A moonless night.

There is a deep wound in your body, and it’s bleeding quietly. Nothing you can do about it other than asking yourself, why, again, did you give the permission for someone to cut it open, the softest little patch in your heart. The bleeding will stop eventually, as it always does. Every open wound will find a way to seal itself. It’s only a matter of time, people say. It’s also the shape and size of the scar. You can’t remember how many times you’ve failed to make it work. The disappointment is an old news, you are shattered, not surprised. You light up a cigarette, you open a bottle, you order some chicken nuggets, you listen to sentimental songs. The first stage of a routine process. It didn’t even work that well, just the only way you know how to react. You make an attempt to cry and you did. It doesn’t last long and your eyes dry quickly. You give it another try but there comes no more. You remember now you are not 23 anymore, your sadness has lost its density and become watery. Sadness used to feel more exciting, now it just makes you impatient. You broadcast it on social media and block random people from viewing it and eventually you get bored of that too. You sit in front of the piano only to find that there’s no song you can play to your mood. You walk out of the apartment and you walk like there’s no end to the road, taken by a desperation for the mechanical movement. You wish you could go on forever, till it drains the last drop of oil in you. You think of the hairy crab you had last weekend and how much you enjoyed it and how disgusted it made someone. Their death seems more validated now that the person who belittled you for eating hairy crab is no longer a standing threat. There is always a silver lining to a shitty situation and hairy crab is yours. You defended the honour of hairy crabs against the odds of love, even though that wasn’t your intention. Or maybe it was, maybe you care about hairy crab more than you care about your most innocent fantasies about human beings. How pathetic it would be if that was the case. There are easily a dozen of discrepancies that could help you put your loss into perspective and make it seem like a bliss in disguise but really, what good is that. A loss is a loss. A hurt is a hurt. It has happened and nothing you do can undo it. You own it, bite it, shove it up your ass and keep carrying on. On your walk you saw people with their dogs, baby trolleys, big objects that occupy their attentions. In a split of second you wish there was something like that in your life, anything, that would mercilessly take your priority away from yourself. There is nothing. Nothing but your empty water bottle, your health app recording your steps and reminding you of the sex you had eight days ago, your low-battery headphones playing songs of artists you can’t care to pronounce. There is not even moon. You search every corner in the sky but there is no sight of it. You feel exhausted suddenly and can’t wait to be back to your bed, curl into a ball, make it all stop. You wish to have your eyes closed and imagine a moon behind the clouds. There must be a moon behind the clouds. There is always a moon behind the clouds. It’s just one of those nights, a moonless night.

briefly on love.


After writing down the title, the classic short story of Raymond Carver inevitable came upon me — What do we talk about when we talk about love.

In the past year or so, my opinion and feeling of the love subject have gone through some substantial changes. It doesn’t mean there’s a 180 degree sharp turn kind of shift of view, nor does it mean the denial of the past self, however, I could indeed feel that, a flow of change on the fundamental level has happened inside me. If it has to be put into text in a however inaccurate form, I guess it can be said that, love is no longer the center of my life. This is not an acknowledgement that comes like an epiphany moment, and it certainly is not some kind of stress reaction after a traumatizing event. It comes more like a renewed self appraisal, supplemented by experience over the years.

Since I was little, I’ve been more interested in love than in any other subject. The idea of romance fascinated me. It is fair to say, in the first 30 years of my life, I was always someone who lives to love and thinks of love as the most profound quest. If “being in love” is an option in the specialty category just like “piano” or “badminton”, I could have ticked that box without any hesitation. I might not be the most talented one, but from the depth of experience, I should at least be recognized for my assiduity.

Given that, with one after another relationship started, ended, passed, having gone through the highs and the lows and eventually the neutral land, looking back, I realize I still cant say I’ve got love figured out. At most I can say, I think I have experienced love; and if I have to describe it at my best attempt, love is perhaps this strong silent traction that leads you to go through an unknown passage, it flickers, you don’t have a clear vision, but you can’t help but go forward.

I don’t think I’ve got love quite figured out becoz, if one day I met this kind of traction again, I would probably still just follow it into another passage, clueless yet without a second thought; after the traction is faded, I would very likely end up back at the same original spot like the previous times, left with myself and a silent sigh. But in the process of repeatedly screwing up and losing someone, I did gain something. Over the years that I tried to figure love out and failed, I unexpectedly figured out some other things. For example — the thing worse than losing a relationship is losing oneself; the thing more important than finding “the one” is understanding yourself; and the thing that probably means more than acquiring love, is being able to give love.

It’s only until my most recent relationship has ended, I realized in hindsight that in all these years, I was mostly busy chasing the feeling of love, of falling in love, but rarely truly practised love. The feeling of love, is falling, is surreal, is out of balance; it’s driven by desire, the instinct of grabbing tight. While what love truly is, in my limited understanding and livelong meditation, is perhaps growing together, nurturing one another; it doesn’t necessarily concern ownership, it’s a stream of warm current you’re willing to protect even at the price of sustaining solitude; it’s a lingering strength, a grant of freedom.

When we talk about love, a frequently asked question is “do you believe in love.” This is indeed thoroughly misleading. Fundamentally, love is an unidentifiable feeling. A thousand people would have a thousand feelings of love. In the absence of a universal definition, to question repetitively if one believes in love serves very little purpose. The full version of “do you believe in love?” is actually “do you believe that love will happen on you?” We cannot control love, but we can control ourselves to some extent. Hence, about love, there’s only one question worth asking — do you deserve love?

Whatever one’s ideal version of love is, one should make sure one is being it and well-worth it in the first place. If you want tremendous love, develop an interesting soul; if you want mellow love, be healthy and positive; if you want understanding love, learn to listen and respect; if you want freedom in love, start to give freedom; if you don’t want to lose yourself in love, grow a stronger root of your “self”. If love, after all, is just damn luck, then the least one can do is to earn the ticket to be in that damn lucky draw.

I reckon this is also why I’m taking love more lightly — it’s not that I stop caring or stop wanting it, it’s that besides learning the limitation and randomness of love, I’ve also learned that, the quest of love doesn’t happen in the sea of people. The quest of love, is essentially, the quest of oneself.


Translated/Rewritten from the below original piece in Chinese I wrote on Feb 14 2019:

谈谈爱情

写下标题后,脑中自然而然浮现出卡佛经典的小说标题:当我们谈论爱情时我们在谈论什么。

这一年多来,我对爱情的观念和感觉可以说发生了很大的变化。这些变化并不是一个180度大转弯这样的突兀的绝对转变,也不是对旧我的否定,但我很确定地感觉到,有一股本质上的变化之流,切实地发生了。如果粗略地诉诸语言,我想是我可以很明确地感觉到,爱情不再是我的生命的核心。这个感觉,不是像“突然发现了真理”似地顿悟,不是对伤痛的应激反应,而更像是一种经历加持之后的尽可能客观的自我评述。

从年纪很小的时候开始,我就是一个对爱情的兴趣大于对生命本身的兴趣的人。爱情令我着迷,可以说在30岁以前,我都是一个为爱活着,以爱为最高追求的人。如果说“谈恋爱”跟“钢琴”、“羽毛球”之辈一样,也是特长中的一个选项,我想我可以毫不犹豫地打勾 — — 即便不算天赋秉异,从经验值评判,怎么也是个刻苦型选手。而即使如此,一段段恋爱开始了,结束了,过去了,快乐过,伤心过,平静了,仔细回想,竟好像至今也仍然没有弄懂爱情是怎么一回事。我只能说,我好像经历过爱情这一回事,如果非要形容,大概是一种无声却强大的引力,一旦遇上,便只能顺着它的方向过去,忽暗忽明,情不自禁。没有弄懂,是因为我想如果这个力量再次发生,恐怕还是会稀里糊涂地跟着它走,最后搞不好也是落得个愣在原地一声叹息的结局(当然也欢迎其他结局)。但是在这个不断搞砸、失去的过程中,我也并非一无所获。在尝试弄懂爱情却依然一头雾水的这些年里,我意外地弄懂了另一些事,比如说,比失去一段感情更糟糕的,是丢失自己;比找到真爱更重要的,是了解自己;比得到爱更重要的,是给予爱。

也直到最后一段恋情的结束,我才后知后觉地发现,一直以来,我好像更多地是在恋,却鲜有沉实地去爱。恋,是堕入情网,更多时是一种虚幻的、失衡的感觉,是欲望使然,是想要牢牢抓紧;而爱,在我有限的理解和漫长的冥想中,大概是共同成长,互相完善,是一种持久萦绕的力量,无关拥有,是宁愿承受孤独也愿意去守护的一股暖流,是成全彼此的自由。

当我们谈论爱情时,人们常常问到的问题是:你相信爱情吗?其实这是一个充满误导性的问题。因为从本质而言,爱情无色无味,无形无状,它不过是一种感觉。一千个人,有一千种感觉,在缺乏普世的定义的前提下,去反复质问是否相信其存在,并没有什么意义。“是否相信爱情”这个问题的完整版在于:是否相信爱情会发生在自己身上。我们无法控制爱情,但可以在一定程度上控制自己。因此,关于爱情,只有一个问题真正值得追问:你值得爱情吗?

理想中的爱情是什么样子,就应该先把自己活成相应的样子,去值得拥有那样的爱情。想要精彩的恋爱,就先养成有趣的灵魂;想要稳定成熟的关系,就先成为健康正面的人;想要获得理解,就要学会尊重与倾听;想要自由的关系,就要懂得在一段关系中给予自由;想要不迷失自己,就要修成足够强大的自我。如果爱情终究只是狗屎运,从个人而言,能做的便是通过努力,离狗屎运更近一步。

我想这也是为什么我开始对爱情看得越来越“轻” — — 并不是不再在意或不再渴望,而是在了解到爱情的局限性和偶然性之外,我更明白了,寻觅爱情的过程,其实并不是发生在茫茫人海中,对爱情的追求,从本质而言,即是对自我的寻觅。

hole of the heart.

hole of the heart.

生活顺遂也好,烦扰也好,心里的那个洞都会在。在下了班走回家的路上冒出来,在和朋友聚会聊天的当中冒出来,在甜蜜约会的时候冒出来,在和父母看着电视的时候冒出来。闷闷的。只好任由它去。

 

 

 

 

about:blank

Feel a bit sad tonight as I was criticized by someone as “being too smart to take my future serious.” I felt embarrassed at this argument, a bit irritated even, but couldn’t come up with anything to return the favor. After all, it’s a lot to take on when you receive accusation and flattery at the same time in one sentence.

In this world, one can be artless or sophisticated, idealistic or realistic. It’s all plainly a personal choice.

Of course I know my own shit. And as reluctant as I want to admit that, most of the time I feel helpless tired of my slothfulness and negativity. And I gradually grow tired of preaching to people my pessimism theory, for nothing is remotely convincing when it needs to be preached.

I guess I will leave nothing behind me eventually. Everything about me, my absurdity and anger, my affection and ambition, my happiness and obsessiveness…will all be washed away by the relentless time, except for some limited trace of struggles.

 

今晚有些难过。言谈中毫无预兆的被人冠以"因为太聪明而对自己的前途马马虎虎"的罪名。我感到尴尬,些许恼怒,一时之间竟反应不出任何回击的可能。毕竟flattery和accusation在一个句子里同时出现,确实是叫人有些应接不暇。

天真还是世故,理想还是现实,都不过是一种选择。若非极端幸运,大抵很难兼而有之。

我自然不是毫无自知之明的。大多数时候,对于自身附带的悲观和懒惰,都感到束手无策。甚至厌倦了对他人解释自己的那套并不怎么convincing的悲观论调。因为那并不受欢迎,所以干脆拒绝一切礼貌性的好奇。

我想我最终不会在这个世界留下什么,一切和自己有关的荒谬和愤怒、爱情和理想、快乐和执念⋯⋯最终都会被时间被冲刷得干干净净。除了这样一些有限的,挣扎过的痕迹。

summer is fading.

你的天赋,是你从不沉湎。

————————————————————

如果说这么多次的”逃离”教会了我什么,就是逃离终究是毫无帮助。你获得短暂的快感,然后再将每一个所至之处变成下一个等待被逃离的标矢。或许也有人像我一样,在年纪轻轻的时候受到milan kundera的蛊惑,将life is elsewhere看作教条来信奉。事实上昆德拉没有错,只是句子的后一半远不如前一半那样如雷贯耳。life is elsewhere, and there’s nowhere else. (生活在别处,而别处并不存在。)

离开是伪装的果敢,是最轻佻的姿态。而留下来,留在这里,才是可以被称之为决然和坚韧的。

————————————————————

近来持续地在耳朵里听到奇怪的声音;头发像果子熟了一般大把大把地自然脱落;看着镜子,会在0.1秒内refer到“面如菜色”这个词。有时候是我去记忆中摸索着找你,有时候你顺着记忆的脉络来找我。既然在某一方面如此绝望地缺乏天赋,那么一再为之心碎也是预期之中的事了。如果拒绝使用任何cheesy的字眼,痛苦便只得是痛苦,无可名状。孤独从来都是最固执的陪伴。生活的温度是如此一个毫无新意的循环,冷了又暖,热了又凉。只得耐着性子疏导自己:你已得偿所愿,必然若有所失。

————————————————————

并非夏去 秋才至。

Swallow the hollowness.

有一天突然收到一个朋友的信息,说她觉得很空虚。我看着手机,突然心里打了一个激灵,骤然清醒了。担心的事情真的发生了。

她没有过多考虑地跳进了一段毫无基础的婚姻,一边是北漂生活的艰辛,另一边是唾手可得不费吹灰之力的物质丰厚的稳定生活,出乎意料地,她选择了后者。我的确暗暗责怪她来着,但更多的还是心疼。有时候脆弱就是那么强大,将一切信念和坚持毁于一旦,尤其当我们大多数时候都忘记了自己在坚持的是什么。

另一天,一个杳无音信将近一年的朋友打电话来,说她收到我从云南寄去的明信片。聊起她的生活,还是一样地徘徊于若干性伴之中,不谈感情,只求最浅显的欢愉。

曾经是她告诉我:I don’t do ONS。也是她告诉我,love like you’ve never been hurt. 看着她几次在感情里受伤,也像痛在自己身上。我问她,真的不想再有稳定的感情关系吗,她反问,结局会有什么不同么。

这两个人,这两个故事,就像针一样深深刺在心上。不仅是因为我在乎我的朋友,更是让我看到人们是如何可以无所不用其极地去逃避那个关于自己的真相。

可是孤独和空虚,是那么的空泛,空泛得让人都不好意思时时挂在嘴边。但这也是最有存在感的现实。比一把把的钞票更确实,比床第之欢更确实,比两厢厮守更确实,比任何形式的快乐都更确实地存在于每一次的呼吸里——当你坐在上班的火车上,下班的小巴上,试图思考一点什么手中却不自觉拿出iPhone胡乱打开几个app什么都没干又退出去,当你回到家中对着满屋的狼藉然后张了张嘴却没人听你说话,当你在茶餐厅坐下盯着千篇一律的餐单感到食欲全无然后招手跟服务生说“A餐、冻奶茶”,当你抽着一根烟心想真他妈恶心哎要不戒了吧可是下次经过便利店又买了一包,当你觉得很累很倦很想尖叫或者大哭一场,却憋着,像个成年人一样去洗脸刷牙睡觉天亮起床一切循环往复——这就是真相。

真相就是没有真相。一切“存在”,都可能在某一刻,以“不存在”的形式给你致命一击。

我相信苦难是有腐蚀性的。情绪的狡猾之处,在于你无法逃脱它,你每一次逃离的结果都是无功而返,直到某一刻,你最终放弃抵抗,缴械投降,任其摆布。你或许只是想歇一下,却来不及意识到,一旦软下去,你再也硬不起来。

谈本质可以说是最不知所谓的,千万种活法,其实也都只是同一种活法。不接地气儿,谈什么都是扯淡。可是那种时刻如鲠在喉的感觉,让我恼火,也让我觉得踏实——不妨乐观地揣测,你还没被它摆平,只是暂时把它吞进了身体里。

Translation.

The other day I helped a friend translate some paragraphs of Wang Xiaobo’s work. I used to think translating as the most tedious job on earth and I would never have the patience to do that. But now I realized translating the works that you really admire for is a great pleasure, a bliss, also a very efficient way to learn and improve the translator’s own writing.

I’m thinking about doing it from time to time in the future. : ) Below is what I’ve done.

———————————————————————————————-

One day I went to help my friend moving. I dressed shabby on purpose for I knew I would be doing heavy works. As expected, I came back with some dirt on my forehead, a stained shirt, and some extra clumsiness for lifting refrigerator the whole day. Along with my innately dark face, I looked perfectly like an “extra-provincial man who just arrived in Beijing”. Wearing this image as I took a bus home, both the bus conductor and passengers glanced at me in a way that they didn’t even bother to hide their disapproval of my presence. Dejectedly distracted by those unfriendly gazes, I bumped into someone as I walked back home. Before my apology could slip out of the lips, I was yelled into the face that “Haven’t you got your eyes?!” The language got even more offensive then, I guess I’d better leave out the worst part here. I quickly sloped off getting too afraid to say a word.

I would be fooling you if I said I got so resentful that the next day I rode a tricycle onto the street to sell breakfast carrying a honeycomb stove and a bucket of dirty water. But I do feel it, the causation that if others show no respect to me, I am unable to respect them either. If everyone else kept looking and yelling at me that way, I would literally be doing however awful things.

What I’m saying is, if one is able to feel the dignity of being an individual in both living condition and interpersonal relations, one would act decently in accord with the standard of a dignified man; otherwise, it would be ineluctable for one to behave in an undignified way, which eventually will turn one into a villain.

王小波原文【摘自杂文集《沉默的大多数》】:

有一天, 我出門去幫朋友搬家。出去時穿得比較破,因為要做粗活;回來時頭上有些土,衣服上有點污漬,抬了一天冰箱,累得手腳有點笨;至於臉色,天生就黑。總而言之,像個“外地來京人員”,就這個樣子乘車回來,從售票員到乘客,對我都不大客氣,看我的眼神都不對。我因此有些憋氣,走到離家不遠,一不小心碰到了一個人。還沒等把道歉的話說出口,對方已經吼道:沒帶眼睛嗎?底下還有些話,實在不雅,不便在此陳述。我連話都不敢說,趕緊溜走了。

假如我說,我因此憋了一口氣,第二天就蹬輛三輪車,帶一個蜂窩煤爐子、一桶髒水到街上練早點,那是我在編故事。但我確實感覺到了,假如別人都不尊重我,我也沒法尊重別人。假如所有的人都一直斜眼看我,粗聲粗氣地說我,那我的確什麽事都幹得出來。

假如一個人在生活條件和人際關係上都能感到做人的尊嚴,他就按一個有尊嚴的人的標準來行事,像個君子。假如相反,他難免按無尊嚴人的方式行事,做出些小人的行徑。

《一根烟的时间》

站在火车站外面点了一支烟
一个菲佣样子的女人走过来
Can I have a cigarette? I’ll pay you.
我愣了一下
从盒子里拿出一根递给她
It’s ok, you don’t need to pay me
但她坚持塞了一个两元硬币在我手里
然后点上那根烟
沉默地抽了起来
⋯⋯
我默默好奇着她的生活
和这一口烟对她意味着什么
是因为家中主人不允许抽烟吗
也可能是出门忘带了
或者仅仅是just had a really bad day that can use an emergent smoke
⋯⋯

但我很快就不再想了
抽完那根烟
各自离开
世界上有太多
这样短命的好奇
只活过一根烟的时间