Friday, May 19, 2006

A song in wild praise of bygone youth.

I remember.

I remember wading through the murky green of a lake, one that seemed to stretch out nearly to infinity before my youthful and impressionable eyes. I was younger, then. I remember the people with me, my beloved sister, and the lovely cousin who’s name I shan’t bother to spell, out of a terrible fear of spelling it wrong. I remember the heat of the sun beating down upon our heads, the heads that had yet to see the things that have now been seen. And I know that I remember one terribly specific feeling.

I remember how it felt to be drowning.

To be drowning, when it’s your very own kin that holds you down.

I don’t remember the reasoning that my cousin had, for forcing my skinny frame down underneath that water. My tan skin disappearing from the view of the world, only visible as a bleary collection of matter, amidst all the silt that was being kicked up by our motion. Lungs tightening faster than you would think possible, blind panic combining with overactive imagination to create a furious lack of cognizance, forcing out air and life as if they were worth nothing in that place. That place where air didn’t exist, and people learn to rot.

I don’t remember how it happened. Perhaps it was a slip of my tongue, a badly worded phrase in Italian that somehow led my cousin to believe that I’d insulted her. Perhaps it was a display of superiority, the family member several years my senior, holding me down to show me some sort of place.

Or maybe, just maybe -- it was the simple act of a child. A child, working against another. Innocence and ignorance, working in tandem, creating something else.

I was younger, then.
In that dangerous point of youth, where life and death are merely concepts, things that aren’t noticed or understood enough to be loved or feared. Where a cousin holds someone she likes just fine under a sheet of the coldest water, because cruelty was simply a new experience. Where a boy barely even bothers to properly fight for a chance to breathe, simply because complacency comes naturally. A byproduct of misunderstood consequence. The world of youth, a world beyond our world.

I sit here, still very much a young man.

No wisdom quaking through experienced bones, no life since lived in a different age hanging over my head, with songs long past echoing forever in some kind of gaping hole. I probably have no idea what it is I’m talking about, you know. Nearly all of the people that I know and love have been farther, have seen more, have moved and shaken their way to the place that they now call home. Experiencing life, day by day by day, doing things and seeing things, meeting and greeting and drinking and eating.

Doing the things that people do. Moving and moving and moving on through. And so on. And so forth. And what do I do? I do what I do. I watch. I write. I think too much. And so on, and so forth.

So it’s within these actions that I’ve seen something, I’ve heard something, something out in the world. Something that comes from people, from the mouths of those who move and live and dream through it all. A general theme that is not always spoken out loud, nor passed in hushed tones as if it were a sacred text. Something simple, spoken with actions and thoughts, and yes, those always beautiful movements.

Forget the past.

A general desire to forget the things that have been done, our times of awkwardness and the faces of our regret. To forget that which we hate and that we distrust, forget our times of weakness, and focus only on our times of strength. Sometimes it’s spoken of, loudly and brashly, using a love of the now, or desire for the future to mask the derision of the past. A common theme, within the place that we live. Looking forward, looking onward. Trying to see what can be seen, without stopping to bother about that which has been.

But forgetting to remember is a terrible thing.

Because that world…that world that has since been trampled over by our machinations, our livings and our failings, that world that is pushed down into the base of our subconscious; that world is what has taught us who we are. And it gives us a chance, to find what we can be.

And it’s all of it, ALL OF IT, that should be remembered. Not selectively choosing the moments of joy over the moments of hatred, not remembering the compliments that you’ve received, whilst forgetting the insults. All of it matters. Any moment of emptiness, alongside any moment of beauty where you felt a tear sliding down your cheek, even though you didn’t notice it welling up in the corner of your eye. Moments and moments, building life after life.

It’s hard, isn‘t it?

Life, I mean.

Look toward me, my wayward star. Believe in that which you see as truth, and let your mind, not merely your heart, guide you there.

But do not -- DO NOT -- let your heart go cold, like a stone in murky water. Give yourself a balance of logic and love, an unholy mingling of brilliance that may ferment into wisdom.

Don't forget your dreams. But don't allow them to rule you. Live, my wayward star.
Live always.

I wrote that, on an insulation sleeve that I had taken from a coffeehouse. I barely remember doing it. What does it mean? Why did I do it? Sometimes, it’s hard to know. Hard to see.

Hard to see the things that we’ve done, the mistakes that we’ve made. It’s hard to look back at the times when we were drowning, literally and figuratively, the times when we didn’t know what it was we could do. Those times in our youth, the times that we know now could have been fixed, had we only bothered to do the simplest thing. Simple. Once again, simply not simple at all.

Hard to look at ourselves, in a state where we were confused about right, or where we weren’t afraid of wrong. Where we took the time to leap off of things without a care in the world, and let things happen because we were too ignorant and arrogant to know any better. Just like I, just like me. Just like this asshole that’s typing this now.

Moving through life without knowing what to do. Trying so hard to move forward from their past transgressions, trying to move forward without bothering to truly look backward. Trying to move towards being great. Away from the people that they once were. Away from the things that they once did. But if they don’t bother to look at those things, to stop and remember each second for it’s true and existing whole -- then how do they remember how to be a whole person? How to be decent? How to be just? How to move past the childlike cruelty borne of morbid curiosity, into the real world where causes are known to have affects?

Why do people do what they do? What is it that they do? What is it that I do?

I watch, I write, I think too much.
And I worry. I worry that people want so much to be great, that they've forgotten something else in its stead. I worry that they’ve forgotten what it means to be good.

Looking towards history isn’t about complacency, it’s about humanity. It’s about accepting the best, and studying the worst. About learning from mistakes, those of ourselves, and of the world as a whole. It’s about ALL OF IT, THE WHOLE GODDAMN WORLD, THE WHOLE GODDAMN HUMAN EXPERIENCE! IT’S ABOUT FINDING TRUST THROUGH OUR HISTORY OF DISTRUST!

It’s about living. About being ourselves, and remembering what it is that those words mean. It’s about trying to do the right thing. If there is such a thing. If there has ever been such a thing. If there ever can be such a thing.

It’s about trying to be the sort of people, who can find what the right thing is.
Because it’s alright to forgive, but one shouldn’t forget. To forgive yourself, for your past of wrongs and rights. To forgive others, for the crimes committed against you, and against those that you love. But don’t forget.

Don’t be ignorant towards your world. If that is what you are, then you mind find yourself with the sensibility of a twelve year old, within the body and mind of a full grown man. And believe me, that is a very dangerous thing. I remember. I will always remember. I’ve forgotten so much, about so much, so many things gone beneath the sordid veneer of the subconscious.

But I want it. I want my thoughts, I want my memories. I want to remember everything. And no matter what certain pop culture icons might say, I’m still allowed to try.

Today is my birthday.

Will I make a memory, one that deserves to be remembered, one that should endure alongside all my prides and my problems? Or will I once again sit here, sitting and staring and thinking too damn much? Of course, of course, of course.

To all of it. There can be nothing else.

So please, look backward, while you think onward, so you may live forward.
Always remember that you shouldn’t forget.

Like the song says:
Even those of us who were forgotten yesterday, are waiting for tomorrow.



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