I don’t remember when I last looked at the stars, but tonight, all I see is a starless sky. It’s as starless as I feel within, and as empty as I am, though most days, I pretend to be whole.
I try to create wholeness within myself and make a conscious effort to evade this empty feeling, which is not quite an existential crisis, but it’s something that could pass as just another episode of overthinking everything I’m about to do for the next few months.
I sit here again and ask myself: what is the overarching theme in my life that sparks the most joy? What do I want? Do I even want to be in a state of wanting? Am I just ungrateful for wanting more and rolling my eyes at every trite statement about gratitude?
I can lie to myself and say I’m perfectly fine and don’t want anything more, but I know it’ll just kill me inside if I have to blow out the spark within me and keep plodding along in a stupor for the rest of my life, never even trying to ascend above all the constraints that keep me in such a lowly place. I am lowly because of my fears. I let the external world control me and keep me afraid of reaching my fullest potential. I believed in the fears that say I’m never going to amount to anything, and then I lie to myself and say that yes, they were right all along.
I have made myself the greatest enemy.
But then again, I don’t want to pursue pipe dreams because they aren’t worth chasing after. I can’t expect them to give my life any meaning if I haven’t dug deep enough or created meaning for myself. I’ve finally come to accept that I will never write a 21st-century version of War and Peace or become the Asian version of Maggie Rogers or have highly glamorous photos of me promoting some clothing brand or even move to a big city. Those are all external things that are no longer relevant who I am.
A lot of these aspirations don’t spark joy anymore.
I’m not sad about it, though I do feel numb at times. It’s a sign that I’ve grown up. But even so, I’m not jaded. I’m just more discerning of what feeds my ego and what truly feeds my soul.
Some say they want to change the world, but most want to make money and have a stable job and not starve to death. Some people want to find their passion and make it their life’s purpose. Others scoff at dreamers and do everything they can to discourage them. They’re quite intelligent and rational people, and I find myself nodding with them and questioning the unrealistic side of me.
But I can be as passionate as I am pragmatic, full of high hopes yet crushed by the weight of the world. Foggy-minded yet crystal clear. Childlike yet weary with age. Feeling lost yet already knowing the answer. I’m wavering between two extremes, but it’s confounding how I can feel everything all at the same time.
I’m free to be who I am, but I don’t feel so free. I know I’m already complete as I am, but the emptiness still lingers. I can be happy, but most of the time, I’m confused. It’s a state of miserable madness that’s oh-so magical.
Even though I feel directionless at times, I’m happier that I no longer try to prove a point or make my life goals more grandiose than other people’s, because they have every right to want what they want and live their own lives. I can only be happy for them. Happy that they’re empowering themselves and listening to the callings of their hearts, and I can’t stop them from doing so. Then there are those who settle and believe that every year after this one will be just the same. I have nothing more to say to them except to wish them well, even when it’s sad to see them in living with indifference. What they do is no concern of mine.
All I have is me. I am who I am.
I was meant to fly. I am a bird in spirit. I am a woman of the wind.
When I’m writing, it feels like I’m flying. When I’m singing, it feels like I’m taken by the wind and sky. When I’m reflecting, it feels like I’m creating my own light to shine upon the waters. I can make the sky sing and waters dance under the light. I know I can make my life beautiful, whole, and full of joy. That power was there before. It still must be.
But over the years, I’ve had my wings clipped by those who believe that their power is greater than my own. And I’ve silenced the voice of the wind. In doing so, I’ve silenced myself.
I know I can reach the top of the mountain if I try hard enough, but at the same time, I fear that I can’t, even though it wouldn’t matter in the end because I will be forgotten and washed away by the rising sea, just like everyone else. Reaching the top won’t make me feel whole or give me a sense of meaning that I’ve been longing for. But then again, I don’t want to stay at the bottom forever.
I go through most of my days questioning my purpose. Sometimes I try so hard, but I never feel like it’s enough. There’s a deeper yearning within me that keeps me restless all night. I dream of finally arriving at a place where I feel like I can rule my life. To create some form of paradise. To promise me heaven. To always be in flight and never on the ground or caught up in the stormy seas.
But this lofty ideal has evaded me for years and I don’t see it happening any time soon, no matter how much I try to keep this hypothetical future within the palm of my hands. I’m a control freak and I hold onto things too tightly for my own good. I just can’t help it. I try to put my entire future into a list so that there are no surprises, but what good does that do if my present didn’t turn out exactly like the list that my past self wrote?
Maybe the future isn’t about arriving at a certain point, because all points ahead of me are uncertain.
And the best thing to do is to let go of the sense of urgency to assign myself a purpose right now and instead allow myself to just be. Whether it’s lost or found, empty or whole, light or dark, a bird in flight or a bird in a cage, taken by the wind or washed away by the sea, there’s a time and place for everything in life, but I can choose to be at peace no matter how the future unfolds. And I can choose to feel whole even when my dreams never unwind. The unconditional love I have for myself is more than just a state of mind. It’s a way of living. A way that sparks joy.
In trying to gain control over the future, I squeeze the life out of it, but when I let it go, it eventually finds its way back to me. Not in a way I expected, but I can still make it my own.
Even amidst the starless sky, that power is still there.