April showers

It’s been raining quite a bit these days, which I secretly love and hope for, despite practicality vying for clear skies. Not necessarily sun, just a dry day in which my boots can confidently skip a mile or two towards nipping goals in the bud, which, given my current unruly circumstance, is due time.

But I can’t complain. It’s Friday afternoon, my roommates have scurried at — which, to my sleepyhead,  was — the wake of dawn, and here I am, alone again in the quiet corner of my cozy abode, my coffee black and bitter, with the sound of raindrops pitter-pattering against my window for friendly company — a sure greeting with solace.

I once contemplated the reason underlying my aversion to warm, sunny days, when everyone around me was praying to the cheeky gods of spring blooms, for perky weather fit for sun tan kisses and golden glows. “Euyuck,” I’d squint my eyes in disgust, tongue escaping my mouth for want of culinary freedom, like a sick child who’d just taken a teaspoon of nauseating cough drop syrup.

Yet, somewhere in the nooks and crevices of the person that is me, I understood: It was the discrepancy between the external world and my internal landscape. How far-fetched I was from bright, sunny skies and the sight of children playing hopscotch on sidewalks, ice cream cones in hand, laughing freely and unapologetically. Me, myself, and I — a sure stranger in this matrix, a plethora of sanguine bodies and colourful spirits.

It was on rainy days that my vulnerabilities would peek their newborn head into the room and kiss surrounding furniture with shy, childlike greetings. These were the days that showed promise — that the universe was with me in my moments of darkness, and that somehow the sky had understood, and was holding my hand in unison and silence. Today, I revel in it.

Shades of black

I was idiosyncrasies on acid. I lived in a world of saturations and hues, of hithers and tithers, of half moons and peaking sunsets. I didn’t aspire to become the Oxford period. I wanted to become the Oxford comma — the forever-becoming comma that repeatedly selected itself on broken keyboards.

I was mind over matter, both ancient and child, and in between the first and final Shakespearean Acts of life, my faithful master and servant was my will — the will to obliviate and rewrite my character, my life, my destiny. The choice was mine, yet never before have I felt the burden of my own slavery.

How much freedom there was in the abyss between thought, will, and action — the freedom to be the constant artist of one’s destiny on the canvas of no- thing, no- body, no- where. Yet what an illusion, what bittersweet mockery. One can be free from the shackles of tyranny and oppression, but remain a slave to one’s unbending will.

I sought the trickster, dreamt of him — and foolishly so. I was greeted by my own mirror image, the image of my becoming. It had been me all along, a snake chasing its own tail — the all-knowing sage orchestrating its own psychological and spiritual development.

I must will it, there’s no other way.

I was sheepishly existing among dust and debris, among worldly possessions and goals, while celestial bodies were pulling me an astronomical light year away. Home was among wolves that howled at moonlight — a time for sleep and chase, wild and uninhibited.

I run, and I sever my limbs. I can’t will it.

But will it, I must. I stay, and I choose my ultimate destruction.

The full circle

This was the summer that my nose started bleeding sporadically. Sometimes I’d feel worn out and suddenly, my right nostril would leak of blood and that earthy, metallic smell would surface. It occurred again a few days ago and it reminded me of a best friend I had whose nose would bleed when she cried, and I began experiencing bittersweet emotions, because albeit being the past, those were some of the most vulnerable days of my youth, which I’d shared with the souls I cherished dearly.

We took a trip out of the city in October 2012. Something had happened the evening of our mutual friend’s birthday, a most ridiculous rift on my part, and I cried uncontrollably in the hotel room. My steel armour collapsed and my buried emotions surfaced. My best friend held me tight and began crying with me — as if all the emotions I was feeling, she was feeling, too. Suddenly, her nose started bleeding, and while we panicked and helped her hold her head back, she did what she usually did in all challenging situations: remained calm with a trusting smile.

Thinking about that day and her empathetic nature still makes me experience a ray of colourful emotions, and I can’t help but choke up when I recount that story to myself or to loved ones. Not really in a sad way, but more of happiness — the kind of choking up you experience when you think of the good times in the past, and are grateful for them and the people that were part of it. While four years later life took us in different directions, still, when I think about her, I love her just the same. Because she was — and in my heart, still is — a beautiful soul.


It was a fine summer evening in Westboro. After doing un tour autour du monde because we couldn’t find the park where Pericles was set to show, we finally made it, with the help of neighbourhood kids who we randomly stumbled upon and asked for directions, and who were kind enough to bike us to the park while we followed along on our feet.

“Did their parents not teach them to avoid talking to strangers, much less physically go with them?” I wondered, all the while secretly acknowledging that one day I’d be that type of parent: the free spirit who instills love and openness rather than fear in their child. But it didn’t matter what they’d been taught or hadn’t been taught. All I knew is that we were greeted with kindness, and that I experienced insurmountable joy in that brief moment in time.

Feeling grateful to have little bodyguards lead the way — gentlemen in the making, to be sure — we gave them $10 to split for being our knights in shining armour, which for me verbally translated to: “For you guys to buy yourselves some candy.” A look of extravagant surprise overcame their faces, and boy, were they ecstatic. Meanwhile, M and I were still lost in the heartwarming moment, and for the first time since the last blue moon, my motherly instinct kicked in.

Reflecting on that moment, I hope they keep their sense of innocence and optimism, and if during their transition into adulthood painful events harden their soul, I hope they have the courage and strength to begin anew with fresh eyes and an open heart, because in that awkward moment in time between birth and death, nothing matters more than love and kindness. 

By this hour, crowds had already strategically gathered in front of the stage. M and I decided to sit at the picnic table at the back by the playground instead, for we had yet to eat our now-cold dinner. While awaiting our outdoors Shakespeare play to begin, she read me some of her beloved lines from Pericles, and as I observed the vibrant actress in her, I knew, head-in-the-clouds, that we were pals for a reason. But M paused and a brief moment of silence enveloped the air.

“Any plans on what you’re going to do when you two meet?” she asked.

“Not really. Probably just meet at the last place we met up two years ago,” I said.

“Looks like a coming of a full circle,” she smiled, as if to foreshadow the upcoming long-time-coming meet and greet.

Two days later, metaphorically, she was right: the line was drawn, both ends touched, and in the final stage, there was closure. Where I’d once found a home, I now found emptiness, and in that emptiness, mocking solace — and such sweet relief. Yet that didn’t signify the end of love for me, for what’s once loved is forever loved; only now, it was cosmic, for the fires of passion in me had succumbed to its timely demise, and all that remained was a steady candle flame casting its subtle shadow on the walls of my past.

It’s no secret that the human experience, despite its sweet nectar and aroma, is predisposed to tragedy of the most acute kind, because to be human is to be vulnerable. Invest one’s heart in anything or anyone and it shall be exposed to the whims of nature’s course. And I ache. I ache for myself and for all men and women since time immemorial who had loved and lost. But alas, there can be no light without dark; and in the final analysis, the laws and principles of the universe shall always remain faithful and promising. And that, chers amis, was enough to make me believe again.

As if I’d awaken from a comatose state, suddenly my memory was lost — and rightly so — and there I was, in my state of oblivion, walking through the streets with a blank palette and the enthusiasm and naïveté of a child, each building and nook and crevice of the city marking a new imprint on my soul. “C’est une belle journée, n’est-ce pas?” I whisper to myself and smile. That’s how I knew the sun had risen again and I was back to beginnings: for the first time, I was starting to fall in love with this city all over again. And the stars, they were lifting me to new heights.


Tomorrow was and is a particle of dust in the symphonic orchestra of cosmic life. And for certain individuals, there’s a volitional understanding that the sole source of trust in life rests in each breath that they’re able to take, because for them, they’ve lost a reason to live — or rather, the desire to create for themselves une raison d’être. We might as well count them dead. There are millions of them walking this earth — ghosts among sanguine creatures.

Many of us are cowards to a certain extent. There are cowards who, in their crippling fear of nothingness or of ceasing to exist, remain stagnant. Then there are cowards who, after having jumped off the cliff and reached a temporary stage of imminent death, lack the will to go on — as if midway someone had placed brakes on their acts of rebellion against what’s seemingly life, but is in reality a rebellion against death itself.

It’s the latter coward for whom I hold the deepest respect, for despite their own self-imposed deaths, these are courageous heroes who’ve experienced the depths of life in all its colourful debris. These are the individuals who are aware of the secret of our cosmic existence: that life and death are two sides of the same coin. Everything else is folly.

On hopes and tribulations

Never have I felt so sure of something before; there was nothing I wanted more. In the process, never have I experienced a flood of support emanating from loved ones, either — a first in my soon-to-be twenty-five years of earthly existence. Equally, never have I felt the pain of rejection so deep, like needles to my bones. The highs of highs and the lows of lows — as if I’m riding the waves of the tidal season. “Is the universe testing me?” I ask myself.

I arrived at work early and sat in the basement casually scanning my emails. My heart stopped. Suddenly, the future was robed in utter darkness as it was at the mercy of someone who couldn’t, and wouldn’t, help me. Yet the rejection itself didn’t feel like a rejection of what I was aspiring to do, and my hopes and dreams — it felt like a rejection of my person altogether. Pandora’s box opened and the wounded parts of myself claimed for themselves full freedom. I felt the pain intensify.

There were two people in me: the wounded child — vulnerable, fragile, irrational — and the all-knowing mother — wise, nurturing, centred, the light in the dark. The child in me wanted to cry, to scream. But the motherly voice in me said, as she always says in her nurturing voice, the only words that could calm me: “Don’t cry, Little One.” At that moment, I found in myself chaos, and also the deepest calm. I was simultaneously an eruptive volcano and the stillness of the sea.

It was time to begin work. Drained of energy, I sluggishly walked up the stairs, greeted my co-worker, and feeling the sudden gush of cold crawling up my skin, told her I’d quickly go back downstairs to grab my coat.

“Are you feeling okay?” she asked with genuine care and empathy.

“Yes, I just feel really cold.”

But the cold I was feeling was a cold emanating from somewhere deep within me. Nothing could’ve kept me warm, but the hug of my mustard coat against my skin, which made me feel like Little Prairie Girl in a yellow raincoat, was itself comforting.

My co-worker had to leave in an emergency, and as I was alone with my thoughts, the anxiety I was experiencing, grew. After half a day of half-hearted attempts at busying myself with tasks, the phone rang — another co-worker was on the line. I sensed that he’d had a rough day through the energy of his voice, so I listened to him intently as he was describing the situation with his client. I empathized with him and we talked for ten minutes. Taking the focus off of myself, I felt all right again.

The night was over and I was on my way home. The wind was sharp and I felt as if the blood in my brain was coagulating and my heart was on the verge of stopping for a second time. Feeling sick, I scurried home for warmth. However, for what was normally a few short steps, this time home felt so far away. Each step multiplied and the sidewalk seemed to extend forever. Alas, I made it through another night, and wrapped in the warmth and familiarity of my blanket, like any other night, I wanted to fall asleep into eternity.

Those were the days. Nothing made much sense, my external world was a blur, but when I closed my eyes to a piano sonata, I felt transported to a place that I could call home. Home wasn’t a place or a person; it was a feeling of connection, safety, love, acceptance. Home was as fleeting as the sweet summer wind, yet in those fleeting moments in time, it was the surest thing I’d experienced — the only thing that made life a little more bearable.

A break in the momentum

We live each day with momentum. We meet strangers and we see in their eyes an ocean of infinite possibilities, of newness, of what could be. We are drawn and we feel alive again. And then we forget. We forget all that was once familiar. In these snippets in time, we have hope — hope that we can start anew. Then we go home, and alone in the shadows of ourselves, a disruption in this momentum occurs and we experience a deep sting. All of a sudden, all the remnants that had been buried deep within the walls of our psyche, begin surfacing again.

I see in Hannah and Tomasz’s romance a reflection of many lives unmasked. After all the years of living separate lives, of being married and having families and starting anew, they still long for each other in the depths of their soul. Time for these separated lovers is at once the distance from the earth to the moon, and the subtle brush of the wind against one’s cheek. It sings of distance and impossibility, and of closeness and all things possible. Hannah goes to the laundromat and hears a voice of a familiar youth on the television screen, and suddenly, time collapses as the memories of yesterday become the breath of today — a break in the momentum we call life.

In all our vulnerabilities and frailties — our humanness — we’re one and the same. We go to work, eat when we’re hungry, sleep when we’re tired. But at the end of the night, when a fellow is alone with the recesses of his thoughts and the hidden crevices of his soul, he experiences himself, an experience that’s uniquely his. Paradoxically, he’s simultaneously an island and the sea comprising that island. He’s aware that the atoms comprising his body and soul are traceable to the stars in the galaxies. Yet in his deepest pain, he feels himself alone. As human beings, we can empathize or sympathize with others, but can we ever experience all that they’re experiencing? The mind imagines itself in a fire and the body irks in pain. But even then, that pain is only relative — until it’s experienced.

In the final analysis, we each have something we hide from the world, something we guard closest to our hearts; and for some of us, it’s that very thing we try to hide even from ourselves — that very thing that would set us free — until time and experience reveal that we’re not invincible, nor are we immune to death, and that there will come a time when our bodies will no longer be warm in all its sanguine liveliness, a time when our bodies will become ashes and dust. And the one who thinks himself free? Unless he’s reached a heightened state of self-awareness, he’s a fool. And the one who claims that things have always been the way they are and continues on with his banal existence? An even greater fool — a coward.


Sometimes, I feel that I love someone deeply, someone I don’t know and haven’t met. As if the heart can take a life of its own, answering to the beats and calls of another’s heart without my conscious awareness. But I feel this love echoing in the recesses of my soul — my raison d’être. As though this organ of mine has a will of its own, and has loved this person over and over again, for repeated lifetimes. As if it can sleep soundly at night knowing that it loves and is loved, and that one day it will reunite with its beloved. If and when our paths cross, I hope that I’ll see light in their eyes. Then I’ll smile and say, “There you are, I’ve been waiting for you.”


“If one of Murakami’s male protagonists adopted form, it would be him,” I thought as I studied his grace of movement. He exudes an air of mystery. Perhaps a solitary figure of quiet intellect — a romantic, even. But alas, enveloped with a little sadness. And the arch of his back — as if he carried on his heroic shoulders years of repressed dreams, hopes, emotions. I find myself longing to embrace this mysterious arch and to rest my cheeks there. And how he smiles when he’s deeply immersed in his activities — a smile that parallels a child’s innocence of spirit. Here’s an individual who seems to possess, at once, a heaviness and a lightness of heart. I feel my soul being penetrated when he looks my way. I see that his eyes smile. Sharp, piercing eyes. Yet tender and loving. I know those eyes. They feel like home.


These are long, solitary nights. I am with and without a home. Home was Franz Schubert’s Serenade and gazing at the stars. Here, and only here, am I infinite. Such sweet taste, like fine nectar; and ever so sweet if one has tasted the bitterness of inhabiting a cage, wings clipped.

Beast within

To those individuals for whom I possess the utmost love and respect.

I love you and I despise you. And it’s this mocking dance between the two forces that simultaneously strengthens and weakens every inch of my being.

I see in your eyes a landscape of incessant suffering, and I ache with you, cry with you. How I wish I weren’t so soft, so tender. Because a heart that’s robed in compassion — a heart that understands — can’t help but love. But I resist and resent you all the same.

You’ve fed me and clothed me. But through your wounded love you’ve held me captive — a marionette in your shadow. Clipped my wings, shackled my feet, pierced my soul with a thousand poisonous daggers. Time and time again I would’ve chosen to stray the empty streets, than to experience such poverty of love.

I longed to run, run, run from you, like a raging, wild animal desperately craving to break free from the confines of its cage and flee its captor. Into the the wild, into the mountains, into the darkness. Somewhere, anywhere! On the brink of madness!

But in the end, I can’t help but love you so. And I wish to kiss your feet in gratitude, for in reducing me to ashes, you’ve given me the sweet gift of life.

Stings and solemn regrets

There was a time when I had discovered a flower amidst a bed of flowers. Out of the hundreds of fragile bodies, my eyes zoomed in on this particular flower. It looked like home. It felt like home. But for some reason, I was never able to find the right words to describe the flower or how it made me feel. It wasn’t enough to say that it was beautiful, for there was something deeper than that. Something much, much deeper. And in the depths of my soul, I felt it — and deeply so.

I wanted to feed it, water it, care for it, love it. I’d walk a mile or ten, in the heat or rain, to see my most beloved companion. Yet I was careful not to touch it or leave my mark almost out of fear that if I touched it, I’d taint it and destroy it. Moreover, there’s never been a time when I wanted to pluck it out of the ground and make it mine, nor has there been a time when I asked myself, “What can this flower do for me?” There’s never been a why or a because. I loved it. That was enough.

But one day, from a burst of anger, I ran back to the field, ripped it from its humble home, and tore at it until there was nothing left but a single petal in the palm of my hand. And until this day, there’s nothing in the world that could quench the flames engulfing my heart. In destroying something I love, I destroyed myself too — and twice as much.


While I was browsing the Murakami section, Ian dropped by and asked me if I needed help, and that’s when I discovered that he too is a Murakami fan. I laughed at how disappointed he was when he discovered that a film of Norwegian Wood had been made.

“Was it as romantic as the book?” He inquired.

“Sure,” I said. “But it was quite depressing.”

“I can’t believe it! I can’t believe they made a movie out of it!” He sighed and walked away, shaking his head in complete disappointment.

“What a funny guy,” I thought as I continued on my way to the science bookshelf. Later, as I was reading Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, there he was again, reading up on what I was reading.

“That’s a good book.”

“Oh yeah? You’ve read it?”

“Yes, I loved it.”

“How so?”

For a split second, he was lost in thought, almost disappointed at the fact that he couldn’t quite explain to me why he loved the book. Even if he couldn’t utter a word, I still would’ve understood his silence. But then one of the best conversations of my life had begun.

Shifting to the philosophy section, we shared our thoughts on Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Friedrich Nietzsche, Slavoj Zizek, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell. He talked about his favourite men; I talked about mine.

When I told him I quite enjoy reading Derrida and Foucault, he smiled shyly and said, “I touched upon them briefly just so that I could say I read them, but they’re too dark for me.” I couldn’t help but laugh, and judging from his words, I drew him out to be a soft soul.

“Not many people subscribe to men like Derrida or Foucault, because these are men that shake belief systems and tear apart,” I said. “But that’s why I like them: because they encourage us to re-evaluate everything we’ve ever believed in.”

He asked me how old I was and insisted that I wait two years, and then come back and see him. “You’re telling me to wait two years so that I could finish having my existential crises, am I right?” We shared a hearty laugh.

I don’t make promises, not even to myself. But two years today, I’ll be back at that corner of the bookstore waiting to resume our intriguing conversation. I just hope that he’ll remember.


I wanted to live the moment twice — once in action, and the second time in retrospect. It’s always in the latter instance that I end up dying a little. My encounter with the old sage struck, even awakened, something in me. And it was unsettling. “I like to build systems.” These words repeated in my mind like infuriating static. He builds. I destroy.

Whereas Ian represents the force of life, I represent the force of destruction. We represent two seemingly opposing forces: life and death. In contrast to his lightness and optimism, I was the twisted villain. And so, perhaps like Tsukuru Tazaki, beneath the calm and zen-like exterior that others admire about me, I do have a dark aspect of myself that’s deeply hidden and that I dare not acknowledge. After all, resistance has been the source of my ails.

Not long ago, I’d experienced a violent pull towards a place that I promised myself I’d never return to. Yet I couldn’t swallow my pride and take the leap. It was only until weeks later that I caved in and ventured there. I flew up the flight of stairs and scanned hopelessly left and right for a glimpse of a shadow. But I was too late. Today, I’m not sure what pains me more: that I gave up on someone I believed in, or that, in the end, they gave up on me.


Catching up with my good friend over brunch at a new cafe was nice. I missed her dearly. But sometimes, the familiarity of her face, her voice, and all that she is would stir a crippling case of nostalgia in me. She carried with her a residue of all that I wished to escape. And of course, the conversation I dreaded, and anticipated, emerged.

“Sometimes, people’s actions don’t make sense and they leave others around them feeling baffled. If they couldn’t justify it to anyone, chances are, they couldn’t justify it to themselves. But perhaps their actions were necessary at the time. There’s always a reason for why people do the things they do, and maybe all we need is a little understanding and compassion.” As usual, she knitted her eyebrows, nodded slowly, and mustered a sympathetic smile at me, all the while poking at her food with her fork.

Meanwhile, it was raining bullets outside, and although it would normally wash away my thoughts, that day was different. I experienced a certain heaviness — a heaviness of the soul. I decided not to go home immediately, and walked the streets to clear my mind instead. The city felt sweet at that time of night. The city always feels sweeter after dusk.

Preface, past

Growing up, I was never one to cave into societal pressures, be it partying, drinking, dating, keeping up with fashion trends, or trying to fit in. It just wasn’t up my alley. Instead, my energy had been dedicated to working on creative projects behind closed doors. With the explosion of ideas in my mind, I felt most fulfilled when I was drawing theoretical and visual connections, and transferring them into tangible projects. Thus began my all-nighters at a young and tender age.

Yet, however exhausted I might’ve been, I felt a deep sense of contentment. I had a vision, I had a purpose. I answered to my own inner guidance. It felt liberating to work with my own schedule and with my own set of rules, and to be accountable only to myself. Even today, the prospect of settling into a path where there’s no room for creativity, autonomy, purpose, self-mastery, and growth, is enough to send shivers down my spine.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Specialization is for insects. I choose breadth over depth, and to utilize all my faculties. A robotic existence in which a human being is reduced to a mere machine is stifling for the soul — it’s moral and spiritual decay. The modern man and woman — what fascinating creatures. Bellies full of food, a comfortable home, experts in their field. Yet lacking self-knowledge and lacking in spirit. Estranged from each other, estranged from nature, estranged from their essence. The walking dead.

When I first began blogging on Tumblr in 2010, I’d stumbled upon a quote that touched me deeply. It said the following:

I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.

— James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves

I’m one of the searchers. I speak of the solitary men and women sitting on the outskirts of society. Not to be shaped or boxed, they’re the eccentric revolutionaries, the wild dreamers, the restless adventurers. Always searching, always longing for a different horizon. Their hearts beat a rhythm that can’t be uttered.

Taking notice of their suffering is like trying to notice a newborn’s heartbeat. You’d have to plant your ear next to their hearts and concentrate with your whole being so as not to miss a single sound. That’s the cry of their souls — subtle, tranquil, evasive. It takes no outward form and leaves no perceivable traces. Yet it’s powerful enough to penetrate the core of their bones, leaving them feeble and gasping for air.

It’s not enough to describe or verbalize it either, for what’s true and authentic is never named, but only experienced. It’s excruciating, it’s unbearable. And until one experiences it, one can’t grasp it. Empathy and compassion is one thing, but to live it deeply and utterly — that’s another story. Wide awake until the early hours of the morning, only the moon bears witness to their souls — a most loyal companion who lives to tell the tale.

These are individuals of principle and integrity. If they judge rules to be appropriate, they’ll humbly nod and adhere; otherwise, they’ll relinquish them. They’re no marionettes. They are those who dare to stand erect and speak with unswerving conviction even if their hands tremble. They’re free because deep within them is a steady awareness that they alone are responsible for all that they are and all that they become.

They’re the creators and the created. They’re the sole masters of their lives. They have no fear of death, for to fear death is to fear life. They live for something, whatever that something is, which keeps them standing when the ground beneath their feet begins to falter and break apart. In the midst of adversity and defeat, it is that which keeps them moving forward while gritting their teeth and clenching their fists.

They’re the men and women of solitary thought. They live to exercise the faculty of the mind. They seek refuge in their storehouse of knowledge, while being deeply aware of its limitations. They live to learn, to discover, to explore. They’re the skeptics who seek to challenge, to be challenged, to stir, to expose, to subvert. Cold, calculating, ruthless. They walk the streets with impenetrable armours.

But they’re soft. Oh so soft. For the bold who dare to penetrate the minefield around their hearts, beneath the sticks and stones are beds of flowers. Supple and sweet, their hearts are a sea of hopes, dreams, passion, love. These are hearts imbued with innocence and optimism — no, not a child’s naiveté — but an innocence seasoned and enriched by the perils of life. Hearts filled with loving kindness and compassion, and large enough to set the world ablaze.

Their task isn’t to compete with fellow mates. Their task is merely to overcome themselves. To tackle their own inner demons. To free themselves from their chains and from all preconceived notions and identities. To remain firm in the midst of disorder. To sink to the depths of despair, only to rise again, with a passion for life. To rise above and with humanity. To live an authentic life. And above all, to love.

They wish to love deeply, wholeheartedly, and unconditionally. When they dive, they dive deep — to the depths of the sea. They give without want, without expectation. They don’t seek to own, to impede, to cage, for they understand that each individual is an inherently whole and autonomous being. Thus, they grant the other the utmost freedom — the freedom to grow, the freedom to achieve their heart’s greatest hopes and dreams. They wish only to stand in the distance and be a pillar of strength and source of inspiration and protection.

They ask for very little. They ask that they’re not handled roughly or gripped or chained, for they’ll slip away like water. Handle them gently, and they’re yours for the keeping. However, make no mistake — they don’t belong to anyone. Not now, not ever. There’s no mine and thine in love. Love knows no possession. If they love, they love also the moon, the stars, the earth, and all the beings that tread this fine universe. For love, the highest and purest love, does not discriminate.