It Might Take A While To Get There and That’s Not a Bad Thing

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Most times when we step onto a path we know where it’s going to lead. When we can’t see where that is we find comfort in the footprints that precede us.  And when its bleakest to see we listen for the voices that have left their remnants along the way in the hope that they guide us.

At times, our own paths look nothing like that.

They’re more like driving on roads with no roads signs to unknown destinations.  They’re more like finding comfort in the virtues of our own expectations. They’re more like listening to the voices of those that have done it before in the hope that we might one day.

They mostly sound like “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “Good things come to those who wait” – or some quote behind some waterfall on Instagram.

And there’s times when we internalize those voices or see those destinations and play them out in our heads in the hope that they’ll become our reality – and maybe there’s times when they make that road slightly more bearable.

But sometimes we wake up and realize that we don’t want to build Rome.  That we just want to finish that degree. Or get that promotion. Or get to that thing that shouldn’t take as long as it is.

And in those moments we want something to make that path smoother.

We want to remove the rocks, the pebbles and the dirt.

Often its because we think that those impurities on our path are deflections from our own direction. We look at them like obstacles to the place we want to go to.

We often don’t think of paths as compilations of impurities. Of obstacles overcome time and time again.

And even though it might have taken a while, they were moulded by their own to process to become what they are today.

And that’s not a bad thing.

 

© Hudson Biko

Photograph: Warren Wong

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

You’re Allowed To Stand Still

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We’re always going. From beds to coffee shops, to offices, places and spaces that constitute fragments of our sustenance. To crawling cars at half past four. To homes that take us back at the end of it. To dinner tables. To beds. To all of it. All over again.

Stuck in this constant grind. Moving towards our perceptions of success. Of satisfaction in a world that looks like it might move past us if we’re half past it. If we aren’t doing everything we think we’re meant to be doing. If we don’t get out of the bed to begin with.

And most times that’s part and parcel of our our own internal movement to something greater. Understanding and chasing our dreams and aspirations – even on the mornings we rather not.

But sometimes we can’t really do that.
Sometimes we can’t really go.

Maybe ‘can’t’ isn’t the right word. Because parts of us know that we have in the past. Because parts of us want to with every fibre that makes them, them. Because we’ve been told that the world doesn’t know the word “can’t” – that it moves on without us. That we can’t be left behind.

Maybe there is no right word that truly encapsulates those moments of apparent immobility. Because they feel exactly like that. Like drinking out of empty coffee mugs. Like the cars crawling. Like standing still in a world that moves past us.

But everything that surrounds us exists irrespective of us.

We are our own microcosm of a universe.

Made of everything that makes us. Of action and inaction. Of mobility and immobility. Of moments.

And in those moments when we stop to breathe, when we stand still to take in the world that surrounds and lives within us, we find our own little coffee shops.

Each facilitating parts of our own unique journey. Each making that next step that much greater. Each forming our own internal satisfaction.

Each and every one of them shaping our own microcosm of a universe. All over again.

Written By: Hudson Biko

Photograph: Alex Iby

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

If It Feels Like You’re Not Really Doing Anything Right Now, That’s Okay

Joshua Earle.jpgPhotograph: Joshua Earle

 

From the subtle to the obvious fragments of its existence. From the crawling caterpillars to the racing cars. From the involuntary blinks to the calculated footsteps. From all of its simplicities and its intricacies, movement not only surrounds us, it is us.

Continuously evolving. Pervading the realms of the conscious and the subconscious. Continuously reminding us of its existence.

And living amongst that, we feel that its part and parcel of everything that we have to be. That we have to continuously move. That as much as it is us, we have to be it as well.

But sometimes we aren’t. Sometimes we feel stagnant. Sometimes it feels like we are going somewhere but not really going. Living in this paradox of mobility and immobility. And because of that we try to force things to happen. To reach this major thing we’re aiming for, the fastest way we can. To be that racing car.

But racing cars aren’t always racing. Expectations aren’t always a reality. Pressure doesn’t always mould diamonds. And we find ourselves where we were to begin with. Only this time, more aware of our shortcomings. More aware of of our immobility. More aware of the distance to the thing we’re aiming for.

And you know what? That’s okay.

The tortoise always gets to the finish line, regardless of what the hare does.

That’s the part of the story we were never really told. Irrespective of the pre-conceived notions we hold in realms we call expectation, everything evolves and moves at the rate at which it does.

Yes. You have the capacity to determine certain facets of its trajectory. Yes. You are the master of your own masterpiece. Yes. Try the hardest that you possibly can.

But when you reach out for something and feel nothing at the end of it. When you see something but can’t really look at it. When the crawling caterpillar takes forever to turn into a butterfly. Know that it will all be okay.

If it feels right and every part of you wants it bad enough. It’s part and parcel of your own metamorphosis. Every involuntary and calculated step is a dissection of the simple and the intricate parts of the greater labyrinth. And when you eventually find its exit.

When you eventually feel like you’re really doing something. You’ll realize that there was never a racing car, a hare or a tortoise. Only you.

A paradox. Continuously evolving.

 

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

I Started Learning How To Code, and Its Pretty Cool

Artem Sapegin.jpgPhotograph: Artem Sapegin

If you came to me seven months ago and told me that I would be learning how to code, I would have laughed at your face. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. I would have probably told you, “Yeah, maybe” – the reasons for that are a whole other essay. But the main thing is, in the realms of my perceived reality, it was more like: “Yeah, maybe not” – and the maybe are the parts of me that are being incredibly optimistic.

In my reality, I was never seated behind a computer screen writing lines and lines of code. I was never stuck in between brackets and semi-colons. I was never consumed by wanting to know how to be stuck between brackets and semi-colons. And the only red lines I ever saw and cared about were the ones you get on that word document.

I liked that was everything was based on a platform of reason. That I could refer to a theory on that one paper I’m working on. That I could write a response to that essay topic. That everything was relatively straightforward.

But at the same time, I also liked that I could be creative. That I could make those thoughts at the back of my mind mean something. That I could speak poetry and act. That I could draw.

Okay, scratch that last part, I’m a pretty terrible artist. But I think you know what I’m getting at. It wasn’t that coding was never plan a, b, c or d. It was never a plan to begin with.

Nevertheless, the irony in prediction, is its unpredictability. I don’t really know how I got there, but there I was, sitting behind a computer, wanting to know how to write lines of code.

And I was right. It wasn’t based on reason. It wasn’t creative.

It was both.

It was this weird form of artistry and structure. It was mixing colours and shapes to create something I visualised. It was building those thoughts on a platform of reason.

It was appreciating those red lines. Don’t get me wrong, I hate them. But there’s an incredible satisfaction in solving the things that appear unsolvable.

In wanting to know how to get to the next bracket and semi-colon.

In continuously expanding the realms of my perceived reality.

In continuously embracing prediction and unpredictability.

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This Is Your Life: Live It At Your Own Pace

Tierra Benton

The clock tick-tocks in backdrops we call time. Each hands’ progression emphasizing the consummation of seconds, minutes or hours. Hours that turn into days, days into months, months into years and years into lifetimes. Lifetimes that eventually follow an infinity of other lifetimes before us.

And a part of us fears that. A part of us fears that we’re going to be haunted by the minutes and the hours we don’t truly maximize. A part of us fears that we’re going to look back at our own lifetimes and think about the infinity of possibilities we missed out on.

And it’s okay to feel like that. It fuels our own hungers and our own passions.

But sometimes that fear morphs into structure. The kind of structure that has the capacity to desolate and rather than determine. The kind of structure that imposes inadequacy rather belief. The kind of structure based on pre-conceived timelines.

Timelines consciously or subconsciously ingrained in our minds across our early existence. Whether it was college graduation by 23. Getting married by your 30s. Or retirement by 65. There was always something that should have been done by a certain age or by a certain time.

And if we don’t, we start existing in a vicious cycle of unaccomplishment. We start questioning why we aren’t where we were meant to be. We start comparing our timelines to other people’s timelines.

But your lifetime is infinitely unique to an infinity of other lifetimes. There is no way your journey will mimic the journey of others. Because like a myriad of other paths, yours is endowed with its own exclusivity. With its own rocks, pebbles and potholes that are central to its individuality.

And in spite of all of life’s complexities and intricacies, you aren’t meant to be anywhere.

There are no deadlines or regulations. At this very moment, you are formulating and experiencing your own distinct journey. A journey that isn’t regulated or paralleled by pre-conceived expectations but by your own doing. Exactly when you need to.

© Hudson Biko

Photograph: Tierra Benton

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com

My Future is Uncertain and That’s Okay

 

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A multitude of questions that have resonated across the realm of my early existence, each differing in their frequency and complexity. Many of which I really didn’t mind answering.

But there was always one, in a concoction of perceived simplicity and retrospective conviction that I never really knew how to respond to: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

No matter how much I tried, I was always lost in its obscurity. I never really understood how I was expected to know what I planned to do with my expected existence, especially when my footprint had barely scratched the continuum of time. I never really understood how we could speculate on the future when the present was so prevalent.

I still don’t. But I couldn’t say that. They were there, waiting for a response. A world beaming with expectation. Each profession brimming with its own association. So, I gave them exactly what they wanted. Manufactured a response. Sometimes, I would be fortunate enough that their attention would be diverted towards something entirely different. Sometimes I wasn’t. Sometimes it would wander further into convoluted debate.

“Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Do this. Do that. This is better.” Repeat.

I think we’re always trying to understand our lives. Either that or someone tries to understand it for us. And at its epitome is the undefinable, that which we can’t see. We’ve surpassed the past; we perceive the present. But the future, the future is unchartered territory. And we’re motivated by the eradication of its uncertainty.

I think that’s what scares us most. That’s why we try to eradicate all semblances of its mystery. That’s why we plan every part that we possibly can. That’s why we’re always aiming for something. And that’s okay. By societal standards, it would be senseless not to.

But we can’t actually plan for the future; we tell ourselves we can but all we actually do is plan pathways and hope we end up where we think we should be.

And when we don’t. We dissolve in the absence of achievement. We falter underneath the fallacy that is predictability. We resign to regret and reservation.

We say that we’ve failed.

I think everything happens for a reason and a purpose. Sometimes, we’re so distracted by how everything else doesn’t happen that we don’t see what that reason is. Sometimes, we’re so busy wallowing behind pre-conceived notions of the future that we don’t pay attention to the present.

This is not about being misguided or unambitious. This is about recognising redefined trajectories. This is about realising the boundless opportunities that are right before us when we care to look past failure. This is about challenging the notions of certainty. This is about enjoying the journey even in anticipation of the destination.

This year, I’m going to begin to a new chapter in my life. I don’t know if the major I’ve chosen is going to lead me somewhere. I don’t know if I’ll end up where I think I should be. But I’m fine with that. Because I realise that somewhere is somewhere after all.

The future in all its complexities is composed of a collation of thens, nows and afters.

And amongst it all, all we can truly control is the current. So control it. Go into unchartered territory. Embrace the uncertain. Be senseless. Maximize it in its entirety. Repeat.

© Hudson Biko

Photograph: Clem Onojeghuo

This Is About Regret

victoria-hallPhotograph: Viktoria Hall-Waldhauser

We are an oxymoron of the finite and the infinite. Faced with finite actions from infinite possibilities. Faced with finite decisions from an infinity of potential repercussions. Living finite eternities in an infinite universe.

And sometimes we find ourselves living in between the echelons of the two extremities. Living in between perceived certainty and uncertainty. Living with the repercussions of actions we wish we could take back. Wishing we could choose again from one of the other infinities. Living in echelons we call regret.

Reverberating in a vicious cycle of could have and would have beens. Falling into fallacies and creating perceived outcomes. Living them out because they are what we thought we would get. Haunted by the remains of inaction and the ghosts of possibility.

Sometimes we let those ghosts entrap us from repeating what we once did. From the failures and disappointments. From the uncertainties and insecurities. Because we once reached and wished we never took the journey.

Because we aren’t meant to repeat the same mistake twice. Because we’ve come to fear our own intuition.

But you did it. For whatever reason, you chose what you chose from an infinity of possibilities.

Every other thing could have been any other thing. Every other path could have led to any other destination.

The irony in fearing mistakes is that it forces us to make more. It forces us to reverberate in uncertainty. It forces us to live in sheer self-doubt.

And sometimes, even worse than that, it forces us to confine ourselves to comfortability. We lose out on so much more because of our fear to lose out on what we never had to begin with.

If anything, let the same fear that tells you everything that could go wrong motivate you to see what could go right.

Appreciate where you are at this very moment. Appreciate how every facet of your past and present has created the person you are today. Appreciate all those things that aren’t worth appreciating because that ultimately gives you the room to grow.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to live with the knowledge that we gave everything than to live with the idea that we could give more.

And when we live in the presence of self-confidence rather than self-doubt we give ourselves the opportunity to trust our own intuition. To understand that we can’t make any mistakes because everything serves a purpose. To understand that we can’t take wrong paths because we end up exactly where we need to be. To understand that the lines between right and wrong decisions are abstract. That each experience is a facet of growth and self-understanding.

You are an evolving canvas. Composed of everything painted upon it. Composed of an oxymoron of misplaced and masterful strokes. But ultimately, a canvas that is only painted by the strokes that are taken to begin with.

 

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Choose To See The Good

maria-victoria-heredia-reyes-20883.jpgPhotograph: María Victoria Heredia Reyes

Life is a broken pendulum. Irregularly oscillating. Stuck between moments of happiness and moments of sadness. Stuck between memories we choose to hold onto and memories we wish would let go of us. Stuck between consistencies and inconsistencies.

But even in its broad irregularity, we face one constant: Choice. Sometimes of temporary consequence. Sometimes of enduring definition.

We’re always caught up in the process. Always oscillating in a cycle of indecision. And maybe that’s why we only pay attention to what we choose to see.

Perspective becomes subsequent. Accrued from the absence or presence of experience. We don’t really think about it, it just happens. And for the most part, that’s okay. But sometimes it’s so incredibly instantaneous that we don’t really get to see everything for all that it could be.

Sometimes, the magnitude of memory outweighs the magnitude of belief.

Sometimes, we’re so hurt by people that we rather hurt them before they have a chance to hurt us.

Sometimes, we’re so broken that putting things together is harder than letting everything else fall apart.

Sometimes, darkness is more comforting than light.

But if we only looked at the darkness, we would never see the beauty in the stars.

We have a tendency to look at what we don’t have rather than what we do. To look at what we haven’t done rather than what we have. To look at everything for what it isn’t rather than what it is.

And I think that’s part of who we are. Or rather, who we’re made out to be.

So much so, that we don’t realize that sometimes things fall apart so we can build something better.
That we need to fall so we can learn how to pick ourselves up.
That pain pre-empts healing.

That’s why we stop ourselves from doing something that holds the capacity for the failure we once experienced. But if we never failed, we would repeatedly rotate in the confines of comfortability. We would never grow.

We are the summation of our experiences, but we are not the finished article. And if we were always chained to memory, we would never free ourselves to create better ones.

If we never struggled, we would never realize how much we wanted what we wanted. We would never test every facet our being to its point of understanding.

If we always saw people for the pain others caused us, we would never see the potential for good in others. And if we were always saturated in a state of distrust we would condemn our own conviction.

Just as negativity breeds nullification, positive energy breeds positive repercussion.

And at our very core, we are what we think we are. We resonate with our own frequencies. We define what defines us. That is the constant regularity, the oscillation that is unbroken.

So, choose to see the good even when its hardest. Even when every fibre of your being wants to give in. Even when the light is flickering in obscurity. Even when you’re at the precipice of the oscillation’s extremities. Those are the moments that compose realization. Those are the moments of growth. Those are the moments that the stars burn brightest.

 

© Hudson Biko

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.