Parenthood

The miraculous feeling of caressing your child and solving his most saddening problems: snapping on the missing part of a toy, finding the favourite pillow that somehow got misplaced, knowing the answer to questions about water and snow. The elated feeling that you are plenipotent and wise, trusted and vital, required and desired. You have good advice in each pocket, magic dust in your hair and can turn dark moods into smiles and flare. You are the parent. Holding all solutions, central and firm.

The fear it will soon vanish – leaving you small, mediocre and wry, when questions become more difficult, lost objects turn into lost friends and perished dreams, when fixing a situation requires more than stitches and glue. The panic the future inoculates – blurred, dreaded visions of times to come when you fail and chip, imperfect and wavery.

You start collecting boxes, hoping they can contain and preserve memories of moments, propping fleeting feelings to stay stronger than time – empty, they reveal the scenes the heart decides to store, unfolding bright and forceful in your mind when latching and unlatching little metal locks.

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Friendship. Intimacy. Rambling quest for answers.

Why do we prefer to post messages, rather than share our personal news with the ones dear to us? Why do we feel content when we have small groups of people in our chat apps and can share a message instantly with 4-5 people instead of actually telling each significant person in our lives what we want them to know? Why does it seem to help us gain more time? Why would it be so difficult to tell each friend a piece of news? (Meetings are more swiftly organised thus, sharing a new phone number in one tap is equally profitable; let’s not belittle the advantages.)

In the past, people had less friends because life only allowed for a certain number of hours for meetings, fun and heart-warming talks. It was great sharing your news because you’d tell each person the events in a different manner and you’d try to anticipate their unique reactions. It was all a well-tightened social act, wherein behaviours and typical remarks, the tone of discourse and perspective of each friend on the situation would make everything more special. Write a letter and expand on the idea, make a phone call overseas, they were all events in themselves. Activities just as charming (or depressing) as the information itself.

In the present, we seem to have a lot more friends and a lot more to talk about.

In my opinion, we have it all wrong. There is a bifold explanation for our current take on things.

  1. Most of them are acquaintances, not genuine real-life, flesh-here-and-now friends. Our education programmes and professional lives lead to us being connected to a numerous pool of people, generally called friends. Even social networks have recently started to employ distinct categories (friends / close friends / acquanintances / family) for relationship updating, as, somewhere along the way, the term friend turned into.. person I sort of know or someone I’ve heard of … We call friends people whom we’ve never met and, indeed, some virtual relationships bring minds alike closer than the on-break chat with faces we see on a daily basis. Sometimes, pointing towards the real friend or setting forth a reason for how come the most improbable one has become the best friends tends to be tricky and scatter deep confusion. It becomes difficult to keep up with telling everyone everything and it seems less of an effort to make everything public and then just wait and pick the reactions when they arise. An instant message to more friends means you don’t have to make 7 calls to say the same thing. A post means everyone you know has found out in a second that you have a new member in your family. We call that effectiveness. In truth, it is just useless information for many people who have no particular or concrete interest in the manifold aspects of your personal life. We take away selection. We take away the importance of one particular person over the other 100 individuals met throughtout our lives. We take away the special nature of that one event because it is so publicly trumpeted. We take away the authentic reactions of the people who matter: replies wear certain conventionl uniforms, animated little pictures that show you how happy everyone is about your brand new success story or how enraged they all are when an unfair predicament has spoilt your innate good mood. In truth … plain pride and laziness. Pride, that top sin among sins alongside the laziness to take the few minutes necessary for making a personal announcement when called for.
  2. Intimacy has been stripped of many of its veils. Open-mindedness and acceptance have taught us we should be more tolerant towards everything. Towards everyone. Towards everyone doing anything they choose to do. It is not shameful to be seen in underwear. Neither is it shameful to make whatever remarks you deem fit in a situation, or let people know what you think exactly when you think it. Less societal restrictions as to what is ok-ish. Let everyone take their pick: unfamiliar people want to see / read / watch?, so be it; enjoy – whoever is offended / unaffected? fine, let me hear it, I’ll just ignore what doesn’t suit my views. Because we have been incouraged to talk more, express more (of our feelings, fears, experience), we actually feel the need to do it. Somewhere. Somehow. Wherever possible. Whenever it seems fit. Because everyone seems to be talking more about their personal lives, most consider it perfectly alright to just step in and poke at whatever subject their brief curiosity strikes. Because it seems that everyone is more enclined to talk and share, we have come to believe we are entitled to ask no matter what. If telling is the norm, asking becomes the semblant requisite effect. People who still regard their personal lives as utterly personal are frowned at for being weird, unadapted, old-fashioned. Maybe it all breaks down to being truly tolerant and accepting and agreeing that we all customise definitions.

Maybe it is enough to keep quiet every now and then, or tone down some of the flamboyance. Perhaps a more strict selection would not totally jeopardise the time alotted for other things and it would suffice to reconquer the concept of friend. Perhaps less pride over everything we manage to do would be quite welcome, without putting a permanent ban on bragging.

Perhaps grinding through the feedback one gives in a conversation before asking the next question would be enough to prevent embarrassement or improperness. When met with reluctance, stop jabbing, simply to avoid rude blunders. When encouraged, take 30 more seconds to decide how many details you actually wish your new work buddy to know or let know, and if there is any actual reason for you to learn all about each other in less than 2 sittings.

For all we know, shades, whispers and mystery have always been alluring. Why lose it all to the ashes of the fully-exposed bits of self?

./. (Split Reunion)

A single week that contains the last days of this month as well as the first days of the following month. A single moment that contains the lingering second of yesterday and the boisterous second of tomorrow. A single blink that contains all the dejection of the self and the overwhelming earnestness of the child playing on the floor. An all-encompassing conglomerate of feelings and thoughts that paralyse the being – one heartbeat.

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Strong anonymous women

We go forward. We go back.

The excruciating physical pain that a woman feels when trying to push out of her exhausted body a dead fetus – that unborn child who already has a monochrome-printed profile and a name – is exceeded solely by the preternatural sorrow (and unutterable rage against the Gods above) of seeing the stillborn weighed, measured, tossed into a plastic waste bag, placed carelessly in a cardboard box and labelled “miscarriage”. Nobody makes the sympathetic effort of shielding you from the haunting image of the deformed seven-month-year-old lacking the nasal pyramid or performing the sordid medical procedures outside of your purview.

How do you keep from going insane after a truculent experience like this? How do you grow the courage of ever carrying another baby in your womb? How do you manage to come up with a minuscule grain of trust when addressing doctors who disregarded your condition, ignored your suffering and explained nothing of the phenomenon that left you non-mother?

Hope, faith and an intimidating character strength are the only answers I was given by the friend who recuperated after this unsparing episode. I don’t even need a miracle, just a little bit of attention. And if, eventually, I don’t get it, I’ll just adopt. That is what she told me, tears welling up in her inane eyes, body convulsing with painful memories and chagrin. She is right, of course. She just needs a moment of God’s time, when he does not turn his head away, but caresses the lives at stake. She needs just a little devotion from her gynecologist and some hints of humanity from the medical staff in the delivery room. A few moments in time, that’s all. Less than a drop in the infinite ocean of Time.

Somehow, because you believe it is still possible, because you want your dream of motherhood and you want to feel a baby in your arms, because you hope it will go right this time, because you know God has done it before for others, because you wake up the next morning, trembling and aching, but you make it through the door, because there is a husband who holds your hand, a family and some friends who hold your arm while limping up the stairs, you DO get over it. You do not forget. You cannot forgive. You do not understand. You dream. You pant. You panic. You cry. You collapse. And then you whisper.. but maybe, this time.. Please! .. and in the shadows, among the volcanoes of your disheveled spirit, you open your eyes again and push ahead.

We go forward.

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Depths of Disappointment

When bland, pure, indomitable disappointment strikes your every senses you do not need to go to any far recesses of your consciousness to realize how utterly paralyzing it grasps all of your being and leaves you depleted.

Effects of dismay, incoherence and failure to understand what is happening expand grotesquely when the source of your dejection is a loved person too close to allow for brain and soul to brush off and forgive.

What dispirits and fazes me is the enlightenment that a particular individual (flesh and bones, hairs on nose) holds such stupefying power over me! A single sentence uttered amiss our conversational field or the guilty silence as reply to a poignant question.. Truly terrifying a discovery.

Once you’ve delved into the marshy mud of disappointment it becomes increasingly more difficult to pull yourself out of the suffering and stranded pain, as the bleakness of the shock keeps hammering back, like the dark waves of an enraged, soundless sea lacerating the coastline in never-ending, throbbing slashes.

What remains when you believe you have become incapable of any feeling, what time forgets on your heart’s doorstep as is rushes along, is sheer, overpowering sadness.

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Lack of duties

What did I do when there was nothing that had to be done?

I wasted that free time all away, lazing about, chuckling to myself: There’s nothing that I have to do, I can do anything. I actually did nothing, just ruminating the thought that I had a few hours all to myself. Completely free is a tough condition to be in.

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