I said beep boop beep!

I had a heated conversation with r2 d2 from Star Wars – in his language… “beep boop beep”

No idea what we spoke about!

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The Guilt

“Don’t blame the sinner.”

She has been repeating this for a while now. I can relate to the expression. Life is not all black and white. Foreseeing your moves is sometimes not so easy. It is not a game of chess that we are playing. There can be unexpected incidents. Making the right decisions, coming to the right conclusions is not always clear cut. So, yes, the sinner should not be blamed.

“Don’t blame the sinner.”

Yes, she is right. People have weaknesses, they can make mistakes. They are entitled to erroneous moves. Everyone should be given a second chance. Even those who commit sins deserve to be loved and forgiven. Blame the sin, not the sinner. Yes, this is definitely true…

She keeps saying it over and over again. It is getting weary. The more she says it, the less meaningful the sentence is getting, like those words kids repeat over and over until words are dissected and turned into unconnected sounds.

She said it once more. Is she trying to convince herself by mumbling it endlessly? I can tell she is having difficulty coming to terms with “it”. She is playing with the strap of her purse, twirling it between her fingers, with the shadows of doubt passing through her eyes. If I were not sitting so close to her, I would have thought she was desperately praying with a rosary in her hand.

She said it once again. She seems so piously in pain. She could take any pain inflicted on her. She would only respond with a prayer, as long as she can hold onto her rosary. She looks so weak and frail, so easily breakable, so consumed in guilt…

There she goes again. She looks out through the window once in a while. She has these really sad eyes. They seem a bit moist, similar to those of a sad little puppy. She seems to be in need of something, but would never utter a word to ask for it, like a well trained pet.

And again… Her meek voice is so annoying. I cannot think anymore. The expectation to hear the same words once again… Knowing that she will not stop until we get to the last stop, that she will carry on, in the same manner… It is so irritating.

Not again! This reminds me of that ancient torture where they tie you up motionless and drip icy water on your head one drop at a time. You get to a point where you think they are cutting your head open. That is exactly how I am feeling right now.

Oh God, please not again!

And she did it! How long is this road? How far is this stop?! I cannot take it anymore. I am trapped here, in the middle of nowhere! I need to get out of here. I cannot take this woman anymore. She is suffocating me!

“Don’t blame….”

No! How can I shut her up? Is there no way of stopping her? Is there no way I can put an end to this?… She is about to say it again, she has turned towards me… Her lips are moving, she is going to say it!

“We shouldn’t have done it! We shouldn’t have! We just took part in the killing of a live being! I want to believe it was a moment of weakness, but how can I live with myself? How can you live with this guilt? We have murdered God’s creation!

“I keep telling myself, ‘don’t blame the sinner,’ but I am just not convinced. All this time, I thought I was a good person and now, look at what I have done! 20 years! I have lived 20 years as a strict vegan only to indulge myself in heaps of meat at an open buffet!”

Word Count: 639 The Speakeasy prompt for this week (#149) is to use “Don’t blame the sinner.” as the first line.

And make some sort of reference to the below picture:

Painting by Muriel Streeter
Source: http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/wonderland-surrealist-adventures-women-artists-mexico-and-united-states

An intercultural zombie dream

I dreamed…

a Turkish, Canadian, Mohawk zombie movie…

There was blood, a fire fighting truck, scary attacks, smoke and a violent will for survival…

Best part: Using the fire hose…

Worst part: The woman riding a horse cut her own scalp and arm where she was bitten by a zombie… We were in a mall…

Conclusion: No zombie movie is complete without a mall…

No flowers for me, thanks!

The husband I have under my “jurisdiction” is a sensitive man though lacking in romantic chromosomes. The sole romantic action he has ever undertaken, apart from lending his lighter to a friend who was about to propose to his long term girlfriend, was scanning a comic I liked and mailing it to me when I went overseas.

But you see, at the time, we had been together for only four months. In other words, he still felt the need to woo me, which worked, giving me hope for future surprises…

A hope to be diminished in the years to follow.

On one Valentine’s Day, a time of the year we had never celebrated during our relationship of then four years, -since being the “intellectual” individuals we were, we saw it as a pretext for increased commercialized expenditure-, I decided I did want to obey the industrialized shopping day.

Despite my negative opinion about the day, given that we did not celebrate our relationship on any other day, I needed a change! I needed a “festivity” to show our love for each other.

So I called him on a mid February day, only to hear a woman’s voice, that of his mother.

I asked her to wake him up, which normally I would have never done and she would have never accepted. No one shall perturb her precious baby’s sleep, but she must have heard the determination in my voice, because eventually I heard his sleepy response at the other end of the line.

“Huh?”

Thus, began my instructions:

“Get up, come over here to my place. On your way, buy me a bouquet of flowers. If possible, daisies. When you get here, act like it is a surprise and say ‘Happy Valentine’s!’ when you hand me the flowers”.

Being an engineer, he did an excellent job following clear instructions.

However, when I found out the price of the damn plants, I felt terrible. Plus, the flowers died a few days later, and guilt took over.

So, we went back to no celebration…

Especially, NO flowers!!!

So far, it has worked fine. We enjoy our evenings together, watching “Walking Dead” or cooking, or simply lying at the opposite ends of the sofa, our feet touching while we surf the internet on our laptops. These give me more pleasure than any high priced flower doomed to die in a few days. I think what we are doing is spreading the heightened pleasure that lasts a single day throughout the whole year…

Or so I would like to think… 😀

PS: I am still expecting a major proposal. After five years of relationship and three years of marriage, he must have figured out what I like, right? And he can’t go wrong! What are the chances I will reject him after having officially said “yes” a long while ago?…

Written in response to WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/writing-challenge-valentine/comment-page-4/#comment-310890)

Why I Blog? (New “About”)

I have realized that my previous “About” text is not sufficient to explain why I am here, blogging… So here is why I blog…

Have you ever had one of those boxes when you were a kid where you kept your “valuables” neatly? I used to have a cupboard where I stored all the trinkets I had gotten my hands on… Artsy stuff, collections, tickets, symbols or reminders of events I perceived to be thresholds or poignant moments in my then much shorter life along with some notebooks where I jotted down stories I crafted. I imagine, if I had ever been religious, that cupboard could have been my altar…

I liked to organize it, to watch it, to make new additions to it and especially dream in it. I felt ownership and pride through that cupboard, and it provided a private area only I was allowed into. It was a place where with bits and pieces, I was building my personality by identifying what my likes and dislikes were.

That is the feeling I get here at Tattered Stamp; I am rediscovering me. I am trying to shake off the laziness of a writer’s block that lasted about 15 years following one negative comment I had received from someone I cared for.

Now, after so many years, I am finally formulating an idea about the train of thoughts that brought on the 15 years of stagnancy. The comment, though was nothing but a smile, made me think what I was able to write was petty. I thought if I wanted my ‘work’ to matter, I had to write about politics or social injustice from a western point of view and it had to be either genderless or appealing primarily to a male audience. Therefore, the sentences I put together had to be sarcastic, smart and definitely free of any emotional load.

So for a while I did everything I could to change my writing ways, which felt — awkward. The fulfillment I used to get out of writing diminished until it came to a standstill, because I was a female living in Turkey with a keenness for emotions, psychology and the individual.

Finally, to regain the habit of writing, I decided to write on this blog and publish whatever I could produce no matter how much I hated it and how severely I criticized it. I made up my mind to make this my hiding place where I could insert whatever I had in me: fiction, thoughts about life, getting used to Canada, other people, fears, weaknesses, strengths sometimes I might be too shy to mention…

So now, this blog has become much more than my initial starting point, “letters I write but do not dare to send”. Now, this blog has turned into my cupboard where I rediscover in posts and pages who the real “me” is.

So far, I have learned that I like to write about women because male points of view are far too prevalent, especially in texts about Turkey, AND I am a woman! I also love to borrow instances from my past experiences and deconstruct every sensation pertaining to that moment, a smell, a sound, a touch, a color to spring that moment back to life and weave it into flash fiction.

Another one of my discoveries is that I love changes. I do not care for being a “stable” person, if you like. That is why the tone and the content I upload tends to change frequently, together with the blog layout. Just like the cupboard I used to have, I love reshuffling and redecorating my blog.

Even if every post I put here sounds silly, unappealing or tacky – three words I fear most-, I will do my best to remain as sincere as possible to showcase what words I might have wobbled up my head.

And a quick note, if next time you find a completely new blog here, you can bet I was in the mood for some new theme decorations.

The Visit

The first guests arrived. I was among the party to greet them, since it was customarily expected of me, the oldest female child, to stand by the door and welcome people I had nothing in common with. Extended family and a family I was seeing for the first time but still, they were the community I was a part of and I had been taught ever since I can remember, that community and its requisites were to be held above all. While my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles shook the guests’ hands, I could barely make eye contact, since being the youngest woman among the household, it was my duty to find slippers that would fit each and every one of the strange feet I was getting closely acquainted with at that moment. The same procedure repeated with me handing out the slippers until all the groups of guests had arrived.

Before I took my seat on a chair at a far off corner, close to the door, I welcomed all the guests kissing and holding the back of the hands of older guests to my forehead, kissing the cheeks of younger guests as well as my peers and merely shaking hands with male visitors I did not know very well. Just before a conversation began with the familiar “How are you?”, “How are the kids?” questions, I made sure to do the tour of the seated guests dripping lemon cologne they rubbed in their hands or wiped on their heads and offered them candy from a crystal bowl.

Once all formalities initiating a major gathering were covered, I pulled a chair, one of the least used ones, since all sofas and softly padded armchairs had been offered to guests and my elders, and dutifully watched the proceedings for a while.

The eldest family members of both parties began asking the usual questions with a pinch of reference to the weather. Then, it was time for me to retrieve to the kitchen to make the Turkish coffee in the cezve with some sugar, one of the most poignant symbolic customs of the night. The first boiled coffee with the greatest amount of foam went to the eldest and preferably to the male guests, to be followed in descending order the estimated date of birth and of course the sex of the others.

And thus, in between tiny sips of sweet foamy coffee, the eldest male guest commenced the much anticipated speech: “Our son is well educated, respectful, considerate and earns a substantial amount of money. He can easily provide excellent conditions for a good family. Our valuable friend has seen your daughter and highly recommended her as a befitting match for our son. We have asked around, and have been told she is a well behaved, hard working, gentle girl.

“Long word short, with the grace of god and the word of the prophet, we would like the hand of your daughter for our son in marriage.”

What should have followed was a gaze at me from my father for the sake of performing what the customs command to receive the conceding answer from my meek mouth: “You would know the best, father. He seems like a nice man.”

Satisfied and proud, my father would have continued, “the young people have seen and liked each other, and for us, nothing is left to do but give our blessings,” and we would put on golden rings tied by a red ribbon to be cut by the eldest man in the house. We would all smile, take collective pictures and determine a schedule for the future wedding.

Instead, I said: “No.”

I said “no” to all the elders I had showed respect in due accordance with every aspect of our traditions, and refused to accept what they saw as befitting for the “son”.

I said “no” to marrying a man I barely knew; “no” to being deprived of the right to continue my life under the terms I determined merely to become a home maker, a dependent cleaner instead of an independent individual.

I said “no” to years of tradition followed year after year; “no” to the grace of god and the word of the prophet.

I said “no” to submission, to servitude without agency, to showing respect for old age and waiting for old age to earn respect in return.

I said “no” to being overlooked and being perceived only in search of a potential wife for a man.

I said “no” to force an outlet for my own personality, to find my own way, to be my own; “no” to descriptions that would be coined solely in relation to the men around me; a wife, a sister, a daughter…

In saying “no”, I said “yes” to free-will and to being free.

Lazy Weekend Love

Yesterday we got home a little too drunk on microbrewery…

I tried one extremely heavy beer and one really light one and there was one that made me lose count…

At home, I fell asleep on the couch before I got a chance to change into my pj… Hubby slept on the sofa in his room with his coat on…

And thus, with the light of Saturday morning gazing at me in between my half shut eyelids and my breathing still tuned to sleep mode, I heard the call for our LAZY WEEKEND echoing through our alcohol loaded snores!!

I love lazy weekends! I love staying at home, generally on the couch, mostly on the same spot on the couch, always with a device to get connected, with a few dozes of snooze in between the loading web pages…

Is this AGING? Is this growing old? My parents used to spend almost the whole weekend snoring and reading newspapers and snoring some more. I hated it. I used to think they had no life and the way they were spending their free time made their lives devoid of any meaning. Now, I am in that very same position and the feeling I get is the exact opposite!!!

I don’t want to go out and force a smile for people I barely know, just so that I can find a ‘social’ pretext to leave home. Now, I only want to have real relations with real friends even if it means seeing them once a month rather than having superficial talks every weekend at large parties where I hardly know anyone and diving my way through a sea of people until I can assume that this one person I meet has a personality I might have something in common with.

Now, on Fridays, rather than going out and staying up late at clubs and pubs with a herd of ‘friends’, the idea that I will get to spend the whole weekend on my own, doing only what I feel like doing, without having to put on socially acceptable behavior, without any makeup, with the smell of sleep still hanging onto my pores and the pajamas I am determined to wear for the next two days makes me feel ecstatic.

No phones, no facebook, no social networking…

Only me slouched on the couch, surfing the net passively, typing a little bit, reading a few chapters, watching some shows, spooning hubby a couple of minutes, sipping some coffee and enjoying the creative joy of laziness for 48 hours…

That is what makes me happy now… And if this is aging, I like it…