_flowering/flux

“She wasn’t bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad.
The kind of sad that just takes time.”
 Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sometimes we have second thoughts about our life. Or we stop to have second thoughts and none come. This is not particularly peculiar. You’re not “dumb” and you’re not “a fekking mess”. You’re awake. And this we know is true because if you weren’t, then where would you be?

Not here.

Not like this.

You wanted to be awake, and now you are.

So. What’s next?

And… if you don’t know yet (although I think that you do), then be patient with yourself for a little bit longer. It’s the unraveling that reminds us we are alive. That we hurt when pricked. Cry when we’re loved, sometimes, because of how beautiful it is. Cry when we’re not loved, sometimes, because of how offensive it is.

Some people pooh-pooh and say ‘…oh fear, it’s a funny thing.’ They’re stupid. Nothing that can debilitate you with such ruthless savage could ever be funny. Not even slightly. Not even just a little bit. But you know what fear is? Fear is a liar. Because we have these things we think we’re scared of. I think some of the biggest things we are scared of are: changing our minds; not loving our life the way happy people seem to do; not wanting to go to bed; not wanting to get out of bed; not wanting to admit; not wanting to deny; not wanting to carry on; not wanting to tell someone that we don’t want to carry on with them; not being sure that we aren’t going to change our minds again tomorrow, or any other day; not being as figured-out as we believe we should be or worse still, not being as figured-out as other people think we are. Then we live with the fear that someone will figure it all out sooner or later. There are lots more. The list is long and to each his own. But why? When we really look at it – why are we scared? Because we bought the nightmare that we think will be the result of how other people will react or how it will affect other people or what other people are going to think or say. Some of these other people are really important because of who they are in our lives. But then, if you think about it, if they are really important because of who they are in our lives – and if they knew how we feel when we are inside of this fear – would they want this for us?

Sometimes you feel like you just wake up to pretend you’re okay until it’s time to go to sleep again. Then you rinse-and-repeat until it’s not just the clothes that are stretched thin. And then there are days when you just want everyone else to go to sleep so that you can be alone – where you’re almost sure-sure you’re happiest.

But… Sure-sure?

Still… you know what? As subjective as this gravity is – it’s just a transition. Feels like purgatory, sure. But still… it’s just a transition.

This is not particularly peculiar. You’re not “dumb” and you’re not “a fekking mess”.

You wanted to be awake – and here you are.

Thank God!

So. What’s next?

And if you don’t know yet (although I think that you do), then be patient with yourself for a little bit longer.

It’s the unraveling that reminds us we are alive.

Sometimes the worst thing to happen to you is also the best thing to happen to you.

Either way, you’re going to have to jump.

photo

PS: You had the key when you were a kid.

You just can’t remember where you put it.

 Be a kid again.

The solutions are simpler.

© Dylan Balkind

White Supremacy

No bait. So much hate. I never got to ask you about your suffocating spate.
Neck brace. Hot face. The ambulance ride told me I’d lost the race.
I went out looking pretty. I came back looking gritty.
I wonder if the unaffected still think my harping about this is petty?

I don’t get stuck doing it often … until I see things like this.

Fourteen years ago, I watched a poet stand under a spotlight, her lips big and her head shaved – she was beautiful and brittle and she wanted answers from her people. She purred: “Give a white man a gun… and he shoots a black man. Give a black man a gun… and he shoots a black man.”

The quiet that followed boomed discernible discomfort. Everybody was embarrassed to be the colour they were for the words she wove were wild.

What is wrong with us?
Why so much chaos?
Karma’s due to hit soon with the full-speed force of a brakeless bus.

So much hate
strangling Light in its gait
Do you see an end in sight to the frenzy of this spate?

I went out looking pretty. I came back looking gritty.
I wonder if the unaffected still think my harping about this is petty?

I don’t get stuck doing it often … until I see things like this.

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 7.43.52 PM

Who are you? Privileged white man, son and brother –
to decide that you can and should do this to another?
I want you to have to sit and watch this with your mother,
and the father of your future fiancé and her little brother.

Your drugs are broken
love is just a token
of something you haven’t yet known, lived, felt or even spoken.
You need to start to see
that the repercussions of actions are three –
and that not yet knowing yourself is just an empty roar unspoken melee.

I insist I bring poise albeit anger to this podium,
though nervous I swear this voice I stall could fill a stadium.
It’s when you go outside of being inside your callous thoughtlessness,
that you free yourself from that terminal consortium carelessness.

No bait. So much hate.
Your drugs are broken and your love’s just a token…
I went out looking pretty. I came back looking gritty.
I wonder if the unaffected still think my harping about this is petty?

 

© Dylan Balkind

Lego for my Daddy’s nephew

#The FinnDiaries

I have big dreams. I think about them all the time and ways I can make them come true for me.

When my Dad goes to the shop, I wait by the front door to see what surprise he brings for me. When he opens the door I jump up and pull the packets down to look inside them. Sometimes my life is hard and there is no surprise for me and this doesn’t help my dreams because then I have to make more dreams for the things I didn’t get and put them on the same list as the things I always wanted. But I think I’ve figured out a way to get my dreams myself. I have to have a credit card because I have seen all the things my Dad can get when he says he swiped his credit card so it seems to be easy and the best way to get my dreams.

The things I will buy when I get my credit card:

  • A brick of cheddar cheese
  • A new kitty because the one at my house doesn’t play with me
  • A pair of socks that I can chew because they will be mine
  • A mug with a picture of me on it for my Gogo because she says I am cute
  • A mug with a picture of me on it for my Granddad because he says I am a cool little guy
  • A mug with a picture of me on it for my Daddy because he kisses my face a lot
  • Lego for my Daddy’s nephew because I chewed his. His name is Matthew.
  • A bed for my Daddy because he really likes mine because I know because he is always sleeping in it
  • Courage because when the bad men came to steal stuff at our house I cried and hid away
  • Hot chocolate

When I get my credit card I will have a secret pin but I can’t tell you what it is because I have to keep it a secret.

Finn CC

My name is Finn. Visa Finn.

Stars May Collide

Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. Some people are meant to take a long walk off a short pier the same day you meet them. If I was an underwater chess champion and some floozy selling fish net stockings came calling, it’s not likely that we’d high five each other and go for strawberry milkshakes together.

It’s hard to find your “likely pair” though, isn’t it? The world is so full of right-nows and maybes and not-reallys. It’s also really full of perfection that’s too far away, the torment of the imagination and the wounded jade of a heart that has been hurt.

There are few souls that want to sail alone because to spend a rainy Sunday on the couch in your cotton pyjamas watching romantic comedies, picnic in the park or throw smarties into a mouth – you generally need an other. Isn’t it funny then that all the things that annoyed you about being in a relationship are the very things you miss when it is gone? No? Me neither. A heart of stone here too.

We are all the same. We all need a connection. I just did the unthinkable and marched down into another open-plan office and boldly stated that I needed a hug (momentary lapse in heart-of-stone’s function, obviously). We all need to be needed and that doesn’t necessarily make us needy. It makes us honourable. It makes us dignified. It makes us feel.

They say you are lucky to find someone to spend your time, money, holidays, cellphone bill, frustrations, patience, petrol, bonus, kindness and love on. They are right. They also say that if you love something, set it free. That’s the biggest load of bullshit I have ever heard. It’s even worse than that whole having your cake and eating it too madness. I cannot remember the last time I bought a cake, but I can assure that if I am going to buy a cake, I plan on eating it. And I plan to find somebody to love that I don’t have to set free but that I can need, be honoured by and feel for.

© Dylan Balkind

Love-pandemonium

The heart is a voracious force. I remember now. At thirty-four, I catch myself feeling giddy at the concepts and designs for people and personalities in a love-pandemonium.

These are things I reveled in everyday a decade ago. Then I got smarted and lost my smarts… along with my backbone, apparently. I spent a lot of time doing what everyone else was doing and not enough time doing what I should have been doing. Still… I wasn’t alone in that stupid. There are a lot of numb people out there.

This isn’t about anti-depressants or alcohol and I’m not talking about love or even a love-game-chase. I just mean that I catch myself feeling giddy at the concepts and designs for people and personalities in a love-pandemonium.

This is awake. I’m a big fan and I would recommend it to anyone. I never had to audition for this role in my life story. I just got the part and that’s all I have to do. Show up for it every single day because, as they say: life is short. Which led me to this: what will be here when I am gone? What mark no matter how big or small will this earth have to show that I was here?

That I felt, that I walked, that I cried tears but that I made so many people smile? That I achieved so much of what I set out to do? That I changed somebody’s life forever and for the better? That I pissed some people off because I told them what they already knew but didn’t want to hear? That I looked at each of my newborn baby nieces and nephews and felt a yen like no other before or since? That I cry when I watch wedding videos on YouTube, laugh unintentionally when something awful happens to someone I know; that I say the wrong thing far too often, am impulsive yet generous to a fault and that, still, I’ve lived more than many people get to do, have loved wholeheartedly more than many people get to love and haven’t had to say too many sorrys, yet.

The heart is a voracious force. I remember now. At thirty-four I catch myself feeling giddy about a love-pandemonium.

And when I’m gone? But I’m not. I’m still here.

© Dylan Balkind

I recently discovered that I have a crush

It is funny what we wait for. It’s hope mostly, because whatever we imagine will come around the next corner is birthed from hope. An idea that gets under our skin because of something someone said or helped us think about. It then grows and grows and eventually consumes us, and although this doesn’t have to be a bad thing altogether, if we aren’t putting the right steps into place to make what we hope for actually happen, we’re going to end up with no happy and just hope.

I recently discovered that I have a crush. It was an all sorts of giddy discovery because it has been a while since the butterflies bounced in my tummy and hopped along my heart. I felt like I was fifteen all over again and the excitement of where sentiment trumps sanity was no longer silly – it was simply pure delight.

It was exciting to see him. To understand what changed in me as I watched his lips move, how his eyes looked at other people, how they reflected light and could show without speaking a word what he was feeling in his heart. Then the phone would ring and I would pause him where he was so that I could pick up at that exact same point when it suited me. Yes, I had fallen for fiction and was crushing on a character.

Crazy is an unceremoniously inappropriate term these days. I think it has lost its meaning and, to be honest, there is not enough of it around. I want to be crazy in love. I want to be crazy talented. I want to be crazy about being crazy about the things that get me out of bed everyday, or the things that don’t do enough to inspire the same. I want to be able to be crazy mad about the things that make me proud to be me and respect the same in others. Here’s the thing though: we are too worried about being crazy-anything so we become cautious, hesitant, tepid bores. And when we should be making the most noise about how crazy we feel because of our happiness or our hurt, we slink into the silent and commit to keeping the water calm.

A pretty Pinterest picture I looked at once explained that you could be surrounded by people and yet still feel lonely. I get that. We all do. I guess that’s the kind of crazy that leads to developing a crush on a TV character, right? A self-preservation thing that responds in the imagination but not with the heart. It’s the kind of self-preservation that comes post shake-up / break-up, naturally.

There is strength in numbers though, always. I have two friends that are becoming increasingly special to me these days and it is their crazy that validates mine, and reminds me of how happy I am to be in it. Like me, both have suffered their own shake-up / break-up and are on their own journeys through it. Each of them said something to me this weekend that made me sit up, take notice of and be thankful for. One said: ‘You chose a terrible time to be my friend.’  The other said: ‘Hanging with you is like breathing in glitter bubbles.’

There is never a terrible time to be someone’s friend. That’s why you are their friend. And once the dust settles, you want the kind of friends that you will enjoy spending time with, breathing in all the glitter bubbles that you can.

It is funny what we wait for. It is even funnier what we don’t have to wait for. Between the love lost or the one you are hoping comes around that corner, more often than not though, happiness happens quietly while you were looking in the other direction.

Be crazy and put those steps in place to be crazy you. And then be crazy enough to look at all that you’ve got. You. And you never know, after all that, you may even find you have a new crush.

I’m never changing who I am.
© Dylan Balkind

The truth about cats and me

#TheFinnDiaries

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time. I have grown up a lot and so I didn’t want to say this too soon because I wanted to use my big brain to give it a lot of my thought. But I am still confused. You see, since I came to my new house to live with my family, I have known the kitty. My people loved me on the first day but the kitty did not. When I bounce to them and bark at them and kiss them with my tongue, my people love me. When I do the same to the kitty, she does not.

This is the kitty.I think that the kitty may be sad because I have more brown fur than she does. But she shouldn’t worry because I don’t judge kitties on how much brown fur they have. In fact, her brown is more ginger. But she shouldn’t be upset because when I listened to BBC Knowledge, they said that gingers are a dare breed. I think she is very daring. I once saw her have a staring contest with a bird. She sat inside the house and the bird ate its crumbs on my grass. The bird must have been scared because as soon as it finished my crumbs, he flapped his wings and flew up to sit on the wall. I must also be a dare breed because I am also very daring.

Look at me.

I think the kitty may also be sad because I can run around my house all over my floor and she has to jump up and sit on shelves and watch me running on my floor. But she shouldn’t be upset. I would let her run on my floor with me because I am not a spiteful.

I think the kitty may also be sad because she has to sleep in Gogo’s room. My people have put a latch on the Gogo’s door which only leaves it a bit open. I can’t get in to tell her she can come out but if I could, then I think she would understand that I would let her run on my floor with me. She has to stay in there all day sleeping on Gogo’s bed in the sun. That can’t be fun for her. When the sun is up, we must run all over my house and wag our tails. I think she wants to run all around and wag her tail too but she can’t get out because of the latch. I would help her because I am good at showing all animals how to wag their tails.

This is me sitting on my grass.

Today was a very important day. My Dad bought me a brand new collar and a new harness from my animal’s shop. This is very important because I use it to lead my Dad when we go to my park so that he knows where we must walk and where I must make my wee’s. But I think the kitty may also be sad because she didn’t get a harness. And when we go to my park she can’t come because she doesn’t have a harness. If she got a harness she would never need a brand new one from my animal’s shop because she is the same size. I think she should eat more so that she can get bigger like me. When she doesn’t eat, I show her where her food is by eating it because I thought maybe she forgot on that day. I think she needs a harness.

The truth about cats and me is that I am still not sure. But I will keep trying because I really really love that kitty.

My name is Finn. I love the kitty.

Fareness

 

Satan’s red anvil has been left on my chest,
and with vehement restraint I withhold my disgust.
A betrayal of faith and your pawn to become,
you will soon hear rendition of our fat lady’s song.

Little boy, last born and instigator of pain,
I guarantee you will suffer from this – your own mind-game.
The lines you draw boldly with your fury-filled fist,
are blurring under the crumbling weight of your tryst.

This is going to implode on itself by dint of decay,
and only your blurred vision will see you finish this your way.
There are no more white flags for me to want for– or from you,
your malice makes me know I’m done with this shit, we’re through.

Don’t ever forget how you fueled this poison and my disgust,
as you claim back your septic weight from off my chest.
A betrayal of faith, you’ll wish this pawn be sooner gone,
as you try block the chiming of our fat lady’s song.

 

© Dylan Balkind

Get Up!

I care if you think this is self-righteous. I care if you don’t get what the big deal is all about. I care if you watch this and feel nothing because I care about being able to feel the same things most other people in the world are allowed to feel. And I care about you.

The mere fact that same sex marriage has been a contested issue for so long puts a very different angle on understanding and connecting with it – even sometimes for the couples who are in these relationships. If you spend almost every waking moment together, even when not in the same room, there should be no hesitation, insecurity or law that prohibits you from making the announcement to each other and the world.

It’s time. Globally.

Created by the Motion Picture Company, Australia.

€3. That’s all

Dressed-up dogs are catchy and will definitely have you watching to the very end. Why? Well because most sane people agree that dressed up dogs are a little peculiar – except for Paris Hilton who thinks that tarting your dog up is the way forward. Accompanied by a funky beat and the constant price change, we can’t help but want to see where this is all going… and that’s hot.

Whether taken literally or not, this is an interesting comment on our 21st Century sense of importance. I am not here to condemn a love for fashion – God knows we all like to look good! But it’s an interesting take on the way we prioritise and – given a little food for thought – how we may be swayed to do so differently. Reminiscent of the old Master Card ads, the memorable moment is still “priceless” and sheds light on the more important things you could do with a little of your money.

€3. That’s all they’re asking. And I think they did a great job of setting it up. Public Service Announcements or messages for charitable causes don’t have to be soppy, but they do have to be clever. This one works hard for the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation: no featured talent and a clear, clean, memorable message. Nice job by Jakko Achterberg, Niels Westra and their team at agency Selmore in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

That’s hot. What do you think?

Active beds aren’t always a good thing

I haven’t gone completely mad, I promise you. I have to ask that you watch this commercial for the movement-absorbing bed from Pfister, more than once before you see what I saw. Then you’ll undertand why I like this spot more and more with every time I press play (and trust me, there have been plenty).

Performance is everything to me. I appreciate the greats and think a lot of the fluff we have filling our screens in movies these days could learn plenty from them. Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Sean Penn, Greg Kinear, Edward Norton, Javier Bardem, Leonardo Di Caprio, Marion Cotillard and Julia Roberts – the list is long (enough). They are masters at subtlety; that’s why they gat paid the big bucks. Kate Winslet is able to convey half a dozen emotions without opening her mouth and saying a word. With a glimmer in her eye, you can see the desolate desperation of one core substance or the appreciated sanctity of another.

The two performers cast in this commercial, directed by Ben Gregor from Production Company, Knucklehead London for Pfister Furniture, have more than enough talent to leave you convinced. Watch the subtlety in their eyes, the flirtation, the shyness, the temperament of a new covert relationship that is hopeful about flourishing, even after dinner with food that makes it uncomfortable to be cool with. But it is the svelte seriousness of it in this setting that makes it oddly funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnbumBXtyzg

Set in a dream sequence only afforded to those who can sleep soundly, the hotness of her date is interrupted by the reality of her snoring husband – because they don’t have the new movement-absorbing bed from Pfister… yet. I like the soundtrack, I like the treatment, art direction, extras, colours and grade used, food, actor and actress and, I reckon, in a nutshell, the director has captured what it takes to make a definite hit with his audience. Commercials can be mini movies and Ben Gregor proves it with this spot.

Watch it more than once and let me know what you think. I like. Do you?

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