Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta acceptance. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta acceptance. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 5 de julio de 2017

Norman

   From the very first years of his life, Norman Atelon was a very peculiar man. He was always avoiding situations, which would cause him to ruin his appearance, such as playing in the mud or during the rainy season. From the moment he learned to read, he spent his time doing just that, inside the house, in his room. He didn’t really like the company of his parents or of any other person. He’d rather have his stories and his imagination to go with it. That was more than enough.

 Norman developed this love of stories through his upbringing and eventually became one of the most renowned authors in the world. For some reason, he had dedicated himself to writing children’s books. His family saw this as odd behavior because he didn’t like people, and children were his very least favorite. He thought they were obnoxious and repetitive, not really taking any interest in the real interesting things life had to offer. He thought they were dull and dirty.

 However, the author once explained to his mother that he loved to write simple stories and that’s why his creations were considered more suitable for children. He didn’t agree at all but he knew it was best not to argue too much, because he did want to be taken seriously by other authors and by the world in general. For a person that didn’t really like people, Norman had a real need for people to be acceptant of him or, at very least, of his literature. And the world answered in a big way.

 His first book was a recompilation of short stories and it sold like fresh baked bread. Mothers and fathers all over the country fell in love with his imaginative creations and the kids really took to it too. Social media was a very good promotional platform for him, as many kids that liked his stories loved to paint or draw their favorite characters and then upload the pictures online. It was all made as a contest by the company publishing the books and it earned him a lot of money.

 So much he earned, that he became a rich man by the age of twenty-three, when most people are barely coming out of university, trying to enter a world hostile to their wishes. The irony was that Norman had never really wanted to be part of the world. He couldn’t care less if his stories made money or not, he just wanted to be out there, his name with all the other great names of literature. That was his achievement and he wanted to feel he had made it big. However, despite all the success, he didn’t get the recognition he wanted, only the one he didn’t care about.

 That’s why he made an effort at keep getting better at his craft. He studied, educated himself further abroad and, of course, he kept writing, almost every day. He lived with his parents for years until he decided he needed to get out of there but not because he was too old. He had realized he had to be fully alone to be able to create things that every other author would be jealous about. So he left his parents in a huff, not really feeling anything else than the burning desire to be considered a great author.

 His new apartment was small, very small. But it was located in a very wealthy neighborhood, with everything he could ever want not very far away. Not that he ever went outside for anything. He hired a maid to do those kinds of things for her. Food was a waste of time in his mind, so he dedicated the least amount of time to it, even reading through his meals or interrupting them abruptly when an idea came to mind. He had always been very skinny but he soon acquired an additional greenish hue on his skin.

 His parents and people he saw for work noticed this right away but they all knew him too well to say a word. Norman wasn’t the kind of person to care a lot about personal appearance. However, his mother convinced him to go to the doctor once. He complained about losing time of his daily schedule but he went with it. The doctor found him to be a bit underfed but, aside from that, he was healthy as a horse. It was incredible but he was, so no one could say anything about it anymore.

 The maid was ordered to cook better meals and he accepted to spend at least twenty straight minutes to breakfast, lunch and dinner. But he kept reading through the meals, because his mind had to be busy every single second of the day. People that met him thought it was exhausting just look at him go through a normal day. Norman was not a normal person at all; he was very unique in a very particular kind of way. Maybe that was the reason he didn’t like people that much.

 Friends, he did not have. He didn’t have any use for friendship or love or sex. As far as everyone that knew him was concerned, Norman was still a virgin and had never bonded with anyone else in his entire life, not even with other authors. People thought he wanted to be accepted by them but the fact was he wanted to be considered a true writer, a member of the group. If the people in the group liked him or not, he didn’t care one bit. That made people very annoyed by him, even if they were meeting him for the very first time. Norman was one of a kind.

 Ten years passed from his first publication. He lived in the same apartment, being cooked by the same maid and with his mom coming in every Sunday, as she had done since he had moved out. However, his father had died fairly recently so she had to visit alone. But Norman never seemed to notice his father was not around anymore. He did go to the funeral but he read a book through the ceremony and during the burial. People were very angry about it but his mother kept everyone from doing a scene.

 However, it was her who made the scene one day, one of those Sundays she visited her son. She served the meal left by the maid, as she always did and looked at her son as he ate fast to go back to his writing. He was working on a book about a young girl and her relationship with a magical cow. Or something like that, his mom was never that aware of the stories he made. No one really seemed to be, except his editor. The meal had gone by as usual except for one little detail.

 The mother burst into tears. She had never done so, not once in her whole life. Not on her childhood home, no in the house she had bought with her husband and least of all in her son’s apartment. She just couldn’t keep crying, tear rolling down her cheeks and nose. But that was not all that happened. Because, as she dried her face, she noticed that her son just left the table to sit on his table and keep on writing. Then, her sadness turned into rage, a feeling she had been repressing for many years.

 She yelled, as no one had ever yelled at Norman. Of course, there had been people who had had altercations with him. His way of being was off-putting to many. But that time, he seemed to actually care about the person who was yelling. It was his mother and, no matter how his personality was, he couldn’t just ignore the person that had brought him to life. She claimed she had been caring for him her whole life and he had never shown her the slightest sign of affection.

 For the first time, it seemed he didn’t have the right words to say. Norman had developed a very sharp and fast tongue. But that afternoon, all words seemed to leave him for good. And there was a reason for that: she was right. He had never shown her affection or any other feeling for that matter.


 He stood up and tried to walk up to her but he couldn’t. His legs wouldn’t budge. That feeling for her mother, whatever it was, was being overpowered by his personality. And she noticed. That’s why the woman grabbed her purse and her coat and never spoke to him again, not even when he was finally recognized as he had always wanted.

martes, 7 de junio de 2016

Two of one

   Used. That’s how she felt the moment she arrived home. The idea behind all of it had been to prove herself stronger than she thought she was. But maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she was just the frightened girl she didn’t wanted to be. The idea of being fearless had been a nice one to imagine but it had been highly unrealistic. This was, mainly, because she was always terrified. Every step she took into the world made her feel as is she had stepped into the mouths of hell. And though she forced herself through the most difficult things, she knew she was much more affected by everything than what she recognized.

 She sat on the bed for a while. Blinds and a curtain covered the window, which was good. She didn’t want to know a single thing about the sun out there, about light or life in the world. She wanted to stay there in her room for a while, a long while. After fifteen minutes of staring at a point on the floor, she remembered her clothes and took them off as fast as she can. Once she was only in her underwear, she got into bed and tried to sleep.

 It felt like the hardest thing she had ever done. Once again, her eyes would face the wall and wouldn’t close for nothing. She was too distracted, trying not to think about anything. That thought made her think about every single thing that had happened that night and she found herself repeating the scenes she had been through over and over again, like a movie in her head. She moved around in bed a lot, not being able to sleep or to shake off the thoughts.

 Maybe it was her, or maybe it was the weather, but the room started to feel like a sauna. Everything felt hotter, as if she was trying to sleep in an oven. It made sleeping even harder. She got out of bed and head to the door but stopped there. She wanted to have some water but, to do that, she had to go to the kitchen and that room was surrounded by windows and light. It was everything she wanted to avoid. Yet, she had begun to feel a sore throat and had no idea way.

 It was seven in the morning when she opened the door and practically ran to the kitchen. She grabbed a bottle of water and ran back to her room, as fast as she could. Other four people lived there and none of them were friends or anything like it. She barely spoke to any of them and couldn’t trust them with how she felt on that moment.

 Once back in her room, she drank half the water in the bottle in one sitting. She cleaned her mouth with her arm and decided it was time to try again. Only covered by a thin sheet, she finally fell asleep after finally deciding not to think about anything. She just put her mind blank and it worked. She fell asleep but it was an uneasy sleep.

 The poor woman moved around, her arms from one side to the other of the bed. She talked in her sleep too but it was hard to properly hear what she was saying, it was almost as if she was whispering to someone. That way, thrashing and whispering, she got to sleep for five hours. Around lunchtime, she woke up and decided that small rest had been enough. Her body wasn’t tired enough to keep on sleeping, although her mind certainly needed more time to get used to every single thing she was thinking about.

  Once up, she moved the curtain and raised the blinds. Her window led to an inner yard but some light came through it.  She had no intention of turning on her artificial light. The idea was to have natural light come into the room and feel a little bit less aggressive. After that, she decided it was time to have another expedition outside, this time to the bathroom. She ran quickly to it and did what she had to do as fast as she could. She didn’t want to stay there long enough to be greeted by anyone outside. Avoiding them was the idea for the day.

 When back in her room, she looked around in her closet and found something she had thought about in the bathroom: cookies. They were the ones she used to eat as a little girl. They were really thick and covered with chocolate chunks. She took the box to the bed and grabbed her laptop. The idea was to eat and distract her mind from the night before. She still felt dirty, she still felt she had transformed into someone she wasn’t and now she had to live with that other person.

 The best thing she could find was a cooking show, so she watched it in silence while eating about seven cookies. Once she was done, she put the box on the ground and covered herself entirely with the bed sheet. The food had helped her to feel tired again, maybe even sleepy. But then she realized there was something she needed to do before that, before anything. She put the laptop on the floor too and just stayed there, looking around the room.

 But she wasn’t only looking. She was recreating her night in her head, from the moment she had decided to step out of her house to the moment, just five hours ago, when she had come back feeling as she was feeling. The idea had been to have a drink or two and then head back home but she knew it had been then when the other woman had taken control of her.

 It was funny to talk about herself like that. She even smiled thinking that, after all, no matter what she told herself, she was that woman too. It was really another person, a dark figure in the night or something like that. That other woman with no scruples was also her but somehow she didn’t want to recognize her. She was scared to look at the mirror and realize who she was.

 Her sore throat was still there. She blamed the smoke in the place she had ended in but also the people there, the men especially. She had gone to that dark world to loose herself and, she realized, she wasn’t ready for it. The place was very dark and filled with all kinds of people, at least all physical kinds. Because, in their minds, they were all exactly the same. They all seek pleasure beyond anything they had ever imagined; they wanted to experience the extremes.

 She had used her cellphone to get to that place and she used it once again to get out of there. She stayed for about two hours and then ran out, leaving someone inside waiting for her. The nice girl that showed her face most of time, had appeared suddenly and had taken control of a body that had been through a lot during those two hours. She had done things she had never done before and that she probably would never do again.

 That’s what she wanted to ignore, to forget, to stop thinking about. But, after eating her cookies, having food in her belly, she realized the best way is always to confront ones fears, to look at them in the eye and see if they are really scary, if it’s worth it to be afraid of them. Because some fears are useful but others are just there to be in the way, they have to be defeated or at least jumped over to go on with life.

 She thought of all the kisses every touch, and also tried to put faces to all of that. It was good that she was able to do that. It made her feel less stressed, less like some kind of failure. She remembered everything, even with the alcohol and the drugs. Because it had been her who had done all of that. It had been her who had been inside the belly of the beast and had gotten out. It wasn’t some other imaginary woman.

 She turned around on her bed and decided the subject was closed. The past has to be left aside, always in our minds but not in our way. She closed her eyes for a while but did not fall asleep. She just wanted to be quiet and in peace with herself. She wanted to feel less like a something and more like someone. With her eyes closed, she heard the world and decided to think about how she perceived it all, how she could imagine a whole universe only by the sounds.


 It was a silly thing to do but it was the best game she could come up with. She was tired again and, as she played her game, she fell asleep. This time, it really felt like she was resting, not having to battle anyone or anything inside her mind. It was only her. She had been the one making every decision and she had to realize that was the way it was. She was the one calling the shots and she had to realize that wasn’t going to change.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

Beauty

Flora Summers was a psychiatrist. She worked in a facility, the biggest in the country, that treats different types of disorders.

She decided to study this field as her grandmother suffered from senile dementia and had died during her last year in high school. She loved grandma and the ineptitude of the people in understanding her condition had been essential in the decisions Flora made from then on.

Now over forty, she married a gynecologist and had a young son. She watched over her mother with great care as the probabilities that she would suffer the same illness her grandma did, were very high.

Everyday, she was in charge of watching over the patients in ward C. In the mornings, she made her rounds, checking them out, talking a bit, watching over their diets and recent behavior. She had lunch in an office with a window towards the patients dining room as she liked to see them in different kind of situations. She thought that was pivotal in understanding their diseases.

One day, she realized Thomas, a patient suffering from depression, had been moved to ward D. Ward D was reserved for those that were deemed "untreatable". She hated to go to that place as the people that attended the patients there were rude and did not treat anyone well.

A week later, Thomas's room was taken over Rudy, another young man. As psychiatrist of the ward, she had to interview the patient so they could now what kind of medication, diet and treatment he should follow.

When he entered her office, she couldn't help being sad: he looked like a ghost, very pale with big dark circles beneath his eyes. He had beautiful eyes, the color of honey. She started by telling him that. She had read he suffered anorexia and depression had already kicked in: he had attempted to kill himself twice.

The boy wasn't very talkative. Not uncommon to be honest, except in those with diseases like persecutory delusion. He looked at his hands all the time, answering only in "yes" or "no" and sometimes just shrugging. When he left, she realized it was yet another one of those cases, the kind you never knew how to solve or how it would end as they depended highly on the patient and their surroundings.

The days passed by and Flora tried harder to make Rudy come out of his shell. She had been sent information about his school and other activities and had even visited his parents. No, she didn't blame them although it was clear he had never felt like he could talk to them, as they only found out about his condition when he committed suicide the second time.

After that, she summoned him every other day to talk and she started, after having read every piece of information, with a blunt question:

 - Why did you tried to hang yourself?

This time, he looked at her, nervous.

 - I have seen many patients that have attempted to take their own lives but hanging is quite  uncommon.

Then he talked, the words just poured out as if she had said a magical word. He told Flora that he wanted people to feel bad for him been dead, even his parents. He wanted all to see him as miserable as he was.

Over the course of many sessions, Rudy told everything the doctor already knew and more. She had learned he was a TV fan, watching all shows and watching all kinds of movies with his friend Robert. He said he loved candy and specially ice cream. Flora told him she could bring her some next time but that threw him over the edge and she had to call a nurse to calm him down and take him to his room.

Rudy was visibly upset by something and had decided not to eat. But what was it? Flora knew that he had a profile in many social networks, that he didn't liked sports and that he had just finished high school. So, what was wrong?

In the next session, Rudy told her he was sorry to have lost his temper but that he didn't like to talk about food. Flora answered they had to, as that seemed to be a part of the problem. She told him he had anorexia and depression, and that the combination was hard to live with.

Flora asked him to give her his hand and, with a bit of hesitation, he did: she pulled up his sleeve and made him look the marks the cuts had left there.

 - That was the first time, yes?

He nodded. Next she asked him to take off his shirt and take a look into a mirror on one of the corners of the room.

 - What do you see?

He knew what she meant: the skin covering the bones and little more. Rudy did not say a word. He pulled down his shirt and cleaned off a tear from his face.

 - Do you see a healthy person or an unhealthy one?

Rudy answered he saw a fat person, a person no one wanted to be with, someone that felt ashamed. Flora told him she was going to change his diet a bit as he needed many vitamins and nutrients to be healthy. He didn't care.

On the weekend, the doctor thought of Rudy while watching her son play in the garden with her husband. She thought of how awful it would be if her son felt like Rudy, misplaced and ugly. She was brought to reality when the phone rang. From outside, her husband watched her cry and went in with their son.

Months later, she continued to work in the facility but had also started a venture of her own: at least once a week, she would visit a school or a college's auditorium and then just talk with young and older teens. Her subject: the destructive beauty standards in our times.

As it happens, the day of Rudy's burial, his parents approached Flora and thanked her for her help. They told her that Rudy wanted to get better but just couldn't. His sister, a young and beautiful twelve year old, talked to her after her parents just couldn't do it anymore. She told Flora they had found things in Rudy's laptop: apparently he had been bullied as he had uploaded pictures all round and he had been attacked for being "ugly".

Even more, he had written somewhere he felt bad because of what he saw all around, the beauty standards that were impossible to follow and that he had felt more and more guilty because he wasn't like everybody else wanted to be.

Now Flora knew why what happened, had taken place. She had decided to make something for her community and started the talks, to teach teenagers not to feel obliged to be something they weren't and to love yourself. She always said "being healthy is not the same as been skinny or muscular. It's about loving your body and doing the best for yourself".

Now, she really felt she was helping people and not only keeping them safe or sane. She thanked Rudy for this and always made sure her son knew he could talk to her.

domingo, 12 de octubre de 2014

Beneath The Habit

Sister Gwendoline loved desserts. From her first years on this world, she had adored anything sweet that you could share with friends and family. Her favorites were éclairs, any kind, as her grandmother always made them when she visited.

Many years had passed and, instead of baking, she would spend her days in the convent, taking care of the elderly nuns and helping with a day care center the church had established in town, to help single mothers with their children.

Let's not misunderstand the situation: Sister Gwendoline loved to help and it was this calling that made her take the habit when she was eighteen. Her mother encouraged her to do i and her father would have preferred to see her become a great cook. But when her grandmother died, she new she wanted the world to be a better place and becoming a nun was her choice to do so.

She had asked Sister Eloise to talk to the Mother Superior, in order for her to have duties in the kitchen but she wouldn't listen or care. She thought Sister Gwendoline was suited for her current duties and sending her to the kitchen would not be in the best interest of the congregation.

But, as they say, God works in mysterious ways. Mother Superior had been called to a reunion in Italy and decided to leave Sister Mary in charge. Sister Mary was just past seventy years old. She was a bit deaf and forgetful. But dedicated 100% to our Lord. She was always first in mass and last to leave.

Sister Gwendoline had also noticed Sister Mary was also first in the dining hall and last to leave, after repeating dessert, something only the most elderly members of the convent could do. So the younger woman took advantage of the situation and directly asked Sister Mary to have duties in the kitchen.

But Sister Mary knew about Gwendoline's requests and said no, like Mother Superior. But knowing about her predilection for sweets, Sister Gwendoline asked for a trial period or a test to be in the kitchen. She said she would bake éclairs for every single nun in the convent as a proof she was suited for the duties she was looking for.

And Mary, number one fan of pastries, accepted. Sister Gwendoline was thrilled and immediately when to the kitchen and asked for a time in which she could do her creation: only after dinner, said Sister Ruby. She was a big, older woman, happy in her duties as a chef and taking care of everyone's health. To her, she was even more important than a doctor as she relieved not only the body but also the soul of her patients.

Sister Gwendoline cooked the pastries the same night she asked Sister Ruby and took special attention to detail. Everything was there, in that big and old kitchen that had seen so many groups of religious women come and go.

She did one for every single sister, using three different types of filling (pistachio, rum and vanilla) and decorating with edible pearls, nuts, fruit and chocolates. When they were done, they looked as if one had entered a french shop. They look perfect, maybe too perfect to even eat.

On breakfast, the morning after, she stood besides Sister Ruby as she served oatmeal and gave aways juices and fruit. She put an éclair on every tray and she told every nun to eat it last, so everyone could taste it at the same time. It wasn't very common to have dessert this early but no one said a word.

They ate the oatmeal plates faster than usual, even the elderly nuns. Sister Clara, who was over ninety years old, kept watching her éclair with the same eyes a mother sees a baby. She thought it was adorable and that she should thank Mother Superior for this delicacy.

Then the moment came and everyone ate in silence. Sisters Ruby, Gwendoline, Clara, Eloise, Mary and everyone else enjoyed it in silence, as if this was another one of the masses. When they finished, they cleared the tables and went on to their duties, without any word been spoken.

Sister Gwendoline was summoned to Sister Mary's office two hours later. She was nervous but overall happy. She had done what she liked best and that was a great accomplishment.
In the office, Sister Ruby sat in front on a large desk, on the other side Sister Mary smiling. They had agreed that Gwendoline should spend two hours each day in the kitchen, getting familiar with every single aspect of cooking. She would keep her duties with the children and the elderly until they had seen she could handle kitchen work.

All the rest of that day, of the week actually, Sister Gwendoline walked on air. She was thrilled to serve her congregation with her real talents. She was on the kitchen on time everyday and, although tired at night, she would fulfill her other duties as she had always done.

Then, Mother Superior came back. Sister Mary told Gwendoline she would speak about their arrangement with her but apparently that wasn't necessary.
Unknown to anyone, Sister Clara had taken Sister Romilda's éclair, as she had an upset stomach. Instead of eating it, the elderly nun had kept it in a cloth napkin for the last few days in order to give it to Mother Superior, as a thank you, thinking she had been the one to authorize dessert on breakfast.

Gwendoline thought she would be summoned to Mother Superior's quarters but that didn't happen. Instead, she summoned all nuns to the chapel and there she talked about what the congregation had gathered to talk about in Italy: tolerance and understanding.

She said these teaching didn't only apply to their relationship with people outside the convent but also inside, and that an example of this not being handled correctly was her denial to let Sister Gwendoline cook, as it was her desire.
Mother Superior said understanding was basic in their way of life and that they should respect each other's tastes and preferences, as the Lord intended them to be individual beautiful creatures.

So from that day on, Gwendoline moved full time to the kitchen and the sisters enjoyed her creations for many years, as she had always wanted to do.