Mood.

Sometimes I feel like a caretaker of a museum; a huge, empty museum where no one ever comes and I am watching over it for no one but myself.- Haruki Murakami

I cannot rid myself of the feeling that I am not in the right place-Franz Kafka

I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question- Harun Yahya

I need days when I can be alone, to think, to daydream-Margarita Karapanou

I swear to you that to think too much is a disease, a real actual disease- Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I don’t know who I am, where I am going- and I am the one who has to decide the answers to these hideous questions.-Sylvia Plath

The other day, lying in bed, felt my heart beating for the first time in a long while. I realized how little I live in my body, how much in my mind. –Rodger Kamenetz

I desire very little, but the things I do consume me.-Beau Taplin

I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go- Charles Bukowski

What you seek is seeking you-Rumi

I have no idea.

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
And I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry. I never know what I’m going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That’s fine with us. Every morning
We glow and in the evening we glow again.”

― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

i love all women…even the ones i hate.

“…if you criticise X in women but do not criticise X in men, you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.”Chimamanda Adichie.

I hate to interrupt my little lockdown reverie to address this but I cannot stop thinking about it so it has to be done. Plus I have been meaning to write about this for aeons so here it is.

A member of the Karjenner Klan was recently pictured with a basketballer so of course social media, which claims to be above these women, had a field day with it. In the midst of all the silly opinions was a tweet that thoroughly disgusted and enraged me: A video of a child being passed around some teenage boys. The video itself looks innocent- just a child playing with her relatives (I assume). The caption that accompanied the video was “Kendall Jenner being passed around the NBA.

Where do we even begin?

First off, a video of a child is being used to depict a woman as a sexual object. Secondly a woman is being referred to as a sexual object.

How is it acceptable to say that about a woman? Men get so triggered when a woman is in full control of her body; or where she throws that cooch to quote Ms. Jenner. Saying Kendall Jenner is being passed around because you saw a picture of her and a man is misogynist. There are no two ways about it. If you are a woman laughing about this then you are as tragic as the men. One day they will come for you too. And please save the ridiculous master key and master lock nonsense.

It is beyond rude and chauvinist to say a woman is being passed around. It reduces her (and women in general) to objects and strips her of her autonomy. A lot of men cannot conceive of women as human beings in our own right; real autonomous humans, let alone sexual beings.

In a nutshell most of the atrocities committed against women can be summarised thus: Men want to have sex; men want to have sex with women, but men don’t want women to want to have sex. Men feel entitled to women’s bodies and are enraged by sexual autonomy on the part of the woman.

In the eyes of a lot men, women exist primarily as sex objects. Sex is largely something that is done to women and the language used is evidence of this. A man and a woman cannot simply have sex; she is fucked, smashed, banged, hit, beat, passed around. The lingo is violent to fully convey that this woman (or female as the clowns say) is an object being used by the man for the satiation of his sexual desires. She is not an equal participant as that will mean her satisfaction has to be considered as well. No, she is an object to be used and people get such a hard on watching women be degraded and belittled.

The female sexuality is so fascinating, so titillating, it drives people insane. However a woman’s sexuality is only relevant in as much as it caters to the male gaze and male satisfaction. Men want to be the only ones who benefit from the female sexuality. People love porn yet hate the women who act in the porn. Men salivate over so called instagram models, yet ridicule them at any chance. It is okay for a woman to be naked and sexually explicit so that these men can jerk their brains off, but even as they jerk off they are judging the woman for the very action that is turning them on.

These men, the slut shamers and the incels, feel entitled to women’s bodies and cannot stand that a woman has a say in who she shares her body with. Men lose their minds over women and the fact that a woman is in full control of where she throws that cooch is excruciating for them, inconceivable even. A woman moving about freely, dating who she wants and rejecting those she doesn’t is triggering for these people who then seek to belittle the woman in any way that they can.

As sex is something only to be enjoyed by men, women are berated for liking sex or benefiting from it in other ways (e.g. monetary). For example, women on onlyfans (a porn site) were being ridiculed on social media, but then there was an alleged leak and all the men were begging for the links. So they have no problems with the women performing sexual acts, all the insults were because the women have been able to monetise it. They like the videos and pictures, but the thought of the woman also benefitting from this financially is triggering to these clowns.

This perception of women as sex objects is why we are always under constant threat. If life was a National Geographic show, Attenborough would be telling us how men are predators and women are prey not just because women have less physical strength but also because of the thing between our legs which intoxicates the male human.

In  addition to being titillating, female sexuality also scares men for some reason. I do not understand why. Female circumcision, where the clitoris is cut off, is done in order to prevent a woman from being promiscuous. In some countries, young girls approaching puberty have their breasts ironed with heated objects to prevent them from developing and thereby “protecting” the girls from unwanted sexual advances. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. So many atrocities can be traced back to the female sexuality and the simultaneous craving for and fear of it.

Listen, people hate women, full-stop. There was a NFL draft recently and every girlfriend was immediately tagged a gold-digger. These people live to ridicule and belittle women; every woman is one misstep (if even) away from being painted as a gold-digging whore. Now even if she is a gold-digging whore so what?  Unless she is holding the man hostage why are you so bothered? A 90 year old man could leave his wife of 70 years for a 20 year old woman and she will be the one to be ridiculed and called a gold-digger. As though it is not a mutually beneficial relationship in which he gets her youth and he gives her a comfortable life. A man will chat up a woman by talking about all the money he has, and then turn around in shock to say she is only after his money. Men, the so called superior gender, are so babied when it comes to these issues they are practically imbeciles. A man marries a woman for her looks but it is her intentions that are always being questioned. She is the one who has to prove that she loves him for him. It is exhausting. These men must date themselves then.

Kendall is a young multi millionaire who does not need these men’s money, yet she cannot date as she wishes without being called a gold-digger and a whore amongst other names. The girl is quite literally dating. Leonardo DiCaprio is on his 101st model-his next girlfriend is still hatching in her mother’s womb- but he will never be criticised the same way. Men will live vicariously through him, and imagine it is them banging the models; women may offer weak criticisms, mostly about the age of his girlfriends but nothing too serious. Yet men and women will come together to call a woman a whore for dating more than two men.

It is especially tragic when women participate in this ridicule. A lot of women knowingly or unknowingly automatically see other women as competition for God knows what.  Every woman being ridiculed is an opportunity for some women to feel proud of themselves and revel in their virtues. They get to look down at these women, pleased with themselves that they are not like those girls. But we are all those girls. 

I am as prudish as they come, and I say this to show that you do not have to be “that type of girl” in order to defend women. I cannot understand why it makes sense to ridicule another woman for not being a prude, especially as we ignore or even celebrate men for doing the same things. You can be a church going perpetual virgin and still desist from insulting women who choose to live their lives differently. We must look at the bigger picture; it is ridiculous to join these men in ridiculing fellow women, especially for things that they would not ridicule their fellow men for. How do women not see this? I don’t even have to agree with a woman’s sexual proclivities but I’ll be dammed if I sit and giggle with a raggedy man who is ridiculing her for it. Madness. I like all women, even the ones that I hate.

As women were are bound and enslaved by the unrelenting need to preserve our reputation. Yes every one has to protect their reputation but a woman’s reputation is always hanging by a thin thread. We are at risk of losing our reputation for simple biological urges which men are celebrated for. A man is praised for having sex but the woman he has sex with is ridiculed. There is no sense in this. How many times have we seen women be worried to have sex on the first date because of how the man will perceive them. Imagine that! You are worried that the man you had sex with will judge you for having sex with him. There are arguments for and against having sex on the first date but my goodness the judgement of the person you had sex with should not be one of them. If he was such a good guy then maybe he should have resisted the idea of sex on the first date. As a man you want to have sex. You want to have sex with women. Yet you judge women who want to have sex with you. Make it make sense please.

Women are constantly running themselves ragged trying to protect this reputation of a thing. It is therefore demoralising when they cannot sexually shame a woman. Once you cannot shame a woman for being a sexual being, everything falls apart. How do you shame the shameless? They resort to threatening women with marriage; “Nobody will marry her.” Ha!

Even sex workers are not immune from the need for respectability and reputation. I have watched interviews of porn stars in which they try to distance and distinguish themselves from prostitutes; one even took offense to being called a sex worker.

I once saw a tweet to the effect of “one hundred women can accuse a man of rape and everyone needs more proof. One man accuses a woman of being a whore and her reputation is instantly damaged.” Truer words have never been spoken. This is the battle we are up against.

Perhaps this is the fascination with the Kardashian-Jenner women; their willingness to do things that to others will be seen as ruining their reputation. Women, free yourself from the prison of respectability. Free yourself from the bondage of getting these men to like you.

Of course my little rant is not going to change anything. More accomplished women with better vocabulary have been discussing this same issue for years. It is a sad thought, but perhaps this will always be the case. Still at the very least, we women need to stop laughing along with these men when they ridicule us. Hating another woman will not make you more likeable, and even if it does it is only temporary. Before long it’s you in front of the firing squad, trying fruitlessly to defend your reputation.

I will end this with a quote from one of my faves, Rumi.

“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”

 

 

 

Love love love

There is only one happiness in life; to love and be loved. -George Sand.

I am a sucker for love. Yes I roll my eyes at the couples on the train excavating each others mouths with their tongues. Sure I cannot bear to watch public declarations of love, and I scroll past gushing posts on Instagram. It is true that I have never found a proposal romantic, and while everyone else is in tears at “The best proposal ever omg”, I am sat there with a blank look on my face wondering what all the fuss is about. But goddammit I have seen The Notebook two times and if that doesn’t make me a soppy lover-girl then what does?

Seriously though, I do love love. I love how two people, who were once strangers, can come to care deeply for each other; how their lives become blissfully intertwined and the thought of a life without the other is unbearable to consider. It is truly a blessing to be able to find another soul whose presence eases the burden and drudgery of life- a Soulmate. It must be amazing to have a companion so one does not have to face this world alone; a companion to help stave off the inevitable loneliness that is always lurking around waiting to pounce.

“How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.”- Sylvia Plath

I like proper love, not the toxic mess people refer to as passion a la Gossip Girl and other dramas. When I say love, I don’t mean the Chucks and Blairs of the world who continue to hurt and betray each other with words and actions but claim they have a passionate relationship. I like love: Two people who genuinely care about each other’s well-being, and who do things to make life easier and happier for the other.

“I want you to laugh, to kill all your worries, to love you, to nourish you. Oh sweet bitterness, I will soothe you and heal you. I will bring you roses. I too have been covered with thorns.” -Rumi

I love love in all its forms; romantic love between lovers of course, but also love among friends, sibling love, love between mother (or father) and child, human and pet, Lioness and Cub. While I may not care for the public/performative aspect, I do enjoy the little glimpses of love. One of my favourite ways of experiencing this is through letters. Perhaps it’s the fact that letter writing is a dead art, and frankly unnecessary in today’s age, but letters are just so romantic, much more so than text messages or direct messages on social media. Another thing is the effort people in the olden days put in their letters; honestly people seemed to have better grammar and way with words back in the day. I guess all the shorthand we use nowadays has limited our expression to some degree.

Every now and then, I come across a letter written by one lover to another and I devour it hungrily- first racing through it and then going over it slowly, absorbing all the words and letting them wash over me.

Listen, some people have loved and been loved in this life-lucky bastards. I will now share some of my favourite love letters.

To start of with is this beautiful letter from Physicist Richard Feynman. The letter is so moving that I wrote a post just for it. When Richard wrote the letter to his wife, she had been dead two years, and the letter was only read 30 years later after his own death. This was a love that transcended time and death, a love not predicated on what one could get in return.

I adore you, sweetheart.

I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.

***

And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.

Next up is this letter from Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf which grips from the very first line. “I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia”. When I think of love letters that is the first sentence that comes to my mind.

I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way.

When I first came across this letter years ago, I knew nothing about Henry Miller or Anais Nin. I still don’t know anything about Henry Miller, but I have become a bit more familiar with Anais Hill. It is interesting that Anais was married to another man when this letter was written, and though she remained married to him till her death, she had lots of affairs, and even another marriage while still married! When she died she essentially left behind two widowers. What a woman.

Henry wrote the letter to Anais after spending time in her house while her husband was away. It is so passionate and powerful, and I wonder what went through her mind as she read it.

Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous.

***

Here I am back and still smouldering with passion, like wine smoking. Not a passion any longer for flesh, but a complete hunger for you, a devouring hunger.

The Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov enjoyed a lifelong romance with his wife and partner Vera. Naturally they exchanged lots of lovey dovey letters for the forty six years that they were together. The letters have been complied into a tome titled Letters to Vera, snippets of which can be seen here. I was particularly drawn to the excerpt below and I read it over and over again. This is the most succinct description of a companion I have come across, just someone you can tell the most random things that come to mind.

Yes, I need you, my fairy-tale. Because you are the only person I can talk with about the shade of a cloud, about the song of a thought — and about how, when I went out to work today and looked a tall sunflower in the face, it smiled at me with all of its seeds.

When I first read this letter, I came undone. It was written a long long time ago in South Korea by the pregnant widow of the man it was addressed to. The letter was found on his chest when his tomb was discovered by some nosy archaeologists. This, along with the Feynman letter, highlight the other side of loving someone; the fact that they could be taken away from you. It is nice to find your soulmate, but falling in love only increases the likelihood of getting hurt. Imagine outliving the love of your life by several decades. Unbearable. But still as they say, it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.

How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, “Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?” How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?

I already posted an excerpt from this love letter from Jean Paul Sartre and it is so precious that I have to post it again. I always thought he wrote this to his main squeeze Simone de Beauvoir, but it turns out he wrote it to another Simone (Jollivet).

“Tonight I love you in a way that you have not known in me: I am neither worn down by travels nor wrapped up in the desire for your presence. I am mastering my love for you and turning it inwards as a constituent element of myself. This happens much more often than I admit to you, but seldom when I’m writing to you. Try to understand me: I love you while paying attention to external things. At Toulouse I simply loved you. Tonight I love you on a spring evening. I love you with the window open. You are mine, and things are mine, and my love alters the things around me and the things around me alter my love.”

This letter was written by Milada Horakova to her teenage daughter Jana, the day before she was executed for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Czech communist regime. It is different to the other love letters because it’s not between lovers, and the circumstances are sad, but I could still feel the love she had for her child. The letter is heartbreaking because I cannot fathom what she must have been going through writing this letter, knowing she would never see her daughter again and watch her grow up. I also cannot imagine what the daughter felt reading this letter knowing she would never see her mother again. It is quite sad. In this letter she tried her best to guide her daughter as much as she could in a letter, even giving her skincare tips, and critiquing her hairdo. Even in the letter, she mentions her love for her husband (Jana’s father). Milada was eventually exonerated after her death and received a posthumous national award. She was truly a remarkable woman.

My only little girl Jana,

God blessed my life as a woman with you. As your father wrote in the poem from a German prison, God gave you to us because he loved us. Apart from your father’s magic, amazing love you were the greatest gift I received from fate.

***

And so, my only young daughter, little girl Jana, new life, my hope, my future forgiveness, live! Grasp life with both hands! Until my last breath I shall pray for your happiness, my dear child!

I recently watched Glenn Close in The Wife, a movie about a woman whose husband wins the Nobel Prize in Literature. When receiving the award, the husband makes a speech acknowledging his wife and sharing the honour with her. Now if you have watched the film, you know that all is not as it seems. Still the speech was the most memorable part of the film for me, and on its own is really quite lovely.

Really this honour should go to someone else-my wife Joan. Joan truly is my better half; she has made it possible for me to find the stillness as well as the noise to create my body of work. Without her, I certainly wouldn’t be standing here tonight; I’d be at home, staring at a blank piece of paper, my mouth open in stupefaction. My wife is my sanity, my conscience, and the inspiration for every decent impulse I have ever had. Joan you are my muse, my love, my soul and I share this honour with you.

I will end this post with this letter from Humphrey Bogart to Lauren Bacall (who he fondly referred to as Slim). They had a complicated relationship, with him being 25 years older, and on his third marriage when they started dating. Regardless of all that, this letter warmed my heart a lot.

“Slim darling, you came along and into my arms and into my heart and all the real true love I have is yours – and now I’m afraid you won’t understand and that you’ll become impatient and that I’ll lose you – but even if that happened, I wouldn’t stop loving you for you are my last love and all the rest of my life I shall love you and watch you and be ready to help you should you ever need help.

All the nice things I do each day would be so much sweeter and so much gayer if you were with me. I find myself saying a hundred times a day, ‘If Slim could only see that’ or ‘I wish Slim could hear this.’ I want to make a new life with you – I want all the friends I’ve lost to meet you and know you and love you as I do – and live again with you, for the past years have been terribly tough, damn near drove me crazy. You’ll soon be here, Baby, and when you come you’ll bring everything that’s important to me in this world with you.”

Sigh. L’amour!

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

RUMI

No heart left

“I am smiling at myself today
There’s no wish left in this heart
Or perhaps there is no heart left
Free from all desire
I sit quietly like Earth
My silent cry echoes like thunder
Throughout the universe
I am not worried about it
I know it will be heard by no one
Except me.”
Rumi

I want to know how you whisper “more”

“I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“more”
Rumi