MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “fear”

Something to hide

gondola08She was tired. In fact, she was exhausted. But he refused to acknowledge it. He failed to see how she strived to make her daily routine seem so effortless, while she was camouflaging the pain in the smile she always wore.

He worked hard. And she worked even harder. She tried to support him as much as she could, without asking for anything in return, other than a simply gesture of appreciation, a humble ‘thank you’, a hug and a kiss.

She was sick. But he failed to see it.

Not even when her light was dimming, could he see that he was losing her. She didn’t speak out, of fear that she would upset him too much and that he would overreact, as he usually did when trying to gain control of a situation.

Instead, she allowed herself to wither in the silence of her progressive departure. He was too fixated on his own beliefs to see that something was wrong. And it was only when she left that he realised what had happened. That fateful morning when she was no longer there. When the sky darkened and clouds brought on a tremendous storm.

But it was too late. He had allowed her to drown in her own secret, alone, because she loved him too much to make him worry.

She left with a photo of their last trip together hovering over their bed as an eternal memory.

The Object

Wooden boxThe voice echoed in the room magnifying the emptiness of the space. He could hear the metal in his boots dominating the wooden floor. It made him feel so small, lost in that vast space.

He was captivated by a person whose face he could not see. All he saw was two round black circles where his eyes would be. He knew it was a man because his robust figure betrayed his gender and the sound of his voice was deeper and coarser than any he had ever heard.

The footsteps and the slamming of an apparently very heavy door betrayed that his captivator had left.

Silence fell over the room. Together with the darkness that already lay there, the atmosphere was creepy to say the least.

He could feel his feet chained to the ground and his hands were loosely tied, enough to make things difficult for him.

His eyes begun to become accustomed to the darkness and he saw that the knot that had him bound down could be easily untied with a few tugging moves. But not having your feet free to move around made escaping a bit more tricky.

He looked around, trying to remain ahead of the panic that was rapidly overwhelming him.

There was an object right in front of him. It was within an arm’s reach. A black rectangular box.

He got up and stretched as far as he could, grabbing it tight.

There were markings on it. Faded letters. If you stared hard enough and looked back, they together formed the word “key”.

He had to get the box opened immediately before that voice returned. He banged it with the chains on his legs. But it was useless. A code was required to break open the lock. He looked around. On each of the four walls in the room was a number counting down from “5”. He tried “5,4,3,2”, but the lock did not open. It resisted any other such combination too. He then began randomly placing numbers in the lock, hoping something would click.

It did when the code formed “1,1,1,1”.

Was it that easy?

The box had a key inside. Which opened the chains on his legs. And then the door.

It was too easy.

It was.

Because when he opened the door the voice returned, louder than ever sprouting from a black mask and holding a chainsaw in front of his black eyeholes.

That’s when everything completely blacked out.

And that is when he finally awoke from the coma he was in for three weeks.

He remembered nothing.

Apart from the box with the key.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Object

The Archer

https://lh5.ggpht.com/l9mykkNXAk5GQA2yRa3ml5CrenDBghDsjINP5cjEvy0WuPFIb4oJ7ZB1w9MLURSBp-hk=w300The bowstring tore his cheek as the arrow flung to hit the hanging branch. He was trying to outrun the voices behind him, and every few paces he would turn and try to find deterrents to block their way. It was already getting dark and it was easier now to get lost in the woods. That served to his advantage. No-one knew the forest as well as he did. It was his home.

They called him The Archer. All they really knew about him was that whatever he stole, he would replace with something else. So, for example, if he stole a loaf of bread the one day, the next he would repay with a couple of fresh apples. He didn’t want to be considered a thief after all. And he always signed his name with a capital “A”.

But no-one had ever seen him. Despite the fact that he moved among them daily.

His mother was an Amazon, tamed by a Lord. Their marriage was a demonstration of how powerful love could be. But also of how profound. For when she got sick, he drunk his fortune away, and with it his son’s future. The boy was soon orphaned and left to fight for his own survival. All he knew how to do was use a bow better than anyone. He was very young when he was forced to discover the world, and the people of the village looked upon him with a mix of pity and fear. They would give him chores and various errands to run if they had any, but the pay was minimum, if at all, and the boy could not survive on that alone.

No-one seemed to care how he managed or where he lived. That was private business, or what they described as “personal issues”.

So the boy often disappeared as quickly and as easily as he appeared.

But no-one ever associated him with The Archer. He had become a legend, a sort of myth that made the forest and the nearby village an attraction. He became the terrifying story parents threatened their children with to make them behave. He had become a ghost despite still being alive.

He carved his own bows and arrows, made his own home, and by now knew all the places food could be found in plenty. He lived poorly but managed to gain all the necessities life handed abundantly and was satisfied with how well he fared. What he hated was the look in the villagers’ eyes. As The Archer phantom, he saw fear, prejudice, and loathing. So many negative feelings for a being they hardly knew. And as the boy, their eyes reflected sorrow, shame and sometimes compassion. But that is not what he wanted. All he desired was some kindness, someone to invite him into their home and share a warm meal with him. The boy, just like The Archer, simply wanted to be accepted. But in his own eyes, that was the most difficult feat of all.

The view from the other side

the other sideIt is an undoubted fact that wherever you stand, you will only see one side of everything. You won’t really know what is on the other side unless you try to gain a different perspective. Unless you open your mind, lessen your pride and accept to view something different.

A pauper will never know what it is like to live in riches, until s/he steps into a mansion, has every need catered to, and is relieved of every worry. Similarly, the so-called upper class will never fully comprehend what life is like for the less prosperous, the less fortunate, who need to work long days to earn their living, and sometimes even that may not be enough.

There are things that no matter how hard you try, reality always exceeds your imagination.

Jack Canfield had said “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”. But in order to get rid of that fear, you need to be able to open your mind and your soul to whatever may come. To be ready to accept that whatever you find on the other side will be something you are capable of handling and accepting no matter what.

To be able to step onto the other side, you need to already be comfortable in yours, and curious enough to learn what else is out there.

Change in the silence

Change - leavesYou can hear it in the silence. The change that is coming. You can feel it in the air around you. You can sense it In that cold breeze that causes your eyes to water.

Changes are often unpredictable. They are a fundamental part of life. And we are usually the ones we’ve been waiting to change.

But sometimes, just some times, those changes are strange. Not that they are not welcome. On the contrary. But in that they seem to affect everything we’ve ever known up to that point.

It is when you see people who have inscribed their names into your heart, now being with someone else.

Or when you see loved ones being happy. With others.

It is that melancholic feeling of witnessing the change that is happening around you. Without you. Despite of you.

It is that feeling of trying to make sense of everything, but no matter how much you try, or how much you think you’ve managed to sort out everything, there will always be that small “issue” in your life that you can never understand.

There are some things in life that no matter how much everything else changes, those will never do. They usually involve feelings. Ones so strong, they can break down every single defense you raise against them.

But at times, regardless of how hard you fight, resistance is futile, because maybe some things are just not meant to be. At least maybe for the time being.

Perhaps in a year or so, you’ll look back at it all and wonder what you were so worried about. Perhaps it is all just a matter of time. And faith.

But like Alan Watts said, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

The Power of Illusions

Perception-3There is a popular saying that “all that glitters is not gold”. And it is true. What appears to be one way, doesn’t necessarily mean it is truly so. A pretty house may hide inside it deserted rooms covered in cobwebs. Just like a big smile, may be masking unexpressed pain. Illusions have a huge part in our lives. But we often fail to realize how great their power actually is.

What appears to give a location or a person wealth, luxury and comfort does not completely cover up the fact that behind the expensive stores and villas, people may be found living out of makeshift homes, just like the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Just because this is not publicized enough, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Recently, for example, with the ongoing demonstrations in Turkey, CNN Turk was avoiding any news on the matter and instead broadcasting cooking shows. Yet, just outside their door a riot was breaking out and overtaking the headlines of international news media.

The amount and type of publicity something takes, greatly impacts on your psychology too. Advertising a destination as rich, colourful and luxurious, creates the illusion that there can be no wrong there, no danger, no risk. And yet, when a tsunami hits the very shores you are bathing at, you are caught unprepared, as that crystalline illusion is washed away in a surge of a tidal wave.

In crisis-struck countries of southern Europe, such as Greece, negative publicity creates an image in tourists’ minds that streets are filled with unbridled immigrants who are waiting for the opportune moment to attack, steal and plunder. That shopping streets are closed and deserted. That nationalistic sentiment has overtaken the calm and peaceful mentality that once was. And that no one is safe in a country full of crime, corruption and offences. But that is not the case. And it is truly a shame that such negative propaganda is what wins over the reality of a country as beautiful as Greece. That despite the crisis, and the unavoidable impact it has had particularly on small businesses, it still maintains its pride and life still goes on as usual, as people try to cope with the new laws, the additional cuts, and the extra taxes. But this negativity spreading internationally does not help. For people enter the country with the illusion that they might get attacked any minute now, and fear overwhelms them, as they look at all those faces travelling alongside them in the metro, and create conspiracy theories in their head. To the point that in the end they become afraid of even their own shadow.

Illusions work both ways. Not everything publicized as bad exists without any hidden trace of good; but neither does all that is advertised as perfect not bury something bad. Just as there are two sides to each coin, there are too sides to each story. And even though looking for both may risk you being dubbed a skeptic, it is better to know the whole story, rather than half the truth.

The broken plate

broken plateWhy? Why is it so hard to talk to someone? To tell them what you feel, what you think, or exactly what you want? It shouldn’t be this hard. It’s not “normal”. You shouldn’t have to plan out and rehearse what you want to say, always waiting for the opportune moment, because that moment will never arrive. It simply doesn’t exist. But why does the fear embrace her soul every time she wants to say something?

Marie stood there, staring out the window with her eyes misty and depressed. Nothing in her life was what she wanted. It was not the life she dreamt. Not what she wished for. Not even worth living. There was nothing that made her truly happy. Without any worries. She couldn’t even feel relaxed anymore. Her routine had overwhelmed her and stress had taken over her very being. She couldn’t even eat or sleep. And it wasn’t because she was in love. It was because pursuing happiness is so much tougher than everyone makes it out to be.

And then, every time she wanted to speak to someone, to let out all these feelings, to relieve some of the pain at least, she just couldn’t. Why was it so hard? Why did she feel so alone and invisible at times? So unwanted and unappreciated? What had happened?

Clouds drifted quietly and covered the sun. For a few minutes it grew dark even though it was the middle of the day. That was how Marie felt too. At least the sky could understand her. That meant something too…

She stood there silently, playing out different scenes in her head. Letting her mind drift to the past, to the future and then back to the present. But to her, there was nothing worth fighting for there. She knew she had to keep going. Persistence and struggle would in the end get her what she wanted. What she dreamed for. But it was hard and she needed the support that she felt was so lacking around her.

And then…

Then for a moment that seemed to last a lifetime, the plate she was holding, that pretty plate with flowers on, flowers that symbolized love and peace and harmony, fell from her hands, hitting the floor and scattering into pieces, shattering her heart along with it. She stood there in what seemed like minutes on end, looking down at it. A dark cloud had swallowed up her core. She was trembling. Fear had encircled her and was standing right there with her. And she just stood there not knowing what to do. And a tear trickled down her cheek…Silently stating its presence…

In the shadow of fear

fear_turtleThere is a wonderful Spanish proverb that is imprinted on my mind since I first watched Strictly Ballroom: Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias. And it is true. If you live a life in fear, it is like living half a life. But if you stop and think it is actually frightening to consider how much fear is part of our lives. Fear of not being adequate, of getting hurt, of doing something wrong and getting punished. Fear of not accomplishing your dreams and risk being considered unsuccessful even by yourself. Fear of losing control, and then of having too much of it. Fear of not having enough, or of having too much you are in danger due to the envy of others. Fear of the uncertain, of the unknown. Fear of not being safe. Fear of embarrassment, of loss, of defeat. Fear of change. And lately the fear that you will not be able to provide for yourself, let alone for your next of kin.  The fear that you or your possessions are no longer safe no matter where you are. That even banks – those institutions that used to guarantee the protection of your life’s savings – will now rob you blind, let alone the risk of your accounts being hacked into.

Sophocles put it well: to him who is in fear everything rustles.

There are so many sources of fear that if you constantly dwell on them you will never even live, being afraid of even your own shadow. And the worse thing of all is that “there is no passion so contagious as that of fear” (Michel de Montaigne). Fear feeds on fear itself.

Everyone is afraid at times. It is a natural feeling to have. And fear is indisputably part of our lives. There are even times when fear is good, for it keeps you alert and is watchful of your heart’s desires. But how much it takes up of your life is clearly a personal choice. You can either chose to surrender to the gloom or resist the anxiety that looms behind each corner and perpetually feeds on itself. Negative thoughts accentuate fear. All you have to do is turn on the light…

A prophecy to die for

About two months. Yes, that’s right. It could be the title of (yet another) end-of-the-world movie. Because according to the Maya predictions the end of the world is nigh, on 21 December 2012. Looking at the world in its current situation, it is likely. Not in a physical-disaster-all-around-buildings-crashing-down-things-on-fire kind of sense. But in the more “normal” social sense. Like a sort of end of society. A turn of leaf on the current state of the world. In the 1990s Francis Fukuyama wrote about The End of History,arguing that the advent of Western Liberal democracy may signal the end point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. Obviously, he was wrong. In 2012, democracy and Western government have retreated far back with a socio-economic impact as unprecedented as ever before in the 21st century. When Mediterranean countries are on the brink of bankruptcy, central Europeans are opposing aid to the rest, and eastern Europeans have gained a bad name as imposing migrants and imposter asylum seekers, then it is clearly the case that something has gone really wrong. When in 2012, instead of prosperity and the hovering cars depicted in the 1980s movies, all we have is countries striving to avoid default, the Arab Spring turning into a ruthless Middle East bloodshed, and even the strongest economies facing disarray and uncertainty. The Middle-Ages seem to have returned. But this time they have brought along the worst traits of human nature. Selfishness, greediness, insensitivity, immorality, irresponsibility, disrespect and audaciousness. That is what society seems to breed. The law of the jungle reapplies and people are putting their own interests above anyone else’s. In an impoverished society, where the rule of law is ignored, there is nothing to stop people from stealing from each other, from killing and injuring in order to do so, from eradicating anything and everything that forms the very foundations of a sane society in order to get their own way. When extremism resurfaces and people can actually understand why and justify it, then all there is to say is that those Mayas really knew what they were saying…

So many of those movies depicting a post-apocalyptic world have one thing in common: the fact that the end of the world does not happen due to an external cause, but because of the people themselves. It is the very people themselves, us, who are causing this self-destruction. They are the ones abolishing law and order and justice. They are the ones allowing society to become what it has – ruthless, self-rewarding, corrupt and with no values whatsoever. When even supranational institutions, set up for the very purpose of avoiding national self-interests, prove  that they too are not immune from corruption, it seems that people are right to be cynical and pessimistic. Very little does change in the end. And it seems that those who can change things, or at least who have the power to, are simply perpetuating a system that is degraded at its core. And the few that maintain hope and sum up the courage to fight the system and try to make a change are soon drowned and defeated. One swallow alone, does not a summer make.

It is important not to lose hope. That is certain. But how can you maintain optimism when this is the situation that prevails in the world today? Things need to change. Radically for that matter. And the old, out-dated ruling elite needs to step aside for younger – not necessarily in age terms – more open-minded brains to take over. In order to create a world like the one we hoped for when we were growing up. That allowed you to dream and to hope and to know that if you worked hard enough you could accomplish all that you want.

What if the Mayas were right?

If the Mayas were right and the world will really come to an end in 2012, then what is the reason for all this concern? Particularly over something that (logically) cannot be averted. The whole world is overwhelmed by concern. Concern over how the economy will develop, fear as to whether the Eurozone will collapse, worry over the future of Europe, but also uncertainty for the future of the world itself. But if either way doomsday will come before the very end of this year, then why worry? Why don’t we try to improve today instead? Why is everyone so concerned with the future that they forget to live the present? Even Bob Marley had sung it: “in every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double”.

Worries spread fear and fear is the worst enemy of optimism. It is this very concern that has devoured us. The fear and terror that “it never rains, but it pours”.  But as US President Franklin Roosevelt had said: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. It is that very fear that hovers over society like a black cloud. Like a tornado demolishing everything in its way. Leaving behind a society helpless and unable to stand on its own. That instead of moving forward with the knowledge from its past mistakes is moving backwards. And yet – invoking the infamous excuse of the current period – this crisis is to blame for everything. For the fact that there are no jobs; that shops, firms and industries are shutting down; that prices are rising but salaries are not; that poor people are becoming even poorer and are increasing in numbers, all the while the rich are becoming even wealthier but fewer. Consequently, the middle class is vanishing, widening even further the rich-poor divide. And the society that is portrayed in Latin-American telenovelas, where the carefree rich enjoy their ‘haciendas’ while the poor struggle to make a living in their makeshift shacks, is becoming all the more true as it rapidly converges on reality.

For as science and technology progress, the society’s mentality hardly changes. And all this third and fourth generation technology that has flooded the 21st century markets, despite facilitating our lives, has made it all the more empty. Development and progress is becoming a victim of commercialism. Because we feel that all these technologically-advanced gadgets will improve our image and make us feel more important. Today’s generation of children ask for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and whatever new and technologically-advanced best-seller is in the market today and costs dearly to demonstrate its worth. While yesterday’s children felt cool simply with their new set of coloured pencils. Indeed, the future generation may never even learn to write with pencil and pen, since keyboard will probably replace ink and finger will replace stylo.

However, it is worth questioning whether all this development and dependence on it is actually a good thing. If all these unnecessary expenses could be used on something more noteworthy and constructive – on medical research, for example, where developments and advancements are necessary. If even technology is reigned by fear. Fear that if it is actually used in research, or in similar fields, then something unknown and unexplored will come of it. A new Dolly for instance. That will rejuvenate debates, reactions and controversies over human intervention on the divine gift of life. And which will also breathe life into the realistic science fiction films depicting cloned and alien life-forms pursuing the end of the world. But the world – judging from all that is happening – seems to be causing its own demise. By its own selfishness, arrogance and greed. Perhaps this is what the Maya meant by their prediction? And what if they are right?

(22 January 2012)

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