It’s Not So Dark After All, an on-going personal series of watercolor paintings on thoughts on the universe in relation to ourselves, 2018
Size: A3 | Medium: Watercolor and Ink
This project is called It’s Not So Dark After All which tries to combine reflections on art, being, life, and the universe. The title is an inspiration from my childhood dream of wanting to be an astronaut and my habit before of taking walks under the night sky and raising my hands towards the heavens.
I remember as a child, I thought of space as just black and white. Maybe in our eyes, it just is, but as I grew older, I realize that yes, we do sense through our eyes, tongue, ears, nose, and skin, but what of feelings, of light, of thoughts, of prayers? Maybe language and communication and understanding are not just in words and in senses but in other things. Like love, energy, breath. Maybe we are here to learn this, the staggeringly beautiful way of being human. Maybe it’s not so dark in space after all.
Was there nothing or was there something – something so beautiful, strong, and impossible yet believable to have sent the ball of gas exploding, cascading, expanding – that turned nothing to something to everything she ever knew about her self, others, her world, the galaxies, and the whole universe? The ball could not contain such enthusiastic energy, and so it burst, across space, across time. And at the center, she saw herself, wailing and screaming and then sleeping like a child. Was this how we came into being – from big bangs and wombs to world? Or have we been here in a different form already, as one soul, and then consciousness and identity let us be an individual, one person? She learned that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. She wondered were we we the same? She believed that all this around her cannot just come from nothing. But Something. Someone.
The Sun is a Star
The sun is a star, she thought. How did she get the planets to surround her, to accompany her? The only one that went around her was her three-year-old son, and she wondered if he turned a year older every time he held onto his Momma’s dress and spun and spun around her. She wondered if she could get him in orbit as well whenever he would be his adventurous self, dashing here and there, scraping knees, branding elbows with wounds, covering skin with bandages. She was his sun. She wished she wouldn’t be a red giant at all like our solar system’s sun and get bigger and bigger; she didn’t want to be the one who would hurt her darling child when she says it’s time for her to go. If the sun were conscious too, she wondered, does she care about her children, the planets, the ones she gives light and warmth to? The sun is a star, our one and only in this life, on this Earth. Was there a way for her to feel we loved her?
They knew that evil does exist. They never ignored it and turned a blind eye to it. This is why they were given weapons – weapons like art, fellowship, poetry, good thoughts, and love – to fight it. There was no use pretending that there was no darkness; they see it everyday not just in the people who were branded as corrupt, bad, or immoral, but in themselves as well. They could easily make the wrong choices too, however, they did not want to. They chose to wield weapons but not the same weapons as the dark force’s, for a dark pawn cannot overthrow a dark king. So they raised their hands heavenward and pushed all the bad energy out, like a gust of wind driving out the smoke that chokes. This was Earth’s mighty defense
Pluto Wants You to Know He’s Okay
So here we are from nine to eight. He wanted comfort, because he was hurt; they said he couldn’t dominate his neighborhood, he couldn’t lead, he couldn’t carry his own name and recognition. He once thought he was one of them, but maybe he belonged somewhere else. He didn’t have to be big or dominate the neighborhood around his orbit, he just had to be who he really was. Somewhere nearby, there is the nice man we knew and loved because we grew up with him and read about him in textbooks, until one day, he was demoted to something less, and people no longer knew or cared about him.
So here we are from nine to eight; we threw him a lifebuoy ring, and I gave him a flower on the night we heard the news. And he told us with gratitude that he was okay, that he accepted it all, that he was still completely happy because he’s still going around the city hall where someone he loves worked at. Lastly, he swore he heard his nearby neighbor that his friends missed him dearly, and that they believed that true friendship transcends titles, names, positions, and status.
So here we are from nine to eight. Numbers are just numbers; he will always be there. Pluto wants us to know he’s okay.
The towering flowers could either look exactly as they are: flowers. But the paint dripped further down, and it looked like missiles heading towards earth.’ This is what her teacher told her. She wanted to paint flowers – who would even want to create destructive things? These are flowers, she told her teacher, that the people of Earth planted. They hoped they would grow so tall that everyone on Earth can see them up high. Imagine seeing these beautiful things, she said. And then her teacher responded, ‘You chose that which is beautiful and creative. Others may choose what is otherwise. They can make art that is not bad per se, but they can make art that instead of giving hope, they give a hollow feeling, that there’s nothing good to believe in or hope for anymore.’ She looked down at her hands. If one is given a gift, would she not use them for good? She hoped that she could be the kind of artist who can inspire people to choose beauty and kindness, to draw flowers on weapons, to only shower petals from the sky instead of fire, smoke, and debris. Choice is a powerful thing. She prayed that she may use it wisely.
Imagine what we could do together, he said. But I told him that there were so many things against our coming together. Between us were planets, space, time, distance – things that were impossible to cross. On my journey to him, I asked him, what if I get pulled into a black hole, into its center, into gravitational singularity – what would you do? He said to me, words I could hear in my mind and feel within my chest: they say the laws of physics cease to work there in singularity. Perhaps what was initially against us will be for us in time.
This set me on the beginning of my journey; little did I know, our meeting was earlier than expected. All this time, I thought I was the only one trying to reach him, to float while avoiding dust particles and comets, to pass through dimensions, but in reality, he was also moving. Faster than I was. After a few years, we finally saw each other in person in the gap of two large planets.
I was surprised to see him there, his hands reaching for me at a far distance. I reached out for him too. Space and time can be tricky out here; although we were seeing one another for the first time, we cannot hold each other not until a few more years, a few more miles. Imagine the longing I felt, seeing him there but not being able to touch him after time had its way with us.
And then, after what felt like billions of years, here we were, hands almost touching. In between us, there were no more planets, space, time, or distance. I could only see a spark, a possibility. When our hands finally touched and our fingers intertwined, I knew that together, we could birth stars and raise planets. His hands were warm after a long travel. He said that his mentor told me that one dip in singularity can possibly make one travel a few miles faster. But it can also just be a leap into nothingness. I couldn’t wait any longer. I couldn’t test it first either. I went through a black hole to get to you sooner.
He held me close, gravity allowing us this moment. When at first, I thought there was no effort or will, this man went through a black hole just for us to meet. But time still had its way with us. I may not last longer than you will, for there were some adverse effects on my body, he said. I looked at him in part shock, part disbelief. One full day with you like this is enough to fare my soul well into heaven, he whispered. We travelled years to be together, but I realize we had always been in one another’s presence. Something strong, true, and real became our bridge across the universe. When he said goodbye and let go of my hands, I swore the planets around us broke the deepest sigh.