Being fifty metres above Central London proved to be a cathartic retreat from the sound of enervated car engines and the stifle of the congested tube. Fifty metres above Central London, the city was a human body and I was but an insignificant, microscopic cell living in it.
I have been irrationally grappling with billions of other cells, amidst the pursuit of making myself seen, heard, and known. The entire world population quantifies the amount of tasks and aspirations I have for myself, all of which I somehow believed I could accomplish within a few months. In other words – I have a bad habit of spreading myself too thin.
I feel most synchronised with the world outside of me when I write. By the same token, I feel most alienated when I can’t write. There always happens to be a misplaced phrase, or an unfitting word that catalyses a raging feeling of entrapment. I am left stuck in a paradox, wherein I know the words, but don’t know how to write them. It sometimes feels as though my mind has slipped out of the slot it was meant to be in. Or like my mouth has been glued shut. I’ve too often found myself slouched on my desk, vexed by the absence of a clacking keyboard. Oddly enough, I almost use the sound of relentless typing to measure the quality of my work. I almost need that sound to reassure me of the sheer existence of my ability to write. As I blankly stare at my screen, I will myself to write the way I used to – all-consumingly and with maddening hunger.
Once every few months, I do write this way – obsessively – late at night, when I can’t sleep. In those moments, I sometimes feel invigorated enough to believe I can finish writing an entire book in one sitting. I deem this to be symptomatic of some convoluted superhuman ability that would allow me to achieve more than is realistically possible. I actively search for this delusion more than I’d like to admit.
It is a delusion that fuels a flawed perception of a world that is calculable, rational, and precise. It enables humans to appear as more mechanical and less, well, human. The prospect of a godlike capacity to be instantly and impeccably great at something drives me mad. Frankly, I wish I could write an entire book in one sitting. I wish I were mechanical. I wish the words would flow out of me, instead of having to perpetually chase after them.
But fifty metres above Central London, the skyline virtually asked me why I get so easily discouraged by intimations of human imperfection. Do cells ever feel the need to single-handedly support the human body the way humans constantly feel the need to carry the weight of the world? Perhaps, my mind is most at ease when it’s as busy as the tube on a Saturday. Perhaps, I prefer to run before I walk.
Fifty metres above Central London, I was human. The world was vulnerable, vast, and alive. Still, I couldn’t write. But when I went home later that night, I chose to sit on my desk, knowing full-well that the likely outcome would be lost words and fragmented phrases. I needed to be wrong, confused, and…human. I needed to be insignificant before I could feel significant. Because the truth is, there is no better joy than finishing an article I initially believed I couldn’t write.