that one song

‘See that guy over there with the guitar? Well, he sings to us every day and night. Doesn’t matter what we’re doing – watching the television, doing work or having a meal… he just comes over and asks if he can sing.’ Darren shared during our latest visit.

He had been admitted to the mental hospital due to a breakdown that occurred after a series of late nights and stressful days but thankfully, was recovering well enough to be sarcastic.

‘You know what’s the worst bit?’ he continued.

‘What?’

‘He only knows one song. Country road, take me home… argh!’ Darren clutched his head in agony.

‘If you aren’t mental when you enter this place, you’ll be mental when you leave…’

*

‘I once worked beside the most amazing creative designer. I mean, he was one of the best!’ the Designer shared. ‘But every morning when he got in, the first thing he did was to turn on his music. And damn… it was always the same song! Day in, day out… it drove me mad.’

‘Didn’t you get him any other music?’ We were laughing hard into our cokes.

‘Doesn’t matter. He only wanted that one song. I think… it was the way he got into his creative zone. The greatest joke though, was that at the annual company dinner, he won the first prize! An iPod!’ the Designer said.

‘I wonder if all there was inside… was that one song?’ the Husband piped in.

*

I have that one song too.

It’s not an actual tune I carry around in my iPod. Neither is it something I choose to listen to.

But it’s a refrain, a repeated line that refuses to leave, one which haunts me with its sheer existence.

You’re not good enough. No one sees you. You can’t make it. They don’t like you. Who cares what you do? You failed again. You suck. Your work is just crap. Man… you’re the pits.’

And I can’t fight it when the tune begins in my head. I try to block it out by thinking about other things but hey, guess what? It doesn’t work. I try reading… same results. Like the Country-road singer or the creative designer… it’s insistent on singing its tune. And it wears me down.

Which was when my lightning quick mind yelled at me.

‘Shut it out!’

Oh right. I picked up the iPod, plugged my ears in and began listening to something unearthly.

And that’s when I understood the power of my choices.

And His music.

*

I wonder if anyone else has that one song?

huffing and puffing song

I have found the perfect song that defines my running attitude from the 8km marker onwards. It’s extremely poetic, consisting of a few words that anyone can hum along to when they’re huffing and puffing away.

‘F%$k it, f%#k it, f%#k it, f%#k it!’

I know many say that encouraging remarks helps one to cross that mental barrier we face when we hit a wall. ‘Picture yourself running with ease’ or ‘ tell yourself you can do this! You can make it!’ and I’ve tried all that. None of it works. Chanting the above in sync with my footsteps however, causes me to smirk. And that propels me forward.

Especially if I meet Red Runner again.

I saw her last night, as I did my circles around the pond and for the first few rounds, we were in sync. She was running the other way around the course and we crossed each other at the same points for the first three rounds. Our only difference? I was struggling while she was obviously doing an easy pace. I hated her for that.

‘Damn it,’ I muttered to myself as I struggled to bring air into my wretched lungs. I dreaded seeing her again, which I did, unfortunately, as I walked around the circuit. I could have sworn I saw a gloat in her demeanor as she flew past me, over and over again.

‘F%$k it, f%#k it, f%#k it, f%#k it!’ Daftpunk was never more eloquent.

*

The longer I run, the faster I run out of things to think about. Try sitting in a chair and staring at a wall for two hours. Wonderful, isn’t it? Even the usual stories I make up about other people turn into sarcastic commentaries as I begin to find little things about my random companions annoying.

That said, I love every passerby with all my heart. They are a good break from the tedium and monotony of putting one foot in front of the other.

Yes, even Red Runner – god bless her darling heart.

I wonder what she does on a normal day?

*

So Smiley said that my knees hurt purely because it’s doing more than it ever did before.

‘You just need to recover. Take it easy this week and slowly build up your stamina and strength again,’ he said.

‘But they ache all the time,’ I whined.

‘You just did a 10k run last week,’ he stated. ‘It’s more than you ever did before. Just relax…’

Has it only been a week? But yes, Smiley is right. I did a little more reading today and found out that these aches and pains are normal. I, being the over-dramatic person that I am, have been entertaining images of me injured, over my short runs. Forgetting the simple fact that prior to this season, the only running I ever did was to walk quickly in my heels to the office was I was late. I didn’t even break into a jog to catch the train/bus, always preferring to take the next one that came along.

Right. So there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just… pain.

Altogether now, ‘Pain is inevitable. Suffering, optional.’

Now where’s Daftpunk?

look at love

‘Hello,’ she said.

‘Go away, I’m not listening to you,’ I murmured, turning away to read an email on my laptop.

‘Did you see how busy and fulfilled she is? Isn’t she doing exactly what you want to do? Look, look at her! She’s being trained to do great things. People will recognize her as being brilliant! Now… what about you? What are you doing?’ The unwelcome visitor continued, ignoring my snub.

I looked at the email I was writing. It was a style template schedule for the next few weeks’ performances. I looked at my to-do list and it was filled with coordination work. Administration, administration, administration…

‘See? You’re left out of the loop. No one will recognize the work you’re doing! It’s all background work for others to shine. Who cares? You thought you were in a place of self-actualization but what’s happening? You’re being left behind while others get to do the creative things you like.’

I slumped back in my seat. It was only the morning and already I was losing the battle to be happy.

‘Just go away,’ I gritted my teeth.

‘Your boss is going with you to the shoot later, isn’t she? Now why would she need to do that? And if she’s there, why do you need to go too? Superfluous addition, aren’t you?’ She mocked, doodling on my organizer.

‘I think I still have responsibilities there… I can’t just say I won’t go.’ I answered.

‘Can’t run away, eh? Poor, sad thing. When will you find your place in this world?’ She said.

At that point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood up and walked away, I needed a breather. I headed to the toilet and locked myself in a cubicle. Alone, I sat there for a long while and listened…

I heard a group of ladies walk in, talking. I head a toilet flush. I heard the jangle of someone’s bracelets. I heard them leave. And then, I heard the Dream Maker.

‘Hey you, still in there?’

‘Yeah…’ I knew I just needed a hug from Him but I wanted to be alone.

‘Come on out,’ He said.

I sighed, stood up and reluctantly unlocked the door. There was no one there.

‘Great, just great,’ I grumbled as I walked back to my table… and found notes of love left all over my day, just for me.

There was the bar of chocolates from Jap Girl, and some ice-cream from the Boss.

There was the chance to climb to the topmost floor of a building under construction.

There was the beautiful, orange sunset I saw while I was up there.

There was the message a friend sent to me, saying ‘You’re a beautifully constructed piece of work. What you’ve done with your hands has touched so many…’

There was the wonderful conversation with Paddington, a friend I haven’t talked to in weeks.

There was the free ride home.

And when I walked into my room… there was Him.

‘Don’t listen to the negative talk. Don’t look at your circumstances and what you lack. Don’t look at your unfulfilled dreams.’ He said, holding out His arms to me. ‘Look at Me.’

And when I did, everything faded into the background.

I was looking at love.

*

‘I don’t have to fear anything because Your love makes it worth it all. I want to know it more, I want to feel it more, I want to see it more. Do I dare look into the eyes of love tonight, leaving everything else behind?

I will look straight into the eyes of love and say, come burn in me.’

– Kim Walker