Hysteria

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EMBRACE YOUR AGE. ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE.

Bee-stung lips
Legs like twigs
A butchered nose
with a pointed tip
firm like brick
Protruding ribs
thin as sticks
Facelifts
and painful pricks.

Confusingly ageless
External sameness
Addicted to excessiveness
A game of competitiveness
Under the spell
of impressiveness
While this is madness
Her aim is happiness.

She pretends normality
Exaggerates reality
Changes her features
For vanity
or maybe sanity
Sometimes temporarily
other times permanently
I should mention:
This has nothing to do
with aesthetic correction
Nor is it about
improving a disfigurement
Because that my friend
is certainly different.

An unusual mix
of big and small
Tennis balls
ping-pong balls
all kinds of balls
Whatever is in fashion
a new dimension
to increase attention
for example: two balls
against the walls
of her poor little cheeks
Stretched and besieged
cocooned and ballooned
That only last
some measly weeks
(minus the ongoing tweaks)

All shapes and sizes
A disfiguring crisis
Expressionless eyes
shocked and surprised
An effort to fix
her thousand ‘ifs’
An attempt to clip
her droops and falls
her deflated holes
her skin and moles
To regain control
of her wobbles
her dribbles
her bodily scribbles
her less than graceful wiggles
To vanish
her growing worries
her insecurities
her inner villains
To drown out
her nervous giggles.

She is so obsessed
with all the plastic tricks
all the latest beauty tips:
‘Brightening’
‘Lightening’
‘Plumping’
‘Tightening’
How frightening!
She is so transfixed
on all the objects
the varying facets
and different gadgets
she can use and install
on her fatigued face
The needles, the pair of scissors
The driller, the filler
The nerve killer
The ‘no expression’ thriller
on her forehead
on every possible area
But that’s not it!
There is no limit
to her fanatical hysteria!

This is not some complicated case
nor a biological womanly phase
This is vainly adorning
Foolishly succumbing
Naively conforming
to a manipulating
Culture of Erase:
‘Elongate the waist’
‘Change your taste’
‘Improve your ways’
‘Start now don’t waste’
‘Spend now incase’
‘Avoid numbers hide age’
‘Old age is a disgrace’
In short,
Just erase your face.

Instead of this disarray
How about we disobey
Speak up and say:
Embrace today!

Yet with all her misguided faith
with her delusion and haste
she eliminates every facial line
every wrinkle that is divine
every beautiful story, her history
everything of hers, yours and mine
every imperfect detail that is sublime
the very things that makes her shine
She spends all her time
trying to redefine
To confine
any sign of time
Losing her mind
Hiding her age
Poisoning her grace
Trying to chase
with jealousy and rage
what life left behind:
her lost youth.

She knows nothing of the truth
not her nor any woman in her shoes
Can’t she see?
How everything is romanticized
How we have been fed a thousand lies
every single time
Can’t she see?
How oblivious can she be?
Sadly, she remains convinced
that wrinkle-free
is being free
and youth is the key
to a life that is happy.

Instead of this disarray
How about we disobey
Speak up and say:
Embrace today
Find your way
Use your head
Ignore what is said
This vulture-culture
might as well be dead
Be wise
Don’t fantasise
Enough disguise
Time to say goodbye
Remember, don’t sigh:  
Every age has its prize
and every age has its vice.

Yet drowning with self-pity
she continues to copy
this and that personality
with what’s left of her femininity
with her worn-out body
that is now shaky and sloppy
She imitates
She waits
for what she considers a trophy:
a hint of human attraction
a few seconds of false admiration.

She wants to be somebody
Worth it and perfect
The best she can be
Only because they told her
then she told herself:
Unless young and pretty
I am nobody.

Everyman

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A Book Review

I recommend Everyman to every man and every woman going through a mid-life crisis.  Or to those who are helplessly confused because their immoral actions these days do not reflect who they thought they were: people with unshifting morals.

This short yet thought-provoking book cleverly demonstrates how certain choices driven either by: sheer boredom; the craving for newness; the thrill of the moment; a desperate act to relive youth; an aversion from monotony; an untamed impulse or an indescribable need for instant gratification – will eventually lead men and women astray, dropping them casually into a bottomless hole. And only as these men and women experience the alienating effects of aging (though it could happen much earlier), will they fully comprehend the monstrosity of their past actions, and how much pain they have inflicted on their loved ones along the way. Even more so on themselves.

Unfortunately, there is such a thing as an irreversible mistake and it is usually born out of recklessness.   

If you’re someone who often thinks about all of the above, you will enjoy reading Everyman by the American author Philip Roth. If you are someone who is on the other side of the spectrum (living in la-la land and thinking you are immune to life’s adversaries) then this book may not be the right one for you.

Everyman is a novel – raw and uncomfortably real. It is about one man’s intimate story through the different stages of his life.  It is a fictional memoir dealing with one man’s realisations, limitations, losses and regrets. It is about a man journeying through life and standing on the edge of the abyss. It reflects on the anticipation and inevitability of death, and if you dig deeper – it is a study of complex human relationships.  Its style is simple yet profound. It is bound to leave a deep imprint.

The protagonist says and I quote: ‘Old age isn’t a battle. Old age is a massacre’. The older you get the more tolerant you will be of Everyman and the more you surround yourself and spend time with old people, the more it will make sense to you. Read it – it will gift you more awareness.

Suicide

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Let us all try to eliminate the stigma around mental health conditions. Remember, it could happen to you or me. No one is immune to depression.

Silence is living
Within the walls of my being
A spirit of stillness
Flickering its shadow
In my room
Against the darkness
Of the midnight moon.

My face is a silhouette
An ugly drawing
Of useless contours
A portrait of disquiet
On a canvas of riots
Cleverly disguised
By my outward indifference
By my charm and allure.

I am in a state of numbness
A hopeless case
I am
Indeed I am
A bland taste
A disappointing waste
Of living space.

I am a stranger
In the strangeness of my mind
A trespasser
In my own garden
Where every living thing
Is eventually doomed
Where even wild flowers
Cannot bloom.

I am a hidden cemetery
Where bored ghosts
Wonder about in a swoon
Over my decorated tomb
Where oblivion
is my only cocoon. Continue Reading

As a Man Thinketh

James Allen

A Book Review

Not so long ago, I stumbled upon this gem of a book over 100 hundred years old. Brilliantly written and still remarkably in tune with our time, as strange and complicated as it is (our time that is). The coincidental stumble was a lucky one and I found myself effortlessly immersed in its powerful message and intrigued by its simplicity and relevance. It was one of those enlightening books far from the mainstream types. The types that convince you that ‘you are not your thoughts’ in fifty different ways and have somehow managed to sit under the throne of bestsellers. I am skeptical of these books and I’ve read many (despite some of the authentic research invested in them and sweat spilt over them). Why? Because I have a problem with the common and repetitive statement claiming to be a universal truth: ‘our thoughts are not us’. How can that be if our thoughts were created by our very own minds? Maybe a simplistic view to some but I trust what my own experiences have taught me, what my reflections have shown me and I even trust what my logic has proven to me – and that’s what I will go with. Do not misunderstand me. I am not claiming we do not have the power or the tools to reinvent our thoughts or change our perspectives. Nor do I believe that our thoughts do not affect the way we live. I am simply against the notion that we are not our thoughts. We are our thoughts AND we have the power to change them. That’s what I believe. And that’s what James Allen affirms.

 James Allen is the Englishman who wrote the 100+ year-old book: As A Man Thinketh (published in 1903). In his book, Allen manages to cleverly dismantle and explain where my belief stems from so that it makes sense to the deep and the not-so-deep – using a few convincing arguments based on his own experiences and reflections. This little book is delightful and delightfully easy to follow.

 I consider it a handbook and a practical guide to the power of thinking. It does not boast itself as the ‘truth’. What it does though is make you (the reader) understand that our mind is the ‘master power’ that ‘shapes our lives for good or ill’. And it does this by inspiring you to open up your mind rather than overwhelming you with burdensome studies and steps to follow. If we believe that our mind is the master power and we are the masters of this power – then we are ultimately the ‘authors of our own characters and thus the makers of our own destinies’. In his view, our characters are actually ‘the sum total of our thoughts over time’. He makes a lot of sense.

I love how he touches on some important themes that orchestrate the way we live or lead our lives. He covers themes such as how thoughts shape our circumstances; how circumstances do not shape us, they reveal us; the power of the mind and its tools; how health and appearance are shaped by our thoughts; the power of having a purpose; how good thinking equals success; how to cherish our visions and ideals; and the importance of achieving serenity.

I am not going to elaborate further because I am hoping you would just pick up the book and read it. All you need is two hours, even less but I am playing it safe! I promise you that once you’re done reading As a Man Thinketh you will feel as good as new! In the meantime, enjoy this quote I love by James Allen: ‘Cherish the music that moves your heart.  For out of your love will flow your purpose’.

An Encounter

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I could never forget
That summer night
When we met
A chance meeting
With intellect
Sentiments
I couldn’t detect.

There we were
Him and me
Resembling
Jordan River, me
And the Dead Sea, he
Connecting
To some degree
Indifference sitting
In between
Ready to intervene.

He was the calmest wave
I’ve ever seen
Of all the seas
In the Middle East
An influential figure
Witty and clever
Handling it well
Holding it together.

Inside his soul
Stood marred walls
And avalanched falls
Bolted doors
And deserted shores
Washed-up cities
And blocked borders
Complicated countries
And denied entries.

Continue Reading