MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “May, 2021”

Friends in a click

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There are tens of people – at least – passing through our lives. Even daily, consider how many other people you cross paths with; people you don’t even see because you’re too busy looking at your phone, thinking of where you have to go or what you have to do; people you don’t recognize and you’ll probably never encounter again.

We’re not alone in this world, let alone in a country, city or village. Yet we tend to act like we are. Like only we are the ones who matter; like we take precedence and importance over others.

It’s not only to do with character. A person is self-centered and egoistic because of the way they’ve been raised. Our notions, mentality, beliefs are shaped from a very early age, by what we see around us, by the reactions we perceive way before we begin to understand them. They all become innate, entrenched in our own behavior as we grow up. If we do not develop a critical mind of our own, we don’t mature, we only perpetuate these views as ‘normal’.

Throughout the course of our lives, we only really ‘click’ with a handful of people. Those that will come and stay, regardless the circumstances or the distance. It is those people who understand you without much effort, whose ideas you agree with, to whom you don’t need to explain much, and for whom barriers are of no importance in maintaining a friendship.

True friends connect immediately. You feel it when you do. And you should feel (mutually) lucky to have them.

The magic seashell

©MCD

They were healing. Those long walks on the beach. Particularly when there was no one else around. Those hours of the day when the water was calm. There was something soothing in that feeling of warm sand under your feet and among your toes.

Since she was a child, Addison also loved to collect seashells along the water. It was something she learnt to do with her dad and a memory she cherished dearly.

But as she grew up, she found increasingly fewer seashells on the beach.

This was a day though when this changed.

There were abundant seashells along the waterline. All pretty in their own way, regardless of size.

But there was one that captured her gaze from afar. It was shinier than the rest, with bright rigged lines. It was beautiful in all its glory.

The moment she picked it up, she felt a blur and an instant pull. She blinked and realized she was on another beach somewhere even more mesmerizing than before. Someone was calling her name and she felt her heart skip a beat. She felt happy without knowing why. He was coming toward her and she could feel herself smile widely.

It may be a dream, or reality with a delay; it may take a magic seashell or simply perseverance; but whatever it is, life finds a way of compensating us for every hardship.

A kind of bug

© Miles Rost

When someone asks you to describe yourself, what do you focus on? Your achievements, personality, character? We often regard ‘me’ people as egocentric, narcissistic or show-offs.

Yet, we usually undervalue our successes and we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. We don’t promote ourselves enough. And it is usually only when we hear others talking (positively) about us that we truly realise how much we’ve accomplished. When we view ourselves in the eyes of the right people, we comprehend the greatness we’re capable of.

But in the end, it’s all marketing: you’re either a ladybug or simply a bug.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

True Connections

It was on a wall she found on a random shortcut she took on her way home one day. She would do that at times, follow new routes and get lost in her own neighbourhood streets. It helped clear her mind, restore rational thinking, and create new ideas. It’s worth getting lost at times. But these words sprayed with graffiti on that wall made the most sense at the time:

In a world of algorithms, hashtags, and followers, know the true importance of human connection.

Perhaps that’s what’s driving us crazy. What is holding us permanently on edge. What has caused so much irritation and agitation around us.

The fact that we’ve essentially lost the one thing that keeps us humane: our connection.

It’s something you learn along the way. That it’s not enough to rely on physical attraction alone. Or to a few light-hearted chit-chats, and small-talk at regular get-togethers. We need people to challenge our mental limits. We want to be provoked to think more, to delve deeper into discussions that matter, debates about the world we live in. Talk that goes beyond trash TV, and our routine days. We need an attraction of minds. Because when all else fails, that’s what we’re left with.

Because it’s our minds that essentially help us get through everything. It’s the most resilient organ we have. And it’s what helps us find our way home even when we’re on paths we don’t know.

Zitti e Βuoni

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People often have a weird tendency of not saying what they want at the time they’re supposed to. We tend to come up with all the right comebacks and arguments much after an incident occurs; the so-called l’esprit d’escalier (the predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late).

Often it is much easier to say nothing in fear of provoking an argument. And as kids, we are usually told to be quiet and behave no matter how wrongly or unfairly we feel we’re being treated. We grow up with that attitude. With the notion of saying nothing because it’s ‘frowned upon’ or due to concerns of what our reaction may incite. So many movements have grown nowadays exactly because of this mentality. The most recent #MeToo incidents have sparked the question of why now and not then; yet regardless of the answer, there is the concern of why we don’t speak out at all, not only when or even after things happen. Things that are worthy of our voice being heard.

Italy’s winning song at Eurovision 2021 sent a loud message that difference matters and that making some noise may sometimes lead to something good; a change that everyone longs for but few actually act upon. In a performance that literally rocked Europe, this group appeared in controversial clothing and make-up to state that “vi conviene stare zitti e buoni” (“you’d better shut up and be quiet”), but adding the truth that people often don’t really know what they’re talking about (“Parla la gente purtroppo Parla non sa di che cosa parla”), and recognising that “Siamo fuori di testa ma diversi da loro” (we’re crazy but different from them”). Perhaps it is this boldness to be different that most appealed to the European public.

Because we all want to make a change. But few are courageous enough to do something. It’s easier to be quiet and concede to the norms, rather than speak out and disturb the status quo.

Brewing excitement

©Na’ama Yehuda

You know that feeling of anticipation that you can feel brewing inside you and tingling even your toes? That’s how I felt the first time I arrived in this country”.

Weren’t you scared? I mean, you literally left everything to start afresh somewhere you’d never been before”.

Sure, beginning anew is always hard and challenging. Fear lurks in every thought you make. But there’s also something magical about it – all the opportunities and new prospects that await!

He looked at her and she still blushed after all those years.

He smiled widely.

Love gives you the power to do anything”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

When it’s over

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When the worse is over, you’ll hardly remember it all. Trust me, people tend to forget the hardships they suffer, when ‘normality’ is restored”.

She stared at her aunt emitting words of wisdom. Her eyes were still puffy and red from the crying, but she had no more tears to shed. She was drained of energy and too exhausted to even speak.

We’ve all been there. In some form or other. People experience all sorts of adversities in their life. It may be a separation, a loss, having to search for a house and move, having to build a life from scratch, dealing with bureaucracy, managing the lack of inefficiency or communication; all kinds of things. Whatever you can imagine. For each person, a challenge or a difficulty is interpreted differently. But there is one thing in common for all: whatever it is, however much you suffer, you always endure and come out stronger. The toil helps us become better people”.

There is a truth that you find out who your real friends are when you’re in need of support. But the most profound truth is that in difficulty you discover yourself too. Who you are. And you’re amazed at how much the human spirit can withstand and survive”.

So don’t despair. It will all pass. And you’ll look back, recalling the details you’ll soon wash away from memory, and you’ll laugh”.

She cracked a smile and her eyes sparkled again. Her aunt always had a way of making everything seem brighter. Even in the darkest of times, there is always a brink of light shining somewhere. She just needed someone to help her see it.

Simple is not necessarily boring

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If it was simple, it would be boring. Isn’t that what you keep telling yourself when even the slightest of things appear to be too complicated to resolve?

People lack communication skills at all levels. From the lowest point – informing of when and how condominium utility fees get collected and paid – to general instructions as to how we can all survive by facilitating each other’s existence.

There are times when it all seems so hard that you envy those who literally do not care at all about anything, let alone the other’s wellbeing. Selfish people are often insensitive too, but to the rest of us who suffer so deeply because we allow everything to seep inside and affect us, these are the people who are also most carefree, even happy.

It’s not that we should all become insensitive and egoistic – because where would that really lead to? – but rather, why don’t we try to improve the society and world we all share? Why is it so much easier to make everything worse by only looking through your own lens instead of agreeing to collectively make life better for everyone?

Forces of Gender

It is a proven fact that men and women react to stressful situations differently. It’s not all about gender, though, it also has to do with a person’s character. But judging from the men in my family and workplace, they have a more reserved way of dealing with things that women usually lose control over.

Females have an innate tendency of shrieking their lungs out when their irritation hits alarming levels. It’s as if we’re giving up on trying to make sense of anything anymore and have surrendered to exasperation, releasing all the tension that has built up like a volcano gathering lava. We’re also severely more impatient, needing solutions here and now, and certainly more sentimental, allowing emotions to take over rational thinking at times.

It’s not easy remaining calm in adverse situations. And the more you tell someone in such cases to “relax” and “calm down”, the worse it gets. We know that’s what we need to do; but that doesn’t mean we can.

In movies – slapstick comedies in particular – we see the recurrence of actions that irritate a character for the sake of witnessing their reaction and laughing at it. But consider the person experiencing the incident. It may be funny to an outsider – or even to the same person after a while – but at that precise moment it’s literally salt on an open wound.

We need to lash out every so often to get rid of the tension we aggravate inside about everything – our lifestyle, our environment, the policies that govern our lives, the things we can’t control yet so deeply affect us. But we need to find healthier ways to release that stress. And we need people around us who understand, who actually help keep us sane, and who can maintain freak-out levels to a controllable intensity.

Filtering our focus

In a time of rapidly evolving channels of information, is the problem that we know too much, or that we think we do? We’re constantly trying to keep up with the tide, but it seems that something else beats us to the news. There is always something happening we know little to nothing about, or worse – we only know part of.

We hoard information from so many sources for later. Because there’s just too much to read out there, and there’s little time to do it in. No matter how fast you skim read, haven’t you found yourself skipping articles or emails, or saving them for later, if it’s more than three scrolls long? In this busy contemporary lifestyle, we need to get to the point quickly. We’ve become so easily distracted that things – people and conversations included – need to gain our focus fast (and keep it), otherwise they’re considered tiresome and unworthy of our attention.

It may be dubbed “first-world problems”, but let’s face it, this is the environment we live in. We need to adjust to survive.

This acute article that came my way from my inspiring boss who knows me all too well, resonated with me from the very first sentence. If you’re a reader, you know to the bone what it’s like to hoard reading material in all forms – paper and digital. You also apprehend what it feels like to tell yourself you’ll read it later, but instead keep elongating that list that never seems to get shorter or even at the least done. Perhaps the real problem though is not that we hoard too much, but rather that we fail to filter right. It is indeed unfeasible to read everything we would like; a lifetime would not suffice for that. But shouldn’t we be able to prioritise what’s important?

Like the people and things we devote our attention to, prioritising is important in maintaining a healthy, productive and sane lifestyle.

Just think about this: when you’re younger you usually make a habit of remembering everyone’s birthday, sending out celebratory wishes and attending as many parties as you can. But as you grow older, you begin to filter out people, keeping in your social circle those who matter, who enrich your life and who make you smile. Even if you do remember certain birthdays, you choose to celebrate those of value. And that’s what makes them more special. Because they belong to the selected list of few exceptional people.

Shouldn’t we be doing that with everything we dedicate our time and attention to? Otherwise, what’s the point, really?

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