She woke up one day and she knew by the look in the eyes of the sun shining behind a curtain of clouds after a rainstorm. It was true. She could feel it rising up in her gut. She tried to name it. She stopped. She didn’t have to say anything. She just had to make it stay. Permanently. She went to it – unthinking. Picked it up. Golden and shining. The cover had her name on it. A gift. It beckoned her to open it. She saw the lines. Blank and unassuming. So innocently organized but with no meaning. There was no life. Yet.
Where was the pen? Or a pencil? The wand to churn thoughts into incantations.
As soon as she puts it down on paper and reads it out loud, first to herself and then to her audience, she knows what she has is power. She has magic. Her spellbook contains all the charms, the secrets and the in-betweens to prove she is entitled to her throne. She can wield words like no other.
She has to look back. On all the days, she could have been cruel, hiding behind a joke, masked sarcasm. She had mostly done good rather than evil. Said the right words even to the wrong person. She thought it’s her calling to be there. Anywhere a friend needed. Kind to strangers. Paying it forward. To whom? For how long? She was running out of time, but not love.
One said you deserve to be loved. Someone mentioned all the love she could give. Have you thought about having children? As if the idea was brand new in her late thirties. She closed her eyes just to see the word selfish flash in her mind. Do you think you’re entitled to be titled a mom? I would love them unconditionally, she argued with the nagging voice inside her head.
The voice just shook her head. How would you know how to do something you have never even experienced? How can you tell, she pleaded. How do you think, it retorted.
There it was again. That word she loved the most. Dilemma and she dreaded it. It wasn’t the path less taken that intimidated her. It was the choosing. Words were the only things that came to her without question. Everything else was a choice she was afraid of making. A mistake. She would stand by it or fix it. She will go back and try to retrieve it. She would not regret anything as long as she was sure it was hers to begin with.
To be or not to be anything, a mom, a friend, a lover or an author, was another one of the questions. She didn’t ask it, so why should she have the answer?
She closes her eyes. That’s the last thought she thinks before it all fades into another rainy day behind the windows of her apartment.
Is really craving some coffee. Not office coffee. Those suck. Universal truth.
Images of microplastics, of overfilled landfills, dead marine animals aka the imminent apocalypse flash by in her mind.
Will the coffee cup be broken down into million pieces and ingested by planktons and then having been eaten by a fish end up on her own plate or even worse someone else’s?
Will a child in a third world country be affected by the “recyclables” sent out to not be recycled in a landfill that is located in their country because there is money in purchasing material for recycling?
What if this is a frappuccino and she can bring her own straw? Will that help a little bit?
Done with the drink, scrub it clean, so that it can be recycled. One stain and you’re out.
Landfills are filling up, you know? Because we are not cleaning our recycles well enough.
What about the laundry detergent? Am I using too much? I don’t even do laundry every week. I don’t even take a shower every day.
Down at the cafeteria, they gave her plastic cutlery and loads of tissues. She doesn’t need a fork to gobble down a beyond meat burger. She only needs one tissue really. Don’t they know they are killing the elephants?
Forgot to take her own bags, had to carry several items from the grocery store to home. Feels like an unnecessary adventure but at least I’m saving the baby dolphins. Did you know that they have their own language?
Did you know that giving land back means giving autonomy to indigenous people so that they can make wholesome decisions about the future of the environment and maybe save us from the catastrophic effects of severe capitalism?
Did you know that feminism means letting minorities into the decision making?
Maybe forget about the money for once.
We make dinner. What about the leftovers? Am I wasting too much? Am I too much for the earth?
Just woke up this morning thinking about overpopulation? How do most people feel the need to continue their own genes rather than adopt? Isn’t the goal just to love unconditionally and be loved?
Don’t they know that Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people? Are they trying to save that one percent? Is it really necessary for the future of mankind?
She holds her coffee cup, like a grenade walking down the street to start her 8 hour work day for the relief she might get from the weekend that ends too soon. Forever trapped in a structure that makes no sense, yet somehow doesn’t implode and goes on as if nothing makes sense.
It is middle of September, exactly. I know that because it is our self assigned anniversary. after a well beloved song of a gay Italian singer who resides in UK, whose dog recently passed away. It is all related.
We met in Central Park, the one who recently witnessed a big implosion. This park is in my birth city not in NYC.
We call it that, because I have a friend who likens everything in our capital to world monuments, she calls her workplace, the wall street. big ambitions for people who cant breathe.
The air is polluted and we feel suffocated. It is 50 degrees but you get accosted for not wearing a scarf, you get beaten down for taking your dog on a walk. and you get killed for saying you’re thirsty. More so, for saying it in anything than Capital accent Farsi. Fascism seeps through the most private thoughts. Your private parts are public domain. Internet disrupts the massacare. it is the summer of 2021.
The love of my life has left me. Life has lost its meaning and I am just a girl who wants to be loved. I don’t remember being loved. I do not think I will ever be loved. Not in the true sense of the meaning. Like How I love.
I am going to try to leave. Let’s leave she says.
The days are bleak. the nights are lonely.
Pandemic hits. I don’t think I will ever be lonelier than this. Think again, life smirks.
I am up in the air for what it feels like days. It has been days. The first night the quarantine ends, I take a walk around my new life. Someone asks for the time. For the first time in my life, I feel like, I am HOME.
Miles away from where I was born, and the people who raised me. I never belonged. That hasn’t changed.
Ironic how you can speak ten languages and not be understood. Is it me or is the words? Maybe it is the people? I say love and I hear silence. I think love and I fall asleep. I nightmare they have taken me back. It is every night now. I never want to go back.
Have you ever thought about breathing? What if you mattered? Did somebody ever love you? Were you worthy? Did anyone laugh at your joke and called you funny? Did somebody hug you and told you that you are the world?
I never learned how to swim, not in the mud anyway. The first time I tried floating, someone took me to the bottom. I never tried again. I am one tiny fish in the pacific ocean. I am a leaf. I can only dream poems.
Three Hundred and sixty five days. I never wanted to be anyone else. I just wanted to be me. I love being free. Free to love. Even if in the multiverse, I am the only one who loves like me. When I am forgotten, It would be a legend. I would be the mystery.
I was talking to my therapist yesterday, well I was in a session, I wasn’t just randomly talking to him out of context, and yes, obviously I go to therapy.
My go to phrase for a long time has been “kill me”, and during the day I find many occasions where it comes handy. Sometimes the person in front of me is walking so slowly or worse than that talking so much slower, that I even resort to “Im gonna kill myself”. Well, I guess I am a really morbid person with a very dark sense of humour and some unresolved anger issues, but that’s not the point. Well, guess we know what I’m discussing with my therapist in our next session. I digress…
My favourite form of therapy is self-sarcasm, but it doesn’t always pan out, especially in office meetings, when coworkers just give you blank stares while awkwardly trying to walk away. Subtle. so you pay someone to listen to you make the jokes. I knew my therapist was the one when he laughed at my jokes like he has bought the tickets to his favourite standup comedian’s show which I aspire to be by the way.
Anyways, I was explaining that I have the ability to see people’s life through their point of view and to me everyone has their own lifeline but not everyone has that ability. For most people, everything is happening TO them, even if it’s you getting married to the love of YOUR life, it is their tragedy, their comedy or their don’t give a fig moment. He replied: “you are talking about empathy”. Touché!
A few months ago, I was reading the book “The Hilarious World of Depression”, and spoiler alert someone close to the writer commits suicide. They are shocked because they had been pondering the same thing for years as a bottom line, an exit plan, a plan B and the safety net. If all goes down, then I can just pack my bags and literally leave. Goodbye anxiety, farewell trouble my old friend and adios all those things that bother me to death.
I don’t know if all 14 year olds contemplate about suicide on a daily basis, bu me and a few other people that I know did, so maybe it’s a me thing or a generation or a gender or a culture thing. Well, I never tried it. I hate mess and manual labour. I am too lazy plus too many books to read and too many pastries left untried. I tried to take my chances and here I am.
As my mom would say upon facing any hardships, “it’s not as bad as death”. She is right, the only problem that can’t be solved is death. The rest of it, we can talk it out or fight it out or just sleep it off. For the most part anyway.
Which brings me to empathy. Or does it?
Anything happening to us is only happening to us and is not anyone’s business but removing ourselves from the equation by committing suicide is anything but (she loves her buts (pun intended)). There are no support groups for people who committed suicide (I’m not talking about those who survived) but there are many for people whose loved ones committed suicide.
Taking your life might seem like a perfect solution and gives the sense of agency but it’s not something you do and it’s not something that happens to you. It is something that is happening to all the people around you. You are not there to talk it out. They can’t fight you back. You decided to sleep it off. The Door is closed. There is no point of view, no lifeline, no empathy. There is just an awkward blank stare in the void. There isn’t even room for self sarcasm there. And believe me, you don’t want to go there.
This year, in my reading spree, I added the book My Dark Vanessa, which is the narrative of a girl groomed, raped, molested, threatened and abandoned by her teacher for years. It was a story that shook me to my very bone, it was a painful eye opening experience that left me angry, wise, sad and simmering.
In the book, the teacher presents her with a « gift » in the beginning, which is nothing but the book Lolita by Nabokov. It is obviously a great description of his character without actually saying anything. So when I finished the book, I added Lolita to my to read list.
Two nights ago, I received an email to my personal account from a guy named Tony, with the subject of “I just have a question” and started it with “don’t you differentiate between the author and the character?”
I finished the book more than a month ago and I left my review at Goodreads, I expressed my opinion that this book is only a guidebook for pedophiles, it has no literary merit and it should not be a part of the canon, as we don’t need to hear a pedophile’s side of the story. I ended my review with a big finger to Nabokov, losing all respect for him, deciding never to read any of his books.
And this was not the first person to criticize me for criticizing Nabokov for writing a pedophile story, a story which leaves little for imagination and much for speculation into whether Nabokov was the pedophile himself or knew one in person or just wished to be and this would be his story to get away with it if he ever got caught.
Article 19. Of the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
This took me right back to my time in graduate school in English literature where our “professor” who seemed to have stopped reading books at the age of 10 and did not show any interest in books, social matters or political subjects, who probably thought the earth was still flat and abused female students whenever he could just because he could get away with it, this same professor told us that turn of the screw written by the whitest blandest most boring heterosexual cisgender male writer of the 19th century, which he himself had NOT read yet by the way, was very important and “enjoyable” because it was in the canon, the same canon made by the same string of whitest blandest most boring heterosexual cisgender sexist racist males who did not read books themselves.
So in the story of Tony and the “professor”, Nabokov has the right to write all he wants and normalize sexualizing and victim blaming minor girls and we are supposed to applaud him for his canonical literary genius, in a world where the likes of R. Kelly roam the earth free because he generated revenue and his fame is more important than the lives of all the girls he raped, and when you google him, the results says singer and anthropologist and his crimes are only alleged accusations, in this world Nabokov gets to familiarize us with the “obscure” mentality of the predator and the rapist, because that was what we were missing all along! More white male voices in the crowd!
The problem with Tony is that he has the right to “Question” me for criticizing his favorite pedophile, but he does not seem to deem me worthy of “questioning” the existence, the popularity, the literary value of this piece of “work”.
The problem with the existing dominating systems such as patriarchy and its protégée religion, is that they abhor doubt and they despise anyone who dares to question their rule over our thoughts, our bodies, our entities, and our autonomy. We have to hush on our questions to keep forever the status quo, because god forbid Lolita loses some stars on Goodreads and it becomes obsolete and people stop shoving it down our throats for generations to come as a piece of art!
I believe the right every human should have is the right to question, and I will do that and I won’t stop.
So if you are a Tony out there, why are you asking the wrong questions? What are you hiding? And who and what are you defending?
It was a late November evening in Vancouver. I was walking the twenty-two minute road from my place to my boyfriend’s for maybe the last time, since he was going to move to his new place soon after.
It had become strangely cold during the past nights and temperatures hardly rose above zero that mixing with the hundred percent humidity made a dangerously freezing combination.
Yet, some people had already started the Christmas preparations and stream of light strings hanging from their awnings and shining from their doorstep, giving hope and light to the November night and the passers-by moving through it.
Resting amidst the houses was one white mansion that at first glance looked like the rest of the houses in that row, but on closer inspection was anything but. White stately covered in bright white lights in contrast with red and green lights that welcomed Christmas. The paint looked new, unblemished, weirdly inviting and yet, the inside was obscured by not total darkness but the absence of too much light. A contrast purposefully chosen by the people residing inside.
I didn’t see anyone move within the house, but I had a glimpse of the furniture and the rest of it I left for my imagination, I let myself wonder about the peaceful way people of this household moved around the house, or sat about reading their books, or just lounged in silence while one of the was washing dishes perhaps, lost in their own thoughts. They seemed so decided in their tranquility, that to me it seemed sanctimonious, untouchable and at the same time so inviting.
I tried to imagine myself auditioning for a role in that house, realizing soon that although aspiring for that life in my head, I can never make the cut, I am too quick to judge, too loud in my opinions, too set in my ways. I didn’t want to impose myself and unbalance their equilibrium.
But inside my head, that’s a different story, in that it exactly the same as that white mansion, outside looks bright, shiny, inviting and full of joy in the terms people find relatable but inside is happy in my own way, lighted by the natural light, cozy for the familiar people and a place to rest in silence.