From Tongue Twisters to Mind Twisters

Feminism. Femininity. Feminine. Feminist. Feminazi.

These words keep ringing in my head. Over and over like the constant ringing of bells at a temple. String them together and try repeating them over and over, and they sound like the tongue twisters we used to struggle with as kids.
She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
Feminism. Femininity. Feminine. Feminist. Feminazi.

What do these words even mean? I ask myself. Do they really mean different things? Are they the same? Do they mean anything good? Is their meaning ever not negative?

Why should they be negative?  I ask myself. Why should my identity, my existence, be doused in such poor a light? To be cast into a mould named ‘feminine’, and be labelled as weak and submissive, unintelligent and incapable, words I would never use to describe myself. To be cast into the other mould named ‘feminist’, and be labelled angry, bitchy, man-hater, lesbian, words that still fail to do justice to everything that I stand for.

On and on it goes, the donning of one label after another, until the boundaries begin to blur, and all that remains is an umbrella of nothing and everything. Of delicate strength and furious weakness. A label of contradictions that engulfs you and me, and holds everything we stand for.

Feminism. Femininity. Feminine. Feminist. Feminazi.

I repeat the words in my head again. Stringing them together to blur the lines between them. Waiting for a new identity. Hoping for a new existence.

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‘The Time Keeper’ by Mitch Albom

Man alone measures time.
Man alone chimes the hour.
And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. 
A fear of time running out.

‘The Time Keeper’ caught my eye from one of the many piles of books lying in the roadside bookshop I had aimlessly strolled into. Having read Mitch Albom before, (Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven) and having loved his writing, I was excited to see what this one was all about.The book’s blurb, short and simple, aroused my interest. I simply needed to read it. Back home, I opened the first page to start reading the book. And I was hooked!In ‘The Time Keeper’, Mitch Albom speaks a truth as ancient as time itself. A truth so simple and pure, put across through the story of three intertwining lives, that it seems impossible to have not known it for so long!

Albom has created a sense of timelessness in the book. As we delve into Dor’s quest to measure time, we somehow forget our own battles with time. Reading about time makes us forget about time; a paradox that is executed with utmost skill. In the end, the message is clear. Do not waste your life measuring time and wanting for more or less. Cherish your memories and experiences. And the people around you.

The book leaves us with a new awareness of and attitude towards our own life and surroundings.

I would keep this book on my bookshelf, for those times when time needs to be forgotten again.

Being Happy

I see them all around me.

Normal people doing normal things. Achieving success personally and professionally. A well-paying and secure job, a good house, a fancy car, a family. A happy, respectable, settled, vanilla life. That’s the dream, right?! Or so we’re told.

We spend (waste would be a better word) 20 to 30 years of our lives preparing ourselves for this. A decent education to get a decent job. Following a safe career path to ensure job security. Always molding ourselves to fit society’s needs. Suppressing our  whims and fancies. Making sacrifices for a better future.

And yet I see people unhappy. The ones that have worked hard, the ones that now have it all, are the most dissatisfied. I see people unhappy with what they are doing, frustrated and on edge, wanting to quit their jobs and follow their passion, but unable to do so because they’re scared. I see people who did have the courage to quit and venture into something new, and succeed. I see people who took the leap of faith, and failed.

They tell me it’s called mid-life crisis. That it happens to everyone. Some are success stories, some are not. But there is a lesson to be learned from each one of them. A lesson so simple, I wonder why people haven’t understood it yet.

Following your passion may not give you success (money, fame, etc), but it will surely give you happiness. And this is a lesson I intend to follow all my life.

Chaos

The universe is chaos. Pure, plain old chaos. It is, with all its elements, in a constant flux. And we humans, with our need to understand, to simplify, to predict, spend our entire lives finding order in that chaos. Or constructing a world of our own within the chaos. And so, the world as we know it has structure and rules. It has reason and logic. It is tangible and quantifiable.

Our world has binaries; good and evil, right and wrong, white and black. Representing two opposite ends of a spectrum. But these opposites simply don’t exist in chaos. They are so merged and fused into each other that it becomes difficult to identify one from the other, forget separating them! And thus black and white combine to fill the universe with grey, with uncertainty and ambiguity.

The thing about evil is that it’s fun. It’s appealing to our primal instincts, somewhere hidden deeply into the roots of our existence. Good, on the other hand, is a creation of our conscious mind, a structure built on morals and ethics, a maze of the mind, with evil beckoning to us at every instant.

The chaos is uncharted, unplanned, unchallenged. It simply exists, void of creation or destruction. But if you look carefully, a pattern emerges, slight and blurred at first, and later emerges as a distinct image, sharpening and blurring, like the stars in the sky.

The pattern isn’t order, for it keeps changing. It represents us; our fragility, our plurality. A collection of our different selves, that come together to create one person. And each one of us has a different pattern; a web of thoughts and emotions, likes and dislikes, pleasure and pain.

And when we see those blinking lights, we see our fragmented selves, choosing when to appear and disappear, in the midst of chaos.

This chaos fascinates me, more than order can ever soothe me. I like living in a constant flux; unsure, unpredictable, ever-changing.

Stranger

I see you at night,

Every night

When I’m asleep.

You creep into my dreams.

You watch over me,

Protect me,

Like a guardian angel

Or a ghost.

I can sense you

At times, standing

Just behind my shoulder.

Silent. Watchful.

I wondered

In the beginning

About your motives,

Your intentions.

You swoop in like an angel

When I need you the most

And protect me from hurt

From pain and death.

I’ve never met you,

And I never will.

You will forever remain

A mystery.

Yet I yearn

In times of solitude

To get to know you,

My beloved stranger.

Richard Bach

This is more of a ME post.

On a family vacation, I came across the book One by Richard Bach. The best book I’ve ever read!!!

And since then, I fell in love with Richard Bach.

The idea that we’re all connected to each other is an old one. But the way he writes about it in One blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Simply believing in the idea of parallel dimensions, where each time I’ve come across a crossroad and chosen one path, a parallel life begins on the other path, makes me lose all regrets I’ve ever felt.

Bad things are not the worst things that an happen to us. NOTHING is the worst thing that can happen to us.

Wrong turns are as important as right turns. More important, sometimes.

After coming back, I remembered another book of his – Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He wrote about how it’s okay to be different. Even if the people around you shun you for it. You just need to fly out on your own and find those who think like you, and you will be happy.

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.

Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.

Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They call you devil or they call you god.

After that I read The Bridge Across Forever. But my favorite Bach book is Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. 

It’s about a Messiah who tries to enlighten people but realizes that people don’t want to be enlightened. They just want miracles.

You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.

 Richard Bach inspires me to achieve great things. He tells me life will be an adventure, no matter what, because I choose to make it so. He tells me I’m strong, and makes me believe in myself. He tells me it’s good to be different. He tells me it’s OK to be me.