Archaic new beginnings (Personal essay)

(written for a competition on the theme of vice)

I try to reinvent my whole existence yet again today without recurring to the millennially soothing act of succumbing to smoke. Sounds easy enough, but the family history which precedes me assures my self-explanation for the need for nicotine, at least, on a daily basis. Most of the times I’ll say ‘Fuck it’ and give in to the numbing smoke which engulfs my whole being. But then I think: my offspring shall blame me for not being able to do it, the same way I blame my ancestors for instilling the act upon my genetic lineage. Now I know why they struggled.

It’s hard to cut off this piece of weed that has grown between the backyard paving I call my brain. At first, I simply coexisted with its presence, unfazed by its siren-like call. Until peer pressure or adolescent naiveness planted that first seed and I forgot it there, absent-mindedly, when I was just a green sample of a sprout myself. It’s crazy how time flies when you don’t address the elephant in the room. It’s also crazy how this tiny little piece of weed that splurged its way through the brick paving cracks has now become a full-grown tree, casting a shadow over my every second thought. Some days its presence will go unnoticed. But the rotations of this ship around the sun are endless, and so the painstaking act of picking up the axe of progress and chopping shit down becomes unbearable, considering most of my relationships in life stem from that sacred yet godforsaken tree.

Why is it so hard to reinvent oneself? Why is it so hard to swim against an oncoming tide, whose strength and power engulfs your whole existence, urging you to keep swimming away from everything familiar, only to come out on the other side, bone-dry and distant from everything you care for? Perhaps it isn’t all so bleak. Perhaps the moment you have embraced the current and let the adverse forces of nature take over, you will reach the opposing bank and see your comfort zone put into a new perspective and light you thought you’d never come to see. But then again, even if you have faced the music and made it onto the dry bank, the sound of endless laughter travelling across the water will be a constant reminder of the easiness that lures you to let yourself go downstream, forever floating – your feet never touching the bottom.

And so ahead I venture, writing and rewriting the endless dialogue in my head between right and wrong, telling myself I’m only young and that reckoning day is yet to come. Or perhaps I can remain a fully-functioning addict, like million others who rely on some sort of substance to keep them going in life. It is crazy to think how more at ease everyone would feel if they could relate to this struggle, and understand how normal these everyday battles are. And so I pick up my lighter and celebrate another day when I succumbed to the comfort of giving in. Perhaps it is merited today, for I have shared these outgoing thoughts to the world; perhaps I’ll die young due to my wrong choices. In the end, you have to make peace with the fact that whatever you choose, it was your choice. Take satisfaction from knowing that the all-engulfing shadow of whatever tree haunts your backyard will someday perish, much like every other piece of struggling matter, and that addressing the elephant in the room is half of the climb. For if my new beginning doesn’t come today, there is always tomorrow.

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