The mess of writing

I have been documenting the highs of writing: the adrenaline and joy of creating a tangible piece of my mind.

I have experimented with fictional characters that embody my character and have included narrations of my voice. Yet, there are more lows than highs lately. There is the infamous writer’s block, the procrastination, the distractions and then, then there’s this:

The anxiety of doubting one’s work, the mess left of the room you inhabit with handwritten notes, the books you picked up to get inspired and left after thirty pages and the fear that some things cannot be expressed. This is my vulnerable mess.

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Journal Entries

These are merely simple notes taken days before I met you and interactions I wanted to remember after I did. I was happy before you introduced yourself. But I’ve been happier since.

Prague

04.11.18

My mind has surely been cultivating years before my birth.

I am currently sat in my Visual Culture class and just received my mid-term paper. I got an A-. It would have been an A but my professor lowered the grade due to my handwriting.

I ended up waking up at 12. I ate breakfast, rolled a cigarette and drank my pre-made, gas station coffee while smoking out of my window. I still get anxious when smoking out of any window during the day. I always fear someone will look up at me or that my landlord or my roommates will see me. You see, smoking is strictly forbidden in the apartment. 2 months later, I am still convincing myself that as long as the smoke goes outside it, it’s okay. I know I’m full of shit.

05.11.18

I finished my sociology class, got my usual ham, cheddar and tomato sandwich, talked to Mary, Katie and Zu and headed to Staromestska. On my way across the bridge, a man was taking a photograph of his family, so I waited until he was done. He looked at me and told me to walk. So I did. And he yelled something that I assumed was “stop! Stop!” So I yelled “Ay, Oh my God!” and both the man, the family and I burst out laughing.

Life is good. It’s great. I looked for the paper store again to buy the typewriter roll and stopped at a beautiful hand-made souvenir store “Smantin”. I asked the woman who worked there for directions to a nearby store and she gave me the same directions that the man at the last store gave me. I found it!

I bought two rolls and now I am having an espresso in the street close to the centre. You order at the bar inside, which is great because I can leave whenever I please without having to ask for the bill (I am too impatient for bills).

As I wrote about the souvenir store, I looked over and saw a man sitting next to me. With his coffee. Also writing. And with a cigarette pack placed similarly to mine. I am so happy, Angela. Thank you for deciding that which made your life yours.

A young man just sat on the table that stands between the man and I. He is reading an old Czech book. He sighs loudly as if to get me to notice him. I smirk every time he does and keeps writing. I wonder if he notices me notice every detail he allows me to note down. He smokes Marlboro Gold, the cigarettes I smoke when I have money. Plenty of it. I haven’t smoked them in a while. His friend

just sat next to me. And I hope they both read in silence and smoke in between chapters as they discuss things worth mentioning.

The young man just put his book away. They have not talked yet. I like their relationship. They might be together. 

An old man just used the chair in front of mine to lay his briefcase and the young man and I smile every time we glance at him. His back wasn’t straight enough to stand well. He must have been an incredible man. Hard working. 

The men (boys, really) have begun their conversation. They are laughing. I am so happy. This, here, is bliss. A type of bliss I thought could only be experienced in Summer. I think, now, that I like winter too.

A thought I had while smoking:

People only appreciate things when they are called art. I think that is why I am my own muse. Why I desire to make myself and the beauty I have treasured eternally through means such as writing, shitty paintings, podcasts and photographs of myself.

It is not ego. It is appreciation. That way, I will never need anyone to do it for me. I am independently in a state of love.

Isn’t that beautiful?

06.11.18

I would love to move to Cuba before turning 20. Or at the age of 20. I would like to have a one-room apartment and write for as long as I need to. For as long as I desire to prolong the time I now make time for. I would talk to elders who have been the last witnesses of what love was. We will drink rum and mock the way I smoke cigars. I would love to sit on my balcony for enough hours to call it a day. I want to fall in love with music in a way beyond the way I do now. I want to feel the sun on my face and learn to dance the way my mother learnt at an age before mine. I want to view passion the way I have felt it. I want to wear dresses and forget about the way beauty is shown in the streets we call public. I would love to interview women who speak a Spanish I have called broken before. I want to apologise for being ignorant at an age that we call acceptable. I want to warn them that I will not ruin their city or call their streets mine. I want to be accepted, not pass by locals as someone due to leave soon. I will write letters and exile my love to crave loving further. I want to make a decision that does not affect the future as I see it but strengthens the days I see ahead. I want to be happy in a place people will question. I want to call myself home.

Cuba-05.11.18 Angela (Age 19)

07.11.18

I don’t want this notebook to end. I fear that I can’t continue this bliss for a thousand pages more. I am aware that it is simply a binding of pages, yet they have been holding my life for over a year. Mine. Not the one I shared and forgot to write about but the one I, and only I have experienced and dwelled on. I only fear change when life feels as rewarding as it has been feeling. This feeling should be fucking eternal. How lucky to be my own companion.

At the same time, however, I am excited to start a new journal. I am in love with this one. But it holds things that have been causing grief. I fell in love with it while I fell in love with someone who has left. The next one could hold Miles’ response to my mailed letter, a trip to Italy alone, a new name, progress in my writing or growing changes that will evoke a bigger purpose to write. I might write in it from balconies. I might feel affection towards someone new, adapt to my mess, quit my job, or have fallen in love with it.

Femininity- An endless chapter

I realised that femininity is vulnerability, often hidden by men in order to avoid the lack of masculinity. It’s the choice of using everything that applies to beauty from your perspective. I now choose what makes me feel feminine. It can be a red dress or black overalls with a bandana around my natural hair and small hoops that peak through my waves. It is being naked when I am alone and naked with him. It is having the choice to avoid shaving and the choice to crave a silk-like surface on my legs. It is making mistakes and smiling at those who see it and crying as if shame had never been invented. It is sitting on a balcony and feeling like life won’t stop for you, and you wouldn’t choose for it to stop.

After years of doubting where happiness could originate from; I found it. It’s where I am and what I turn the place into. On a sunny day, you will find me in my balcony, or any balcony for that matter. I will be wearing a yellow jumpsuit, a red tied-on top with white polka dots or my very well-utilised red bathing suit top. On a good day, joined by good company, you will find me topless. I will have a cup of espresso with no sugar and no milk, accompanied by long overdue coffee cups that I should put in the sink, and a cigarette in between my two right fingers. I’ll be wearing my hoop earrings that decorate my naked face and I will sit on the floor so that the neighbour’s gardener doesn’t see me. I will be writing. About anything. And everything about that. I will be deep in thought about the things time does not stop for. I will look happy; even if I am not smiling. And I think that the feeling of happiness exudes femininity. It exudes it in a way that a smile will never be able to.

 

Charles Bukowski- Sleep for 3 days

 

I have periods where, you know, when I feel a little weak or depressed. Fuck it! The Wheaties aren’t going down right. I just go to bed for three days and four nights, pull down all the shades and just go to bed. Get up. Shit. Piss. Drink a beer down and go back to bed. I come out of that completely re-enlightened for 2 or 3 months. I get power from that.

I think someday…they’ll say this psychotic guy knew something that…you know in days ahead and medicine, and how they figure these things out. Everybody should go to bed now and then, when they’re down low and give it up for three or four days. Then they’ll come back good for a while.

But we’re so obsessed with, we have to get up and do it and go back to sleep. In fact there’s a woman I’m living with now, get’s around 12:30, 1pm, I say: “I’m sleepy. I want to go to sleep.” She says: “What? You want to go to sleep, it’s only 1pm!” We’re not even drinking, you know. Hell, there’s nothing else to do but sleep.

People are nailed to the processes. Up. Down. Do something. Get up, do something, go to sleep. Get up. They can’t get out of that circle. You’ll see, someday they’ll say: “Bukowski knew.” Lay down for 3 or 4 days till you get your juices back, then get up, look around and do it. But who the hell can do it cause you need a dollar. That’s all. That’s a long speech, isn’t it? But it means something.

My Mother

 

Before I begin, I need to explain who my mother is as a person. I need to write about Her. I use ‘Her’ with a capital ‘H’ because if God should be written with a capital letter, my mother deserves Her name to be spelt ‘ESTHER’. The concept of having it written with a capital ‘G’ is meant to symbolise respect and admiration. And no one has earned that more than my mother has. My mother and Frida Kahlo are the two women who embody life and act as the epitome of womanhood.

Esther is an individual before any other title; even if She prioritises the role of a mother above all else. She is the purest form of kindness. You see, when most children state their mother’s favourite flowers, they state names such as; roses, tulips or daises. I stay silent when this conversation sparks as my mother is the entire garden that holds their mother’s favourite flowers. Esther is the outskirts of Amsterdam and the landmark tourists and locals find too beautiful to argue over. I simply could not narrow her down further. So I don’t even try. I was young when I began to admire Her for who She was rather than what She was to me.

Esther likes humble environments and is the only person who could turn Fashion Week in Milan a charity event. She can walk around in a Louis Vuitton handbag and you will know, from the way she smiles at everyone around Her, that She deserves it.

She doesn’t like the feel of makeup, which is great for a five-year-old who can’t stop kissing her cheek. She does, however, love wearing red lipstick. When She wears mascara, it smudges on Her lid because She can’t keep her eyes closed or still for too long- She can’t stay still in general for too long. She knows that She’s needed 24 hours on the clock. She holds your hand and it feels like a life jacket being tied around your body in the shallowest pool. And it sometimes hurts because of the simple rings that decorate Her fingers. Her hands are always cold. And She will apologise when you react to them as She reaches to get the thermometer away from your underarm. But I guarantee, you will not care about any of that while She holds yours. That is why I cannot get a blood test or tolerate a plane take-off if I am not holding Her hand.

She is simple. She loves simple things. But when She wears them, they are no longer that: simple. She regrets not having studied. But I don’t think She realises that university is for those who need a direction within their intelligence. And Esther already has it. If my mother would have studied, She probably would have cured cancer. Instead, She cured my loneliness and my homesickness every single day. It might not be as grand as curing cancer. But it cured me. Which probably gave Her enough hope to keep being as nurturing as She has always been. How do I know this? Just hug Her. Whoever invented the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ didn’t know my mother. It would take my mother to raise a village.

I feel guilty that only a sum of people has met Her. Sometimes I want to make a post about Her go viral, or have someone discover Her and name Her Mother Theresa the second. It simply isn’t fair that I have Her as my mother.

Esther is strong. So fucking strong. For reasons no one in her circle understands. I live to understand how the most nurturing person in the world could lose a child. It’s a question I hope has been answered for Her. My mother is lonely. Not out of choice, of course. She is the liveliest bird forced to be kept in a cage, being told every year that She should appreciate what the cage is filled with. My mother has left Her country and everything within it and it hasn’t paid off yet. Eleven years later- it hasn’t paid off. My mother needs more. My mother deserves more. My mother deserves a plaque in her town and the carnicero to wait for Her every Tuesday morning. She deserves to feel pretty before going to Mercadona due to the numerous smiles she will encounter. Esther needs to talk to strangers. I inherited that the moment I could speak. Esther needs to feel surrounded by kindness.

My mother is the epitome of a Spanish woman. She wears red, floral patterns and loves to dance. She dances like she is translating ‘viva la vida!’ to the deaf. And you will smile back, holding back your response: ’viva!’

She is a friend. And how unfair that people don’t know how to be Her friend. That has to be the greatest tragedy this goddamn world has ever witnessed. And I hope that with every coffee, I can be 5 percent of the friend She deserves. She listens. And acknowledges that I do not. I try to. But I always have so much to say to Her. Being around Her feels like the last five minutes of the hardest exam; I try to cram everything in. She assures me that She is not going anywhere. But my biggest fear is the time that is running out with Her. My mother used to apologise more than She does now. And I like that She doesn’t as much as She did.

My mother learned three languages for Her family. She learned the language She needed to get by in our new home. She learned the language that made Her happy when not being allowed to use Spanish outside of our four walls, and She is learning English for the endless school meetings She always attends to for Her children. On a plain day, you will find Her on Duolingo or speaking with Her English friend in our school coffee shop, practicing Her English. Esther thinks that She isn’t great at it yet, but She has the power to communicate in languages humans haven’t invented yet. Just with Her cheerful greetings and hand gestures, you could keep talking to Her for hours. I hope, I truly hope, that one day I will translate my writing for Her. But this time, to keep Spanish within us. Not out of need. I hope that one day She can read the work I’ve produced. Because She doesn’t know it, but I write so that She can read it.

Esther is the woman anyone that has met Her wants to become. She is the influence behind Her children, behind Her family, and behind the strangers She has talked to. She is what mothers should aspire to be, what teenagers look up to, and what children want to cling onto. My mother is what I hope God was.

Hypocrite

I say that I love writing.

But I rarely ever do. I say that I love reading, and running, and dancing. But I rarely do. So if I forget to prioritize the things I love, I don’t wonder why I lose so many people. Today, however, I got myself back. Now, this isn’t a Russian-writer sort of avoided loss. I didn’t lose myself. I just found that which I had to reach for: the spark. That’s my favourite aim. It’s the immense blend of accumulated fire that works beyond emotion. It is a body of light that you transform into. It’s a costume that we don’t fit into until the perfect conversation begins with a double espresso in one hand and a hand that won’t stop moving on the other, due to the hesitation in your heart. It will appear while walking home and your chest feels light or when you feel productive by the action you voluntarily initiated. And I found it again.

I say I love newspapers.

But I forget to buy them when I step foot in a country whose tongue I can respond to. I say I love those whose next goodbye has been an aim I have been scoring for years. I do love these things. Wholeheartedly. I suppose I stayed within friendships and relationships for far too long. Long enough for nothing to be left worth reminiscing about. Long enough for it to be exhausted. Long enough for it to be dull. Long enough for it to be a pattern of wasted time.

I suppose I was afraid of the day that the things I loved would become something I would be accustomed to.  I suppose I was scared that I would get bored of them. And I suppose that is why I left before the love I felt became as plain as the words a writer re-writes at the desk  he has been thinking of organising for years.

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