I wrote this essay when I was in my 30’s. This is as much I can reveal about my age as a woman’s vanity will permit.
Writing generates the excesses of emotions that sustain life. Writing unifies. And to write better, I learnt that I had to read more. So, in the summer of 2014 I went on a book reading binge. I read irrationally.
When I fell asleep on books, I dreamt heavily. Like any child, I have been taught to avoid being presumptuous. So, the absurdity and the gall of a recurrent dream prompts me to write it down. In that, I see myself walk to the stage and read a prepared speech.
December 10th, 2044.
Stockholm City Hall, Sweden.
“Even in the dead calm of the night, the mind can be flutteringly chaotic. It is the eccentric and wild humming of the heartbeat. Pick up on that and capture it. Thrive on your own heartbeat and you might actually be following your dream. Don’t give up on it. Forget the rest. It is nonsense. Start worrying about the time when you are famous. How will you know if anyone loved you?
The coldest places on earth that cannot grow a twig are no match for the coldness of the heart. The scab behind the ear is far less dirty than the blackness of the human heart.
There are forces of human acting against you. So, play your part. Cheapen everyone else’s resolve with your magnanimity. The need for peace, acceptance and the longingness to be appreciated are universal.
Violence, brutality, oppression, mass murders, being unkind –These are not subconscious choices of the mind. It is not even the order of the world. Eating, sleeping, procrastination, retrospection without consequences, mortality – this is.
Allow yourself to be humbled, like the time you had kids or the time you wanted to put your thoughts on paper. Kindness, joy, heart break. Experience everything. Be the captive audience to the show called life. We all have famously low standards, it’s a guarantee, we will be amused.
While you are struggling to be that faithful friend, assimilate in a foreign country, roll your tongue to sound your Rs correctly, there is someone out there trying to secure a safety route to the school without mortar shells ripping through their child’s skull or struggling to put food on the table.
There will also be times when you feel like you don’t belong here. Not here, not anywhere. I was born and raised in a country where the most sinister sight is that of the mother-in-law. And now I call home a country where the sight of a group of teenagers assembled on a park bench can run shivers up the spine. If we are lucky enough, we will all live to realize the unfounded terrors of our children not living their full lives.
Words. Use them sparingly. A few of those words got me into trouble with my sister’s feelings. The same words that rivaled the time and place they were spoken at. Behold the power of context. A few life changing words can lose their potency in the absence of it.
Believe in the self-remedial power of the broken spirit. No one is his own underdog. Read a story where you are not the protagonist. Phew! That was someone else’s story!
Social engagements create frivolous distractions. Distractions sap on a great human strength – vulnerability. Share your sorrow and see others’ misfortunes disappear. Tie the evil tedium in life together while being inspired by art. Spend your monies on it.
Group dynamics diffuse the burden to be rational. So, even in a crowd, act as if you are alone. Place yourself square and fair in the center to receive copious amounts of kindness. You will always find yourself on your knees.
Incessantly searching for your name on the internet or killing the spontaneity of an email reply with mindless procrastination – these are some preoccupations that can keep your mind off violence.
Not everyone gets the Nobel. Yesterday, my 6 year old asked me why the letters on the computer keyboard were not in Alphabetical order. This morning, I asked a friend and she had known the answer for years.
Now, imagine your child or your loved one being bullied. Defend your time like how you would defend them. Remember we all have a choice to choose.
Build a legacy. What do I want them to remember of me? Generate a message, gift a book, add your own quote that sticks with future generations. Preserve your culture and pass it on.
Nurture your spirit with all the elements of nature that complete you. Fire, water, earth and air. You own nothing but your mind.
You can change the world. Your world is anyone that you have come into touch with psychologically, physically and randomly on the street. Remember kindly, remember this often.
Celebrations on a global stage under the watch of a wide audience can be surprisingly very personal, like those unfolding every minute in homes around the world. Celebrate.
There will be an inner voice that struggles, that is a persistent critique. Give it the same treatment you give your mother. The silent one.
Before my humility wears off as I age, there are a few things I wish to say. For the reader here is my gratitude. My son was 2 months old when I read him a poem of mine for the first time.
If I was to think within reasonable limits of reason, I would not have been here. I want to be a sum of all my dreams.
I recall a childhood lesson, forgotten along the way. Dream big, more than you can ever dream of. To give up, would be to die.
I must have unleashed the inner voice a tad too much. I thank the Swedish Nobel Academy for this honor. To, because and for love.”