Friday 29 March 2013

A3: S9 - Silver Influencers

I don't know whether it's because:

a) The fate in which I believe, is a real, tangible force,
b) For some reason my life just seems to have a habit of panning out in a series of interconnected events resulting in extraordinary circumstances, or,
c) Whether it is simply just the way in which I view life, an ability to notice patterns and connections and associate meaning...

But, there are such frequent coincidences, little small spheres of beautiful events that happen intermittently along on the timeline of my life, that I believe are too chance to ignore...

I think each of these things, these extraordinary series' of events serve to offer as an example perhaps, as a lesson. So that with each year that goes by, the older and wiser I become, I can collate these experiences and take them with me as I go, so that when eventually my time comes to leave, in an ironic twist, I will have learnt all there is to know of experience, just as I come to the end of existence. Only when I reach the point of maximum experience, will I have enough knowledge to understand life and to do it right, but that it is also the end of it. And that's the only way I'd want to go. I refuse to leave this existence, inexperienced.

This latest series of events surrounds a new person to have become apparent, whom, for reasonable reasons because of reasons, I shall name Sebastian. But he comes along midway throughout the story.


I guess I've been thinking a lot about life and death, really.

Last weekend my Mother came up to visit me at University to break the news of my uncle's death. I knew he'd always been in bad health in some way or another, but his news still came as a shock. He'd been admitted to hospital with a sickness bug, and within two weeks he'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had died. I can't decide if that's worse. It all happening so fast, or having the painstaking time of either waiting or not knowing.

My Uncle was 44. That's what upset me the most. He had only ever been halfway there. He wasn't exactly young, but he was still young in knowledge, still poor in experience. It made me most upset to think of the things he'd never do.

Then I got talking to Sebastian. He's someone I've known the whole time through University but never really spoken to. But from the start he'd always shown a keen interest in Scarphelia, and I was fond of him as a human being. From the little I knew of him I could tell that he wasn't grey, whereas the majority of boys at University were.

The first thing we really shared was music. We'd chatted here and there and then I told him to listen to a song which I thought he'd enjoy. He listened and indeed, said he very much did. I felt proud that I could've recommended something accurately and guessed his music tastes. But then I thought about that song, and how I knew it. I knew it because Jasper of The Interesting Boys had shown it to me. Could I still take credit for knowing an awesome song?

Then, as usual, my mind began to wonder.

I thought about all my favourite songs and how I'd discovered them, and realised that they'd all been presented to me be someone or something else. I'd heard a song at a party and asked what it was, my friend had put it on in the car, I'd heard it on the radio, or in the trailer for a film, or even through Spotify recommendations.

I then thought broader, just not about songs. And I realised that everything I liked in the whole world, I only discovered because someone allowed me to do so. I never would've know about my favourite writers if I hadn't learnt about them in school, never found my favourite hangouts if someone hadn't taken me there previously, or discovered my favourite food if no-one had introduced me to it. For someone like me, who prides themselves on being so independent and prefers to be alone, that was quite the revelation.

We cannot physically exist, be educated about anything, grow, develop or function without the persistent influence and interaction of other people. Each conversation we have, each new person we meet, or the smallest of curious things which may occur with someone, influences the course of our lives irrevocably, whether we are aware of it or not. We may think we are sentient, individual unique beings but we are not. But that is not a bad thing. We are the manifestation of everyone else's thoughts, feelings and preferences, but combined in a unique combination that hasn't been seen before, and never will again. As humans are we are all only agents with slight variations, of one common form of existence?

The next thing that happened was that I was invited to attend a Graduate and Alumni Networking Event at my University. This was very exciting because only four Undergrads had been invited along, so that pushed us up considerably above the rest in terms of contacts.

When I first arrived, I realised I'd been a wee bit overzealous and arrived way too early. So naturally, as with any circumstance of potential awkwardness, I did what I do best and went and hid in the toilets.

When finally enough time had elapsed for a substantial amount of people to arrive, I went in.

The evening, I believe, was a roaring success. There were three gentlemen in particular which I enjoyed talking to. Two of them were sports journalists and the other was a PR Manager at a top London Agency. At first the conversation was the polite rudiments, the how are you's, the what do you do's. But eventually we began to talk about the future, and that is one of my favourite things to talk about.

In classical Katie fashion, I went off in a complete dramatic monologue about my views of life, passion, inspiration and what I want to achieve, launching into full detail about Scarphelia. I was chuffed because they said they were suitably impressed. One of them joked that I should become a motivational speaker. We all swapped business cards (which pleases me NO END) and later that evening I received a message from one of the journalists, which read:

"Hiya Katie,
I was going to message this to you on Twitter, but it would've taken too long. Was nice to meet you this evening and you're definitely one of the most unique people I've met in a long time. (that is a compliment)
Your enthusiasm is infectious. Hopefully I'll see you again at some point."

It made me beam from ear to ear. Could I be to him, one of the influencers I'd theorised about before? But that was not the only message I received that night.

At around 3am, I checked my emails for the last time before bed, to discover one entitled:

"Hello, you don't know me, but I wrote a long email anyway."

My heart leapt into my mouth, and I hastily began to read the email.

...The email was 48 paragraphs long. It was from a girl from Slovenia who had found my blog. For a long time after I read the email, I couldn't get my head around it. The email mostly told of her life, and the difficult situation in which she found herself in, and that my words resonated so closely with her own, that sometimes it felt as so I'd taken the very words from her brain. My whole body was trembling and I cried as I read what she'd written, and her last paragraph made me feel, a lot.

"To conclude, I know the feeling of wanting to be spectacular, silver, as you say. I think being aware of that, and taking an active role in the formation of your own life guarantees silverness. If you are enjoying your life, you already are silver. But that shouldn't stop you from continuing to be so, it isn't a goal you one day achieve and then call it done. It is a process, a life being lived and if you stop, you just go back to being grey.

I don't know if I should apologise for the length the rambles and the fact that this writing comes out of the blue, from a stranger. What do I have to lose?

You say if you don't ask you don't get. On a similar note, I discovered that if you don't reach out, you don't meet anyone wonderful."

That last bit made me cry the most, simply because of just how much she got it. She was saying I'd taken the words from her brain, but here she was doing the same for me. The notions of the silvers of the greys in life had been a system I'd dreamt up to help make sense of the frustrations I was feeling in my own mind, and here was someone who not only thought the same, but had gone on to examine, refine, and define further the meaning of it all.

I don't even really know myself how to put this into words a) without sounding arrogant or b) because of the ridiculousness of it all, but all I ever want to do is inspire people to live, to crave the more and not settle for the norm. I just never really would've imagined that I'd ever actually be able to do that, and never in such a short space of time.

The last part of the small series of extraordinary events, returns back to Sebastian. It was his time to influence me now, as he asked if I'd ever heard of a film called 'Cloud Atlas'. I hadn't. He said he really wanted to watch it and I should check out the trailer. I did, and decided to watch it.

I have never, ever wept so sincerely or for so long after a film has finished.

When I first began to watch it, I genuinely had no idea what was going on. Nothing made any sense and the plot seemed erratic and pretentious. It was only in the last half an hour of the film when all the connections were revealed and the plot surfaced to make complete, beautiful, logical sense that it reduced me to tears with the sheer profoundness of the realisation it struck within me.

I won't divulge the details of the film for those who have not seen it, but there were certain things, mostly quotes which truly touched me and terrified me in equal measure, because just as with the girl from Slovenia, it was as if they had been taken from my very mind. After having all my previous realisations about the influences of others, the first time I began to weep was when I heard the line:

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."

Is our possibility for influence eternal? Could the decisions we make now, be them monumental or not, continue to have worldly repercussions long after we die?

"Fear, belief, love phenomena that determined the course of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue after we perish."

Even by just changing the thought process of one person, the possibilities that stem from that are eternal. It may be the smallest, most irrelevant of things, like recommending a film to someone, which leads them to write a blog about it, which is read by a girl in Slovenia, which changes her life, so that she goes on to...

"No matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean."
"But what is an ocean, but a multitude of drops?"

Are we almost plant-like, but with invisible roots of influence inspiration that weave their way through the course of history and humanity? Is that what silverness is? This rare, almost genetic propensity to want to be one of the people who change the world? Is it a current which runs through members of each and every generation, but not through all? Like the Cloud Atlas comet birthmark? 

"True. All true. But they got somethin' else. A hunger in their hearts, a hunger that's stronger than all their Smart."
"Hunger? For what?"
"A hunger for more."


I can't even begin to really arrange my thoughts here. All I know is that this film has affected me in ways that I have never been affected before, and I always want to be friends with Sebastian.