From Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. Anuncios
I don’t think I knew much about feminism or what it really means until very recently. I mean, I have always had opinions on things and followed more of less my own path doing what I thought I wanted or I had to do. But I remember being the young girl in the house that took care of it because my mother was working, and my older brother wouldn’t do as much as me, and I totally felt annoyed at it but I ended tidying and taking care of the house because I didn’t want my mother to come back home after being all day away working and find a messy and dirty house. I didn’t do it always, I’ll be honest, and sometimes I did it fast and badly, but I did it more often than not because of this empathy that is supposed to be a part of the women’s nature.
My life was also very shaped by the religion of my parents, which was mine for some time, and that religion, as most Christian ones, says that the woman must keep quiet and subdued to the man, either the father, the brother or the husband. It is really unsettling to think how many women accept this situation without complaining. At some point in my late adolescence I started to think differently… basically I didn’t quite agree with things like brainwashing and isolation, and of course, I didn’t agree with having my possibilities as a person so limited just for the fact of being a girl.
My leaving process of that religion – it should be called cult, rather – was far longer and more painful that it should have, but when I finally managed, I felt, if not stronger, a bit more empowered and able to be myself. I suppose that, at this point, some of the features that define feminist women were a part of my own character. However I wouldn’t define myself as a feminist as such. I just thought myself as a happily independent person, finally! Also, I think the term “feminism” had (has) been long attacked as something very negative and pernicious, which meant that for some time I was not really comfortable using it. At all, not even in a sentence!
On the other side, as a teenager I always had this view of the world being against me. It was a teenager view, I guess, but it was maybe based on some truthful facts. As a teenage girl I was victim of constant attacks by the people around me and the media. The expectations on how I should look were too high and damaging, and my voice was hardly heard seriously – perhaps because I was a teenager, or a girl, or short and chubby, or a bit of everything together. I was always very open on many issues, I didn’t fear to show my opinions on most things – taking out some taboos, of course, like sex or religion. But then, the feeling that no matter what I said, there wouldn’t be people interested in hearing it, sunk in. I am still confident enough to stand up and talk in front of an audience, but I will always start apologising for any possible mistakes or different opinions first. In addition, I will hardly participate in a conversation with many people in which somebody is very clearly leading the way. Probably there are more consequences that I haven’t even noticed yet!
When you are a teenager, you also have other pressures, regardless of your gender. You have to look in a particular way, you must work hard to get the highest possible grades, because they will matter a lot in the next step of your life. You have to learn how to cope with your changes and emotions and try to be nice to your family, even if it is extremely difficult because they are very annoying or traditional and opinionated or wrong, in general. You also have to be social enough not to say that you hate everybody and don’t forget being popular amongst your peers. At some point you start to realize that it is too difficult to joggle with it all and no matter what you do, it never seems enough.
I was listening to The Guilty Feminist podcast on my way to work when one of the presenters, Debra Frances-White, started to talk about the difference in which men and women speak in public. Whilst the man will be confident and will present stuff that may be just ok in a great way; the woman will most probably start always with an apology or a preamble to excuse herself for what she is about to say, and most of the times, the man will be more spontaneous on his ideas and presenting them, whereas the woman will have put a lot of thought into it and still will not be sure of how to present it without sounding too confident, which could be interreted as aggressive or something similar. That was so me, that it made me stop for a second, I literally stopped in the street and thought in shock: YEAH! THAT’S ME! Why do we, women, apologise for speaking out or even just speaking!? Why do men feel entitled and have no shame of not being great, if that’s the case? I’m not saying that is the norm (here I am apologising), but don’t you know THAT guy that is really good at presenting himself but has no clue of what he is doing most of the time?
They – Frances-White and Sofie Hagen, co-presenters of The Guilty Feminist, and guests – kept talking about many topics or problems, like how women have always to work harder to get to the same place where men are – and they always clarify “white posh men”, so of course there are other non-privileged groups. They talk about a lot of issues in a very interesting and sometimes casual way. I think that because I felt so identified with what they were talking about, I got to the conclusion that I might be a feminist after all! Because I am a woman that happens to find life harder than I should, just because I am a woman. I would lie if I said that my life is difficult now. It was for a bit, I think, but I wouldn’t say it is now, so I am not going to pretend that I am unhappy and I feel pressed down in my life to sell my point better. But I will also say that by this point, I am quite deft at cutting off what I don’t like in my life. Still, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it disappear. Women have gone a long way, yes, but there’s still so much to walk.
I think that the first step for me, to help – because suddenly I feel I am an adult and I want to act – to make things better for women is to admit that I am a feminist. There, I said it.
A train off-peak hours. The writer sits on a seat beside the window, her belongings sitting beside her. She feels comfortable, warm and safe. It may be the train noises, the engine, the wheels on the tracks and the people passing, sitting around, minding their own business, going somewhere. Where? Anywhere: back home, after a long day of work or study; off to visit friends or family; to hang around somewhere exciting – the town centre or to get another train that will take them far away.
The train off-peak gives so many possibilities that the writer just buzzes thinking about some of them, and writes and writes without pause. Suddenly she lifts her head from the notebook to check what stop they are at. Not long now until her own, she reckons. Then she looks down quickly, thinking that she still has time to finish that paragraph, that chapter, the story.
When she looks up again, she has missed her stop. But if so, she think, there’s no rush. Keep writing, write for as long as you need.
The family was a wreck. David had died some years ago and Mary lived her life as best as she could, wanting to keep up with both her children. She would always hear from them separately, and never, ever, would they meet all together. The problem was not that the daughter Hannah lived abroad and her son Darren was married and always busy. The problem was that each of them had a totally different religion: Mary worshipped God, Hannah her freedom and Darren his wife. Being like that, it was impossible that their ways could ever meet.
Shannon knew that she liked to be alone, but she sometimes felt alone, or even, if I may say so, horny, and sometimes Shannon thought she better try to do something about it.
She didn’t really have many friends, or any if truth be told, and it had been a long time she’d had a boyfriend, so she didn’t really had the option of calling some ex out of spitefulness and have sex with him, thus messing with his mind. She didn’t really like the idea, so she didn’t gave it a second thought.
Then that thing she’d heard about now and then came to her mind, that thing she didn’t really paid attention to, but might be useful just now… She decided to go on the net and investigate about Timber or Tinder or whatever.
After roughly understanding how it worked she decided to create a profile. She didn’t know very well why, but she decided to be brutally honest. So she wrote her name, Shannon, and her age, thirty three, and her occupation, killing rats in a laboratory. Then she started to fill the hobbies and interests fields and decided half way through she was bored. So she deleted the profile before she got to make it public and turned around in the sofa to watch TV instead.
After a couple of movies and far too much popcorn, she decided to do something physical, and so she went to the gym. It was a bit cold outside to just go for a walk, so the gym seemed the good place to do something active while warm.
While she was trying to ignore everything around her, with her headphones on and running on the mill, she was approached by that guy that looked in his thirties too, a bit balding but good looking in general.
He started to chat her up. Shannon could not understand why and how that guy had decided that chatting her up in the gym was a go. But anyway, it was happening, and she felt obliged to take her headphones off and listen to whatever he told.
Nothing interesting. Not even his name stayed in her mind, so she just turned away, not worrying about finishing the conversation.
On the way back home, she decided to go to the shops first, as she was running out of fresh food. She got some vegetables and milk and went straight to the cashier. There the man started to ask her how her day was going, and she didn’t know if she was just following the stupid procedures of trying to be nice to the client or if he was also trying to chat her up. But annoyed as she was also by the overcommunication from the cashiers at supermarkets, she just turned her music up, paid and left without saying a word.
When she was going up the close, she remembered that she needed to take the bin to the back of the building so went out again and started to pull her bin through. While doing so, a neighbour tried to be kind and kept the door open for her. She said a quite thanks and went on, ignoring his attempt of conversation.
Finally in her flat, she took her headphones off and turned the radio on. She liked filling the flat with those voices that spoke all the time and allowed her to tune off if so easily.
After putting away the shopping and make herself a cup of tea, she decided to sit down again on the sofa and get herself a good book.
It was only later that night, when she had almost finished the book and started to get ready to go to bed that she remembered her failed attempt to try and meet somebody through Tinder. She just shrugged and went to brush her teeth.
Dates are overrated and so are people, she said to herself while spitting out the toothpaste.
Is it very bad if I say aloud that I want it to snow again?
When I say snow again, I mean snow a lot, like immensely, like the roads are going to be totally white with a twenty centimetres deep layer of snow and so the transport will have to stop and the people will be stuck in their houses. And I will be able to sit beside the window and look the life in stand by.
I genuinely want it to snow again so much that services will be interrupted and normal life will have to freeze temporarily, and it will be so cold outside that nobody will really feel the desire of going outside. And the best part of it is that nobody won’t actually need to go outside. Never mind work, never mind the shops. Life will be frozen and nobody will know for how long it will be so.
I am looking at the sky now wishing it was not blue. I am looking at it, trying to summon some grey clouds from the North and praying for a whiter and cooler day. My beliefs don’t matter as much as my desire of snow again. My craving. Almost like a pregnant woman that needs that particular food or activity or will feel like murdering somebody. She will never murder anybody, but because either herself or the suffering partner will have managed to satisfy that craving.
How I wish now I had a partner that cared so much for me , my sanity and his or her own, to try and make it snow… But hey ho, life laughs at me, because as I am writing these lines and sharing my most inner desires to the world, the sun comes out again out there.
The wind beneath my wings was uplifting, if not more.
See? The problem with flying is that at some point the wind will be too strong or you’ll be so tired you will no longer be in control.
Ah, but that is no reason not to try. If you are too tired or the wind is too strong, you are clever enough to know better than to go wild that time.
See? That is where you and I differ. You have faith in your own skills. Well, not faith, more likely you overestimate yourself. Whereas me, well, I know humans are not meant to fly.
Nothing, flying and dying are not worth it!
So you say.
He nodded quietly and she just looked away, not wanting her face to betray her feelings. She was disappointed.
You know what? I don’t care anymore. About this human condition, about this thread of possibilities that guide our lives and about the insecurities around living. I think it is all unreal, or unrealistic, or surreal. Anyway, what is live but the way to death?
He aguantado sin escribir nada sobre el nuevo año nuevo y sus propósitos hasta ahora, tal vez porque no tengo mucho que escribir. Año 2018, año dos mil dieciocho. Yo me confundo y cuando escribo la fecha, pongo un nueve, en vez de un ocho, y mis compañeros de trabajo me riñen asombrados: “¿Pero por qué quieres saltarte un año?” Yo río y digo que ha sido un lapsus, mientras me pregunto a mí misma lo mismo. Tal vez en el inconsciente se me antoja un año malo y quiero que pase cuanto antes. O quizá en mi mente el año que ha pasado ha sido tan largo que me ha sabido a dos.
Pase lo que pase no voy a hacerme una lista de propósitos que no llegaré a ticar, digo cumplir. Y mira que yo soy mucho de listas. Pero a estas alturas de mi vida creo que voy a aceptar la realidad y mi manera de ser: que no voy a cumplir ni uno solo de los propósitos que me proponga. No crean las malas lenguas que nada voy a hacer este año, que voy a gandulear o dormir hasta el próximo – que si bien, tampoco me repele la idea. No, hacer cosas haré, pero voy comprendiendo ya que de poco sirve hacer planes y propósitos, que la vida te lleva aquí y allá a su antojo, a veces te sorprende y tú te limitas a seguirle el rollo, que ya es.