society

Shoes and Prejudice

Well educated, not as much formally as informally when it comes to hobbies, foreign languages, exploring other cultures and wast interest in popular culture in general. These are the self confessions of a snob. Never the materialistic, fashion label obsessed kind, but the more subtle, equally annoying specimen. Lurking from the dark, sitting in a semi comfortable seat of an old art cinema, reading Le Mond and Le Nouvel Observateur in public transport, having coffee and initiating discussions on existentialism, judging you for your ‘too mainstream’ way of wearing Docs and rolling eyes so hard it hurts when someone proclaims their love for Starbucks.

giphy
Huhhh, try typing and then saying all of it in one breath, it was as exhausting on paper as much as it is in real life! And it’s just the tip of an iceberg. The persona behind the mysterious description is me, of course, but it’s not a post only about me. There are many ‘me-s’ around me: educated, somewhat intelligent young people who are often subconsciously looking down at different lifestyles and interests. At the same time, we will be the first ones to raise our hands when asked if we believe in diversity, tolerance and acceptance through breaking the mental and physical borders that our world is constructed on, but fail to lead with an example in our closest surroundings.

The unusual part of this millennial paradox is that, unlike in case of other flaws and misconceptions, I’ve noticed it in my own behavior on many occasions before even thinking of looking for it in other people first.

Living In a Bubble

I know I keep returning to this topic, no excuses, it’s because I feel this has been a problem of mine for a long time. The simplest way to function in every aspect of life would be surrounding ourselves with people who are similar to us. Similar background, habits, level of education, interests, whatever. Everything similar, not too many surprises. We are drawn to that concept, mostly led by past experiences and the usual, just go with the flow of what is already close to us attitude.

No matter how much time and effort you put into creating that firm bubble of safety, there will be a time when you’ll just have to break it and step out of it. Or life will break it for you just because it can. Luckily.

anigif_enhanced-18911-1432753333-30

All of this is closely connected to the overused but true ‘it is important to step out of your comfort zone’ mantra. What I’ve learned from my humble experience is that people are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding part that comes with the discomfort zone. The range of emotions, both good or bad, can’t be overpowered by any experience that doesn’t include dealing with people.

The Rule Book

I used to have rules. No, that’s a lie, I still have them, but some of them are fading away. Not strict, army type rules, but more like a list of details that served as an elimination system in meeting new people. The places people like to go out, music they listen to, movies they watch, the way they dress (shoes are the biggest deal breaker for me), how much make up a girl wears, what school did they go to, etc. Those are all either visual or superficial traits you can check by scrolling through someone’s Facebook profile for a second.

‘No way I’m hanging out with him!’ In under 10 words it’s done like it’s a no big deal, like there may not be any missed opportunities behind it. The number of times I’ve jumped to conclusion combined with the number of times someone didn’t want to have anything to do with me based on the first impression leads to….  a pretty big number I guess. But anyways, that’s not the truly sad part, what sucks is never realizing how inefficient our personal scanning machines are.

Becoming more opened towards people with different tastes and thoughts about how to live a life doesn’t mean forcing an introvert into turning into a very loud, outgoing person or abandoning your firmest beliefs and passions. The trick is letting the guard down, at first by focusing on it until it finally happens spontaneously. New experience begins with letting other people’s ideas come in and out again, like taking deep breaths while trying to relax.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? I can only think of not liking and completely disagreeing with someone’s way of thinking and it’s totally alright,  as long as it’s respectful.  I like to remember situations where I had to collaborate with different individuals which led to a pleasant surprise, making the grumpy old me admit I learned something new and useful from the horrible shoes wearing people.

Advertisements

Poetry Nights and how they put everything back in perspective

Sometimes I love cancelled plans, ironically they come to me with a great feeling of adrenaline rush and countless opportunities. I am an introvert by default – it is evident from my need to catch a break for a day or two after spending a lot of time closely interacting with other people for a while. It doesn’t mean they are not dear to me, I just need a small escape gap to give me a chance to recharge my batteries, and then I’m ready to socialize again and be a happy, functional human woman.

Like most of us, I enjoy being around people I like and who I’m comfortable with, talking is of course the main part of the deal so a healthy cocktail of chit-chattery, gossip, simple topics mixed with something new or more challenging is always the unintentional goal. One of the parts of being a social being in general is no matter how long you know someone, if your relationship is solid, you’ll always manage to discover new subjects, learn something and finally, get excited about things you didn’t even know they excite you.

So, cancelled plans. This week is the best time to be alive for all of us chronic cancellation and postponing loving assholes. It is the middle of a summer, the time when I usually turn into someone who is not a very good person, someone who doesn’t have the greatest conversation starters or any creative ideas whatsoever, someone who will talk about mosquito bites and suicide 90 per cent of the time. I would most likely team up with your grandma and present everyone with the data about the horrible effects of sun exposure and how you should, if possible, avoid it throughout the day. Going to the beach happens only from 6 to 7 AM or after 7 PM, there’s no in between. Literally. I will even casually throw in the word ‘cancer’ just to keep the party going, totally unaware how I’m being a bit of a hypocrite since I used to smoke a pack  a cigarettes a day and no one could say a word about it.

giphy

Back to cancelled plans. The past couple of days the heatwave made everyone act like me. They are postponing work, public events – no open movie projections, even some theater plays got cancelled! Since nothing is going on, all we hear in the ‘news’ is: extreme temperatures, the worst summer ever, hell on earth… I read a title that went like this: Our readers experiences: ‘I went to the store today and died’. The whole article consists of random statements delivered by anonymous Croatian citizens (a.k.a. invented by the author) worrying about how to survive the heatwave. My absolute favourite comes from a brave female reader from Zagreb:

I drink water and pee all day, I can’t eat and I usually love to eat. If I put my clothes on, I’m hot. If I take it off, I get sticky. And the worst part of it all – the coffee doesn’t taste good.

What do I do when plans get cancelled and I’m lying naked in a pool of blood sweat next to the ventilator, but don’t want my brain to go into a complete shutdown? I read poetry – no matter if it’s going back to old gems or accidentally discovering new authors, it’s the best cure. Tonight I’m once again hanging out with my queen, Sylvia Plath.

One of her poems that leaves the greatest impression is called Mushrooms and although I didn’t pay much attention to it because of the title that seemed bleak (seriously?), became important to me right after I read it for the first time.

Mushrooms

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

Sylvia Plath, The Colossus and Other Poems (1960)

 

When I read it now, I could swear that this poem is precisely what first inspired Margaret Atwood to write The Handmaid’s Tale, just look at the last verse. Sylvia Plath is an icon of feminism, a real one, not just a ‘one line pony’ as I like to call them nowadays. She lived in the 50’s and was, in a way, forced into accepting a role of a simple housewife, go after society’s rules, although her mind was way beyond that ever since she was a young girl.

if-i-could-just-see-you-from-up-here-prints

If I Could Just See You From Up Here by Norman Duenas

This is a poem about oppression and how it will not last forever. I don’t think it’s necessary to limit to the equal female rights problem only when oppression is not just gender based problem (what an understatement in lack of a better word), it is everywhere, it is evident, hidden, sometimes comes in layers, sometimes directly in your face. Oppression is the word I would use to describe what Plath was fearing the most during her young and later adult years, the fear of not being able to express herself and live freely without having to answer to anyone’s expectations deteriorated the state of her mental health leading her towards the tragic ending.

Mushrooms speaks to everyone who has ever felt isolated, misunderstood, underestimated or ignored and although it comes in a depressive tone, it is actually a positive, hopeful poem.  It provokes the thoughts of a revolution that will help restore the balance between the greedy oppressor and the underdog. It is in deed a revolution, but not the roaring, powerful kind, it is subtle and quiet, it comes on its tiptoes while you think everyone on the planet is asleep. Nothing is sure except that in the morning the sun will rise and deliver a surprise on its rays.

tumblr_o3bu9jVIhA1spnyg9o1_500.jpg

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.

 

 

Distopyan Nightmare is Real and It Won’t Go Away

I am an atheist, the most annoying kind. The type that even if a certain deity physically  reveals itself  to the world and we get a reliable scientific confirmation of its existence, I would say: ‘Ok, now I believe it’s real, but continue to live like this superb being doesn’t have anything to do with me, my thoughts , convictions and morality because reason and responsibility for my own actions is something I believe in more.’

john_wentz_02

Art by John Wentz

 

How Many Gods Are There?

After growing up a bit, I realised the world is a colorful place in every sense of the word, and everything I stand for I have the right to defend, but keeping respect for everyone else’s beliefs is mandatory. Now we are in this limbo of uncertainty and horrible things happening to innocent people. Tolerance, acceptance, trust, exchange of information, education, personal and cultural growth have been replaced by a different kind of deity – the all mighty Fear. And nothing spreads as quickly and as successfully among people of different nationality, race, social status, etc., fear is universal and no one is immune to it. And who can blame us?

Terrorist attacks, as shocking and horrific as they are and always will be, are becoming a common every day threat, especially in big European cities. It is no wonder that the western media is covering those tragic losses of innocent people in a sensational manner, increasing the feelings of panic and hysteria. I won’t go into discussion about our hypocrisy in dealing with the deaths of mostly white, European citizens compared to everyday images of bombings and destruction in the Middle East that is getting a completely different coverage making it clear once again that there is no real ‘global society’ based on empathy and that some lives apparently do matter more. Of course I’m not implying that we should stop condemning senseless murders no matter where they happen and where the victims are from.

fear-and-loathing_1

When dystopian fiction becomes our reality

Brutal acts of violence that we were watching on our TV screens in the news every evening have spread from the streets of ‘far, far away’ countries to familiar streets, places that we visited or where our friends live in,  killing people whose language we understand.  And we can’t do nothing about it. For a while now, and especially for the past couple of years,  violence is no longer observed from the distance like watching a movie,  it has turned places and ordinary situations like sitting at a café, visiting a Christmas market or going to concerts in possible crime scenes and death traps. Even after going through immense shock, people manage to move on with their lives eventually, but every new attack pushes us further away from ‘being normal’ and helps building a dystopian reality giving us clear hints on how our near future will look like. The state’s apparatus of force and repression will have the unlimited freedom to intervene whenever they feel is necessary, heavy surveillance, travel bans, buying tickets to big sports events along with the ATTENDING AT YOUR OWN RISK forms, etc. Happy new year 1984!

teaserbox_27680941

Once again, who can blame the society for this hysteria. This  is a time to be out of your mind and paranoid, if not now, when? We hear politicians going into big ‘destroy terrorism’ speeches saying ‘That’s it, we will not tolerate this!’, but every new incident, no matter how small, shows that stopping terrorism is just an expression used to calm the public a bit, although it can’t be done in reality. How can you destroy and stop something when you don’t know where to look and when the enemy will be ready to strike again and shake up every single of our values to the core. That is why I think all the ‘love wins’, pray for Paris/London/Bruxelles/Kabul, ‘eat – pray – love’ bullshit exists only as a group sedative to make us feel like we are doing something useful by expressing our condolences, sympathy and sadness. The longer I write it, the more I feel the same about this post.

Global Paranoia

Internet has opened many amazing possibilities, but has turned fake news into mainstream stories numerous times, even the simplest information have to be double-checked, finding people who are willing to say the truth without worrying about losing jobs and money is getting harder. Everyone is suspicious and nothing is certain except fear. Good news for politicians is that fear is useful because it stupefies the masses turning people into perfect victims of manipulation.

Yesterday’s London Bridge attack and Manchester arena bombing from two weeks ago started the discussion that keeps getting louder for a good reason – accidentally or not, the timing is perfect because in 4 days the UK will have general elections. Similar thing happened just days before the first round of French presidential elections when a policeman got killed in the center of Paris.  And what comes out from constantly injecting fear into society’s veins just like pus pops out from an infected pimple? Bigotry, ignorance, anger… continue the list. 

Conspiracy theories, you say? It may be, I haven’t explored the cases in detail, but the fact that we are in position that we have to consider such motives behind inexplicable inhumane actions speaks for itself on where our modern, globalist society is heading towards.

18893037_1828405117476338_5549825373475622442_n