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

sábado, 16 de mayo de 2015

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   Kate had never worked in her life and it appeared as if she wasn’t going to work ever. She had graduated from college five years ago and she was still not able to find a proper job. She had sent her CV to every possible company that would be willing to hire someone with her profile but that was no good. She tried both with state-owned companies and with private ones. She talked to people she hadn’t talked in years and was even so desperate with it all that she had tried to be considered for posts in several fast food chains and retail stores. None of that had worked.

 She had literature and was only finding out now how difficult and competitive the world was. She never dreamt of someone hiring her just after finishing school but she had always thought people with a higher degree of education had a little more chance to be hired faster. That wasn’t her case at all. In those five years she had even decided to study a little more and left the country for a year in order to get her writing improved and to learn new things to make her skills much more interesting. But time passed and no one noticed.

 Stress was really winning for most of the time. On the social networks, Kate saw how many of her friends where even getting married and she hadn’t even earned her first paycheck. Some of them bragged about their complicated lives as doctors or architects or accountants. True, their life didn’t seem extremely interesting but at least they were doing what people were expected to do at that age. People were even expected to have children before thirty and Kate was rapidly nearing that number.

 Her older brother had already left home, living now with his eternal girlfriend, who would obviously turn into her wife in the years to come. He had chosen to be an engineer and was always working. He travelled a lot because of his work and seemed stressed sometimes but then he also hung out a lot with his friends and girlfriend so it all seemed ok. Besides he had his own place, or this be more exact, he paid the rent of his own place which gave him an incredible level of independence and Kate envied that.

 During the last year, she had begun writing several types of pieces, but did so in her own space. She had tried selling some of the articles to magazines but apparently they were more comfortable with people they already knew. So she did all by herself and was thrilled to see that a few people, not that many but still, had begun reading her. There were not many comments, but the few that she received were good. People that read was she had to say specially liked the short stories although some others, mainly women, were very interested on her articles about beauty and related subjects. She was proud of that, as she had never thought people would read her but still no one was paying her for it.

 The thing was, and most people out of college would agree, there is an urgency to do a certain amounts of things as you turn into “an adult”. First of all, just like the song says, it’s all about the money. There’s a feeling of failure when you haven’t transformed any talent that you have in physical prize for it. And, let’s face it; money is the oil of the engine that is the world. Without money there is not much that you can do in life, unless your goal is to be hippie. And people look at you weird when you are a certain age and you haven’t achieved that part of the goal, even more when people in the family have been working since they were teenagers.

 And then there’s the feeling of achievement, of having gotten somewhere with what supposedly made you special. Kate had always felt, for one that she was very skilled at telling the best fantastical stories ever. One thing that she loved was visiting one of her cousins and just make stories for her right on the spot. Kate didn’t tell her about princesses or things like that but about space battles and fantastical creatures and more realistic worlds but settled in the weirdest environments. It was fun for her and her cousin loved the stories, always asking her for others or for the “sequels” of some of the ones she had told her before.

 One day, Kate decided staying home was the worst she can do. She had decided to stop sending her CV everywhere and just think everything through. She felt she was aiming her bullets all over the place, without ever hitting anything or not even knowing what she was aiming for. That had to be changed urgently because she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and she didn’t want to add a clinical state to her slate of mental issued. It would be too much for her.

 So Kate took a walk. She decided to go to one of those neighborhoods filled only with houses and where people rarely walk around or anything. It was located on a hill, not that far from her home, so the walk was really difficult at times but the beautiful old houses that had stood there for many decades compensated it. She saw some of them hosting cafés, some others were small libraries and some more were dancing academies or were simply abandoned. She imagined various stories for the people she saw through the windows, the signs and the names.

 She finally arrived to a small park, located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the city. She had no idea that park was there and it was beautiful. The day was bright and almost cloudless so the city could be seen for kilometers in various directions. No people or cars could be seen though, only the trees, the buildings and, farther, the airport. She sat down on one of the benches and imagined so many stories she regretted not having a notepad or something to write on. She then remembered phones were more advanced now so she took it out and made small audio fragments, each one with a different idea. It was weird talking alone to a phone without anyone hearing it but she was glad the ideas wouldn’t be forever lost.

 Suddenly she felt someone close and turned around in middle sentence as she saw a guy about her age feeding the pigeons. He had thrown some breadcrumbs on the small patch of grass of the park but also kept some in his hands, where the pigeons would come to feed themselves. Kate looked closely at the guy and realized he was wearing an overall. Maybe he was in construction or something related. But he didn’t have plaster or white paint stains. He rather had small stains of several colors and she even noticed he had some on his neck.

 He then noticed her and smiled. Kate turned red fast and tried to turn around but the guy talked to her. She asked her that he had always loved the view from there, since he was a kid. She then asked him if he lived there and he answered that he had lived there since birth. He still lived in his parent’s home, not very far from there. He got closer and sat down next to Kate, followed by some pigeons that thought he had more breadcrumbs but soon became disappointed.

 They then had a very nice chat about the view, about what each of them did and what they liked. The boy’s name happened to be Julian and he was an artist, or so he said at least. She told her he had gone to France to study but he had left the career before finishing it. He had decided that painting was not something that needed a degree and he also realized he hadn’t had any money to go on living as if his parents were not struggling to get him through college. So he came back and was very happy with his decision.

 He invited Kate to his studio, to see his paintings, as she was openly skeptical that he was an actual artist. Realizing she should be a little more adventurous, she accepted the invitation. They had only walked a couple of blocks when he opened the gate of one of those old houses and let her in. They entered the house and then went down to what would be the parking area but there was no car. He turned on the lights and, effectively, there was a studio right there. Most canvases were in the ground against the walls but a couple of them were on easels and she thought they were great.

 One of the paintings was a scenery, possibly the city from the hill, and the other one seemed to be a human face but it was difficult to see what kind of person that was. Anyway, she liked the drawings and asked her if she sold them. He told her that he had just sold his first in a flea market, just because he had dare to go to one and just pay for one of the spaces for a day. It was all the money he had but he recuperated it with the selling of the painting, which was a nude male.

 Then, Kate’s phone began to ring. It was her mom asking her where she was, as she had promised to join her to go to the supermarket. She told her she would be there in half an hour and hung up before her mother could say anything.

 Julian joined her to the gate and told her to come any time she wanted. He realized she was just as free as him and that she appreciated things like his paintings. Besides, he confessed, he had heard her talking to her phone, summing up the ideas she was having by looking to the cliff. Then, unexpectedly, he put one hand in one of her shoulders and told her not to worry about anything. Artists had to create and find themselves before bringing people into their worlds. It was just a matter of time and patience.

 All the way home, Kate had a big smile on her face.

jueves, 16 de abril de 2015

A story of nudes

   I wanted to make myself visible. I had to do it in order not to feel imprisoned in the shadows, away from all that happened in the world. I needed to feel alive and wanted. So I started taking pictures using the few notions I knew of photography. At first, they were only pictures I had taken for assignments. They could be qualified as casual but also as artistic. I didn’t wanted them to be just pictures but also proof of what my life was like. So everywhere I went, I carried the camera. My father had bought me one and the moment I got it in my hands I started shooting. Every interesting plant, every nice sunset, every park or animal. I would take pictures of everyone of those and more.

 But at one moment I needed to do something else, something others were not doing and by others I meant the people around me. And the answer was obvious: nude pictures. No one was daring to do them. Was it maybe because I was twenty years old? Or was it that people are generally afraid of their own body? Who knows? But what I did know was that I needed a way out, a way to feel like myself, even if I had to do it all alone. I had tried dying my hair blue, changing my clothes, just being different from who I had been the past years, the last ones of school and first ones of college. I needed something to be only mine.

 So the first picture I took naked was of my legs. I wasn’t actually naked but it was the beginning of that time for me. I tried different tricks with lights and editing in various ways. I also took some shirtless pictures, never revealing my face. After all, everything that goes into the Internet may never be truly erased. People were going to see me and, even as much as I wanted to be out there, I wasn’t ready to show my face.

 With those first pictures, friends and other acquaintances praised my attempts for a more personal photography. They liked the way I edited my pictures and how I posed in them. After all, they were very personal and did tell tales about me to people. I was very happy to see that they were liked. Not universally but, after all, I was just learning. I didn’t wanted to be a photographer and did not pretended to be one. But I was learning so much about it that I immediately felt fascinated for an art that I had never truly reflected about.

 Back then; I liked it because it was something I could do alone. I love cinema but that needs a team to become a reality. I’ve never cared about the making of music so that wasn’t really an option and my hands are not made for the subtle and gentle work of a painter or a sculptor. No, it had to be photography. How the camera felt, the various shots to get the one I loved, the experiments I did based on what I was learning. It was all so attractive to me and, to some extent, it still is.

 I took the following step almost a year after opening a public Internet account to show my pictures. I had put on flowers, landscapes, sites, and my headless body. So the next step was showing more. I decided to show my face but not my penis. I didn’t want it to be the center of attention, not that it is anything special. But human nature is always governed by the animal feelings and it is obvious that people looking at a naked picture will always stare first at the genitals and then see the whole picture. We all do it and there’s nothing wrong with it but I wanted that distraction out so I took all pictures covering it or cropping the picture just right or even just turning around and showing my butt instead.

 Comments started pouring on the website. They were all very kind and many even racy, which I appreciated too. Friends and others were not as enthusiastic, rather focusing on the fact that I was naked and not so much on the pictures as such. They asked me if I wasn’t afraid of showing my face naked in public but I answered that there was nothing people could do with those pictures to me. They couldn’t threaten me because I had taken the first step. I’m not ashamed of my decision and I stood by it. And if someone sent one of them to my parents, as improbable as that would be, I would acknowledge my art and leave it at that.

 I have to clarify myself, though. The pictures were also an experiment for something else. They were not just about experimenting photography and having an artistic outlet that I had lacked for a long time. It was also, nudity to be more specific, a way to make people see me and judge me. I wanted to put myself out there and be bombarded with comments, good or bad. For a long time, a very long time, I had dealt with insecurity issues and I felt nudity would help me with those problems. And it did.

 With those pictures, and seeing so many more taken by a variety of men, I realized I wasn’t hideous or awful. I understood that the wide range of body types is what makes the human body beautiful. Of course, being gay, there is a beauty standard as there is one for straight men too. But homosexuality is more focused on how you look and any gay man who says they had never had an issue with that is lying. We judge each other harder. Maybe it’s because of the stereotypes that had been imposed for years but there is a certain idea of how a homosexual man has to look like and just be. And that was why I needed those pictures. I needed to prove myself and others that I could be who I am and people would like that.

 Yes, I did to receive approval. And that was the rotten seed that I never really paid attention to. It slowly grew for all those years, more than six to be exact, in silence. Meanwhile, I was successful with my experiment. People liked the way I got naked. At one point, I decided to post one picture fully naked and it was clearly one of the more successful ones in the account. After that, I just kept experimenting: shadows, lights, colors, places… It was all about the body. I still uploaded some other types of pictures that I liked but people seemed to be not very interested in them. Back then, I started to notice mostly men were adding me as their friend and the number grew a lot during the years. I have no idea how many contacts I had in there but I know they were thousands. Yes, thousands.

 Then, people got bold and started to ask for types of pictures, even more revealing ones. I said no to all of that. I was going to make a porno picture just because people wanted it. It wasn’t what I was looking for, to arouse anyone. My goal of helping myself with the pictures was, I believed, successful. Oddly enough, it was a time I had no one to share my new securities with. That was when I realized there was something wrong. Why were they thousands of man complimenting me online but in real life not even one dared to say anything to me? I tried giving the first step and that was always a failure. I cannot remember how many failed dates I’ve had. All of the crumbling fast after just a few words have been exchanged.

 Then came the people that denounced my pictures on the site where I had them. Each time I uploaded a picture, I left it without any safety advice on in order for more people to see it. After all, it was a picture of the human body, not from a corpse, or sexual or a violent act. But no. People started pouring saying my pictures were not adequate for the website. A website that had thousands of users pouring in only to check out naked men and women. If there’s something that I hate is hypocrisy and that was just the best example of it I had ever seen.

 I finished college and the rotten seed then activated, still silently. My old worries came back. Every picture I took was mediocre next to the other older ones but I decided to ignore that and do something else with my life. I traveled, I did other stuff and I even did some new things with my pictures and people liked them but less than before. And the opponents were still there, trying to push me off the edge.

 When I came back home one day, I realized they had succeeded. My account had been erased. The details are not important but I then suffered a very great depression. The rotten seed had finally won, all because I had made the wrong decision years ago. I kept failing in life, the future looked pitch black and now, what had been my only creative outlet for years, had been erased permanently. I was angry and outraged but also sad and vulnerable. A failed attempt to have a relationship pushed me to an abyss, from which I barely came out.

 Eventually I found out photography had lost most of its appeal to me. I still like to look at them and appreciate them but I haven’t held my camera in some time. Selfies, sure. Artistic photos, not really. I also found myself another outlet, one you are witnessing right now. And, to be honest, I hope I never have to leave this one, as it keeps me going, as photography never did. It was a stage in my life but that is the past. The present is this and the future… Well, let’s hope it’s there.

lunes, 9 de marzo de 2015

Life change

   She was only allowed to smoke only one cigarette in her lunch hour but the day was so beautiful that she stayed longer in the rooftop of the restaurant, watching the clouds and smoking her second cigarette. She knew they weren’t very good for her but she didn’t mind. As far as she was concerned, she had to die somehow and if it was because she had done something that made her happy, well, she didn’t mind at all.

 Finally, Richards, her boss downstairs, came to call her to her workstation. During the mornings, she was in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and sweeping and mopping the floors before anyone arrived. After that, she would have to flip the burgers and serve the fries if the person that was in charge of that was too busy. In the afternoons however, she was in charge of one of the cash registers. Some days, she enjoyed taking people’s orders and advising them on what they might like or what new menus they had that month.

 Sadly, it wasn’t one of those days. She wasn’t feeling well and it wasn’t a physical thing. It felt deeper and even more worrying. Waiting for people to decide on what they were having or what toy their kids wanted didn’t make it better. She tried to smile, as she was obliged too, but she just couldn’t. It was as if life had been drained out of hair and she couldn’t properly smile. Her shift finally ended at six, when Georgia came in to replace her. She did asked to the other woman if she felt good but she just couldn’t point her pain, her issue so she just dismissed it all and left to go home.

 On the ride on the bus, she realized what was that made her miserable, because it wasn’t pain but that overbearing feeling when you realize your life hasn’t been what you expect it to be. Lily was about to turn thirty years old and she had worked in that restaurant for the last five years. The job had been found almost by chance and it had been the only one to which she applied that had succeeded in any way possible.

 She had gone to school to study literature and she had even got a masters degree and congratulations for many of her works. But all of that had amounted to nothing, at the end of the day. She was stuck in a point in her life where nothing was moving forward. It appeared that the fact that she was stalling at work had affected everything else. She didn’t spoke with her family as often as she did year’s prior. She had thought it had been because of the death of her father but that did not make sense.

 She only had a couple of friends, literally only two that came to her aid when they were able to. One of them had been married for seven years and had two children and one on the way so she rarely left the house in the last few months. The other friends traveled a lot and had left the city a couple of years ago but every time she came back they tried to reunite to have a drink and talk about the old high school days, which weren’t specially nice but it was nice to laugh at them from this side of time.

 But now, Lily would have loved to be back in high school. She would stand the annoying girls and the boys that were so full of themselves for a peace and quiet she missed so much. When she was there, she didn’t have to worry to pay a rent or get her taxes done or managing the few pennies she won from the restaurant, which wasn’t her only job. On weekends, she would babysit all around, clean houses and even walk dogs around. It was impressive, but with all that she always achieved to get through the month alive. She didn’t really spend much money on herself, wearing the same clothes for the last few years and avoiding all extra expenses like parties and dates.

 Yeah, she avoided men at all costs. When she was younger, her mother had put her in self-defense classes, which had proven useful, specially when men got annoying after just a couple of drinks. She had learned how to flip a huge guy over her head and how to break someone’s arms or legs. She had used it all once, when two assholes had tried to rob and rape her. They had been quite surprised when lying on the ground after she had shown them her skills.

 And dating was out of the question. All men she had ever know where extremely boring to her. Not one ever seemed to be real, to be actually telling the truth. She always felt he was lying or at least trying too hard to be liked. And if they were too shy or too outgoing, she didn’t care at all. It was always boring and even more when they wanted sex after the date, as if it was a duty she had to fulfill. She never did actually.

 She then thought she might be a lesbian but it wasn’t long enough before she realized that wasn’t the case. She apparently wasn’t all that into people, preferring to stay at home with a good book, caressing her rescue cat Mr. Turner. He was a big black cat who loved to disappear for days only to reappear days later wanting food and shelter. As he wasn’t able to speak, the relationship was perfect.

 That day after arriving home, Lily turned on her computer and started watching a TV series episode while eating an instant soup, one of those you put on the microwave. She never really cooked, except when she was able to buy some actual groceries, which wasn’t that often during the year. She sipped her soup smiling from time to time, watching a sitcom. Sure enough, Mr. Turner appeared out of nowhere and started demanding his food. Lily realized there was nothing except a carton of milk about to go bad. It didn’t smell all that awful so she served him a big bowl of it, which he drank as Lily checked her emails.

 She had gotten none but she scrolled down and checked one that had been sent days ago. It was the invitation to her school’s reunion. They held it every single year and her friends had gone a couple of times but she had never been there. According to the email, it was being held that same night which made her imagine who would be there but then she remembered she had never really liked high school.

 Not only because of the friends issue but because she always felt out of element there. She felt nothing that was being said during class was actually useful and it was then, during the boring classes, when she started writing diverse little stories that she never shared with no one. She stood up fast, scaring Mr. Turner a bit, and went to her room to look for her school notebook. She knew it was around and felt she suddenly needed to see her handwriting again as well as reading her past inspirations, which were now almost non-existent.

 Lily found her notebook in a box on top of her closet and decided to read some of the stories. She laughed at them because they were a bit childish but a couple of them were actually very good, with the right corrections. She then felt that pain again, that strange feeling on the bottom of her gut that made her think that her life was just a piece of shit. And somehow it was because she was alone, no one to share her thoughts with, no one to listen her bitch about everything. And she didn’t mean love as in romance but love as in friends and family.

 She then grabbed the phone and, before she had thought it through, her mother was answering the phone. They started a shy and strange conversation that turned, in matter of minutes, in a festival of apologies and tears and regret. She told her mother how much she missed her and how much she missed her dad too. Her mother told her she could come back home anytime to have lunch or just to have a nice time. They spoke for about an hour until the conversation naturally ended.

 Full of energy from this action and without even putting down the phone, she decided to call the restaurant and tell Richards she wasn’t going to be at work on Monday, nor any other day. She apologized for the sudden decision but stated that it wasn’t the best thing to do. Surprisingly, Richards wasn’t mad at all. Instead, he told Lily to go on and go after her dreams because they really needed to be taken care of. He congratulated her and assured she would get a full month paycheck once they settled it all.

 Then Lily stood awake for hours, making calculations under the close interest of Mr. Turner. She had come up with the idea of moving out of town, to a nearby big city where her mother actually lived. She didn’t want to live with her because she appreciated her freedom too much but she did want to have a renewed relationship with her and that was the best way to do it.

 Besides, she supposed other opportunities where waiting for her there. It wasn’t far or all that different but she felt she had to do something different and radical in other to shake up her life and start being the woman she had always wanted to be.

miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2014

If I couldn't write, I would go insane

I used to like being naked a lot, taking pictures. I was rather popular for it. People would ask me why I did it. Well, here's why:

First, and I think I just realized this, I loved the attention. I had tons of pictures, good quality, up on Flickr. And people would mark them as favorites and even comment and I will important somehow. People would like me and that felt nice. At least at first.

With time that attention wears out. You just stop needing it or maybe you want more or different. I have no idea. The thing is I just stopped liking the attention. I had that account for five or six years. It was an important thing in my life, as funny as that may be.

I have to clarify: not all the pictures were nudes. I would upload "urban" shots too or maybe just portraits or whatever I found was nice to look at. I guess I wanted to make others see I had talent for something. Of course, I didn't. I'm a professional photographer and my "work" on Flickr lacked any real quality. I knew that all along and never really cared about it. It wasn't the point.

I would love to post one picture per week, normally I would post at the first second of a new day so the statistics would more accurately show how much a picture was liked. When I uploaded an urban view, a building or trees or whatever, the picture was not that well received. Maybe a couple of people would say "yay, it's great". And that was it.

But me, naked, showing maybe my ass or my penis (never an erection, mind you), was always received by what I can only call "critical acclaim". Of course this acclaim came from people I had never met, mostly men. All men to be honest. And they were all horny. I mean, I should be an idiot not to see it.

I used to be more naive, more innocent if you will. When I remember those times, I don't know if it was a good way to be back then or if I should've been more intelligent, more perceptive.

Like, when I was nineteen I think, I went out with this guy. Just cute, not really a beauty or anything but you know. We went to a gay café and chatted and kissed and I felt awesome. It wasn't muy first time kissing but it felt right and beautiful and all that shit. Any way, it ended soon after and I never really understood why. Why he behaved like he did, always distant and weird.

He was fucking (or being fucked, who knows) others, kissing others while dating me. He actually kissed another guy that same night I was in the café with him. Somebody would later tell me all of this and I just understood it all. I also understood men were not to be fully trusted as, it is true, a man always acts commanded by his dick first, then his brain. And it's even more real in gay men and they know this is true.

Many people judge me saying "Hey, why haven't you been to a gay parade? Have you really never been in one?". And my answer is simply because I don't believe in it. It's not a casual walk to just show how proud we are to be who we are. That's what is SHOULD be about. But it isn't. That parade has mutated to be many people's chance to just rub in the faces of everyone what they do with their lives. Well, good news: no one gives a flying fuck.

There are homophobes. Of course there are. But there are others that just don't care. They don't think twice if someone is sleeping with a man, a woman or a horse. They don't care. And I don't think that is a reason to be pushy and annoying. I am fucking gay and the only person I need accepting me is myself. If the world doesn't, believe me, I don't care.

There's no gay marriage, that does not exists. The only thing that does exist is two people who get together to sign a paper that says they must share everything and live together. That's it. It's nothing more than that. You're not selling yourself there, in any sense, and it shouldn't matter who does it. Who cares?

But I digress. I made those pictures, the naked ones. And all that attention and it felt nice for years, yeah. I don't like discos or whatever they all them now. I just don't, I feel like an octopus in Japanese restaurant. Just like that. I've gone to a couple and that was enough for me. So I was happy to have some guys attention.

But that faded away. I got bored. To be honest I'm bored and fed up with people every second of my life now but that made me even more bored. All those empty comments and no one coming to me in real life to say "hey, you cute". And before you give me shit, I say "coming to me" because I deserve that. I won't crawl to a guy simply because I won't give an inch of myself to someone who would just expect everything.

The thing with gay guys, and all guys I guess, is that you must test them. And no, that doesn't mean annoying them and being jealous 24/7. I mean asking them things, getting to know them for real. Just being interested to get to know the person, take time.

But no. Most people fuck after 24 hours of meeting, if not before. I'm not saying people should be nuns and monks but, come one, love yourself.

And then I started having problems with the Flickr people and they ended up closing my account. You know why? Because it happens I didn't only do those pictures for the attention. I also did them because they were like therapy for me. I have hated myself for too long and that outlet made me feel good about myself. I almost fully stopped having crazy crisis every month.

And, besides that, I personally think the human body is beautiful. I don't believe in a god so I say nature is pretty smart and resourceful. Just get naked in front of a mirror and stare at yourself. Take a good look at the details, not the superficial shit of society but your actual biologic body. It's a work of art, inside and out.

So, that ended for me. It stopped existing, that outlet, that I needed so bad for so many years. To be honest, when it ended, I said "Fuck it, I have something new now: writing". So around that time I started working on some small things and it all came down to this blog with which I have a really hard relationship.

Today, for example, I had more than five ideas. I couldn't write more that ten lines for each. I felt awful, like an idiot, because this is my thing, my only thing. And if I couldn't write, I would go insane. Simple as that.