unplugging

“There are things in that paper which nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish [he] would take me away from here!”

(from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”)

the pattern of my life seems to have come into focus recently and as i grow bitter… er, older, and recognize the place once vacated by naiveté as enthralled by the art of disenchantment, i realize a certain disturbing truth about reality … more specifically, mine.

life is unassuming. reality isn’t.

i have an unbounded and deep respect for life and have been known to often proclaim that Life is my religion, for it is self-sufficient, self-loving and self-evolving. only life has the most unrestrained respect and utter adoration for all living things. now, if you knew the glorious mess in which i find myself you’d probably gasp at such audacity, for the general consensus leads to the implication that life in the pits must be a life well despised. i say, such asinine assumptions belong in the heads of the defeated. death, pain, destruction, sorrow, abandonment and loss are all life’s useful tools and while the power they carry brings me to my knees, i find myself full of awe at the magnitude, the timing, the irony and the questions answered. it is during these heart staggering moments i casually look up, as an attempt to address my goddess Life, and proclaim: “you smart bitch!”

life is modest. unassuming. blind to judgment. life just is and it is magnificent!

reality – the one created by us – is a bloated, self-centered, money-hungry, power-starved, label-producing, drama-craving, drug-inducing, status-longing, judgmental whore-pig! it drives me apeshit! someone called me an idealist for owning such thoughts. the contempt with which he accompanied the word idealist was meant as a clear sign of insult. i took the “insult” and *ahem* my drink to the other room because at that point it had become clear that my idealism would shed no light in the dark and narrow path he had chosen to take. perhaps i am just that: an idealist. but we have met the enemy and it really is us.

i don’t believe in this reality. it has taken many of the things i once deemed good into compartmentalized rows of severed minds. it’s a reality that insists upon the cutting off from the whole and my itty bitty idealistic mind quite strongly, albeit politely, disagrees. no, fuck that. not politely. the person who shuddered at the sight of an idealist also felt it necessary to make the following comment: “with a dress like that you would be blown to pieces in the middle east!”

i swear, i heard an explosion. it was my brain.

when are we going to pull our collective massive head out of our collective amateur ass? will this charade ever end? patterns of the self (read: mine) are only appearing slightly visible now! how does lucy, benny, james and fucking penny pretend to know about me? forgive the passion darlings – don’t know about you but i get quite spicy when i read the verdict fitted for a crime i haven’t even committed.”he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,” said the master. jesus, the man, the divinity and the myth, wouldn’t have survived 21st century for a second! i imagine entire forests would have to be annihilated, too. come on! one cross would not even begin the bear the sins of our fathers and those before them.

i’ve gone off on a tangent again, and now i can’t even remember the point of it all. i was simply re-visiting “The Yellow Wallpaper!” and now here i am, pissing-off one idealist-hater at a time. oh technology, how i love thee.

Klodi

The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls




The Glass Castle is a very simple book to read. The author is Jeannette Walls. I hadn’t heard about this book or the author until last week when I was hanging out with a group of friends. The book is the memoir of this girl from the time she was little until she is a grown up. She tells the story from her viewpoint. Jeannette narrates about her life in the Walls family. The author describes her life and her family’s, their experiences, their hardships that each of them encounters, and how each of them deals with it. Her parents try to teach their kids to be very independent and find their way through life, even when life is very tough for the little ones; these kids have to survive on their own.

The parents are both very smart and dumb at the same time; especially in the way they rear the children. Their personal addiction comes before the children. As a result of their compulsion, the kids are the ones that suffer the most. These kids suffer. Kids needs are overlooked because parents always come up with new excuses. Her parents seem to find a new way out to escape from the responsibility that they have towards their own chidlren. The parent’s excuses will change their entire lives, some for good and some for bad.

One thing that I notice when I read this book that the family tries to stay together even when things are not going well. The children try to help one another and be there to go through the mess that the parents have created.

I recommend the book because it gives a different perspective, especially when related to family and children. The beautiful thing about this book is that it tells the reader that no matter how hard life can be, one still can manage to succeed and make something good out of it. One should not just focus on life’s miseries and dissapointments, but should put those bad memories behind the shoulders and focus on the future and trying to have a better one than the one our parents didn’t create or make for us.

picture taken from: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=the+glass+castle&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

Belle

she. he. him and her.

i got a package today. at work. a letter. a photo album. a home video.

it had been too long.

she, seems to have developed some sharp edges. wrinkles on her neck. those around her mouth seem more pronounced. there is a slight downward curve to her face and the clavicles are definitely protruding. she, is standing in the middle of the kitchen. she reigns in that particular room, you see, and she is proudly showing it off. it’s brand new. she smiles. there is a sparkle in her eye, the lid of which has completely disappeared. i know this woman. i know her well. damn it all to hell, i’m having a hard time making amends with time on her face. her neck. i can’t reconcile. she reminds me of someone i know. it’s startling to see the resemblance, for i was once certain that there wasn’t any. alas. it’s there. she looks like me! i look like her.

she is my mother. i haven’t seen her in five years.

he is the man of my life. he, who persistently showed me self-less love and utter devotion, holds a newspaper in his veiny hands – the very hands that once held and protected me. strong and vibrant, then. he flashes a beaming smile. his upper lip seems to have receded, somewhat. his once salt and pepper hair lacks a sufficient amount of pepper. i rather like it. he wears a light pink button down shirt. i can’t take my eye off that third button. behind it, some flesh and skin, hides his newly flawed heart. wish i could put my ear to his chest. i’d like to confront this capricious organ. and the time lost. there are two deep lines originating from the corner of each eye. they shoot downward. ah time, you were never on my side. behind the glasses i see his eyes. they resonate warmth. wisdom. safety.

he is my father. i haven’t seen him in five years.

him and her are young. and beautiful. him? i have known all my life. her? a new addition. he wears a strong, defined jaw, broad shoulders, strong arms and the most sincere smile. he holds her close to him, arm tightly around her small waist. she is his bride to be. i have never met her. he, who once got ridiculously scratched by and from a little tantrum thrown by yours truly, today wears a confident clean skin. the boy with whom i spent countless summer afternoons, indulging into the art of inventive house-gamery has completely vanished. my partner in crime who once, out of pure boredom, threw grapes at our neighbors from our balcony, is now a man.

he is my brother. i haven’t seen him in five years.

i … continue to put the pieces of the puzzle together. too long. worn and torn from the defeating obstacles i wait for my return. for that confrontation with my father’s bully heart. for my mother’s cooking. for her lap, so i can lay my head. and for a re-discovery of my brother. and his future bride.

them…

Klodi

forever?

in an attempt to respond to a blog written by belle_fleur, i discovered that in my reply resided an entire argument, much too complicated and highly subjective to be taking up the space of a mere reply. thusly, i am speaking my mind in my own little corner and await with heightened curiosity the response my attitude, toward a little thing called love-and-marriage in the 21st century, will receive.

in her blog, belle expresses her concern and disappointment over a research study, the conclusions of which have arrived at the general opinion that the divorce rate is seemingly climbing the charts during times of terminal illnesses. 50% of all marriages in America end in divorce. in other words one in every two couples opts for a dissolution of marriage. this is quite unsettling. and it becomes even more so when you throw ovarian, breast and testicular cancer into the mix and are suddenly left with an unsolvable equation of principles of the old, and struggles of the new. you can read belle’s blog here:

http://bfleur.blogspot.com/2007/09/til-death.html

marriage is the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc (from the dictionary). the key word here, for the purpose of my argument, is the “social” part. this particular institution was established by society and it is not inherent. we learn as we grow older by watching, doing and observing that we are expected to find prince charming or sleeping beauty and live…of course…happily ever after. this is drilled and instilled in our tiny absorbing brains over and over with perpetual vengeance and determination, by our parents, aunts and uncles, by the fairy tales, by the books, by our teachers and mentors, and by movies and television.

why do people get married?

at the heart of this concept we call marriage should be, ideally, love. two people meet, greet, fall in love, make love, make house, make babies, built family, history and traditions and live together for the rest of their lives. it sounds lovely and comforting, sure. however, as it turns out, there is a host of reasons people marry, besides the L-word.

my own parents, for instance, first locked eyes through an arranged meeting. luckily, they liked what they saw. they’ve been together for thirty years and will continue to do so until their very last days on earth, so i guess one could call that meeting a success. but that’s not to say that these two people, who were suddenly put together side by side with no volition of their own and then expected to act as one, didn’t have their fair share of pain and suffering. even as problems arose and reality set, during the late seventies/early eighties, the dissolution of their union wasn’t even an option. why? because my parents, just like the millions of people that have married and continue to do so in the present, had tied the knot merely because the time had arrived for them to get married, the family had assigned future significant others with “excellent potential,” and lastly but more importantly because it was imperative and expected by society that these two people marry. divorce, on the other hand, was a matter filed under the category of shame in the old communist days of my homeland, albania. the stigma attached to unmarried people, and more specifically to unmarried women, to this day carries a significant amount of disappointment and failure as old childhood dreams are shattered and wishful thinking comes into clear view. this can be devastating and affects both parties: the unwed and those who expect them to marry.

the following might sound absurd but it’s oh-so-real. couples have been known to marry out of convenience, out of fear, out of the sharing of particular activities, legal or not. couples have been known to marry simply for financial stability, for the improvement of an already dysfunctional relationship, as a result of surprise pregnancies, and out of severe fear of ending up alone. marrying for the wrong reasons will, no doubt, lead to the wrong exit. alas, there are plenty who marry because they are in fact very much in love and happy. but why the legalization? it is widely known that a piece of paper does not solidify a relationship. in fact, it acts as a guard, holding the ground outside love’s door, and should the parties practice their freedom toward dissolution it only slows down and threatens the process of divorce. and isn’t it a shame that such a noble notion should live its last days drenched in the type of misery and threat only offered by the pool of legal bureaucracy?

when marriages of then and now are compared and contrasted the gap that emerges between them is significantly wide. why is it then, that we insist upon using principles and applications of the old when the very minds who created them did not have the slightest clue about life in the 21st century? surely, there was a time and place in history when the legalization of love was perhaps necessary for the benefit of families and societies. men provided and women nurtured so, it was only practical that these activities marry. and beneficial. life expectancies were much shorter, living conditions and the status quo much stricter so really, securing a union between a woman and a man must have sounded like an excellent idea. people led simplified lives dictated by rigid social conformity and religious rules. freedoms were taken away in attempts to keep societies “intact.” one could say that the very institution of marriage served for a better behaved, contained society with a common goal: to provide for an immediate family in hopes of reproducing and maintaining the nucleus of said family.

why the forever notion? is that even natural?

today, as we are faced with the full fledged force of modernity while practicing freedom of expression and action, we find ourselves confronted with a whole new set of morals and ethics. the “til death do us part”aspect is one that derives from religious backgrounds, more specifically christianity. when man and woman proclaimed “i do” it was done so in an attempt to promise god that their union was so holy it was to remain permanent. in the present, as scientific theory and freedom of religion is encouraged and practiced, agnosticism and atheism are becoming more popular, so in turn, who are those people exactly vowing to? the government? each other? and why are they being sown a scarlet letter to their chest or plastered with indecency should they decide for dissolution. the reptilian brain is very much active in each and everyone of us and it persistently wants to remind us that our primal instincts aren’t concerned, not even in the slightest amount, with rigid principles of religion or consistent conformity.

it is my opinion, folks, that marriage or the forever is not natural. and that is why we keep failing.

marriages end up in divorce because, as it is often the case, couples realize that marriage is NOT the nectar of the gods our childhood dreams carried into adulthood had made it to be. in fact, and i speak from the stand point of a married woman, i’ve found marriage to be one of the most noble and equally difficult concepts, both in doing and theory. existing as separate from the world while tending to your immediate needs is a lot easier, albeit less meaningful, than existing as a union in a reality full of tasty little obstacles, trials, errors and temptations. we live in a society where such union implies that two people suddenly turn into one. we also live in a society where self-sufficiency and empowerment is embraced and encouraged. these two facts, when positioned side by side, seem to create a somewhat conflicting situation.

it is also my opinion that most people are children in adults’ clothing. tending to the ego, one’s impulsive desires and immediate needs is an easy task. realizing that every step one takes subsequently affects the path of his/her partner, isn’t exactly easy. especially, especially, as was/is my personal case, when independence has been encouraged and practiced pre-marriage. as it turns out, when children find themselves in adult situations, they get scared and run for the hills. hence, divorce. let’s face it, we are driven by our egos, both as means of survival and self-gratification. and when we marry we really mean well. at the moment. some of us are strong, wise and whole enough to know and understand the obstacles even before they arrive so as not to react shocked and awed when the honey moon phase is over. those are the kind of people that succeed in many aspects of their life, should their dedication arise toward said aspects. it is this understanding and compassion geared toward humanity that allows for a more peaceful flow of affairs. but, and this is a huge BUT, many of us are knuckleheads. and impulsive. and though we really want it to be forever, we realize that we simply don’t have the tools to keep the fortress of marriage up and going.

Klodi

ethnocentrism in the western world

Although the rapid, fast paced changes in the technological field of modern society would indicate a movement steering away from ethnocentrism, the reality suggests otherwise. At this highly “sophisticated” age, where all information lies between our fingertips and a keyboard, one would assume that as a society we are becoming more exposed, educated and aware of the world as it exists outside this “protective” bubble we call America. This type of ethnocentrism appears to be more of an arrogant-ignorance approach, rather than that of on overly confident accomplisher. However, the ethnocentrism of an ignorant nature is displayed, mainly, by the masses. Those in positions of power and authority use other techniques to further promote ethnocentrism.

In a class discussion (a few years ago) where the professor asked the students to identify one of the ongoing conflicts in Asia, not one student was able or well informed to provide an answer. It’s not like the information isn’t provided! It’s there at uncle Google’s living room! The youth of today is a product of this society; a society whose level of authority has taken the approach of sedating our minds with unnecessary and seemingly entertaining information. In the news, stories related to Britney Spears flip-flops, and cats being trapped between walls seem to be given much more importance than wars, poor living conditions, and political turmoil else where in the world. This type of attitude suggests a high level of self-absorbance. It is instilled into us, forcefully though indirectly, on a collective level by those in power and is hardly questioned by the masses.

Many New York City subway riders read a paper distributed for free, which can be read from cover to cover in about 5-7 minutes. Many of those who aren’t reading occupy their time with their blackberries, or video games, or portable DVDs and iPods. Have our lives become so uneventful and one-sided that we need to constantly be entertained? I think not. Steering away from ethnocentrism requires a much broader, indepth awareness. This awareness, however, does not seem to be promoted or encouraged. Instead, the advancement of technology is used to further sedate and occupy our thoughts.

Furthermore, on an individual level, we make this approach our own.
Ethnocentrism of today’s society, particularly as it affects our youth, might begin at first innocently or unintentionally. Cellulars, text messaging, instant messaging, network websites are used at all times, seemingly, for delivering information that seems to hold little or no substance. And yet, we seem to be almost addicted to our toys and gadgets, repeatedly checking for new messages, comments, news, gossip, etc. This is how we become wrapped and submerged in a reality so small and one dimensional that we forget about our surroundings.

My two cents. What does the web world think?

Klodi

Memories….

It’s snowing! I have been waiting to snow for the longest time and now its here. I keep watching the snow flakes as they fall in the ground and they are so beautiful. As i watch the snow my mind takes me somewhere else far away from New York, it takes to this little village in the northern part of Albania, where i was brought up and where i learned so many things. Winters were much different than then they are now, maybe for the fact that i am not a little girl any more and i am not sitting by the fire and dreaming about the future, how it’s going to be? I miss those winters for the simple fact my family would gather around the kithchen table and we would share a meal, might have been the simplest thing but oh it was the most delicious one might have. I remember one night the electricity went out. It happened that because of a strong wind or the snow lights would go out. That was my favorite part because my parents would start telling us stories about their lives and me and my siblings would listen to them and enjoy these moments so much. Sometimes, we would eat boiled corn, or roast chest nuts on the stove, or similar things like that. I remember one time i asked my father to sing a polyphonic song. For most of you that are not familiar with that kind of singing might sound very boring and not at all cool, but i think that is such a unique thing about our culture. Anyway, that didn’t turn out that well because none of us know how to sing that way and keep “iso” and didn’t know the words either, but we had so much fun and laughed. I wish i could turn back time and be that little girl for just one minute and experience it all over again. I wish that i could be with my parents and enjoy the fire, the snow that keeps falling from the sky above, and why not the singing with the iso sound….

Belle

Love is….

February 14, 2007!!! Many people today will celebrate this day as the San Valentine, the day of love. So much publicity about this day but do the people really know the full meaning of true love? They spent so much money just for one single day thinking that they will make happy the person they love by buying them flowers, chocolate, teddy bears, nice dinners in expensive restaurants, and the list goes on.


I wish people would stop and think more of this word when they express to the one they love, and not expressing it only this day of the year, but they should be more loving and more tender to one another. I wish that this love would be expressed all year long and not only today.
I decided to quote a few verses from the Bible where the Apostle Paul talks about love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always perseveres. Love never fails”!!!

I love the last verse and i wish that people would think more on this one. I believe that true love never fails no matter what? I hear people often say “i am not in love with this person any more, its all over, it didn’t work out btw the two of us, etc…. I wonder when these people express their feelings to the one they love, do they do it just for good days, and in the rainy days they forget the promise they have made once??

Anyhow, i wish all of you that will read my blog “A Happy Valentine’s Day” May you give love and receive love because its both ways, and most importantly don’t forget to love all year long even when the other person disappoints you or makes you mad.

Belle

Life is too short…..

Hello, Hello,
Belle, It’s me Zh.
Hi Zh, what’s going on?
B’s mom just passed away yestarday in Albania.

These were the words that came from the other side of the phone. I didn’t know if I were dreaming or what I heard was true. The voice kept telling me what exactly happened and that she was going to see our friend. It was 2:30 am when i received this phone call. I was shocked to hear this news that late at night. I didnn’t know what to do considering the time, and plus what could I say and do this late at night. I was sorry to hear such an abrupt news about my friends mom but the worst has already happened and none of us could stop the damage that death has caused in the lives of these dear people. I didn’t go to see my friend right away. I live few blocks away from her so I waited for the morning to come give her a call and stop by for a visit. I dialed the numbers knowing fully well that this conversation was going to be hard, as it happens in situations like this. The voice that responded from the other line was not the one I am used to, I could tell that she has been crying for the loss of the dear mother. My friend knew that her mother had been sick and had been following the health situation from here, but who would have thought that her struggle with life would end so soon. I am talking to my poor friend and as she tells me more about her mother we both start crying over the phone. Our conversation doesn’t last very long because she is packing her stuff and getting ready to fly to Albania in time to wave goodbye to her loved one for the last time. Thank God she is able to visit back and forth without any problems, otherwise it would have been such a horrible situation not to be able to move freely from one country to another.
Since the moment I found about this I have this negative feeling within me. I want to believe that nothing will happen to my mom or my dad, or the rest of my family that I miss so much. But, when we are confronted with death there’s no way you can’t stop and think about life and how fragile it is. I guess that’s what I am doing right now thinking what if…… I don’t like thinking about this unpleasant feeling that is captivating me but I can’t help it. It brings tears to my eyes when I think that our life is like a biscuit that will crumble down at any given moment and boom we’re gone.
I hate this word that begins with d and ends with h. Usually this word doesn’t scare me but apparently today is different. D…..hurt my friend’s mother so why not be afraid of it? It could happen God forbid that sometime in the future I could be hit too. I don’t want to believe it but I know that this is the procedure that we all are going to face one day. Why should we die?? Why can’t we live forever?? Why do we have to go through this unpleasant experience??? So many why’s but no answers, at least for the moment. This happens each time I hear that x person and x years entered new and long journey that is unknown and scary for each one of us.

Belle

As a Woman I Have no Country…


As a woman my country is the whole world. (Virginia Woolf)

She must have known a thing or two about abandonment, pain and loss. Suffering and instability. Heck. She did write To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway after all! My love and adoration for this woman is immense. A soul so troubled such as hers has often rendered me speechless and, dare i say, almost exulted.

This frightens me.

As i sit here, contemplating my pitiful, oh-so-microscopic, existence…as minutes turn into hours and those into days…as my spine grows more crooked…as i grow bloated from alcohol consumption, cranky from too many sleepless nights, incredibly dazed and sluggish from the complete annihilation of my darling brain cells…as i perpetually walk this self created pathetic path…as i carry the burden of this water bucket, chuck full of holes…i realize my once glorified perception of this pile of shit i call life has been but a beautiful lie.

A beautiful lie.

I guess there was a time in which i was truly, really, utterly happy.

I don’t remember it.

Though brave at heart, fear has been my constant companion. I know this now, though I’ve continuously defined myself as fearless, for my personal journey has concluded so. My compulsive obsession with life’s transience, my reality’s subjectiveness and my life’s meaning through art, has been thoroughly led and at times misled by my perpetual fear of shattering “stability.”

And then again…a beautiful lie.

I need stability. I crave it. It has, quite simply, become my fix. In the stage of my life I see myself as that character repeatedly searching for meaning and struggling for order out of mind chaos–chaos so deeply and unnecessarily tangled, that it renders itself moot. Powerless. Ultimately however, all ends, thus to yearn stability is purely absurd. Whether the persistence of my memory is paralyzed, for it cannot bear the idea of no longer cultivating precious moments, or out of fear that those heart wrenching turning points will ultimately detour me back to the entrance, i know…I KNOW! that no-thing is permanent.

I also KNOW! that when i attempt to make my personal mark through reasoning, philosophical and intellectual thought, i merely present myself as a fraud, really. Because no matter the experience or its profundity, each moment is but a fleeting one, proving entirely inadequate of holding the true essence. I claim to hold no fear toward that ongoing evolution we call change. Truth be told: i am scared to death, though i know everything is in a constant state of change.

Plagued by continuous self-doubt and an overly inflated ego i live each day… over and over and over. It’s all the same fucking day. I know this. And yet, i wait for tomorrow. And the day after. And the one after that. So that i can start over. So that i can die to old ugly ways of being. So that the old me is buried once and for all. I wait. For my resurrection. For stability. For meaning. For order.

I wait. Sometime patiently. Other times, not. I wait as i am held together by pills and buttons of many sorts.

I wait.

Klodi

‘Til death

Today’s article in the daily Metro newspaper mentioned that people that develop cervical or testicular cancer may face another harsh reality: “They are more likely to get divorced than those without the disease”.

– Men and women with cancer are more likely to divorce than those without it.
– Older couples are less likely to divorce since they might be more committed.
– Those who get get cervical or teristical cancer at an older age are less likely to divorce.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the article. God forbid if one person faces a problem or a terrible sickness like the one mentioned from the European Cancer Society, otherwise we would be doomed for life, because our chances of getting divorce are higher.

What’s happening in today’s society? What happened to the core values that molded each one of us? What happened to the promises that people give to one another? I guess the vows for better or for worse don’t mean anything because when life crisis or health problems arise their solution is divorce:( I have never been pro divorce unless in extreme situations. Sometimes, things don’t work out between two people and its better for them to go their separate ways. But, reading this saddens me even more. The chances to get a divorce are higher if one of the partners is diagnosed with cancer. Instead of, being close to each other, going through such a unpleasant experience, showing more affection and telling your loved one that no matter what happens we will see it through together, one of the partners, decides to walk away and leaving the other one in the field of battle all alone. Wow! Do such people really exist? Can they really plug the life out of the person that once upon a time declared their unconditonal love until death separated them? Apparantly not! Their egos is much higher than the welfare of their beloved wife/husband, all they can think of is “me, poor me, what’s happened to me”. How pathetic?!

I guess the real promises and vows that people make now days do not count. So, dear friends be careful of who you choose to share the rest of your life with? It might happen that the one person you would have given your life for would not do the same thing for you.

Belle