The journey of life we each venture on is something profoundly independent yet it requires so much involvement with others one might confuse this notion of independence with that of dependency. And that would be fair. Not necessarily completely correct. But fair.
The Cagsawa Church Ruins – Philippines
One of my most beloved ruins.
We are supposed to interact with those around us, have relationships and acquaintances. We are meant to share our stories, our cultures and our lessons. We are a collection of endless energy (billions of resilient souls) with lifetimes of experience spanning the universes. Why else would we all be here at this same exact time? For that reason alone the wars in this world should cease. So that we may pause and come fully to the realization that we are not alone. There is an ever-growing number of us. Right here. On this beautiful ball of a planet we call Earth.
Yet we continuously seek each other out for the purpose of destruction and search beyond the stars for something else.
We do not always end up where we want to be. But that does not mean that we are not meant to be there, we just have conflicting emotions about it. I hesitate to say whether I am where I thought I would or not because I am not sure how much thought I have properly given it. For you see, early on, things did not go for me as I had planned.
I was very active in high school. Not popular by any means but pretty much everyone knew who I was because I was a part of almost everything. I loved my school and its students, even if that love was not returned. I was not one to have friends. And oddly enough it never really bothered me. Until now. Making friends when you are over 30 sucks. And it is hard. Because most people have good, established friendships by this time. Like many of my high school mates. A lot of them stayed in touch with their respective groupings. Building on the foundation. Adding new friends. But me, I generally watch from the sidelines.
My second last year I was diagnosed with T1D. What a wrench in my gears that was. What gears? My plans, man. My plans. That shit totally and completely fucked up my plans. I doubt my parents even know what my plans were prior to my diagnosis. Probably because they were not carved in stone plans, mainly dreams. But more likely because no one asked.
My father pushed for me to go to university at a time when everyone said it was the only way to get a job. He wanted me to become a lawyer. Or a doctor. Because I was smart. And he was proud of that. I remember the time I returned home from a few week’s stay at my aunt’s house. She lives in Missouri and I had flown down as an unaccompanied minor. I believe I was 12. I returned home and expressed my desire to become a hairstylist. He lost it. Called my aunt up and gave her hell, like my stay with her somehow sparked that flame. A flame I immediately put out. Looking back on it now, it would likely have been a better and more cost-effective plan than my four years at university. Had I gone to school and become a hairstylist I would have a trade. And as I have never properly worked since university (for health reasons), it would have allowed me a means of earning from home. And saved me the rigmarole of the countless times I have had to shuck and jive to make ends meet.
To this day only my husband knows what my heart’s true desire is. And even though I am able to enjoy some success through my artistic abilities – well, sort of, people do pay for my artsy edibles – it is does not own the bulk of my passion. So to that end, I am still dreaming.
Write Here, Write Now
There are few things I enjoy more than the feel of a pen between my fingers. That enjoyment combined with my brain injury are probably the explanation behind my incessant list making. Well, and my OCD tendencies towards organization. I adore the smell of ink. As it rushes out on the page. Full of hope and wonder. I love the sound of crisp paper. The vessel of inspiration. I try often to long-hand my posts. But on occasion, such as this, I simply sit before ye olde laptop and let it flow…
I have written so many things over the years. I have books saved around the house. Full of poetry and stories. There are things I have tucked away that no one has ever seen. There are things I have shared, boldly and bravely. There are things written down that still scare me and so they remain hidden. Locked away. Safe. And there are things I am completely proud of. Like an out of body experience. Holy shit, that’s good! And I wrote it.
I find writing and now, by way of progress and technology (I guess), typing to be tremendously healing. It is the perfect means of release. You can write or type (for the sake of my sanity and avoiding over usage of or I will simply refer to the act as writing from here on) anything you want. No one ever has to see it. But once you release it from your inner being it is out there. Out of you. Physic mediums, phycologists, and counsellors alike share the notion of writing to release. Several times during my life I have written letters to people, both alive and moved on, and then burnt them.
They were not letters meant for their viewing but the emotion needed to be let out. And, by burning it, that emotion is converted to energy and free to dance on the wind to a better place. Perhaps, one day it will reach the mass of energy it was intended for.
These days I do not journal as I once did. Looking back I do not miss it. I believe my journaling days were a means of survival. A place to store my thoughts. Not like a stockpile. These would not be thoughts that would convert to things of use or purpose. More like thoughts removal. Because if that were not set out, they would be in there wreaking havoc. If by this time there were even still a there and havoc to be wreaked.
Most of my writing these days is comprised of these blog posts (thank you for reading!), lists and stories for wee ones. Of everything I have ever written, a story I penned back in 2006 remains my favourite. And my hubby’s. Now our little boy too enjoys it. However, he has also employed my artistic skills and has managed to motivate me enough to complete a few pictures for it. Because his youth dictates that a good story is one with pictures.
Once you build it, is it done?
I sometimes create metaphors for my physical existence. I believe it gives me a better grasp of my purpose without diluting it.
Your life is like a city (I like to refer to mine as a town, not much of a city gal me!). An old one. With walls. There are ways in and out of the city. Some are well advertised, easy to see. Others known only to those in the know. Secret passages. Your city has all the basic fundamentals available for its construction. How you implement those is what makes your city the unique destination it is.
There’s the plumbing, the emotions. In and out of the city. Sometimes it gets plugged. It gets backed-up. So what do you do? You grab the GD plunger and get that crap gone. Until the next time. And there will always be a next time.
Buildings get built. That’s the experience. And they improve. As our skillset grows we learn. Become better builders. Sometimes we have to learn from mistakes we have made during the building process. Sometimes we have to take down things we have built because they are worn beyond repair and unusable for renovation. We keep the knowledge and the memories of our experiences. We do not always need a reminder of the foundation upon which their structures were formed.
We fill our city with people. All sorts of people. And the population should be one of our choosing. It is your city. Fill it with people that will respect it. Help you build it and encourage its growth. People who will support the community within. It takes a village…
You may find the occasional squatter. But make sure you know their full story before asking them to leave. Because once someone goes there are not always destined to return.
Before you build your city you should know it will never be finished. Your city has a destiny. But you will never know what it is. Your city may stand. It may fall. Whatever it does it will do so in a mode of incompletion. Something of a work of art in progress. There will always be the opportunity for revisions. Alterations are allowed. You can even tear the whole thing down and start again. Over and over.
The perfect city does not exist. Politics will always get in the way. There will always be a naysayer. But you, the builder, governor of your city, will you allow that? Will you see the imperfection in it all and understand it as beauty? Will you stand in awe of all you have built one day? Or be disappointed?
Here in my town dreams are alive. Imagination is fostered. Creativity adored. Here in my town there is no room for celebrity. Only humility. And compassion. Here in my town we keep going even when the shadows come and take our buildings apart brick by brick. Even when they breach security. Here in my town we call that opportunity. There is always room for improvement we just do not always see it.
Here in my town we are lovers. And fighters. But we do not fight with each other, here in my town. We fight for each other.
Even when the city is in ruin.
2 thoughts on “My City of Ruins”
Sorry if I sound like some persnickety English major (especially since I never took a single English course in college) but your city is really an analogy rather than a metaphor. A metaphor is often something restricted to one sentence or at most one short paragraph.
Did you ever read Augustine’s _City of God_? More than 1,000 pages but well-written and highly readable even if you’re not into theology or philosophy. Trained and rigorous thinkers who write well are fairly rare, and the material they tend to write rarely yields to efforts at clarity. But Augustine also talks about two cities, the heavenly city and the earthly city. I like your version of there being just this one, earthly city much better.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. As one with an English degree I would agree with your definition, in my defense I was under the notion I had been brief enough. Lol. However, it seems my views on that are equally skewed. 😉
I appreciate your kind comment regarding my version of the city and am very flattered, having read numerous excerpts of Augustine’s work.