September 22nd, 2013

Charah coffee

The Adriatic Sea

I swam the furthest out to sea that I have ever swum in my life. The Adriatic Sea was calm, its waves mild, its water cool and transparent at its shallowest part, where the water is a thin layer of film over the rough, pebbled shore. I have always loved the water, but I have always been as afraid of the sea/ocean/any vast, unbounded body of water as I love being in it.

Today, however, I looked across the sea to the part of the sea where safety barricades were set up; saw the bobbing head of the woman who floated all the way out there; and thought, Let's do it.

I did it. And after doing it, I discovered that there was nothing to be frightened of. I felt tired midway, and almost didn't complete my mission because I felt afraid halfway, when I looked further out and saw, clearly, just how vast and expansive the sea was; and I didn't realise how much distance I was about to cover until I started swimming.

Nevertheless - I didn't want this to be yet another disappointment in my life; I didn't want to think back to this day and remember only the moment when I made the choice to give in to fear and gave up on what I set out to do. And so I did it. And it felt so good. Even if it wasn't objectively a big deal, it was a big deal - a huge deal - to me: doing something that I have always wanted, but which I have not done because I was too afraid.

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There's almost a lesson to be learned there. No, scratch that - there is a lesson to be learned there. I love writing as much as I am afraid of it; more precisely, I am afraid of the setbacks and the potential failure. Writing is like swimming the distance of the shore to that precise point of the sea where I touched the rubber ball, except it is even more than that. It is creating the singular moment of sheer bliss and perfection over and over again, creating magic every time I put words to paper, or produce words on an electronic screen. It seems a travesty that I have avoided the only thing that makes me feel alive so studiously and religiously; but I am what I am. I avoid things. I avoid things until the consequences pile up and I'm left to sort through the mess that I have created. This is what I think I have done to myself and my writing. By doing absolutely fuck all about it, I have gradually and inadvertently and even negligently backed myself into a dusty, mildewy corner where there is no sunlight, no inspiration; just the tired, querulous whining of someone who is too damn afraid.

I need to do this. It's the only thing that I want. This trip has brought all this out and I feel like I can't go back to the way things were: the cavalier avoidance, the careless nonchalance, the not trying. I don't know what I'm doing with my life because I know what I want to do and yet I don't do anything about it. What is wrong with me? I need to stop doing this to myself.

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On another note, the perfection of all this kills me. This feels like a dream - this trip, being in this hotel room, listening to the wind screeching against my hotel window with a beautiful boy next to me. It feels unreal. I can't help but feel it inevitable, the large looming shadow of the tiny island on which I live, eager to grab me by the throat and drag me back to its claustrophobic shores. Maybe I am too negative; maybe my period is around the corner. Whatever it is, I am haunted by a sense of finality; and I can't adequately put into words how heartbreaking it is.

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It's not just about leaving the city that I love. It's about the boy too. He is not perfect, but sometimes I feel like he is. He makes me so happy - and that is exactly what makes me sad.