by Diana Rusu
Did you notice that facebook has now got a setting that lets you choose a legacy contact just in case you die?
“A legacy contact is someone who you choose to manage your account after you pass away. They'll be able to do things like pin a post on your Timeline, respond to new friend requests and update your profile picture.” (Facebook settings)
Oh wow, I didn’t see that coming. I mean, from now on, it will be possible to make friends AFTER YOU DIED. Which reminds me, tomorrow is a big day! Tomorrow the 3rd series of Black Mirror is out!!! #bingewatching
Over the years I’ve developed an acute sense of control, although I’m still the most flexible and adaptable person you’ll ever meet. Looking back though, I’m sure as hell that sometimes I looked like a control freak. Having everything prepared, coming to a party with all of the food, making everyone smile. Never smoking that spliff.
And rarely, maybe once in a few years, I would do something over the top: with a most dramatic feeling taking over my body OR quite the opposite – with no feelings at all, that’s how I ended up deleting my first serious blog. It was going really good, I was getting plenty of attention, followers and comments. And back then, I didn’t use any other social media. Later, after a while of having my first fb profile, I deleted that as well, but couldn’t keep my hands out of the internet and got another one instead. I was using my teddy bear as a cover for me searching through ex-lovers’ pictures and status updates. But that’s another story for another time, because my teddy bear was a traveler, so he actually needed this facebook profile.
I think the time has come to loosen up a little bit and do what the voices in my head are saying: delete it delete it delete it
So, I started with the teddy bear and making my way up to the main one. Thing is, I barely use it anymore, but I can’t stop thinking of all the people sharing awesome things and how easy it is to get inspired or learn things. It’s ok, it’s also easy to get hurt. It’s ok, the voices are saying, you’ll find inspiration in nature and people that are present and in yourself and you know, there’s always Instagram, Don’t you dare delete that!!
Riiiight, so, it’s time to go outside. The sun’s out, finally, Mercury is no longer retrograde, we lived through the longest night of the year and I don’t think I wanna be a likes-fed guinea pig anymore, although I still need “all those daily molecules of proof that we, as people, are meant to bond together and change each other’s lives, with or without filter.”
by Iulia Gheorghe
When I write, I do it in a pretty unorthodox way: nesting in the couch, with my notebook as a faithful lapdog, a dozen of pens, a cup of cooled coffee, and a hodgepodge of post-its, magazines, paper clips, plastic flowers, tiny bottles of perfume, a laptop, some chewing gum reigning on the table in front of me and a couple of books on my left and right side. This is not a Bible-inspired scene, but I have this peculiar pleasure of choosing three-four volumes from the bookcase and flipping through them while reflecting and writing. Sometimes I read a fragment, but I often just sit there, smelling the pages, touching them, fixing the cover and charging with some kind of creative energy that I can’t really explain, only genuinely sense. I don’t belong to a bizarre cult of having a physical relationship with books, but I do agree that I consider them resourceful and inspiring companions.
Books are friends that emulate, stimulate and mind their own business (THE thing to do in 2018 according to Issa Rae), such a rare and precious blend for my inner balance. The ones which stand beside me at this very moment are also those which shattered some of my deep-rooted beliefs and deviated the linear perspective I had on diverse topics, which all finally relate to what it means to be a human being in this universe. They shade some light on several murky spots and even if I don’t like to stick to universal truths, they definitely answered my questions from new, invigorating angles.
If you haven’t read them, maybe 2018 is the perfect year to invite them on a date: be ready to succumb to their snappy charm, catchy rhythm and pertinent remarks.
You are wired to worry
I am a natural born worrier who refused to accept the easy way out of the rumination jurisdiction. As a fashionista sets trends, I am a “what could happen-ista” who sets a myriad of possible scenarios to every encountered situation. Thanks to Allan Watts (click here to watch a short inspiring video), stoic philosophy and some eureka moments from my daily existence, I succeeded in slowing down the worry machine. Occasionally, worries are still unmanageable no matter what and they feel like small bones crackling in my chest. I would like to spit those bastards out, but it feels like they are part of my skeleton configuration, like stars (at first sight faraway from each other) are tied in ethereal constellations. Is it possible that worrying is encoded in my genes?
This is where historian Yuval Noah Harari steps in with his “full of shocking and wondrous stories”, as the Sunday Times reviewed his masterpiece Sapiens. A brief history of humankind pinpointing that « From the very advent of agriculture, worries about the future became major players in the theater of the human mind (…) The stress of farming has far-reaching consequences. It was the foundation of large-scale political and social systems.”
I understood better why I felt those extra-bones in my body. I am wired to worry; as our ancestors started to worry from the moment they planted their first harvests. A lot of things could have happened. Droughts, soil erosions, flooding, war. Millennia have passed; nevertheless we are still fretful in front of the harvests of our actions and the jungles of the uncontrollable variables of our lives. A lot of things still can happen. The drought of our bank accounts, the erosion of our relationships, the flooding of our desires, the war among our intentions. When will the rain come has turned into When will that phone ring?
Sure enough, worrying has a lot of things to do with happiness or at least the pursuit of it. Our desires are shaped by an external imagined order. For Harari, follow your heart it’s the blend of the nineteenth century Romantic myths and twentieth-century consumerist myths : « Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfill our human potential, and make us happier ».
It’s so fashionable to buy experiences and to search that feeling of being whole again in exotic faraway places or adrenaline pumping experiences, but we all know in the bottom of our clever hearts that kind of satisfaction vanishes pretty quickly when Lady Purposefulness is not a part of the scenario.
Don’t fall in the victim hole
All this searching for happiness/meaning situation makes me think about the plethora of things we can’t control (for instance, we’re born into families, nations and cultures that we didn’t choose), but one important choice that we can make is the one to not act like eternal victims. Not because injustices don’t exist, they are like the horsemen of the Apocalypse, galloping at the speed of light.
Nevertheless, once we start acting as a victim, we feel tempted to adopt that attitude more and more often until we morph into it. As journalist David Brooks explains in The social animal « we have the power to choose narratives in which we absolve ourselves of guilt and blame everything on conspiracies or others. On the other hand, we have the power to choose narratives in which we use even the worst circumstances to achieve spiritual growth ».
Inequalities tear down today’s societies. Horrible things can happen to what we would call genuinely good people. But playing the victim is a perverse game, as it often finishes in attention-seeking, manipulation, gaining pity instead of respect. Every time when I’m caught in shitty situations, I remember Brooks’ s saying. I look around. It can be damn hard and stinky! If I feel like a wretch-looking fountain of tears&curses, I can bitch about it, be sad or angry about it, but I try not to fall in the victim hole, ‘cause I know that my voice will not be truly heard if I’m stuck in that hazy tunnel.
You will die anyway
However, even if we gain in strength and resilience, we still experience painful feelings and aching memories. For a long time, I put them in a folder like a clerk that handles some account statements and tried to ignore it. Bad idea. That was not a regular dossier! It was alive, twisting and hurting. Overlooking this pulsatile collection of anguish, loss and hardship was not assuming a slice of myself.
As the pen fairy Annie Lamott writes in Bird by bird: “Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbours, and we will deal with libel later on.”
I believe Bird by Bird was the most enchanting encounter that I had with a book in 2017. I felt like sucking up the words of a wise, honest, straightforward, adorable and gifted writer and distilling them in shots of useful guidelines in times of doubt or torment. An example: for more than two decades, I was eaten up by perfectionism. As our society tends to reward perfectionism and it considers it as an impeccable flaw (the one that you can mention at a job interview), more and more people are trapped into its toils. I will be forever grateful to Lamott for explaining so intelligibly the relationship between perfectionism and accepting our mortality :
“I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”
In 2017, after reading Bird by bird and after five years of not writing (perfectionism screwed my willingness to create) I repeated myself: I will die anyway. I will die anyway. I will die anyway. Initially, I was too afraid and superstitious to shout it loudly. But I finally did it. It was my exorcism.
Soon after, I started to write again and guess what? I felt more alive than ever.
by Diana Rusu
Saturn has a storm, photo source
The winter solstice or the rebirth of the Sun has always been celebrated and marked in the wheel of life as the shortest day of a year. Today, the hours of daylight are at their least (think 7 hours and 49 minutes). That leaves us with the longest night for more than 15 hours.
I started my day the exact moment it was light outside; I brewed my coffee. I sat down and turned on the circle of life itself, the Internet, and begun the digging: 13 opened tabs later, I was drowning in astrology websites and blogs, horrified and fascinated by what they have to say about the winter solstice. For example, did you know that in pagan times, this was the moment where people would “replace” the sun with other forms of light? The Romans decorated their houses with evergreen trees; the Yule traditions would include bonfires; the Swedish still keep their beautiful Goddess Lucina, celebrating the return of the light.
But according to astrologer Neil Spencer, this year's Solstice is going to be a special one, as for the first time since 1664, the Sun will move into Capricorn just a few hours after Saturn makes the exact same shift. Solstitium in Latin means that the sun is standing still. Well now she will stand still next to her fellow Saturn and its extraordinary beautiful rings. Handsome guy, that one. Lining up, they’ll seem to create a phenomenon which is expected to have uncomfortable consequences!
"This year the solstice arrives on 21 December at 16.27.55 GMT, with the Sun moving into Capricorn a matter of hours after Saturn makes the same shift. Such an occurrence is not without precedent but it is unusual; you have to go back to 1664 to find something comparable."
So.. what do we do about it? Mercury is still retrograde, but will come to its senses after tomorrow, the 22nd of December. Oh, but apparently he’ll leave a shadow over us all for the next week or so, meaning this whole dreadful bleak midwinter is NOT over yet. Astrologers advise us not to make important decisions until January takes over. And it makes sense, as the whole nature hides under the ground, in snow or cold, damp mud, ready to sprout once again with snowdrops as soon as the sun gets her ass out there. We just have to be patient, for a little while, and hibernate these days. If there’s a time to feel honestly miserable and accept it – now’s the time! Allow yourself to cry your eyes out. Cleanse your body and soul. Stay in and watch Netflix (I’ve just finished The crown).
Here’s what today will look like according to Neil’s horoscope. But go check the whole story of this December. Also, highly recommend Susan Miller’s !!!
“Venus is in your skies until Christmas Day, ideal for a charm offensive, attracting people to your side, and spending too much money on a good time.”
“Meanwhile a great deal seems to be happening behind the scenes, either because your plan for world domination is not ready to unveil, or because you are using the pre-Christmas period to rest up (good idea).”
“Aquarians are known for their detached manner, and you may have to adopt a chilly attitude here. It isn’t time for sentimentalities, despite the festive season.”
“There seems to be more work to complete, more arrangements to make, despite imminent holidays. You may be able to push things back to post-Xmas, when Mercury is behaving again and Saturn has moved on”
“Saturn reaching the peak of your ‘scope on December 21 – for the first time in 30 years – opens a more demanding phase in your public life”
“The move of Saturn into Capricorn on the solstice is weighty and significant for Taureans, aligning one earth sign, the Bull, with another, The Goat. If you are in the business of acquisition – which most Taureans are – then Saturn can help over the next two years.”
“At worst Saturn sets tasks at work, brings grumpy partners, physical stress and grey skies. Its departure lightens the mood (…) allows you to despatch a practical matter that’s been bugging you for most of 2017, and/or to find closure to a problematical relationship.”
“The major news of late December is that Saturn moves into opposition at the solstice, (…) it is a challenge, though one you can overcome by staying firmly on the front foot. Drifting along is not part of Saturn’s agenda.”
“Venus, also in the Centaur until Christmas Day, promises sweet company, art galleries and the social whirl – nice work if you can get it (and you can get it if you try).”
“Saturn may have loaded you up with domestic or family anxieties in 2017 but the taskmaster planet moves on come the winter solstice to a far more obliging position in Capricorn, a fellow earth sign.”
“The midwinter solstice has especial importance for Librans this year (…) For those of you born close to the autumn equinox (September 23/24), the effect could be pretty instant, as Saturn hands you a hot potato marked ‘fresh responsibility’”
“The new Moon of December 18 promises to be something of a turning point in the way you handle finances, as Saturn changes sign three days later. A debt may be called in, or a loan not get repaid, or an income stream evaporate. You need to be alert.”
By Iulia Gheorghe
One of the reasons I cherish late December days is the frostiness of the air that stops dead the oily secretions of my sebaceous glands. It’s a Christmas miracle: my head doesn’t look like a disco ball anymore. Hot summer days and nights be damned, I prefer the red nose and Rudolph’s panoply than spitting grease through my pores. In winter I don’t have to “powder my nose”, an euphemism of choking in a stratocumulus of sheer oil free pressed-powder for a limited (ten to fifteen minutes of almost matte skin) effect. Therefore, putting my face on winter days is a kind of jolly experience: six minutes tops of painting myself while my dog is taking pleasure in scrubbing his ass on the fluffy microfiber bathroom rug. Of course I’m too concentrated in applying eyeliner to organize its expulsion in a Trump-alike intervention, so the dog gets an exceptional visa for the bathroom territory thanks to make-up.
There are some products that I can apply only in winter, especially in December when we exhume enthusiastically sequin bustier dresses and silver lamé shirts so nothing is really over-the-top. I feel like winning one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, except it's not for the chocolate factory, but for the glowing skin. The true glow, not the greasy shine.
I can see your halo halo halo…
It is said that this pastel-coloured powder pearls hold the secret to Stardust technology thanks to a light-creating polymer which envelops your face in a radiant perfecting halo. I’m not sure that I want to know what polymers are and how they are chemically obtained, but I was surprised by their natural and impeccable “hit me like a ray of sun” effect. Of course, if you are used to YouCam Perfect photo filters you won’t be that impressed. The bubbly pearls are confined like precious Ladurée macarons in a flowery box and they smell like a violet-sucking sexy vampire maiden. Before dipping into the piggy bank, note that they are pricey, but they last for ages.
Santa baby, been an awful good girl
An awful good girl who doesn’t blush. For that invigorating, cheerful tint of pink I turn to this product with an austere description; “a duo blusher powder for adding colour to your face”. This is so Angela Merkel lost in a drugstore…but the result is more like an air of Karlie Kloss after a sleighing ride. What I like most about this blush is that it makes you look healthish even after a drinkmas session or a late-night “we didn’t reach the yearly business goals” work reunion.
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am (dixit Sylvia Plath)
I love a bold, statement lip, but finding a lipstick with a flattering shade that lasts smooth for a couple of hours can sometimes be more challenging than finding the love of your life. This lipstick deserves to be nominated to the Nobel Prize of happy lips. The chilly hue is gala: make me merry all night! Moreover, feel free to snack constantly, it resists pretty well to lip-licking. Who cares about the lipstick stained hot cocoa mugs when you finally smile like you mean it!
You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy
The cherry on the cake is this multi-skilled audacious highlighter: you can use it on your cheeks, for strobing and also as an eye shadow. Your whole face is invited to the party! Purists be reassured: this nacreous formula is paraben-free and talc-free. If you are tired of subtle effects and you wanna play big for this New Year’s Eve, use it as an all-over-finishing powder.
Whoever you are, you are more than welcome at the glitter soirée
What about your winter fetish make-up products? Are you more of a minimalist or an extravaganza devotee? When it comes to putting my face on, what I enjoy the most is the diversity of creative ways to do it. And as Ian Thomas Malone wrote in The Transgender Manifesto:
“Makeup can be used to express yourself. Those experiences should not be limited to women. Everyone should be free to be as colourful as they want to be.”
So let’s shine on, you crazy diamonds!
by Diana Rusu
I’ve been diagnosed with MVP (mitral valve prolapse) two years ago. Statistics show that 2 – 3 % of the population has it. While it can be risk-free, it can also give you cardiac arrest. But “individuals with mitral valve prolapse, particularly those without symptoms, often require no treatment”. I’m going to keep the mild palpitations, anxiety and low blood pressure, I can’t control having them, but what I can do is hold their horses.
Hold my horses, I love this saying. I’ve been an expert in holding horses since early childhood. My parents say I was quiet and submissive every time a nurse came to me with needles and syringes - while my (same age) cousin would literally hide in the closet, I would put my stress in the closet. Well it’s needles to say that neither of us two is 100% mentally healthy today. My little monsters had little babies in the closet, and now they love to release them in the world, every once in a while. They let them out early enough to mess up with my veins and make my blood flow backwards (and made me not want to wear skirts ever again since age 18).
Teenage years were a nightmare in terms of making friends. My palms would regularly get these itchy blisters that would eventually break and cause infinite pain and even more anxiety of not showing my hands to anyone. It was called dyshidrotic eczema and doctors believe that you have a greater chance of developing the condition if you’re experiencing a high level of stress (either physical or emotional). Springtime was always the beginning of a beautiful dyshidrosis and wouldn’t leave me alone until autumn. As I grew up, the condition disappeared completely in my early twenties. Scientists can say all they want about how the exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown, but I know. I mean, it’s the monsters in the closet.
On the other hand, living with a heart condition can be challenging sometimes; it makes you think twice before you start “choking with dry tears and raging, raging, raging at the absolute indifference of nature and the world to the death of love, the death of hope and the death of beauty” (as Stephen Fry says it better than anyone else).
I take this challenge as a marking of a limit: how far should we go, anyway? Sometimes I wish I was Bjork and have limitless emotions, but then I realize I’m just an ordinary, average woman and those conditions are/were my boundaries. Or maybe not, but as long as Mercury is retrograde I feel like hiding myself in a closet until the days get longer and everything is reborn.
by Iulia Gheorghe
I find myself once again in the panic attack room, sitting as still as I can with an angel on the right shoulder and with a devil on the left one. This scene is familiar to everybody, I guess. (Unless you are the Dalai Lama or somebody very wise and stoic). Every time those two inner, yet outer voices collide into a stormy chorus, I roll my eyes defeated: searching for balance is transforming me again in a casualty of compromise. This time, I decided to write about it because I clearly couldn’t stop the continuous ping-pong mode debate I was witnessing. Yes, even now while I’m typing the world “typing” my two barking buddies are still trapped in a little dust-up.
The heart of the matter?
Documenting our lives on social media : to do or not to do?
I know, this is a tricky one. Somehow, social media is part of my identity as I’m a digital native millennial. When I open my feed, there is a lot of noise, some crap, a bit of overthought content, a scoop of neverthought content, but also wildly inspiring stuff, collective intelligence, glimpses of genius, talent galore, showers of courage and entrepreneurial spirit, artistic touches and droplets of pure wisdom. Swipping up and down in my social networks makes me feel like Peeping Tom lost in the microcosm of instagrammable breakfasts, quotable resolutions, relatable rants and everything in between.
Falling in like
I remember a few lines of Jonathan Franzen from his commencement address at Kenyon College:
“Alongside the eagerness to be liked is a build-in eagerness to reflect well on us. Our lives look a lot more interesting when they’re filtered through the sexy Facebook interface. We star in our own movies, we photograph ourselves incessantly, we click the mouse and a machine confirms our sense of mastery. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors”.
Maybe it’s more than a Narcissus effect. He fell in love with his reflection in the water, but we fell in like with our distorted-by-technology reflection - a new persona, radiant, flourishing and clinging stubbornly on the network. Maybe, through all of these filters, hashtags, mentions, profile photos, cover photos, selfies, posts, tweets, snaps, instastories, we are constructing some kind of parallel dimension; maybe it's not as frightening as the upside-down one from Stranger Things, but still artificial and toxic, inhabited with our embellished, and in the same time, disembowelled selves. We gain in attractiveness and magnetism, we can be more easily desired, appreciated, hired or admired, but we also lose in authenticity by throwing up a burka-like filter on our more unstable attributes, those beautifully entangled threads of vulnerability and glimpses of mistakes, regrets and struggles that attended the ballroom of our daily lives.
Are we all likes-fed guinea pigs?
Undermining our authentic self is perhaps the consequence of our addiction to approval and praise. Tech giants understood the crazy dance of dopamine and how they can use it in their own interest. Numbers speak for themselves: for example, as of the third quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.07 billion monthly active users and daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day (thank you statista.org). We are all in the loop, but the background may vary. Some feeds are all about personal moods, family and friends, others are work and career oriented, some of them are a potpourri of all that. If we were to do a street interview about the motivations before hitting ”publish”, we would hear the need to express oneself, peer pressure, helping others, draw attention to a cause, be in the spotlight.
Perhaps you just want to show your dumb classmate from secondary school who bullied you that your life is so incredibly appealing or to your ex-partner that you are better without his/her fartsy pants in your washing-machine. Or we may do it for the five-seconds firework show in our brain which happens when we update the feed and notifications start to pour in. Ramsay Brown, neuroscientist and co-founder of Dopamine Labs, believes that the computer code give us rewards which have no actual value, but trigger your brain to make you want more. For instance, on Instagram, the likes come in a sudden rush. We find ourselves in trance: checking several times per hour if new little hearts are flapping their curvy silhouettes on our screens. However, Brown’s vehemence - “You’re guinea pigs. You are guinea pigs in the box pushing the button and sometimes getting the likes”,– is a little chilling.
Tools to share our story
At this point, one might be asking: “Should we all delete our social media accounts or can we still make something meaningful of it?”. As in a lot of multifaceted situations from the carousel called life, I find myself somehow in limbo. Surprisingly, I don’t feel trapped. I accept that those hearts and thumbs (and their effects on my synapses) are fugacious and unreliable. A lot of posts will fly back to the upside-down world of social media chimeras. And a couple of them will tattoo my inner life, because they are impregnated with inspiring art, honest narratives, memories to learn from, random acts of humanity, all those daily molecules of proof that we, as people, are meant to bond together and change each other’s lives, with or without filter.
Austin Kleon, author of Show Your Work! explains brilliantly the crucial role of sharing stories :
“Story is such a source of nurture that we cannot become really true human beings for ourselves and for each other without story— and without finding ways in which to tell it, to share it, to create it, to encourage younger people to create their own story”.
For the first time in the history of humankind, we have so many tools to transmit, share, compile, re-create stories, accessible to almost everybody, a borderless space for expression and meeting.
I’m hearing the angel admonishing the devil: “You see, documenting daily life on social media is more than bolstering one’s self. It’s about togetherness” and the devil laughing, “I can’t argue with you, ‘cause you’re high on likes”. They are both right and wrong.
We’re facing a crazy bet: building unfeigned connections and encouraging freedom of expression, while wiping off the ego sauce that splattered on our social media constructed mirrors. Do believe me, this ego sauce tastes awfully good, like your all time favorite food melting slowly on your taste buds. But with a little exercise (awareness mode on), you can train yourself to discover other tastes, too. Honesty’s taste, for instance. By showing your honesty you contribute to writing a sentence in the Big Story: the story of being unquestionably human and likable thanks to all of the flaws, gaps and scrapes and not in spite of them. They are instagrammable too!
Of course, when you are honest on social media, you expose yourself to rejection, indifference, even misunderstandings. This is why it can be painful and difficult to do it, especially at the beginning. But there is something stupendously liberating about it. Honesty tastes likes umami. #TryItOnYourOwn *wink*.
by Diana Rusu
“IS IT WARM ENOUGH FOR YOU, INSIDE ME?”
This time last year I was digging Insecure, one of the most empowering shows I’ve ever seen. I completely and irreversibly fell in love with the story, the characters and the music. And when the show was done, binge-watched, devoured – there was nothing left but the music. I became obsessed with it. And then, one morning, my youtube shuffled to one of SZA’s songs.
OK, I was like, who is this girl and why is everything she saying going straight to my core; I know, I might sound petty and whatever, but who gives a shit? Somehow, when I most needed to heal my wounds, out of nowhere – something hit me. Without any control whatsoever, I stumbled upon The power of now exactly when I was drowning in the past. For a few months now, I can’t listen to anything but this album. Ctrl opened a gate through my left ventricle going with the flow of blood back into the left atrium. It’s called MVP (or mitral valve prolapse, but we’ll talk about it another time). Back to SZA, I haven’t had such a crush since The dark side of the moon.
I don’t see myself
Control is an illusion, but it is also real af. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of what’s happening in your life can you control? When I did this exercise, I instantly circled 1 and 10. That’s where my emotions took me, controlling my hand and the pen I was holding, circling those numbers.
“I freestyled how I felt”, (SZA talking about the opening song of Ctrl, here). There is so much power when we acknowledge the flow of our own energy and our inner being, that most of the time we end up asking ourselves what was that all about? It’s usually after a little while that we understand the meaning – mentally. The body understands it when it happens, and we (should) have no control over it. Like a diary entry, painfully honest.
“Leave me lonely for prettier women
You know I need too much attention
For shit like that
I could be your supermodel
If you believe
If you see it in me
I don't see myself
Why I can't stay alone just by myself?
Wish I was comfortable just with myself
But I need you” (Supermodel)
How much of what we see can we actually control? On what are insecurities based?
The deconstruction of the sidechick
“The feelin' is wreckless
Of knowin' you're selfish
Knowin' I'm desperate
Gettin' all in your love
Fallin' all over love, like
Do it to last, last” (The weekend)
How did I get from talking about MVPs to sidechicks, I have no idea. There must be a connection, though. The Weekend is one of the most powerful poems I’ve experienced lately. At a first glance, it reminds me of The boy is mine and makes me think a bit more about sharing. Are we sharing now? Have we always shared? Have we always been desperate for love? Yes, we have. At a second glance, it reminds me of my own experience of being a sidechick (been cheated on with a job/passion). It wasn't very easy to accept it. Not having control, being the other. The mistress. We have to deconstruct the concept and see through: there is no such thing. We’re not side dishes, on the contrary. Each of us is a human being looking for the wholeness, we do it to last, last. We do it forever. By accepting it, we take control over all the dark echoes a “you’re like 9 to 5, I’m the weekend” situation might bring in. And that situation can happen anytime, in any form. The sidechick can be no more than a passion, a hobby or a job. I know, it’s a different view from the point The Crunk Feminist Collective has on sidechicks:
“Further, why are side chicks vilified while dudes who have side chicks are celebrated? The fact that men are not held accountable for their culpability in the destruction of their own relationships, and the onus is almost always and exclusively put on “the other woman,” implies that men can’t help it”
Don’t even get me started!
With that being said, I’m going to end up my uncontrollable eating of this brunch today, with my fav quote from Ctrl: “Pretty little bird, pretty little bird
You've hit the window a few times
You still ain't scared of no heights”
And all is good.
photo ©Diana Rusu