The False Grinning Faces We All Wear

“I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!”

― Charles Bukowski

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A Wet Man Does Not Fear The Rain

Is that so?

When you hit rock bottom the only way is up?

Dangerous are the people who got nothing to lose

They up the stake and go all the way.

I feel like that sometimes.

Other times I worry about everything and nothing.

But one thing is true

The more you have, the more scared you get of losing them.

Same with people I guess.

The more you love them, the greater the fear.

Watching thriller and detective films sometimes, I curse when I learned that the leading character has a family, children especially. I think to myself: How stupid you are to have an Achilles heel. In that line of work, better to live alone and have nothing you cannot walk away from when the situation calls for it.

If I have got my wish, I am living that kind of life. Solitary. Lone wolf. Always in transition, nothing to lose, never vulnerable.

I will be a Ronin.

Yeah. I like that. A secret fantasy of mine.

I never walk into a place I don’t know how to walk out of.

And I never took a companion I cannot shoot in the head without a second thought.

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Backpacker Generation: Why “Leaving it all Behind” doesn’t Work.

By Lauren Klarfeld

What we carry in our backpacks is the weight of our fears.

Some backpacks are made on a swift decision. Others are planned months in advance and ticked off with a checklist. Certain backpacks are made out of choice, and sometimes others are made because we had no choice. Be it to go far or to go hide next door. When we are making a backpack, there is more to it than just physical weight.

As I laid out the remainder of my clothes on an empty table and zipped up my backpack, I knew I was trying to pack a mess. I made a decision almost a year ago that I didn’t want to be committed to an apartment, a contract, rent or a job that didn’t move me. That it had all seemed pointless after so many years to work so many hours, not only to support myself since I was 18 but also to work for things I didn’t always believe in. The home I was in, the job I had and some of the people I knew just didn’t feel like “home” anymore.

What I wanted was the freedom to go whenever I wanted to.

Go incognito and re-invent myself in every new place I was in. Dare to do those things I never felt comfortable doing before. My plan had been to volunteer from hostel to hostel paying no rent in exchange for free labour. The months that followed I walked around a city with the feeling that a weight had been taken off of me. I was alone but I had chosen to be alone. If anything I was a solitaire. And it was liberating for once to look at myself that way.

But like any backpacker, I had given up the vertical ease of a closet where all my clothes had been aligned for years for a horizontal goulash of textile wrapped one under the other. I had come with a full backpack and that was all I allowed myself to carry.

When we see things in such a constrained space or possibility, it somehow gives us perspective on the fact that one needs to be sure of their choices.

Suddenly, we cannot spend two hours trying on different clothes as we struggle with our own image—because there is just no space nor mirrors for us to do. Perfectly ironed t-shirts are a thing of the past too when you travel. And adding things to a backpack becomes a burden as it weighs heavier and heavier. And every time we pick out a t-shirt it is like rambling our hands through a lottery machine—one never knows what they’ll pick out.

The idea of leaving it all behind to live life like a vagabond has been very appealing for years in my generation. But we seldom realise that this kind of life without commitments sometimes comes at the cost of a life without the conveniences we once knew: a home to call our own, a toothbrush in a fixed place, old friends to go to when we’re having a bad day or even a home cooked meal from our mother.

See, backpacks are emblems to travelers. They symbolize the travelers’ mobile nature and our need for freedom to go whenever we want to. They are built to accommodate easy access and storage. And a backpacker needs that like he needs air: the possibility and reminder that he can move and is constrained by nothing.

But when we spend enough time on the road, whether we want to or not, our backpacks mutate. And so do we.

As I moved to this kind of lifestyle in Madrid, I realized that what was once an emblem of mobility, now became a painstaking weight to carry around. I had gone from one store to the other buying new clothes just to fit with the local’s style. I bought one colorful dress after the other and thought it was a victory for the past tomboy that I was. I hated dresses really, but here abroad I thought I could push myself to like them and no one would notice. And the summer was the worst, as this frail white skinned Belgian girl who had never experienced a real summer suddenly had to walk legs and arms uncovered.

When traveling and wanting to change ourselves, we sometimes become schizophrenic chameleons in places whose language we are still learning and borrowing. And as thrilling as it is to go incognito anywhere and re-invent one’s self—some days, we just aren’t lively chameleons. Some days, we are just lost cats that hide under cars waiting for the traffic to pass.

Little do we know that sometimes the backpacks we are carrying are in fact heavy with burdensome personal baggage already. Somehow, all the while that we pack our underwear and t-shirts, our bags are already bursting with the layers of our constant self-questioning, our fears, our inner critic, and sometimes lack of self-love.

When we travel we get rid of our old comforts and routines. And so we grow more aware of who we are and who we aren’t, and of the difference between who we want to be and who we are right now. The kind of contrast we only ever really see when we get confronted with the blank canvas of ourselves echoed by the amount of free time and liberty we have when traveling or being in a new chapter of our lives.

In the end, it isn’t just about wanting to escape what we had before, it is mostly about escaping who we were before.

We are mostly introverts that are seeking a way to grow out of it. We rarely think that growth isn’t just about pushing ourselves to become who we want to be. Sometimes, we just become who we want to become eventually, by making the choices that we’re asked not by our mind or our heart, but by our gut. Sometimes, it’s when looking back, rather than forward, that we see better today the person we are becoming.

So that day as I made my backpack again in these last seven months. I was offered a lesson on acceptance. I laid all my clothes and beauty products on a bed, and decided I’d make two bags this time.

One with all the things that I had always felt resembled me and that I needed. And another with all the things I bought that I thought I might need. And left behind only the last one.

In life or in travel, if we want to set out on an adventure with ourselves, the best backpacks we’ll ever make are those that will leave extra room for our own personal baggage.

And acknowledging this is what will allow us to carry it in the first place…

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Between Two Places

When you grow up by the sea, you spend a good deal of time looking at the horizon. You wonder what on Earth the waves might bring – and where the sea might deposit you – until one day you know you have lived between two places, the scene of arrival and the point of departure. ~Andrew O’Hagan 

I grew up by the sea and Indeed I spent a good deal of time looking at the horizon sitting on the breakwater my father had built waiting for the water to reach my feet. I never wonder what on earth the waves might bring but I once had a friend who gave me this copper ring which he made himself but had to throw it in the sea to keep me from being drowned by someone who wanted the ring so much. He said the sea will give it back to me when the time is right. The waves will deposit it at my feet wherever I am.

It didn’t happen of course and until this very moment I don’t know yet if I have lived between two places and I’m not sure if I understand where are the scene of arrival and the point of departure and how on earth I am going to recognize these places when the time comes. Perhaps it’s about being born and dying. Maybe the day you will understand you have lived between these two points is when you realized it’s your last day here on earth and it’s time to say goodbye.

The sea didn’t deposit me anywhere but a plane did. I traveled by air to hell in order to be saved. In a sense, I did live in two places and experienced both worlds. None of them is an ideal place to live but I never complain. There are worst situations than mine. There is no horizon to look at where I am now. In order to see it, I have to travel far, and when I reach there the view is often disappointing. How I wish I could say how I long for the peace and quiet of my childhood when sitting on a breakwater whole day was my only concern, but I would be lying. So, I would wish for peace of mind instead and hope it comes before I know I have lived between two places.

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should i start riding the train?

I hate commuting
that’s why i live near my workplace
where i can just walk by the lake
or sometimes in the basement
where cars are parked –
the shortest path.
but when I do,
it takes me back
to the night i met you.
the night i remember
i just wanted to drink wine
so i passed by the familiar bar
in the basement.
i sat at one corner of the bar-
the bartender facing me
a stranger behind me
no one in my left side
and there you are in my right-
you’re murmuring something to me
while i was deep in my thoughts
i told you i was writing a poem about dying
but i doubt that you heard it
because you kept talking to me
and never stopped staring at me
until you asked me if i want
to go upstairs
i remember your blue eyes
begging me or have i mistaken
begging for seducing?
i did not answer.
but i found my dress on the floor
of an unfamiliar bedroom instead.
i forgot if it’s the red one, the orange one
or my favorite one.
i can’t keep track of which dress i wore
on those countless sleepless nights,
or did i even wear any?
because i can feel the white duvet
on my bare skin while thinking about
my unfinished poem
or did i even finish it?
if not, i want to write a poem about dying.
again. or
if it would mean i am still living.
or should i take the longest path?
or should i start riding the train?

Paula Bianca via Berlin ArtParasites

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A Safari Experience

Last Saturday was a corporate family day. They do this event once a year. I like it better than any other social occasions like Christmas party and such because, for an introvert like me, it’s heaven. You can be among people you are not forced to socialize with. They hired the entire place for member only, free food and drinks and personnel enough to cater to your needs. What could be better than that?

This time it was a zoo they hired. I was skeptical. I hate animals in captivity and if they are there to parade for your pleasure, I hate it even more. That is why I don’t go to the circus or zoo. But I was pleasantly surprised. There were no cages, no fences, all natural open-air surroundings. What they did basically is to turn acres of acres into a jungle, then section off the place into different rooms, each designed for the needs of a particular animal. The division is so subtle it isn’t obvious and each section is so huge you can get lost. You will have an impression that the birds are free to fly around but if you look closely, high above are concealed nets to keep the birds where they are supposed to be. You can even walk among the vultures. They keep track of your movements but other than that, they are pretty docile. The enclosures and viewing areas are so cleverly designed that you can watch the animals without interfering with their privacy. They don’t even know you are watching them.

They named the areas according to the kind of animals you will discover in that specific place; what do you think of Rainforest, Taiga, Tundra and Savannah? Inviting, isn’t it? 

There is an amazing play area for the kids (including big kids) with a huge seating area to rest tired feet, also a number of small play areas dotted along the way.  And those little interactive sections throughout the zoo are also fascinating. There are restaurants and places to drink and have snacks. The parking area is big enough to accommodate thousands of visitors. All and all, it was a positive Safari experience. No wonder the establishment is voted year after year including this year the best park in the country.

I don’t know if I’m going to be back. I hate doing things twice and new surroundings are much preferable than something I’ve already seen. Besides, once you already have seen something, the novelty is gone. How many ways you can see a giraffe for example.

But I did learn something. The lesson I’m walking away with is ‘give something a chance’ who knows, like me, you could be in for a very pleasant surprise.

(Pardon any mistakes. Too tired and too lazy to edit today)

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TGIF

It’s Friday and I don’t know what to do. Last Wednesday was mother’s day Ascension Day, therefore, National Holiday. My son decided to bestow on us a royal visit fresh from a month holiday all over Italy where he was canvassing for an ideal place to buy a house which he said I could inhabit if in case I would really go through with the divorce. He said he will never hinder my freedom since we will never be married. Nice to know I have some options. 

We ended up taking a very long walk of 12 kilometers along the coast. Far too far for my limit these days. The outcome is I was flat and out yesterday and just about alive today. I want to go to the shopping mall for no specific reason other than to buy a massage oil for my aching bones. I gulped down a shortbread raspberry tart (a big no-no for my gluten and lactose intolerance but what the heck) with real green tea in the hope of perhaps it could revive me but only succeeded to make me feel heavy and bloat my tummy. When I’m going to learn? 

I’m off to take a bath now to feel human again. Till next time and Happy Weekend!

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I’m back!

Amidst tons of laundry, some unpacking still to do, shopping for food and immense work in the garden, I managed to squeeze a couple of minutes to write this post to let you know I made it back in one piece. In between times, I learned that WordPress has canceled the existence of The Daily Post (there goes photo challenge and of course the Daily Prompts) what a pity. I will sure miss it and I am sure you will too. I will be back writing the usuals in a couple of days but for the meantime, I have some tidying up to do. Glad to see you again guys. Thank you for keeping my space alive during my absence, I enjoyed my time away but__ as always

It’s good to be back. 🙂 

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