And A Hint of Myself

It’s quite ironic that the sound a moving train makes is “track-a-track”, isn’t it?

 

I’m sitting in the dusty train, thinking about that. How does a thought like this one all of a sudden form in my head? Look at my friends, sitting there, laughing. I was having fun with them just a moment ago, sitting on the dusty cushion of an old, moth-eaten chair in the train. I’m sometimes moody like this. Especially in situations that require so much self-control. Traveling to Bucharest, being completely alone for a week, with no family, no relatives and no “coincidentally” close family friends nearby. The train was shaking away the slight fear of the unknown. Their laughter helped. Writing was another option I had stuck to, spending an hour alone in the neighboring compartment of the train, building a syllabus of a blog post I was planning to write about the week to come. But I can’t do that for the whole eight-hour trip. All I had was isolating myself for a moment, to clear my thoughts out. And I was thinking about the damned rails of the train. I guess I’d be going back to my friends. Gosh, how I love these people. We had worked so hard the last months and we would finally be getting our reward. We crushed competition with our performance, our text adaptation, and our bold direction choices. We had won. I still can’t believe it, even two months later, even while we’re traveling that way. Ah, how fun this week will be. I could see myself meeting the family that’d be taking me in for the week. I wonder what their house looks like, what they look like… I know that I don’t actually care about that. I’m not sure if it’s selfish to say it, but having a great week is much more important than the social or financial status of the family. I was also excited to see the city. I’d heard it looks like Paris. I’ve never been to Paris. Based on my experience in Vienna, though, I know it’s going to be spectacular. I’m really curious about the tour of the Palace of Parliament – I heard it’s the second biggest in the world! I should really stop daydreaming… “Get up, Martin. Go to them. Attaboy.” I think I’ll sit over here for a second. I love these people. I’m so used to them. Yet right now, I feel like thinking. Just staring out of the window and processing everything that’s going on. We’re going to spend time together all week. We’re going to get to see Dracula’s castle! And the next day, we’ll be performing! I can’t imagine the nervousness when it’s our turn to get on the stage. I remember three years ago, when it was our very first time acting together. This was going to be our third play. Wow, how fast time flies! Yet we’re still together, bound by the Art. We have different endevors outside of It. One plays the guitar, his life is all music. Another‘s a book worm. She’s a total party animal, while she had just performed “Swan Lake” at the National Ballet. I hold that tiny blog and write about what I feel. It’s crazy how the arts are all parts of our lives. That’s what’s keeping us together in this train. Outside of it. We all need time to think, and we all need time for ourselves. But when we collide on stage, there’s no stopping us. No matter where, we’re united by this force. Except maybe on stage. I remembered the story our Drama teacher had told us. The story of how an actor gets on the stage, gives his heart to the audience, and then forgets about it. A “blackout”, she calls it. When an actor isn’t himself, when he drowns so much into his character that he doesn’t even remember his time on stage. In those moments, we were not ourselves, we were not together. But it’s for our own good. I’m sure this separation from reality is going to happen to me this week. I will give every single piece of myself and dissolve in front of those people from all around Europe, until I’m nothing more than the dying scum that my character is. Honesty and sincerity are things I like and I don’t plan on lying to people. So I’ll show them the self-indulgent, awful human being that the Baron is. I’ll make them hate me.  And then, I’ll be back, as that other person, that other guy that’s traveling and thinking. The guy who’s standing in the train, hesitating for a moment whether he should go and talk to his friends or drown in his own thoughts. I should go and laugh with them. I need a gulp of fresh air that isn’t contaminated by my feelings. After all, after a week in the capital of Bucharest, after such a majestic performance, I deserved a rest. I was going towards them, as myself minus one hour.

 

And the train was still going “track-a-track”, “track-a-track”…

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Dub-dub. Dub-dub. Dub-dub.

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I was lying down. On the bed I knew so well, paralyzed by the unknown. As nervous as ever, I looked around the small green room I knew oh-so-well. Ironic, eh? There was the old record-player, clean and obviously used throughout the years. The window that faced the mountain. An old TV, the small kitchen. I loved the place – I had spent so many hours both dreaming about it and being there. And finally, I was there. And I sat up, worried, about what was to come.

I decided to get up and make a step or two – my feet were sore from my sleep. One step. Another. There’s the third one. How long had I been there? Ten minutes? Twenty? An hour, or was it already tomorrow? I should get going – I didn’t even know why I was there. But… wait. I already was in the room I loved being, where I’d always hoped to… To… Why would I be here now, the question was. Or maybe, why would I leave, now? Ugh, too much thinking… I went to the sink and filled my hands with water. Splashing it onto my face, I felt a shiver going down my spine. The water was cold. How hot was it in this room?! I can’t believe I’m still alive, it’s so hot! And I remembered I had left my t-shirt next to the bed. I splashed myself once again; I wet my hair. Phew, that’s better. But I’m not feeling too well…

“You got the kind of look in your eyes
As if no one knows anything but us…”

I had not noticed the modern stereo system playing. It was silent, why was it so silent? But it was still playing, emptying the room from the tension within. I felt the music with my very brain, as if it passed through my skull and into my head. It stayed there.

A flash.

I lost my balance. I saw a crimson liquid flowing out of my nostrils. I knew it was too hot in here… I lied down once again. “Breathe, Martin.” I was getting better. The world stopped swirling. I was better. I slowly got up. I went back to the sink and grabbed the sponge. I soaked up the red from the tiles on the kitchen floor. I went to the small bathroom and washed my face again. I was better.

“Well, tell me when it kicks in
Well, tell me when it kicks in…”

Was the music supposed to sound like this? I loved this song. It was repeating the same line over and over again, I couldn’t seem to unhear it.

“…kicks in…”

Oh, damn. I fell down. Did I trip on something? Wait, what is that? God, I bloodied up my favorite pair of shorts. Ah, never mind. I just think I’ll go back into that cozy-looking bed… Or not… I didn’t even feel it coming. The warm, sour, and particularly unpleasant surprise flew out of my stomach and onto the bathroom sink. Am I sick? I was starting to get worried. What in the name of God was going on? Uh, here it goes again… Bleh, gross. I think I’ll lie down now, for sure. I slipped onto the carpet in the middle of the room. World, stop spinning, please…

“Should this be the last thing I see
I want you to know it’s enough for me…”

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The Frostball

My Free Time In One Photo
My Free Time In One Photo

It was a dark, gloomy night in 2012. 

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dark and gloomy: I needed a good start. Anyways, I was 14 when I decided to try a new game that was getting popular fast. I admit, it sounds incredibly lame, playing video games, but it’s a sin that I commit when I have the time. I loved playing games like the Winnie the Pooh Educative games, Worms, the JumpStart series, when I was a *wittwe* kid, and moved to playing Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed, when I grew up… You get the idea. This new thing was a new genre to me, and, truth be told, it was a lot of fun. Challenging and with a variety of roles and characters to play, I loved it right away. Yeah, I know, most of you are “Why is he telling us this?” and “This guy is probably the lamest person that exists”: hey!, I’m trying to tell a story here, people! Bear with me.

So, I was playing the game and, being the curious guy that I am, I decided to google it, just for the hell of it. Amongst the sites, I found this place called “Surrender@20”. It was a paid blog that this guy, Zack, held, with his girlfriend, and posted news about the game. I started a Disqus account, named after one of the champion’s abilities, Anivia’s Flash Frost, the stunning ball of ice of an ice bird that protects the rocky and cold Freljord mountains in the north of Runeterra.

Three years have passed since I was “Anivia’s Flash Frost” in the Surr@20 forums, and in these three years, I’ve been integrated into the community (I commented an awful lot: I have a total of 7500 comments to this date) and I’ve gotten to know one of the coolest people on Earth. You know, I don’t believe that you can find love over the Internet. How can you express your feelings without being able to look someone in the eye and say “I love/hate you.”? I couldn’t imagine that. But the people I got to meet (and because of which I had to make a Twitter account, sigh) are one of the most lighthearted and amazing fellows I’ve met in my life. I thought about this the other day: how do you actually develop feelings for people you can’t see? Well, maybe the fact that we never really got to communicate was what made us such good (or at least, as good as can be in this situation) friends.

Feelings are strange. Love, despair, sadness, euphoria, depression. Disdain and absolute bliss. Feelings are awesome and are the most humane thing that exists in this world. Yet, there is no way to transmit these feelings through the new technology. And maybe, just maybe, this exactly is the thing that made the whole Surr@20 relationship exist. I was on Twitter the other night and I was talking to the folks from the site exactly about this: how is it possible for us to be such good friends? And then, one of them explained it to me, and I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Every single one of us, whether we’re tired, depressed, mad, happy or just “meh”, was on Twitter every night, talking to the rest. And we forgot about our joys. Our problems. Our worries and fears. We forgot about the bad days at school, about the long-gone boy-/girlfriends, about our family’s problems. We didn’t worry about our (so-called) social status, about our crushes, and the fact that we can barely talk in front of a crowd of more than three people. We were just being ourselves. And, I guess, that’s what’s important to most people: for us to just be ourselves. And, eventually, it’ll work out. I dare you, reader, to try doing that, too: be yourself for a day. And live that day like a king.

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Motivation 101

24…25…26… Oh, hey there! Let me just… 149… 150! Phew! That’s enough for today, for sure, don’t want to get too buff and make people sad now, do I? I was just doing some push ups, you know, a bit of exercise is always a healthy thing to do. When did I start, you’re asking? Yesterday. Well, yesterday I did only the half of what I did today (70, of course), but today was my first real day of training. That is, if we don’t count last Friday’s 200 sit ups… It’s almost noticeable already, isn’t it? Right… Oh, who am I kidding? I did nothing today. I’m too tired, I don’t feel like it right now, I need to do my homework first, but then comes dinner, an after that there’s that boring test I have to study for… I guess I’m not that much out of shape. You know what? Starting tomorrow, I’m a new person. A healthy person that does exercise and sports and eats properly. I will do it! I feel the motivation in my veins! Here’s to The Frostball 2.0! (Eats entire chocolate cake to celebrate.)

Sounds familiar?

You can probably guess what happens on the next day. The “tomorrow” that so many people dream of, that half of the ordinary people of the world talk about, remains tomorrow forevermore. Imagine if we put today’s and tomorrow’s plans on a scale to compare them: if you ask me, the scale would break under the weight of what we’re going to do the next day and what we plan to do in the future. And, you know the meme: “I’m not even mad, that’s amazing!”. It really is incredible how little motivation some of us have for stuff in our lives. I rarely can just decide to start doing something one day and keep on doing it for more than a week afterwards – especially if it’s something I perceive as boring or useless (and you’d be surprised by how many activities there are, in my opinion, in that category). This blog is one of the few things there are that I don’t feel obligated to do, that I just want to do and that I have fun doing, along with my drama classes and maybe some school projects. So, how do I get myself to do stuff?

I have tried everything. I’ve tried playing “mind games” on myself, by “tricking” myself into doing stuff. That is probably the stupidest of the things I’ve tried: true, it works for some time, until it turns out that I’m smarter than I thought I was (I don’t really get it either) and I just laugh at my feeble attempts to persuade myself to exercise, for example. Making a schedule doesn’t help me at all, either, nor does setting up alarms, putting sticky notes all over my desk or rewarding myself with stuff after I manage to do something (You did 20 sit-ups? EAT A PACK OF GUMMY BEARS TO CELEBRATE.). So, how do I motivate myself?

See, I really didn’t understand how I managed to do it in the first place either. But I just got up one day and told myself: “It’d be awesome if you finally started that blog you wanted to, today”. And I just got onto the computer and started writing. Word after word, sentence after sentence, I made my first post. And I thought about what I’d did. I had just written stuff that I thought for people to read. And people actually read it, and some of them even took a bit of advice from the post. They thought of what I’d said and they’d changed something in their own life, all because of… me. My stomach stirred when I saw how many people had actually given up some time from their lives to read something that I had written. The feeling was incredible. And on the next day, while I was traveling, it hit me: that’s how I can motivate myself. That’s how I’ve done it before – drama wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t get to show our work to the audience, and hear it laugh and cry and applaud. When I work out, I always think of how my muscles are going to ache because I’ve actually used them, and how I’m getting stronger, thus more confident, more powerful as a person, too. Even studying for the most boring Literature class can feel fulfilling if you know that you’re going to get a good note and some recognition. Some of you might be thinking that I strive for attention, and you’re probably a bit right – although who of us doesn’t, to some extent? But, to be honest, I don’t even see that side, the side of “Oh look at me, I’m so good, bow down to me, peasants”. It’s all about the fuzzy feeling of accomplishment that does it for me. Imagine it the first time, remember it the second, live it the third and eventually it’ll become a part of your life – one of the many parts that make this life worth living.

My Relationship with the Stage

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women are merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

William Shakespeare

Let me start this blog off with an overused Shakespeare quote. Maybe I should’ve started it all off with a short autobiography, a description of me, my life, my friends and family, maybe a little bit about my hobbies, what I like and dislike… But I decided not to. My first post will simply be a quote with a bit of my thoughts with it, so you, my dear reader, can see the real me, how I think and what as perceive as right and wrong. I’ve always loved writing stuff, essays that I can express my opinion through and with which I show how I see the world, cheesy songs that I just can’t find the right melody for, poems (most of which usually suck, but rhyme, so what the hey). So, let me get to the main point of today’s (or this week’s/month’s, I’m not so sure how often I’ll be posting) post: ME.

I wouldn’t consider myself a “player”. Truth be told, I’ve never even had a girlfriend. By Shakespeare’s interpretation, I am one, so I’ll accept the great poet’s word without arguing (something quite unusual for me). I’m a player in the bigger game of “Life!” (no copyright infringement, MB) and I’m doing my best at making the most out of it, simply by playing in my own way. But sometimes, The Game of Life is a hard game to play and I get tired, say “To hell with all of this.” and give up. It’s a mistake I’ve made a lot of times these 10 years of my conscious life and I decided that it couldn’t go on. I was always a person that loved being, well, other people. When I was a little kid, there isn’t a superhero that I haven’t pretended to be, a place I haven’t imagined I’ve visited, a person who I hadn’t played out a conversation with. After watching a movie, I’d get all excited and relive the motion picture the next three days, building castles of pillows, using fallen branches as wands, or climbing up a tree as if I was going up a long-forgotten temple. This, sometimes seen as childish, part of me I’m proud to say I’ve preserved and I still feel the same excitement after seeing a movie. I read a lot, I play PC games, so I try to keep this part of my personality functioning – and I really think I’ve managed to do that. And, despite all my efforts to do so, I think I still wouldn’t have managed to retain the childish Me running. That is, if I haven’t discovered Drama.

Ah, arts. So much meaning into something so small/short. Whether it’s a simple painting, or a play, or a movie, the effort put in it is humongous and is always appreciated. Once I discovered that drawing is not for me (oh, the horror), I switched to the most expressive of arts: theater. True, it is in Spanish and it’s a bit more difficult than it would be in Bulgarian (or English), but it’s something. And, although a bit skeptical at first, I found it was just for me. And boy, do I love it. I love it to bits, I love it so much that I’ve decided that’s what I want to do my whole life. The expressiveness, the movement, the feelings are all stuff that add to the feeling, but the best part for me is the possibility to be another person, to live other lives. It’s not like I’m not happy with what I have or who I am, I just need to be someone else, from time to time. To forget all my problems, my worries and live another life, the life of the crazily happy old hotel manager, of the worried father, of the cranky Baron Von Von… and much more people to come. I feel acting in my blood, and I feel the need to act as much as I feel the need to eat (15234 times a day – it’s a 17-year-old thing). It’s fun and it helps me breathe more easily every day. Now that the Play (I’ll be talking about that a bit later) has passed, I start to feel the hands of life slowly starting to choke me once more, and I’m slowly drowning in the boring school-homework-sleep cycle once again. And I need a lifesaver to pull me out of the whirlpool that my lame pre-Drama life. Any suggestions, readers?