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

jueves, 19 de noviembre de 2015

Let's set the record straight

   Please, stand up with me and promise you will never stop doing whatever it is you love doing. Please promise you will never quit enjoying life and been positive about things that you love, just because someone else says that you’re not good for them. You know why?

 Because we are over seven thousand million human beings in this world and, even so, no one has the right to diminish you or your love for anything. Not one person, dead or alive, can do that? Not your teachers (good or bad) not your parents, not your so-called friends, not people you meet once or people you talk to a lot. No one, simple as that, can tell you what you are able to say or not, what you can feel or not or what you can think or not.

 Attention! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from others, as that is one of the most beautiful and bright keys in the world. Learning is not only about techniques and structured forms to achieve something. You can also learn by hearing someone speak about their opinions, about what they love and what they hate. You can even learn a lot from the world by looking at the people on the street, in a market or on the bus. You just have to be attentive and be open about it all, not judge it and render it “useless”. Remember, even in the most horrible person, there’s a thread of good and even in the best person, there’s evil sleeping, so don’t rush in your judgments.

 Whenever you have words, whenever you feel like you must say something, please, do. Who cares what others will think? Your need to speak and be heard and learn is much greater than fear of ridicule. Besides, we can only be ridiculed if we subject ourselves to those awful feelings. When we own what we say and do, no one can really out us down using our own words as weapons.

 Never be that person who attacks for attacking, who tries to put down someone else in order for you to be on top. First, the world will never remember you were on top, only you. So, think about this: will you be able to live with yourself knowing what you had to do to be there, to be on top of the world? Guilt is a very slow poison but once it’s inside, it will act without a doubt.

 One of the most important things is to observe and listen. You will never get too far in life if you don’t do these two things. Stop and look at every side and see what happens. People always have different opinions about things and that’s not bad. Don’t try to impose your view on others, try to understand them and see why they think that way. If you think they’re wrong or not, that’s not what’s really important. The trick is to know how to learn to take all of that that you are not to build yourself better, to make yourself a greater human by learning from what is close to you, as well as from what is far.

  And please, accept criticism when it is your turn to be in that spot. Be able to hear when people say things that you don’t believe in, thing that might even make you uncomfortable. Remember the world will never revolve around you or them, so just open up your mind and listen and learn, no judgments.

 No one, no matter your religion, your ethnicity, your sexual preferences or your eye color (anything), will ever be on a position to tell you to shut up, to stop saying whatever it is that you believe in. Because after listening, after learning, after mashing up those things with your experience and your decisions, then you can say what’s on your mind in the best way possible. In a structured way, a proper message can be send to others about whatever you believe in. And you know what’s the best about it? People will listen.

 When opinions are built on solid ground and with strong conviction, people will respect them, no matter if they agree or not because, again, that’s never been the point. People focus too much on right and wring and false and true, but it is most important to acknowledge that the world is a mix of all of that. The world is built on our truths and our lies. What would the world be with our lies? Better o worse?

 Never let your morals attack someone else’s just because your conviction is too strong. Conviction works when it is used to explain and set your message straight. It’s never good when you use it to diminish others and to demolish everything other people have built close by.

 Respect is also one of the best ways to go about in life. Because how can you listen to someone, how can you expand your knowledge and your mind in general when you have no respect for others, or worse, for yourself?

 Many people have said that the first thing is to be honest with yourself and respectful of your own being. That means that you know your limits, you know exactly who you are and how you exteriorize that and also how we behave inside, in our minds. You are the only one to be able to choose the limits of your life and whichever you chose, that’s great, but always have them in mind and remember that your rights, in law, end when other person’s rights begin.

 Some are too fast to judge someone because he or she did this or that but they fail to understand that they are seeing it all from their personal points of view. They say certain things go against their morals and decide to ignore the morality of the person that originated whatever it is that is under siege. Yes, they are people that can have doubtful moralities but there are others that seek to impose theirs on every single person they meet. How can that be better, how can that be good in any form? Has imposing ever worked among humanity?

 You just have to be true to yourself and honest and respectful of yourself and others, never forgetting that you have a voice. You have a right to say and to think and to do and to stand up and shout if that’s what you want to do. And these rights you have are not consequence of the human law, but of life. You are a biological being that, for better or worse, evolved into what human being are today. Nature gave you vocal cords, the ability to stand up, the ability to walk, and run and, maybe best of all, nature gave us a brain.

 Inside that brain, there’s a universe we haven’t even begun to understand. An entire universe resides up there, inside our skull and every single person has one. It doesn’t matter if they are right or left wing extremists, if they are women or men, if they are old or young, black or white or speak English or Spanish. We all have that universe inside our skulls and we all have the capacity to decided what it is we do with it.

 Do we use it only to go forward, like in a video game, or do we fill it with information, with all of those beautiful things we like and even those things we hate? Because we are all an amalgam of those two opposites. Our own little universe can have so much and it helps us be a fully formed human being in the physical world. All that information inside that thing inside our skull, is what makes us... us. And we are not on the side of it as that universe is ours. So we can control it.

 We can learn with it, we can listen with it, we can refute and fight and struggle with it. It won’t be easy and it cannot be easy. Because life, the mere concept of life, is so vast and incredible, that just cannot be an easy thing. We will have to face our demons and we will have to meet a lot of people that we won’t like.

 But we will also feel people that, when they smile, we feel better and warm. People that make us believe there is a way out for humanity. And, also, life’s about looking around and living whatever it is that is happening around us. Enjoy your moments with your pet, reading a book, standing on the street as it rains or on a plane. Learn to feel your way around those moments, those precious moments that, after all, are only yours because when you feel something, it’s instantly personal. No one else will feel it exactly the same and you will never feel what others have felt. And that is tragic and beautiful.

 Finally, I think we can agree that this message is expected to make everyone who reads it believe they do count and that no one has the right to shut you up. Inteligence is only relative. Speak louder, make your voice be heard and never let people put a hand over your mouth. Bite if you have to bite, kiss when you want to kiss them and just fight your way to wherever you want to go. Life’s not a struggle, the struggle is to live among humanity and that’s only achieved when you take into account what I’ve just exposed. Cheers!

jueves, 25 de junio de 2015

Crazy shit

   Everything had been put into place, every single document had been acquired, and every single detail had been on point. Nevertheless, the consulate had decided not to give Richard the visa to go and work in Canada. He never heard a reason why he had been denied the visa, only that he could challenge the decision with the Canadian justice system but that could take, at least, three months, time that he didn’t have. When he notified the company that had offered him the job, which was the reason for his trip, they didn’t really say anything. Days later, they said they couldn’t guarantee the job to be there in three months so they “advised” not to go ahead with the challenging of the consulate’s decision. They backed up from their proposal, after so much praise and kindness, and eventually choose someone less of a problem.

 For Richard, that was it. He hadn’t had a job in his life. This was going to be his first shot at anything and in a foreign country! But for some reason, it didn’t happen. At first he was just shocked and disappointed, mainly because he had spent so much time and money in order to get the damn visa. But the days passed, and he started to feel worse. He lost his appetite and wouldn’t come out of his room, not for dinner, not for showering, not for anything. Slowly, Richard had descended to a depressive spiral of which he did not know and didn’t even want to get out. He kept thinking about the reasons why this hadn’t worked and blaming himself was the only way to make it all have any sense.

 Days passed until one-day Richard’s father had to topple the door, only to find him lying in the ground, barely breathing. He had cut himself several times on his arm and was bleeding profusely. They called the paramedics and the staff at the hospital was able to stabilize him, not before he had lost even more blood. He was week for several days in which many of his relatives, the kind that are never there but come flying back just to see what has happened, visited him as he was still in an induced sleep. When he finally woke up, he became violent, demanding to take everyone out in the act or he would repeat what he had done before.

 His parents only cried and cried and did not much else. As he had woken up already, he was given painkillers and some others medications to keep him calm but they did not seem to work a lot. He would refuse any food or anyone coming in being falsely nice. He didn’t really want to live anymore and he didn’t want people to be fake near him, it bothered Richard a lot when all they had were kind words that they didn’t mean or lies to calm him down. He stayed in the hospital for several weeks until it was decided he would be better off in a psychiatric facility, where they could try to cope with his behavior. Their parents cried again and did nothing else and he wasn’t surprised.

 The day he got transferred to the sanatorium, they didn’t even try to say goodbye or to be there. They just disappeared leaving only nurses and unknown people behind. Maybe it was for the best because any familiar face made Richard unstable and prone to violence. His cell, or room as they liked to call it, in the sanatorium was small and with just a tiny window to look towards the garden. The view was nice because there were lots of flowers and birds would come in the morning. At least that had improved from the hospital, were his window faced a wall. Even his room at home face a fucking wall, so it was difficult not to like this room better, even if it meant taking lots of drugs and just looking out the window a couple of hours a day.

 It was only after a week that he realized that, since he had been taken to the hospital, he had never spoken to any friend or anything like it. Which goes to show you how people are. Some run to see the train wreck happen and others just avoid it completely, even denying the whole thing. Anyway, it was best that way. He made a couple of friends in the sanatorium: a kid who had tried to jump off a bridge because his mom had punished him for being gay (he showed Richard his scarred back one day) and a girl who suffered of some weight related problem. She was very skinny and would always look like a ghost gliding all over the ward. There were a lot of other people in his area but they were all pretty harmless. But sometimes they could hear people from the other ward, the most dangerous one, yell or howl or do some kind of noise that would make everyone nervous.

 People there, on the other side, were really crazy. Richard thought he was crazy but he had realized those other patients were just above that. They were people who had killed others or who were just absent from reality. It was a pity though because no one really deserved to be there permanently. Although Richard had settled fast and liked to be around his new friends, he knew that living there permanently would not be as fun or enjoyable. During lunchtime, every single person would have a story about one of the patients of the neighboring ward. It was kind of a tradition to sit down and just tell stories about those others that were there with them. It was easier than talking about personal issues.

 Some said there was this lady who had killed all of her children (the number varied depending on who told the story). They talked also about a guy who used to be a butcher and had gutted a client because he had paid only in coins. There was the serial killer of pregnant women and the men that had just gone insane in an elevator, killing at least ten people with just a pen. The stories were gruesome and more often than not the guards would come and break the meetings off in order no to let the patients get too excited over a bloody story. But the gathering was a tradition and they only interrupted when too many were involved.

 Besides that, Richard got to have sex with the gay kid, who also happened to be obsessed with sex. Richard didn’t identify himself as gay but it had been so long since he had done anything with anyone that he didn’t really care. Apparently others did care because he was sent to the infirmary to get tested for HIV. Luckily, the gay guy wasn’t positive so nothing happened, but Richard refused to have sex with him again. Although for him oral sex wasn’t real sex but whatever. The guards, again, didn’t really seem to mind if patients visited other patients in their rooms. They only intervened if violence was imminent, whether it was against themselves, others patients or even the security staff.

 The funniest thing was when this rather big girl decided to jump on one of the guards because she had heard him called her “fat”. Everyone laughed and cheered on for the girl but the result was that games and entertainment were cancelled that night after dinner, so everyone had to be behind bars in their bunks, looking at the moon like Richard or howling at it like the prisoners in the other ward. When something like that happened. Richard felt strangely alive. Somehow, those crazy fuckers made him feel alive, more than anything or anyone had made him feel before. Yes, they were insane and dangerous but he felt close to them and he could have conversations with them, even with the gay guy when they were not… You know. It was great to feel like he belonged somewhere, even if it was in such a place.

 Then, after some months, his family came for him and it was the worst day in a long time. It was crazy to think he wanted to stay there but he felt he couldn’t be himself again if he just left them all there. He decided to get the email addresses of every single one of them and he gave them his so they could chat anytime and just be there for one another. It was a sentimental moment, a real one, and then he left. As the car left the premises, he realized that his life wasn’t over at 27. He had no idea of what to do with his life, that was certain. And he now had something to explain in every single job interview or even in dates.

 But he thought of it as something fun. Maybe he would end up being a failed human being. But he wouldn’t be the first or the last. The honest thought he had as he entered his room was that he didn’t want any of the shit that people had always wanted for him. He didn’t want the usual silly love or shitloads of money or paying job or any of that bullshit. He just wanted to feel needed, to feel that someone cared and to experience life as everyone should. He wanted to feel the world around him and just live to experience it all and not to submit himself to slave labor.

 So he just started writing. He wrote everything that had happened to him in recent times. Every single story, every single kinky moment in the sanatorium’s bathroom, every crazy thought, every suicidal decision. He wanted to sum it all up and just do something with it someday. But that day hasn’t come yet. Someday, though.

martes, 9 de junio de 2015

Broken camera in Rome

   I woke up very early, to the sound of m cellphone alarm. It was still a bit dark but I knew I had too take advantage of every single hour if I was to spend the whole day in the city of Rome. I entered the shower, thinking about how strange it was to wake up early in a holiday but that after all it was the best reason to do it. I didn’t take very long, dressing up pretty quickly and then grabbing my bag, where I kept everything I needed to walk around. I would leave my backpack, which was my only luggage, in the room until the next day when I had to leave the city.

 My real holiday had been spent in Greece, where I had been laying in the sun for almost a week. But I had decided to go back home via Rome so to have one day of sightseeing around the city. In Greece I had also walked around a lot, visited museums, gone to the beach, taken hundreds of pictures and getting to know one or two Greek men. Yes, I had a very good time in that country.

 I went down to the hotel restaurant and realized an hour had already passed since I had woken up. As I helped myself to orange juice and cereal, I noticed only another table was occupied at that time by an elderly couple. Every other person, especially families, woke up late during the holidays which would have been great but I wanted to have the option to visit as many places as possible. As I ate, I checked a small schedule I had created with things I could do: museums were ruled out as they usually take a long time to go through. But I couldn’t avoid going to the Colosseum and to the Forum as they were symbols of the city and walking them wasn’t that time consuming.

 After lunch I decided to go there first, as it was the farthest place on the schedule. I would begin to walk from there closer to the hotel, in order to get there late to have some hours of sleep and then leave early in the morning for home. The metro station was not very far so it was in a matter of minutes that I arrived to the Colosseum. The place was very majestic, although some of the walls were covered as they were being repaired. There were men dressed as ancient roman soldiers all around and a lot of tourists, even that early. The place had a weird vibe, as if it was palpable that people had died there. On the highest part, I took several pictures and realized more and more people were entering. After some more minutes, I crossed a small piazza towards the Forum. The entrance fee covered both sites so it was perfect.

 Various temples still stand, very large structures and the general layout of the site is magnificent. It was there when I noticed two things: there were lots of tourists in the city and the temperature was rising fast. After all, it was the middle of summer. Silly me, I hadn’t brought a water bottle with me and I already started to feel a bit lightheaded. I went on walking; trying to “shake it off”, but it wasn’t that easy. Finally, a sign saved my life when I realized there were water fountains all around the premises, in order for people to fill their bottles or drink directly. Apparently the city had one of the purest water in the continent.

 I didn’t walk all around because some areas were only trees and some ruins. I took pictures and then moved on. The Circus area was a disappointing place, more like an undeveloped terrain than anything else. Across that stretch of land, which was pretty big, I made the line to put my hand in the Mouth of truth, a whole in a marble image that people used to think was good to use as a lie detector. I then walked through the streets to finally reach the Piazza Venezia where there was a large statue of Victor Emanuele, the man who united Italy and made it a republic. I only took pictures from the outside and it was here my luck had run out.

 My camera had stopped working. It wouldn’t turn on so I decided to walk towards a small square in front a church and sit there to check it properly. This would have taken a lot of my time and I had no time to lose. But that was visible not important to an unanimated object that wouldn’t work. I took the battery out, the memory card, I shook it and even yelled at it but it just wouldn’t work. As I did that, someone came closer to me and said something in Italian I didn’t understand. It was a man, maybe in his thirties, who was extending his hand to me. For a moment, I felt scared, but then I realized that if the camera was broken, there was really no harm in giving it away.

 The man took it in his hands and checked it all around. I, for one, was looking at him. Italian men were very into the facial hair thing and always very lean, not muscular or fat but rather nice complexions. The man didn’t seem to notice my eyesight going all over him as he tried to ask me something in his language. I tried to understand, breaking it up buy words. I recognized the word “help” and the word “camera”. I nodded, looking a bit stupid, and then he stretch out his arm to me and I grab it, clumsily again. He started talking and walking and I just followed him. I realized I was losing time but I felt I couldn’t just be rude to him.

 He talked every step of the way. I just nodded and smiled, thinking how stupid I must look doing that like a robot. After a few blocks from the square, he pulled out some keys and entered and old building. Inside, it was beautiful. The place was full of lowers and everything was very clean and taken care off. A cat slept on a corner and barely looked at us as we passed. I followed the men up some stairs and to, what I presumed, was his apartment. It felt really cool at this time of day. He offered me a chair and then started to check my camera on a table with a big lens and a lot of different tools and gadgets I had never seen but would attribute to an engineer or a mechanic or something like that.

 He had stopped talking and was very concentrated in the camera. He opened one side and started moving things around. I nervously took out my cellphone and realized time was passing fast. I needed to head to the Trevi Fountain if I wanted to visit every place I had put on my list. Uneasy, I stood up and tried to say something but couldn’t think of the words. Anyway, it wasn’t necessary. He turned around, put a hand around my wait for me to get closer and explained slowly what he had done. Funny enough, I understood it all. The camera was working again and I could keep taking pictures. I took out my wallet to pay him for his troubles he grabbed it and put it back in my bag.

 So he didn’t wanted pay. I asked again but he kept nodding his head negatively so I stopped talking and just stood there like an idiot. Then I remembered my schedule and decided to just shake his hand and be on my way. As I turned around, he pointed at himself and said he would take me around. Yes, he spoke in my same language which was both funny and annoying, as if I had know he knew what I was saying it would have been less of a weird experience.

 We went out to the street and right enough, we went to the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and through streets he knew very well. We didn’t really talked about ourselves, not even when we decided to have lunch in the afternoon, after walking a lot. We had a delicious pizza and ice cream for desert and it was only then when I told him I was a writer and he told me he worked fixing all kinds of electronic devices. But we went on to talk about Rome and Italy and politics soon enough.

 To be honest, it had been a great day with him and I had more time to spend. So we went to the Vatican and entered Saint Peter’s basilica, which is enormous. It feels like entering a huge cavern or something like that. Pietro, as he had told me his name was, explained to me everything there was to know about the site. Funny enough, some tourists thought he was a guide and began asking him questions. He was kind enough to answer every single one of them. After that, he took me again through the streets, taking pictures of people, cafés, ice cream parlors and just about everything. The sun had already gone and I had only a couple of hours left.

 He invited me to have some wine and then we chatted again about things that were not us. About other people, my trip, his country. He was very charming and I could feel he didn’t do that often. He wasn’t a player or a very outgoing person. He was just one of those people that loves to help and that feels alone, because that I could see, as he walked me to my hotel. His eyes talked as his mouth didn’t and that was more than enough for me. When we got to the lobby, I wanted to shake his hand but he decided to hug me instead. It was a very nice hug, also speaking volumes, which his mouth was unable to express. We bid farewell and then I went up to my room.

 To this day, I regret not asking him for his number or email address or something. But I also answer myself that it probably wasn’t one of those encounters. Maybe it was meant to be a one-time thing, one of those that’s really great and lives in our memo