The good, the bad, and the ugly.

“He that has been hurt, fears.”
– Latin proverb


via Daily Prompt: Visceral

We humans have a myriad of feelings. We are so complex that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was still some feeling to be named.

Since feelings are our perception of the situation, not all feelings have the same effect on everyone. Most feelings are only in our mind, but sometimes feelings get from us a physical response. I suppose it may be different for everyone.

I have experienced physical ache on my chest due to a broken heart, I had been depressed from loneliness, but it’s the most immediate physical, visceral responses that fascinate me.

I was analyzing myself and I realized that, for me, there are three kind of situations that makes me react without thought, that makes me feel the heat, the dizziness, the sudden deafness, to be blind sided.

One is that moment right before you kiss someone for the first time. I feel such a rush in antecipation that most of the time the memory are no more than flashes. I don’t get this ever again with the same person. I get nervous, aroused, excited, but the adrenaline of that first kiss is never again.

Fear also gets me. I have never been in a situation that caused me panic, although I have been paralyzed by fear. I never had a gun pointed at my head, or someone threaten me with a knife, or seen someone I love in true danger or harmed, but I have been robbed, almost had a car crash, almost got carried away on a river stream, and had the feeling of not being truly safe when I head back home at 4 am after a night out and there’s a man in my way.

The last feeling that takes control over my head is confrontation. I get all heated up when arguing with someone about something that I find really important. To hear someone using the word fag to talk bad about others, or to argue with people about social causes when they come from a very privileged place (such as when men don’t acknowledge the issues of cat calling, or when someone who comes from a wealthy family and never worked for a boss – or worked at all – diminishes the struggles of the working class and pass it as people who don’t control their finances). This one is probably the most problematic, since it makes me so aggressive that I restrain myself from interacting to not overreact.

Since I found the love of my life already and there is no near future possibilities of first kisses, I am stranded with the bad ones, getting visceral feelings from bad things. I’ll have to turn to roller-coasters, that give us fear, but in a controlled environment. Maybe my partner will let me kiss other people? For sanity sake?

What are your visceral feelings?

Welcome to Flea Bottom

“A house without a dog, a cat, or a little child is a house without joy or laughter. ”
– Scottish proverb

via Daily Prompt: Lurch

For 13 years I have been living with a cat. Her name is Nádia, and she is a grey tabby and the cutest, fluffiest, loving, sadistic cat. I love her so much that sometimes I don’t know what to do with that love besides letting her sleep on my head and let her be a spoiled brat (things aren’t looking good for me as a parent).

I have a very close relationship with her (if she has with me, that’s up for discussion, although she looks for me and sulks when I’m away). She was the heat of a living creature all those years I was lonely, the company and the one that craved my attention when I needed it the most.

When I lived with my parents she would roam through the neighborhood’s gardens. She would hunt, and sleep on roof tops. When she got older she would just go out in the morning and then sleep all day. Sometimes I would go out to work and come back home to her still sleeping in the same spot.

When I (finally) moved out, I went to an apartment. I really pondered if I would take her with me, since I would be removing her from her home and taking away her outside freedom. I was selfish and took her with me, justifying it with the fact that she needs medication for her allergies and that she was used to a lot of pampering and sleeping with people, which was not going to happen with my parents.

I think that she adapted well, even though I still struggle with the decision. She would sleep so much that I decided it was time to shake things a bit and get her a company. Havoc was bound to happen.

We got another female cat at a shelter. I was selfish again. A male would probably be better, diplomacy wise, but I like females better, so I decided to start the Game of Thrones at our house. To add more troubles I decided a young cat would be better than a baby, because I was in no mood to get a fluffy kitten that would turn out to have a devil’s personality.

We found Shanti. A black and white cat with big paws and short bravery. She is like a cat-dog. She’s the sweetest, she licks our skin, she’s farts like hell, and she’s all about the food. Also, she’s scared of Nádia like I am of Viserion right now. In her defense, Nádia has, on more than one occasion, including today, beat the crap out of her. One time I was the crazy cat lady trying to separate the fight at midnight, using my words. Trust me, words don’t work on fighting felines.

Nádia has settled her ground. When she wants to be with us Shanti’s better get out of the way. This has caused Shanti to perform several episodes of lurching and cross the house in less than three seconds just to escape the older beast.

I have many dreams, one is that one day we will all be able to sit on the couch watching series and movies. I doubt it will be in time to watch Game of Thrones before the end of the series.

Trying times

“Anyone who lives will know trying times.”
– Corsican proverb

via Daily Prompt: Willy-nilly

I didn’t know the word willy-nilly and its meaning. I looked it up and thought that there was a lot of subjects to approach.
Yesterday I went on a rant because some people were mocking the people that complain about tourists and I was going to write about that, but then a friend showed our chat group a post about a guy that is completely insane and talked so much craziness about the woman that was murdered in Charlottesville that I decided to take another turn. Another friend said that he is so sick over all this, and that even worse, the planet is dying and we still have to argue over basic subjects such as human rights, like minorities and women rights.

The world is going to be even more messed up. Things are going so much in the wrong direction that I believe that, before it gets straight, things will have to blow up willy-nilly.

I hope I am wrong, but there will come a time when good people will have no choice but to return to means that they feel reticent to make use of. This makes me incredibly sad and, even worse, with a feeling of inevitable pain to come. My heart (OK, just my chest) is literally aching as I write this.

It looks like there is always hard times for every generation, all around the world, but I don’t think that we should just get used to it. We should always aim for what’s best and what’s right, shouldn’t we?

If our existence is so fleeting, in the words of Rodney King, why can’t we all just get along?

Between birth and death it’s just a jiffy.

“Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.”
– Danish proverb

via Daily Prompt: Jiffy

I always liked vampires. Yes, they are glamorous and mysterious, but what attracted me the most was their immortality. Since I was a child that I struggle with the ephemeral aspect of life, particularly mine.

I am not really worried about what happens after death. I have always believed that when we die there is nothing after. That puts a lot of pressure on life itself. If this is it, and since it’s such an opportunity, since there is so much to do in the world, so many people to love, so many new things to experience, and so much beauty in life, nature and the universe, that I honestly believe that surpasses all the mean, ill, and evil, how will we be able to live everything we want to in a span of 70 years (if we’re lucky enough to get old with good physical and mental health)?

Choices are to be made, but it is not simple, like most choices. Ask me to choose between pasta and pizza and I have a soul wreching dilemma that keeps me wondering if the other option would suit my stomach better. We want to have fun, but we have to have a job for money if we want other things in life. We want time out with friends, but our body needs rest to work properly, etc.

With a life full of quandaries, rationality and thoughtful decisions must be restrained, in order to keep our mental sanity, to the truly important and meaningful matters of life, like getting married, having children, changing jobs. The small day-to-day questioning must be decided by the gut. I heard once that we have a micro brain in our gut, so we might as well put it to work.

About our short time here, nothing to do about it besides making it the most enjoyable, kind, and loving, because even if I don’t (yet, at least) believe we return, I believe that everything and everyone is connected. One is the all, and to be the best to us, to others, and to the planet is the best we can achieve.

Jumping to conclusions

“Truth is stranger than fiction.”
– Dutch proverb

via Daily Prompt: Carousel

My parents have been married since 1975. For as long as I remember they always had a difficult relationship.

My mother has many issues due to her upbringing and her star sign (Aries is the worst, sorry folks!), so she always felt really underappreciated and mad and she once even told us that she was unhappy because of all of us, to what I replied, like the smart ass young adult I was, “You’re a grown woman, mother. Stop blaming others for your misery and live your life as you intend to.”. I can see that having to deal with such inconsiderate replies, that was totally oblivious to all her sacrifices for us, could help her losing her mind, even if I wasn’t totally wrong.

My father is much more laid back. So much that it can drive someone a bit more uptight crazy. Also his stubbornness is mythical, to the point where he can make you doubt yourself. Even if you’re certain that the bridge across the river is made of concrete he can still make you wonder if it’s really not made of wood. And even after he realizes he is wrong he will ask you: “Yes, it’s made of concrete. But are you sure it’s not made of wood?”.

They both are, however and despite or because of their flaws, really good parents, that gave me and my brother a set of good values that include respecting people and having a very good notion of right and wrong.
My mother taught me to be a woman and to be proud to be one and to never let myself be berated by no one, especially men. I don’t know any particular story that may have caused such a stand, but alas, she was a young woman in the 60’s and 70’s, in a country that lived under a dictatorship in an absurdly patriarchal society, where women couldn’t vote, where nurses and teachers had to quit their jobs if they wanted to get married, and where a married woman couldn’t leave the country or work without their husband’s permission.
My father, on the other hand, was a kind and loving parent, that gave me the emotional and physical affection that my mother, for some reason, couldn’t give. He also taught me how to be independent, to get around the world, to change tires, to fish, and to know my way around a distribution board. I have an older brother, so I wasn’t a substitute for a male child, these lessons were given either to make me fit for the world or either so he didn’t have to do them for me.

For better or worse, despite the very crappy family environment that was a result of their constant fight, they never got divorced. Maybe because they could spend 20 minutes fighting and completely forget it in 5 minutes, maybe because it wasn’t an option for their generation even to consider to get a divorce, maybe because of me and my brother, or even maybe because they truly love each other.

Three years ago my mother had cancer. All her siblings had it (all 6 of them), every one in the digestive system.
That brought my parents closer together. My mother doesn’t have a driver’s license and was never very independent, so my father was always with her at the doctor’s appointments and treatments.
The chemotherapy was done 90 km away from our home town, so every time there was a treatment they had an hour trip to do.
One day, when they were heading back home, my mother had a stroke. They weren’t very far from the city where the hospital is so the ambulance didn’t take too long to get to them, but it was all it took to get her right side paralyzed and to affect her speaching, for good.
She was a bit oblivious to all the matter at the time, with her brain trying to heal, but my father was completely stunned. His hair went from black to grey in no time.

At the time my mother stayed at the hospital. I was working away, so I would spend the whole week away and went home only on weekends, to go visit my mother and keep company to my father. One Friday I got home and he was a wreck. His face was bruised, he had a cut in his eyebrow and a black eye. He was never a violent man, but, I figured, he was having such a hard time that he got into a fight, completely lost it and couldn’t control himself for the first time since I know him and took it all out on someone. I considered not talking to him about it but my brain didn’t, so as soon as I saw him I blurted out:
– Father! What the hell?! You got into a fight?!
– What?! No! I got in the carousel at the carnival and the damn thing was so fast that when I got out everything was spinning and I fell with my face right into the floor.

Sit down, be amble!

“Trot mother, trot father, how should the foal amble?”
– Scottish proverb

via Daily Prompt: Amble

I consider myself a lazy person. I’ve always been a sleepy head. My all-time record for sleeping is 18 hours straight. I have a chronic lack of energy (which luckily I found out it’s toned down by a supplement of magnesium). I can go for three days without leaving the house. When I was 17 I got a pneumonia and, due to medical history, the doctor advised me to not go out for about a month, and I obliged!

On the other hand, I am someone who enjoys a lot to do things. I like to go out with friends, I like to party once in a while, I like to go out just to look at the sea and then get back home after.

This duality put me in a place where I had to decide who I was going to be, so after college I decided I would be someone who does stuff. Obviously, I still indulge my lazy side and take a Sunday off to do nothing useful and just nap, watch movies and play games. The thing is, I got used to do so much stuff that I sometimes feel bad when I do nothing all day, so it’s very common I end up cleaning up around the house at 7 pm on a supposedly lazy Sunday.

This weekend was a weekend of doing stuff. When I finished work on Friday, at 6 pm, I went out with a friend for some snails and beer. After that it was dinner time, so we ate out. Suddenly it was quiz time at a cafe, so there I went with another friend. After losing, once again, we headed back to town and I don’t know how, 12 hours have passed between the time I got out of and back to the house.
Saturday was part-time day, so I worked and that was pretty much it, with the highlight of day being a scoup of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream I had for dessert.
Sunday was entirely spent at the Medieval Fair that goes on every year around this time, spending way too much money on stuff and food, and walking so much that I think I’m ready to do the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

Needless to say that going back to work today was very difficult. The day was spent on the scaffold, hard work, and waking up much more early than usual. I was so tired that I was super hyped up.

After getting out I was feeling… Not feeling. All was a rush, I was rushed, the world was moving way too fast. So I told the guys I was going ahead to change. On the way back to the car I ambled. I don’t recall the small trip, but I remember to breathe, at a slow pace, and to change for a long time, taking my time while taking out the overalls and the work boots.

I am still tired, but a bit of slowing down sure helped me getting back to myself.

Now my lazy self took over and I’m laying on the sofa writing, while my (sweet) partner is cooking shrimp curry for dinner.

Oh, man. I have to get up to try to open the devil jar of nuts. I can’t have a quiet moment!

(My favorite trick is to gently pat the lid against a hard surface, all around it.)

First impressions aren’t always right. Or are they?

“Never judge by first impressions.”
– American proverb

Besides my full-time job I have a part-time job. I just work for rarely more than 4 or 5 days a month there. It’s a handicraft and souvenir shop and I usually just cover the owner on Saturday or Sundays, so she can have some quality time with her family. I do customer service, and I enjoy it. Customer service can be the worst job in the world. Dealing with people can be very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding.

I’ve worked on several similar jobs before and I think that what makes the difference between being easier or super hard depends on the field of work of the place. I tend to prefer casual work environments, since it is way easier to create a connection to the customer, and vice-versa.

Restaurants and by-the-sea shops like the one I work now can be easier than a supermarket, for instance. The reason why people go to those places are different, and, with some luck, their mood is also different. At restaurants there can also be cranky and rude people, but many just go out to have dinner and have a bit of fun. At supermarkets people get frustrated very easily. They have to buy things that they rather not have to spend their money on, or they had to go get something for dinner after a crappy day at work, or something else. Sometimes people go to the supermarket for fun, but from my experience, that’s not the usual motif.

That being said, I like to do this kind of work because I get to interact with people. I consider myself a bit of a introvert. Off work I used to get very nervous to talk to strangers, to interact with new people, to even ask for directions or the time. I still am like that a bit, depending on the day. Some days I feel so insecure that I feel that people don’t want to be approached by me, that they have no interest in have any interaction with me whatsoever, and that even happens regarding friends, or my partner. I don’t really know why I’m like that (but I suspect that childhood trauma is yet again to be blamed), but it is very constraining of who I feel like I would like to be.

Doing these made me grow a lot on that matter. I got much more comfortable interacting with humans, and once in a while there is an exchange of words that make me smile and feel really good and happy.

Today happened the opposite. It didn’t have anything to do with me, it was something I witnessed, and it made me really sad and frustrated.

A family got into the shop to buy some leather bracelets, of the kind everyone just uses mostly during Summer and then they either rupture, get lost, or are simply thrown away. First came in the father and two sons, one around 9, the other around 12, maybe 13. They were all choosing for themselves, and I noticed the water was trying to influence the kid’s choice, but not much, just making some on points how they would get bored of such and intricate bracelet. The mother, daughter and grandmother get in and immediately the mother gets over authoritarian, saying that off course they would not get the bracelets they chose and proceeds to choose for them.

It is something that maybe many people may consider super normal, parents choosing for their kids, but it broke my heart. The mother completely invalidated their choices, and manipulated them to accept bracelets that were way different than the ones they chose before. I’m not a mother, but I am a daughter, and never my father did that to me. I believe that a child must be free to make their own wrong (or not) choices (within reason, of course, I’m not talking about life changing subjects). To remove their power of choice seems to me that removes them the ability to learn from errors and the self confidence to stand by their choices and own them. It reduces their judgment capacities and makes them more prone to being manipulated and to have issues with decision making.

Gladly, the older son rebelled and went with the first bracelet, and the mother didn’t push any further. Which made me again feel bad because maybe I was making a judgement call on that mother that was unfair. If the son did stand by his first choice it’s because he previously knew that he could do that, so maybe she does after all give her kids space to be who they are.

So, here I am, full of bad feelings and a head full of considerations. Maybe my father should have restrained me a bit more after all.