on Optimism

Most artists and writers during the Spanish Flu created artwork and novels which are either priceless or ageless classics now. The internet says that two thousand and twenty comes with much more promising platforms for artists and writers to grow but I now realize why humanity was a large number even then and yet we only have a handful of museum exhibits. A pandemic is not a home park. We aren’t on vacation and no I am not an artist on duty right now. I am creatively exhausted and unlike the population of Instagram who is turning to artists, I think, I am turning into art instead —neither of which in a good way. 

My skin is becoming a shade more opaque with every finishing day. I can see a lot of chaos in dark shades of purple, yellow, and a little bit of green. Probably my skin is reflecting on my houseplants and the artificial lavenders I keep, but it does scare me that one day I’ll wake up to a transparent skin that will show me what’s inside and still I’d fail at understanding what it really is. 

Instagram keeps talking about popping insecurities but I beg Instagram to add more words like manic depression and exhaustion and existentialism. At least, be vogue, Instagram, if not real. Honestly, I want somebody to talk about vulnerability. I don’t know about you, but I hate how my emotions are becoming the truth of me by allegedly breaking me. There’s a thin line between becoming and breaking and somewhere the line has dissolved within these walls. There are days my emotions are a breakfast buffet. These days, I calmly make myself an iced brew and try to feel apathetic towards anyone trying to bother my peace.

Have you ever felt a rising rage because someone who just walked into your room has left the door open while leaving? I have. Feelings like anger and anguish are visible through my eyes and face and it is awful to not know how to live with myself. It bothers me how none of us were taught how to live with ourselves and we are all stuck with each other this way.

I am working, though, on projects, writing, career, and cooking. I am switching genres of movies so that I don’t get bored. I have unfinished novels that need to be completed. I have unfinished poems. I am vulnerable to the absence of people whom I talk to every day. I feel bad if someone tells me they’re busy. I am sorry, I am probably too selfish but I am tired. I shared a photograph that said ‘I am used to being lonely’ but in all truths, I am tired of being lonely. I miss eating at an overpriced restaurant filled with people and I don't even mean going out with friends, I just want to be around people. I want to buy unnecessary capitalism while strolling in my favorite malls and photograph people in metros and take pictures that have a half-rickshaw and half-pink sunset in it.

The Internet is not overflowing with optimism today and I feel for once we owe it to the people to not cry about our own problems and empathize at a macro level. I hope the artists who are making art every day to inspire others regardless of lost income are not sad either and I pray every day for the wage earners to get to safety as soon as they can. I wish I could be someone inspiring too or of some help, but all I do is go around, pick leaves and twigs and a few flowers; and when the time is right, I even click pictures of the clouds and the shadows on the building in front of my house. I sometimes talk to the stars at night. I even walk bare feet in my house and I can feel what our ancestors might have felt when they walked around their houses without shoes —calm and connected. I don’t know if I am an artist or a writer anymore, but I know on days I can’t sleep, I can write and when I cannot write, I can go on the internet and read what’s already written.

~Manya Mishra (Instagram: @manyaamishra )

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