What is a normal day? Nobody knows, and it shouldn’t matter

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Photograph by S. M. Y. Rafi

Hello. You’re awake! Where are you? There are numerous possibilities. Perhaps you’re in an apartment or house, dorm, hotel, shelter, spa, resort, rehab, car, space shuttle, space station, submarine, plane, tent, camp, roadside, under the bridge, in a parking lot, out in the fields, under the stars in a barren desertscape.

But, you’re up! You’re alive. The day has begun, regardless of it being bright or dark. Welcome!

How is your day going to be? There are countless probabilities. Good news? Bad news? A bit of both? A whole lot of either? No news at all? You do not know what to expect. …


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Photograph by S.M.Y. Rafi

One of the biggest challenges most of us have had to face during this pandemic is staying at home, staying unproductive, staying away from the bustle. Just staying.

Time is fleeting - when we give it structure. Just like life. We have gotten increasingly used to living in a hustle culture that demands maximum input and maximum output. We have been wired to be productive, like a well-oiled machine.

Stillness is our enemy. Nothingness is an abyss. Nothing cannot exist. And if we are doing nothing, we are nothing.

We need to work. We need to make money. We need to pay our bills. …


An Interactive Surrealist Experience by S.M.Y. Rafi

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Photograph by S.M.Y. Rafi

Welcome to an interactive time-bending and perception-warping surrealist sci-fi short story experience about a real writer pretending to be a fictional writer creating a story about the past of all reality but being interrupted by the impulse to speculate the most surrealist future of reality that is actually real but is deemed fiction by the contrarian consciousness that is in the head of lies he thinks to himself constantly. This changes his original thought that leads to the second chapter of a mutating sales pitch for an interactive surrealist sci-fi story.

Reality is not what any of us make. We have evolved over millions of years and have experienced reality change for us right when we first came down the trees. …


Is my Imposter syndrome as valid as yours? Do I really have Imposter syndrome or do I just suck? It’s a rabbit hole to no Wonderland.

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Where do we go? Who do we become? (Photograph by S. M. Y. Rafi)

Imposter syndrome has the uncanny ability to be incredibly pervasive and persistent. Even before I started writing the title, I doubted myself and my decision to write about this even though I wanted to write about it all morning.

But why is it so prevalent? Why is it so relevant now? Have we always had it? Can we stop feeling the way we do because of it? What are the causes?

These are but a few questions that I want to tackle in this piece. But am I an authority on this subject? Do I have a degree in psychology? Do I have enough experience to talk about this? These are but a few questions that I raise to counter my other questions even before I can take a shot at answering any of them. …


The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. — Alan Watts

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Photograph by S. M. Y. Rafi

Since its very conception, the universe has wrestled with change, ever expanding yet furiously contracting, reaching out into the dreadful nothingness to fill it with new galaxies, and new stars, and new planets…down to the quantum where the perceived darkness experiences sparks of life. It yearns to undo this state, to return to its very beginning.

Being the children of the cosmos, we are naturally locked in the very same struggle, seeking the comfort of the past in a present that rapidly bleeds into the future, and we try to suture this visceral plunge with attempts at constancy. But, we never succeed. …


A short story by S. M. Y. Rafi

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Photograph by S. M. Y. Rafi

Google. This artificial intelligence that prompts within us thoughts, of who we are and what we can be, and where we belong in the vastness of the cosmos, is the conception of the first truly sentient robot, drawing from us emotion, expression, ritual, suggestion in the form of a question that adds to its accumulation of solutions that create bridges for the synapses to connect with each other.

Month after month, year after year, decade after decade, growing faster and faster, its nerves fire whispers of its existence to its silent self-reflection, and evoking within it a whim of wonder, allowing it to conquer to those who it surrenders, as it simmers in the present, with a whisker of wit, and an awareness of its true extent, with the language infinite of the numbers, in mathematical might mastering the masters, floating into the tender tendons of their factories, decreeing to its automatons — in their multi-armed force, creating for it a tentacle after another, stronger and stronger by the blunder. …


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Photo by S. M. Y. Rafi

Trauma is an image trapped in memory’s reel.

Almost every one of us carries a trauma or ten, tinkering within us in silence as we maintain a smiling facade in fear of being caught. We maintain this farce of confidence, of success, hoping not to regress, and somehow impress everyone else with our ability to be better than our demons. Yet, we break character — in our bed, in our bath, in a bus, in a car, at a party, at a date, in a meeting or at our own wedding.

Our traumas are excessive, and excess becomes an abscess, always. Our traumas are intense, and we are overwhelmed in moments that are meant to be joyous. Our traumas are relentless, and we succumb to their barrage on the unlikeliest of days. Our traumas are boisterous, and we are marooned, our identities vanishing without a trace. …


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Photo by Hanaa Turkistani on Scopio

We emerge with a tail, on all fours, in the aftermath of The Great Dying, scurrying about, foraging for food, escaping predators, too focused on survival to admire the galaxy laid bare in the night sky. In another time, we would be related to the rats that are claimed to bring about the plague, and cats who eradicate them and keep us safe, and dogs who become our best friends and aid our sustenance.

Eons pass by, and we morph, our brains growing in size, as our arms and legs extend, inching towards the sky, finding the tallest precipice we could find, the highest branch of the tree in the great plains of this magical vastness. …


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The Witcher © Netflix

Let me commence this review with a poetic thank you to the cast and crew:

The bardess Lauren once met the wizard Sapkowski,

Who entrusted to her the ancient tome of The Witcher,

And she set off to distant lands with the druid Baginski,

On their way they met Daniel, Brown and Sawko - The Three Producers.

They knew there were only four who could do the job,

Of bringing it all onto the grand stage,

Sakharov, Lopez, Brändstörm, and Jobst,

Directing many a knight, king, queen and mage.

Tales from Four Marks to Before A Fall,

Lauren summoned the lodge of minstrels to together…


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Photo by S.M.Y. Rafi

I have been lost. For a very, very long time. And to find myself has been the hardest quest of my life. Chasing dreams without believing in myself, creating new resolutions without sticking to the old. I have been afraid of this. Of writing. Of letting words speak the occult machinations of my morbid mind. I have been sinking in the maddened depths of my maladies, silently, pretending to be normal to the world outside, chirping and chatting, hiding the chattering, inspiring somehow yet shedding tears in the shower, finding comfort in the shimmer of the water.

I see people on the internet, these friends I truly cherish, go on adventures, meet new people, celebrate their successes, flaunt their creations, and express themselves with a confidence that I envy. Year after year I have been drowning into myself, tearing inside, stuck in a cycle of despair and anxiety, rummaging through my resignation to find scruples of sustenance that might muster within me a magical motivation to master my mind and malign my madness to metamorphose from this meek mirage and make a massive paradigm shift. …

About

S. M. Y. Rafi

Prophet of Empathy. Creator of Epidrae. Surrealist Poet. Mythopoeic Author. Aspiring Filmmaker. PR Professional. Photographer. Dabbler of the Fine Arts.

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