Introspection

How is life? A work in progress. Just like me. I’m constantly growing and learning; acquiring knowledge of what fascinates me is one of my enduring obsessions. There is definitely more that’s unchanging and relentless about me (including, paradoxically, my regenerative strength), but it’s much easier and more palpable to articulate the ways in which I feel I have changed or the areas in which I invite change. In my life I have shifted from cynicism to idealism to optimistic nihilism to a sort of hedonism to aestheticism (I know I’m merging philosophical and artistic concepts here, but I think of them more widely, as approaches to life), and there have been times when I have ricocheted among them. I’ve spent some time in what may be considered an adrift state, but this has often led to acquiring better knowledge of what I see myself doing, what I enjoy and what I’m good at, a realignment with my deep wishes and interests, and attunement with myself, in all my glory and imperfection. On that note, add an increasing willpower to either embrace or change and improve imperfections, case by case, because that approach makes sense the most, a balance between personal development and contentment is key, and both complaining and self-pity are the most useless ways to spend your energy. Unless you write it down on a blog or capitalise on it or use it as fuel to express yourself through other creative outlets, in which case you can be relatable, earn something, or it can be cathartic. With that being said, perfectionism should be kept within limits, otherwise it becomes a sad quest.

After emerging with more self-knowledge regarding what fulfils me, plans have crystallised, but I need to maintain a healthy self-discipline in areas that are essential to my functioning and leading to a more substantial well-being rather than dopamine rewards. Building self-discipline is a challenge for most, and I’m the type of person who has always been most driven by spontaneous bursts of energy and motivation and outpourings of inspiration more than consistency and routine. I’m naturally inclined towards having a whimsical rather than methodical approach to life, with a lifestyle that may seem chaotic to some, though I can adapt and push myself to add order to chaos. I plan daily routines, but I sometimes end up doing what feels best ultimately, if I can afford to. This has worked for me creatively, in the past, but it’s not a viable or sustainable option as I age and have more responsibilities. I believe personality is a fluid thing, and thus I can adapt to something different and more efficient, but it takes a lot of deliberate effort to change something that has become ingrained in your being. I’m on the right track, though, because I’m getting into the habit of being more productive even when I’m not feeling at my 100 percent.

I want to put myself in the way of beauty and in the way of inspiration and of good things happening, even when my willpower is somewhat tentative- as opposed to resorting to taking the easy way out, or prioritising self-indulgence in the form of distractions, of whatever nature, and yielding to unproductive mental traps that get me stuck, creatively or otherwise. “Everything in moderation, including moderation” as Wilde said. Also, although focusing on materialising plans is necessary, it should be noted that this will definitely not be achieved by obsessing and thinking about the future, but by living in the now and taking steps towards tangible results- even small steps make a contribution. You’d think this should be obvious, but my brain often begs to differ for some reason. Obsessing over things and slipping into problems with self-discipline used to be my Achilles’ heel, but it’s something that I’ve focused on altering and dedication truly helps you forge new neural pathways. On another note, doing good deeds has a very uplifting power and effect for me. So does inspiring someone, either through my words or activity. I used to receive personal, touching messages online, in which people mentioned how I posted, wrote, or quoted the right things at the right times for them to see or read and how they’ve been inspired or helped by posts and that makes me smile. I like influencing and inspiring people, and this realisation has made me reconsider the appeal of certain paths to me.

I should probably nurture my dual & complicated relationship with vulnerability. I know better than to associate vulnerability with weakness, I know it can be empowering and unifying and brave, and yet, I find it so unnatural to open up entirely, I always have, partly because I don’t want to put myself in the position of allowing others to have full access to everything I am, partly because I don’t know how to convey things in an ideal way that makes me feel satisfied because I haven’t figured everything out but also partly because I’m at a point where I need to prioritise other things and don’t feel like I need to make many connections in order to be content. I’m also someone who doesn’t need constant contact to validate a friendship and actually in my book giving each other space and allowing yourselves to fall back into place and reach out to each other whenever you both need or feel propelled to is a love language. Also, it’s quite rare for me to fully resonate with another person so whenever it happens, when everything just flows and feels right I often feel this compulsion to protect it, and worry that there will come a moment when I might say or do something that alienates them, which triggers an uncharacteristic fear of abandonment. There are psychological shadows that I still need to integrate. I think it’s not uncommon, I think a lot of people curate their thoughts and feelings to express mostly positive or flattering ones, especially online. Within the context of a relationship, ironically, not wanting to give all of you can be considered a fear in itself, of sacrificing, of being tamed, subdued, sucked into, or simply, too dependent or entangled with someone else. Actually, I used to be quite the opposite in the sense that I felt like sharing many thoughts with others, I poured my mind and heart out. I still kind of do that, yet, on another level, perhaps emotionally, I’ve never fully given myself, in a way. At least I never feel like I do or that it’s beneficial. It’s also partly because we are all made of multitudes. Even though, in theory, I acknowledge that when you connect and give love (platonic, romantic, or of whatever nature), in a way, there is strength in putting yourself on that path, no matter what happens. But what happens if you become so enmeshed that you forget where you stop and the other begins? What happens when someone doesn’t act the way you expect him or her to? What happens when someone changes?

What else am I still in the process of learning? Learning to let go. Of detrimental or fruitless thought patterns, of the burden of roles other people may cast me in through assumptions or expectations because sometimes I’m not easy to read and other times I’m pretty straightforward and transparent, letting go of my own expectations from everyone in favour of focusing on whomever resonates with me and I resonate with, of unnecessary prohibitions and restraints uttered by a part of my psyche that I keep silencing, instead of reconciling with or making sense of in order to change it.

Confessional musings of my younger self

I’ve re-introduced myself to my abandoned virtual diary from several years ago; many diary entries are pretty cringeworthy to me now but it’s interesting to see how my thought processes have morphed in time. I’m fascinated with how the brain reorganises itself, how fluid identity is, and how consciousness evolves and adopts new patterns. Indulging in this type of retrospection always makes me revert to my constant preoccupation with our ephemeral nature and cosmic resonance. A lot has been going on since I was last posting my slightly curated stream-of-consciousness there. And I still have mixed feelings about thought curation in regard to diary entries. Still, here are some entries that today’s self has found intriguing or fun.

“Soon I’ll be in Leeds- home of damnation, goth, rain, grey skies, and straightforward people. And of wild clubbing which I will try to avoid.” [24 june 2015, 06:38 pm] This hasn’t aged well, I ended up liking clubbing.



“My Freudian super-ego needs to be sent off on vacation.[…]

The advantages of living on this street include drunk people having aggressive, loud discussions in a Yorkshire accent at 4 am.[…]

If something doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t make you feel happy, please don’t settle, Self. Realise what can and what can’t be fixed, but also what matters and what doesn’t. Distinguishing the objective from the subjective, the self from the other can get difficult when you are connected with someone on a deep level. Don’t lose yourself. I guess – be fluid, but don’t lose yourself in someone else’s fluidity.

To do: stop projecting and dwelling on past disasters (or perceived disasters). Shed those embedded preconceptions, somehow. Acknowledge your roots, but allow yourself to grow and be fluid. Re-evaluate some principles. Find a balance between judging situations based on previously recognised patterns and accepting that everything is fluid.

I need to throw myself in the cinematic world I am trying to create. My ideas come primarily in the form of short story excerpts, and the second creative layer involves turning this into a script, while imagining the shots with some awareness of details. I realise I tend to imagine narratives in the form of monologue. I often focus on telling one side of the story elaborately. The receiver is too often quite one-dimensional, a receptacle of soliloquies. But I have to shape the other character too, to bring them both to life, credibly. Bring them both to life, figuratively, and literally – for she comes from the past, from hundreds of years before the time of the narrative. She had a brother. She tells their story. We see it, she (the other one) sees or hears it, as if through an otherworldly portal, and inexplicable things happen – things that disrupt the present narrative.

Sometimes I wish I grew up with an older brother in my life. A male figure that would have blessed my childhood with kindness, understanding, empathy, and without authority – building up a hardly shakeable faith in humanity. One that would have known me better than anyone. Someone who would let me know my feelings were valid, who would not let cynicism poison aspects of my life. This ideal connection inspired the plot I have in mind” [10 april 2016 06:30 am]



“I just had a serious conflict with […] because he doesn’t acknowledge the status of film as an art form. Initially he said it’s because it’s a collective process, but that didn’t hold up well so he started making up other reasons.

It “inspired” me so much that I am thinking about elaborating my arguments into an essay.

I get quite emotional when I plunge into a debate about something I am very passionate about, which implicitly reduces my credibility, as well as making some people get even more defensive about their own stance. I am perfectly aware that if I changed my defensive attitude or approaches, I would be far more convincing in conveying my core beliefs and making people respect, if not completely accept them. Yet I am often driven by feelings in the heat of a conflict related to something that matters to me.

It happens all the time – Two people can share a belief with you, but their choice of words and the vibes they give off matter immensely. The impact of words and the approach showing kindness or perhaps patience (besides eloquence and confidence) can have a decisive role.” [28 march 2016 02:11 am]



“He said photography, or art in general, does not define me.
That I would be just the same without it; I argued that it (your creative practice) shapes you, it can be a huge part of your life. I felt I was stating the obvious and he was just playing Devil’s advocate, which I found irritating; but he was sort of serious-
He said the experience itself changes you, not the work resulting from it- that the photographs I take, for instance, don’t change who I am.
Yet I find myself in art. I explore my self through art.
We agreed that the process changes you, and the result (the art) is a reflection of who you are.
He said he loves me because I am caring, smart, I observe things around me, I like learning, I am creative, not because of a photographic aesthetic I go for. Fair point, but the artistic concepts are so relevant to how I perceive myself; and how did we end up talking about love? It seems like deflecting” – He also said something really sacrilegious about art, and the words got etched into my mind as my lasting memory of that connection, but I left that out because it was so annoying. [2 september 2016 03:00 pm] Not only does the creative process & outcome alter you, in a way, but the consuming / viewing process can have similar properties too – https://dianamarin.com/2021/11/11/art-is-heightened-life/

A confession

Here is an apparently condemnable confession for a woman: I always, always, always do exactly what I want to do. It’s one of my defining characteristics – as unchanging and relentless as my regenerative strength and perceptive and intuitive nature. I take the lead and control my world. What does that imply? I can’t be swayed, brainwashed, gaslighted into doing or being anything I don’t want. I reject anything that doesn’t align with my views and values, that doesn’t resonate with me. There are, indeed, parts of my personality and identity that are quite fluid, in the sense that I am quite open to exploring new territories, new experiences, new sources of rapture. The point is I dare to live according to my own rules, system of values, ideas of happiness (which can fluctuate in time), and strategies to reach higher mental/emotional/psychological states, as opposed to emulating someone else’s. Despite all this, I don’t expect everyone to find happiness or fulfilment in the same places I do, or be moved by the same experiences I find ineffably exquisite, or appreciate the same flavours of this multitudinous universe. Because of all of this, something that acutely irks me is whenever someone has the audacity to tell me I’m wrong in my ways, that my perception is distorted and I must be unhappy because I don’t adhere to a cookie-cutter approach to lifestyle, as dictated by others. I can understand that clashes between different sets of values and world views are inevitable; what I find laughable and obnoxious, however, is whenever someone tries to convert you to their conceptual world and deny the validity of anything else, ignoring the possibility that anyone can choose to live based on their own concepts of happiness. I think I am more justified in my view that this tendency to invalidate and criticise a different lifestyle chosen by someone you don’t resonate with is more indicative of unhappiness and discontent than the lifestyle itself. You are perhaps afraid of the unknown, seeing it as a threat because it makes you reassess your own life choices, the possibility that you could be living differently and you’d probably try if you weren’t afraid or trapped in a cage of your own making. You don’t want others to remind you of that, so you try to invalidate their narrative.

[to be continued]

Inner discourse

I have always wondered what other people’s inner lives are like. Some of my greatest strengths are my perceptiveness and empathy, so I can quite easily figure out what someone is feeling, how they are likely to react, or what I should say in order to make them respond a certain way. Then again, maybe that is delusional, or surface-level stuff. Ultimately, you don’t really get to know what other people’s inner voices and discourses sound like and how they piece together their narrative. (Don’t even get me started about the unfathomable unconscious)
My external life isn’t something I tend to write about, in any direct way, as it seems quite uneventful. My inner life has always been complex. One thing I used to dream about was eternal life, as a sci-fi narrative (i.e. uploading our consciousness into an eternal body or merging with AI), rather than in a religious sense. This is a polarising subject: some are horrified by this, others see the positive side of living forever, in whatever way. Since I always felt that those unafraid of – even at peace with – death were made of a different substance from myself, I used to be part of the latter category, thinking it would be amazing to find a way to preserve my consciousness, what makes me who I am, somehow. Yet I had never viscerally contemplated how the elusiveness of this ontological concept can work against such futuristic dreams, turning them into frightening dystopias.
There have been a few shifts in my inner world. One was spiritual, taking me on a path of Enlightenment. It gave me a distinctive sense of control and harmony. Unfortunately, it was a transient feeling, experienced whilst reading a book on a relevant subject; yet it offered me a glimpse of another perspective, another lens to see and feel the world through – one that was free of worries and other negative attachments. As opposed to the mental state of an emotionally detached person to whom you could also attribute the previous description, what I am referring to is on a different wave length; it’s not emotional distancing or numbness. It’s acceptance, surrender, experiencing the lightness of being, and the sense of inner peace and control arising from that state. It must be amazing to live your whole life that way, as people who fully dedicate their life to esoteric knowledge, practices, and meditation do. Although in my case it was ephemeral, recalling the experience, knowing that it is possible to view life through that filter still marked a long-term shift in my world view, albeit less impressive than the actual experience. Similar life-changing shifts have been experienced by people on prescribed pills such as anti-depressants. A second, poetic shift happened after watching a film that constituted an uncanny experience which temporarily projected me into a derealised world. The same type of experience was repeated at a later point, in other, rather peculiar circumstances, which I will not elaborate on in this.
I look at neighbouring houses and sometimes see unknown, pensive faces behind windows. Thoughts and narratives about their inner lives form and dissolve. Enlightened masters say We are One, but our egos (in Eckhart Tolle’s use of the word, his view of ego as the self that’s stuck with negative attachments and patterns rather than the psychoanalytic use of the word) separate us. E. Tolle says true compassion for and deep understanding of other human beings are based on the acknowledgement of the duality of our ephemeral-eternal nature. I don’t know if I believe in eternity in a spiritual sense. It seems likely, though, that if we manage to transcend life and our egos, we will supposedly be at peace with everything.

A poem: Polarising

You were polarising-
in so many ways,
your vibe confused the hell out of me
and the ambivalence made me
uncomfortable;
I met you at a time when
I didn’t know the best things in life
are somewhat polarising,
they tend to be transformative,
with their stimulating powers
I liked transparency, I still do,
but you had authenticity,
your polarising effect was
not a play, not intentional and
definitely not ill-intentioned
it was pure and unfiltered and yet,
despite your genuine madness,
a friendship couldn’t survive
Now it’s far too late,
And, albeit more mature than back then and
still sticking to openly blissful patterns,
I’m also tinged with jadedness
in the human relations sector

A poem: Unfiltered

Clinical,
surreal emptiness.
Chocolate-scented wood.
Smell of new and
non-alcoholic intoxication.
Life as art for art’s sake.

Neon light flickers as you blink
infected by dizziness.

No longer tone-deaf to the harmonies
of your own soul,
you don’t shrink for someone else to grow.

An invisible corpse in the plastic bag
winks at you from the corner-
madness, it grows
in sanity.

Lifeless but intense:
you don’t pray for another,
you prey for yourself.

 

A poem: Vis-à-vis

Quiet and frozen:
A reflection approaches
within the glass
I seek meaning
in a meaningless palace
of empty eyes and half-hearted smiles.
Statues of philosophers vis-à-vis-
From expresionless to sad,
their face changes mood:
they empathise.

Neither pain
nor pleasure felt-
My mindless mind projects
conflicting eyes
filling a void of thought and

I succumb.

Dantesque

She was standing by the window, her face seemingly puzzled by the familiar noise of trains rushing incessantly and birds making harpy-like sounds. It was really taking her back. Back to the days when she made connections between the number of the floor she was living on and the corresponding circle from Inferno, in hopes of attributing some grandiose meaning to her existence. Those were bleak times. It had to be the seventh floor. You were destined to dwell among the violent, submerged in boiling blood. Or the violent against self, being fed to Harpies. Harpies! Eyes shut for a few seconds. Opened again by the distant desperate sound of a cat in heat. I am here now. Rooted in the present, very rarely floating towards the realms of the past and the future.

Train of thought

You said to yourself that it was too cold and that was why you could barely function. It was either that, or the weeks-long stagnation of the spirit.

One day you will no longer think of your own passing, or that of those closest to you, no longer delving in scenarios of unhappiness out of masochistic urges, or in abyssal streams of consciousness.

The city, oh, the city. Sometimes you are the city, sometimes the city is in you, sometimes the city does not exist, or is something so detached from who you are, even as you pass right through its heart. The city in daylight and the city at night – such peculiar dualism to which your mindset adjusts, and which appeals to different beings within you, with different dreams and different nightmares.

You need success and fulfilment in order to open up. Is it right? It might be ingrained – inherited or caused by nurture. Unfolding at your most vulnerable seems impractical anyway, what a silly thing to do. Put up walls and let flowers climb them.

I ate everything I had in the house -red and purple fruits and chocolate, then I took the first train and stopped at the station where my train of thought decided to let me go. The station was all empty, I smiled to myself, and nature witnessed. There is a journey ahead.