At some point, I think it would be good for me to just look up the meaning of ennui, be the 15-year old girl who uses a theme to write a blog post, and just get straight to it. I am not that girl, though. No matter how hard I might want to try. I imagine that language now implodes inside us only because thoughts are not simple anymore. We haven’t been taught how to hold complex thoughts inside us. Maybe that’s why the silence. All this silence.
I can’t say I journal often these days. What I can say is that I write down facts. And when I do, I stick stickers inside the pages. Cases risen to 2453. Uncle died. <sticker> Cannot read poetry. Detest people from time to time.<sticker> I write the horrid facts of life in between cute stickers and underline them with my colour pencils. There’s no implication to it. It is what it is. In this journal I also record the books I have been reading. I dedicate a sticker to the book page. I never had or liked stickers as a child. Now they’re on my laptop, too. A heart. A peace sign. A smiling emoji with a flower in her head. A happy elephant with a heart in its snout. There’s no implication to it. It is what it is.
Is there a German word for the loneliness you feel when you’re constantly surrounded by people? Is there a German word for the pathetic pop culture references I employ in my writing? Sometimes I miss Vienna inside my bones. I miss the evening I was full of fear and I had the freedom to cry. To bawl my eyes out in a public bus. Crying on the phone, telling BB that I just want to go home. More importantly I miss the bus. And the crying. Not necessarily in that order. Not necessarily in that country. I have spent years travelling inside buses. I’ve spent many evenings crying on the bus. It’s not an admission for pity. It’s an admission for freedom and catharsis. How many of us now have the freedom to fold up our knees and weep because we are not skilled enough to hold complex thoughts and make sense of this life? There must be a German word for this feeling of loneliness of being around people and not being able to spill your guts out on the floor and say “Look at that. Look at how simple I am on the inside. I just wanted everything to be okay.”
There are a whole host of things that I have not done in my life. A list of things that one makes when you’re young and you think that someday the means will be available to you. A list of things that one makes when you build the courage to believe that these are probably the five things you might not mess up. Right now, I feel like growing house plants is one of those five things in our generation. It’s one of those things we do to make ourselves feel “I can’t fix the rapidly declining environment, enable the passing of much needed public policies, or save the economy from being an abject horror, but sure, I can grow a flower! Why the hell not?” I mean this in the nicest possible way. I adore my generation for growing a flower in the window. In my journal, I will write it down as the hope of our times. According to me, “I grew a flower and it lived” is a revolutionary cry. Hey you, growing that beautiful tiny red rose in your window, you have my heart.
If I were writing this in lesser troubled times, I can bet you I would write something about the small joys of life that are revolutionary in themselves. I just did. About the flowers. Didn’t I? But more so, I’d write some fanciful drivel about how when everything seems like it went to hell on a handcart, you have the smallest things and those are a blessing. White butter. Shelter in the rain. Freshly made tomato chutney on freshly made dosa. A good chopping knife. White rose musk. But I’m not a writer in less troubled times. I did not start off this blog post with the acceptance that complexity is an uncommon skill for nothing. You can trust me to say that though I have new-found love in spreading white butter on bread I just toasted, I’m not asking buttered toast to be my proxy for a sustainable life and a fair society. I don’t want to place so much pressure on buttered toast. It’s a darling, I assure you. Try it sometime. Keep the butter white.
Someone once said something that I would like to put as a cornerstone to my belief system. I have not done it so far. Also, it was said so long ago that if I repeat this enough number of times, it might become my own. The world was given to us broken, battered, unashamedly messed up. Maybe it was our job to fix it and put it back together. I’m telling you, I have little always had on that list of mine I mentioned, a hope that someday I will inherit a broken house that I will build back up again. For a brief moment, the sunlight will stream in through the white window on which a flower will find itself growing. For a brief moment, everything will be okay, and then, as promised by the way of the Gods, the world will fall apart. But something will be built. A flower will grow. In all likelihood, this will never happen. Maybe. We will see.