Happily Ever After

What happens to Snow White and her prince after they are proclaimed to live happily ever after? What is happily ever after, even - does it mean happy on average, or more than half of the time? Is there room for any unhappiness in happily ever after?

Does happily ever after mean that Snow White and the prince never argue, that the prince never drinks too much which makes him say brash things because Snow White used to live with seven men? Does Snow White ever overreact, get moody over PMS, does she ever nag about the socks on the floor or how the prince should get a better job so that the prince gets annoyed and escapes to the pub with other princes? Does happily ever after mean that Snow White doesn't need professional help to process the several murder attempts on her by her step mother, and is nobody questioned by the authorities over the death of this murderous woman? Do they ever get sick, Snow White and her prince - in the land of happily ever after is it possible for Snow White to get Alzheimer's and the prince prostrate cancer? Or does the prince leave Snow White in his 50s for a younger woman who he claims looks at him like Snow White used to? And what does happily ever after mean once they get old - do they die the exact same time for natural causes or is the other one left behind to live the happily ever after by themselves?

Of course the concept of happily ever after is as magical as the rest of the fairytales, and we all know it; and yet we seem to seek it, even if we don't properly even know what it means. It is a vague idea of things being better than they are now and this is why it is so easy to be unhappy, stressed and frustrated. Clinging onto something unattainable and undefined could really not lead into any other outcome.

There will always be things which you cannot influence but that do influence you, things that make you angry or sad or afraid. Just like there will always be things that are wrong in the world, that feel unjust or unfair; and the thing is that this is alright.

It's perfectly fine not to be happy all the time. 

What matters is how you deal with your expectations not being met  - in other words, how much power do the things outside your control have over you?

Dealing with that is, in the end, what happily ever after is made of.


goes around comes around

If you take the remains of what you believed in and stack it all together in a nice, neat pile, will the height of it be enough for you to climb on and see into the future you thought you would have? 

Perhaps not, and maybe it is better that way. Those poor dreams aren't enough to carry you into that future anyway, already you can feel how shaky they are under your weight; so much so that you have to wonder how you ever thought possible for them to be able to last.

But as they break down and make you fall on your face, as they tear and turn black so that you can't recognize them any more, worry not - hidden under the dead mass is already hiding something alive. 

You might not see it when you sit by your dead dreams weeping for them,  but it is there and your tears are making it stronger. Eventually it will break out through the bones of your gone future and grow past and above them, covering the dead so that you no longer see them. And time passes and you think about the old dreams less and less, and the new ones are now starting to flourish and soon you won't remember why you are crying.

You get up, dry your face and start climbing up, and the horizon that now opens up in front of your eyes is so beautiful; and for now, your feet are steady.


With or Without You

Your body is a temple, it is said. The word brings associations to concepts like purity, holiness and worshipping. A temple is strong, durable, it is to be treated with the respect it surely deserves; a home of gods, after all, created to serve something higher. What don't spring to mind as readily but are equally applicable are decay, ruins, the demolition that is time; that even temples will fall.

And of course the body is really not a temple at all. It is a collection of tissues, a patchwork of muscles and bones, cartilage and fat, held together by a fragile tree made of blood. The human body is a sophisticated machine, complex and fine-tuned to the extreme by evolution; and yet it breaks so easily, squashes into a mush from the power of an impact. The body yields, the soft tissue gives in and tears and the bones shatter into pieces; the life sustaining blood spills and runs dry. Through the injuries life leaks out and all that is suddenly left is dead mass, surprisingly heavy to move.

That is what your body is; not a temple.

The body is faulty, it gets sick and it fails; and even if you can build it, make it stronger and faster, there can still be a glitch in your code that will take you down completely unexpectedly. You have no way of knowing and nowhere to complain. 

Because your body is what you have to live in, your true home in this reality and the only thing that is really yours. Your skin is where you end and the limit of your knowledge; everything outside it is guessing. 

And this is why you should respect your body; because really, what would you do without?


do you still run?

often when i meet people i haven't seen in a while i get asked the question 'so do you still run?'. sometimes i think why they pose this inquiry - do i look like i don't, don't they have nothing else to ask me, are they merely interested whether my obsession of over 10 years has suddenly ceased  - hard to say, but the answer is always  'of course'.

i'm obviously way too far gone to ever reply anything else than that, as in if it is up to me i know i will keep on running as long as i can; and maybe this is why i find the question somewhat strange.  because i am so used to it, because for me there is no other way than running practically daily that i sometimes forget that not everybody has same kind of things they repeat day after day after day. 

and this is not to say that running is always fun. most of the time it is, yes, but there are also times when i run just out of habit; i think this is normal and i don't consider it a lack of motivation or anything like that. but even at times like that i still rather go running than not; the feeling i still get from it even when it's not at its best is better than the feeling i would get would i not run. 

in fact i don't even think about it like that. i don't wake up in the morning and think if i should go running or not; i honestly do not remember asking myself this question unless it has been a case where i have scheduled myself a day off and still thought if i should go running after all. on a normal day i run, simple as that, and how i feel about it has very little to do with it.

and this i think is one of the greatest habits i have crafted for myself. so yes, i do still run, whether it rains or shines or i'm little bit tired or bored with the same route. i run because i'm a runner and i'm a runner because i want to be one. and i want to be one because running is awesome.


Girls' Night Out

O didn't know what to do with herself so she stepped into a tram traveling on a looped line through the city. It was a spur of a moment kind of decision but she immediately took likening to it; and not the least because for once she would know what she was getting into and could be certain that she would end up in the same place where she started. It was a refreshing feeling and one O had not experienced in a while, so when she ascended the two steps into the vehicle she felt better already.

There was a free spot next to the window. It was the type where you had two seats next to each other and although normally she would have strongly preferred a single seat where you had no possibility of ending up in an awkward situation - having to have to ask the person next to you to give way in the event of wanting to get out before they did - she decided it did not matter now as she had nowhere in particular to go. In fact her current state of mind gave O reason to believe she would be sitting in the carriage for quite a while. Quite possibly until the tram would stop running even, so by that time the odds were that the seat next to her would be empty again.

O sat down, nudging herself close to the wall so that she could feel the even surface supporting her, placed her bag on her lap and looked out of the window. The doors of the tram then closed accompanied with that familiar beeping sound and the tram budged forward, its electrical humming in perfect sync with the sensation of sliding forward. The afternoon sun had already dropped quite low and shone straight into her eyes making her squint, but O knew she didn't have her sunglasses with her. This irritated O a bit but then again, a lot of things irritated her these days so she paid no particular attention to this annoyance; it just slipped in and out of her mind like a fish that makes a jump out of the water to catch a fly. Instead she tried to look away from the direction of the sun and thus soothe her annoyance; and if O noticed the similarity between that small moment and the larger metaphor of her life she actively chose not to think about it.

The tram rolled onwards and O in it, through the streets and around the curves, interrupted only by tram stops and the occasional traffic lights. She very much liked the feeling of being transported from this moment to the next; O imagined how her existence moved through the fabric of time and space. None of this you could have read from her face though as she stared out of the window almost feverishly, completely cut off from everyone else in the tram. The truth was she could have not bore to meet the eyes of another human being right now as it might have well been the needle that poked through a balloon, the thin layer of whatever that kept her together. And as O really didn't want to explode there, leak all over the filthy tram floor and have people looking the other way in a shared awkwardness, she stared out into nothing and everything, and the soundtrack of the tram moving forward gave her something to focus on.

The scenery changed outside the window and O recognized all of it. It was true that she had been away for a long time but things had not changed that much; in a human lifetime nothing ever does. You can say it does, you can even think it does; but it doesn't. The core remains the same and this applies to everything and everyone, and if you say you have changed you are either a liar or a fool.

She, of all people, should know this.

The tram stopped and she saw a man and a woman stepping in. Maybe they were a couple, maybe not, O really could have not cared less because really, why on earth would she have. They sat down on the seats in front of her and immediately she smelled the alcohol oozing out of their pours; the pungent odour did not exactly make her feel sick but she wasn't pleased about it either. Yet O felt it would have been rude of her to change seats - why she felt the need to be excessively polite to these strangers she did not know - but she remained where she was. O tried to breathe through her mouth rather than her nose in the somewhat failed attempt to escape the smell which awoke memories she didn't want to think about now. The couple conversed of something rather irrelevant O didn't want to listen to but what choice did she have, they were so close and their drooping voices swirled around her head like drunk bees. So even if she didn't want to O suddenly knew a lot about the lives of these two people she would never see again, well not a lot but too much anyway,  and it occurred to O as her irritation grew that her own history would have been equally annoying for someone else to listen to even if for O it was the most relevant thing ever.

But such is life, she reckoned, and inhaled through her parted lips.

She didn't know how long she had sat in the tram when she finally decided to get off. O noticed it had turned dark outside so it must had been a good while; judging by the tension she felt in her shoulders and back due to clutching the bag on her lap O guessed the amount of hours to be at least three. She straightened her back, slowly and carefully, and stood up, moving towards the door with caution so as not to fall on her back like a beetle and embarrass herself. There was only few people in the carriage now and none of them paid particular attention to her. When the carriage came into a stop she pushed the button and stepped out with haste, like she would have not just voluntarily spent hours in the very same vehicle. 

But this was exactly how she was; and by now she had learnt to live with it. Most of the time. 

The fresh, cool night air hit her like an open palm to the face, bringing her back into this reality that was not the same at all as in the tram. She stood there for a while, on the street, and reconstructed herself like she had once seen in a film a robot from the future do; all the little pieces of O that had wandered off during the lengthy ride crawled back and she was able to recreate herself again. Certain parts, faulty parts, she hid; certain parts she placed on the outside so that they would catch the attention of any observer the first. They didn't really fit any more, at least not in the same way they had used to, and maybe they were a bit worn out too; but that is where O put them anyway because she knew no other way to make herself.

When she eventually felt ready O looked around to see where she was and how she would get home from there; and yes indeed it had been a great night with friends and maybe they would get together again soon.