Jul 19, 2015

the gift of feeling intensely

"Surely there must be a reason why I was wired this way...if I can harness the power of heightened emotions - is that not what artists do?"

I was talking to Val about The Sam Willows - Take Heart and Nightlight - and she told me about Benjamin Kheng's TED talk, so I watched it. He talked about his switch from swimming to theatre and music-making. And when he said that line, I paused the video and closed my eyes. Let it sink in. There I was, my heart beating so fast, in resonance with the things he was saying at that point, tears in my eyes yet also laughing because he was talking about how he would go to movies and cry more than the average girl - if I can harness the power of heightened emotions. Sitting here, tearing and laughing and my heart beating.

I replayed that part thrice to make sure I got the quote right, but every time I got to that specific sentence, the phrase would flow straight into my heart and settle there and pass over my head so I would forget to note what the precise wording was. And - yeah. I am often afraid of feeling, because I feel a lot, and emotions and dreamy dreams often render me a useless ball on my bed, unable to sleep or eat or do my work or talk to people. All that swirl of crazy emotion that drowns me, all in my wretched head. So many times I have prayed for feelings to go away, even to stop feeling God, because when God hit me with the feels I would be so full of His joy and I wouldn't know what to do with it and it was too much. Once I said 'God, you know, I can just pray to you and you can accept my prayer and work in my life, I don't need to feel You, it's too much for me. It's okay.'

But no, there must be a reason I was wired this way, right? A reason I am tearing up even as I'm writing this? Is it not a blessing to feel passion and emotions to the fullest? Seeing things in HD, as vivid and as clear as they were meant to be. We weren't made for pixelated images. Passion was never meant to be sedated.

Once, when walking out of school, an Indian man in a white shirt was walking hand-in-hand with his little daughter in my direction. She was wearing a pretty dress. She looked at the flowers on the sidewalk. The man noticed, stopped, bent down to pluck a white flower, and gave it to her. Her face completely lit up in pure delight. The man looked at her and smiled. All that passed in three seconds but it was so beautiful that till today I've been unable to craft a piece out of it. My words will never do that moment justice. And it's a blessing to be able to see the world like that, isn't it? So much beauty in the everyday that other people don't notice.

"But what is life if not the craziest adventure, right? So yeah - I ran, I ran."

A rented motorbike speeding along the coastal highway, no license, the wind rushing towards your face. A whisper in the night, the silence of a broken heart, closed eyes, clasped hands, the heart a heavy balloon filled with water. A flower on the ground, a certain smile, a particular riff in a song, is amplified and stretched in our minds. And this is the stuff of a different breed, isn't it. I shouldn't quell it. I have a wealth of raw material within me, my heightened emotions and the way I take in the world. And oh, the things I could do if I learnt to harness it. Actually get serious about brushing up my skill.

Ok here's Take Heart by The Sam Willows because it just really seems to fit right now - I know the lyrics are about an eloping couple but tonight, Take Heart is my apology to myself, for having hated the way I feel so intensely. It's not something to throw aside. It's a gift that God gave me before I was born. It's something to run with. Keep my eyes on faith, hope and love.

Also just feel the music, man. It's so full of love for life, so full of colour and vivacity and just everything.

Take heart, this world is ours
Run high and fast now, they’re coming for us
Take heart, we’ll fight the hours
Fall back in light running through the forest

Oh you’re everything to me
Loved you ever since the day we parted
Oh you’re all that I can see
Don’t you ever leave me broken-hearted

But she didn’t know, she wasn’t told; this life is just too old
People walking, come and go; they don’t know you, they’re so cold
Why, why, bring me down
I don't owe nothing to your frown
Just a kid, this ain’t your town
Take that walk and turn around

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