My Manifesto: Be vulnerable.

I sometimes stare at the blank page, and think of writing as wringing the mind and spilling its contents on the paper; or more accurately (as I find my handwriting atrocious), letting it flow through my fingers, and onto the keys of my old MacBook Pro. I allow them to leak, word by word, like droplets from a loosely shut valve.

I discovered, while fully immersed in this process, that the blank page is not really on the screen before me; not a canvass that I hack with a paint-loaded brush or a cup where I let the pulp and juice from an orange ooze into. No, the screen is not where the blank page lies.

The blank page is a space so empty, that neither light nor darkness exists in it, but where both can be brought into very easily when willed. It is a space where everything is welcome; colours, music, emotions, words. It is a sanctum where my world is conceived, and its address is in my head.

Whenever I write, there is a strange phenomenon that occurs in my consciousness. It doesn’t quite say the words, or show it, as these are merely the symptoms of what is going on in my brain. It feels more like carving, where the chiselled scar is the thought, shaping itself the more I tap into it and becoming its own realised copy of what is otherwise an obscure and formless breath of air. It rings in my head like electricity running wild in a vast network of copper, messages sent from nowhere, glorious bolts of lightning in the sky. This is a phenomenon that I have become so obsessed with exploring, experiencing, and mastering — and this is why I have decided to become a Writer.

Yesterday, I think it was, or whatever day that is now, I wrote an odd piece. I printed it, folded it twice, not knowing what to do with it, and is now laid out in front of me, finally discovering its purpose as I share it here:

“There’s something about my fear of being vulnerable that makes me question if I’m really cut out to be human. I just don’t want to do it, you know. Show my face in public when I have a big cystic acne on my face. Talk to people in the morning. Talk to people. Share my thoughts on social media. Co-exist with another living and breathing judgment-capable being. I just can’t anymore with human interaction, and yet my depravity of it is the cause of my misery, the same misery that makes me so afraid to live my life. So whatever I choose to do now, either way, I am well and truly fucked.

But the thing is, whether I’m cut out for it or not, I am human. And the many things I rationalise, wrestle with, and hate about myself, are precisely the things that make me a human being. So there is no reason to fight it or to run away from it. I don’t even need to accept it if I don’t feel like it. Because in the end, being human is only built around two options: to live, or to die. And if you haven’t already learned by now, I don’t care to share which one I choose.”

Now I don’t know whether it’s my profound and chronic lack of sleep or the fact that I wrote this in the morning, at work, being miserable in a career that I spent six years mindlessly slogging away to please other people and to earn a decent living. But this piece of paper is a sad piece of work, and yet it struck me so hard to realise that it is mine. I am this self-loathing person. This lonely, anxious, and angry person. So I share this work now despite its flaws, its raw and contradicting persona, and its intended incompleteness; because it is honest, and I need to start telling the truth more often.

It is true that I am anxious about sharing my own thoughts. It is true that this is making me stressed and depressed and be filled with existential dread. What is not true is the lack of reason to fight it. Because yielding to depravity, and misery, and self-deprecation, builds the case to choose the second option.

I choose to live, and I do care to share what I think. I choose to live in the company of people who believes in me, to spend my days reading great works of art, and to sit in a room with a keyboard and a pot of tea, writing fiercely. And I will share what I think, but only if my thoughts are honest, and mine. These are the only two premises I will allow my writing to build itself upon.

Be gone with you, wretched witch of criticism. Burn in hell you falsely-comforting blanket of depression. Fuck you, sleepless nights spent in the company of my fear of being vulnerable. I laugh maniacally as my fingers dig into the keys, and I cast away all my demons. You will not stop me from living the way I intend to, for alas, I have gone mad! I am free from you at last!

In their wake, I call upon my new and magnificent imaginary friends, born out of my love of their amazing work. Seneca, Albert Camus, George Orwell, Ludwig Wittgenstein you beautiful genius, Noriko Ogiwara, Haruki Murakami, Lois Lowry, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Anne Dillard, Elizabeth Gilbert, Robert Greene, Ryan Holiday, James Clear, Viktor E. Frankl, and to countless others that drink my tea and save me from the perils of my former friends. In my mind, you whisper to me, your voices kind and mellifluous, words you have written which give my life meaning. I thank you for sharing your lives, and with gratitude, I now share mine.

Although my private portfolio is merely a bunch of journal entries, uneven short stories, and unfinished novels, I will fix them, and finish them, and share them on this page, along with my poems which wouldn’t mind their company. Whether or not they are read or appreciated, they will learn to sit in this place, and I will make a home for them here.

I shy away from calling myself a Writer because I feel society expects so much from that title. But having written things over the years, and held them close to my chest, or tossed them into the garbage can, I have learned that being a writer is not about being published, it is not even about sharing. At least for me, it is merely about the act of writing, and doing it over, and over, and over again.

So why share them now? Why bother going through the gut-wrenching act of writing a manifesto, and flinging myself so boldly into the doorstep of other people’s free time? Well, I love writing. And whether I’m good at it or not doesn’t matter to me now, that stuff will sort itself out the more I do it. I love writing. And I believe that when you love something so purely and wholeheartedly, you must share it. Because the ultimate purpose of love is to be shared.

I am terrified. That is still true. But this fear in me has taken on a new form, a faint innocent cry, like the wailing of a newborn child jolted by the sensation of breathing for the first time. My skin is crawling, my insides are turning, and I feel like being sick at the thought of posting this online. Maybe I will throw up after I send this out into the world, but I know it will feel like purging the poison in my system, from a long night of drinking and wanting to be numb.

So here it is, world. Here I am. Do with my love as you please. Take it, hate it, pass it on, or give some of your love back in exchange. I am vulnerable at your feet.

Imagine Heaven

Most of what we know about life after death is theoretical, and that no place or any kind of existence after death was ever truly proven. But if we were to collate all existing theories and known concepts of what happens after life, at least even just from a theological perspective, we would find a few common qualities and trends we can attribute to a general idea of heaven. A place full of good people, where everyone loves each other, and where everyone is at peace.

I believe that heaven is the state of a perfect community, that it is actually attainable here in life, and that we don’t have to wait for death to find something we weren’t even sure existed somewhere in the universe. Most people believe that heaven is the greatest prize, a secret place that we only get to go to after death. I, however, believe that heaven is the ultimate test in human existence. That our mission in life is to turn everyone good. Not good as in to be better at something, but good as in to give and care for others more than we do to ourselves. That the concept of a family not only extends to blood relatives and to people in our circle, but to everyone in the world. That once every single human has turned good and learned how to live in peace, we would be turning this life into heaven, and that heaven would be here on Earth — palpable and truly existent.

Heaven then becomes our purpose for living. Because life in my understanding is only meant to create itself, and then exist. That the only thing life knows how to do is survive and keep growing until it finally expires and become nothing again. Therefore death is not the opposite of life, but the absence of life. So our purpose as beings who are alive is to do solely what life does. Any form of virtue, logic or philosophy that encourages the creation and existence of life, therefore makes up the quality of being alive. Anyone else that fails to support life or much worse end it, lacks a fundamental understanding of their own existence. Because if every single person in the world is created equal, which they are, then it is inevitable to discredit your own value once you have devalued the life of another who is exactly like you. So the way of life is only to bring goodness to other people, that in turn brings goodness to yourself. In essence, to live is only to do good, which eventually leads us all to a place called heaven. If we didn’t do good, then we wouldn’t be living, we would merely be existing and it would be the closest thing to being dead, like merely staring at a canvas and not painting.

However, indeed it is the ultimate test in human existence. To even get one city to come together and co-exist without devaluing one another already seems impossible. But that’s why it is the ultimate test, because it is the hardest of all to accomplish. I think the key is to start cultivating and living the idea of heaven in your own life. After all, ourselves is the only place we can ever start, because it is the only thing we have control over. Perhaps the most we can ever make out of our lives is how big we can grow our own community of heaven, with the entire human race as the end goal. Family for me is everyone who makes me feel loved and accepted no matter what I am, and whom I love and accept no matter what they are. I feel heaven with my family, and so I want nothing more in life than to treat each and everyone in the world as my family, simply because this was the only way I know life was supposed to work. Perhaps if everyone in my current family keeps fostering this idea of heaven, and keep inspiring their own families to do the same, we’d be one step closer to achieving heaven on earth.

Imagine everyone who loves you in your life right now, and then imagine them being every single person in the world. You would then be loving everyone in the world, and they would all be loving you. That’s heaven I guess. Imagine that.