notes from inside an imaginary prison cell

Beirut, October 2, 2016

I bought a powder blue ruffle dress that mum hates.

Such a powerful opening to this promising post, isn't it?

I am here - you guessed it (you being me, because yes, I am talking to myself) - because I have work that I lack the creativity and words to do.

So let the wild self-indulgent rumpus begin.

I am generally good at reminding myself of the things I would like to do. Good at repeating to myself that I know how the next five or six years are going to pan out. But there are moments during which the certainty fades and I face a wall without a door. Never have I thought, being a wonderfully shy, prejudiced and fairly easily led child that I would wake up to being 26 years old and wholly afraid of the neverending mystery of the future. Which is exactly what I have become.

I have not written anything since my return from Paris (which I had planned to detail extensively) in this increasingly never visited blog because I never had the chance to. I went from leading a Victorian existence which consisted of wickedly haunted days around imaginary forests, to a modern, bland corporate life, of coffee creamers and so much procrastination.

Surely there is more to life than this. Surely there is more than the crippling feeling that it's all worthless and silly. That the goals I've had (magically being in Glasgow/Seattle forever) are not as exciting as I once thought them to be. That the words I wish to expel from my being and onto the pages of this universe and the fact they will one day form a story will be so deeply satisfying. And fulfilling.

I read article upon article about us millenials, and our incapability to settle for anything that is short of fulfilling, of extraordinary. Well I have started working, in true baby-boomer fashion. But everyday, from 7 till 18:30, I fight the urge to disappear and become one with the wind, to vanish into paint on a wall, or a sound made, heard and finished. Everyday, I battle with the demons of freedom, of the daydream, pulling me away from the work I must finish. I tell them to wait for me at the door. That I'll be there, and that we'll travel together, in a spaceship, through time (or not through time) but to a realm where the good awaits. Instead, I travel home, which is yet another prison. I bounce off one prison only to fall into the next. Home, work, traffic, an endless string of prisons, one following the next, comme une file indienne.

I tell myself to get away from Facebook, from Instagram. I force myself to become isolated in reality. I find myself to be more peaceful whilst away from the oversharing, from the burdening overpresence of people. But I cave and I return for a day. And then I regret the caving. I look at photos of people who hike through the pacific northwest (pre-earthquake), through Sweden and Norway and Finland and Argentina and Ecuador and Japan; photos of people who take perfectly styled food photos, photos of people who have read 78 books so far this year; photos of a couple's perfect wedding. Then I look at myself: in the space of one day, I stopped eating dairy in a pathetic attempt fight the acne monster that continues to ravage my face (but the score is still thus far, quite unbalanced: Sarah 0 - Acne 86487), I got into seven arguments with my mum all of which ended in loud screaming, I drove to my grandma's house, a prisoner of my car (which I named, despite my usual petty judgment towards people who name their cars - Nessie, for being a blue little monster that shall remind me everyday of my goal: to go back to Scotland) - but a prisoner nonetheless. I am in Beirut, which is the same, everyday, and the only hope I have for an escape will span a week at most. I have only read eight books this year. I meet no new people, nor cook or bake new dishes. I am discontently content in this state I am in, but I continue to do nothing about it.

But seeing these people's photos, reading about these people's achievements - despite knowing how misleading and untrue a person's social media account can be - does me more harm than good. So I try to stay away. I try. And I fail. And then I try again. And it's on repeat, endlessly.

Why am I writing all of this sappy drama? Just because. Because when the writing steals the words from my brain and prints them on this digital document, I am relieved, if only momentarily, of the weight that I carry around as though it was the world's most precious jewel: protectively, secretly, faithfully.

I am in the midst of a project. And I have lost my sense of orientation. Where do I go next? But more importantly: will this ever get better? Will there ever be a day when work is not a prison, when Beirut is not a human body rejecting the foreign organ that is me, when getting by is just enough?

I'm not sure. That's why I write. Perhaps the internet has answers. Perhaps in creating the internet, we have created invisible robotic creatures with feelings, who read our feelings, and attempt to navigate them. Who come back with answers and burgeoning friendships.

Perhaps it doesn't.


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