Talking to the moon

 

Time is a thread outstretched in whatever remains of August sunshine. The light dims as quickly as it reappears.

My father’s thumb and index finger pinch the string with apprehension. His hand leans on my mother’s loosening grip.

Is this growth?

At the other end of time, a figure moves in recession.

 

 

Canada and The Youth

 

It seems that it will always be popular to label younger generations as “hopeless” and “lazy” members of society. The justifications for these claims are most often backhanded jabs in the form of back-in-my-days and when-I-was-a-kids. While there is a lot to be learned from our elders, references to old times in the form of accusations always prove reactionary. In other words, people who perpetuate these messages are well aware of their divisive nature.

Despite disengagement at the polls, our youth are civically engaged, and participating members of the political process. From online petitions and boycotts to protests, we are voicing our concerns and thoughts on Canadian politics at the Federal level very loudly. A new culture of political engagement is being nurtured through these actions. Additionally, the demand for an accountable government reflects a larger, more intimate desire: Canadians are seeking a culture of accountability, in which the sum total of our actions as citizens is understood to be the foundation of the country we call home. With that vision in mind, we have already begun to create the Canada we want for ourselves and for generations to come.

Fuelled by resentment of injustice, our young people rallied together this past electoral season and demanded that the next government be founded on transparency and honest work, with priorities that align with our own. These efforts are commendable in their own right, but civic engagement of this kind is the responsibility of all citizens of a democratic nation. From the creation of Bill-C51 to muzzling our scientists, the previous government was deliberately silencing many voices, especially those of young people. This lack of meaningful commitment from the government led to many of us tuning out. Samara Canada’s Democracy 360 Report Card touches on this, recommending that MPs act as “reliable two-way links between the government and citizens”.

Young people fill me with hope for Canada’s future. We are willing to dream and maintain that our country is not perfect, but that it does hold tremendous potential. Our country is also a living, breathing thing: it has a past that we are responsible for recognizing and keeping alive, a present that we must acknowledge and innovate within, and a future that today’s actions will shape and that our past will inform.

 

 

Experience and The Story

In this life, our greatest source of inspiration is experience. Thanks to it, we cling to happenstances and feelings that etch and embed themselves in our psyche, constituting a huge part of who we are as individuals. Experience is described as having things happen to you, as well as what things we see and do, associated more often than less with a realm outside of the individual’s range of influence and direction.

In stretching the definition of ‘experience’, however, it becomes clear that it is much more than retrospective impassivity at best. Think of experience as the sum of what you are feeling and thinking at times of being, decision-making, dreaming and creating. When experience becomes a palpable awareness of one’s presence, individuals wield immense power in the creation of the story they would like to live.

This is called story-building. In the process of building your story comes the freedom of also sharing it. When we truly seize the essence of what experience can be, the range of narratives at our disposal lean towards the infinite. These possibilities have always been ‘potentials’, but they are now a part of the dominion of the probable.

As we move away from a definition of experience established on notions of external validation and evaluation, we get closer to a portrait of the individual who is less a product of circumstance and more a creator of reality.

 

Why You Should Get into an Argument

You might not be keen on the idea of being torn apart in a debate, but challenging your belief system is intellectually expanding.

A few weeks ago, I got into two arguments simultaneously (bless the Internet) on the topic of racism. Surely, we can collectively agree that race-based violence and prejudices target ethnically marginalized groups in particular. Having said that, both of these friends decided to challenge a belief that I strongly hold: that racism cannot be directed towards a socio-economically dominant group, specifically white people.

As you can imagine, I became defensive and although I didn’t resort to finger-pointing and shaming, I did feel attacked in the most intimate way I could. My views were being challenged and I, as an individual, felt invalidated. I squirmed in the insecurity that surfaced and discomfort pervaded the atmosphere. I shut off my phone.

Later that night, I turned my phone back on. Both of these people had expressed views that I instantly disagreed with, but more importantly, views I hadn’t even considered before. One of the debates moved in the direction of semantics and I had yet to consider the significance of how the word “racism” was defined. More than anything, I felt defeat.

In retrospect, the both debates contributed to my knowledge base. When all was said and done, I had acquired new perspectives and my safely-guarded opinions were shaken up.

This is important and I cannot stress that enough.

Engaging in conversation is merely an exchange of information, with varying degrees of intimacy. Argumentation, however, has the added dimension of explicitly challenging the views and beliefs of the party with whom we are participating in an exchange with. In order to be a good argumentator, one must first demonstrate that the opinions they are defending are true. Then, they must study beforehand the arguments that their opponent might deploy.

Beyond argumentation, challenging your beliefs benefits you more than anyone else involved in the exchange. Often times debates are sparked when polar views are expressed.  Two individuals can carry very different truths and most of the time, they will mutually discredit the validity of the other’s opinion.

To disprove a belief, the naive debater will seek to impose their position without justification on an empirical basis; on the other hand, the weathered debater will state the opinion of the other and proceed to dismantle it with tools such as statistics, scientific data and literature, historical context, as well as other methods of analysis relevant to the context of the debate.

As you can see, the wise and weathered debater possesses the knowledge necessary for conversion, but the humility to question themselves.

When argumentation becomes an exercise for the Self, it allows you to see that there are many ways to believe and directions of thought to explore. As a society, we should be more wary of deceiving ourselves than of being challenged by the positions of others. You just might surprise yourself.

Purpose

Today, I stood in my driveway for half an hour staring at the sky.

As a kid, I would make a game out of chasing the moon with our car and disappointment ensued whenever the moon would leave my sight.

Today, I looked up there and hoped for the moon to look back at me once more. Instead, I found that stars lit up the sky. Slowly, but surely, the glinting spread across a deep blue canvas and the night shined on.

We are often running mindlessly in search of something we have yet to be acquainted with; a far-away thought captivates us and we are charmed forever.

As your run grows longer in duration, your breathing steadies and the pain in your knees becomes second-nature. You realize that you are pining after an undefined vision with a mechanical mind on a dark road in the middle of the night. You slow your pace, and soon enough, your feet come to a full stop.

You are alone and you are afraid of what you can’t see, but more importantly, you are afraid of what you don’t know. This fear is a dead-end with no options so you must resolve that it is unfounded.

The moon you were running after isn’t high up in the clouds today. Neither her face nor her backside are visible. You squint in frustration in an attempt to shut out the screaming judgement for having failed.

Your judgement for having failed.

Indeed, you have determined that you hold the rank of “Failure” before even setting a scale.

Your eyelids silence the ground till right under the heavy blue and you find yourself admiring a glimmering sheet above your head.

No more running. A stroll of appreciation for a small gesture by the universe.

No Dawn, No Day

I get attached to verses of a song. It’s like tasting something strange for the first time and not being able to get enough of it. You then go on to dissect, introspect, and mull it over some more.

The line of the day is “No dawn, no day” from Florence + The Machine’s Cosmic Love  that I love oh so much.

The meaning that this work has taken on for me is profound. It speaks to a tendency of choosing to go along with what is safe but finding oneself in the dark in the end. More precisely, it is about sacrificing your right to thought and dreaming for another’s.

In the song, the Florence sings the story of mistaking her love for something they weren’t. In light of this discovery, she is bound by a night with no visible end, alone in the darkness. But I think that is how she finds herself.

It’s the story of following one’s unreliable love into a meadow and finding oneself alone. Be it a literal lover or a tie you haven’t yet mustered the courage to sever, it’s the silencing of your heart for the sake of someone else’s happiness. At first, this seems generous, but I’ve only ever seen the fault in it after confronting feelings of lividity.

In this verse, I find solace in knowing that the darkest hour precedes the dawn and that the morning will come.

 

Inside, Out.

The lovely aspects of transitioning to post-secondary education include choosing to study what you want, hence making an intentional investment in your education (I would hope this decision was made with intention), ridding yourself of an entourage that you never really quite fit into, and waking up closer to the life you want if your subject of study has any relevance at all to your aspirations.

The ugly is just ugly, though. It’s waking up a week before the midterm you forgot you even had and wondering if you’re doing anything with your life. It’s thinking of everything you could do with the thousands of dollars you spent on your education and realizing that you could only use that money for school, anyway. The worst part perhaps is realizing that in your profound loneliness while taking this big step into the immense (and expensive… Oh so expensive) world of academia, you’ve come to find that you truly don’t know yourself yet.

As the summer neared its end, I ruptured relationship after relationship that no longer served me. I came to see that in the constant tension that I had accepted on the grounds of being “Everyday Life”, I had allowed my boundaries to be disrespected. At times, I pondered where things went wrong and how I could have attracted so much incompatibility into my life. Every time, it all led back to me. While growing up, we are taught mannerisms pertaining to interpersonal relationships and external decency. Somewhere in that limbo of socialization, we are taught to show care and attention to those we love; in my upbringing, those people never included myself.

For a very long time, I was confined to the person my parents and friends wanted me to be. Of course, they didn’t want awful things for me, but only I could know what it is that I am meant to seek and find in this life. Because I wasn’t acting on intention, all my actions were solely directed to the outside and I never learned to carry out interactions with myself.

How was I supposed to hold myself accountable to attaining my goals when I hadn’t even developed a conscious relationship with my Self? How was I to know what I wanted without ever looking inside of myself?

I am still forging the path to Who I Am and Who I Aspire to Be. Throughout this process, I have been learning from the insecurities I’ve projected onto my relationships and exchanges with friends, family and acquaintances alike, without judgement. I am reclaiming the right to listen to my inner voice and amplifying its thoughts when it speaks. I am searching for my truth and committed to honouring it.

I, like many others, so easily admire the shades of pink that colour a flower’s petals, but have been so quick to dismiss the labours of its roots and the earth that contains them as unpleasant.

Why?

I’m new here.

I wonder if this will go anywhere, but in the making of this post, I knew it would. This is me figuring it out and you watching me go through the motions and a little bit more.

I like to think that everything happens for a reason, yet I know from somewhere deeper that everything works according to an order; this world is run by a greater synchronicity and sometimes, I feel like I am swimming against the tide.

This is me – again – searching for my place in the workings of the watch before the big hand strikes midnight.