— Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
— Mark O’Brien, from “Breathing”
what a disturbing society we must live in considering that modesty is viewed as putting yourself down and saying that you aren’t honest and good and caring, and then when you do finally acknowledge that you are or have the potential to be honest, good or caring it’s viewed as arrogance and being boastful. if someone compliments me in some way i’m going to try and not say ‘no i’m not’ from now on. i’m going to be honoured and thankful that they view me in that light and maybe even accept it. i hate that i’ve been condition to think that hating yourself is being modest and that self-loathing is the ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ thing. the bravest thing you’ll ever do is learn to accept, find comfort within yourself - eventually love who you are, and i will eventually do it. loving yourself is okay - it doesn’t make you arrogant, it doesn’t make you conceited, it makes you happy to own this skin, happy to call your hands your hands, your mind your mind.
Don’t you know yet? Fling the emptiness out of your arms
into the spaces we breathe; perhaps the birds
will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.
Yes—the springtimes needed you. Often a star
was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you
out of the distant past, or as you walked
under an open window, a violin
yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission.
But could you accomplish it? Weren’t you always
distracted by expectation, as if every event
announced a beloved? (Where can you find a place
to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
going and coming and often staying all night.)
But when you feel longing, sing of women in love;
for their famous passion is still not immortal. Sing
of women abandoned and desolate (you envy them, almost)
who could love so much more purely than those who were gratified.
Begin again and again the never-attainable praising;
remember: the hero lives on; even his downfall was
merely a pretext for achieving his final birth.
But Nature, spent and exhausted, takes lovers back
into herself, as if there were not enough strength
to create them a second time. Have you imagined
Gaspara Stampa intensely enough so that any girl
deserted by her beloved might be inspired
by that fierce example of soaring, objectless love
and might say to herself, “Perhaps I can be like her”?
Shouldn’t this most ancient of sufferings finally grow
more fruitful for us? Isn’t it time that we lovingly
freed ourselves from the beloved and, quivering, endured:
as the arrow endures the bowstring’s tension, so that
gathered in the snap of release it can be more than
itself. For there is no place where we can remain.
— Ranier Maria Rilke — from the first of the Duino Elegies trans. Stephen Mitchell (via slothnorentropy)