July 29, 2009

What Else Is New?

Over the past few months I have witnessed a few couples getting  divorced; I've known them for a long time, have attended their weddings maybe ten or so years ago. Why are we inclined to embrace the joyful, histrionic pace of a wedding, but turn our face away and point fingers when it comes to divorce or separation? Because of course, it is socially unacceptable, the more hypocritical the group, the less prone to overlook the slippery roads...
After my first divorce, for almost 2 years my parents concealed this from their relatives in the country. "They cannot understand this, it was different in their days".
Some poor movie had a line I randomly recall - a couple was on the verge of separation; wife says - Darling, I thought our love would last a lifetime. Husband: My dear, lifelong love was likely to exist when life expectancy was 35.

I enjoy my moments of freedom; I demand them and I eagerly wait for them. And I certainly don't mean time at the hairstylist or shopping, or meeting and gossiping with a girlfriend. I mean the moments when I am alone, daydreaming or walking, my cell phone is off, my laptop is off, tv is off, internet is off. I need to be able to reconsider decisions, remember little things long forgotten, or make secret plans. It's nothing serious, I mean, come on!! What can really be serious in a virtual world?? But the possibilities are countless, and that makes the escape worth every minute spent out of daily routine. The truth has many facets, we move back and forth between our identities, trying to align the double, triple, multiple truths to match our desires.
Hanging on or letting go? I can only hope life outside remains more varied than my own existence; thus, I'll keep feeling adequate and completely indifferent to other people's societal trials and tribulations.
Just like the sound coming from inside a cave; it turns and twirls, and in the end it's impossible to identify or represent its origin.

July 08, 2009

I'm Not A Lesbian

I am a devoted "Seinfeld" fan; I have watched every episode a few times, and could quote endlessly... Of course I took many quizzes on "Which character of Seinfeld are you?" - and usually I end up being Elaine.
I remember the times when feminism was just a polite way of describing a 'woman of light morals'; living in a country where men have barely stepped outside of the cave ( and I am not inferring Plato's cave...) - I am so used to hearing the overly used cliche - feminists are ugly, sexually deprived women, with nothing better to do than rant about how man treat them badly.
A joke has seriously troubled my teenage years - "A husband comes home, with his buddy and without as much as a word, beats his wife. Buddy asks: Why did you do that for??? Husband replies: Don't worry, she knows why!!" To this day, I fail to understand why each and every living man I know laughs his head off at this joke. Statistics show that in my country, domestic violence is very high; guess the joke has served its purpose, transgressing metaphysics and turning into an all too convenient number.

I am privileged to have met a well-known feminist writer; I have read one of her books and followed her column in a weekly social science magazine; while we had a few cold beers, she confessed, in a light vein, about the hateful messages she is receiving - the labels go from "ugly lesbian", "fat cow", "repressed nymphomaniac", to who knows what. I wonder if awareness has by any chance increased since access to feminist theory is more available via media and literature. Judging by the sexist advertising videos, news or tv shows, I am tempted to say it's unlikely. I am appalled to visit the toys section in supermarkets - the girls shelves are packed with miniature kitchens, vacuum cleaners and grocery stores on the one side, and bimbo attires on the other - miniature beauty parlors, disco outfits and similar. Housewife or prostitute in the making? What happened to the good old "in-between"?

Anyway, back to Elaine.

Elaine: You know what your problem is? Your standards are too high.
Jerry: I went out with you.
Elaine: That's because my standards are too low.

Elaine: I'm not a lesbian. I hate men, but I'm not a lesbian.

*** To all women who can display a genuinely honest smile in a men's world.

June 08, 2009

The Dream Metanarrative

I received an email which made me stop and breathe heavily; my own dreams are subject to reinterpretation - but here comes the weird thing - someone I've never had to consider dreams of a complicity of the highest kind, involving me...
Who are we beyond the 'looking glass'?
I love this woman, although I've never had as much as a cup of coffee with her - we've shared moments of solitude - and moments of malice over the internet - 9 hours apart - my day ends while she is at work; she dreams while I am working - then we meet again and stir more waves from one side of the ocean to the other. Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Email: From...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009 2:37 PM

"Speaking of dreams, then, last night I dreamed that we were together. I guess it was in your country, since I had no understanding of the environment. I had killed a woman (odd) and had either written it or communicated it to you very indirectly, in such a manner that I didn't actually confess it. You said in a lowered voice, "You mean that you killed her" to which I didn't respond. Time space was indistinct, though, and the woman was alive. Then you killed her. It left signs in daily life which we recognized but which we shared with no one, hoping that these signs weren't comprehensible to others. Some were literally signs (as on street benches and buses and so forth), though they were very cryptic. Some were image oriented, but I can't really remember the nature of the images or where they appeared, just that they were images.
Take that one, Ms Lacan, and have fun with it."

June 06, 2009

One Day in June

Summer, heat, beer, traffic jam, mall: shopping... jeans skirt; walk, coffee; shopping ... white top, white top; former school friend - hello - how are you - long time no see!; shopping - white skirt, tan shirt; toilet - shopping - blue top, black top, green top, black dress, hippie bracelet. - enter the PIN code please - thank you for shopping with us - summer rain, beautiful girls crossing the street. Elections posters, strawberries, coffee, walk walk - phone, hello, how are you? let's meet for a drink tomorrow - ah, not good - election day, but soon - I promise; stairs, more stairs - panic attack - silence, phone - sunset - I can't remember last time we had a good time together - you are a bitch - thank you - good night.

May 22, 2009

To dream or not?!

I have weird dreams; or I don't dream at all; not sure how much I can trust the freudian theories on this matter, but if I was to ponder, I'd probably start worrying about hidden meanings.
At times, dreams bring to surface long lost memories. Last night I dreamed about my exams back in uni; I could not remember a thing – and I failed miserably… I have been a straight A student all my life, so this came as a shock; so I wake up in a sweat and wonder what my life would be now if I had failed in university.

I don’t have many things to hold onto if I were to describe myself. Little by little, along the way, I lost interest in the extra-curricular activities which made life fun back in the late 80’s and early 90’s; I hardly ever read a book, I no longer go to concerts or opera. I have abandoned live jazz in favor of records, and I surely no longer paint. Of course I am complaining about this, I still buy books and CDs, but they pile up on the nightstand and I spend my evenings in front of the tv, and my weekends meeting friends and bar-hopping, gossiping and remembering ‘the good old days’.

Then again – being a doctor makes it reasonable, I suppose, to pretend I am under a lot of stress. I AM under stress, but I think I am even more worried to realize I am a pale reflection of what I remember I was ages ago. I have filled my daily life with objects and people – so I’d never have to be completely out of ideas and alone. I am good at floating and walking around a maze without directions.

I just miss eating chips and drinking beer in the central park of this beautiful medieval city, while the band is playing ‘Stella by Starlight’ as the night is falling over the last evening of the jazz festival.

February 25, 2009

Things I have forgotten

This morning I was chatting online with a cyber friend - he asked me to tell him something about myself that he doesn't already know. I thought - hey that shouldn't be too hard, since he never actually met me, or was part of my real life...
But then I find myself staring blankly at the keyboard, and realizing I have no idea what to say.
Life makes me concentrate on the mundane - my job, my marriage with its ups and downs, my little errands and pastimes. I forget to look at myself – in the mirror or inside my memories.

Oddly enough, I can think of myself as a coherent entity in the past – my high school years, my university ‘self’ – but those images are well defined because the context helped them build up. Making a name/ a life for myself in a post-Cold War environment has required a truly outrageous energy. Bohemian times were locked up for keeps and unlikely to come back.

I miss the times when my identity involved long –long skirts, guitar playing, outdoor painting or poetry reading. One by one, they got replaced by smart suits, fancy hi-fi audio equipment, reading and writing checks and attending boring functions.

So who am I? Maybe even writing this on my laptop in a fancy word processor is peeling yet another layer off my once round and colorful self; I should have written it on paper, deprived of the backspace key and the perfect alignment of text.

Hey, of course I am all of the above, but I wish for a moment I could step off the day-by-day platform, take off my high heels and eat food with my fingers, maybe sneak in the cinema theater without paying the ticket. I still AM able to fill the blank spaces with colorful patches from the past. Hope they can make for a good mirror reflection

February 01, 2009

A Dead Affair

A number of years ago I was dating a promising young architect; handsome, clever, well spoken; being in my early twenties, naturally he swept me off my feet... Of all the stories he told me, I remember one that fascinated me - he slept with his best friend's mother - at that age - this sort of 'reversed' relationship sort of appalled me... I mean, the woman must have been in her 40s...
Eighteen years and many lovers later I realize the relativity of it all. I had affairs with all kinds of men, younger, older, clever, common, fit or not. My history with the said architect has since covered almost two decades, has slipped through three marriages - two of his, one of mine. We're still running in circles, looking for the perfect moment to meet and interact. I am recalling this affair pretty often - firstly because it was my first love, secondly because it was a love that grew with me, and finally, because I learned from it the lesson of rejection .

January 12, 2009

Through the Looking Glass

One year ago, I met a friend who was pretty much determined to leave her husband because she had found 'true love' on Facebook. Of course I told her to have her head examined and get back to her senses... One year later, the marriage is still on, albeit shaky, because her reality has been turned upside down.

What is reality and what is fiction in cyberspace? Do we, as women, tend to 'escape' routine for all the reasons men do? I am thinking maybe not. While men would pursue their sexual fantasies when online, the women I have in mind are trying to reinvent themselves - to create the 'persona' that has been denied to them in real life. Many of them will tell me they have been taken for granted for too long by their husbands/partners.
"The woman I see in the mirror is not me, he has turned me into a clockwork device, insensitive pig!"
While protected by the neutrality of the screen, all the scars heal, and the little lies become a form of elegant sophistication.

There are no worries about cellulite, wrinkles or hairy legs. Escapism takes over... Freedom is a click away.