On Resisting Confinement of the Heart

Here’s a stream of consciousness birthed during the first hours of my second lockdown, whilst experiencing a mixture of anger, fear, longing, and love — to only name a few. In the hopes that our hearts remain unconfined, so that our pain may be expressed shamelessly, and our passion may continue to fuel our vision, even in the dark.

Lonely, lonely, lonely, sad… Crrrrr, crrrr, ugh. Screaming out loud, crying, laughing, dancing now, naked in the kitchen, alone. Is it seasonal depression? Is it the end of the world? Hysterical, I am being hysterical. Sorry, mom. I wasn’t raised to face adversity. Adversity in my face now, how ironic. Life lesson… Life teaches me, for pure chance, I am living. Experiencing a specific kind of universal truth that’s happened to reveal itself while I’m here. Proof? 2020. Isolation. Alienation. Ah… I thought maybe, we could smoke one last cigarette together? Before you go, goodbye, bus station, when will I see your face again? My solace, my happiness… The smell of your clothes, our childhood, refuge. Walking the streets, all together, crying again, raising arms and clenched fists, learning from each other, trying to understand what’s been left unsaid, what’s hurting… How many layers are there to this fuckedupness? Demanding for justice. The most noble of words. The most abstract. Eyes and hands and tits and buttocks and legs and bellies and long hair and piercings and tattoos and second-hand clothes and tight jeans, running. Suffering. Joy… Silence… Summer is over. Empty images passing by the unending regime of robotic screens. Here’s all I am supposed to be interested in. Infallible Instagram algorithme… But please, can I stay the night? I’ll sleep on the couch. There’s nothing I want to buy. If only, maybe, your company? You don’t know me very well, but see… Have a cup of coffee with me. I know of a place, a secret place, a place where it stops! The buying, you know? The lights, the fake digital smiles, the artificial smells, the white noise. If I want to leave my apartment I need to buy. To buy I need to want to buy. To buy I need money. Buy me what more?

I was hoping you’d be so kind, yes, so kind to share your company with me. Thrilling. Other human beings are… Alive. Still alive, with hearts and sweats and feelings and dreams and horrors. Behind their masks. It’s not a metaphor. Their actual, surgical face masks. I am nauseated by the buying, the eating, the heating, the abominable confinement of hearts. Disorienting… When does it stop? When will I get to know them? To know you? It infuriates me, the thought of my grandparents, alone in their small city apartment. Away from their fields, the smells of their memory. My grandma watering her flowers. My grandpa watching his news. They came all the way to the city, from their countryside, to make a living, raise their children. It was 1958. It’s unfair, it’s so unfair… Has it failed them, this world? I want to believe their sacrifice was worth it all, their valuable contribution to the uninterrupted beating of life. Why was I told to do this, and do that, and buy this, and buy that, wear this cream, very nice, smell this way, talk like this, learn this language, get a degree, no, actually, get two, get a job, be my guest, sound like you know what’s going on… And what for? For my grandparents to be alone, in their city apartment. Nothing I can do about it. It saddens me so deeply. All this effort, these years.

My bubble explodes. Certainty was never a given. And maybe that’s for the best. The voices of my generation, so very complicated… So very powerful, scattered, and eager. It does sound like a dystopian movie but I am not playing you. It’s reality. Our life. This saddens me, too: our collective delusion. The alien loneliness. It’s not that it’s unbearable, no, I love my solitude. But it’s this strange feeling, a consistent not knowing. Where am I? Uncertain, between the past and the future. I look at strangers in the eyes more intensely than I would’ve before. I feel the earth shaking. Hold my hand… I can’t. The holding of hands suddenly forbidden. I feel my mind collapsing in circles of nowhereness. Trapped. Can I offer you some sex free of expectations? The box of love has lost its meanings. Sweet drunken nights that led us back to this confinement. So it’s our fault?

If you could, you would fly away from yourself. Is this a good time to change? To gather the fruits and plant the seeds of our new suffering. Maybe, yes. Why not? Let it be renewed. Let your certainties crumble gently. Now you’re naked. In front of a bunch of strangers — are they feeling the same pain? These hard walls of yours need to be cracked open. Slowly, but soon enough. Before it’s too late. Soften, soften, soften. It is in your power to do so. Only you have keys to your cage. Only you know the weight of your tears, and that of your heart, and that of your memory. Heavy memory… Beautiful abyss of my imagination. Carry me back to myself. Let me return home, even if it’s not enough. Let me touch reality and not be burnt. Let me observe all things passing without fear. Allow change to get through me. My anger fades away… Returning to the body always proves the hardest thing to do. Yet it’s where I need to go. Alone, I can go alone. Will you come with? Meet me. When I am so tired of myself, that’s when I need myself the most. When I’m lonely again, impatient for life to happen. The future being nothing but a small untouched piece of paper, left on my desk before I sleep another strange dream. The unknown lying before my closed eyes at night. Dreams going in directions unexpected. I sit and cry. I know one place of freedom, one place of safety. Within myself.

The multitudes I contain. My impossibility to exist without others. The evolving acceptance of my human condition. I smile, alone in the morning, feeling very loved. Like I am love itself, unrestrained energy, beating of a million hearts. That is how I know the strange and dark days are always somehow deserving of my attention. My resiliency, my patience, my love… The ability to slow down, feel the empty space. Scary and dangerous, with no guarantees. Abandonment to self. The presence of friends. The knowing of their darkness. The love that runs between. The knowing of my darkness. For otherwise I wouldn’t know how to savour this life. How to feel it. How to fight through and grow through. Aware of the absurdity, the nonexistence of permanent answers. So that the heart won’t be confined, but rather… Relieved. Enabled to wander freely, courageously, onto each and every side of love, of longing and fear, of passion and fragility, of sweet, tender, indispensable togetherness.

She/her. Outspoken intersectional feminist, committed to thoughtful cultural analysis and social justice work. Lover of simple things. Writer and observer.

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