Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Falling Slowly

The first time I heard Glen Hansard and Marketa Inglova's 'Falling Slowly,' I thought wow this is a really good song. Then I heard it again, and learned the words, heard it again, downloaded it, heard it again, put it on my repeat playlist, and just when you think there's only so much time to devour a song, you hear it again on a movie it was made for, with lead 'actors' that turned out to have actually 'fallen slowly' for each other in real life, and a story that defies the foundation of this theory we call the 'Happy Ending.'

In one of Glen Hansard's live performances, he introduced the song as a "story about going to a party with your girlfriend, and she goes off to get a drink, and you're standing there on your own, and you look across the room, and you see this girl you utterly fancy, it's not mental, you just feel it, and you realize that it's your girlfriend. You're like cha ching!"

But what if you don't have the 'cha ching' moment? What if, when you look across the room, staring at this beautiful person you just desperately fancy and you realize, he's not your boyfriend? What if when you look across the room, you find that nobody's even there?

And Miluju tebe? ('It's you I love' in Czech) What if you can't say it? What if there's no one to say it to?

What I loved most about the film 'Once,' despite the characters remaining nameless throughout, is their not ending up together. The guy fancied the girl, the girl loved the guy - at a whim, on a romantic hill in Dublin, days before deciding she wanted to make it work with her husband. And it ends there. Him going to London, going back to the love he once lost and chasing a dream. Her staying in Dublin, rekindling a marriage. Was it a sad ending? No. It's life. It's not perfect, but it's tragically brilliant when it hits the right notes.

I think that even though longevity and consistency make for a wonderful life, sometimes you have to look at it in frozen frames, pick out moments when the world stood still and you said to yourself, "cha ching! this is it," no matter how long it lasted for. In a span of weeks, a guy met a girl he at least loved for a moment, and those moments were incomparable only because they shared the same sad music. And that whiff of a memory, of meeting a girl, and singing in a music store after knowing her for only a day, has a potential of lasting forever.

When you're 21 and still single, every conversation you will have will more or less include a question why you haven't found love yet. How do you answer something like that? They'll ask, "don't you want to?" "aren't you ready?" But of course you want to, and you're ready. But when have wanting and being ready ever merited realization?

You could be standing all the way across the room, looking out a window to nothing, and feeling happy by default. And you say, "wait I'm happy here." Sometimes, that's enough, and you can only wish for more moments like that. Like tonight, as I write this, and on the 15th time today that I've played this song, I look across the room, and I realize, I am, in fact, happy.

Cha ching.

Besides, "games that never amount to what they're meant will play themselves out" right? It falls slowly, and sometimes on a rather different path, sometimes painful, but it falls in whatever place it should. It doesn't mean it's not a happy ending.

It's just life. Raise your hopeful voice. You have a choice.

Life to the Twenty somethings

It's too early to call it a midlife crisis, too late to call it puberty. It's the time of your life where you're too old to show off and too young to screw up. The time you're pressured to "go out there," "have fun" and "see the world" when you can barely afford a decent meal.

It's the time of paradoxes. Season of the bipolars. Age of depression.

Your decisions could determine the next 10 years of your life. The no's and yeses you give out could ultimately draw the line whether you're gonna marry your true love, or someone who makes sense, or if you marry at all. Whether you get married in a beach, or at the city hall; whether you get to live in your dream suburban house or in an urban broken home.

It's all being decided at this very moment, when all you have the energy for is battle PMS. The world is staring you bluntly in the face, asking "What the hell are you going to do?' and you, well, you don't know.

It's not that you don't know what you're doing. It's that you want to do everything. You want to travel, you want to fall in love, you want to be dedicated to your job, be the best at it, you want to change the world, and there is just so little time to do it all.

Hollywood actress Helen Mirren once said: "The hardest period in life is one’s twenties. It’s a shame because you’re your most gorgeous and you’re physically in peak condition. But it’s actually when you’re most insecure and full of self-doubt. When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s frightening."

When you are finally at a liberty to do everything you want, that's when it gets the scariest. Because what if you can't do it all, what if you can't do anything? You can no longer blame it on the perils of being too young, or too much responsibilities, you can only blame it on yourself and the fact that at your best, you were the worst.

And it's messing up your head. You're at a sweet spot of having aged but maintaining a little innocence. The perfect time to be responsible, but to dream big. The time you're allowed to see the world through rose-tinted glasses because you're young, and idealistic. You are part of the future, and you can actually change the course of your generation.

It's a lot of pressure.

Mostly on yourself. When you look in the mirror and see a twenty-something so unsure of herself, when she should be weaving magic.

But as I said, it's the time of paradoxes. You're chasing the unknown.

Scrambling for a dream you're not even sure exists.

And you're falling and you're sinking, and you take on a destructive path into the labyrinth of suffering out to your great perhaps.

There's no other feeling.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


But the kicks you get out of just the process of thinking about what you want to get, googling for images, and the expectation that lasts for 2 minutes - it's enough gift.

You never know what might arrive on your doors, after all on Harry's 11th birthday, he got a letter from Hogwarts. Here's to the hope that maybe, as I turn 21, something magical happens.

But I'm willing to be materialistic in the meantime:

An iPod Nano. Just like the one I lost. I have terrible dreams about it.

I need it when I take the jeep or the train. I need it when I walk around alone.
I need it when I eat by myself. I need it when I write. I need it as I sleep.
I need it, basically.

This is a book light, in case you were wondering.
Because I don't have a bedside lamp.

It's a story of a carnival couple madly in love who decided to chemically engineer their children,
resulting to a family of freaks. I love it. Can't find it anywhere though.

'Looking for Alaska' was one of the best reading experiences of my life. The closest I've come to feeling the same lately was the Hunger Games trilogy. I want that feeling back. I'm taking a risk with John Green - anything from him. (But maybe not 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson.' I'm still upset with David Levithan.)

Yes I know I said I will not fall into Apple's lair. But about everyone I know who uses iPhone look happy, and digitally contented. I want the same life, please.
(This one's a hint for my Sister)

Or you know, you can just give me bottles of Nutella and I'll be just as happy.

Or awesome tees.

Or just leave a One Tree Hill/Harry Potter quote or lyrics from Coldplay/Snow Patrol on my Facebook wall. I'm not hard to please.