This, this music makes me cry / It sounds just like my soul … The things they see in me, I cannot see in myself/ When you get bored of me I’ll be back on the shelf


Do we really listen to people, can we hear them? Mieko Kawakami in her book ‘Breast and Eggs’ explores the ethics of artificial insemination, and one of the points she brings up how many couples actually know each other? Is there really a difference by insemination by a stranger, versus a human being you don’t understand? What does it mean to know a person?

خود سے ملنے کو زمانا چاہئے

khud se milne ko zamaana chaahiye

It takes an epoch to meet just one’s own self

Hairaan Hua

If you listen hard enough to yourself, buy the mantras of the wellness industry, what does it mean to know yourself in the limited time you have on earth, perhaps we have to exist with the unknown of self all our lives and just be ok with it- a sort of negative capability. Perhaps some artists who become self destructive step past the shroud that keeps us all sedate. How do we forget that we as humans struggle all the time, self administering opiates to keep going? How do we do this living thing. We is generic. Are some people just not aware, or is there a general ennui in the ‘hivemind’?

I often feel misread by people, but when I think about it I wouldn’t know what to tell them I ‘am’. I just know it is not the idea they have of me. Is that flawed? usually I then reason myself out of it with the logic it doesn’t really matter. But lately I’ve come to realise it actually does matter what people think of us whether we like it or not, consciously or not.

Ultimately we all want to be heard. We want to know our existences are ‘real’ that our small impacts on the world create indentations that are real, despite how quickly they are filled in. To know we were here, when we aren’t. Maybe being ‘mis’-heard is a superfluous detail, what matters is that another person listened and your sphere of existence overlapped with theirs. Maybe that is all we can hope for anything more would operate on some other plane that transcends the everyday. Does such a plane exist? Can we listen properly, maybe yes for a short period of time. I’ve had some conversations that I think could fall into that category, riddled with non sequiturs and silences. Not conversation in the conventional sense. The best type. But we need a balance of both, mundane and celestial, we aren’t creatures made of ether. Everything expires, hold onto things that sound momentarily like our soul for some sort of solace.

people are strange, Jun. They know nothing lasts forever, but still they find time to laugh, cry and get upset, labouring over things and breaking things apart. I know it seems like none of it makes sense. But son, these things make life worth living. So don’t let anything get you down.’ I was just a kid but I knew what he was trying to say.

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

3 thoughts on “Listening

  1. In regards to the fundamental question of being – Who am I? – I don’t believe there is a single definite answer. Much of how we define ourselves is shaped – consciously or unconsciously – by the way others define us. The impressions that others have of you affect your own self-perception. Similarly one can also be blind to the perceptions that others have of them ultimately becoming blind to who they really are themselves. These perceptions change depending on time, place, and those doing the perceiving.

    The question really is whose perception of your being is most valid and true. You have thoughts and information about yourself that only you can know but equally so others have information about you that you may not be conscious of. My father has a saying: “You can’t shine a torch up your own arse”

    For instance, on a basic level, a comedian tells a joke he believes to be funny – so the comedian is funny – whereas the crowd deems the comedian’s joke to not be funny – the comedian is not funny. Whose perception of the comedian’s being is more valid? The comedian or the audience? The comedian could go his whole life believing he is funny and the audience could go their whole lives believing he isn’t. So the question remains is he or isn’t he?

    Instead, I would argue that who you are is malleable depending on the situation you are presented with. Aaqta in situation A could be X,Y,Z but Aatqa in situation B could be M,N,O. Aaqta the friend is different to Aatqa the daughter who is different to Aatqa the sister. Who you are is not constant but ever-changing. Based on this, I don’t think one could ever really answer the question – Who am I? – because who you are is multifaceted. There isn’t a single you. Perhaps the closest you could get is seeing which variables remain constant in the various situations but that wouldn’t encompass you in your entirety.

    Alas, this idea requires elaboration.
    Perhaps I should do a collation
    Of thoughts into a dissertation.
    Or maybe have a conversation
    Which could lead to a collaboration.
    Eliciting a cause for celebration.
    I shall now leave you in contemplation
    And in awe of my recitation.
    For I have achieved elevation
    To higher plane of exaltation.

    i’M nOt A rApPeR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BECOME A RAPPER! This was interesting thank you, also your father sounds like a wise man :0

      But it’s stressful not having solidity, must become better at not knowing just flowing ( maybe I can be your rapping apprentice yk when you make your big break and all)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t commit to being any one thing. I do what comes to me at the moment. Of course, I do have certain self-imposed boundaries, though. I guess because I’ve seen myself dramatically change between situations and over time, I’ve just accepted that I’ll continue to surprise myself by “who I am”. So I don’t go about finding the answer and sticking to it but rather enjoy the revelations as they come. Then again maybe it’s the actor in me talking. Characters don’t exist, and neither do we.

        (And yes, when MC AK makes it big, Lil’ Ataq can be on a feature)

        Liked by 1 person

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