thoughts, Uncategorized

Suffering & Empathy

Sun & Shadow

It’s amazing how suffering turns us into hypocrites. Through suffering, we’ve found a way to control death. It also gives us the power to see ourselves as Gods when it comes to our morality. How can we aspire to have love and peace yet fetishize war and power? Our lack of self-awareness made us love guns until they’re pointed at our own heads. What suffering and empathy means have different interpretations depending on who is asked. And this is where my problem lies.

I’ve learned that suffering doesn’t always breed empathy. What the world is to most people is only the place they’re living. Rarely, does anyone care about the dark when the sun is most high. For me, I’ve always noticed the dark. How it follows me like a shadow; always there even when I’m not searching for it. The sun is only there to remind me that it keeps the darkness hidden. Humanity’s biggest problem is when we’re only aware of the dark when the sun is no longer present. Unfortunately, too many people have no reason to fear the night. The stars are always there to give them comfort.

Life & Sickness

Suffering is everywhere even if people are blinded to it. Or simply, they don’t care that life exists outside of the one they’re living. To have empathy is to be exhausted all the time. Figuring out what others find important sometimes means stepping outside myself. It’s to marvel at the world and all its beauty, while at the same time, take in people and all their ugliness. The way I see it: suffering and empathy are opposite forces that are complementary to each other.

My empathy is a mental disease. An illness not caused from a lack of sleep but of preparation. It’s hard to find humanity in a world that doesn’t perceive me as human. So often, I feel vigilant: an entire world suffering and I feel traumatized by it. I’m not sure if this feeling is the cause of my introversion, or the effect of it. This feeling of being the tether holding things together, while everything feels like chains ripping me apart.

Shame & Self-Love

And then there’s the guilt: being inspired by the suffering I want to rid myself of. Nowadays, I call myself an addict to pain; what could be depression is the muse inspiring me to act. I figure if my soul is missing something, then that means I can fill this emptiness with whatever I want, in however way I want to do so. This is what I believe: loving myself is the first step in saving the world from its own destruction. That to be Superman, this cape cannot be a noose.

I once believed suffering and empathy were opposite ends of a bridge. However, I know that this isn’t the case. For world peace to be a real thing, I must see suffering and empathy as the bridge itself. To know that humanity is not something I have to prove to others, but is what I’m deserving of. That a mirror is the only conformation I need that the person I see is worth something. Even if, that is only to myself. Eventually, I’ll look at my shadow without self-doubt lingering in my mind. When I tell myself a shadow can only exist when there’s light—I want to believe it.

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#poetry, Uncategorized

Sun Fire

There’s an illusion within fire: dangerous up close yet beautiful from afar.

It’s like the sun. Or at least, how I saw you,
engulfed in its flames. This back-and-forth game we played–
you kept away from me knowing I depended on you.

I warned you of this entire world on fire.
Somehow, I saw the smoke before you felt the flames.
Or maybe, you’d been around fire for so long you couldn’t feel
its warmth anymore. You just felt its coldness, as if your skin
was numbed to it. Tears had long dried up.
They turned into charcoal dust settling around blistering wounds.

How was optimism a way of healing? You cannot mend amputated limbs with bandages, but that didn’t stop you from trying. And it didn’t stop me from wanting to help you.
I remember wanting to touch you. To be felt.

Fire is self-destructive, it burns everything it touches.

is this why you don’t love anything? You realized how easy
things broke when you were a child. Did you feel your hands were cursed?
The jagged lines in your palms being proof some demon had put a hex on you?
So when I said you couldn’t hurt me, you were unconvinced.

Even glass, with its tough exterior, is still fragile enough to shatter.
Is that what happened to you?
Does that explain the sharp edges in places that were once whole?

Since human beings aren’t the sun, we cannot make fire unless we already were.
So you won’t convince me that candle light became wildfire on its own.
Tell me then, who were you before you were set ablaze?
When heartbreak revealed you: the arsonist.
You set the world on fire simply to watch it burn
and I cannot save you from yourself.

thoughts, Uncategorized

Exit the Matrix: How I Cope with Loss of Self

The Truth of Social Media will not Set us Free

I’ve come to the conclusion that what is seen isn’t what is real. In truth, what we want is to be seen, which gives us the notion that we’re important in some way. This is how social media has marketed itself to us. By allowing us to create reality, we can be whoever we want to be through photos and online posts. Trolling has become an artform; entire personas built from well-crafted 140 character limits. While human connection has been made simpler, it has only become more difficult. The irony of social media is how people have become more secretive as a result of it.

Belief in anything seems a waste of time when everything is an illusion. Social media has exposed too much. Just a simple look through Twitter and Facebook, I realize people aren’t as real as they claim. Lifestyles are only lived through Snapchat recordings, and Instagram photos are marketing what we consider beautiful. Who’s the person behind the filters? What’s the real story inside a funny tweet about mental illness? Who are we outside what we put on the internet?

The Fantasy of Human Connection is a Nightmare Made Reality

When people say things like “social media has made it easier for introverts to come out of their shell,” I always find it funny. As this way of thinking would imply that people are nice and kindhearted on the internet. We don’t have to look any further than the daily tweets of Donald Trump or the long stream of comments under any Youtube video to realize the fault in that logic. The internet or what we call the “World Wide Web” is an appropriate name. We find ourselves so deep into social media, it’s become difficult to escape its entrapment.

Even I struggle with the balance. How much is too much? The hardest part about social media is showing who I am when I’m not even sure who that person is. I ask myself all the time now: does this tweet express who I am or how I want others to see me? Of course, there’s not much I can do to find an answer. Especially when I see people struggling with this inner turmoil themselves. If only being real was, in fact, reality. We all suffer from some sort of existential crisis hidden within a funny twitter thread about depression.

The Loss of Oneself is Self-Discovery

Posting as a way to prove to people something about ourselves; I guess this is just human nature. Since human existence, we’ve wanted to leave something behind to show that we (at one point in time) existed. Using social media to document our lives, we can make snapshots into movie reels. A camera allows us to turn a single moment into a story arc. This is the best way I can describe what reality is now: a cookie-cutter scrapbook we want to form into memoir. However, it’s important to realize that a novel is only good depending on what it’s about, not in its number of pages.

So when did I start searching for my purpose in life on Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines? Social media has made a fool out of me; somehow, I thought happiness could be found in online threads. But I must find my own worth within myself. Validation cannot be depicted in the number of Instagram likes and Twitter followings. Everything that I’m searching for may not be found as easily as a Google search, and I must be okay with that. Of course, this soul-searching is easier said than done—especially when I still struggle doing so.

Uncategorized

Un-American Non-Patriotism: How This is Still America

Truth Within the American Façade

Who needs the news when everything to learn about America is right outside the front door? Over the last year alone, the fear of a plot to destroy America has intensified into an obsession, especially in regards to black people, people of color, the LGBT community, women ‘s empowerment, and impoverished people in general.

Conspiracy theories hold more weight than the actual news, becoming a huge problem in regards to how we tackle politics and other social issues. Eventually, the next conspiracy will center Parkland and how their protests of gun control to end the rise of tragic shootings across the country were only used as distractions. The real threat is Black Lives Matter organizers working with ISIS terrorist groups and MS-13 gang members to take over the government.

This paranoia is not anything new but is in fact buried deep into American soil—pushing through the earth, reaching every continent on the other side. Bridging the whole world together, sharing centuries of oppression and hatred to everyone who aren’t rich and white and male. And what makes it worst is the ignorance of it all. As if tragedy is a pathogen we’ve come into contact with, that doesn’t turn people into zombies, but bigots and horrible people. So maybe Rosanne Barr was on to something with this Ambien thing?

As rhetorical as this question may be, how can the words “This is unamerican” shoot out of people’s mouths with utter confidence despite the immoral problems happening everywhere in America? When we have 90% of American history proving how American this all is—In a country cluttered with so much history, the blood of our ancestors exudes a toxic smell. This method of erasing one’s burdens must require a shitload of bleach and a heavy dose of amnesia relating to everything pertaining to America, including how it was born.

Blind Patriotism & the American Blindfold

These words are uttered all the time: how unamerican this America is. Molding into a mantra—that if said enough times they’ll actually come true. The American dream as a reality one must wake into, or maybe this is White America’s clever way of taking the phrase “stay woke” away from us as well. Unfortunately, it seems that no matter how much “progress” is made, we still fight against the same enemy from centuries ago, who ironically enough share our faces, politics, and beliefs.

Overtime, America has begun hating itself, turning Patriotism into an old habit like opening the door for someone or exchanging hellos with people we come into contact with—its just something we do to be polite. Even with a full-fledged, White Supremist approved president, who’s civility is as bland as the dull coloring of the Confederate flag hanging off the back of broken down pick-up trucks and rickety, old SUVs across the country, it only has reinforced the already held beliefs that America isn’t as good as it claims to be.

How does anyone believe this conflict has ended? Because for many Americans, the war has been over. But what has been won? All that was accomplished is the battlefield has a change of location—being everywhere but on American soil. 

I guess they figure by hiding the guns, they can pretend no one is dying from them. This deluded way of thinking has worsened as the unethical and brutal actions taking place at the border, both inside and outside its bloodstained and oppressive walls, continues to become more severe.

Isn’t it ironic how a country torn from daily protests, vapid yet heated arguments, and the ever expanding list of public shootings turning people’s lives into sad songs and city streets into open cemeteries is also a country that claims the promotion of peace and prosperity for all?

Stolen Property & the New Home Owner

Imagine America as a dirty old house where people refuse to do much of anything to make it look better, except paint the walls a brighter shade as this absurd notion that cleanliness is dependent on clarity, or a not-as-bigoted way of saying “less color” (which makes sense because of the bleach).

In reality, America wants what lies in between those two extremes: for there to be enough color to rid the black and brown, while also being intimidated by a rainbow. How does its colors become the most oppressive flag to stand for?

When I imagine this house, I see skeletons piling on the floor and how they were covered with a fluffy carpet to make people feel welcomed here, even when they aren’t. Somehow it’s forgotten that the stench of dead things only intensify the longer they’re left unattended? To evade responsibility, entire graveyards were stuffed into the far corner of a basement to hide that this house was built on top of human remains.

And yet, even air fresheners aren’t strong enough to drown out the smell. Although  the entire house has been doused with so much of it, people can only pretend the oxygen isn’t foul. When we’re told there’s nothing that can be done to fix things, it sounds like an excuse. Since in order to care means one must accept responsibility—to be honest about the past as well as our present.

The Guest Suffering from Insomnia

I realize to be “woke” entails knowing one’s job description—to understand that I’m not a homeowner and never was intended to be. Likewise, I’m not the servant either, as that would require the need for compensation, benefits, and even the most basic form of decency.

Isn’t it ironic that a house without doors resembles a cage? Patriotism is understanding that this resemblance isn’t coincidental, but still trying to make home of America, even when it’s difficult to breathe.

In this house, there are no doors but open windows, and I no longer question its intent as I know only eagles are invited to any tea party and afternoon brunch taking place here. As the sunrise kisses my skin, validating my belief the sky has loved me more than most humans, I see even the sun has made this place, home.

The Ignorance of Paying Rent in a Home Where I’m Not Wanted

Being a fool, I believed that one day I’d be given a room with a warm bed as a souvenir of everything once sacrificed. This is how I lose myself: thinking I was lost to begin with, not understanding that only things belonging to me can be considered lost. In truth, real liberation is knowing my voice can be taken back, and that no matter how many times its silenced, my voice still matters.

As I look at America without forced patriotism clouding my vision, I remind myself I was someone stolen, and that this understanding holds importance as I cannot recover anything taken without knowing those who took from me. I see the ignorance in asking how I’m less human than an eagle. I come to terms with the sad reality, that the American dream is more realistic than my own future. And lastly, I avoid being around people who see me as something borrowed, merely to be returned only when I’m no longer needed, as if a house will never need maintenance.