and the ghosts in the attic, they never quite leave.
16. May 16 00:51 - Envy
It's difficult not to think about what I might have turned out like, what life might have been like had the divorce not happened. It's difficult not to imagine it when every visit to my father seems like a trip into an alternate universe - a world of what-ifs. If I had grown up in that kind of intact family, if my talents had been fostered in that strict and ambitious environment with constant supervision and guidance, would I be a more successful and less damaged person now? Could I have avoided depression altogether, could I have pushed through my weaknesses and be a child that my parents can brag about truthfully now? Would that success have been worth giving up all of my freedom in exchange, the same freedom that enabled me to become the person I am now?
Or would I have crumbled under all that pressure and all the comparisons that it invites? After all, I still carry all the scars from the expectations of my own childhood, still fight with the mental bagagge that has accumulated over the years. Even with the divorce, I still had gone through a fair share of that strict grooming, those periods of expectations. And although all those well-meant efforts and the attention still mean a lot to me and, without doubt, helped me get where I am now, who can say just how much they've contributed to all these malfunctioning parts of me now?
The questions may continue to return and haunt me, but they are questions without answers. Ultimately, you can only judge life from the viewpoint of the person you are, and the person you are is a product of all of your experiences. There is no other you - no other version of you, no other possibility of yourself. But I still wonder.
14. May 16 18:21 - Russian Roulette
I'm a prototype that has served its purpose, having only diminishing returns to show. My usefulness is coming to an end, the cost of upkeep better spent elsewhere. I'm a broken product held together by sentimentality.
I shouldn't begrudge the newer models for their output capacity: They are constructed from different materials, shaped by previous experience.
When I venture into myself, there's only ugliness to be found. The only way to cover those patches is to extract what's left to salvage and implant all of it into the models that will shape the future in my stead.
And yet: In a continuous process of mentally dismantling myself day after day, I still refuse to hand anyone else the instruments of my own destruction. At the very least, I want the data and traits that make up this failed product to be mine until the end.
15. Aug 14 23:51 - Phantoms
I only ever miss the person you were from the perspective of the person I was back then, never the person you are now, and never as the person I am now. There are times when I wonder whether that realization hurts me, whether my current self is in any way hurting the past self that is part of me by technically insulting the person it once held dear; after all, for all intents and purposes, you'd be nothing but repulsive to me now, a hollow ghost, an echo of whom I once adored.

The person that my old self is missing is a person who does not exist in that form anymore, only the memory of them, fixed in time, never to change, never to expand; even if that person were still physically there, even if I could reach out to them and provoke a reaction if I did, not even once must I delude myself into thinking that they are the same person that I long to talk to.

They're a person of their own, a person who has moved on the way I have moved on.

Imposing one's memories on someone else only ever hurts both sides.
14. Dec 13 15:36 - Reassessment
I have fallen out of love with so many people and things I used to love so vehemently, and all that lost appreciation, now transmuted, has become the love I hold for myself. It is with delight and pride that I look back on my journey, and though the notion of loss will always be accompanied by a vague sense of sadness, I would not want it any other way, for I have grown so much: I have grown out of the body and mind that my self occupied back then - it is only natural for me to have outgrown the feelings and relationships I had, to have stopped admiring what or who I used to admire.

Perhaps, when we look back and are filled with melancholic longing, what we feel is less the longing for a certain thing or person, but the longing for the past self as we realize that we have shed that particular layer of skin; we recognize it as having been a fundamental part of us once, know it to have shaped us into who we are, but are no longer able to fully embrace it precisely because of our growth and broader understanding. It is a state that can never be returned to; those feelings cannot be retrieved, that time cannot be relived. And though we do not wish to return to an inferior stage of development, those sentiments of alienation and detachment - rejection even - bewilder us.

Perhaps it is time to sever what thin threads still bind me to those things, those people; there is no need for nostalgia which keeps reminding me of my inability to love what my past self had once held dear.
[20:21:46] Lethe: And it saddens me that people will talk about all kinds of things when they're close, but they so rarely talk about their own ugliness. I don't think many people, if there are any at all, even those who I'm close to, are aware of my ugly sides - but see, I think one's ugliness is an essential part of one's self, and I don't think you can truly claim to know or love someone without being aware of the ugliness they themselves perceive.

Follow-up to this. Perhaps that's why I like fiction - more room and time to thoroughly explore. I'm feeling lonely.
28. Jul 13 04:53 - Manchmal...
... frage ich mich, was für Begegnungen und Erfahrungen man gemacht haben muss, dass man sich schämt, Schwäche zu zeigen, da doch gerade sie einen grossen Teil unseres Selbst ausmacht. Wir können nicht behaupten, einander zu kennen, wenn wir unsere Schwächen nicht offenlegen, sind nicht imstande, einander zu verstehen, ohne sie zu begreifen.

... Ich möchte dir mit Schwäche begegnen können, dass du das Instrument besitzt, mich zu verletzen - denn nur, wer mich zu verletzen in der Lage ist, der kann mich tatsächlich lieben, und nur, wer Teil meines Schmerzes geworden ist, der hat mich wirklich berührt.
I've finally made a goodreads account the other day and have read and reread about four books since. Going to use the first real semester break in a year to catch up on some things, including the Tortall series by Tamora Pierce since I've only ever read Song of the Lioness (and love it to bits <3).

I have now finished rereading South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami, a book that's been in my possession since last December. I had only read half of it during a morning train ride to an appointment then, but was so absorbed in it that I missed my stop without noticing and ended up in a place with no people. It was winter and cold outside and the wait for the next train was long - ironic, I thought, since the book reminded me so much of Makoto Shinkai's 5 Centimeters Per Second.

"Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I'm gazing at a distant star," I said. "It's dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn't even exist anymore. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything."

This quote was what prompted me to pick up the book. Its (the quote's) force was overwhelming: It felt as if someone penetrated my shell to draw out an important part of mine and give it shape, in a language so familiar to me that it'd please me to see it materialize, only to stab me with it. When I'm in the mood to write, the landscape that my mind keeps returning to is the past and the inbetween, what was, what has been and what could have been. Sometimes I yearn to have all of it back despite being happy with the present - not necessarily because it was better, but because something will always be missing, something that nothing and nobody can replace, and you realize it is irreplaceable because the bond you weave with someone is unique, just as each human is unique. Then, it is painful to realize that you can't get those times back: because circumstances were different, you were different; even if you attempted to recreate it, the same exact constellation would not and could not return.

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I am SO mad. I like to think of myself as a balanced person; I try to look at things from different perspectives and be considerate and reasonable most of the time, but there are moments - usually in the face of plain ignorant, inconsiderate or shameless behaviour - when everything just collapses because I'm angered and saddened to the point of tears. It scares me when my emotions are out of control, when I'm shaking and my head feels hot and heavy.

A friend linked me to this GIF just now and praised the idea. Whether it's a joke or not, I cannot stand it when people retaliate like that, through words or actions. I don't like it when people harm others, and while I understand that there are many ill humans out there who go out of their way to inflict pain on others, I still do not approve of responding with hate; you can choose to walk away or to speak out against it and whether the conflict will end on a peaceful note depends on the parties involved - plain hate, however, will not lead to anything but more anger and more hurt. Sometimes you are very angry, lose control over yourself and add to that, I understand, and I'm fine with it if you apologize afterwards. But if you've had time to think about how to act and choose an option with the intention to hurt someone else? That I can't live with.

I told my friend that I don't approve of such behaviour and they just asked me whether I'd accept poor customer service. But is it really that hard to simply choose not to leave any tip and not to return? Does it take that much self-control to restrain yourself so as not to harm someone else just because you happened to get poor service at the respective place once, with nobody forcing you to come back or lie about the quality of the service? If it is indeed something grave, you could complain to the manager and they'll be able to take care of it internally.

See, it hurts me when people retaliate in situations where you can just walk away and choose not to get involved again. You don't always know what the inside of a person, especially a stranger, looks like, you don't necessarily know whether they truly meant to be rude or whether it was an accident, whether they're just having a bad day, whether they might be feeling sorry about it. There are too many people out there who presume to know exactly what's going on and who are too self-absorbed to see things from a different perspective. I understand that it might be their job to serve other people and that it's required of them to behave in a certain way and to smile, but nobody is ALWAYS in ABSOLUTE control of themselves. And yes, a single incident of not being able to control yourself may cost them their job, but that still doesn't make it YOUR task to punish them, and if you intentionally pull something similar to what's featured in that GIF, you're just a horrible person whose action is way out of proportion.

I don't understand my friend's arguments at all. So what if the manager might not be around? So what if you paid a lot for the meal? I don't think that minimal decency should be tied to those factors. I just feel so betrayed by friends when they act like this or approve of things like this, and in contrast to them, I don't think that it's each person's own business to choose how to react. It's not merely a matter of opinion with harmless results, and if that's the kind of human you choose to be, I don't want to be involved with you.

Besides, it hurts me on a personal level when people think like that. I am autistic, have social anxiety and an inferiority complex, and I was dealing with depression for the longest time during school; during that period, one of my biggest fears was that people would think of me as ungrateful because I did not or could not show any results in spite of all the support I was given - because I felt I owed them something, because that level of gratitude was not something I could express (spoken words felt cheap, wrong and fleeting to me). There are always so many words and thoughts in me that go unspoken because I constantly seem unable to communicate with the world (usually, the world does not communicate on my terms) and the thought that people out there would not just presume to know why someone acts the way they do, but even retaliate to what they think is happening absolutely terrifies me. I don't want to be friends with these people because even though they've given me good treatment, their thinking might just as well turn on me one day.

I am extremely tolerant when it comes to weaknesses in others because of the things I've gone through and the person I am now, and I will never cease to be grateful to those who were willing to make accommodations for me to get me to where I am now; I just wish more people were able to acknowledge that there are humans out there with struggles beyond your own experience.

The worst part about this particular issue is that it is so very difficult to talk about it with others. I wanted to tell some of my friends about the reason I'm so upset, but I can't because you never know which of them might actually agree with that kind of retaliation. I have friends who throw back insults when they've been wronged in a casual context, I have friends who have given me complaint letters addressed at customer service to proofread, letters which are visibly full of rage and impolite undertones; I can't bring myself to trust these friends with these topics even though they are close to me. It's horrible how there are demons in people around you and how you don't know whether someone you're friendly with might turn out to be an individual you absolutely can't agree with as soon as they're dealing with someone else, and it's even worse most people just tell you to live with it because these are things you need to ignore in order to stay connected.
I think I've found my new favourite thing in the world: Riccardo Cocciante's French Le Petit Prince musical (many thanks to roughdiamond5 for the translation). I thought that no visualization could possibly do the book justice, what with its unique mood and melancholic, thought-provoking journey and dialogues - this musical, however, filled me with awe and made me feel ashamed for underestimating man's creative capacity and dedication. The stage, the costumes, the lyrics, the singing, the acting, the direction, they're all stunningly beautiful, but I can't cease being amazed at how accurately the actors portray the figures of the novel, especially the little prince himself. To a new reader, he may be a difficult character to grasp, but Jeff manages to capture his essence perfectly: There's a certain fragility to him, an awareness for the values that are truly important in spite of - or precisely due to - his naivete, his innocence; there's the sensitivity he has gained from his journey, the tenderness with which he holds the abandoned rose in his thoughts.

You need to see the stage for yourself (well, in the video) to understand how beautiful it is: the backdrop featuring space, the lighting, the various planets that the prince visits, each with their own curiosities. The musical has touched me so deeply that I have rewatched various scenes over ten times during the past few days (to the point of memorizing gestures, facial expressions and pauses because they go so well with the respective scenes), have watched the making-of video several times - and still can't get enough of it.

Here are some of my favourite songs and my thoughts on them; literal translations are in square brackets.

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And that concludes my rambling! Again, I recommend watching the making-of video if you've enjoyed the musical, even if you don't understand French. It's very carefully put together and you get glimpses of the actors outside of their roles. You hear some actors' opinions about fellow actors and what they think about the musical itself, you get a closer look at the girl responsible for the snake's movements (she's amazing!), you see the thought process behind the costumes and the scores of the songs ("their mechanical structure"), you even get to see the actors being all silly! I didn't even notice during the musical that the pattern of the conceited man's costume was made up of faces and the word "moi" ("me" for emphasis). It's just amazing how the actors are one with their role, and each of them gets their own clip within the video. It's also very admirable how their love and care extended to this video; for example, during the sequence featuring the fox' actor where they talk about the fox' lesson, "Puisque c'est ma rose" starts playing and they include several frames featuring the actress who portrays the rose. Also, at the very end of the video, there's a four minute clip of the prince and the narrator in the desert!
23. Jun 13 01:16 - Edits to Beloved Phantasma
I'm feeling terribly lonely again, as if I were unable to connect, or perhaps it's disappointment at the fact that even when intimate, we never choose to lay bare our ugliness so as to embrace each other's innermost; perhaps part of us does still not acknowledge that ugliness in ourselves, perhaps we are too afraid to disclose and be rejected - and perhaps our intimacy simply doesn't reach that far.

Decided to edit a piece of "Beloved Phantasma", something I wrote back in December as part of a series (something I had to put on hold due to university) that can be interpreted as many things, ranging from conversations between two people, between a person and a phantasma to an internal conflict in one's own mind.

Mainly edited the beginning to include how I feel about being autistic. I also changed the working title from "Beloved Phantasma" to "Transcontinental" because I didn't like the way the former title looked, and I changed the narrator's gender identity; one of the possible interpretations of the series is highly personal, after all (the conflict within myself), and I'd rather use a neutral than a male pronoun.
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