i attribute some of this to my parents, you’ll see me do this for some time. i do not place the burden of blame solely upon them, i still acted in this way for some time despite being my separation. but i was raised this way.
i was raised by narcissists, and when in a narcissist home, everything is a competition. i competed with my sibling from a young age, turning art, poetry, grades, friends into a competition. we were not family, but competitors – worse, enemies. all fostered by my how our parents raised us.
but i won’t go into detail on my parents here. maybe another time. for now, competitiveness.
i realized recently, as i mentioned in my first blog post, that i have started writing for the sake of writing, nothing more. and really, this started three years ago when i decided to start writing haiku. at the time it was meant to be an exercise in learning to shorten phrases and provide crisp, clear sentences. i think it’s served that purpose well, but it also, and more importantly, served a purpose i did not expect.
some background first. haiku is a simple looking poetic style that holds depth not in its structure, but its content. anyone can write 5-7-5, and a five minute google search will yield many examples. but what makes a haiku is its focus; how it takes a moment in time and crystalizes it. it creates memory you and i can stumble upon, frozen and locked in words written centuries ago. but with a little time and some warm breath, it livens once more into a reality we share with its author.
and really, this is something that haiku shares with all forms of written word that aim to express. a well written novel can shake you to your very core and force you to share in feelings of a contemporary long gone. another of your heart, your mind. with haiku though, you have only three lines to get the same point across. below are some examples i love:
- - -
icicles and water
old differences dissolved…
drip down together
my old father, too
looked long on these white mountains
through lonely winters
curled up on the fan…
aha! i’ve caught you tom cat
fast asleep again!
after spring sunset
mist rises form the river…
spreading like a flood
- - -
this small sampling shows some of the versatility, too. from personifying the snow and ice, to feeling an indescribable loneliness looking at a view your father used to watch before passing, then to a cat asleep and cheekily scolding it, and finally to a description of a scene so crystal you could sell it for a tidy profit.
and this range, this versatility is what i came to love. but what does this have to do with competition? well, like i said i was competitive with myself, setting unrealistic goals and hurting myself when i could not achieve.
i entered my journey with haiku when i was beginning to awaken to the issues my personality had. the low self esteem that drove me away from others and the ironically inflated ego that pressed me to be better than everyone else. when i first started my wanderings, i was at the inception of a new me.
a terrifying time of change, unbalance, discomfort, and fear. and haiku has been my guide through all of it.
this all comes about tonight as i wrote what was my 300[SUP]th[/SUP] haiku on my phone. i no doubt have more than that, but the number isn’t important. the sense of accomplishment is. the feeling of having chosen something, finding a connection with it, and continuing to pursue it for three years, three hundred times over, is mindboggling.
and on the far side of this three year journey, i can say my competitiveness has subsided tremendously. i no longer write for self betterment in the ways i did then; now, it’s a release. i enjoy it for its sake and the cleansing it brings.
this past weekend i spent a day wandering and writing in a place i’d never been. i was met with many poems, but also a freedom from my previous worries and fears. a cleansing of my mental palette, a refreshing breath of new air.
tonight, i had to thank the past for the gift i was so unwittingly given through this journey. and i thought that i ought to share it with you, so the next time i forget, i have ample reminder.
thank you again, and as usual, a short poem for your efforts.
- - -
for we’ll wander where we went before
and once again we’ll see
the sights we passed on mountain’s paths
but this time, differently.