Every day is women’s day

Social media reminded me as soon as I opened my eyes that it was international women’s day, and I cannot help but compare it to all other hypocritical celebratory days like Valentine’s or even Independence. Let’s drink to women everywhere so tomorrow we can go back to throwing the empty bottles at their faces for daring to be just that: women.

It took me several years to appreciate the fact that I was a woman, to celebrate my double x chromosomes and proudly wear the label. As a child, all I could distinguish of the female gender was the “fragile” stamp we seemed to all receive at birth, one we couldn’t wash off or replace in a society too stubborn to acknowledge our strength, our power and our deserving all the same rights and opportunities as our male counterparts. Then I woke up, and how glad I was to finally brandish my lipstick and fire away all the sparks my womanhood had bestowed upon me.

However I can’t shake the feeling that giving women a day to celebrate them somewhat diminishes their value, just like Valentine’s or mother’s and father’s day diminish all the fireworks our loved ones deserves every single day. It also feels filled with hypocrisy, the way everyone picks up pink pens and paper on this one day, writes a post on Facebook quoting whichever prominent feminist the internet provides in the search results, and then goes back to not caring or worse, going against what feminism stands for the day after. Your neighbour is a human you should respect, not catcall when she picks up her newspaper in her bathrobe. Your waitress is serving you to pay her bills, not to worship all the nonsense you think you are entitled to utter as a paying customer. That girl didn’t wear a skirt for you, she wore it because she feels good in it. That lady is feeding her child so he is well nourished and can grow to become someone who will stand up for the mothers you deny the right to breastfeed in public spaces because it makes you queasy. Every woman is a being to be respected just like any other being on Earth, with beautiful superpowers like those of procreation and overflowing emotion and empathy. To all those who still doubt it, our hormones are one of our sources of magic.

Ultimately, everyday should be women’s day and mother’s day and an occasion for all those beautiful celebrations to remind us that we should love each other with no boundaries, no misogyny or sexism or antiquated patriarchal ideas on the place of women in society. A woman’s place is wherever she deems fit, wherever she feels comfortable, wherever she feels useful and hopefully, wherever that is, she can feel safe and strong.

Too little too much

Ever since I was a child, I have been taunted by the fear of being too much of anything, too loud, too different, too nice and yes, even too loving.

In a society that promotes distance, casual relationships with no profound attachment, caring too much has somehow become a defect of the human heart, something we’re doing wrong. Every time we get too close to another, whether friend or more, an alarm resonates and we pull out of our mischievous trance; today’s society is based on nonchalance and vapid companionship, anything more can turn out fatal. We call friends people who make our hips dance but our souls stand still, lovers those who offer us everything but their hearts, and for some inexplicable reason, this has become completely normal, synonymous with happiness.

I remember watching old films with my parents, listening to fabulously written dialogue and loving diatribes spoken with passion and glistening eyes, and I dreamt of the day I’d be old enough to have someone come up with words as warm and tender as those uttered by the likes of Cary Grant and Gene Kelly, swoon under the riveting gaze of chivalrous men burning with untamed passion. Instead, all I have seen of courtship has been reduced to strangers finding solace in strange bodies, short-term internet-made friendships, divorces happier than weddings and a world much less inviting than my innocent heart had dreamt while watching those films with the only two people who ever made me dream of more than society allowed or taught me to seek.

In the end, it isn’t being too much of anything that truly scares me, it’s the world being too little endowed with what makes my soul flutter and my heart beat faster; I will always do and be more than is advisable, and maybe someday society will finally decide to catch up.

Generation “te3tiration”

I was born in 1990, and while growing up, my parents always repeated how lucky I was to have escaped the war, how good it was to be a 90s kid. When I look back on some of the things that decade gave me, I tend to nod and agree, but then I remember the 90s are over and I’m not really happy about the 21st century.

They call us generation Y, the generation that’s not as strong as the survivors we call X, but more technologically savvy, also more distracted and definitely less rooted. We are everything and nothing all at once, we’ve been given the tools and ripped of the answers, offered the world then deprived of its authenticity. I don’t have a sense of belonging, don’t really know where I am heading and not sure I want to pick just one place, one definition or one destination; I want it all, but is it really a good thing? I believe our generation was permitted to ask too many questions, to rely too often on introspection and in parallel, to accept cheap answers trending wherever we look. The media is too present, everything we do is controlled whether we notice or are completely unaware, our rebellion is programmed years before we think of it, our passions written for us… even our facial expressions are dictated by social media. We have built a gigantic mess and worst of all, learnt to embrace it as a comfortable dwelling, living in willingly ignorant bliss.

They call us generation Y, and boy are they right, because I wonder “why” too.

Random rant

When I started this blog, the idea was to write down on my phone whatever came to mind, be it a fait divers, a rant or a haiku. So, staying true to that, here are the perplexing thoughts running through my mind at the moment and snippets of the events triggering their oh-so-annoying appearance.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my father’s older cousin passed away on the day after Christmas, alone in his house, his body found by the police and left there to decay while they searched for living relatives of the deceased. Well, they found us, and we had to run all over the place on new year’s eve to ensure he was properly buried and his papers were in order. The first part done, we were asked to go back into his house perfumed with five days’ worth of rotting flesh, rummage through his private belongings as I repressed heavy tears from flowing all over the place at the thought of how terribly lonely it must have been to die alone. He wasn’t only family, he was human, a feeling being who left unopened boxes filled with Christmas decorations in his living room, papers strewn on all chairs and tables as he endeavoured to finish his affairs while death crept closer and closer. I repressed my tears long enough to get back home where, nothing restraining the flow anymore, I wept. These events coupled with my uncertain state of mind every time my future is mentioned inevitably caused my body to react and… hello heartburn. After years of struggling with it, how it appears out of the blue or during stressful moments, I still don’t know how to deal with the monster. On a strict diet of rice, boiled carrots and camomile tea, needless to say the kitchen seems to be laughing at my dismay, the internet taunting me with “don’t eat this” and “don’t do that” instead of offering me the one thing I desperately seek: “eat this”, a “this” that doesn’t taste bland or makes me want to sing about dishes of yore, dreaming of my hot cup of nothing.

There is no point to this post other than to relieve some of the tension acquired from opening the fridge and closing it in vain, this time knowing it isn’t devoid of tasty snacks and dishes as it can so often seem, but stacked with forbidden treats by my too sensitive stomach and upset nerves. 2017, it’s been only a week, take it easy on me, will you?

Your success sucks a**

I am aware the title isn’t what you’d call politically correct, but today’s society hasn’t proved to be either. With the help of the invasive Big Brother we call Internet, boasting and bragging have become an accepted and even applauded sickness.

Success, what does it mean? Is it getting good grades at school and getting into college? Is it finding a job and keeping it? Is it buying a car and being debt free? Is it becoming a good husband, wife or parent? Is it helping those in need? Is it spreading joy wherever you go?  If that’s not the definition then…what is? Could it be the majority of today’s youth and even some generations before have got it all wrong, taught to value the wrong things? Or is it possible they’ve replaced those definitions with the amount of “likes” and ego boosting comments received every time they write a status on Facebook or Twitter on how their career is progressing at the speed of light, the shiny list of their glamorous clientele or the number of diplomas they have amassed…? Not to mention the innumerable photographs instagram has the joy of spreading, from selfies in luxurious Dubaian hotels to breakfast shots at Laduree, sharing ten filtered pictures a day of their kids because family albums are so passé and how else can the world know that baby has as many outfits as a Kardashian? It is one thing to want to share bits and pieces of one’s life, to be proud of finally arriving somewhere meaningful, to want to add some sparkle to a sad routine life or maybe even enjoy a few compliments from time to time on an outfit stylishly put together, but incessantly posting about one’s culmination of (sometimes useless) achievements is on a whole other level.

Success, understandably, means many different things to a lot of people, but shoving one’s blessings in people’s faces on a daily basis is nothing short of vain and distasteful. Humility has truly become a lost art in this overly publicized world.

Letter to humanity

Hello Humankind,

This is one of you speaking. Well, typing if you really want to delve into the details. My voice cannot reach everyone in this big place, so I decided to move my words from the air to the screen of my sophisticated mobile phone and onto the internet. I assume that many therefore don’t have access to my thoughts; does that make them too pricey for some people? I thought words were free, world, what is happening here? Christmas and end of year holidays have just passed, we had salmon and turkey and chestnuts and cheese and so much chocolate, our table felt truly festive! But world, some people can’t afford what we all ate…are the holidays only for those who can pay for them? I’m sad, world, I simply do not understand. The big guns talk about capitalism as something good, justice as something real and poverty, hunger, destitution…well, they don’t talk about all that, it doesn’t concern them. If only they all knew how concerned everyone is, how guilty each of us should feel; where are the helping hands that are so eager to pick up a beautiful girl’s fallen pen but so reluctantly lend themselves to assist the hard working mother as she clears the table she slaved and perspired to cover with wholesome dishes? Where are the wallets that so easily open to offer diamonds and Baccarat crystal vases but hide at the sight of the shivering homeless roaming around aimlessly for lack of warm places to go? Where is everyone when it truly matters? How can I remind you, world, that it’s humanity you close your hearts to, that those are humans with no coats or socks asking shamelessly for quarters and dimes you’d rather save for park meters? How can I push you to open your soul and give? To give is the secret, you see, to give is to love, and our hearts have so much of it to pass around, too much not to share with even the most random of them. Give, even if it seems you’ve given it all, give even when it seems there’s nothing to be given! You must understand, it is not an act valued in monetary terms as everyone seems so keen to define it; to give is to be, and till now all I have seen is cities of shadows wasting their gifts from 9 to 5, drowning their excess of love in bottles of poison. Give your fathers a hug, they might never know how appreciated their presence is. Give the fisherman a smile, he’s standing near ice all day to keep your food edible and safe. Give your old clothes to charity, you don’t need that old sweater, and somewhere a young girl has to run to school with just a thin blouse on. Give your time. Give your energy. Give your strength. Lend your shoulder. And if you run out of things to give, forgive; forgiving ultimately is similar to giving peace, restoring balance and bestowing the best of yourself onto someone else’s briefly deviated soul. We are grand, it’s a pity we behave so small.

World, I don’t want to sound authoritative or condescending, I myself fail my fellow humans daily and I am no saint, but I’m lucky to be surrounded by good people who remind me that we are not alone in this cruel place, and that if we feel pain, there are others who have it much…much worse. I’m sorry world if my words don’t have the impact I wish them to, I believe technology has ironically made everyone smaller than they were meant to be.

Past salad

I was born nostalgic, for things I had never known, for moments I had never lived, constantly harassed by recurrent images of what never was. As time passed, I couldn’t manage to shake off the lingering itch the past liked to cause, and after a while, I grew addicted to its presence I many a time tried to ignore, unsuccessfully.
I miss everything, all the time, even the things causing me displeasure or discomfort, and I can’t help but feel ripped of all that time leaves behind. The many tribulations of being unapologetically nostalgic have unmistakeably left deep marks all over my being, psychologically, physiologically, in ways I can’t even begin to describe, without however refraining my thirst for more. Today, I remembered my first steps on computers and the internet, getting accustomed to the likes of MSN and the strange chatting habits the new generation would never understand, finding songs on Limewire and co. and waiting five hours for them to finish downloading their sad two or three megabites of sound. There were games like minesweeper and solitaire, replaced today by loud mind-numbing graphically enhanced ones, and ridiculously fun programs in “accessories” like paint, today supplanted by over-the-top phone apps. I’m aware that I sound like a geezer sometimes, talking about the present like this destructive phenomenon governed by silly technological advances, but that’s only because I believe it is so. I miss the genuine authenticity of what we famously call user experience, how things were used according to an emotional jump of the heart, or due to little brain tickling innovations, and not ever-so-quickly changing fashion dictations. Unable to let go of anything rendered obsolete with time, I still store items like floppy disks; those little plastic squares that could only store three word documents and a few low resolution pictures, predecessors of the almighty usb. I am also fond of VHS tapes and radio cassettes, the fact that we could stop and continue where we had left off, or manually rewind and fast forward with a pencil making the listening experience all the more valuable and deserved. I still wait for the scratching sound a vinyl makes as the player’s needle delicately makes contact with its rugged surface… I love rusted metal and peeling paint, worn out clothes and faded armchairs, the smell of how things used to be and how things lived. Today, we sit on chairs to watch television or play video games whileas my grandmother sat down to rest and observe the world we have grown used to ignoring, making room for useless activities and shockingly stupid pleasures.
I miss the past but I somehow live in it, refusing to let go of the genuine experiences we’re nowadays deprived of or too demanding to appreciate fully. Nostalgia, forever my bread and butter.