random

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Could it be, I wonder, that the other side of grown-up begins where you cease mainly doing things to the end of becoming the person you would like to be and you start mainly doing things because of the person you have already become?

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Placing a „why” after each „I want” or ”I don’t want”. As important as the ones after `I can` or `I cannot`. As hygienic as brushing your teeth. Possibly more so.

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Luminițe de Crăciun. Șiraguri nesfârșite de sticluțe de vitamină D, îndulcită cu miros de gogoși, spre tratarea instituționalizată a iernii.

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soft’n’crunchy

I wish I knew where to begin. And I wish that the place to begin weren’t always `it’s in the middle` between a black and a white. I wish I could choose and/or plead for heart-on-your-sleeve instead of sarcasm – or the other way round. I wish I could stand up for things with more firmness and not falteringly (is that even an accepted adverb?). But then, in order to do that, I would have to get off the fence once in a while…

And just as there is control and safety in sarcasm (as a personal shield of good-humoured meanness), just as there is control in puppy-like rolling-over and putting your belly right there for the enemy to attack, which also determines the conditions of the game, there is control in being on the fence. An illusion of control, as always, but the urge to solomonically say – `yes, you are right, but to a certain degree, so is the other side` is just as powerful (and possibly just as innate).

Let me elaborate. I hate to be in the position of `playing with the boys` according to their rules, but being soft and vulnerable does not only determine how I would position myself in that particular interaction or the amount of grown-upness others will allot to me, it also determines the playing field, as in limiting the amount of moves of the others. If they have to handle `girly`, they don’t have the full range of their regular shields to use, which, of course, can be a strategy on the part of the `girly`-player – but, to me, it is just limiting freedom and intelligent exchanges for all parties involved. Therefore I will mostly choose to earn my place by playing the sarcasm, the macho games, the drinking games even – because on the other side of them, if people have decided that you are worth seeing, they see you and you see them for real. Before that, if those are the rules of engagement, rolling over and being soft only means, to me, being allowed at the table with a pat on the head.

And yes, mostly the rules are playing it cool – which has never prevented me from falling flat on my face by declaring in all candidness every single feeling ever identified as amorous, generally long before the interlocutor knew what hit him. Sarcasm at work, school, wherever, perfectly fine. Waiting for a guy to make any kind of first step – plain impossible. (you’d think one learns with time, but there are always some learning curves that stay flat). And somehow, that kind of vulnerability, once in a blue moon, paid off. I think the equivalent of it nowadays is this exhibitionism of writing this kind of open diary, allowing both for the different sorts of pain to come quite close to the surface and for the potential sorts of inflicters of pain to see past shields.

Pretty hard to draw a conclusion when the strategy is not to choose any single strategy, eh?

of karma and care

I’m on the fence about objects. Sometimes I can keep something with a fetish-like attachment for years. Sometimes I can’t be bothered about things. I can care deeply for a certain cup and then let it go without any regret when it breaks. There are objects that belong to previous stages in my life which I keep in boxes, so as not to ruin them, there are things I use because otherwise what is the point of liking objects, there are things I maintain and things I forget about immediately. I can’t find any kind of consistence in my behaviour towards objects, no ideological pattern whatsoever. While looking for the right bike for the kids I might go with the `I’m too poor to buy crap stuff` motto of my grandma, but I will buy the cheapest shoes because they will only survive about two months anyway… (although sometimes the cheapest shoes turn out to be surprisingly resilient and the kids’ feet migh just stop growing for months on end – there is simply no way of anticipating these things properly…). I’m only stating this randomness because there is something that ties my whole relationship with objects together: it seems that my objects tend to attract… how can I put this eloquently… the shit in `shit happens`.

There can be objects that I worked for – like the first bed sheets I bought from my own money and my grandma helped me trim to the dimensions of my old bed. We folded the 30 cm of width that we wanted to remove, me at one end of the sheet, she at the other, and then she put the scissors at the bottom of the fold instead of the top, made an incision and then tore happily at the cloth, in the middle of the sheet and in the middle of my unbelieving `NOOOO!`. I still have the blue sheets with flowers, sewn in the middle and imperfect since the very day they were bought.

There can be plants that I watch carefully grow, protect as far as I can and which get eaten by mysterious bugs the day before the bloom would open. New clothes that get washed, after having been worn only once, together with just the one thing that gives off intense blue or indian red. The new glasses that have a scratch on them from the toy car that needed to kiss me the first week I got them. New furniture that gets chipped the day I assemble it. The wall I have just painted, which gets smudged the same evening. The new phone, which was there when I got on the plane, because I’m certain I turned it off, and then it wasn’t by the time I got home.

I assume everybody deals with such nonsense all the time. Or else spends a lot more time being very careful about wallets and putting coasters on coffee tables. Or else, doesn’t have kids. Either way, I’m sure there are people at both ends of the care-about-objects spectrum and that they are happy with where they position themselves. The thing is, I don’t really mind the ‘messiness’ of it all – for a good part, things are just things and they don’t matter all that much in the bigger picture. It’s just the feeling of waste, of everything being usable, but not neat, mostly as soon as it enters my care, the feeling that there must be something I’m doing (by way of which the same escalator I take everyday will turn out to have a screw sticking out of its side exclusively the day that I put on new shoes with potentially scratchable heels)… it’s that `this seems to only happen to me` that’s so annoying… And the undefined guilt that you think you did everything right, but the crack is still in everything, only literally…

 

P.S. I do think it’s nonsense even to think about this, but I suppose it must come from the same neurotic streak that keeps the egg yolk whole and tries to remove the crust of every wound.

functioning patterns

A good friend of mine is in the process of reassessing her career (options) and shared with me a bit of the analysis involved in this. Some of the help one gets in defining strengths and weaknesses may be futile – but it remains a puzzle how it is possible to realise so little, at times, what our repetitive processes are or how we deal with information in a certain preset way. While she was talking to me today about what she had found out – about creating situations that give her the sense that she is handling things „hands on” (at least this was my interpretation of what I was being told), I took a leap in a completely different direction than she was going into and stumbled upon a behaviour pattern myself. The point of her analysis was pragmatic (in the scientific sense): „This is a functioning pattern for me, how can I use it in finding fulfilling work?” My immediate step was: „This is a functioning pattern that makes you feel good, but it might have unwanted repercussions on people around you.” What I would automatically do if I found a pattern of behaviour that I wasn’t aware of would not be to try to understand why it is in place or to try to put it to any use, but to assume that, if it is uncontrolled, it is a nuisance and consequently attempt to eradicate it. Whereas it might just be an enormous waste of energy to fight oneself at that depth of fabric. Not that I don’t think questioning your own reasons is a good thing… but shouldn’t it be first about what you do want and only then about what you don’t? Shoot, more assumption to question…