Phoenix

A poem by Jazjyot Singh

Lost in an emotionless storm

I felt no sense of identity

A Kindred spirit searching for hope

Yearning to be liked and longing to be loved 

But slowly falling deeper into the ocean of self hate and insecurity 

Awaiting the beacon that signals my rescue


At what point did I decide to cling to an illusion?

Disguised as the hope I so desperately required

I gained a new lease of life, but in reality 

I was a lifeless vessel closing my eyes to the wonders of the real world

Living a lie to satisfy my insecurities.


Until my siren cried and by chance I found her

The warmth of affection she gave me

A cold breath of life she breathed into my fearful lungs

The feeling of attention from those who claimed to be by my side

For the first time in my life I truly felt alive.

A life mixed with excitement and love shadowed by gluttony

Soon the cracks would eventually appear as I lose grip on a fake reality

But, just for that one moment… I would feel indestructible.


The bandages which protected me would soon unravel

And the wounds which I hid would bare witness for the predators to see.

While the passersby would stare and laugh and hide and laugh some more 

Each act of cruelty representing the micro tear in my heart strings

Not through the building of muscle; but the breakdown of my trust in humanity

The one I loved, the one that had my back and the one which pretended

Those that filmed, those that tormented and those that enjoyed it all.

The result wasn’t social heartbreak; it was a simple betrayal.


The worst thing about a nightmare isn’t the number of demons that want to hurt you

Nor is it the guilt you feel, no matter how good the intentions

The worst thing is the feeling that it will never end.

For so long I battled my inner demons which plagued a lonely boy

So tell me, when did demons become real?


I am the artist of my own story, yet I paint a blank canvas.

All the potential at the flick of a pen, a finger, a brush.

The only art I create is one of deception

But it remained my one true friend.


The only escape from a nightmare is one into the warm arms of a lie

A foundation built with the bricks of my stupidity

Two pillars stood tall as they provided the stability for my weakened spirit

I poured my remaining energy into a new source of happiness

All while draining theirs


Memories created and feelings injected 

My artificial drug went through its first stages of trial 

Countless failures and successes

Countless days of texts and calls

Countless trips and experiences

And finally after 3 long years I had come to realise

My happiness was a placebo.


It was time to stop my addiction and confront my own reflection.

Because I realise it is never too late to change.

The ocean which swallowed me and the hope I cried out for

All through a creation of an artist with no vision.

Now my eyes can clearly see.


And through it all I finally found my answer,

My past I must set ablaze and start a new.

No longer will the seed from which my soul grows

Be showered daily with negativity and self loathing.

No longer will my roots cling to others as my source of nutrients.


I will stop myself from drowning in the ocean of self creation

I will paint an explosion of self positivity 

And I will be an artist of my own truthful identity.


As my old self burns in hatred

I will bloom

And from the ashes I will rise like a Phoenix


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What does it mean to be a Hero?

Let’s talk about heroes…

When you think of the word ‘hero’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? The phrase is used widely in modern society to describe people that may not necessarily actually be the definition of a hero, but in our perspective they are ‘our heroes’. I was guilty of also doing the same thing growing up, my hero was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo and he still is to this day. Is that an insult to those that are the real heroes of this world such as firefighters and soldiers in the military? In fact, what is the criteria for somebody to be a hero in the first place. A quick google search would tell you that the definition of a hero is somebody that is admired for their courage or noble qualities, such as a war hero. If that is the case, then why would I look up to a footballer as my personal hero? Somebody that gets paid ridiculous amounts of money to provide a form of entertainment. Good question.

A young Cristiano Ronaldo thinking about his dreams

My own personal reason is seeing the journey of Ronaldo’s story from zero to hero, a very skinny child living in Portugal who was branded a ‘crybaby’ by his fellow friends when he played football for local teams because he had to pass the ball, something which he didn’t want to. Fast forward to today and he stands at the pinnacle of the football world amongst the greatest of all time. Listening to interviews of his former team mates and managers, they all say one common thing about him – his desire and hard work was unrivalled. This is the quality that inspired me and is the reason why I chose to look up to him (and his many goals for Manchester United). But is the hard work of an athlete really enough to brand them the image of a hero?

A hero is essentially the spirit of self-sacrifice, somebody that protects others with a smile on their face without giving thought to their own personal wellbeing. That sounds familiar right? No I am not talking about Batman, thats a topic of discussion later on this blog. I am talking about my parents and for anybody reading, if they were fortunate enough to have a parent or guardian, shouldn’t they be our heroes? They do fit the definition. Personally I do look up to my dad as somebody that is one of my heroes but I have never really thought about it in that way, despite him working countless hours everyday to provide me with a better life and education, even the laptop I am using right now to type this, all in the spirit of self-sacrifice for my benefit. Does this then make me a bad person for not thinking of my father in such a way? Probably not.

As shallow as it sounds, I believe there are other criteria that we as humans judge to determine whether people are seen as heroes. The closest thing we have to real life heroes are by far those that put themselves in danger to save others, i.e firefighters and soldiers. While we all acknowledge their efforts and respect them for protecting others, why is that many ex-soldiers are homeless and unemployed and why aren’t doctors or nurses given the funding which the NHS desperately needs and why are celebrities given so much more spotlight than those that run into burning buildings to save innocent people?

To simply put it, they aren’t “cool” or “attractive” enough to gain the recognition they deserve.

To back up my previous statement I think it would be very relevant to look at superheroes, despite being fictional, many of us admire these fictional heroes for very simplistic reasons – they look cool doing it. Nobody would care as much about superheroes if they didn’t have flashy costumes or over the top fight scenes in movies. The core essence of heroism is definitely still there, but it is sugarcoated with blockbuster action scenes. This isn’t a criticism of anybody, as it is fairly logical. Naturally humans want to be entertained and engulfed in awe when we see acts of heroism, even though its very unrealistic.

It’s not that they are cool because they’re superheroes; they’re superheroes because they are cool.

Heroic scene from the anime: My Hero Academia

There are individuals that perform acts of bravery and heroism every day, many of which we don’t hear about due to the priorities of mainstream media. But there was one story which caught my eye recently, a 29 year old man called James Shaw Jr wrestled a gun from a shooter in Nashville (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/384449-man-who-wrestled-gun-from-waffle-house-shooter-raises-nearly-30k-for) and saved the lives of many people and also sustained injuries, including a gunshot wound. He then set up a go fund me page for the victims of the shooting after the incident and has raised $235,000. He played down his heroic efforts by stating anybody else would have done the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth and only emphasises his character and why he is such a hero. Choosing to save people by risking your own life is something that many would be unable to do, and to go beyond this by raising money and remaining humble in his actions is the surely what it means to be a hero.

Overall, I believe we all have our own perspectives of what it means to be a hero and the reasons we choose may not be entirely justified. But ultimately the heroes we admire are those that inspire us in our everyday lives to do better and we strive emulate the actions of those we look up to. The movie Kick-ass showed us a great example how we see heroes in modern society and that we don’t need to dress up in costumes to be heroes.

Anybody can be a hero, it just requires the self-belief that we can all make a difference if we help each other and turning those selfless intentions into a reality – because that is the true essence of a hero.

I chose this topic because it is a personal area of interest and I wanted to share my own view on the matter. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of the topics I talk about, they are merely my opinions and I will always back up any bold statements with evidence.

Thanks for reading !

Jazjyot