Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Know Yourself

In a movie I watched last night one of the characters said “You have to know others to better know yourself”

That statement caught my attention and made me loose concentration on what came next. Is it true? I always thought it was the other way around, that maybe if/when I know myself better I would tend to understand others better. But my question today is how important is it to know ourselves. We spend a lifetime trying to get to know this weird creature (us) and every time we think we are almost close to making the acquaintance this shadow eludes us. It happened so many times that I almost lost interest in finally meeting the me I am so looking forward to understand. The variables are infinite, the effects of circumstances are immense that i think it is almost impossible for us to be the same person twice.

A friend keeps teasing me about a statement I used to use a lot “I know myself, when X happens I act in this way and when Y happens I act in that way” and you know what, it is so untrue. I don't know myself any better than the next person knows me. If you put all the variables in a scientific equation consisting of circumstances, frame of mind, physical well being, chemistry of the body at a given second, actions and reactions of others, even the temperature outdoors etc etc… I bet you no machine in the world can resolve it.

Have you ever noticed how some people almost never think about this issue, nor are they interested in getting to know themselves better? I think I can easily make the assumption that, in general, they seem to be happier. They take themselves as they are, and they are OK with how they act and react without much analysis or judgment, and they seem happier, even things seem to come to them much easier and in a more pleasant manner than calculating rationalizing individuals. Basically they treat themselves very much the way we keep insisting on others to treat us !!

Maybe we should not really know us.

Monday, August 23, 2010

His Fault Was That He Loved Her

His only fault was that he liked her, a lot. He expressed it to mutual friends, he slightly hinted to her, actually a bit more than a hint, and a bit louder than his fear of rejection allowed. Still she mocked him. She mocked his looks, she mocked his attitude and she even mocked his body language.

I am not here to be judgmental. I have witnessed many such waltzes being danced in front of me, courtships, flirting and out right proposals but I always left people alone never interfering nor judging their decisions, neither agreeing to nor refusing their rejection of the other.

I have also had my own share of relationships with their silly dramas that get played on that stage along with beautiful love scenes. I admit  mine were mostly long term and very few, but in between I had to go through these mating procedures with all the expectations that come with the first date and all the anticipation that precedes the second and all the fears of rejection when that phone does not ring, and the occasional prayers for it never to ring, along with the whole bag of emotions that comes with the whole period. One thing was constant however, deep inside, I was always so very grateful for every person that liked or loved me. I always felt so humbled by their emotions especially when these emotions were not mutual. It takes a big person to express love and not wait for the other to express it first, or to express love and not know whether this huge emotion would be reciprocated.

One thing I give myself the right to judge, I will think a bit less of a person that does not act and react gracefully when someone expresses their love to them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Awkwardness Of Weddings

Maybe a million people have already written or thought of writing about this, but i will take the risk of repeating what has already been said, I have to say it out loud.

I feel awkward at weddings.

Be it a friend’s, a cousin’s, an acquaintance’s they are all the same, that same feeling of looking, acting and behaving in an awkward way. I tried to work on myself not to feel that way, I have even made myself attend weddings when I did not want to, kind of a special training course to overcome my ailment, it also did not work.

Yesterday, in a wedding, a friend asked me if I felt that way. I laughed, it was almost like he was letting me in on a secret, and I thought, yes, another closeted wedding hater. Poor soul needed to know that he is not alone in this world. I thought of asking if he would be interested in forming an association for such people like us who get a rash from just receiving the invitation card. He might not. Will have to find other partners for such a venture. Maybe we will become a recognized minority and ask for our rights, Single Wedding Haters Association, SWHA, maybe? Ok maybe the acronym needs work but it will have to do for now…….I think.

Last night I decided to observe my case and I think I got to know a few things about why the awkwardness. One of them is that constant smile, smirk is more like it, the kind that makes your face hurt. Then comes the pushing yourself to dance when you are not in the mood or when your blood stream is not running with enough alcohol in it, not enough to make a fool out of yourself anyways. You stand there clapping, smiling and trying desperately to paint that I don't give a damn and I am having a good time expression, only to fail miserably and to be spotted by the other single people using the same techniques. You are trying to move with the tunes but you are conscious of every move that is fabricated to look as if you are really having a good time. Then there are the endless waves and HIIIIIIII’s the type accompanied with the biggest smile you can fathom, the smile that seems to stay, the one you notice you still have on 10 minutes later as if you had forgotten to resume normal facial expressions operational mode.

But a little honesty is in order and I have to admit, as much as I dislike all of the above, it is the accompanying loneliness that really bothers me. Weddings are not single friendly, very much like most parties were most of the involved are either couples or couple wanna bes. If you are alone and intend to keep it that way then you are an outcast, unnecessary baggage. You neither fit with the couples, nor benefit the wanna bes, you are in the way of events wasting people’s time by being there. For the couples you can be a threat, people mark their territories to keep you out. I think I caught someone peeing around his wife. For single people you are a waste of time. Imagine someone who is interested in you that spends the evening talking to you hoping it would lead to something only to discover that it wont, then you have wasted, time, good “ulterior motive” conversation, wine and a good dress on what would otherwise be time and assets better invested.

No, being single is not part of being in a wedding, you either belong or you don't, and if you send all the right signals that you are in singledom and plan to remain there people will make sure that you remain there. ALONE.

Pray it is a good buffet.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Take Care Of You

You know what? You might very well be the only person that really really matters to you. If you are one of the lucky ones you will have two people that really care about your livelihood, one is you and the other is most probably your mother. I am lucky I have managed to have three but that is the exception.

We live through life creating relationships, friendships, partnerships, love relationships all sorts of “ships”, we work on them we nourish them, we try to take them to the next level, hoping that they will stick through thick and thin, but in many cases unfortunately, when push comes to shove each will have to fend for his own. Sometimes you, other times the other person, but in many cases each will try to look out for him/her self. Sometimes material things become more important than the person, sometimes persons you thought are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things become more important players in a relationship you thought was based around two people.

So what is the conclusion?

I say, be your friend, be the one that makes you happy, be the one that stands by you,  be strong for you and take care of you. Love you, because most probably the line of people applying for such positions wont be that long. When you are happy, you will not be caught in the “poor me” drama and that will make you stronger and better capable of taking care of others if that is what you enjoy.

P.S I am not promoting selfishness, not at all, just make whatever makes you happy and then you will be able to play that happy role for others. There is nothing worse than an unhappy person. I made the acquaintance of Mr. Unhappy once and I did not like him, no one does, Mr. Unhappy is feared to be contagious and people don't like vaccines so they stay clear.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spirituality In Hindsight

It is so beautiful to sit and reminisce about how it was so bad at one point and then how strange unexpected coincidences changed it all. It is so nice to talk about your story once it is over and all the pain and hardships have disappeared into a happy ending dissolving all the bitterness that years of agony can leave behind, and it is even better to lecture people about how your trip was exactly like theirs but that you persevered and eventually won. If nothing, it definitely is an ego booster.

It is great when you do that armed with the beauty of hindsight, sometimes the screw ups are even downplayed and the mistakes camouflaged. We can even go to lengths trying to make them sound a bit funny, even though they could not have been farther away from even being remotely amusing at the time they happened. But again hindsight gives you this advantage. You can now mock what happened in the past, it no longer has the ability to hurt you.

The trick however is to be IN the situation and be armed with the same persuasion, strength, positive outlook and spirituality that you hold like a winning shining sword high above your head once you have emerged as the winner.

Can you?

Can you, when in the midst of the darkest deepest hell hole of your life, be positive? Can you, when despair is so thick you can hold it and sometimes even try to choke, be all smiles and happiness? Can you, when you feel that life is like a huge slab of concrete ready to flatten you, be spiritual?

Can you?

Isn't that why we read all our spiritual books? Isn’t that why “Self Help” sections were invented in bookshops? Isn't that why we watched time and again “The Secret”? Isn’t that why we held on to all the law of attraction books (and other life saving books) we could find like we hold on to dear life? Isn’t that why we struggle to live in the now and discover our new earth? You have the lady that changed everything in 6-8 weeks, yes as if its a delivery date for a product, and the Lawyer that sold his Ferrari to become a monk but made more millions selling his books, and the lady who made a million dollars in one month and got her children back from her ogre of an in-law. Can these stories really happen? When in despair we would like to believe so, when in despair we want anyone to tell us anything that would change the current situation to a better one, hence fortune tellers, tarot card readers and other similar “professions” prosper. That is why many people turn to their respective religious practices trying to hear the voice within that will console them and heal them. We just want that voice regardless to whom it belongs to tell us that it is going to be ok.

And you know what, it will be. Let that voice be yours that tells you it will be ok. Mind you I have not emerged on the other end, yet, still no shining sword held high and no victory tales. But I will be ok, just like you will, just like we all will. Regardless of your convictions, regardless of which school of thought you subscribe to, you will. I know how difficult it is to hold on to the positive thought, believe me they sometimes evade me like that mirage Aladdin saw in the desert, but, I will keep looking for his lamp. I think each one of us has his very own lamp we just have to look for it and keep looking and one day we will find it, we just have to decide how soon we want it, it is all up to us.

However, one wish will not need any lamp, make a wish to love and be loved, that is what matters at the end when this trip is over, this is what makes it worth it. This is the only thing on dark nights that makes me believe that it will be OK.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Impossible Face Scratch

I stood there watching him and trying to understand how could a body look like that, the position was inhuman in it’s deformity and in my mind’s eye (my curse, believe me, since this mind is very graphic) I tried to figure out where the arms were and where the legs were. And then it became clearer, he was struggling to pull out an arm from under the sheets to scratch his face. I was mesmerized, it was such an arduous affair, it took him a very long time to free his arm from the tangles of the sheets, but then just when I thought it was free and he was ok came the next almost impossible task of finding his face to scratch it. He tried and tried, but his obstinate hand would not succumb, it would not go to his face. I thought of going there and helping him, but to me it felt more like an insult than an act of kindness.

I was frozen. I could not look away and did not want to be caught staring. He would definitely not catch me looking since he was so busy with his affairs of face scratching, but I did not want the nurses to see. My mind was racing with thoughts trying to understand what it would feel like when such an act that we unconsciously perform becomes the task of the day. What would it feel like when all the day comprises of is a face scratch, a yawn and maybe a shifting of the leg for 2 inches and you would be done for the day, your task list will be all checked and clear and ready to face another day of such monstrous duties.

There and then I decided to write a will that if and when it ever gets to this someone that dearly loves me will need to shut down that damn machine and out of  love too. Lawful, unlawful I do not care, I do not want to be there. It is not dignified, it is not the way it should be.

My eyes started to swell with tears and then I heard my friend say lets go. His dad passed away a few minutes ago. Later looking at the dead body of  my friend’s father, I wondered if he knew how lucky he was, he was definitely in a better state.

Be happy you can scratch your face.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Me, Myself & My Tweets

In the New York Times Peggy Orenstein Wrote “I Tweet, Therefore I Am”. The strange part was that I used the exact same statement a few days prior to reading it while discussing social media with friends.

Yes we have this other person that tweets and facebooks (If this was not a word now it is). Is it us? Or is it whom we would like to be, or is it even whom we do not want to be? Yes some people do want to show the world a different persona. Now, you can choose the character you want to publicly display you are your own media consultant. Even parts of you can have their own character now, your behind even gets to Facebook, yes, try having your Blackberry in your back pocket unlocked.

I admit I do not have a personal twitter or Facebook account, I have not bloomed yet. I know how they work though and I get to know what people are up to through my work's accounts and I really think that most people are not whom they claim to be. These are just the new tools that we use to be accepted, the new tools we use to belong, it is high school all over again only this time high school has no age limit.

You have the popular athlete and the oh-so-pretty cheer leader and you are most probably the acne infested nerd trying to find a place for yourself among them. If you are not too confident about your looks (page in this case) you try very hard to appeal through the copy paste quotes you find through Google, or the very deep and profound statements that you spend hours articulating, some even try humor (the class joker) and others try promiscuity (The school slut). At the end of the day it is how many followers you have, how many friends are on your list and how many retweets you get that determine whether or not you will be invited to prom night. The more friends the merrier, even if you don't know half of them, nor care for that matter to either know them or know about them. It is all about quantity. The thing is, the bigger the audience the more we care about what we sound like and how they will all perceive us. Each one is trying to manipulate their image and how they are perceived. Another marketplace where we need to market ourselves only here we are hidden behind our screens and our words, hidden behind the luxury of the delay time we have to choose our words and polish our thoughts. Here there is no fear of the sudden burst of words that we cannot take back, have a faux pas and the remove button is there to aid you re-polish your manipulated image.

I don't know if i will ever have an account on any social media service, it is too much work for me it is just another hurdle along the way of getting to know ourselves that will only beguile us and misguide us into thinking we do know when we really should be looking within.