a day in bed staring at the ceiling convinced you are never going to stop crying and are probably just going to carry on feeling like this forever. That feeling isn’t something you chase, it’s something you survive.

You feel as if you have given up. You listened to the videos, you went to every talk and meeting you could- but ultimately there you lie, tears rolling down those puffed, swollen cheeks. A failure. Not able to chase anything, not going anywhere. Stuck in that same rut you’ve been in for years with seemably no way out.

You take these days so hard- they hurt so dam much. As a result you feel the need to chase so much harder for whatever you’re driving towards afterwards. Yet, the only factor that needs to be running at full strength to receive all we could dream of from the universe is us. We have to be there, focused and prepared for action. You cannot be this on point without the bad days. The days where you don’t get out of bed, the days where the dark is your new best friend. The endless chase has to stop, it has to stop.

These periods of time, this periods of self imposed reflection are giving you the tools and the clarity to look beyond the shiny bone the dog has been chasing after for weeks now with limited success. We need these times to stop and reflect, about who we are and what we want to be doing with our lives.

Then a smile wont feel so forced because it comes from a place of genuine joy. Think of this pursuit of “shiny” things for a second if you will.

You should be happy with what you have, says George Carlin. First and foremost in the process of doing that is being happy with yourself. Then the build, the chase, isn’t just for the sake of chasing something, just because it’s shiny.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

Empty Inkwells & New Colours

Good evening ladies and gentleman

Recent times and lockdowns in mind, purpose has found its way into my rhythm of work and existential crises. We live in an age where it’s very difficult to have a purpose, to know what defines us. We are allowed to go to the shops to buy essential items and go to work when we can’t do it from home. It means a great deal of people are at home, sometimes alone, for vast periods of time without any form of social interaction.

We are stuck in an endless cycle at the moment, every dam day near identical. Waking up the same time, going to the same place and doing largely the same thing for the same amount of time, eating at the same time, sleeping at the same time etc. It’s easy to feel as if you have no purpose, as if someone hit the pause button and now it’s stuck.

As much as this is a nice idea and could appease the most of us, i don’t think it’s that simple to you. We are still living, still growing, learning, every day another day we are unable to get back, even if it’s spent forcibly doing very little. You define yourself through your purpose, especially in these modern times, because external factors for life have become so loud now they are near impossible to ignore.

You like reading, cars, fish, animals, stamps- whatever it might be. They are your hobbies, the things that you enjoy doing. The places you wish to see, the road trips you have planned, the friends you only want to embrace after seeing them after what feels like forever. To hug someone who understands, to hug someone you care for so deeply as they squeeze you tighter i maintain is the most powerful form of anxiety relief going, even in this vast expanse of isolation.

So the truth is- your pursuit of fire, that feeling you’re truly alive has been rather lost for the time being or at least consigned to nothing more than a memory. The memories we have are supposedly the building blocks of our personality, the fundamental makeup of who we are and who we are ultimately going to be. This idea that this is a process, developing new memories and having new experiences has been put on hold is a hard one to handle- because the life we experience is the story we tell ourselves of who we are.

Thing is right now the ink is near out and nobody is sure where to get anymore from.

As much as i loathe such an overused phrase- the “new normal” is something we are all sort of having to get used to. The world is not the same as it was last year and it never will be, so the way we understand life, how we define our lives the purpose we live towards is going to change and continue to change.

The way you define your life has always been the purpose that gets you up in the morning. The reason to carry on has always been what drives your heart and soul when your body would much rather stay in bed. This is the part of you when you question your purpose and wander what you’re carrying on for. “Why am i bothering, to what purpose will this serve me?” and so on. We often seem so controlled by the external factors in our lives, so to lose that part of your life, that reason to carry on- its very easy to feel lost. Almost like you don’t know what your purpose is anymore.

This is where the line is blurred i think, between who we are and what defines us, in comparison to what we want to do and the places we want to see. We are not defined by a place or a car, seeing a band play live or seeing the Mona Lisa in Paris. This does not give us a better understanding of who we are and our place in the world, but instead gives us a better appreciation of the other things in the world.

The inkwell, for the time being, is empty. The black ink you have been writing the story of your life with isn’t available on Amazon, all the ink stores are closed. “How do i carry on without it?” I need my inkwell to dip my pen to write the next chapter of who I am. Without the ink you find most comfortingly familiar, life in itself becomes unfamiliar.

This is, at a time like this…inevitable. We have found ourselves in unprecedented times and the world has been left reeling from the consequences of this pandemic. Furthermore it’s far from over yet, so our personal battles must continue. Now we can fight to find that black ink, sure, but the writing has to carry on. To lose sight of your purpose means life really isn’t worth living, and what defines us is so much more than we know.

You are not defined by your job. You are not defined by your car, or lack of car. You are not defined by the social media platforms you have, or the likes your photos get. You are not the clothes you can’t afford or the payments you struggle to make. You are not defined by the partner you have, or don’t- or their social media presence. You are not defined by the food you eat, by your sexuality or race.

No single thing, feeling or idea can give you an understanding of who you are. Losing access to that familiar black ink is terrifying- make no mistake. The fear however, leaves you with two options at its heart, for like most things- a choice needs to be made.

Give in to the fear and wander what your purpose should be. Fear carrying on the story of you without that black ink, so much so that you write nothing at all.

Or find a new colour and carry on.

The world isn’t ever going to be the same, in truth, the world as we knew it is long gone. We can sit here and mourn its loss, or we can carry on and thrive, evolve beyond ever our own understanding, find a purpose and need to carry on in unfamiliar territory. Here and now is the ultimate time for self exploration and understanding, in a time with so much less to hold your attention, to pull it away from what really matters, imagine all there is to learn about yourself.

Now is a better time than any to learn something new about your best friend and harshest critic. Feed that person the language you always meant to learn, the drawing class you always meant to take. Learn to laugh at the world again, because for all the seriousness it can be hilarious when it wants to be. Life is defined by what we choose to perceive it as…

And what is life to me?

Empty Inkwells and New Colours.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

I Miss You

Good evening ladies and gentleman

The phrase “I miss you” is a 3 word montage that’s managed to perplex me for years now. I’ve never really seen the point in it. I’ve always hated the laziness in which such powerful phrases are used in the simple ways they are presented. Along with phrases such as “I love you” and the like, they have always seemed a rather cheap form of self expression.

You could string any number of letters and characters together, say the most wonderful, beautiful lines, lines you would have to write for, lines you would be willing to die for. These lines could be the baring of your soul hidden between barriers of these easy “get out of a tight spot” phrases.

I loathe a lot of colloquialisms for this reason. Expression is unique, artistic and sometimes so fucking painful as you push the words past the lump in your throat as the tears form in your eyes. Another prime example of such phrases include “there’s someone out there for everyone.”

Now this does do things to me. This phrase is the single most infuriating, lazy way of thinking you’re providing comfort or just a banked phrase when you “think” you should say something, when the only thing worth saying is nothing at all. This phrase supposedly eliminates the awkwardness of the situation when you feel like you should say something comforting, when all you’re doing is showing how little you’ve been taking in, giving the occasional nod but so far from understanding the pain of it all.

I have not hidden away from the fact i am not good with people. I understand a lot about people, their chemistry, connections, ideals, loves and pains- but i have always struggled to understand people, to connect with them on some genuine level. People rapidly became puzzles, a coping mechanism to try and understand these aliens in some fanciful idea that i lost myself in- that if people “look happy-” if i started looking, feeling and living like that maybe i would get to be happy too.

Ridiculous, as a thought- i have never denied this. Yet when you feel it so powerfully- as if your soul might leave whats left of you to the darkness, it’s hard to ignore. Moreover, as much as it is undeniably a preposterous suggestion to imagine living life in someone else’s context will give your life the edge you crave – it’s so important to have these thoughts and feelings, for without them, you cannot overcome them.

So to look further on, how can you miss someone when the idea there is someone for you is so ludicrous? I can’t process this idea that your life’s purpose is supposed to be looking for that person to make you complete and without them, you are less complete as a person. Why has life become about intensely searching for someone to make you happy? And if this chase is anything to go by, why isn’t everyone so unbelievably happy in these connections? Surely friends should never row, couples never breakdown and ultimately nobody would ever feel lonely- especially if we were to listen to the legends that the world has has us believing.

Taking everything as literally as possible, these legends would make sense and the idea of ultimate happiness being born from someone else wouldn’t be such a laughable concept. So why are there breakdowns? Why do so many relationships implode and deteriorate under the weight of their own expectations? Why is one person so blame to quick the other to maintain whats left of their self image? What is left?

“I miss you.”

People come and go- missing them makes me want for a time that has gone. Good or bad, i learned something from this event and am grateful to have been there. Snapshots, not oil paintings and away you go. Missing them just seems so extra.

Yet. *She enters scene…

The thing about missing people is how they affected you when you knew them, or spent time with them. I said before when you meet a hero, or a saviour, the effect they have not only on your life but on you, is profound.

She didn’t save me from anything. If she did anything, she made me realise how far i had really sunk. So far from the man i wanted to be i would wake up everyday convinced i knew the person staring at me in the mirror. I look back now and i don’t know who he was, what he was. I processed more pain and anguish i didn’t even know i had as a result of meeting her and talking to her. She recognised the darkness i found myself drowning in so often and we spent some time there. Even if only for a while, some part of me felt so, so scared, yet so at peace.

Then as soon as she was there, she was gone again. Blown away like the last drag of a cigarette. There i sat- dumbfounded, relieved she was gone, unsure what had just blown through my life. As the days and months have passed and as i have tried to work on myself, continue to rebuild the palace of darkness after the hurricane of her passed through me.

Thing is, I don’t recognise it anymore. I talk so much about evolution and as much i have rebelled and campaigned against someone else having that impact- she played a key part to this stage of my evolution. As a result, especially in my darker times, i actually miss her. Something i thought for many years was impossible.

It’s about impact…and fear. It’s easy to want to her back, but i know she will most likely never be a part of my life again. She opened my eyes to so much about myself and made me so scared i would never feel like that again about anyone again. More than that, not sure that i would ever want to feel like that again. It’s about accepting that life is painful, that sometimes you have to make a choice- even when neither option shows any promise.

You cannot and should never try to recreate something. It will only make for disappointment, no matter how painful not having them around can feel. Yes i miss her sometimes, but why taint something so beautiful and as close to perfect as i have ever met in my life

Selfishness makes me want her back in my life, but the only way to fully appreciate her and all she did is to leave the memories of her as just that…memories. The more i delve into this “missing” someone prospect is that it goes a lot deeper than just “somebody-” its the idea of them. You don’t really miss the drinks or the dinners out, watching TV or the photos on Instagram. No…

You miss the moments that score themselves onto your soul. Dancing around a room, eating ice cream, drinking on a rooftop and lying together saying nothing, not needing to say a word but knowing there is nowhere in the world you’d rather be. Admitting you want someone is scary, admitting you miss them is scarier, but understanding what you miss is truly heart wrenching. People are subjects of your feelings, your feelings are ultimately yours and yours alone.

I do miss her, and i care about her with more depth than i thought i was capable of. What if this wasn’t so bad though, for if you miss someone you truly appreciated them for who they are. They bring about a thinking evolution in you and make you want to be a better person, the most improved version of yourself that you can be.

You appreciate someone because they are helping you understand how to appreciate yourself. Thats where all of this starts. You are noticed and you are found to be just as remarkable as she is to you.

I like to think so anyway.

Yours, with love as always.

D. R x

Hero

God evening ladies and gentleman

I wandered as lonely as a cloud,

that floats on high o’er vales and hills…

What you see above are the first two lines from one of the more famous lyrical writings of William Wordsworth in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”

Now, back in around 1804 when this was supposedly written, there would have been lectures and readings in which Wordsworth would weave wander and beauty into the hearts and souls of the many patrons of such events. They would listen with a glee unrivalled to very little at the time as they hung on every word of a poem they had probably read a number of times already.

Through this indirect connection, Wordsworth has inspired many thousands of poets to this day, as they look to interpret and understand the words he wrote. To some William Wordsworth was an inspiration for them to make a change in their life. To some, he is a hero.

Take a more modern example say- look at Ironman. Whether you read the comics or watched the movies, it doesn’t matter. Undeniably, Tony Stark and as an extension of him Ironman, was a hero. Right up to the last moment the lived and died as a hero.

To be someone’s personal hero is a completely different minefield, because it gives the word “hero” a different meaning to the sense in which Tony Stark has been afforded such a moniker, or as I just gave to William Wordsworth. Away from theatrics, you’re personal hero isn’t a hero, but almost like a saviour.

Now, I’ve never been a particularly big fan of this idea, the idea that someone has “saved” you from whatever deeply personal emotional turmoil you have been locked into for however long, to be only bought back from the depths of your misery by a sword of light plunged into the depths by that somebody. Instantly and sometimes very easily, you can become enamoured to this person. They helped you and saw you when you felt invisible and for the first time in perhaps a very long time, you felt good. Perhaps good is an improper term here, maybe “not terrible” is better.

Throughout this time, you have struggled to feel anything good about your life, about yourself- about anything really. So, naturally you would link the powerful feeling of positivity, as rare as it is these days, with the person supposedly generating that feeling. However happy you might feel in that moment, so inspired to bring yourself together because you found that one person capable of making you feel something again. After thinking you would never feel happy again, never be able to experience love again….here they are.

What did they save you from though? The only thing you needed saving from was yourself, and all they did was grease the rails and had you sliding towards the better future you were hoping for. They didn’t put you on the track, they just shone the light in the right direction, like an air stewardess pointing out the emergency exit on a plane rapidly filling with seawater. It was you that got yourself off the plane.

In the end, you did the work and this to me is where the “saviour” falls down. You are your own saviour and you are your own hero. Even if you don’t notice. The thing with other people being given that moniker and especially people you care about is that the pressure applied to continue in this vain can be enormous and spirit shattering. The desire to build you up as this near perfect figure is weighing just as much on them as the desire to hold onto this good feeling is on you. By needing each other as much as you do, you push yourselves away from one another.

To be a hero and need a hero, to be saved or be the saviour are equally damaging human endeavours. To quote a rather infamous Joe Rogan line:-

“Be the hero in your own fucking movie”

Tony Stark does things his way not for any reason and not because he wants to be a hero. He does it because it’s the right thing to do. Wordsworth wrote poetry in the way he did, the words creating stanzas in that way because thats how he felt he should do it. People need saving from themselves sometimes, this is inevitable as we live in a world and are a generation so saturated in information that over analysing and overthinking is always going to be a symptom of this information overload- but there’s only one person doing the saving. Only one person capable of riding into battle and coming through the other side. Battered bruised and maybe very nearly dead. But victorious.

Nobody is coming to save you from that misery. The soul swallowing blackness in which you’ve plunged yourself into has sometimes had light thrust open it to show you the way, but you pulled yourself from the depths. You gasped that free air, you swam to shore. If someone somewhere is reading this and feels like this then please heed these words.

You got this. You are so much stronger than you think and are so much more than the sum of what happened to you. Please hear me. You got this. You are the hero you need, even by getting out of bed in the morning, showering and going to work, that emergence from the dark, even if only temporarily is huge. Just huge. You turn the music up loud to drown everything else away, the voices in your head telling you “you were never good enough anyway,” “she’s too good for you,” or “why me?”

Why not you? You need to understand that being a hero is hard, and it comes with many challenges. Challenges that you need to face head on if you ever wish to overcome them. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink…you don’t need a hero. You just need you.

So. This is one of those moments. The moments that make the difference. Night and Day. Good and Evil. Hero…or Villain.

Dry your eyes…

Head up…

Shoulders back…

Time to unleash your hero on the world.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

Personal Traps

Good evening ladies and gentleman

“I deserve this,” “I’m no good,”

“I’m better off alone.”

Three phrases, each more powerful than the last. Some of, if not the most damaging phrases a person could say to themselves- to believe this of yourself is near emotional suicide. That pain, that weight sits heavy on your heart as it guides you through life, pillaging and attacking any sense of happiness or joy you choose to feel. The good, the beautiful, the happy end up saturated in nothing but pain, because you are at the point where you don’t know how to feel anything else.

I have, for many years tried to convince myself I’m better off this way, better off alone. I know it’s not true, for i know how good i am when around people. I don’t shy away from the fact I’m not particularly good with people and never one to connect particularly well, but when i do its like wildfire. It sparks connections in my mind i considered long dead, lighting the path in the cold, dank forest back to the cabin, to the fire crackling away, to the smell of old books and hot tea and to someone you could lose hours in a conversation with, simply just because.

And i know, trust me i know it’s the easiest thing to just say. I can write any sort of wistful nonsense about anything, you could close the page on your phone and go about on your day not giving another thought to what you read. The thing is…you.

Who are you…to you? What do you want from your life? Do you want to be happy- do you want to be rich? Do you want to fall madly in love and travel the world…or do you just want peace? We all have a goal, humans are like that, not a literal one- an idealistic one. It means everything to you and nobody else would ever understand. But, because you are the only one that understands, you are the only voice telling you that you are going to get there and the only one telling you its stupid and you should give up.

You don’t think you will, you hope on days, sure, but more often than not you feel so lost and alone tomorrow seems like today and the day after that. The monotony of life is something you feel so strongly now, ever since you lost that hope that drove you so hard.

You have been through so much, yet you feel like you deserve so little. Your dreams remain that, dreams. You were once upon a time filled with hope, to have it taken away in what felt like an instant. You held onto it, clung and prayed for all your might. You chose to believe in you, when nobody else did, not even those closest to you, not even those you loved. In a world where you felt so connected and so alone, longing, yearning for someone to be there for you to any sort of degree you would be for them. The weight got too much though and whatever power you had left was beaten. Down and out for the count. Heartbroken… and feeling so very, very alone.

When something goes wrong, it’s a natural reaction to look for reasons why, not matter how big or small the problem was. Why did my car breakdown, why did this project go wrong at work, why does the drawing i did look like a collection of scribbles rather than the mountain range i envisaged. In particular when a love is lost. Someone you cared for so much more than yourself, more than anyone else in the world, gone. You gave them your best, you loved them- and off they went.

I have never been in love- but I am obsessed with love. We live in a world so saturated in this fantastical ideology that love is the ultimate goal and without it you are incomplete as a human being. True or not, whether I believe it not is irrelevant, because millions, billions of people do.

I imagine love to be like a virus. As you get to know that person more and more, start to notice more and more, find yourself thinking about them more and more. They find their way into your head and no matter how much you try to get rid of them, no matter what you smoke or what bottle you find yourself in the bottom of, they’re still there in the morning, headache, bad stomach and all. But at the same time, it’s the greatest thing in the whole world, worth every hangover to be with this person, to do and feel all the things you didn’t know you even wanted.

People say being heartbroken is like that person, the person you gave your heart and soul too pulling that heart from inside your chest and standing on it until it explodes. Yet, given the opportunity to just see that person again, there would be no question you would happily oblige to having your heart ripped out over, over and over.

The resulting loneliness means you turn the pain you’re feeling inwards, hence the question of “what you deserve.” “I could have been better, I should have been better,” “Only if i had done this differently.” You are in so much pain your mind is doing anything it can to find that space where you felt some modicum of happiness, drowning in so much nothing you’d give anything for that familiar painful relief.

All those years ago, you risked your heart and it broke you. Everything you were..gone… everything you know is never going to be the same. Ever. You see the world now and its tainted in darkness, the inky blackness of where your heart used to be sees nothing but pain. Pain is all you see, for the last time you weren’t in pain, the resulting anguish hurts in ways you never wish to feel again.

The walls can be rebuilt, and they will be. Harder and higher, more battlements. More men at turret stations, medieval archers at covering every inch of the walls. Nobody finds their way in anymore. You have to be alone, because as the past has proved, it keeps any more pain out.

So as I sit here writing and as you do hopefully reading, if you take anything away from this….

I see you. I see your pain, i see your suffering, your passion, your longing, your soul screaming in pain. I see all of it. I can’t say i know how you feel, because i’ve never been brave enough to feel a tenth of what you have. You have jumped head first into the pool and i am the one courageously dipping a toe in the water. I am always going to try and understand though. I don’t claim to be right or be able to help or even save you from the demons that plague you as you wash up in the morning to the moment you lay your tired mind on the pillow.

Truth is, I am nobody. I am a man behind a screen, scrawling letters on a page in the hope they mean something to someone. If they do, then maybe my life might have some meaning, maybe i will have done something good for someone. A smile here, a pick me up there. I’m not looking for anything other than that. I can offer you nothing other than words and a hand to hold as i say:-

You’re pain doesn’t have to define you, its trying so hard to swallow you whole. You deserve everything, the world and more. If i could give it to you I would. I would search high and low for your happiness and drag it back to you, excited to show you what I’d found, even in the words on the page. I can’t make you see that, I can’t make you trust that. As far as you are concerned on the other side of your screen is someone looking to increase the audience traffic to the site so i can hopefully go and make Bentley payments from a chateau in France.

Words are just words in the end, they mean very little without context. I do not come to you looking for you to forgive and forget all you feel. I don’t think you are gonna work through how good or horrible you feel about yourself in a day. You think life is nothing but pain, but you miss the other half of that sentence:-

“Life is nothing but pain…today.”

Today is a bad day, a horrible day. But tomorrow is a new day and has the means to be whatever you want. If you do find a step forward, great. I’ll be celebrating the victory with you just as much as I’ll sit with you in the dark as you languish in the depths of your own personal hell.

We live in our own personal traps, I just hope you know that you don’t have to do it alone.

Never alone.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

Hall of Mirrors

Good evening ladies and gentleman.

So here’s an interesting thing. I’ve become quite obsessed with the idea of “attractive.” What does it mean to attracted to someone, what does it mean to sense that someone is attracted to you? I have always found this, even as an idea a remarkable pantheon of twisting turns and dead ends, a house of mirrors forcing you to look at yourself from angles you may never have seen before. Life in itself could be akin to a hall of mirrors, the question of which mirror you choose to look into and what do you see- who do you see?

Moreover than this rather sweeping question, attraction generates something else to manage in this hall of endless mirrors….somebody else. Now you are not alone in the lights and reflections, as another person enters your maze of blockades and distractions. Something else to learn about, but that maze will never look the same to you again.

As that person roams, corner to corner, dead end to dead end, finding their way deeper into the seemingly endless maze, you catch a glimpse of them- in the reflection of a reflection. Confused, your head darts round- trying to see them. You try so hard to keep up, to catch up, yet, again and again you miss them. As this initial attraction grows, as you get to know this person, the desire to find them within these mirrors grows with it too. It’s so easy to fall into that trap of desire to the point where you ignore every reflection, every image and every other person, searching for that “perfection.” If you’re not careful, you end up searching frantically through those mirrors, unable to see anything else.

This is the danger of modern day attraction, because not understanding, confusion and thoughts being dictated by someone or something other than your rational mind can create a smorgasbord of different feelings, more often than not a rage is formed, the idea of not knowing can drive someone to what feels like the edge of madness. The result of this attraction and the subsequent overthinking will make for smashed mirrors to be far from uncommon.

Even as the highly strung moment passes and your mind settles again, all that results from this destruction is cuts on the bottom of your feet as you long for this familiar pain once again- willing to torture yourself for a mere glimpse of joy.

Thats the thing with attraction and with finding out someone is attracted to you. It doesn’t actually mean anything without action. Even if that action is no action at all.

Why did you smash that mirror? You have tried to understand why, or how this person found their way to maze in which you roam, only to be left questioning everything you thought you knew, scaring you to the point where you have smashed the mirror to avoid witnessing that reflection again. Are you smashing the mirror to avoid that person? Like we said, attraction means nothing without action. Maybe you are avoiding your own reflection? The idea of vulnerability is a powerful problem to many millions of people. They would rather smash the halls with a sledgehammer than accept the idea of something or someone mattering to them that is out of their control.

So how does one circumnavigate through this minefield?

“Know thy enemy.”

Those who you allow into your life will all have an impact and to me will be someone you were attracted to in some way. More so than that, if that they will all be an enemy to your comfort. That little world of familiarity, that corner of the maze in which you can recognise that person in the mirror and are furthermore comfortable with what you see (or don’t see.) They may roam your halls for a month, a year, or even for the rest of your days, but having them there will change you, bring about evolution within you, if you allow it.

Furthermore, it is folly to believe this person is an enemy to you, for you are the enemy of you. This is where attraction falls down, in both avenues of feeling attraction and sensing someone is attracted to you. If your beliefs, thoughts and feelings do not allow you to leave that comfy corner of the maze, then you will never find what you’re looking for. These people can motivate you, but the only way out is that first step. Open your eyes and look.

Look in every mirror, every single one. Look at yourself. Hate yourself, cry, bawl, enjoy, question and eventually love. Every mirror is a piece of the puzzle to who you are and the more you look into the more you will understand. It’s not going to be pretty, but it’s going to be worth it. In this endless maze of rights and lefts, in this process of developing yourself, for yourself. You do this and something amazing will happen.

You will be staring into a mirror. As you have done hundreds, if not thousands of times before. As you stand there, looking at yourself, learning and trying to understand the person you are becoming, that person will appear. That person you once chased for all your might, thinking, hoping, yearning to one day catch up to- will appear at your shoulder. You may not know them right now, let alone be attracted to them at this present moment. But as you learn about yourself, you will learn what you find attractive, not just in other people but in yourself.

Learn to compliment yourself. Learn to take compliments. These people are right, because you learned about that in the many lessons you have taken throughout this process. This process of trying to find your way through the maze will end one day. One day the exit will reveal itself.

You were never doing it alone. You had thousands of reflections spurring you on the whole way.

Is it just you in that reflection? Well that. That is up to you.

Yours, with love as always.
D.R x

Original Image by Marsha Raymers

Dance like Nobody’s Watching

Good evening ladies and gentleman

What does it mean to be free? To be truly free and disconnected from the problems in life holding back this ideal freedom, this idyllic happiness.

No idea.

What i do know is that the word freedom is often connected with another word- “financial.” As a generation, or even as a species we spend so long aspiring to this level of freedom, the idea that one day you could tell your boss where to go and live life as you please. Yet, you got up this morning and went to work, as you probably will tomorrow and the day after that. Are you free? Do you feel free?

I know i haven’t had any feeling of consistent freedom for years. Those good days just feel like day release from maximum security, twined to the inevitable stench of consistency as if you sleep each night next to a horse’s head.

How does one feel free- in a world that wants so badly to show you that you aren’t? If we look at it in such a matter of fact way- you are trapped. You are, I am, everybody is trapped and we should accept it for what it is and find the most effective ways to serve this life sentence as comfortably as possible. Maybe give a few hours, weeks, months, years, decades even to make sure that sofa comes, the TV gets slightly bigger every year and that car you dream of finds its way onto your drive- connected to the house you’re going to be dealing with payments on for the rest of your natural life.

I can’t sit and accept this happiness as what we should be striving for. Moreover as you scroll the internet, an endless source of information filled with an ever increasing number of car, cat and dog videos, i don’t think you can either. This happiness, we are supposed to see it as this hugely esoteric, massively significant goal in our life that we could spend most of our lives trying to aspire to. What if there is more to scrolling, to thinking, to feeling, to being happy and being at peace?

Now i’m not going to sit here and tell you to go and join a ballroom dancing class in order to find a level of freedom you have been lacking in your life up to this point, but bare with me. Freedom- or happiness for that matter are not destinations. We often rationalise these ideas we have been told will make us happy by treating them as a journey, a road onto which we lay out our lives to seek ultimate peace and happiness.

There is no such thing as ultimate happiness, i don’t think. These huge ideas, terrifyingly far away, leaving you with a resounding hope for the future. “If i can just get there…” or “when i get to that point it will start to get better…” Its a pipe dream, an idea that makes you ultimately feel better about your life (temporarily) but isn’t happy- not to me.

In my experience, peace usually involves being sat alone in the dark. This almost fugue state is beautifully lethargic, your body becomes so heavy its hard to even lift your arm, but you don’t want to move….all you want is to fall so deep and so hard into that music that reality falls away from around you as the beat and melody take you deeper into your trance.

This is the power of music, for in those 3 minutes and 49 seconds- you are as close to free as you have been all day.

What if it wasn’t that simple- what if there could be more to it. Darkness or light, next time that song comes on, try something slightly different, when completely alone, comfortable in the isolation you have become so familiar with.

Move. Move to the music. It doesn’t matter whether you are a good dancer or a fluid dancer. Just move to the music. Throw your arms around, spin around, kick, spin- just MOVE. Move for the whole song, change your movement as the beat changes, feel it. That’s the most important thing. 

Feel it. Feel every beat in every concierto, every riff and every octave change. Music combined with movement is the connection to the soul living within your body and that connection, that beautiful loving relationship is where you find peace. True peace is through feeling it. Then through feeling it over and over again, finding ways to continuously nurture that connection is ultimately where we find happiness. 

There is no formula to being happy and through this there is no concept or idea that can provide you “ultimate” peace. But what if there were these moments, these fleeting moments where you were ultimately unaware of all the joys and the misery life wants you to feel all of. What if there were times where you just felt good, for the sake of feeling good. 

No reason, no end goal. Thats where happiness is. Just a moment. Soon to blow away and be gone into these pages of memories you will never remember but right there, right then. 

You are free.

So dance. Dance like nobody’s watching, jump higher than you ever think you should, have the cake if thats what you want. Love harder than you should and kiss like its the last time you will ever get to. These moments often seem impossible, especially when there is great distance between them. If you love someone, tell them. If you want to see something wonderful, go. Revel in its wander and sit in awe of the magnificence of what you stare at. 

Feel it, and ultimately be free from a world looking to control everything you are and everything you want to be.

For its the only thing worth doing.

To be free.

Yours, with love, always and forever. 

D.R x

CLEAR!!!

Good evening ladies and gentleman

I, as do many of you, have good days. Days where the flow is good, as you power through it promotes a mental clarity, as if you’re seeing the world through a diamond like crystal. These days come rarely though, the beautiful gems that they are. More often that not are those…other days. Those days that feel so endless it’s as if tomorrow never comes, the days where the lack of feeling anything, the very emptiness that you’re living in and trying to power through, swallows you near whole.

Even having a bad hour in a day. How does one avoid that bad hour becoming a bad day? How can we make sure that bad day doesn’t end up as a bad week? It’s so easy to spiral, to feel like there is no way out of this endless loop of insanity, that the world is stuck on repeat and there you are stood directly in the middle. Groundhog day.

That is where the ultimate war of contention comes in. There is a battle going on within us all. The war against you. To survive, we must prepare the armoury for the maximum affect as we go into battle. We are so pained by life sometimes and a fixation on that pain will be the destruction of everything you are and everything you know.

But it happens. Its happened to me more times than i care to count, as I’m sure it has you. So, imagine the good and bad was akin to your heart. The beat has slowed to a near crawl, your soul is shrivelling, your mind- exhausted. The world is getting too much and the weight you carry on your shoulders is just so damn heavy. You can’t carry on, you’re not even sure you want to anymore. The game is rigged, and you cant take another roll of snake eyes.

That is where pleasure can come in. When you imagine you may never smile again, the defibrillator of pleasure jolts your heart into movement. CLEAR! Again… CLEAR!

And out of nowhere, from the brink- your back. It can be something as simple as a hot chocolate on a crisp winter morning. You wake up, surveying another nothing day you have coming- get up and start going through those familiar motions. Step out into the day and feel the wall of cold air kiss your face as you see a plume of breath find its way skywards. You have a plan today though, today is going to be different. You get to work, head for the coffee shop. Empty cafe, early morning, nobody but you and the occasional weary commuter walking past for company.

Hot chocolate down on the table, sugar in. Tap, tap, tap goes the spoon as it lands back on the tray. Up to your lips for a sip and that warm goodness, that elixir of life… CLEAR ! That first sip as the cup leaves your lips and you exhale, it’s as if the negative energy is being forcibly removed by hot chocolate bailiffs. In that moment, you are ultimately so very alone, but so very happy to be. The right word for this, as far as i can figure out, is peaceful.

The way something so simple can make you feel, even if only for a moment is the where the battles are won. The solitude, the pleasure, just for a few minutes when something so minimal is giving you so much. These little things, the fleeting moments in time, of pleasure, of wander and stillness in a world moving so dam quickly are the most important. We need these moments, even if it is just to get through one day.

These moments are rare, and so damn special. In that moment, hot chocolate in hand- nothing else matters. You are there with yourself, and maybe, just maybe- you can get through today.

And if you can get through today, maybe you can get through tomorrow.

You get through tomorrow, maybe you can even see out the week.

Because when all is said and done, the little things aren’t the moments you remember, but without them, you probably wouldn’t be half the person you are today. I know i would have given up long ago.

Here’s to you. To hot chocolate. To beautiful moments on those bleak winter mornings. And to getting up and keeping it moving.

This is how life is achieved, truly achieved. Existence is futile, but life has the means to be beautiful.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

Tokens of Love

Good evening ladies and gentleman

Question- what is “romantic?” What if anyone- be it your best friend, a new love interest or your 500th date with a person you’ve known for longer than you care to remember- asked you that question? What does it mean to be seen as someone who is romantic? Who has the means to pursue that person they love, or someone they are attracted to- in a way that is appealing to that person- in a “romantic” way?

I have been gesticulating on this problem for some time, as for many years i’ve been told that i don’t come across the “romantic” type to some, yet to others i’ve been seen as an “old romantic.” Ive always been puzzled by these ideas, as for years its meant nothing to me. The whole relationships, connections forged in fire, love, desire, wanting to build a life with someone and so on. It’s all just sort of left me a bit cold, often taking understanding of an idea in order to fully appreciate it in such a way to accept it.

For years i just haven’t bothered with a lot of these concepts, not feeling like there was enough energy in them to waste time thinking about them. On the rare occasions i do, have produced a powerfully anxious response, as if there were 2 parts of me meeting at some point of powerful vulnerability. I’ll be the first to tell you i couldn’t handle it. I felt so much all at once in these times, rare enough to be noticeable when i would lose myself in the what if’s and the maybes of connection and romanticism as we know it today.

So, what is it? This idea that we need a platform to sell ourselves on, these dating apps, chat apps, hookup apps and whatever else sort of app someone can bribe you into buying with a potential for the “perfect” love, this conveyer belt, this meat market of swipes and hearts, messages ” left on read” and friend requests ignored. This is where the trophy partner is won or lost these days, on the Instagram battleground and i hope for your sake you didn’t just like that other persons’ picture. Makes no sense? Of course it doesn’t, its not supposed to. You do it, because thats just “how the world of dating works these days.”

Then people question what it means to be romantic because the term and act died years ago, to be replaced by these faux personalities plastered all across the internet. Now, do not mistake what was once called “chivalry” or some form of “gentlemanly” behaviour for this idea of being romantic- or buying your girlfriend flowers from the petrol station on the way home because you skipped dinner to go down the pub with your boys. This is not romanticism this is guilt, often perceived in similar ways- but very different.

Maybe its where I’m from or the culture i have grown up in, but to be romantic isn’t a natural behaviour to a lot of people. As much as i say this isn’t a natural behaviour, every person alive is capable of it and often in the most remarkable and meaningful ways. The difference is the energy that you receive from that other person. It’s not necessarily about the energy you receive being the same as the energy you put out into the world, but instead about an energy that can mould and shape with your energy, subsequently creating something more.

If you are lucky enough to be open and understanding enough of yourself and this person you care for so dearly to find what might be this energy, you may wish to show them how you feel. Words and feelings can only get you so far i think, especially when it comes to love and this is where we find the place of romanticism in the world. Romantics are offering tokens of love to the world and hoping through this the person they love will react in kind.

The romantic is the one who doesn’t care for frivolities as its never been about materials. Take this- millionaire buys partner a brand new Mercedes. It wasn’t a difficult purchase and will have minimal impact on how they live their lives month to month. Is this a purchase to be romantic? Not really. It’s a trinket to show how well you and your relationship are doing. In comparison take someone working two jobs and extra shifts in order to buy their partner the car they’ve always dreamed of. the one they had pictures on their wall of as a child. When they see it, the smile that will beam from their face and the positive energy and boost they will get from what you’ve done for that person will create more joy in your heart that you know, simply by seeing them so happy.

It’s not about what you do, it’s not about going big against the world. It’s about going big…for them. The thing about tokens of love, is that you have to give more of them away than receive them in order to truly appreciate them. Being romantic is easy, but it’s also so very difficult, because it’s terrifying. Being romantic is an inherent vulnerability because for every token of love you give away, you give away a part of yourself too and as you do you hope that person wont run off with it.

We live, we love and we learn. You will have experienced times where you have believed that energy was there and given a token away, to be left hurt, broken even. Questioning yourself, wandering how you could be so “stupid.” Even though without it you wouldn’t know the half of what you do about yourself, about the importance of listening to yourself and responding to positive and negative energies you could be putting out at any one time.

In the end, your own thoughts are what attracts energy to you. It’s up to you what sort of energy that is. Moreover, it’s up to you to give the tokens of love away.

For in the end, to keep them would be a hell of a waste- don’t you think?

Yours, with love as always.
D.R x

Preserve or Thrive

Good morning ladies and gentleman

I’ve always had a strangely obsessive way of looking at things. Its this idea that everything we do is born of some form of emotional reaction. Every story ever told is primarily designed to illicit some form of emotion from you, as has every moment and every action in your life, every act in every scene, from the first exclamation to the curtain fall.

The first time you kissed them, the day you passed your driving test, the day you got into university, the day you got arrested and the day the relationship was over. It created something in you, something to this day you don’t really understand because understanding isn’t feeling.

It is, when all is said and done, the fundamental building blocks of you. Whether the person looking back at you in the reflection is someone you like or not, it is the creation of you. Without the success, the failure, the pain, the pleasure, the loss life love envy lust and everything in between, you would’t be you.

We have a habit of concentrating on the negative aspects of our lives. It’s like we spend so long working to attain this ultimate idea or pleasure, this presumption that “if i can take it i can make it” to the point of madness in this tireless obsession to reach happiness. You could spend weeks, months, years or decades working towards this without ever truly making it, so never really finding any form of happiness.

In a way, the endless chase could be a form of self preservation. Take for example, love. It is a concept i’ve been theorising about in numerous different forms for years now, but recently come up with the most accurate description i’ve ever come up with. It is the breakdown of self preservation, a fundamental breakdown of this basic evolutionary need to survive, born from a sort of predictable nature of existence.

This desire for structure has created a society of predictable entities, simply because thats the easiest way for us to live and love throughout life. It is the key to preservation, for if you see all the possible moves across the chess board, because then you can’t slip up.

Love is a questioning of this notion. It’s takes the concept of “self” out of the equation. You are giving the keys to everything you are, your pain, your joy, your pleasure and wander to someone else, then hoping they don’t go and drive it off the end of the cliff. I’ve always been enamoured by this idea, because its completely backwards to what we are designed as a species to do, yet so many people do it everyday.

What makes you question your overreaching need for self preservation?

We have a need to preserve ourselves, but a far more overpowering need is to thrive. We need to thrive because then and only then do we get to truly live. We have all been through some form of pain- a constant, overbearing weight you think you’re “supposed” to carry around, that you’re “supposed” to be exhausted at the end of the day while left with a stomach turning pain that you achieved nothing with yet another day. We are told that life “should” be painful, for without pain there is no beauty. But what you are “supposed” to do with it? That is entirely up to you. Hence I write.

I write. You paint, you build, you love. We need to thrive in order to live a life far outside the realms of what we see and what we believe. We thrive for the desire in your heart and the desire that is bursting from the very soul that drives you.

Driving you to what? To happiness- to success- to love?. Whatever it might be, we need to thrive and in the right situation and in the right headspace, the simple act of showing up every minute of everyday, working on yourself, being the best version of yourself is all you can ask of yourself.

For sure you could live to preserve life. Witness the structure laid out in front of you and take the steps as they are presented to you. See the walls laid out around you, make you bed and watch them close in. Be happy with what you got because the alternative is question your life, to question where you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. A population of free thinking, critical thinking people is scary.

Why? Because then you have a group of individuals that are learning and sharing with each other- to then eventually and inevitably become a vastly superior version of the people that went into that very group. Those people that went in reluctant, curious about what would happen, nervous about being judged, feeling like they were worthy only of ridicule as they opened the door of possibility, the idea that maybe they could be more, after continuously having it thrown back in their face and the door slammed with that sam unmistakable thud.

Without believing you live in a world where you could thrive in your creativity and your artistry, and not even having the mental tools to fight for this right, we will only preserve the constant cycle, the endless loop of nothing we call existence. Self preservation has the means to be powerful, but to thrive could be so much more.

So live, not only to sustain life, but to thrive.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

Feel the colour. DR