Nov 15, 2012

I support gay rights, but I'm not gay, seriously I'm not gay

I support gay rights, but I'm not gay, seriously I'm not gay.......As if there really is such a need to mention that last part. But most of the people in Bikini Bottom (the non-logic country) that is Albania do not come out and say it that they support gay rights, because they are afraid that if they do so, people will think they are gay. Why else would you talk about such a controversial topic if it doesn't personally concern you, right?

It is kind of difficult to believe that the US still has issues with being gay, so I shouldn't be surprised that my country, which is literary in the end of the world, doesn't really give a damn about gay rights.
When gay rights issues were discussed on parliament some time ago, because well it's one of the issues that EU has thrust upon us if we will be considered to join the dying International "State", politicians would giggle, and make fun of whatever was being said. When the LGBT group of Albania decided to do some sort of Parade, actually just a gathering, every other topic like corruption, economy, unemployment were thrown out of people's minds, and everyone was so concerned with this embarrassing parade. They were afraid that Gay men would circle around town dancing to Madonna and Lady Gaga, in pink thongs or something, even though the LGTB group had stressed more than enough that the parade was going to be just a peaceful gathering to talk about this important topic of recognition of human rights in our country. A politician proclaimed on the telly that if his son would happen to be gay he would shoot him. Very controversial stuff!!!

The public opinion in a country with a very family (ancient family) oriented culture, a culture so obsessed with the social notion of "shame" that can't simply do anything to go forward, is pretty much impossible to accept such "advanced" issues as gay rights. Very few people have come out to the media, and very little support has been given to them. The notion of shame is very important in this culture. One cannot simply express what they think, what they want, what they love, or who they love in this culture, for fear of what the family, or the neighbors might think. If the young people do not care about the social convention of "shame", their parents most certainly do, so if they want to live freely, they will have to be separated from their family. The social conventions of family and shame are way too important in this culture, therefore the gay phenomena in Albania is trapped under a very intricate spider web.

Of course the fight deserves to be fought. In the US very recently the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rule of the military that required gay people to shush about their orientation if they wanted to join the troops was repelled, and the President proclaimed for the first time in history that he was pro gay marriage, and lastly, we see companies like UPS, pulling out of the Boy Scouts that to this day continue to have a version of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell". In the US when Ellen Degeneres came out of the closet, there was so much controversy about it, today, she is the new Oprah, one of the most beloved people of day time TV, and one of the most influential people in the US. When she came out in the late 90s, people were infuriated: "Do what you want to do, but don't be public about it". Now the controversy has calmed down, and the opinion has shifted. There were so few gay characters on TV, first Ellen, and later Will & Grace (who were also controversial at the time). And now we have  Glee, Modern Family, The New Normal, Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, to mention a few. Even Anderson Cooper, one of the most beloved CNN reporters suddenly came out. The public opinion has largely shifted in the US. Remember the film Philadelphia, with Tom Hanks, what people used to think about gay people in those times? Well, the times they are a changing, to put it in Dylan words. So why give up, why not talk about these topics in Albania, or in any other country where it's so impossible to believe that the public opinion would ever shift? If the very religious US is so close to winning the gay rights war, hey maybe in 20 years we'll be there too. So even though the public opinion is really awful in Albania, I am sure that one day it will change.

So yes, if you are at least a little human, why not come out of the closet, and I am not talking about the coming out of gay people, I am talking about coming out as gay rights supporters. Stop being afraid that people will think that you are gay because you support gay rights, and stop stressing and mentioning a million times, that you are not gay, we know it and we don't care.

The last time I went to a gay rights event with a friend my father freaked out, thinking what will his friend think about me if they find out. You know what? My life is really easy since I was born to be attracted to people of the opposite sex, as the society in which I live in preaches. My friends who do not have the same privilege, who have been even forced to take hormonal remedies by their families to be "cured" do not have the same luck. So I am once again not afraid of a little bit misunderstanding. I have been supporting gay rights from an early age and I always will. Just because it doesn't concern me personally it doesn't mean that it doesn't concern me. Would you say the same thing to a German of the 1930s, "hey you are not a jew, so why would you support jews, and try to save them from the Nazis?" It is the same thing. We live in a world of hatred rather than in a world of love, and the world will not change until we speak up and come out and say:

I am a gay rights supporters, Are you?

Nov 14, 2012

The Time Of Innocence

There is an Iconic film from the 1980s called  è La Boum. In Italian, it was translated into Il Tempo Delle Melle, meaning The Time of Apples. Ever since I heard this phrase for the first time, it has come to be a symbol in my mind, of the Time of Innocence, the time of first classroom loves, the time of "he loves me, he loves me not daisy petal trials", the time we took the first bite of love, and it was so very easy to fall in love.
I had my share of first loves. It was really easy to fall in love back then. I wouldn't even think about my love becoming requited or dating the object of my love. It was all about the feeling, standing at the window in the middle of the night looking at the moon, knowing someone was in my thoughts warming my heart. It was a special breeze of poems and old cheesy soundtracks. It was a love with love. It was about catching him smile, about liking the same silly things, about sharing a walk together, or maybe even holding hands. Nervous ticks, crying endlessly in my pillow over silly things, laying in the grass watching the sun sink into the rosy clouds, smelling the seasons pass by and thinking about the next time we’d meet, that's what it was about. It was not a love of possession, not a love of passion, nor a love of commitment.

On some level I think I have been chasing fruitlessly that true love concept of the early bloom for years, never to find it again. I’m not sure whether I look for love in the wrong places, if we live in a time where we fear intimacy, or really there is no time of innocence anymore because I am not that little girl daydreaming on my way to school about endless scenarios of adventures and travels. Does experience really kill the romance? Is it that we always want more and more, our standards rise after disappointment and disappointment, or is it that the chemical reaction of the brain in love seizes to infect us, as if we’d acquired immunity against love? Why is it so difficult to pursue love, why is it so difficult to find love, why is it so impossible to really and truly fall in love anymore?

One of my girlfriends says she has a new crush every week. She tells me that it’s just for fun, but I don’t really see her pursue any of those crushes. I think at some level she likes the feeling of being in love, but she knows to herself how any of those crushes would actually end up. She has seen her fair of disappointment, of things not turning out to be as rosy as they look. All women want in the end is the Prince to come and rescue them. When we see that our friend found the frog that turned into a prince, while we see every prince turn out into a frog, the disappointment, the trust, the ability to fall in love, believe in love once again just falls apart. My friend, she says every time she just wants to have fun, she’s not looking for a serious relationship or anything, and then the next day she reveals she wants it all, she wants the dream, the fairytale, the prince to come and rescue her, to be with her forever and love her and her and no one else. Don’t we all want the same? It’s not our fault. It’s Disney’s fault really, it’s our mothers’ fault, RomCom’s fault, childhood fairytales' fault. If we knew how the actual tale of the Mermaide ended up, would we really go after the prince so enthusiastically? She was willing to sacrifice everything for the Prince who abandoned her and in the end she was turned to foam. What about Cinderella? What did she and the Prince really have in common? Most probably they would be fighting on sociopolical issues, she being poor her whole life, with socialist tendencies, and the spoiled Prince an extreme capitalist. We never know what happens after the Happy Ever After, do we?

Let me tell you what happens. Sometimes passion burns out and you don’t even recognize the love that was anymore, and you try so hard to keep the relationship going. Sometimes he cheats on you. Sometimes you become a changing-diapers mother, while he enjoys the fun with his friends; you become a wife. Even those who found the frog turn into a Prince, saw the Prince become a frog back again. Princes don’t stay princes forever.

And yet knowing that, we still pursue love? Why do we? It’s all a lie and yet it’s what we all want. We want the knight in the shining armor to come and protect us, be our partner, love us, care for us, never want to go away.

But really to girls like me, the fear of what happens after, when the relationship becomes maybe too consumed it’s not even in the picture. I have experienced a few loves and a few awful encounters in life with men, but I don’t think I was ever loved by any of them, truly. To me dating it’s impossible. I don’t believe anymore in the fairytale. The fear that the next guy who will smile at me will convince me with his charm that he is enchanted by me, and leave me as soon as I have fallen for him, it’s too strong to let my heart, or that part of the brain loose. I have once again raised immunity for the fear of becoming again a stupid wreck who forgets her pride and begs for attention from the one my brain is telling me I cannot live with. I feel that without love, I have barely any motivation and inspiration to enjoy the little things in life, and pursue the big goals, but I feel that I cannot handle the disappointment once again.

I know why it’s not easy to fall in love like it used to. We took our fair share of an apple bite, and the apple had a worm in it that bit us back. We took our fair share of an apple bite, and it was poisoned by the evil witch of reality. We took our fair share of an apple bite and we were the ones punished for the sin and thrown out of Eden.

Yes we do want the fairytale back, but our hearty brain has become a brainy brain as well out of the toughness of experience. Some of us have a new crush we don't pursue every new week. Some of us fall in love with tv characters and we pray they get together as if our lives depended on it. Some of us fight to renew the burned out romance for the umpteenth time. Some of us go for an Eat Pray Love spiritual journey thinking how we may find that "true love" unexpectedly. We all pursue the lie that our brained up hearts know too well isn't there anymore. The time of innocence has really gone. The modern woman who applies her make up, puts on her heals and goes out in clubs, work, dating sites, to find her soulmate, really knows that she can't really fall in love as easily as in The Time of Apples. She knows the next guy she'll meet will see her as a passing fling while he's looking to marry a 20 year old Victoria Secret model, until he substitutes her for the next young flawless thing. She knows she is pursuing Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, but she will find Hugh Grant in real life, but she still powers up to find love with all the serious damage of Hollywoodian chick flicks have done to her. Even the emotionally disattached woman who just wants a friend with benefits will find love in the end, (Hollywood told us that), and the forever bridesmaid never bride, will find her Prince too. The modern woman unlike the modern man has been hurt and disappointed so many times, but she still, even when so deeply punished by God for eating the forbidden fruit, she still pursues happiness in the real world. 

However difficult it is to fall in love when the man of reality is not the man of the fairytales, not even close, the woman of the The Time of Decadence, pursues again the Time of Apples, The Time of Innocence, relentlessy, endlessly!

Nov 1, 2012

The Conscience Chapter 1

The Conscience was about to be tuned. For the first time in human history, all human information and emotions would be universally accessible, universally shared. There would be no more secrets. Who would have thought only four years ago, before the mechanism to read and share all information installed in the millennia of human existence would have been invented. One moment there was so much we didn't know. We could only use 10% of our human brain, or so we thought, it was actually much more than that. Who knew that in our DNA the memories and history of our ancestors, what they had seen and done, all of the images and sounds and feelings, everything was in there? Who could have ever predicted such a thing? Only four years ago, the Conscience was not even Science Fiction, it was unimaginable, improbable, impossible! It was all over the news. Everywhere, in every office, in every classroom, in every coffee shop and bar, even in the homeless shelters or in the street, in the entire world, it was the only topic in everyone's  mind. Some were excited, frantic, they couldn't wait to know all that was to be discovered. Now there wouldn't be any more debate whether there was global warming, and no crime. Criminals would be punished, and those who would want to act on a criminal whim, would be caught. We would all know what the other knew. A lot of people were ashamed that their most secret and unconventional thoughts would be accessible to everyone else. Their children would know their sex life. There were many activists protesting against the great violation to human freedom and privacy that was about to occur. But the greatest majority,  after experiencing the Apocalyptic Wars, having lost each and everyone at least one of their most loved ones, were tired of the world the way it was. The notion that all wars, all crimes would be stopped, was enough to persuade them to positively anticipate the Conscience. The notion of spreading the information equally between rich and poor, between the west and the east was fascinating, exuberant. Some were intrigued knowing that in 24 hours they would know who their ancestors were, were they great grandsons of Caesar or Cleopatra, and if they weren’t what did really happen in those years? Were there really aliens who contributed to our evolution? Was there God, was there Adam and Eve? Of course Churches, and religious entities were against the Conscience. The idea that the human would prove that there was no Adam and Eve, or that Muhammad was a fraud was much more frightening that they could fathom. But they were the ones who had almost brought extinction to humanity with the Apocalyptic wars of 2043. They were the ones who brought death, destruction and pain, and the world was over them. The world wanted peace. Not since the great invention of the internet had there been such a potentially changing factor for humanity. The Conscience would change completely, once and for all the World as we knew it. There were a few philosophers thinking how the Conscience would affect individuality. Some were afraid that if everyone knew everything, very soon all individual thought would be destroyed. We would be millions of brains acting robotically towards the same goal. The conscience would make us one. Others criticized this notion. Sharing the waves of our DNA would only make the information available to all, but our DNAs would still be separate, different, and just because everyone else would know what we wanted, what we thought, it didn't mean that we would be able to affect the desires and the dreams and the thoughts of everyone. There were needless to say as many for, as there were against the invention of the Conscience. But even those who so vividly fought against it, could not deny that they were part of a history that couldn't be changed, and that it needed to be done. The world as we knew it would soon change. There a few practitioners who would promise amnesia to many fools. They didn't know that even though their crimes, or perversions would be temporarily erased in their brains, they would not be erased in their DNAs. There was no way to run from the Conscience. Many killed themselves or their victims. Those 24 hours were dangerous, needless to say, for people who had more than something to hide and people who knew what they were hiding. Others who had been affected by amnesia and first signs of Alzheimer, knew that the Conscience would revive the memories that their brains had lost. There was as much excitement as there was fear.

Just in 24 hours, - said our Leader, - We will share all knowledge that has ever been known by humans. We will know what has really happened, and with a shared consciousness we will be able to fight all that is evil, and prevent it from ever happening again. Don’t be afraid Earth of all your secrets. You will be forgiven, because we are all sinners, we are all at fault. But soon, we will be one. Soon we will be able to even see the future, or at least be able to prevent mathematical probabilities that could cause our doom, or our pain. Soon dear Earth we will accomplish what all of our ancestors have tried to do. All they wanted was for knowledge to be shared, and for evil to be fought. We as one will be able to break all possible barriers. We will be able to travel further than our solar system, further than the milky way. Soon we will be able to see where we came from, and where we are going. This historic inevitability is ours. We as a planet, will soon be able to forget about the apocalyptic wars, and move on to a brighter future. We will know why and how are neighbors feel. We will feel such empathy that we will be able to forgive and forget. We will finally live in peace and in love. So do not fear my family. Do not fear that our sins and our faults and our perversions will be seen, because what we are about to sacrifice, is nothing in comparison to what we will gain.