You’re Allowed To Stand Still

Alex Iby.jpg

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

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

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.


Taxi Musing II

Peter Kasprzyk.jpg

On Friday afternoon, I took two taxi rides.

On my first, I was on my way somewhere. I didn’t know exactly where I was going. I didn’t know exactly how I would reach there. I really just hoped that the driver taking me would.

He didn’t.

But he did have an idea. An idea of where that place was. An idea of the roads that might lead there. An idea of the path to our destination.


On my second, I was on my way home. I knew exactly where I was going. I knew exactly how I would reach there. I really just hoped that the driver taking me would.

He did.

But amongst the congestion and confusion we call traffic on a Friday afternoon, we got stuck in the middle of each highway or pathway we eventually got on.

Both times, I eventually got to exactly where I wanted to go. Albeit from contrasting starting points.

On the first, we found our way based on an idea. Based on our perception of what the end would like.

On the second, we had to divert from pre-conceived notions. We had to find alternative pathways to reach where we wanted to go.

I think that sometimes that’s the oxymoron we find ourselves in-between.

In-between working towards something we don’t really visualize and finding alternative ways of achieving what we’ve already visualized, especially in the midst of unexpected constraints.

But I also think that those are the moments that define us. The moments where we have to  believe in our own beliefs. The moments where we have to overcome unprecedented barriers. The moments where the journey makes the destination truly worthwhile.


© Hudson Biko

Photograph: Peter Kasprzyk



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