Warning: naughty language ahead.
I am drowning in this city.
Drowning in the exhaust fumes and mechanical noise. Drowning in the faceless faces. The pale, pinched mouths crying out for love but afraid to simply ask for it. Those hard birdlike eyes that look straight through me.
I’m sick and tired of walking out of my apartment and wading into a sea of judgment.
I like to walk barefoot and when I do even some of my friends are suddenly made uncomfortable.
As if something slightly out of the ordinary (my naked feet)—like a glitch in the matrix—shakes their world so hard that they feel they too might go under. Go under the carefully constructed and controlled surface that we have manufactured.
A friend will nervously joke and make light of it. But the ones who don’t know me and simply pass by on the street usually react with either sympathy or aggression. Assuming perhaps that because my feet are naked I don’t have shoes. Misplaced sympathy or blatant aggression. Because of no shoes.
Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Manufactured this and artificial that. Fake nails and shaved pussies and hair gel and spiritual materialism and politics and corruption.
All I want is to look into your eyes and see your soul; to touch and be touched by the depths of your being.
Is that too much to ask?
I don’t care what colour your skin is or what you do for a living or what language you speak.
We don’t need to speak. It’s over-rated.
Let’s break bread together.
Let’s make a fire and cook and joke together.
Let’s sit and look up at the stars when night falls, send up some prayers together.
I am not afraid of you. You needn’t be afraid of me.
And if you truly saw me you would know that. But so many of us don’t see anything beyond our own filter, our own projections. We don’t live any more in the world. We live in an isolated bubble and see only the inner surface of that bubble. “Human Bubbles” they will call us in a thousand years time, as they look back in horror at what became of us.
But I know you.
You are like me. We both have the same needs, the same desires and the same dreams.
What little we do need is here in abundance. So really, we need nothing.
We desire only one thing: Connection (love, intimacy, call it what you will).
Because, as Buddha (may have) said:
“The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”
We want to know and understand and touch and feel and sense and penetrate and be penetrated by each other because we are each other. And to know another truly is to truly know oneself. And that is what we truly desire.
And I know that your deepest dreams are of peace and of unity.
Because we all just want to come home.
But this surface that we cling to so desperately—this artificial world that we have created for ourselves, pixelated, asphalt covered, shiny and sterile—it does not give us anything that we want or need.
You will not find intimacy here.
You certainly will not find any peace or unity here!
And even your physical needs—food, water, oxygen—will be slowly poisoned and strangulated here.
It is time to break out of this self-imposed prison, humans!
It is time to wake the fuck up and take a good long hard look in the mirror and say:
“I am alive, I am human, I am animal, I am a child of whatever God I do or don’t believe in, and I am sovereign. I am my own master. I allow no one to stifle my dreams. I allow none to poison my home, my world, this Mother Earth.
I am spirit and flesh and bone, and I am here to rule my own kingdom.”
And then to walk away from the mirror without letting that reflection go—to hold it in our mind’s eye in every moment, knowing always that we are as sacred and beautiful and unique and valuable as anything, ever.
What a ridiculous irony—that we hold on to that which slowly strangles us while the depths we recoil from are nourishment and nurture beyond our wildest imaginings.
That we desperately seek external entertainment when within a single cell of our bodies there awaits infinite pleasure and wonder and joy.
The kingdom of god is within.
Within is where the revolution must take place.
I am drowning in this city. But soon I will leave and breathe deeply the sweet mountain air, drink deeply the fresh groundwater and walk in long grass again.
Soon I will sit by the fire again, sing to the stars, and wonder at the simple beauty of life when it is embraced fully.
And it breaks my heart that some of you will still be here.
Drowning in your own fear.
Author: Ben Ralston
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own