Why I don’t write about ‘sensitive’ topics

I’ve spent the past few days researching articles about political correctness, in hopes that they were going to help me approach this topic in a non-triggering way.

A gigantic oxymoron: trying to talk about why I don’t write about triggering subjects, in a non-triggering way.

“Should I put a ‘trigger warning’ at the beginning of this? Or maybe, should I not write about this topic at all? I know it’s going to make people uncomfortable, annoyed and, perhaps, hateful towards me.” Thoughts like these cross my mind as I try to approach this delicately.

Be warned, then: Nothing that follows is going to be handled delicately.

As you may or may not know, I’m a University student, majoring in English Literature and Philosophy. Both of these subjects tackle what most people refer to as ‘sensitive’ topics such as race, politics, religion, ethical issues, etc. Most of the material we study doesn’t shy away from those topics. For example, in the first and second semester of my second year in English Literature, we got to study The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, Heart of Darkness by Conrad and The Pillowman by McDonagh. I heard many of my fellow students object to the selection of texts on the grounds that they “are triggering towards people of color/democrats/victims of child abuse.”

As you can clearly see, I’m currently in an environment where there’s not enough room for the discussion of issues and the expression of opinions that make one uncomfortable or are ‘unpopular’.

People tend to jump directly on what the majority currently supports, therefore lacking the ability to have an opinion of their own. Or there are people, like me, that simply hesitate to talk about what they believe, in fear of it having an effect on their future. Apparently, if you publicly express an opinion that doesn’t coincide with the popular one, you might be let off your job or might not be able to find one at all, ever!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m of the firm belief that it’s common sense to be a decent human being, thus, not be racist, fascist or hurtful towards any human being. So, as long as you are not aiming a personal attack on anyone, you should be free to express your thoughts and opinions. Again, there’s an issue of what “not hurting anyone” means. Micro-agressions have been added to this category, limiting freedom of speech even more. At this point, I think that people are looking for things to be offended by. They want to be offended or hurt or whatever. As a result, there’s no room for free thought or speech, since every thought or outward expression thereof, is automatically filtered through the ‘political correctness’ filter.

I find myself not really wanting to touch base on subjects like politics, ethics, religion etc., scared of a potential long-term effect (plus, I don’t really enjoy confrontation for not being ‘woke’ enough).

Why do we cultivate this fear of confronting and being confronted because of wanting to constantly be politically correct? Why do we shy away from calling things as they are? I’m well aware that not everyone abides by the ‘decent human being’-rule, but so what? Why are we so scared of accepting that there are people who hold extreme views in this world? No matter how hard we try to make everyone ‘woke’, to the point of converting every single piece of information to a diluted, munched-on version of the ugly truth, there are still going to be people holding extreme views and acting on them.

Rather than avoiding unpopular opinions, we should educate ourselves on them and learn to form a viewpoint of our own. It’s not avoiding being politically correct; it’s simply learning how to have an open-minded and well-rounded opinion.

 

 

Emotions: A Creative Mess

Ever-fluctuating, deep-set monster in my chest. Her name is Depression and she finds some kind of sadistic happiness when there’s no air left in my lungs, when my heart beats faster than the war drums of African tribes. She finds pleasure in me staring into the distance, the prettiest view of the bluest blues laying in front of my eyes and, while others would be overjoyed, there’s a sort of blank feeling hanging about in the depths of my soul.

You see, I am incapable of understanding my own soul, yet I feel a part of it missing.

My attempt at explaining to you this thing that’s going on somewhere here, in my mind (for those of you that don’t believe in the concept of the ‘soul’) is obviously a not-very-successful-one, but I’m trying. Just like I’m trying to wake up every day thinking “Today I will feel pure joy again. Today’s going to be different.” If I pressure myself a little more, if I damage my monster enough for it to hide for a few seconds, I feel a little happy. Or, I don’t know if it’s happiness I feel. I can’t distinguish feelings anymore. Everything feels a little… stale, a little oversaturated, lost in the midst of this nothingness.

I don’t want to get into detail as to why I feel like this. After all, it’s one of those “why’s” that can’t really change. The things in one’s life that are unalterable should not be talked about, because then, a feeling of longing for the unattainable solution is created. That particular type of longing is pointless. It’s the ultimate creator of internal torture.

And who needs more monsters sabotaging their life?

After ruling out the unattainable solution to protect myself, there’s a feeling of uselessness emerging and a myriad of questions following along: “Why can’t I help myself?”, “I love helping others, giving them solutions to their problems, but why can’t I find a solution to this mind-numbing abyss?”,” Why can’t I pressure myself into being happy?…”

And so on and so forth.

Emotions are a deeply personal and complex thing and I absolutely despise oversimplifying them like this. In reality, everything I’ve just described is the tip of an indescribably monstrous iceberg. Or, maybe, it is describable to an extent, but I don’t really want to get into depths I won’t be able to pull myself out of.

For the moment, life has come full circle. It feels like I’ve been walking into life’s corridors for centuries, entering doors as I walk and, inevitably exiting. I’ve left a couple open, but most of them are firmly shut and will remain that way. Whenever I enter those corridors again, I always plummet into darkness. I used to always look for light in the doors surrounding me, but I’m tired of opening a gleaming door and closing it after a while. It is, frankly,  draining. That’s why I’ve given up. I don’t like a temporary light if I know it’s going to be dark again in a short while. It’s so much effort even opening the door, laying the bare self, unprotected,  vulnerable into a light that, who knows if it’s ever going to go out.

Darkness has a comfortable quality to it and that’s why it is my preferred place to be. I’ll let you say the constantly-repeated “Nothing ever grows in a comfort zone”, since, well, I do. I sit there until I can grow flowers again; until I become the Flower: the crimson rose; until I have the strength to open another door again.

 

Superficial Beauty

“If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise, it’s just ‘congratulations about your face.'” (John Mayer)

“You look beautiful”, says the man you met about ten minutes ago in the bar. You feel flattered, don’t you? A strange man recognizing that you look attractive. It boosts your confidence, but… haven’t you heard it about a thousand times? Aren’t you sick of hearing the same compliment by someone whose only goal is to get you in bed on the very same night?

Because I know I am.

We pay so much attention to external beauty that we forget of intelligence, of humor, of kindness.  I assume that you’ve never heard “You are very intelligent” as a pick-up line. And if you have, you must have found it extremely odd, right? Truth is, you must know someone a little longer than ten minutes to receive that type of compliment. So one’s last resort is to compliment another’s external ‘show’.

“Isn’t ‘show’ a strange and offensive word to use to describe someone’s attractiveness?”, you might ask. No, it is not. Let me break your veil of ignorance for a moment:

Women spend about two to three hours getting ready for a night out. They spend ages doing their makeup, selecting the perfect figure-hugging outfit, giving their hair an “I just got out of bed”-look. They essentially become someone else to be fed to the naked eye of a man who will, potentially, be attracted to them and approach them. So much work put into a manifestation of a superficial show, just to attract someone’s attention for a moment.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad with wanting to feel nice and taking care of yourself. But, what happened to doing something that is going to make your mental horizons irresistible? What happened to being mentally attracted to someone while also being physically attracted to them?  Allow me to let you in on what happened to it, because apparently, it took an exit to the left when people realized that superficial beauty is the only way to get someone in bed with you as fast as possible.

To be fair, you can’t get to know someone and be attracted to their mind or their mesmerizing personality only by talking to them for an hour. You need a lot more time to realize that.

The thing is that there’s so much expectation from society to look a certain way in order for someone to notice you and tell you that you’re pretty. There’s a tendency to overlook what lies beyond a good looking face. It is lost in between layers of makeup and meaningless small-talk conversations.

My advice? Don’t try so hard. After all, makeup washes off, tight clothes become pajamas, hair goes into a messy bun and contact lenses are replaced by dorky glasses… Few people will stay then. Only the ones who have gotten a real taste of who you are. The ones who have gotten to know how kind, loving, intelligent and generous you are.

Keep those people close, for they have managed to look beyond the ‘show’, beyond your zealous contribution to the game of attraction, beyond beauté superficielle. To them, you will be truly beautiful and it won’t just be “Congratulations [for] your face.”

A Few that Feel a lot

Your whole life, people create these insane expectations for the ‘perfect’ relationship that you are going to have when you’re in your twenties. They tell you that you’ll meet your prince charming, get married, have kids and live happily ever after.

Needless to say that the times when our parents fell in love in such a simple and pure way are far from over.

There are little to no people who want a relationship nowadays and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Being in a committed and exclusively monogamous relationship with someone is a lot of work and takes up a lot of time that no one really has to give.

Plus, let’s also not forget that people are afraid to expose themselves to feelings. As soon as a hint of love appears in their emotional distance, they run away.

Some of those people, have been hurt too many times and are afraid to fall in the rabbit hole of love all over again. Others, just look at being in love as being trapped in a vicious circle called ‘a relationship. They are so attached to the sweetness of their freedom, that giving it up seems absurd and too restraining.

Then, there’s the extreme opposite of people obsessively craving to be in a relationship and fall in love to validate themselves. Since insecurity is something that’s cultivated in today’s society, I am not surprised that this is a thing.

We are a generation of extremes and all of these types of people I just described are to be expected to exist.

The million dollar question, however, is this: What is going to happen to all of those who are in between the extremes? The ones, who just want to fall in love and be with someone just because being in love is one of the best feelings one can experience. They want to fall in love, not for selfish reasons of self-validation, but because they genuinely enjoy giving it to someone who matters to them and deserves that love.

There’s no desperation or rush in that ‘wanting’ to be in love. Whenever life is ready to offer them this feeling to share with someone, they’ll be content.

The sad and unfortunate part is, that there are very few people who feel this way. Most of the time they’re referred to as “hopeless romantics”. ‘Hopeless’, because there’s no hope that they’ll find this dream-like feeling. There’s no hope because something more than a one-night-stand or a friends-with-benefits type of situation is unlikely to happen in our age and generation.

I don’t like being cynical, but I enjoy calling things as they are.

Prioritize yourself and love, because, at one point, there’s going to be nothing emotionally fulfilling in sleeping with a different person every day.

Inconcistencies

It’s unfortunate to be in the position to admit that it’s so hard having friendships in this time and age. I must admit that I might not be, age-wise, the most reliable person to say this, since I’m only 19 years old. However, I’ve had my fair share of people waltzing in and out of my life so, everything I’ll be talking about is from observing relationships that have surrounded me.

Let me lay out the scene for you:

You meet someone, a potential friend, in your work, university or school environment. You talk to them and you immediately connect! You have very similar interests and the conversations you have with them seem incredible. Not only that, but they also appear to be witty and have a good sense of humor – which is always a case for brownie points, if you ask me. Fast forward and you end up hanging out a lot with them and you consider them a ‘friend’.

Wow. What a big word that one – ‘friend’.

Now, let’s say that something not-so-great happens to you and you need a friend’s shoulder to cry on and make you feel better. You immediately think of THAT friend. You know, the one you’ve been hanging out with a lot and actually enjoy their company? Yeah, that one. So, you text them, opening up about what you’ve been going through, asking for their help. They see the message but… they are not available right now. They have things going on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s more than fine to have a life and be busy and have a dozen boyfriends or girlfriends and what-not. However, it seems that this particular friend has only been there for you when you were in need of a party-buddy and not when you needed someone you could rely on.

This is an example of the modern term ‘friendship’. People who are actually looking for a ‘friend’, are at a loss. Almost everyone they’ve met is initially nice to them and then she or he develops inconsistencies in her or his niceness.

‘Friend’ is a fluid term, nowadays. It means that a ‘friend’ is someone whose behavior is unstable towards you. A ‘friend’ is now there for you only when she or he wants to; a ‘friend’ is someone who likes you only when you give something to them but gives you nothing in return, not even something as basic as support; a ‘friend’ is now a person who is completely unreliable.

If you ask me, it’s an abuse of the real term.

It’s insane that people think that they have the right to violate the details and actions concerning a real friendship.

In 2017, friendships have become as dispensable as condoms. This is just sad.

I find myself being constantly disappointed in the human race for a variety of reasons but this… This is just infuriating. We should be able to have long consistent friendships with people by just extending our thoughts and actions to someone other than ourselves.

We are selfish beings by nature but sometimes, just once in a while, let’s just be more consistent with our social relationships and our behavior towards the people who we call our ‘friends’.

 

 

 

Η Γυάλινη Πριγκίπισσα

Κρατιέμαι απ’τα σιδερένια κάγκελα του μπαλκονιού μου και παρατηρώ το φως του ήλιου να χαϊδεύει γλυκά το γυάλινό μου δέρμα. Γυάλινο το βαφτίσανε τόσα στόματα· όχι επειδή είναι λείο, μα επειδή είναι ευαίσθητο.

Ευαίσθητη με βαφτίσανε από μικρή, γιατί έκλαιγα συχνά. Δεν άντεχε η παιδική μου καρδιά τον σκληρό κόσμο. Ήθελα να βλέπω καλοσύνη και ειλικρίνεια εκεί που δεν υπήρχε, ελπίζοντας πάντα πως ο κόσμος είναι καλός κατά βάθος. Όσο ανακάλυπτα το μίσος και την κακία, τόσο πιο πολύ ένιωθα να ραγίζω απ’την ευαισθησία μου. Έτσι, όταν ήμουν μόλις εφτά χρονών, βάφτισα τον εαυτό μου ‘γυάλινη πριγκίπισσα’. Και όντως, ήμουν από γυαλί. Ράγιζα κι έσπαγα στο άγγιγμα των λέξεων, ακόμα κι εκείνων των πιο μικρών, των ανούσιων. Ένιωθα αδύναμη. Ήθελα μια πανοπλία, έναν σιδερένιο ιππότη να με σώσει, να προστατέψει τη γυάλινή μου καρδιά.

Η γυάλινη πριγκίπισσα αρέσει, ελκύει. Το να είσαι αβοήθητη θεωρείται ομορφιά στα μάτια του κόσμου και των σιδερένιων ιπποτών. Ευαίσθητη με βάφτιζαν κι αυτοί, ώσπου δεν ήξερα τι άλλο να είμαι. Αβοήθητη, έσπαγα εύκολα διαρκώς κι εκείνοι νόμιζαν πως με έσωζαν.

Αμέτρητες φορές έχω γίνει κομματάκια στα χέρια ενός ιππότη. Όμως, κανένας δεν κάθεται να μαζέψει τα γυάλινά μου ψύγματα μετά. Κανείς δεν νοιάζεται αρκετά.

Έτσι, η λυπημένη γυάλινη πριγκίπισσα έχανε όλο και περισσότερο τον εαυτό της στη σιδερένια αγκαλιά κάποιου ιππότη. Ύστερα μάζευε τα κομμάτια της ένα-ένα, γιατί τη ράγισαν οι λέξεις· εκείνες που ειπώθηκαν και οι άλλες, οι τσουχτερές, που ήταν κρυμμένες στη σιωπή.

Αχ, μικρή μου πριγκίπισσα… Πότε θα καταλάβεις πως δεν είσαι από γυαλί, μα από το πιο αδιαπέραστο διαμάντι; Πότε θα δεις τον εαυτό σου σαν το παντοδύναμο ον που είσαι κι όχι σαν ένα αβοήθητο σπουργιτάκι;

Ξέρω, δεν ελκύει η αυτοπεποίθηση, γιατί την φοβάται ο κόσμος. Μα εσύ δεν χρειάζεται να παραμένεις γυάλινη για κάποιον άλλον. Δεν είσαι ευαίσθητη πια… ή μάλλον, ποτέ δεν ήσουν. Εκείνοι σε έκαναν.

Κοιτάζω τον τρόπο που χορεύει το φως στο δέρμα μου για λίγο ακόμα… Απολαμβάνω το διαμαντένιο του λαμπύρισμα. Με κάνει να νιώθω πως έχω τον έλεγχο του εαυτού μου. Έχω τον έλεγχο να βαφτίσω τον εαυτό μου όπως θέλω εγώ, κι επιλέγω να είμαι “Δυνατή”. Δεν πειράζει άμα υπάρχουν άνθρωποι που φοβούνται αυτή τη δύναμη, αυτή την ανεξαρτησία μου. Δεν αντέχουν όλοι τις πριγκίπισσες που αστράφτουν αυτοπεποίθηση.

Θέλει ο κόσμος τις γυάλινες πριγκίπισσες, τις καλλιεργεί. Δεν θα του κάνω τη χάρη· όχι πια.

Emotional Numbness

Or ‘numbing mode’. I read somewhere online that this is what happens to people who have gone through a long period of grief.

Grief. You don’t need to cry to grieve someone’s departure from your life. It can happen even when you don’t realize it. Hearing a word, seeing a rose, listening to a song or even a specific language, can trigger grief.  It stings a little bit every time something like this happens and you’re left with a gigantic wound somewhere in your heart. Again. Only this time, the wound is numb.

This damn thing that gushes memories and not blood, hurts when you least expect it; when you thought three-quarters of a year was enough. Well, apparently they are not.

Feeling nothing is not that bad. You just need to get used to this nothingness. You’re trying so hard to feel something. Maybe a little bit of pain, but there’s nothing there. There’s only physical pain that works, but I don’t want to come close to losing my life to steal a few feelings.

So, I will just stand here, holding a void of feelings in my hands, distancing myself from everything and everyone that makes me feel nothing.

Maybe distance is the ultimate cure for emotional nothingness. Even if this distance is only 74.8 kilometers.