The Pursuit of Happiness

Good evening ladies and gentleman

The more i have pondered over these latest set of ideas and thought processes, i keep coming round to the same idea, the story keeps developing to the same conclusion. There is a pattern emerging, be that in my own behaviour or even the behaviour I’m seeing in others. In many ways, it starts with society and the way it works these days but moreover and much more importantly it’s your personal relationship with both society and yourself that is the key to how true self awareness is born and the potential to be truly happy.

This talk of the drums, the endless puzzles, laying it all out on the table and placing it in such a way that it will be understandable, lost in an idea of hope once you figure out how this one works “maybe you get to feel happy.”

Like it’s a result, it’s a victory born from some endless bloody struggle. Still- I digress…

We all spend so many hours of the day believing we want to be this “happy” or whatever that word means in modern society these days, to the point where we can spend years- decades even of our lives chasing it. This hugely wonderful esoteric- idea. Solve the million dollar puzzle and win the million dollar prize right?

Nice idea…but never something i’ve imagined to be quite so black and white. The problem with this idea at its essence is comfortable familiarity. Risk and reward. People, me at times- recognise their life and their feelings behind the endless everyday. You don’t like your life, but you know your life. The unfamiliar at times can be much scarier than any level of misery clinging onto whatever is left of you- feasting on the scraps. We are suckers for pain, because we know how pain feels. The rawness of pain loses its edge after a while and becomes a friend, a constant companion in a world making people so connected yet so very alone.

So. Imagine if you will a wall. A very tall, very wide wall protruding from deep within you- wrapping multiple times around you and joining back around, making what appears to be an impenetrable fortress. The ultimate defence for you, against you and the rest of the world. This wall is akin to said familiarity. You recognise these walls, their vast height, endless consistency and even their touch. The days are monotonous and the drums so very loud- yet you recognise them and are even thankful they are still there.

Before you lies an obstacle you probably didn’t recognise as an obstacle in truth. We think we want to change our lives, want something honest, something different- something “better.” When in truth we convince ourselves to aspire to this without ever wanting to go anywhere a lot of the time. Change the world and not have to get out of bed to do it etc.

I have spent many a day hoping, lost in a thought or idea that one day i will make my life better, be able to go there, do this, whatever it is. The world has led us to believe that happiness, much like love, is an emotion. Happiness is not an emotion, far from it. Happiness is nothing without something most fear more than anything else. Sacrifice. You have to give a part of yourself away to something, even give part of yourself back to society and build from the relationships you develop from it. You gave something to that partner who broke your heart, that left and they took that part of them with you. It’s not coming back yet you still gladly gave it away at the start. Why? In the pursuit of happiness.

To sacrifice a part of you, a part of your life that is so comforting, so familiar, to walk out onto the plank having no idea whether you will survive or be plunged to the murky depths below. When you are lost in a never ending cycle of comforting familiarity- the cycle is key. You are doing the same thing and feeling the same way and are OK with it, if not masking it in the hope of something more. Question then- how does one break the cycle?

Just do something different. Just something, not everything. Take away the power you give to that haunting fear of comfortable familiarity. Sacrifice your comfort for one small thing. See yourself not just survive…but thrive. When lost in an endless cycle, the only way to break the chain of events is one link at a time.

Sacrifice what you know in pursuit of what you might learn about yourself. Then, in this endless pursuit of happiness, we might just find some along the way.

Yours, with love as always

D.R x

For the Love of It

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Life can often seem very long and death so very far away. Neither of these statements are true, for life is short and death is the last sentence of what feels a remarkably short chapter. As i have grown, as i have evolved- skills of understanding have come with it, to look deeper into something rather than taking it all at face value as i have done before.

Through life we are all able to gain skills in whatever we do. Public speaking, painting, singing, a certain job role in which you have been employed a number of months or years. Whatever it is, the action of doing something repeatedly will in turn lessen the amount of mental pressure applied in order to complete the task. A skill must be maintained in order to stay at this level, hence the continuous need to do whatever “it” is in order to stay at what you believe or have been told is this “competent” skill level.

The development of a skill can be the making or breaking of a person. As you venture out into the world and into society the skills we develop become a part of us and they form a main part of the growth and evolution that allows us to blossom into not just who we are but ultimately who we want to be.

To evolve is to grow continuously, to make mistakes and not just accept what has happened but understand that you did something to upset or hurt someone even. From this mistake you learn how to be a better person, to understand people better, to empathise and create an environment in which you are putting only the best energies out into the world and receiving only the best back.

So what happens when evolution grinds to a halt? When the skills are no longer being developed, simply being…used? You feel left behind almost, left to simply do the same thing you did yesterday, the day before and the day before that? These age old cycles of necessary evil, skills becoming habits, requiring no thought. No skill has ever become a habit in the act of acting out the motions, doing what you are doing simply because there is nothing better to do.

Lockdowns and the COVID 19 pandemic has compounded this problem in recent months, for it’s very easy to become trapped in an idea, defeated by the sound of the never ending drums. The idea of “is this it?” or “surely there has to be something more to me than this?” and so on. Feeling like you aren’t worth any better, through the guise of not really feeling anything at all.

Depression and emotional numbness has been linked to one another for many years and maybe depression plays its part here. The lack of stimulation for life, the creative exhaustion, the habitual skills being used just to survive rather than allowing you to evolve and to thrive. The key to understanding a habit is to understand you may not even realise you are doing it, or the impact it’s having on you.

Right here, right now. Maybe you are sat on the sofa, lying in bed or casually scrolling your phone. You are here, in this moment, with me as you read this. This is the time now, the time that could make or break everything you are and everything you want to be. We all have dreams and so many of us deem them to be ridiculous. We have hopes, desires, interests, curiosities, jealousies and moments where we are green with envy. You want so badly to be living that life, in that moment maybe even with that particular person.

You don’t feel like you can, you think you are not capable, like you aren’t worth it. This is the self preservation part of those habits coming in, the way they infect your mind is to convince you that you are never going to get any better. “You’re doing well,” “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” The way you feel should correlate directly to the way you live your life. In simple terms if you don’t like your life- find a way to break that habit and overcome it.

Your habits want to break you, to ensure you live in the same old cycles, familiarity and comfort at the helm, adaptability and surprise nothing more than a memory. There is no beauty without risk, no passion without pain, no smile without a few tears. Habits will keep your soul locked in a box and down deep at the bottom of the biggest ocean it can find, purely to ensure their own safety while saying its “for your own good.”

To force a diamond to be created from coal, they must first apply extreme levels of heat. The same could be said for you. The habits you create could easily pigeon hole your life into a mere existence, or you could rise up, through the voices in your head, through the doubts and pains, anxieties and fears. Through all that wishes to break you lies a scene of wondrousness unparalleled to anything you or I have seen before, providing a clarity clearer than any stone could ever be.

You could very easily be broken by habits, your soul locked away after you happily handed it over. I know I’ve been there before and I’m sure some of you have too. But to break the very things that want to hold you down, to hold you back. The actions that limit your growth and deny you the chance to evolve? Every time i write something i feed a skill, an artful skill to me and do all i can to avoid the black hole that habits can become.

Why?

For the love of it. It’s the best reason there will ever be. For the love of it.

Yours, with love as always.
D.R. x

The Puzzlemaster

Good evening ladies and gentleman

Do you think you know when you change? maybe that’s wrong- when you..evolve? Is change born from within, from stereotypes or from more external factors? You have a child, fall in love, confess that love, move to another part of the world, lose love, become so drowned in overbearing anguish you start to wander if you’ll ever feel anything else- but moreover will you want to? The familiarity of pain is a constant reminder, a comfortable companion in a wanting ultimately to control you as you languish in stagnation.

What does it take for you to genuinely look at yourself and question everything you thought you knew about yourself? How far must one go before one looks inwards- to the thoughts and beliefs constructing one’s own personality in the face of all this pain, the negativity, the lack of feeling progression or any sort of succession. Those drums….the never ending drums.

I, for many years have adopted this system in taking in as much information as i can from people- almost like a sponge. I have taken in as much of a person’s behaviour as i could, understood it to the best of my ability and subsequently used this to what i believed was “predict” their future thoughts and feelings. I have for many years believed people were puzzles made up of patterns, because the alternative was that I actually cared, fearful it could be used against me ultimately, foreseeing my inevitable downfall into humiliation.

I was forced to see this behaviour recently and i am since taking steps to address this habit, controlling who i let into my life and who i choose to trust, to have faith in the humanity of good people where i have for many years done all I can to remove all humanity from behaviour. The thought being if i break people down to their constituent parts (like pieces of a jigsaw, ) look at their behaviours rationally and without emotion i would have better clarity dealing with them.

The thing with a “puzzle” and taking emotion away from a situation in order to avoid something not quite stacking up, when a piece is thrown into the mix that from any angle just doesn’t fit or couldn’t be predicted- i would lose it. The system would error out, warning signs and error messages. The fear of comfortable stagnation reared once again and there i am left. Confused, isolated and so very unsure of my next step in the world.

When you spend so long predicting, rationalising and generalising how people are living their lives- you are going to be right some of the time. When it comes down to it, the idea you have predicted this person’s future and can now predict and deduce everything about them is nothing more than an idea- your idea of them.

Truth is it’s a very lonely way to live and certainly not a place to love, because when all is said and done, you have ideas about everyone in your life. Who they are, how they feel, their loves, hates, fears. Their most angelically devilish fantasies and darkest fears. You don’t really know if any of its true though- because you don’t really know anyone at all.

Not really.

When you get lost in the idea of something, in a theory of their supposedly “predictable” behaviour you are not connecting with that person, you have no chemistry with them at all. In reality you have become so closed off to the point where the puzzle is all you know and its all you want to know. The puzzle brings comfort, the puzzle brings calm. The fear of solving the puzzle is powerful, for a puzzlemaster’s work is never ever done.

If you showed this person you have these\ carefully constructed ideas- would they recognise themselves? If you showed that person this version of them I don’t think have any idea who they are looking at, let alone been confident and trusting enough in you to show the side of themselves they daren’t look at in the mirror. Telling someone they’re in pain is like convincing someone that they are lonely. It only really impacts when they figure it out for themselves and you telling them how they feel isn’t going to benefit anyone or anything other than your ego.

Net result of that is you are going to lose someone you care about, sacrificing another potential connection, chemistry born through fire for the puzzlemaster. No change, no evolution, just pieces on a board, with nothing other than a cinder burning in your soul. Never has the phrase “you won the battle but lost the war” felt more appropriate. So you think you pieced it together- but at what cost? Is solving that puzzle and feeling this out of it because you lost someone who mattered, someone you care about with more depth than you ever imagined yourself capable- worth losing for the pieces of a jigsaw?

Ironically, in times like this the puzzle is king. Loneliness can be deduced away, by figuring out something about her or him that they hadn’t seen. Predicting how your next social connection will go, what you should say, what you shouldn’t say. Being ready for everything and not slipping up like that again.

It is a form of self blame, a form of self loathing for sure. Why open yourself up to someone for it to be thrown back in your face? Why are you going to open yourself up to being heartbroken when all you found out last time is that you have nothing to offer?

So sure your right, with a back catalogue of errors and fuck ups to show how much of brilliant system you have. When you realise your entire belief system about yourself and the people you care about, even the people you love is built from the ideas you have about them and not them as people you realise how disconnected you really are.

The puzzle cannot save you from that. The idea of ever completely solving the puzzle is terrifying, because your not supposed to. Taking away the feeling in a situation doesn’t make the situation easier to handle. It just means you go through life avoiding situations that have the possibility to make you feel truly awful, but could potentially allow you feelings of overwhelming joy.

Protect yourself, from yourself and life will never really evolve. You will just spin on the spot with nothing but the drums, the drums…the never ending drums for company. The puzzle will not stop the drums.

Evolution comes through pain- through raw, unfiltered emotion. Going into things on a hope and a prayer and not caring how the outcome lands, even if it landed on snake eyes, be proud you seized your moment and did it anyway. You live, learn and keep on living. Not everyone deserves all of you and you will never see all of everyone. Some will hate you, some will not trust you, some will spend so long convincing themselves you are the devil. It doesn’t matter what they think, as much as you had your ideas of them, they have their ideas of you.

To believe something real about someone, connect with them on some deeper meaning, beyond anything you know and getting lost in the idea of them is very different. People will do what people do, they will talk, they will run, they will hide, they will shout, they will scream. Your focus is you and your evolution- their evolution is their problem. If we learn to concentrate on what we put out into the world and how we act, doing all we can to act as authentically and as close to our true selves as we can- maybe its possible to promote this behaviour in others.

Your life is only one thing- above all else- yours.

Your understanding and love for those who mean anything stems ultimately from you and what you feel you deserve. Truth is- you deserve the world. Are you this beautiful soul, trying hard to live and love as close to who you choose to be everyday? Are you working on yourself, improving yourself, evolving to be the man or woman living a life you can be proud of?

Are you the master of your life?…or just the Puzzlemaster?

Yours, with love as always.

D.R. x

The Sound of the Drums

Good evening ladies and gentleman

The drums…the drums…the never ending drums. The beat, the thud, the tone, the sound resonating through the darkest parts of your soul. Again, again and again, the same beat. 4 drums. Like a number sequence you can’t quite shake off. 1111.1111.1111.1111.1111…

You drive to make the sound go away. The endless noise, living in a world where people are talking so much and sharing so much nothing is precious anymore, nothing more than a commodity for barter. Yet still, no matter what we do. The drums….the never ending drums.

This information age, a phrase i’ve used and obsessed over for far too long now, is a symptom of the monotony of life. When everything sounds and feels the same, when the patterns become habits, when all you can hear is the drums. The drums that wake you, the drums that put the same food in your mouth, that give you the same conversations for the same amount of time, before you go home and watch the same shows until you get to the point of barely being able to keep your eyes open anymore. Only to go to bed and do it all again tomorrow.

I choose to believe for life to evolve from a simple existence- the key component is information. In the information age this is tricky, because there are two types of information. There is information, the useful tools and subsequent knowledge that is going to give you the tools to get up, carry on, keep it moving and be able to evolve. Then on the flip side, information’s dirty little secret, the twin kept in the attic out of shame, with more of a presence in the world than ever before….disinformation.

Or as the former president of the United States would say- “fake news.”

There is so much…everything in the world. The world is so full of stuff and noise, power, pain and beauty. It’s just so full and we continue to grow as a species, physically and intellectually so quickly we can barely keep up with production. From “how to make your fortune overnight” to “meet sexy new partners in your area” to “for the small fee of $99.99..” We live in the greatest time to be alive for so very many things, all written up to make life look so easy- as if it is all going to be handed to us.

Everyone has an idea, everyone has a scheme. Everyone’s idea about how to play the game, they think, is so much better than yours, than mine. Whatever they think they’re going to do, they hope, will lessen the sound of the drums. The endless drums, the hope that tomorrow won’t be like today.

The information age will tell you so much…and so little. The world is selfish, it doesn’t care about you- it doesn’t need to. Its only need is to sustain itself, and giving you the time of day isn’t ever going to be a part of that sustenance. You, I, all of us- we are in is a giant machine and you are, right now- a cog. A piece of a machine, the day a revolution of that cog, the drums the sound of the machine. A machine that demands productivity in order to create money, to give us the means to do what we can to dull the sound of the never ending drums.

This age doesn’t want us to be successful, because for there to be productivity there needs to be people to work the machine. You are there everyday, listening to the sounds you know by now. The phone rings, the pitter patter of keys across the office as you flash to the videos you were sent of you children growing as you sat at your desk trying to focus on anything but the sound of the never ending drums.

How does one listen to the sound of the never ending drums for so long and find a way to carry on? To work, power and struggle through those days, confident and consistent in the belief that you can find a way to live beyond that sound, the endless sound.

1111.1111.1111.1111…

How does one live a life worth living? How do we evolve from the monotony of existence? Is it even possible? Is it possible to get away from the sound of the drums?

Do you simply have to solve the puzzle? Slot the pieces of the jigsaw together and hope you recognise the picture looking back at you?

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

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