Did you know: that every strand of hair that falls off your head drops into a collection of pollen and pollution and grains of sand and your dead skin cells, to become dust — the kind that lives under your bed, unnoticed, becoming a world for dust mites. Did you know that these eight-legged creatures experience their world without sight; that, sized like a pin-head, they do life with the sense of smell and do not see the kaleidoscope of colours that is their world. Still, it is their world, a microscopic body we make and unmake, a life we sculpt by simply being. Did you know that, when you yawn, mirror neurons fire up and cause another human around you to yawn too. That these neurons cause you to wince when your eyes meet someone in physical pain. That when you arrive and exit life, you reconfigure the world of other lives. That when you sneeze, your chest muscles become acquainted with your lungs, squeezing them with enough pressure until your vocal cords open and send air to your respiratory tract; your eyes close, chest muscles contract, shoulders rise as air and water and mucus escape your nose and spray another’s body, clothing them with flu or plain dirt, a portion of yourself. That by breathing here, you mold the identity of another. That, as James Baldwin reflected, ‘the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world.’
Did you know that the roads you take are shifting paths that kiss the edge of another’s. Your choices of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The work of your hands. Your reactions to joy and horror. Where you find yourself in time. How you engage with time as it passes through you. The food you eat when hunger arrives. Where you go in the heat or cold. The oils that anoint your skin. The beliefs you subscribe to. The offspring you push into life. When you choose to wake up, take a shower, have breakfast, exit your building, return, fall asleep, repeat. The bus you choose (not) to enter.
Did you know that the content of your tongue reshapes the body of those that receive it. The way your face twists, your lips curve, your forehead moves, your breathing flows when you say a or b or c. The weight of your voice when it passes through air. How your body converses with space when you gesticulate. The items you decide to empty from your mind. How your words enter another, clothing or stripping their sense of self, reviving or breaking their will to live, feeding or ridding their warmth, uplifting or dragging their calm, enriching or draining their world. How they nod or not nod when your words arrive, how they smile or not smile when you enter their ears, how their heart races or stills at your presence, how the little ones hear and repeat, watch and duplicate, ship from childhood. How an entire generation fades into oblivion by your tongues. How your lies become truths and truths lies. The way your mind feeds your tongues with yes(es) and no(s). How you climb up or go deeper down simply because you said so, because you thought it and spoke it into being. Did you know that your silences are registered by a thousand (and) beating hearts. The injustices you say yes to, the neutral ground you stand when a wounded person cries to you, the power you hold but choose to wield against another, the blind eye you give to the blood within your reach, the deaf ear you offer to screams next to you, the reversal you make when you needn’t. The things you die not saying; secrets and intentions entering nothingness and leaving a gap for the living to fill.
Did you know, that you are changing the world?
The Big Question
Watching the nova effect by Pursuit of Wonder, I was reminded of our interconnectedness as humans; how our actions and choices ultimately reshape the life of another. What I didn’t expect was a deep (mental) dive into our influence on the larger world; how we not only touch other humans but life in general.
What you should read next:
*Ebla is the Oromo word synonymous with April in English. Oromo is a Cushitic language, which is a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken by over 30 million people chiefly in Ethiopia, and Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.
Thanks for reading.
If you enjoyed this piece, consider sharing it with a friend. It makes all the difference to me as an artist.
I started Strange Notes because I wanted an open space to ponder on existence. That’s still true. But here, too, is a body discovering itself. A house beyond borders that’s open to you, to selves in search of, to heads seeking rest. A room where thoughts turn to words turn to records and meet you.
I share notes on my questions about life, conversations with friends and strangers, and art that shifts something in me (and could in you too). In this place, there are no rules. Move the vase around the tabletop. Shift the curtains to the wall. Pull the rug to the ceiling. Daydream. Come, find, ask still.
I publish Strange Notes monthly (typically on the first or last Sunday of the month), and as you read, I hope each note initiates a question about the fabrics of existence: the things that make us who we are and the events that define life.
Want to share your thoughts on this essay? Find me on Twitter or sign up for letters of consolation below.