Tag Archives: opinion

Secondhand Experience

For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child’s boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters. 

And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls.

It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters because I’m not a real person and neither is anyone else.

I would have done anything to feel real again.

~ Gillian Flynn

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Handle With Care

Words…

They’re fake bullets, so why do I feel like I’m bleeding out? ― Jodi Picoult

As I said already before in one of my posts: Even after all these years, words still have the power to hurt me.

I said also that words are like knives. It can only hurt us if it hits the target, and what hurts the most are those that hit closer to home, in other words, the truth.

What I didn’t tell you is: it is not always the case. Sometimes words can hurt us even though they are not true if they come from people who are dear to us and those that we value the opinion of. It hurts knowing they think of us that way regardless of where the truth lies. And often times, at least in my case, I never correct their wrong assumptions. I find it a lost cause. Their minds are already made up. Trying to change their ideas of you is like mopping the floor with the tap wide open or shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It is difficult to change one’s (first) impression once it’s formed. Better charge it to experience and walk away. Other people’s opinion of you doesn’t make who you are. It’s a thought, not a fact. It’s a perspective, not the truth. It is disheartening yes but I will never let other people’s opinions define me. I will never give them the pleasure of insulting me. I may shed tears in private because of their ill-intended remarks but I will not crumble before them. Never. I will always hold my head up high and will never let myself be stirred into a fury, losing my dignity in the process. It’s better just to ignore and walk away.

How about you?

Would you defend yourself and your image with tooth and nail?

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In God We Trust

“I think that God that we have created and allowed to shape our culture through, essentially Christian theology is a pretty villainous creature. I think that one of the things that male patriarchal figure has done is, allowed under it’s, his church, his wing, all kinds of corruptions and villainies to grow and fester. In the name of that God terrible wars have been waged, in the name of that God terrible sexism has been allowed to spread. There are children being born all across this world that don’t have enough food to eat because that God, at least his church, tells the mothers and fathers that they must procreate at all costs, and to prevent procreation with a condom is in contravention with his laws. Now, I don’t believe that God exists. I think that God is a creation of men, by men, and for men. What has happened over the many centuries now, the better part of two thousand, in fact, is that God has been slowly and steadily accruing power. His church has been accruing power, and the men who run that church and they are all men, are not about to give it up. If they give it up, they give up luxury, they give up comfort.”

― Clive Barker

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In The Sea

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

― David Lynch

Does the above quote applicable also when looking/hunting/choosing for a potential partner? I heard it before, so many fish in the ocean and to quote a fifteen-year-old boy who thought he knew better he said: She’s not the only pussy walking around. He was, by the way, referring to me, angry because his own brother and first cousin were on the clinch for my attention. But if I read him correctly, he got an adolescent crush on me and probably angry at himself. Those were the days.

Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. Oh, I thought the higher you go up on the social ladder the poorer it gets when it comes to attitude and manners. But then again, Lynch was talking about ideas, not people.

But ideas come from people, and I believe that in order to have depth on anything, the source got to have layers, multiple layers. And layers come from life experience, years of experience. The harder the life you lead, the more colorful and complex the layers become. No wonder most if not all geniuses were tortured souls. All great art comes from pain they say, and history is there to prove it, There is no need to mention names, we all know who they are. The Myth of the Tortured Artist, remember? They say it’s not a myth. Art is a reflection of humanity, and humanity’s greatest virtue is its ability to overcome adversity. Suffering gives insight they claim. What tortured them is what made them great. I can only agree. I write better when I am unhappy and can’t sleep.

Experience and the ability to feel and to know where those feelings are coming from give art authenticity in my opinion. It’s your soul that is out there, no one had been through what you have been through, your stories are solely your own, unique in every way. Your craft is an expression of your personal journey and the bumpier the road, the greater is the experience the deeper is the source of inspiration.

I have lived a thousand lives. No exaggeration. I could write about a million things others could only imagine about. My history and my experience lend truth to my voice as opposed to someone who is writing fictional situations. They say in every book someone writes, there is always a piece of autobiography in it and I believe that. We draw characters and places from our own personal experience. It doesn’t matter if we are writing fiction or not, we based personages and situations on people we know and places we’ve been. There is always a piece of truth in every lie they say. I believe that too. Where else we could get our inspiration but from life itself, right?

With a little bit of imagination or lots of it, we can make ordinary extraordinary and simple to wonderful. All we need is to catch some big fish, and in order to do that; we have to explore bigger and deeper seas and risk drowning. Sink or swim people.

Till next time.

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We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

My son told me when I related to him what I’ve experienced when I was eight years old that whatever I believed I have seen that time wasn’t real. I protested of course. How could it not be real when I saw it with my own eyes? I wasn’t dreaming, I was wide awake and running for my life. I wasn’t hallucinating, never took drugs, not drunk either, no fever. It was supposed to be an ordinary day and I was running a simple errand and suddenly my world turned upside down.

It doesn’t matter he said. To me it was real but it doesn’t mean it really was. I never thought of it that way. There was and still is no doubt in my mind that it happened. No matter how bizarre the experience was, I never question my sanity or the authenticity of what I have witnessed. To me, it was as real as you and me and all the people that are walking o this planet. Even my son’s skepticism failed to shake my belief. I will carry that belief to my grave.

Suit yourself he said.

What about this one? I asked. And this? Same verdict. I was imagining things but convinced I wasn’t. What should I do that? What could possibly be the reason why I would imagine situations like that? Believe me, if I would fantasize anything it would be something very different, totally the opposite, like tête-à-tête with Rafael Nadal for instance. But no matter what I said to my son, I could not convince him, and vice versa, which made me think: Do we really___

Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live? 

Joan Didion said:

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”

Do we really?

I know we learned and we have to turn a blind eye sometimes to what is happening around us in order to survive and protect our sanity. All that senseless violence, poverty, and political issues plus global warming and the declining quality of just about everything are enough to send anybody down the drain.

Those people who had been and still are in an abusive relationship would understand. I have been there done that. I know how it is to make excuses for someone and for yourself in order to keep whatever you want to keep intact. Hence the existence of the  Stockholm syndrome which funny enough I truly believe is possible based on my own experience.

So, what was the possible cause of my imagining things which for the sake of an argument let’s say I did, boredom? Trauma? Stress? Not applicable to the situations. I have never been bored when I was young. I wasn’t traumatized enough then and if_ it will not materialize at that moment. Stress? Unheard of in my generation. Besides, I believe stress is predominantly sickness of western societies in developed countries. We have enough outlets and too resourceful to be stressed. No wonder the globally accepted image of a paradise is a sun-drenched beach with one single leaning coconut tree. Says enough, don’t you think so?

How about you?

Do you believe we deceive ourselves by conjuring up stories to avoid facing the truth? Do we really seek refuge in fantasy to protect our sanity and keep going? Is it a part of our survival skills/ instinct? Inborn? Learned? Taught?  Inherit knowledge? Tradition? Education?

Whatever which way, it isn’t healthy.

Or is it?

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That Emptiness Inside

“People today do not know how to rest. They fill their free time with countless diversions. People cannot tolerate even a few minutes of unoccupied time. They have to turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper, reading anything at all, even the advertisements. They constantly need something to look at, listen to, or talk about, all to keep the emptiness inside from rearing its terrifying head.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

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The Perfect Gift

When I was fresh from the boat and still feeling my way around here one of the things I learned was whenever you received a gift the giver expects you to open the package real time. I find it quite scary. In my country, we are not obliged to do the same, we can keep the present and open it privately in our own time which I personally prefer; in this manner, we could avoid an embarrassing situation in case the gift is not to our taste and spare the feelings of disappointment from both sides.

Opening a present from a live person was scary enough. There was always the chance that the gift might be so wrong, so completely not the kind of thing you liked, that you’d realize they didn’t really know you at all.”

― Carol Rifka Brunt

Over the years, I learned to fake enthusiasm and gratitude whenever I received a wrong gift, each time praying the giver will not see through the facade and hoping they are genuinely surprised and grateful when it is the other way around.

They say it is the thought that counts but like I said in one of my previous posts, believe you me, the theory about its- the -thoughts –that- counts- can only stretch so far.

What about you?

Which do you prefer?

Open what you get real-time or have a private moment to yourself to unfold spread and enjoy your present?

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It’s Only Words

Kahlil Gibran once said: “Some words pass through us quickly and vanish into the air; others burrow into our very flesh and change the way we think, speak and feel.” In my case, it is definitely true. Each time it happened, I am amazed to find out that even after all these years words still have the power to hurt me. I thought I have long past caring, that I don’t give a damn what other people think of me and in certain aspects I am but there are individuals who never lose the power to hurt us and those are mostly the ones who are closer to our hearts. They know which buttons to push and never run out of ammunition because they know us through and through and that gives them the advantage.

There are words also that when spoken will find its target dead center and pierce through. It took me years to know why. The words that hurt us the most are the ones that closer to the truth. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you…unless you believe them. True isn’t it? It reminds me of something I’ve read somewhere, that words are like knives, it can only wound us if it hits home, otherwise, they are useless weapons. Criticism is just empty expression unless it’s true. Terms and names are just futile remarks till they hit the target and become a painful memory that replays in your mind, spiking a sense of remembered pain. Forever fresh, always potent.

It’s only words indeed.

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10 Qualities The Most Authentic People Have in Common

What makes you one?

1. They’re self-reflective.
To be authentic, unique and individual you have to know who and what you are, which comes through self-reflection. How can you know who you are if you are following everyone else?

2. They have a healthy ego.
In order to be a successful leader of others, you must do so with courage and empathy. You must be confident enough in yourself and your abilities to consider others’ feelings.

3. They focus on possibilities.
When you live authentically you have no time to waste emotion on temporary and sometimes necessary setbacks.

4. They have good character.
You do not say things you do not mean, promises are not made you cannot keep and you stay in a place of integrity in all of your dealings, in and out of work.

5. They’re visionaries.
Because you are deeply connected to yourself, you are open and more innovative. You have been visionary in the creating of yourself and this allows you to bring that skill into all aspects of your life, especially business. You also help others to realize their goals and their potential, and you push both yourself and others to reach those.

6. They’re listeners.
You are more than willing to consider contradictory ideas with an open mind and change your opinion if the argument makes sense. You are genuinely interested in learning, and you are dedicated to discovering the truth.

7. They’re transparent.
Open communication is woven into the fabric of your authenticity. You never leave anyone guessing or hurting because you’re transparent.

8. They’re open and consistent.
You do not hold judgmental attitudes towards others. As you evaluate the thoughts and opinions others hold, even those you do not agree with, you still place them under an umbrella of respect. You are true to who you are and the principles you hold and do not require another person’s approval to feel good about yourself.

9. They’re team-oriented.
You build successful teams and give credit where it is due, sharing your success and achievements with your entire team.

10. They draw upon experience.
You have learned through your own life and improved yourself in thoughtful ways.

– by Psychologist Sherrie Campbell

 

The Good Girl

As a girl you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you’re on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something’s locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape.

~ Justine

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We Are All Pinocchio

“Pinocchio went out into the world. He went on his road filled with good intentions, with a vision. He went ready to do all the things he dreamed, but he was pulled this way and that. He was distracted. He faltered. He made mistakes. But he kept on. Pinocchio, in the end, became himself — because the little flame inside him, no matter what crap he went through, would not be extinguished.” 

~Patty Smith

Seems to me even before he becomes a real boy, Pinocchio was already experiencing the reality of real life and more real than most of us. Everything that was mentioned above is characteristic of being human. I beg to disagree with this passage ” in the end, he became himself. “ In my eyes, he didn’t become, he was himself all along. He stayed true to himself no matter what without losing his core -the little flame that refused to be extinguished. When he first ventured out into the world, he was naive (recognizable?) and made poor choices and picked the wrong company and tried to get out of tricky situations by lying. We all did these in some points in our lives. If you tell me you hadn’t, then you’re lying. None of us were born aware and equipped with all the knowledge to survive in this world. We learned it as we go along stumbling and falling. In the end, like Pinocchio, we will realize who we are and where we belonged but the foundation of our true selves is already laid from the start. No amount of experience good or bad could alter our genetic makeup. It could alter the shape a bit but not the core. We are who we are and how we deal with things (attitude) shows what lies beneath. No mask and amount of lying and pretending could hide the real character of a person because eventually, it will show through his actions. I rather deal with an obnoxious person with a good heart than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

How about you?

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