Messages from Maya Angelou

I admit – today was the first day I heard about this woman. I may have heard people quoting her yet never paying attention who stood behind the name. I am ashamed I never looked for her. I’m ashamed I only found out about her.

And yet another bright light has passed. I was always wondering what is this magical place where talent goes after we pass away. Does it disappear into the void? Does it go to another person or does it return to the pool of collective consciousness where it is freely available for anyone who is willing to welcome it?

She was a master of words. Her ability to communicate thoughts through language was like channeling a divine source. She was a messenger that gave us true clarity and comprehension of us as individuals and as a whole.

This quote pretty much sums up everything that I ever felt about writing without knowing it.

When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for what it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language. 

RIP Maya Angelou

 

 

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Messages from Maya Angelou

The wind of change in Europe

This morning I woke up to voting results across Europe that have left me baffled about which direction the society is going. I learned that we are now going backwards. Despite not participating in voting, I see that whoever I voted for, wouldn’t have made much of a difference because at this point of human development, I am blowing against that hurricane. Despite all the wordy political bloggers attempts to make any sense out of this European elections, general public is still wondering WTF?

After years of reaching towards tolerance and equality, somewhere along the way, people decided that discrimination and exclusion is more important than integration and expansion.  Isn’t this what Nazis strived for?

What happen with European elections yesterday was an alarming sign that European countries in fact hate each other and people made their voices represented by somebody who has enough political power to make decision that would validate the ever-growing hatred against each other. Welcome to the new old age of racism, antisemitism and populism. Even Prince Charles comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler is a worrying sign of hunger for war and conflict. World is hanging on the thin red line.

Who are these people? Are they so resistant to the global change that is bound to happen or are they solely propaganda victims? You might think that propaganda is a word specifically referring to politics in USSR. However having lived in UK for a while, people here  rarely second guess everything they hear in the media.  Media is nothing more than a tool of projecting biased political opinions on the population that is in the position of resisting the emerging brave new world. How is this different from demonized USSR propaganda when people in this country only hear whoever has a louder mouth. But on the other hand, this mouth speaks for the population that elected them. So who is spreading doom and gloom?

Peoples back is raddled by financial crisis, bankers, parliament, benefits caps, austerity measures, Russia or Brussels, list keeps going.  Not surprising country has elected somebody who will happily will take them by the hand to meet their shadow side where desperate needs will be meet by archaic measures. By that I mean, we’ll have to live with consequences of mainstream racism and I’m guessing limiting women rights.

All this will subsequently be topped up by ignorance and absence of common sense.  Who would doubt since the majority of the population only cares about celebrity selfies?  The future is pretty grim.

Europe has  made a choice of celebrating bearded women and discrimination against diversity all at the same time. I may not be the expert in the field, but there is certainly something wrong with this equation. I may not know what happens in the next five years, but this is the first step towards major disintegration that will destroy everything that we’ve worked so hard for over the past 70 years.

The wind of change in Europe

Inventing the wheel

Congratulations, we are heading back to where we started 100 years ago.

You’d think that in the past century WW1 and WW2 atrocities should have taught us something significant, but apparently they didn’t . Memory is fading along with war veterans who would still remind us of the horror that took place only almost a century ago.

History books are only teaching us what the government wants us to know. Children are having words put in their mouths causing the widening of the communication gap between two generations even further apart. Each government takes the convenient truth and makes it universal truth regardless of the facts simply because there are no more witnesses left alive. Yet why haven’t we learned anything?

Yes, we can try to find out the truth for ourselves online if only Google (or a corporate individual?) wasn’t tailoring our search results. We could go back to the good old  library but in which country? Each state has it’s own version on what went down in world wars. But these are only words. Images and the memories of the ordinary soldiers carry more horror than any of us could possibly ever read in printed text. Way beyond Dante’s version of hell.

Art of the apocalypse: Otto Dix’s hellish first world war visions – in pictures

 

People’s memory is short. Younger generation does not reference history anymore. It’s only today, it’s only me. Part of us choose to remain ignorant and there is a part of us who choose to invent a wheel all over again. We think we act as revolutionary pioneers when all we are really doing these days is raising fascism from hell. And surprisingly enough, government states in US, Europe and Russia are still playing the same universal roles that were assigned to them centuries ago. We still have the villain Russia, the double standards superman of United States and deaf-mute  European Union which is looking only after it’s own interests by acting from the safe distance because let’s be fair –

War is expensive game for world leaders costing them power balance, financial stability and human lives. In this particular order.

World wars have proven that human race had pretty shit luck with world leaders in the past. Yet, although the world map has changed, human nature hasn’t. Did I ever dream to see neo-fascist burning russian minority alive in Ukraine in the 21st. century? Most are neither “separatists” nor “rebels”, as the western media calls them, but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland.

Our memory became blunt leaving no room for compassion. We are men and women in our early 20s and 30s leading the future world and yet we are the same people making genocide sound like a casualty.  Why are we so hungry for war? It’s true that we are left with less than desirable economic and ecological legacy but we are also left with bitter and aggressive thug-like society that stands for psychopath ideologies. And that’s only in Europe.

We are also left with the ignorant part of western world that is backing up US actions by naively believing that US is the way of the world just just like British Empire used to claim the ways of England are the ways of the world while colonizing south east Asia. Poll in 1992 in US on doubt on holocaust showed that 1 in 5 Americans thought it didn’t happen. This is alarming because america with it’s double standards continues to dictate which country needs to be invaded next due to it’s inability to recognize democracy or needs to be liberated from oppressive regime? And I’m wondering whether this holy grail of democracy only exists to serve capitalism and corporate figures in west while sending east marching straight into nazism and anarchy and war?  I’m genuinely hoping I’m wrong.

So while Europe and US are playing with Russian hot potato, Ukraine is being ruled by fascist. And if we still deny holocaust can happen in the 21st  century , then read history documented by people and not politicians.

Nearly 4,000 first world war diaries made available online

 

 

 

 

Inventing the wheel

50 Shades Of Green

field

Journey home is always a well anticipated event for me. After 7 years I’m still experiencing a heartbreaking nostalgia about my home town. The saying might go as grass is always greener on the other side but there is a certain twist to this proverbial grass. Even when I was boarding a bus, looking at my crying mother, I was still convinced life elsewhere is much better. I was wrong.

No shade of green stands close to the grass that you walked on barefoot for the very first time.

When I was a child, I remember watching how ground surface is changing through the seasons. I was growing in the remote part of the town, verging on the monotonous rows of tall blocks of flats and extensive fields stretching all the way across the southern part of the city. I used to think civilization ends there.

home5

These two spaces were very contrasting but they had something in common – if you look at them for a long time, they begin to resemble a texture. Field’s swaying tall grass creating pale green and yellow wave texture . While countless rows of red bricks and white window frames resembled giant beehive for people . They stretch vertical so the best way to see it was to find a very tall block building and look at static field of concrete from the roof.

home4

We used to have very pronounced seasons so the grass wasn’t always green anyway. Summers were great – grass was all green and voluptuous, growing everywhere, making it’s way even through the pavement.  You can’t tame nature, life will always find the way.

Every summer school was making us pluck the grass growing between tiles, it counted towards our community hours. This used to be the week of hell until school’s authorities began using some acidic salt solution that was killing grass within few days making it easier to pull and stopping it from growing. I thought it was a barbaric practice back then, little did I know, within next twenty years planet poisoning will become a norm.

home3

Autumn always approached abruptly, assaulting dry exhausted ground with heavy rainfalls and frosts as early as mid October. This used to be the murkiest time of the year.

Winters used to be cold  and snowy.

I remember spending most of my free time outside sledge riding down a man made hill ( probably built on a pile of rubbish) between houses. I remember the only worry I had was how no to roll into a dog shit under the fluffy snow cover. There was no such thing as picking up after dogs so winter was like a shit mine field. It was another level of yellow snow. Utterly disgusting.

And then there was spring. Gradually melting snow was uncovering every bit of dead grass resting underneath it (along with other stuff that was buried under a thick layer of snow and ice). It was mostly mud but within first few weeks of March you start seeing little gems making their way through the thawing ground.  Even in those places where we killed grass with poison last year.

smiltyne

As I was growing older, poisoning grass seemed like a very convenient idea since I didn’t have to spend hours crawling on my knees back and forth trying to dig out that dandelion root that was the size of my fist by the time it’s early May.  Inevitable pressure of adolescence was imposing upon me. Soon we moved to a more urbanized part of the town.  Years later I moved countries.

I still haven’t found that place where grass is green enough for me, perhaps such place only exists in my head, perhaps it’s not even a place. Is it a state of mind more than any physical reality?

Living abroad creates a sense of displacement that develops over time. It’s the same weird gut feeling when you look at old photographs of the countryside where you’ve spent your summers. All of a sudden you start remembering every little detail of your past spent in that particular bubble and your stomach flips just at the thought that even though this place hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s lost forever, savored in the memory of a child.

It’s not escapism, it’s realizing you had the happiest childhood. Everything else is what you make of it. You can have a grass as green as you want it to be anywhere in the world.

Grass isn’t greener on the other side or on your side. Grass will never be as green as when you really looked at it for the first time.

 

50 Shades Of Green

I’m fine thanks

I was struggling with reading people’s emotions since I moved to London. People here are normal. They don’t complain, they keep they faces straight, they are unusually polite and they aren’t easily impressed. People in London love fair play, in everything. In love, at work, in the pub or conflict. However I am always left baffled when I talk to someone and when I turn away, I still have no clue whether they love me or loathe me.

It’s very numbing.

Emotionality is a trait predominantly prescribed to women. But emotionality in this country doesn’t convey a very positive meaning. It’s inability to contain one’s emotion especially in public and making everybody around feel awkward. Sorry about that. I did not mean to make everyone uncomfortable to be in the presence of my feelings. Except that you can’t even know if you made anyone uncomfortable. You only assume you do or read their body language. You can’t know because you rarely get any feedback. That’s not fair at all.

“I’m fine thanks” is a necessary evil. I never fully understood the purpose of this harmless phrase from the first glance. But if you really dig deeper into it’s importance, it’s the best way of warding people off. Everybody does it. But why lie? Can something like “been better thanks” or  “it’s been a difficult day thanks” do the job without attracting any confusion from the person inquiring in the first place?

People do get bad days. That’s life. It’s true that in our self-help obsessed society feeling like shit is somewhat unconprehensible. Because I suppose erm la vie est belle? Hardly, yet people are desperately trying to hold on to the idea of ALL FINE when they are tearing apart on the inside.

I like emotional people (with an exception of drunken sobbing in the corner after a night out) because they seem to be in touch with their surroundings more than anyone else. Emotions are a product of feelings and feelings are the product of thoughts so by controlling our emotions we try to control our thoughts which is let’s be fair, impossible. So if you think what you think, but emotionally you try to suppress how you feel, you are digging yourself a hole. And when you finally fall in it, it will be ugly.

I don’t know why people choose this dysfunctional virtue, perhaps because we always try to be someone we are not. Bad news. Everyone else is taken.

 

 

I’m fine thanks

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Beauty and the Beast

The story of a beautiful girl Belle who becomes imprisoned in a castle of a monster who is actually a prince charming trapped inside a beastly body. She wakes up a man in him and saves him from the eternity of living with a curse. They live happily ever after.

The parallel between this fairy tale and a real life isn’t so far away from the reality that young girls assign to themselves. Young Belles are everywhere and they want the whole world to see them. Beauty is something that certain people come into this world regardless of the social status, income or nationality. You can pay lots of money to change the way you look, but natural beauty can never be fabricated. Hashtag no filter. Hashtag get over it.

We usually use our pretty assets to win employers at the job interview or flirt our ways into a free drink at the bar. It’s general belief (which is also not backed up by any legit studies) that good-looking people are more successful in life, but this is ultimately drawing a fugly line between intellect and physical attractiveness. It’s primitive and narrow-minded, but yet it doesn’t stop us from spending thousands on plastic surgeries and beauty products. Such stereotype is a mental leech sucking out all common sense  – if you are intelligent, you can’t be good looking, and if you are good looking – you can’t be smart. Here’s a thought, why can’t it be both?

Belle was beautiful and she loved reading!

Media isn’t helping either, especially with programmes such as Beauty and the Geek, Bachelor, The Only Way is Essex etc. It’s promoting a borderline culture that carries no value to a persons spiritual or intellectual development hence we are stuck with Yahoo “News” feed full of Millie Mackintosh  make up tutorials.  It was incredibly refreshing to see Amal Alamuddin as a real life example of how physical features have nothing to do with your intellect, except that tabloids are still taking the liberty of referring to her as “the hot lawyer lady” which is extremely unflattering for a woman of any occupation. Let’s hope this belle can turn this beast (graying George Clooney, divorced, 52)  into a family man.

Now look at the other side of beauty spectrum where beauty is a commodity. Models for example. Many girls are aspiring to be models from an early age because they are rich, pretty, other girls envy them and men what to love them.  However the more I turn to fashion for an inspiration, the less I want to have anything to do with it. Fashion industry is vile.

Behind the glossy cover of a well photoshopped super model, not only there is an obvious explicit hot-red message saying – I don’t eat and you can’t afford these clothes. There is also an implicit message saying – I’ve beaten roughly 2000 girls to get on this cover. This message is directed only to a particular group of people, called teenage girls aspiring to be famous. The chances of becoming world’s famous supper model are so slim, it’s almost not worth trying. The moment they even think of intention, they become to old, too fat or out of style mainly because their faces are not what the market is looking or this season.

And the sad thing is, I’m not talking about purses here.

What these covers are also failing to mention is that model world is very well sugar-coated child prostitution. This was subtly expressed in the sinister documentary I watched recently called “Model Girl”. It tells us a story of an ex-model  Ashley Arbaugh, obviously, loathing modelling business but yet making a living out of scouting girls in a very remote siberian city Novosibirsk to work for Japan’s fashion market. Show spins around the journey of a young russian girl who has “made the cut” age 15 during one of the castings held in her city.

It’s extremely difficult to witness her getting a taste of fashion reality which has nothing to do with a fairy tales we see on TV.  The requirements for success are anything but inspiring – very young teenage girls (basically children) with a pretty face and super skinny body. Young girls can be as young as 12-13. They don’t make any money from modeling, but you ultimately know that those who stick around are following a very different route that often ends up in morgue.

It’s tragic to see the generation of young bright women growing up in Russia, especially born into poor families, turning to fashion industry to make a living. They should be at schools learning science, studying journalism, learning languages, aspiring to be young entrepreneurs – not models. However, when you been living on the edge of poverty, it’s not very difficult to make a choice between academic route and an the obscure idea of success abroad. Especially when you are 15, your parents aren’t making any money, or they are raging alcoholics and all you really want is to escape the abusive home.

It’s not their fault the world is this way. Most of them grow up into their teenage years being very sensitive and humble girls with strong moral values. They make wonderful mothers and wives and daughters. But soon youthful optimism evolves into something darker – a cynicism and disappointment.

While beauty in the west is being seen as a sign of vanity, beauty in the east is a meal ticket. Glorifying cult of celebrity and fashion glamour is deteriorating to our social values. We don’t realize that we are leading our generation of future wives and mothers by the hand straight into hell. Ignorance isn’t a bliss, ignorance is a curse.

We’ve turned beauty into the beast.

Beauty and the Beast