Thursday, March 31, 2005

Failure is a tiny death: a deep but hollow stab.

How much power should one attain
to stop, at will, the freezing rain?
I stopped the fall and yet I found
the heavy clouds are still around.

Negative habits, once you pick them up, are hard to break.

Some people might call it addiction when pertaining to such things like nicotine, coccaine, even coffee. Some call it obsession when talking of fans, fanatics, stalkers and the like. Others may call it a compulsion like handwashing too much, nitpicking too much and generally doing anything too much.

I woke up with a storm cloud over my head, constantly drizzling on my hair, making it damp and sordid. The gloom shines into my eyes while the cold winds buffet my shoulders. I can feel an imminent flood but saw none. I ignored the weather within my mind and got up to begin my morning rituals.

Three hours and two mugs of coffee later, I found myself happy. Memories of good jokes resurface every now and then that I cannot help but feel the corners of my lips tugging upwards. This is bad. I know, by experience, that whenever I feel happy, something is about to go wrong. Or was that simply one of my negative habits?

Sometimes, people learn from their exepriences certain odd correspondences applicable only in their lives. A tingle in one's scalp may mean a lightning storm later in the afternoon. A sneeze may hint that one is the subject of a conversation somewhere. Sometimes, they can be as absurd as happiness heralding great misfortunes ahead.

Have you ever worked on something so earnestly it has consumed a substantial part of your recent life? Have you ever been stoic, doing the entire job alone not due to concern for the team but for your own sake? Have you ever given your best shot, confident that you gave a lot more than what is needed, that you would excel in that field and that the teammates who have slipped into a lethargic state might at least appreciate the entire thing?

I hear the dams break under the enormous pressure of floodwater. The swelling streams and rivers ran out of water for a few minutes before a torrent completely engulfs the ground, submerging all within sight. I walk into the room of courtroom and hear the judgement: I have failed, at something I have given nearly the entirety of my time, at something I have painstakingly put together, at something I know I have done well enough, if not more. How could I fail?

I close my eyes and breath. The floodwater soon recedes as the rain subsides to a drizzle. The clouds still remain overhead but I will be fine. I know, in time, I will recover from the shock of failure. Yet, one lingering thought disturbs me: Have I acquired the habit of failure?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

This is my ambrosia, this is my weakness.

The diving clouds, the rising sea,
everything blurs and spins by me.
When I slow down as my feet fail,
I fall, close my eyes and exhale.

I once encountered a prose fiction, which, if found in my possession, would be very incriminating. However, it presented a thought that has remained in my memory ever since. Work, love and dance: three keys to life. Work like you never have to, because that's the only way work will never be boring. Love like you've never been hurt before; nothing is as pure and as deep as first love. Finally, dance like there's no one watching.

I cannot say that I have abided by this philosophy ever since although I did learn to do the last one. The word 'dance' shall, for our purposes, be used to refer to any arbitrary bodily movement, graceful or not. I learned to sway my hips or jerk my shoulders when listening to a ditty. When I was young, someone once bluntly told me I would make an awkward dancer. They were right.

I was not really exposed to music when I was young, hence the addiction the moment I discovered the beauty of it. I began tapping my foot or nodding in time with the music. Then I began moving the upper half of my body; I usually listened to music while sitting in front of the computer. Now, I ditch the computer and listen to music whenever I feel like it. Of course, being freed from the chair meant that the lower half of my body also began moving.

At first, I only danced in the privacy of my bedroom. Even then, I would hear my alter-ego ask, "What on earth are you doing?" Embarrassed, I would stop and resume my work. A little later, I dance and the cycle begins once more. However, a few years of this cycle and I soon found myself answering, "I'm dancing."

After a few years, I began losing control. Dancing, or at least, moving with the music is very addicting. It began taking over as I found my hips bumping someone else when I'm waiting in line. When I once dozed off, I was awakened by my shoulder, which, for no apparent reason, suddenly jerked upwards. Twice I awoke before sunrise to find my arms raised in the air, not knowing how it got there.

Do I mind? Hell no! Once a mortal tastes ambrosia, he/she will never let go. I soon found myself dancing a bit in public. Thankfully, I was surrounded by complete strangers at those times so not much injury was inflicted upon my ego. Nonetheless, it is becoming more difficult controlling myself when a ditty blasts or when drums beat. I'm getting close to embarrassing myself.

Oh well, savor the sense of euphoria while it lasts. It doesn't matter that I am quite an eyesore; to each his/her own, as they say.

"What are you doing?"

That voice was quite different from the voice of my alter-ego. I froze.