FACETS OF INVOLUNTARY SOLITUDE
Outtakes are the fragments in between. They’re the mistakes. The test runs. The ideas which weren’t like you imagined them.
Outtakes are sometimes frivolous; sometimes they carry too much sentiment to possibly contain it all in one try. But what they always are, is a pure embodiment of intent.
There’s always an intention visible, and most importantly, it’s an effort which is void of the need for perfection. There’s no pressure. They are simply just attempts. The content or outcome almost doesn’t matter. The very fact that there is a desire to express something more is what remains. It is what’s important, even if it might not be invisible to others.
It’s the blurred photo between a couple of others that strike a better balance of lighting, focus and composition. It’s a crossed out scribble. It’s a half finished piece of writing. It’s a shit piece of writing. It’s a half finished project. A half baked piece of graphic design. Half an application letter, or maybe just the ending line. It’s a nice word you learnt kept in the notes app on your phone. A half painted room.
What follows is just that; thoughts and ideas I've tried to rationalise but have found no resolution. Things with no point, sometimes no direction, sometimes just a place to put a feeling I can't name.
What happens to the outtakes? Could they be more important than the neat and tidy product which follows them?
I think they might be.
It's an effort to count how many days it's been now and, if I'm honest, there might have been days which past that I have no recollection of at all.
No one can prepare you for the best news of your life and the worst night of your existence and a whole lot of filler time in between.
I didn't think I could live alone in a flat in London, half way around the world away from my family and friends for two months. I didn't think I could be one of the only people I know doing it either. But there's no other choice, so you do the best you can.
for a second
It feels like before
Like any second
Someone will pop round the corner
A man in a suit
Or kids on their way to school
Or a bus driver off duty
Or just, anyone.
But it’s 8am
And the world is quiet
For the fifth or sixth week
In a row
The city is empty
The sun fills its streets now
Fresh air between
Police cars roam
The sound of sirens take their rest for the morning
And the world sleeps
Basking in a deceiving stillness
It’s not real.
The stillness, I know it can’t be.
What happens when we are allowed back into the world?
What kind of world will we have?
What will we say five years from now?
That we are grateful?
That we fucked up?
That we can’t even remember it?
I don’t know.
I’m not sure I know much anymore.
I’m just taking it one day at a time
And hoping for the day
When I'm not waiting for
The normality of rush hour.
The past three weeks exist only in fragments, where only the very best and absolute worst moments remain.
It’s hard to remember any of the buffer time, probably spent preoccupied with work or mindlessly scrolling on Instagram or repeating the shred of routine I was able to maintain.
When people asked how I was, my instinct was to describe my state as scattered.
How can one of the most important moments of your life be carried out through one of the hardest periods of your life? How do you speak about your career being your passion when it has completely worn you down?
It’s been a period of learning how to say no, being honest about where I’m at and reaching out for help when I need it. They’re important lessons, but I wish I didn’t have to learn them like this.
What’s left are fragments of a time I’m trying not to disassociate with, despite how much I'm trying to run away from it.
the first slice of normality
And it’s not an illusion this time
It’s just normality returning.
But not with the same feeling
Because you know it’s wrong
You know better
But you’re only human
And it feels nice.
I don’t know how to feel
But right now
Normality will be nice for the next
That I might regret them
Living day to day and knowing that this period of our lives will eventually succumb to a small paragraph with some graphs and statistics in a high school biology textbook is, for better use of a word, weird.
Some days it feels like you should be looking into your past to improve yourself in the present. Some days it feels like you’re not even sure if nice food is exciting anymore. Then some days just feel like days.
Despite all of this, life has continued to deal the same challenges. There’s no distractions from them, so they intensify and become the center of my world. But so does the good news. It’s laced with a somber mood because, when the dream you’ve been dreaming of for four years becomes a reality, and you’re alone in your bedroom, instinct tells you that something isn’t quite present in that moment. It’s the physical joy of others.
These are the things which won’t be captured in textbooks, or photographs, or even pieces of writing like this. It’s the small moments of realisation that this is the new world experience. It’s happening to everyone.
That doesn’t mean feeling robbed of important moments in your life isn’t valid. It isn’t complaining. It’s simply releasing and making space for the moment to happen as it does.
And that’s okay.
I don't want
To feel guilty
For buying tulips
In the middle of a pandemic
But I also don’t want to
Look at the interior
Of my four walls
And feel like the world
Is several thousand miles away
And that I am stuck
Living not in the world
Not beyond the world
But somewhere in between
Where nothing quite exists.
The haze over the London sky
Feels like every summers evening
Back home in the mist of the ocean
And I smile.
The golden light fills the back of my eyelids
And washes over the quietness of Sunday
And things feel still for a second
And I feel the love of home.
I’m half way around the world
But I can feel myself in the white wash with my bestfriend
And I can feel summer evening bike rides
And I can feel nights spent with the doors wide open.
I’m half way around the world
And this haze that covers the Thames
Feels like it could be the home I always knew.
But it’s here
And so am I.