Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A3: S5 - Unexpected, Extraordinary

For reasons which quite escape me, yet astound and humble me simultaneously, the post 'The Darkest of Days' seems to have suddenly caught a lot of people's attention in the past week or so...

I guess I wrote it as a form of personal therapy. It was the final stage in the process of re-constructing my soul again, that last minuscule little piece of my now impenetrable armour falling in to it's long-awaited place, and as soon as I'd finished I was free. What I certainly never expected, however, was it to have such an affect on people.

In the past week or so, completely out of the blue, there's been about six or seven people come forward and tell me how that post affected them. Some spoke out of empathy, some were out of recognition of similar personal experiences, and some, delightfully unexpectedly, spoke out of admiration. In reality, I wrote it for selfish reasons, just because I needed to get it off my chest. But somehow, unintentionally, it seems to have struck a chord with some people, people who no-one even knew were suffering.




One girl who came to me just said 'Thank you.' Seeing the deep of the sincerity in her eyes, knowing nothing about her past at all, those two words held more expression and power than anything else she could have said otherwise.

But one of these people was notably different to the rest. This person turned out to be one of the most unexpected and extraordinary humans I'd ever met, and lead me to make one of the most important realisations I think I have made on this journey so far, and possibly will ever make.


*


She was a foreign exchange student from The Netherlands, who, for reasonable reasons because of reasons I shall name Matilda. Matilda was in one of my classes, and she asked if she could interview me about The Darkest of Days for her upcoming journalism project and I agreed. We met in the campus pub where she kindly bought me a beer and we sat down to work. She began to ask me questions and I answered them the best I could, more or less just re-iterating what I'd already written. But the more I spoke in detail of the people who had caused it all, this increasing little frown appeared on her forehead.

"You are still angry, aren't you?" She said in her sweet Dutch accent.

I paused. I guess I'd never really thought about it, but... I was. I still held so much resentment in me for the people who broke me.

"I'm not saying you should forgive those or forget what happened to you, but you can't hold a grudge forever." She was gazing at me with this look of almost serene calmness, and that was when I first realised that she was not normal.

"I held a grudge for half of my life. " She said suddenly. "I have been angry for ten years."

I stared in a stunned silence. "Only recently have I been able to forgive her."

I looked at Matilda and my random human curiosity gene kicked into overdrive. This girl had lived 22 years already, in a completely different country, a whole world away, and now for the past week or so we'd crossed paths. I look at every detail of her face and tried to imagine all what those 22 years could have possibly held.

"I know it's easy to say, but you need to learn to let go of things in order to keep going. It's over now, and this preservation of you holding onto this and re-living it, is just going to slowly erode at your soul. You just don't need that. The thing is, forgiveness is not a natural human trait. It's a painfully slow and tedious process. What you have to have is empathy. Don't hate them. Just think to yourself 'why are they doing this?' 'is there a reason as to why they are doing or saying this to me?' 'what could that reason be?'. Because nearly always, it will stem back to something which has happened to them in the past. As long as you remind yourself of that, give yourself this buffer each time, then one day you'll realise that you're not actually angry anymore. That's when you can start to forgive.

But at the same time you shouldn't resent yourself for not being able to forgive someone. That's just recycling the hate again. Just take a deep breath and take it easy on your heart."

I interrupted her there to get out my notepad. She laughed softly and said "I'm not a saint or a prophet or anything. It's all simple really, but go ahead."

She questioned me on how I felt about the people now.

"I guess they never actually did anything with their lives. They just stayed in that poor decaying town in their same situations, in the same friendship group having the same conversations. At least now, after what they did to me, at least I can stand for something."

I could feel it myself. It was as if each word was laden with the burden of past-its-sell-by-date loathing. I listened to myself, and realised how bitter and horrible I sounded.

"Its great that you can be proud that you stand for something, but feeling superior is just a manifestation of that recycled hate. It doesn't change what happened in the past and it doesn't really make you feel any better does it?"

I remained silent because I knew she was right.

"Did any of them ever apologise?"

I told her of my once friend Elliot, who sent me a huge message a few months after it all stopped.

"You see? Empathy. Think how much it must've taken for him to do that. Did you forgive him?"

"I guess."

"Well, it doesn't matter if you did or you didn't. As long as you take the time to have a little empathy you'll get there one day. That's the thing, I'm all one for being independent, but you can't cut everyone out, especially if they are making themselves completely vulnerable by offering up a sincere apology. Despite what you might think, you can't do everything alone. You don't want there to be one day when you wake up, having spent your life doing things on your own, and realise that all you need in the world is just somebody to be there for you. If you think you can spend your life entirely independent, then you need to re-consider your biology."

That last bit made me laugh. I had so many burning questions for her. It was as if she knew every facet of my beliefs and thoughts about life, love and humans, and sought to carefully demonstrate a perfectly flawless counter-argument to it all. But I knew that wasn't the case at all. She spoke so much sense so naturally, and this odd sense of haunting happiness set in as I realised the truth in her words.

The topic of being independent and alone naturally led on to that of relationships and I knew this would be interesting. I gave her a full detailed account of my view on love at this age.

"I agree with you." She said, to my surprise. "You need to be able to learn how to love yourself before you can ever truly love another person. And that's something which develops at this age now. Because how can you love someone, when the person who they love is someone you hate - yourself? Love should never be that hard.

You should never search for it either. I believe love is something that will happen to you when you are in the right frame of mind to let it happen to you. That is what happened to me."

She begun to tell me about her boyfriend in The Netherlands and I was absolutely mesmerised by her story. They'd found each other when they were both lost souls in dark places, when they'd thought there was just nothing.

"I've always thought, there is no point being in relationships at this age (HALLELUJAH SISTER) because they are so meaningless. What is the point in being in a three-year relationship with someone at this age, if you are not going to marry them? Why waste your time at all? You're better off single than in a pointless relationship. This is the time you should be living, and I think a relationship at this time in your life should only happen if you meet someone that makes you realise that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. That's what happened with me and my boyfriend. I just said to him, upfront, "Do not start a relationship with me now, if you're not entirely sure about this. Because otherwise I just don't want it." "

I was in absolute awe of her. I would never dream of saying that to a boy at the start of dating them, even thought it is the one burning thing that everyone wants to really say.

"And I know in my core that I will love him forever, and I know that he feels the same."

That was when I began to notice that something inside of me was beginning to change. I'd always so fiercely believed in being single was the best thing for me because I always ended up instilling all my focus, faith and future in that one person, losing complete sight of myself and everything I always dreamed and worked for, making myself completely vulnerable and effectively, weak. Matilda was the perfect demonstration that that was not the case. She suddenly made me realise that it is possible to be strong, independent and powerful, and be in a relationship.

"Our relationship is by no means perfect, but we are steady and just so strong together. We may fight a lot of the time, but that shows our passion for one another. It would only be a problem if we stopped caring enough to fight. That's when people get divorced - when they just give up fighting for one another. Once you realise that it doesn't always work but you've managed to work through it, that's when you know you've got something good. Couples who say they have never had an argument are either lying or shouldn't be a couple at all."

I smiled and realised I'd been staring at her intently. I marvelled a bit at the peculiarity of the situation, and laughed to myself as I realised that our roles had been reversed. She was meant to be interviewing me but it had been completely flipped upon its head by chance.  I thanked Lady Fate that it had.

"But you know, I'm not an expert or some wise old prophet or anything. This is just what I have learnt. Sometimes I feel like I have an old soul, y'know. I feel I am too wise for my age."

I nodded, knowing all too well that feeling.

"And I'm not saying that's how everyone should go about life, it's just what I think."

And it was her final concluding sentence which caused the thunderbolt of epiphany to hit me:

"But y'know, there's differences in people - that's what makes us humans."

She'd lied. She was a prophet. She was a veritable bloomin' philosophical and psychological prophet sat right in front of me. She was silver. She was an unexpected extraordinary.

That was when I realised - this wasn't about me anymore. Scarphelia had begun as a totally selfish venture, to show the world that I can be amazing if given the chance. But my path had altered, because I'd begun to actually find amazing people. I knew this was the start of a brand new venture. I thought about Lara Parker, Shauna, Gentleman J, Mr Caspian, Mr X, Matilda and all the incredible people I'd met on this journey so far.

This wasn't about me anymore.

Scarphelia was going to be about going out there and finding the silvers, finding the unexpected extraordinaries of the world, hearing what they have to say and creating beauty with them. 'Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out there and start creating.'

*


After my meeting with Matilda and discovering my new path of finding the unexpected extraordiaries, I had an idea. What will I do when I reach my goal of the 7th October? My 21st birthday marks the completion of my first goal, so, as the mission states, it has to be pretty spectacular. That is when I decided that for my 21st birthday, I am going to host a massive party at a venue in London, and I am going to invite every single person who I met on the journey. Every single reader, every silver, every person who I've met, has influenced me, given me advice or supported me, will be invited to all come together in the centre of London, on my 21st birthday, and just celebrate. Celebrate life, living, and being humans, not people.





(I need to start making plans/building a guestlist as soon as possible to keep up, so if you would like to come to the party, please email your name, a bit about you, and why you want to come to scarphelia@gmail.com. )

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