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I have come here to write on many occasions and I have started each post the same way – with some sort of reference to the amount of times that I have come to the page and allowed my fingers to type nothingness before the mind tires or empties or frankly just can’t be bothered to continue typing. This time, I vow to myself, I will continue and I will click publish no matter what. I’m not really sure what that will achieve anyway. Perhaps some sort of mild victory against the self, in which case, if you’re only battling against yourself you are the winner, yet also the loser. Life is balance, they say. 😉

2015 was a year of absolute firsts and unbelievable memories and I have myself to thank mostly for that. Of course, I can delve further into my past and thank the ways in which I was brought up which eventually led me to being the person I am today and thus forth spirited me to achieve the things I did last year, but if I just think about who it was who made those things possible last year, it was me. For once. I can take credit. And I am damned proud of myself for doing something different, for stepping beyond what I deem as comfort, for breaking self-imposed boundaries. I think I understood myself more than ever before and I feel most comfortable in who I am, which is quite an achievement, especially when I think of my twenties as a whole which was one big huge unknowing experiment. Well life is an experiment as a whole I guess, because we’re never really ready for anything and when we think we are we’re still probably a little bit scared and then once we’ve overcome that fear we feel great and then seek more to fear to overcome to fear to overcome.

Anyways.

I can’t sleep. It’s probably because my Christmas and New Year period was one filled with much joy. Remember what I said about balance though? What balances joy? That’s right. Pain. But not the emotional pain that some have to endure during these “festive” times, I mean self-inflicted, privileged pain. The body killing pain. The brain cell damaging pain. But altogether, fun pain.

And now it’s nearly 7am and my head is swirling with thoughts. I’ve been looking over some of the pictures I’ve taken in 2015 and I’ve stumbled across some videos as well – those videos that people record without a second watch. Ever. They just appear on nights like this when there’s nothing better to do than to click aimlessly on the keyboard or mouse, desperate to get some sleep.

I fell out of love at the beginning of 2015. It wasn’t tough at the time but later in the year, and particularly towards the end of the year actually, it hit me. It was as if I had a block against it, or as though I fooled myself into thinking it was actually easier because I saw rationale in the break up and so I concluded that I’d grown up a significant amount which worked as an extra tally on the points of manhood. But alas, no, I cried like a little baby again later in the year when I started to reminisce and in fact was a little bit angry at the raging fool who made me feel that way. Strangely enough, we share this weird little bond and have talked about it and it’s all out in the open and it’s like a sea of butterflies have taken our short-lived bad past, stuffed it into mini backpacks and flown it all away so that all was left to be see was an array of glittery flutters flying off into the sunset. So yeah, we’re “friends” now. He’s in love again and he loves to tell me just how perfect this new guy is for him. I sound bitter. I was bitter, but only at the way he expresses such things, as if to dig at me. I know him so well but still, I wouldn’t want anything less than for him to be completely consumed by puppy dog love. He was a big part of my 2015, seeing as I visited Poland in January and he visited my city and stayed at mine and met the family etc in March. He taught me a lot about myself and he taught me some new things and also reminded me of some things too. Such as patience, such as accepting viewpoints that I don’t agree with, such as being tolerant, such as being the bigger person, such as being there for someone who clearly needs helps even if it kills you inside and you actually want them to suffer a little bit because of the pain they have no idea you’re feeling. I saw some photos of our shared time together and his stupid face made me smile and even laugh sometimes – no hard feelings, no tears, just good memories shared. And I’m glad we figured it out together too, something which is very rare these days.

Another huge memory was of me turning 30. Yes, those days are over. Those days of.. well .. depression and not knowing who I was and all that awkward bullshit that doesn’t even matter anyway. My 30th birthday party was probably one of the best parties ever, even if I do say so myself. Everyone was there. My family, siblings, even some cousins surprised me!, my best friends from all walks, some new people and my family really turned the house into a celebration of me. It was pure joy and I’m so so so grateful for such a spectacle. Of course, it was also a sort of “bon voyage” party too as the trip of a lifetime was about to happen. That’s right. Brazil.

Brazil. Ah. I don’t know where to start. I wrote this on my facebook page:

“My final night in Sao Paulo, the city where my short travels around Brazil began, was made all the more apt by this illumination in the busy night-time city centre.

Want to thank everyone who I met (there’s loads of you), or who helped me, partied, danced in streets or sometimes in the rain or on the beach or in the sea, put me up, translated, showed me around, joined me in my travels, hitch-hiked, beached, cooked, CARNIVALLED, missioned from bloco to bloco, shared tents and stories, laughed, hiked, flew, walked, bussed, and everything else. Big shout to the hospitable Brasileiros who made my stay easier.

Brazil, you humongous crazy piece of rhythmic energy, I salute you! P.S. It’s pissing it down now.”

That was my final night. The picture shows the back of my head staring up at this skyscraper which had been illuminated with the Brazilian flag. I think a tear fell from eye at that point. I was standing with a Brazilian “friend” Diego, who I’d met online a couple of years before and who I consequently met up with and who pretty much looked after me the first week and last few days I was there in his city, Sao Paulo. He showed me a real good time. He took me to parties on skyscrapers lit up in green and took me to pre-carnival parties on the (very homosexual, shockingly to me?) streets of Sao Paulo. We had a funny old friendship because it had built over a couple of years and there was an obvious attraction but I didn’t want to get into anything like that with him. Not to forget that I had a failing relationship looming in the back of my mind, though that didn’t stop me from experimenting and taking up opportunities when they were thrust in my face. I’m not proud of that. But it was a complicated time, all of which I don’t regret. Hm, I have this warm feeling when I think about all of what Diego did for me. He even came to join me later on my trip in Florianopolis, a beautiful island south of his city by quite a fair bit. He organised for me and him to stay at his friends there and he accompanied me for a day or two. He really liked me. I think we gathered that. And I think I probably could have liked him a lot had I let myself go a bit. But I wasn’t prepared to 1) fall deep then have to say goodbye and 2) cheat wholeheartedly on my “boyfriend”, though looking back, the word boyfriend is a huge overstatement. Yes, Diego played a big part in my trip and I love him for it.

There was of course CARNIVAL. Yes, I went to Rio carnival, the greatest celebration of life in the world. It was absolutely crazy. Parties from day to night, the smell and stickiness of amor in the air, the lack of clothes, the beaches, the rhythmic pulse of the never-ending drumbeat. The boys. Oh, the boys.

Prior to going to Rio, I met another guy called Guillherme. A real cute guy. Young and innocent and cute looking and handsome and attractive and very very …horny. At one of these pre-carnival parties in Sao Paolo, Diego left me to go get with another guy and left me with Gui. We sat on some steps out of the way, while revellers passed by, and chatted for a long while. We connected on a different level. He has a gentle soul, a spiritual thing happened. He went on to tell me that his last boyfriend had fucked him over and gave him HIV. He explained a little bit about his ex but it didn’t bother me. I asked to kiss him. And we saw each other again, alongside Diego (yes, all a bit weird), a few times over the week that I was in Sao Paolo. He, much like Diego, played a big part in the beginnings of my stay in Brazil. They really made me feel comfortable.

Okay. I’m tired. There’s so much more. I wonder if I’ll have the late night agility to ever finish typing up my year. I’ve only just made it to February.

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I have less of an attachment to people and material things.

I have felt what it is to be free in my own being.

I’m trying to find purpose which leads me with an unneeded dull feeling of dissatisfaction.

No palpitations.

No anxiousness.

I’ve never felt anything negative towards you.

I don’t need you any more, I just want you.

We spoke so much.

I’ve found a girl for you. There’s no pressure. Just talk.

His date had loads of drugs on him.

I was trying to click my heels in the air and landed funny. I heard the crack.

You’re my biggest fan – you come here all the time!

Tomorrow’s going to be tough. Can I just sneak out? Probably not.

I learnt that the most blissful moments are when you’re truly in the moment of now.

Watching and listening to the waves while the sand wraps around one’s feet.

If we went back to India, we could not do this.

We’re women. We can’t wear a bikini there.

I’m more free here.

Every human has free will. – No, they don’t.

It’s the 21st century.

We have a choice. We can do what the fuck we like.

Change alone is changeless.

Are you Chinese? No, I’m half Filipino.

What are you?

People have always used it in a bad way.

You fuckin’ what?

Oh shit, it’s 1 o’clock.

The yearn has returned. I’m not quite sure of what I am yearning but I feel it in my gut, it swirls with every thought and every time I haplessly read stories of wanderlust or love, or people relishing their opportunity to live. I’m not sure what it is that I want, but I know, or at least I should keep reminding myself, that I’m on the right path. I feel like my feet are itching in my current job, I’ve exhausted my creativity within that hospitable office, and although the students continuously change thus offering me new personalities and dynamics, I’m still reaching forward, trying to grasp at something of which I can’t see. Sometimes I get like this; I feel a little bit lost but I try to embrace this feeling of imbalance because after all we are but human and we are entitled to every waking thought and feeling that we have. I sigh longingly, caged within my own desires, knowing full well that I can somehow explore my full potential. I had the trip of a lifetime this year and it was whilst on that trip that I truly felt what it is to be alive. It was a temporary feeling but a wholesome insight into how life could be. I don’t take up opportunities and I don’t live to the full – that’s just truth, or perhaps my own huge expectations of what life should be, because I know how it is to feel fulfilled. I recently ended a relationship which I sort of knew was never right but it’s one’s desire to keep on trying. I don’t feel sad that it’s over, not any more, which makes me think: Was It Even Real? We dipped in and out of moments of blissfulness, but they were few and far between. Sometimes, people remain together out of fear, subconscious fear. Knowing that somebody is there regardless gives a little bit of hope. However, it’s not how I’m made. Love can be beautiful and yes we yearn for it, but every tiny encounter has the possibility to be special, to create a moment in time that leaves one feeling awash with warm nostalgia. I had this in Brazil, I had this with my relationship, I’ve had/am having this with work. So what’s next?

What’s next?

I’ve got that feeling all up in me. One that has been inspired by a wholly unbelievable experience at a gathering of like-minded souls at the Southport Weekender. It happened last weekend and I, as well as my friends who accompanied, cannot get over it. I almost feel as though I can’t put into words what I feel but it’s a feeling of awareness, of self-awareness, of waking up to the plans of which I envisioned at the beginning of this self-proposed change. One of growing up and of focus and of achieving all that I want to while I’m still young and free and able.

The festival. I completely underestimated the effect it would have on me and the absolute grandness of what it would turn out to be. It was like a utopia, a congress of souls that all for a short period of time converged to unify as one. The music was like nothing I had ever heard at a festival before and the spirit of the place was alive and buzzing, depicted through every smile and every random burst of unified dance move. The funny thing about this is that even though I make bold statements about how amazing it was and how beautiful the atmosphere was, one thing I can’t escape from is the fact that it was held in Pontins. Yes, Pontins. This drab, grey, institutional British family getaway destination was the host of the complete opposite of what it stands for. That aside, the music was incredible and I’ve never been to an event that hosted music that I’ve always been interested in, soulful house, jazzy beats, afro house, Latin beats, strong percussion, divaesque vocal house and good old plain soul.

And deep breath.

I’ve been made to question myself and my beliefs. Each person grows up in their respective countries with different stories, different upbringings, different experiences, different parents, different culture and different identities. It is this that I must take in to account before I spawn a load of feel-sorry-for-myself one-sided argument.

The issue of race and ethnic origin runs deep in my veins. My story backdates to a time when I was constantly forced to recognise the different shade of skin colour that I was born with, within a small working class town that had yet to experience or get to grips with such diversity. Generally, my younger through to my mid teenage years were positive but there is somewhat of a dark cloud that hangs over them in the form of racism and prejudice. Sure, these things happened to me through no choice of my own but it is now, during my late twenties that I am starting to realise that all of these experiences make up a person and they can either mess with the mental stability of a person or make that person stronger. I’m trying for the latter, but I’m well aware that there is still a chip on my shoulder. I haven’t really let go of those experiences because some of my actions and decisions are sometimes affected.

A “friend” of mine, someone who I’ve been getting close to, has challenged my very being and the manner in which I think about this subject. To be honest, the subject of race has been put to rest as a period of my life that happened because it was a part of my story. The whole of me then and now. I try not to dwell on the past but I guess it’s occasions like this that make me remember such things because I draw upon the knowledge of which I’ve acquired through experience.

This person is not from Britain. He is from a European country, one that is still growing and is poorer in a general sense, one that submits to the fear of radicalism and is traditional in its thinking. Of course, this is a stereotype and a massive generalisation and it isn’t true of every person who lives there, much like it isn’t true that every single Brit drinks tea to solve a problem. Although a lot probably do.

He is trying to make me question my views on equality. He is telling me that I am the same as someone who holds prejudice views on race because I also exclude people in the same manner that they do – that I don’t want to associate myself with people who are prejudice against someone, particularly Muslim people, which in turn makes me the same as someone who holds prejudice against a Muslim person or somebody else because they simply don’t like them.

I have tried to explain that I am open and liberal and all for equality, an opinion that has in some way been shaped by my past experiences. I explained that in no way have I blamed the whole of white Britain for what a few people put me through when I was younger, yet in contrast he does actually feel contempt towards Muslims because of what he reads and because his country isn’t as integrated.

I am not saying that multiculuralism is a method that works all the time. It has its problems. But I wouldn’t change it because without it I wouldn’t have been able to be the person I am today and the person I’m working towards being. I’m always grateful that my parents and their parents chose to settle in The UK. Indians have had it slightly different, given the positive relationship between The UK and India throughout history. Well, mostly.

After having typed this out, I have come to some conclusions actually. I probably need to be more understanding of his point of view. Perhaps he feels attacked by me. I am not a person to fight my corner by making someone else feel bad about their opinion but from his reaction today, perhaps I’ve been a bit too much. But calling my point of view “extreme”, or “dangerous” is shocking to me.

My friends and family all co-exist on the notion that people must live side by side and for the most part, race goes unnoticed. There are obviously going to be times when race becomes prevalent, but not always in a negative manner. I love Britain for having integrated immigration laws in to society and for enabling people of all races, genders, sexuality to be equal. I mean, by law, it certainly is the case but I won’t deny that it has its problems.

I did claim that he was projecting his views of himself on to me. But I think the friends he surrounds himself with pretty much share the same point of views. It’s sad in a way, that young European guys have such a viewpoint led by fear. I tried to get across to him that I like equality and that my opinions are borne from love, or an attempt to love everything and everyone around me. It’s a loved up theory that can’t always be applied but in my opinion it’s a nice way to live and to keep the mind healthy. In his opinion, he thinks I’m deluded and obsessed with this notion of multiculuralism.

It’s a tricky situation but I feel better for having typed it out. My thoughts are more clear. I think he’ll just have to think what he does of me. I think what I do of him – which is a man who reminds me of the people who used to be in my past, ignorant maybe, but not racist. I’ve met racists and they aren’t a nice bunch, but he’s a good guy at heart. I just don’t enjoy being told that my view on acceptance and tolerance is “dangerous” and that I tried to put him on sides. He has an opposing view to mine, it doesn’t make him racist but he doesn’t share the same opinion. He said that I’m calling him a racist.

Well… there was an occasion when he said “I don’t like black people.” But, this will sound strange as I’m not trying to justify his words, he said it in a way where he didn’t think he was saying anything wrong because it’s more accepted in his country. So is it an evolutionary thing or should each person consider what he or she is saying by searching inside of them? Not everybody can think like that though, without trying to sound patronising. Not everybody can reason outside of their boundaries and limits, and perhaps I need to listen to myself? I’m really not sure. He has absolutely frazzled my brain.

One thing I do know is that I am not a bad person for not wanting to hang around with people who hold prejudice views on race. I’ve had enough of that in my life. I’d cut them out just like I’d cut out violent people or people who are rude for no reason of people who make me feel bad for no reason. Or am I here to teach these people something?

I will think more about it. But less than I have done tonight.

“Life’s too short”

Time.

The notion of time and our lack of it has been thrust upon me at various times with various intervals, whether through a tenuous link to a quote whilst browsing the big old Internet or seeing friends and some family moving forwards and doing things that show a progression of life.

Time.

I felt so invincible prior to the age of 25. As if time was on my side, as if all the dreams that I’ve manifested into mere thoughts could well be accomplished at any time.

Time.

I ignored all those warnings from my mum who’d tell me that “NOW is the time.” There’s no such realisation than your own, that yes, life really is running away.

Time.

I’m hearing noise of weddings and babies and plans and hiring out a boat on the Thames and hiring a barn in Dorset and “I want a baby” and “I’ve just got the biggest contract at work” and “Yeah I think I’m in love”. My friends are turning 30 over the course an 20 month period. It’s a big year for the people around me and time has dictated that.

Time.

“Thanks for coming to my 30th birthday party.” At which point, her boyfriend got down on one knee. As she cried tears of happy she announced: “Oh. There’s another surprise. We’re getting married tonight, we’ll see you upstairs in 45 minutes.”

Time.

6 years ago, this same girl was the object of my affection and on the receiving end of my immaturity. If it was a few years later, it may not have been him who she was marrying. That was and is time’s plan. Lessons have been learnt and I couldn’t be happier for somebody who deserves to be loved, to have a family and submit to time’s progression.

Time.

In the year that builds up to my 30th, I am trying to follow a path of change. Time always had this plan for me but I have to instigate it.

Time.

Because life’s too short.

I watched The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty today. *Spoiler Alert* The concept of the film is good; a man who fails in his attempts to do or say the things he wants to in the most crucial of moments and instead travels through an invented identity within his own imagination, where all of the things he doesn’t achieve in reality are lived out in this adventure world. It becomes a bit confusing, though not at all hard to follow, as he ends up in Iceland chasing the dude who took a photo and may know where the whereabouts of the misplaced negative of this photo, which is like gold dust because it’s the negative for the front page of the last ever edition of the magazine that Mitty works for. Even though he eventually gets fired by the power-hungry young twat in charge for losing the negative in the first place. Meanwhile, he fancies this girl from work, obviously, and they share a quirky sort of build-up to the final scene in which they see the front cover as printed on a news stand in the street and notice that the photo is in fact of Walter Mitty, sitting outside the building inspecting front cover negatives.

It’s actually pretty lame but it made me feel good.

One thing that struck me was the soundtrack. It does suit the mood of the movie, the chase, and the subtle hints of comedy genius, and if anything I’m glad I watched this movie if only for the soundtrack.

Look into the sun as a new days rise…