Thursday, June 24, 2010

Before Everything

It has been almost a month, since Al went from being an excellent student to an unemployed couch potato. She couldn't say she was bored, but there was really not much she could do. She usually just sit around all day, watching whatever is on TV, or doing the occasional designing projects--which don't come very often either. She began to have this plentiful of spare time, and that means, she began to have the opportunity to reminisce.

That day, her thoughts wander few years back, about a long conversation she had over an afternoon walk in some strange town with not-so-strange man. No, she was no Julie Delpy and he was no Ethan Hawke. But the situation came very close to the one they shared. Come to think of it, the voice... the deep and heavy voice, resembles much of his voice.

"People are strange, you know," Al strolled down the street in her loose white top and worn-out jeans. It was warm that day.

"Strange how?" he asked. He was texting, but it was as if he was so ready to get involved in this conversation as it started.

"I mean, we are socially-induced creatures, right? So there's no way we can live without one another. We will need our friends, our family, and all of our actions depend on their actions and their thoughts, their point of view. Even though we declare we don't care about what they say, even not caring is a response of society's expectations toward our traits, right? We desperately need other people to justify our very existence in this world," Al's eyes wandered toward an ice cream stall across the street.

"Yes, of course. Social-constructivism. I exist because everybody says I do." he sneaked his phone into his jeans pocket.

"Exactly! But the strange thing is," Al paused. "...we get really tired of each other sometimes."

Her legs made a right turn, despite the fact that she didn't know where she was going. But he didn't seem to mind. He would have enjoyed getting lost, if that means he could spend more time with her.

"If I were to make up a disorder to explain who I am, I would say I'm a compulsive competitor." Al chuckled. "Like, I have this huge urge to satisfy myself by being better than everybody else. Even a tiny reward like a simple compliment would be my booster. You know what I mean?"

"Some might say you're an overachiever." He smiled gently.

"No, that's the point. I'm not. I don't come top in class, I don't excel in every subject I could put my hands on--hell, I don't even put my hands on much subjects. But I have this constant need to do great in things others can do okay. The need to be praised, to look good. It's... exhausting."

"Aren't we supposed to feel the way you do? I mean, us youths, who have this big burden on our shoulders to do better than our predecessors did?" he brushed her hand a little, to make her know they were turning left.

"If we are, I think it's sick," she said. "You know, I used to have these terrible nightmares in which I am an assassin or an outlaw, or something, just running and running and running like something was chasing me. But then I came to this alley, a dead-end, with brick walls around me... and there was a person. That person was kneeling in front of me, I couldn't see the face clearly. Then I reached to my back and the next thing I knew I was pointing a gun to that very face. And I pulled the trigger. Just like that."

"That's pretty haunting," commented he.

"Yeah, and I always woke up sweating and my heart was pounding hard. Like I was really running, and the gunshot I heard really came from my gun." she could feel the nightmare creeping up to her vividly.

"Maybe every one of us has this sort of reality we always would want to run from. I have this dream of running, too, every once in a while. And I'd like to think it's normal. Because, face it, life's full of shit. It doesn't always come around the way we want. Sometimes it even goes, thousands of miles from what we expected it to be," he walked slower, like he was deep in thought. "I think we are entitled to run away sometimes. Calm ourselves."

"But what if, it's not the reality I'm running away from? It's the dream. The ideal world created by society?" Al spoke in a soft voice. "What if, I'm running away from society itself? From my friends? It's like, I am in fact an outlaw because I didn't do what their ideal norms expect me to do?"

"Then the best you can do is try. When you get really tired, then you outcast yourself. Re-prioritize. Create your own comfort zone, and succumb to it. Until you're ready and you'll start from scratch." he shrugged. "Though as cruel as it is, the world doesn't wait for you to get back on your feet."

"Yes. So this is what I do. Alone. Because nobody else can feel what I feel, and I have no right to expect otherwise. All we can do is take care of ourselves."

They came to an intersection. It was getting dark and it got pretty quiet. Out of nowhere, Al felt a hand holding hers. He murmured something she couldn't make out, then he guided her across the road.


Al sighed. The sun felt gentle on her face. She planted her feet into the short grass below. She shut her eyes, reliving every scene once again. She was running. With him. She opened her eyes.

And there he was.

The voice.

In flesh.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Color Me Wild

How much of a difference can two people have until they're just plain... different? If God were a fan of uniformity, wouldn't he had just create clones of Adam instead of pairing him with Eve so they can mate and produce a variety of children?

Forgive me for being forward, but God loves colors. It is proven in all His creations, all the different types of insects, of mammals, of fishes, of bacterias, of everything! Then why, oh why, do we defy God's will to preserve those differences in one big harmony that completes one another in His grand design?

Al acknowledge within her heart that every single piece in this giant puzzle is unique. This, she didn't learn the easy way. It took most of her high school era, throughout her college life. There's no low or high, things are just different. But like all the differences there is, this piece of mind she couldn't share with everyone else.

A certain part of her life insists to be more like her. It's flattering, sure, but at the same time, it's bothering her. Because now she has to live with discontentment coloring her world. She doesn't go well with discontentment. For her it's just a relentless journey that leads nowhere.

"Why would anyone try so hard to be someone else, when they can use their time and energy trying to be the best of themselves?" she whispered to the void.

As the gentle fall breeze strikes her cheek, she tries to understand it all. "And why do I have to be the one preaching when it's really not my responsibility?"

She thought about the voice again. Pan. He hasn't been around. No matter how hard she tries to think of him, he never shows up. It's like, he evaporated through the air she breathes and becomes a part of herself, always telling her what to do. But she'd like to hear his voice again. To know that certain things she knows are actually real.

Why am I always the one to blame? To take responsibility? To be tough, to be... able? For once in my life I want to take a back seat, to see where the driver's going and really trust him that he would bring me to places I will most enjoy. Sometimes, there's a great chance I really desire to be taken care of, for a change.
-Alana Stidenick

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Lovely Bones

It's easy to spot one's flaw when you're standing in a distance, right?
For Al, it was as easy to spot her own flaws and derangements. She never thought she would be this bitter poison, going around hating people because they seem slightly more successful than she is. No, she was always optimistic. She never needed the strange colorful dream she had a couple of months ago. But then again, everything feels overwhelmingly different now. It was as if, somehow, she had managed to destroy herself, blame everyone else for it, and stay put.

"I don't understand the state I am in," she said to someone, once, as she quietly whispered to herself, "who are you?"

It's like losing directions, like standing in the middle of an opening, the sky above and endless grass field below. With no limitations, no street signs, no trees, no stars, nothing to guide her. Not even a voice. That voice she had been waiting to hear, but never did for quite a while. For a split second, she thought she was angry. The promise he had made for her, seemed to have been flushed down the drain.

But no.
She's not angry. She's just... at loss.

It's just like grieving, you can't really get yourself up but the world doesn't have the intention of waiting for you either. And she had never thought, that change would be this perplexing.