Category Archives: friday ‘finking

friday ‘finking | break-up letters, they’re the best

Breaking up on a Post-It? Mmmyeah, no. It may make for a whole episode of Sex in the City, but it does not make for a good real-life story. So grow the balls and do it right. Do it hard. Do it with a letter. And if you lack inspiration, here is one- enjoy.

(From Simone de Beauvoir to Nelson Algren, 1950)

I am better at dry sadness than at cold anger, for I remained dry eyed until now, as dry as smoked fish, but my heart is a kind of dirty soft custard inside.

[…]

I am not sad. Rather stunned, very far away fro myself, not really believing you are now so far, so far, you so near. I want to tell you only two things before leaving, and then I’ll not speak about it any more, I promise. First, I hope so much, I want and need so much to see you again, some day. But, remember, please, I shall never more ask to see you — not from any pride since I have none with you, as you know, but our meeting will mean something only when you wish it. So, I’ll wait. When you’ll wish it, just tell. I shall not assume that you love me anew, not even that you have to sleep with me, and we have not to stay together such a long time — just as you feel, and when you feel. But know that i’ll always long for your asking me. No, I cannot think that I shall not see you again. I have lost your love and it was (it is) painful, but shall not lose you. Anyhow, you have me so much, Nelson, what you gave me meant so much, that you could never take it back. And then your tenderness and friendship were so precious to me that I can still feel warm and happy and harshly grateful when I look at you inside me. I do hope this tenderness and friendship will never, never desert me. As for me, it is baffling to say so and I feel ashamed, but it is the only true truth: I just love as much as I did when I landed into your disappointed arms, that means with my whole self and all my dirty heart; I cannot do less. But that will not bother you, honey, and don’t make writing letters of any kind a duty, just write when you feel like it, knowing every time it will make me very happy.

Well, all words seem silly. You seem so near, so near, let me come near to you, too. And let me, as in the past times, let me be in my own heart forever.

Your own Simone

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friday ‘finking | insecure me, insecure you

We all have them and they live at a particularly exact address: all over the cerebral cortex, with vacation homes in the frontal lobe and the limbic system.  You’ll often find them there, dancing a dancing plague with Oedipus’ and Electra’s complexes, hand in hand with unrevealed-yet Freudian slips and singing out loud tunes of past depressions.

Fears, insecurities, complexes, call them what you may- they’re a constant and they usually

a) come bundled up (where there’s one, it usually has friends- coocoo needs company, don’t it?);

b) are hard to get rid of- if anything, age and a combination of self-imposed “I finally like who I am now, I did two classes on self-discovery, it’s so great to embrace who I am” + a wide array of repeated self-fulfilling prophecies make them fatter, quicker to fire through our neurons and thirstier for those poisonous chemicals that support the whole thing;

c) affect us all- we ALL have them. Like I said, coocoo does need company.

So we know what they’re about. We try to address them by either confronting them straight up (you know, the classic I’m gonna jump out of a plane for my 30th birthday because I’ve always been afraid of heights. And I’m gonna start a support group for people like me, and I’m gonna write a blog about this experience, and I’m gonna throw a party for it because I-was-so-weak-and-this-was-sooooooo-liberating, haters gonna hate but I defeated the fear monster, ohmygodimsostrongnow) or by building smart, fluid, compensatory mechanisms to hide them from ourselves and others. Which is terribly human, and terribly ok- particularly when the result is self- awareness and acceptance that hey, not all of us mortals are perfect (and if we’re not, maybe others are not, either, so let’s play nice with each other, shall we?).

But when the playing nice does not happen, insecurities become more apparent, and we can’t help but notice them (it’s like staring at an ugly wound- it’s gross, but you can’t take your eyes off that damn pus). So here are a few signs someone in your life might have sensitivities towards you that you, the be-the-better-man should try to mind (if you can, that is. Sometimes knowing he/she is insecure doesn’t make it easier to deal with their grouchy, judgmental, unfriendly ass):

1. They like to take the opposite side (don’t be fooled by an affirmation- anything followed by a “but” is nothing but a contradiction in disguise: “yes, but…”)

2. They unassumingly, discreetly remind you how good they are at something. If you admire a new piece of clothing on a common friend, you’ll probably hear “hey, X, didn’t I help you pick that?”- or something along those lines.

3. They take their time introducing you to their friends or making you part of their outside-the-circle activities.

4. They’re askholes. Masked as someone with great intentions and respect for you and what you have to say, an askhole always asks for your opinion, but never follows your advice.

On the same note, they’ll try hard not to ever be in your debt. Whether that takes the form of them insisting on splitting the bill and paying back a gift with another (often more expensive, more carefully picked one) or by never asking for help (when you know they need it, and they know you would give it in a heartbeat), not owing you anything= power.

5. If you ever are so uninspired as to wrong them and fuck up, breach yourself. Doesn’t matter if your mistake is unintentional, if your dog died and you’re depressed, if you don’t speak the language or if you simply thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal- once they see you slip, they’ll prefer to think it’s because you’re badbadbad and will make it a mission to not only point it out, but find other victims of your destroying behavior and be their savior. Game over.

(Now, all of the above are points to look after in people who are close to you, whom you cherish and who care for you in return. If not, that means these behaviors are a pretty clear sign you’re not on the same page, and maybe you should be worried about whether they even like you… just sayin’.)

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friday ‘finking | women are vegetables

Women are savory, men are sweet. (Whoa, get back, this is not a value statement. It doesn’t mean anything but a play on concepts, so bare with me. You’ll say that it’s women who eat sweets, and men like salty, that the girls are soft and the boys are harsh, etc.etc. Sure. But maybe women eat sweets because they lack sugar, how ’bout that?!)

Assuming you do have the patience to go through this exercise (in-hale. ex-hale. now think), let me tell you why I believe women are savory and men are sweet (for the sake of this discussion, we’ll forget about sour, bitter and hot [which is not exactly a taste, since we perceive it not with the taste buds, but the pain receptors in our mouth]). Weeeeell… women are savory because they are food (you have to have it, no matter how gross, it still is nutritious). Men are sweet because they are dessert (you go on and fill in this parenthesis with whatever crosses your mind).

Now, if women were savory and we were to put them in a food category diverse enough to cover all their types, I will go on a limb here and say women are vegetables. They need some seeding, some water to grow, a lot of attention; they have a young phase (when eating them too young is both a pleasure and a sin) and a mature, perfect phase; they have a specific cooking temperature and a specific nutrient value; and they have a point where, even dead, they can make some damn good compost.

Here are some of the classic types:

Lady Onion– probably a Pisces, she is the most romantic of the bunch. Her outfits are complicated and well put together from multiple layers, and she is the only one who still owns petticoats, dress slips, silken thigh-highs and bustiers (if wealthy, she is likely to be a Vivienne Westwood aficionado). She likes dreamy soap operas, which she watches drinking tea from a very old and demure tea set. Her lashes are always long and perfectly mascara’d, and she uses them quite often when she’s flirting; another powerful weapon is the streams of perfume she disguises herself in but by which she is easily recognizable. She’s good in crowds, and whether young or old she can bring a plus of savor to any meeting. She sighs quite frequently and she is easily moved by crudeness or misplaced attention, usually ending up in a river of tears over the most trivial of issues. When cooked by the fires of love, she becomes a ghost of herself, almost translucid, sweet and sacrificially discreet. Madame Bovary was an Onion.

Lady Artichoke– a master of disguise and double-entendres, this gal makes the subject of movies, books and infatuations world-round. She’s smart, she’s shrewd and she can talk herself out of any situation. Words are her weapons, although she’s also good looking, poised and very put together. She possesses a huge reservoir of knowledge as well as the most random of abilities- from speaking ancient Greek to car-repairing skills to having an acute vision in the dark. Her sharp tongue and keen self awareness make her magnetic and irresistible to the hoards of men who are ready to die at her door, writing her poems and buying her gifts. She’s almost impenetrable and it takes a long time and a lot of discovering before truly getting to her core. When you do, you’ll discover a very intense, fascinating, umami heart as interesting and as capable as the person who’s carrying it. Most female politicians and all the spies we know of were artichokes.

Lady Potato– very plain but strong and oddly symmetrical, like one of those candidates for “Complete makeover” (has all the right elements to be comely, but no songs will be written about her looks. Her personality is rather beige, as well). Takes the right person to pull her out of her cozy environment, but once out she can adapt to any group and any situation- without ever standing out. She’s the universal companion, never too special but always there, sturdy and healthy like an ox, almost asexual but fertile like no other. No matter the age or girth, she’s always inelegant but never completely ugly, as her kindness and loyalty can easily be read and are always heartwarming. Sentimentally, it takes a long time to get her going because she’s the most stubborn of all women, but there are many ways to make her fall in love- once fully cooked she comes alive and turns into a comforting, familiar, purposeful and long-lasting partner.

Lady Tomato– this one is juicy, exotic, and fragrant- the woman all women admire and feel threatened by (and rightfully so). She’s warm and organic but also sharp and ballsy. She’s not necessarily trying to be in everyone’s faces, but she enjoys the spotlight and it’s usually impossible to ignore her. She’s artsy, crafty, well read and well travelled- a citizen of the world with interest in politics, arts and gastronomy who also has a taste for unique clothes and accessories. She personalizes everything she touches and her style is easily recognizable as a tasteful combination of unique elements, both old and new, bold and discrete, industrial and ethnic. She’s very social, probably dedicated to various charity causes and a community- builder. Interesting and delicious, she has the zest  for life that makes the subject of life- long passions and friendships. Comfortable in any situation and any entourage, she’s a fantastic lover and one of the few females who get better with age.

Lady Lettuce– out of the bunch, this one is the absolute party girl, the “yes” woman- for her, life is a fun game, and a breeze. Loud, sincere and unidimensional, she comes and goes as she pleases and can easily be mixed with any group, anytime, anywhere. She’s the one standing out through her outfits, her crazy hair, her voice and her ability to fill up the room with her presence. She knows the latest jokes, cares about the latest fashions, remembers everyone’s birthdays- she’s a true networker. She can be very smart, but she normally prefers not to get herself involved in delicate issues such as politics or religion (or philosophy, for that matter). She’s always down to play, ready for any adventure, simple and tonic, fun and actual. She rarely falls in love, and when she’s cooked smitten she retires in her den to lick her wounds- so you won’t ever see her other than rational, fresh and ready to go. The best PR agents are lettuces.

Lady Celery– you know a celery because 1. she’s probably wearing her hair short and 2. her perfume is something citrusy. She’s a tyrant of the gym and her body is a temple. She exercises, she eats well, she trims and plucks and moisturizes and she has very specific tastes in everything. She’s subject to a self-imposed draconic discipline which she respects and follows 24/7. She’s tough, she’s clean, she’s detailed and she makes a very dedicated friend, with the condition that you don’t mess with her routines, schedule or diet. She never half-asses things, and she’s always in control of her feelings, her surroundings and her professional life- in short, she’s a tank. She makes a great lover, because her relationships are built with the same dedication, discipline and no-drama attitude. Nadia Comaneci (if you don’t know who that is, shame on you- go look her up) is a classic celery.

Lady Bean– dry, smart and tough as nails, this gal is one of the most interesting in the whole bunch although she does have a tendency to be a misanthrope. She’s the ageless woman dedicated to reading, cats and fashion and usually she’s an apparition you want to touch, listen to, watch and have around. She’s probably a chain smoker, a master at cards and a connaisseur of all society games. Her tastes are refined but she sometimes surprises with her improbable choices- like her preference to drink beer dressed in the most elegant of gowns, at the most exclusive, champagne-only ball. She has an incredible sense of (dry) humor, which she uses to guard herself as she’s, in fact, a softie. It comes in all shapes and sizes, but it always takes a loooooooong time to get her going and reach her un-protected, raw, loving core- once there, though, she’s one of the most delicious, surprising, satiating girls out there.

 

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yuckityyuck | things we know as kids and forget as adults

Yesterday, I ate some worms. No, really.

I am sick out of my mind because, of course, summer is when a normal person gets a cold, right? So yesterday I roll out of my bed, all achy and snotty and sounding like a hydraulic pump, sweaty as hell and feeling like all the booboos of the world congregated somewhere between my nose and the back of my brain. And, with my stomach in knots and my throat scratchy like sand paper, I decide that a nice bowl of cereal is what I need. I go to the pantry, I pick a box, I see there’s enough left for exactly one portion, I pour it into a nice bowl and cover it with almond milk, I grab a nice spoon, I turn the on the olympic games and let myself fall in a cozy armchair. Indulgence. Bliss! I chew slowly, the raisins are plumply popping in my mouth, the milk is silky and delicious and I fucking love it.

And then I see them. Half way through chewing my tenth mouthful, I see them. TENS of them. Worms. Floating. White, fat, and drowned in a sweet death of organic almond milk. What followed was rather cartoonish, with a stunned me blinking like an idiot, my mouth full, staring at the spoon and panicking in disgust, amazed at 1. the fact that the whole thing is tasty as hell and 2. the fact that I’m not puking with a vault like the dumb dude in the Jackass videos.

The aftermath is pretty straight forward, therefore rather boring (spit. clean my mouth with soap. drink a lot of water. discard the wormy cereal. wash the bowl. stare at the box. reflect), so I won’t talk much about it. However, I really got hung up on the fact that, want it or not, I ate some worms. And that they were delicious when I didn’t know I was eating them, but became disgusting as soon as I found out I’m actually chewing on insects. The whole thing made me think: how many more things are there we, adults, are conditioned about and forgot how to enjoy?

1. Gross is fun. Handling crawlers and critters, slapping mud, putting your hands on everything, walking through marshes heaping with leeches, chasing smelly chickens, examining worms and frogs, staring at piss and shit, running barefoot, not minding dog hair, eating stuff you dropped in dirt, licking icicles (real ones, not the type you buy), kissing (all) animals, sharing your gum- remember all THAT? Wasn’t it fun to not care? Wasn’t it delicious to actually look at yourself and see that you’re all dirty? The growing up shit we all do (learn-about-microbes, shun bodily functions, move from the back yard into a sterile concrete office and so on) plus the invention of hand sanitizer killed all the joy. So go ahead, go do something gross we used to have fun with as kids. Like, fart.

2. Your body is fun. Playing with your weewee moves from exploratory to dirty a bit too quickly, in my humble opinion- I’m still amazed that parents nowadays make their 4 year olds wear bathing suits, complete with tiny bras for little girls- really?? Isn’t that a little extreme- even for decency’s sake? What ever happened to finding your belly button and being so fascinated with it you’re drooling all over yourself? What happened to giving names to all of your toes, to staring at yourself while you make faces in the mirror, to cutting your own hair and laughing about it? (Note: we all know adults who are so enamored with themselves they can’t help but staring at their reflections in every window they pass by- that’s NOT the type of self-love I’m talking about. Being aware of your body, liking it for what it is, not obsessing over what it looks like- you know, having fun with it without feeling guilty, or dirty, or weird- that’s what I’m talking about). So go on. Touch your toes. Explore your belly button. When’s the last time you looked at your tongue?

3.  Forgetting is fun. Not much to say here…. except that I’m still shuddering about eating worms. And I miss the times when life came to me hour by hour, when my brain was so busy discovering the new that it didn’t linger much on the old, when I was programmed to forget what was unpleasant and move the fuck on. When I didn’t mentally go over my conversation with my boss a hundred times, each time picturing a new way to eat the bitch alive. When I didn’t get so hung up on shit I couldn’t control. So go ahead, for your own sake, and remember to forget.

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friday ‘finking | 5 rules to com-mu-ni-cate

Communicate much? 

In my short life of living here and there, working here and there, making friends here and there and speaking this or that language, it happened many times to a) not get it, b) not being got and c) make crazy mistakes assuming people really understand not only what I’m trying to say, but also why I say it.

So here are a few things I learned.

1. Say what you mean. Beating it around the bush won’t cut it- people get bored, they get annoyed, and you’ll for ever be the princess who can’t gather the balls to voice their opinion. If you’re like me, crazy in the head and wild in their beliefs, you can choose to not say all that you mean- but better to have a drop of concentrated truth than a sea of blablablahs.

2. Mean what you say. Euphemism, metaphors, epithets are all good if you’re not comfortable delivering a shot of you (straight-up, olives on the side) every time you open your mouth. Use them instead of serving bullshit.

3. When in Rome, do what the Romans do. Try to adapt your discourse to the person in front of you, to the language you’re speaking in, to the local culture. It’s nice to be yourself 100% of the time, but if you’re trying to make yourself understood get it in your head that your collocutor may not have the cognitive tools to process your output accurately. Not because they’re stupid (although it does happen) or because they’re unwilling (although that happens, too)- but because they simply don’t know what to do with you. Like an exotic food they don’t know how to pair with wine.

4. If you’re a Roman, you have it easy- be nice, and meet your conversation partner mid-way. You’re at home, you know the culture and you speak the language- you have all the tools to understand what the other may want to say. Yes, they may be speaking your mother tongue with the grace of a military boot, wrongly conjugating some verb, or moving their hands too much, or misplacing prepositions; yes, they may commit some abhorrent cultural no-nos; and yes, they may take too damn long trying to say something simple- but they’re on your turf, and you’re equipped with everything you need to get it. So roll up your sleeves, work your brain and be patient. Your tolerance and your willingness to get it, I assure you, will be appreciated.

5. Get over yourself. MemememememeIIIIIIIIMineIthinkIwantMyopinionmemememememeIIIII… is straight-up lame. Stop being so me- centric, get out of your zone of fluff and understand that people come from different backgrounds (as solid and as valid as yours) and that a conversation is NOT a series of balanced, equally-spaced, repeated monologues (I said what I had to say, now you can say what you have to say, then step and repeat- how boring is that?!). It’s ok to interrupt, as long as it’s done respectfully and adds to the communication- so don’t take it personally. It’s ok to pause- silence is f-i-n-e. It’s ok to talk over each other, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the purpose of the talk. If the common purpose is com-mu-ni-cate, anything goes.

In my head, a perfect talk looks like a tapestry- well-constructed, intricate, made of different colors and threads. And, if not useful, at least beautiful.

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