Human Beings

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”
Cheris Kramarae

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings. I chose this quote in particular because of the sarcasm, which is actually poetically ironic. You’d think that nowadays it shouldn’t be this abstract thing to be sarcastic about, females being considered pretty equal in society and the radical movement becoming obsolete. But it’s not.

Feminism is something that, especially with today’s media outputs, needs to be ever growing and stronger than before. Now, it’s impossible to cover every aspect of women, how women are portrayed, and everything under the scope of feminism, but I want to touch upon some things that are becoming more and more prevalent in what I’m seeing in the world around me.

Women in media has been a problem for decades. It’s been a problem that most of us are at least aware of, if not educated formally on. In my health class last year we watched this documentary on women in the media, and learned about all the photo shopping and standards that are set that no human being can really uphold. However, as important as we were told this was, we didn’t even watch the entire documentary. It was something that an entire semester could have been spent on… and we spent less than half an hour discussing it. You’d think that for all the hours talking about eating disorders and mental illnesses, we’d have at least had a discussion on the correlation between these standards and the illnesses that stem from them. But we didn’t. If we did, it wasn’t significant enough for me to remember. That’s the real problem.

You can’t escape pictures of women looking nonhuman, you can’t escape the marketing techniques and business practices that set up these standards. You can’t escape standards everywhere, and most people will tell you that they know they’re fake, and they are aware of the unattainable images set… but we do nothing about it. And every day young girls are admitted into hospitals partially because of this. And it’s not just things you read about, it’s not just the news trying to get viewer ratings. It’s not just health class trying to make more quiz material. Years ago I personally watched a friend of mine struggle with an eating disorder, watched her tell me how many calories a slice of bread has without even looking at the bag. Watched her do 20 laps in the pool after having 1 Oreo cookie. It’s real.

I could go on an on about this, about Anorexia, it’s correlation with modeling, advertisements, everything. And as a feminist I would love to start the movement that changes this. But the thing is, there are movements. There are many. I’ve read about and I’ve watched revolutions in modelling, in making advertisements, and they’re amazing, and it’s inspiring, but when I drove down the freeway a few days ago, I still saw a half naked women looking nonhuman while holding some name brand product.

Feminism is this radical notion that women are human.

“I love your style.” That’s been said to me a few times. And it’s a great complement, especially since I try and be as invisible as possible in most situations. The people who tell me these things usually dress nothing like me, and I don’t have many peers who dress like me, and that’s okay. Part of feminism, I think, is empowerment. Some women feel empowered showing their femininity, wearing dresses, makeup, all that. However, my wardrobe is mainly striped button down shirts. I feel most confident in a collar, maybe a tie. Not adhering to the “standards” of female fashion is something I strive to do. I hate when people dress different just for the sake of being different, and that’s not what I’m about. I still wear normal clothing, I still wear jeans, dresses, the floral shirt, but I do so in a way that makes people take me more seriously. Wearing less typical feminine clothing makes me less of “that blonde girl” and more of “Kylie”.

lookin swell as hell
I was Annie Hall for Halloween

However, I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way in order to be taken seriously. I shouldn’t have to try and work extra hard to prove myself as capable of someone of a different gender. You can look up as many stats as you want about women in the workplace, and you can watch as many sexist old videos about such, however those “outdated” notions still rein true in many respects. Personally, living in this decade as a female, I can attest to being discriminated against due to my gender.

I had spoken over email with the manager/ son of owner of this local bicycle shop, and things were playing out well. So well that I thought I pretty much got the job. I went to meet the manager. “I’m Kylie, from the emails.” I said, with a smile. “Oh,” replied the 20-something shaggy manager. “I thought your name was Kyle. I was expecting a guy to show up.”

I didn’t get the job.

In my own high school I am employed doing AV. And though currently it’s basically all girls, when I was a sophomore the only girls were me and the girlfriend of one of the boy employees. We worked closely with administrators, especially this one guy, and he had a nice friendship type thing with most of the kids because he taught a tech class. Well, I had to work with him countless times and every single time, every single time, I had to re-introduce myself. I’m not saying he’s sexist, or anything, but since I wasn’t in the demographic of his “student-friends”, I just wasn’t very memorable.

I’m also employed by a local restaurant, and though I’m more qualified than most of the other kids, this being their first ever job and also being connected by parents’ friendships, I’m out of work because the owner hired too many people. There were four girls at the orientation, out of the almost 20 of us. One had been working in the food industry for quite some time, the other two were the types of girls who destroy everything females have worked for the past 50 years by simply existing. This creates a male dominated environment wherein the set norm for us women, just by population, are people who care more about our hair than working correctly.

If you think I’m exaggerating, then let’s reverse it.

You work with mostly girls and a few guys. One guy is a prick who uses phrases like “dat booty” and wears those flat baseball hats. Are all the males in the same area going to be treated like this guy? No, they’ll be treated better because anything is better than that one prick who thinks reciting south park quotes is cool. Treating someone human is different than treating someone as if they’re part of a hive-mind, and sadly that doesn’t always happen where women, or any minority really, are concerned.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.

While I wish for every woman to feel empowered, to feel comfortable in their body, to feel like they belong in society, I think that this can’t happen until we are treated like actual human beings. And by that I mean not objects.

Whenever I stand up for feminism or reference that whole object bit, some straight white male will usually counter my argument. On the internet, in school, wherever, it’s usually this demographic that hates the entire objectifying issue. They hate it because to them it’s not an issue, or they don’t think it is anymore. Sure, people don’t usually imagine women as housewives who only cook and clean, or the other extreme, which would be a form only used for sex, but as a society we still have an issue, and this shouldn’t really be news to anyone by now but its still important.

Women are still objectified. In advertisements, movies. In a strip club or on the street. It still happens.

In most high budget Hollywood action movies, the woman is only there to be a love interest, or a reward of some sort. The Bechdel test rarely passes for the most successful movies or TV shows. And if it does, it’s either forced and unnatural just so the movie can pass the test, or it passes while still having the women characters’ main interest be to find a man. Even movies about “strong young females” (Hunger Games, Divergent, both awful movies) only allow the female to become “successful” or “happy” by involving herself with a male character. With Divergent, the only way for Tris to be treated like a strong young woman among her peers is for everyone to find out that she’s fucking the hot trainer dude. It’s better in the book, but the movie takes this already marketed idea into only a love story in a fool-proof way to make money. This type of thing needs to stop, or at least change, and it won’t because unlike our quirky male lead, females are just simple minded objects whose only place in a movie is to be “relatable” to young audiences who already have these standards shoved down their throats and wont eat popcorn in fear of being fat, or “extremely sexy” in order to market to the men watching. There’s rarely an in-between.

Women are still objectified. I live in an extremely small farm town, and I’ve been “catcalled” countless times. This objectification is more than hearing “dat booty” from some prick while walking on a busy street. It’s random “whoops” directed toward you from a passing car full of teenage boys. It’s “hey girl”s from old men while walking alone at night. It’s uncalled-for recognition that you, as a female, are walking and someone, as a male, has noticed. One summer a friend and I kept track of how many honks or whoops we got while walking in our town. It was around 25, I think. For one summer. At first we started whooping back, you know, because of boredom. How often can this happen? It eventually turned into just ignoring it because it was so obnoxious and dehumanizing.

One time I was walking home and a car slowly pulled up from behind me with two guys inside. I could hear the “hey girl” from behind and I just kept walking because, as women are taught from a young age, people are going to try and attack us and probably kill us. We’re taught “always walk with a friend” and “carry some defense weapon on you” instead of having everyone else be taught “just be a decent human to other humans”. Anyway, when they saw my face, they either realized how young I was, or that my face was too ugly to murder, one dude said something to the other, and the car drove away. This shouldn’t have happened. And I’m angry that it happened not only because it doesn’t really happen to men, but that for some women, the driving away part isn’t where it ends.

And here’s where the straight white boy will tell me some bullshit like “its a complement” or “it’s just words” or even “I’ve never done that so not all men are the same”. And, yes, most decent humans treat other humans like humans. But even those non-decent people know that treating women like objects is wrong. They know women don’t like to be called at on the street, they are aware of this because women make them aware of this. But there’s no stopping it, really.

As long as idea that women are objects still reins true within the media, within advertisements, within big action movies and thrillers, people will continue to treat them that way. Not just males, either. As long as women feel less than, the’ll continue to feel as though they are clay to be molded to what society wants, to accept the social inequality for what it is, to just exist in this world where they aren’t human.

The world is getting more progressive, sure.

The time has never been better for women to feel empowered, to act how they want, to dress how they want. To earn the jobs they strive for, to have a say in government, in corporations, in the world they live in. The time has never been better for people born of another gender to feel free to express their femininity, at least in a first world society. And as much as we’ve changed, as much as feminism has progressed, and revolutionized there is still more that needs to progress, to change, to instill a revolution.

And this is common knowledge, and things are being done, things are progressing, things are changing, there are revolutions underway. But in order to make these changes the norm, in order for feminism to be viewed as this humanizing concept rather than men-hating crowds of women fresh outta the abortion clinic, we need as a society to unite on these views. To accept the change. To accept progress.

Sadly a lot of young people, especially young women, aren’t accepting this. They seem preoccupied with looking a certain way, acting a certain way, molding themselves to the set ways of society. Those who are outliers tend to be those females to make themselves as radically different as possible, not empowering themselves but being different for the sake of being different. There needs to be common ground, somewhere that falls between nonhuman sex object and super humanly down to earth hipster girl. Oh, wait. That would to just be a person. A human, if you will.

Because, as radical a notion as it may be, women are human beings.

 

***There is a disclaimer on the sidebar. On the mobile version it’s at the bottom of the page. I suggest you read it if you have a problem with this post or are easily offended. It isn’t intended to teach anything, I am a human and I know that feminism is widely understood. I write about my opinions in order to start discussion and allow for other viewpoints and sides to issues. I wrote this because I’ve recently been watching some documentaries and the like about beauty, empowerment, and feminism, and it was rather inspiring. I feel like feminism gets a bad representation. Here is my take on it, as a female.

Sad Smiles

A year ago, I returned to New York from an amazing trip to Spain. A year ago also marks when I was hospitalized shortly after coming home due to contracting a bacterial infection overseas. It was a pretty traumatic experience, and one that I didn’t tell most people out of a fear that they’d think I was just seeking attention. However, there were also some parts which looking back, make me smile.

I talk about the worst of it first.

I went to a doctor’s office after being sick for a little while. Since I was out of the country a few days prior, and the Ebola fear was still in the air, I was sitting in the waiting room wearing a bright purple rain jacket and, under a secretary’s orders, a huge surgical mask that was way too big for my head. Everyone in the waiting room was staring at me. All eyes were my way as I left too, holding a tub to vomit in, running for the car. A very memorable time.

My resting heart rate was way too fast and my fingers were purple from dehydration, and no one in the emergency room could really figure out what was wrong with me, so I was admitted into the pediatric center, being 16 at the time.

My experience? Well, I don’t remember much but what I can recall is about a thousand different people saying “So you were in Spain? How was it?” and a thousand more saying “I can’t seem to find a vein” while pocking me with needles.

It took an ultrasound, something that made me feel extremely uncomfortable and awkward, a CT scan, something that forced me to drink this nasty dye liquid, and a line of 3rd year residents staring intently at me like I was an orangutan at a zoo, to figure out what was wrong with me. A bacterial infection.

The diagnosis wasn’t very promising either, since it seemed like every hour a different resident trying their best to mimic bedside manner told me that infections like mine seen in other cases have shut down kidneys, and that if I have renal failure right now, I’ll probably die.

IMG_4592
I became good friends with the IV pole. We did everything together.

Being in the pediatric center, I also had this woman who would come in and try and cheer me up, or something. She’d constantly try to get me to go into the playroom, like she was a cashier coaxing me into signing up for the discount card. “We have a Wii” she said. “I feel like shit” my eyes would reply. The only way I could seem to make her go away was agreeing to a stack of crossword puzzles and word searches.

These word searches would make me smile, however; just for a different reason.

I was given a pencil, obviously, and when I got bored of finding the profane words in the jumbles for hours, I started doodling and writing on the backs of the papers. I did some of my personal comic strip ‘The problematic situation’, and some of trees. I wrote some jargon extensively. All I had was time.

But I also wrote a poem. It was during this interesting time in my life, and not just because I was being forced by every technician to re-account all my time in Spain, or have dozens of needles stuck in me, but it was interesting for, you know, personal reasons. So I wrote this poem. And that’s all I was going to share on this blog post, but it needed context, and the actual context is nothing more than my shy, awkwardness at the time this was written.

Here it is:

Hospital poem.jpg
I can be a pretty nervous person, with real life interactions and witty text messages.

So, that’s my story of the time I was in a hospital, thought I was going to die, got slightly better, and wrote a poem. Things have definitely changed in a year, and looking back I feel sad and smiley at the same time. However, as great as 2015 was, I’m in a place where looking forward is in my best interests. Perhaps in a year this blog post will be nothing more than a sad, smiley piece of nostalgia as well.

 

Explosion

I had a dream;

I don’t think it meant anything;

It was in black and white.

/

There was a bomb.

And everything it destroyed

Turned into acidic rays of colour.

/

I was looking out a window

And had watched the plane fall

Before the black shell reached its destination.

Let’s be real

Those who can’t do, teach.

And those who can’t teach, teach gym.

-Woody Allen

I have a new teacher for the time being, and she is one of those people who’ll say everything like it’s the most profound thing ever. It usually isn’t. But today she said something that stuck with me. It was along the lines of “Teaching nowadays has become a more intimate thing, it’s more of a friendship between teacher and student, it’s more personal. It’s better than when I was growing up.”

I really agreed with her, and I really want to talk more about this because I think everything to do with teaching is rather important. We spend our entire lives learning, formally and informally, and whether it’s from a person or the vast amount of information on the internet, the way in which we learn them is key to success, key to retaining and understanding the knowledge presented.

I’ve had all kinds of teachers in my life. I’ve had those amazing, motherly figures, those harsh dictator individuals, and many who fall somewhere in between. I prefer lectures and having things verbally explained, but I don’t mind finding some things out on my own. The education system is filled with all ends of the teaching spectrum, it’s a unique and sometimes just a luck-run place. However, I think having some sort of relationship with a teacher is important. You don’t have to be best buds, but I think it’s good to have some kind of connection with the person who is giving you the knowledge that’ll determine if you’re ready for college, careers, or further opportunities.

These are best with teachers who are already good at their job. I don’t mean they have the highest test scores in the school, or make the most amount of money. I mean: they’re good at their job. I’ve found that the best teachers are the ones who aren’t fake or pretending they’re something that they aren’t. They know they’re just a regular person with the knowledge and degree that says they can give other people information. They’re the ones who actually listen to students and can have a good time yet remain authoritative and control the class so everyone can do well. I’ve been lucky to either have mostly pretty good teachers, and the ones who were awful were at least considered awful by most other people as well.

Last year I had an awful teacher who wouldn’t listen to students, who would constantly yell at our class and talk about how awful our class was to other classes. He’d take me into this little office, in ear shot of everyone in the classroom, and loudly tell me what my failing grade was. He yelled at a friend of mine because he was asked a question. He’d constantly refer to anytime not in the school day as “his time”, a time that couldn’t ever be dedicated to his job, and if it was, we were supposed to be super grateful as if he didn’t get entire summers off or have decent benefits from doing the bare minimum. It was awful.

And we’re all going to have that awful teacher in high school, or college, and it’s going to suck. But I think it makes me appreciate the good ones even more. I’ve a unique mix of teachers this year, and though currently I’m stuck with just one teacher due to circumstance, I’m actually glad to be exposed to so many different teacher tropes. Because for good or bad, it makes me think about how I would or wouldn’t handle that situation. I’m not going to become a teacher, but a lot of the qualities these people have are qualities that are prevalent in most situations. Whether or not someone chooses to be kind and understanding isn’t something only a teacher has to decide. After witnessing many bad teachers, people that are supposed to be “role models”, I know what qualities I don’t want to have as I’m immersed in jobs and eventually careers.

Having a relationship with other people, students or not, is one of those key aspects to life and succeeding. Not friendships, or even acquaintanceships, but just generally listening and understanding other people’s views, concerns, and figuring out how to convey information in the best way possible are all things that I think will be important in life.

My teacher today was right; teaching is much different than when she was in school. I think most relationships are different. I think people can be more real with each other nowadays, and that’s something I really appreciate and admire. We spend our entire lives learning, not just from teachers, but those around us. If we can’t be real, be understanding and personal, then what really are we gaining? Professionalism is best mixed with reality, and I’m glad that today my teacher reminded me of that. She may not always say the most philosophical things, but at least she can say things. At least she can. 

Pale Privilege

I’m a white girl.

Or at least, that’s what you’d think when you saw me. I don’t blame you, I’ve got blonde hair and pale-ish skin, and I only look like an interesting ethnicity when… well, when I’m around my family. And even then, it’s probably hard believing I’m somehow related to them when I’m the only pale person in the mix, this blonde singularity in a sea of Native Americans.

Bolt fam
Hard to tell which one is me

Now, I am not actually related to these people. I’m adopted. I figured it out a while ago; there were just so many clues. However, even if my birth father wasn’t Native, I’d still consider myself Native American. I was raised in a Native American-centric household with Native American immediate and distanced family. When I was a kid I went to a local pow-wow thing, dancing in this fancy native dress. I read books about Native American traditions and folk tales. I learned Mohawk words from my cousins when they came to visit every summer when we were young.

More recently I’ve been visiting family on the reservation more; the photo above is of my cousins and I after we left the reservation and took a detour with our grandparents to Boldt Castle a few years ago. As you can tell I was just so enthralled.

My heritage and ethnicity have always been a large part of my life.

And this isn’t a racist statement, but because of how I look, no one really knows this about me unless I tell them. It’s just hard to come to the conclusion that the girl with pale skin and blonde hair is half Native American. And if I ever do mention this, most people try and tell me that their half cousin’s second wife’s nephew’s sister in law was a member of the Sioux, so they are as well. But… no.

Growing up in Native American culture and not having darker skin and dark hair kind of sets me apart, sets my privilege higher than my family. I know it sounds odd, but not having anyone really know my ethnicity took me away from the stigma and the constant need to fight for my rights. Yeah, I’m the girl that will call you out for saying raciest things (*ahem* we are not Indians) but I don’t really have much to loose from them because no one can use raciest things against me, or at least, no one does.

If it were 100, or even 50 years ago, being a half native American woman would be one of the worse possible things for me. But here I am in 2016 without a trace of any ignominy to show for it.

There is a kid in my “friend” group (a gang of rapscallions I eat lunch with) who is also half native. I’ve known him for years, we were in the same 5th grade class, and it’s interesting how differently we’re treated. No, he’s not made fun of because of his heritage, but he can mention it more freely, not be questioned, and occasionally get some kind of “trail of tears” pun thrown at him.

I find this interesting because in 5th grade, when we learned about “thanksgiving”, my teacher said “We… not you so-and-so, invaded the Indian’s land and just took it from them.” Our teacher excluded him, and not me,which makes sense, but at the same time, I’m pretty sure no teacher in their right mind would exclude a black person from a talk about slavery.

That’s the kind of racism I don’t have to deal with, the kind of thing that I get to completely avoid because, for some reason, I didn’t get the dominant gene and I look like a “normal” white girl.

I kind of hate that I am not always attached to my heritage because it’s just such a large part of my life. Most other people with a strong subculture of ethnicity have their race to show for it. In other words, they look the part. This doesn’t mean every everyone who looks a certain way has a certain culture, it just means that it’s harder to defend mine to people. I’m not some white girl with a tiny trace of Seneca. I’m half Native American by blood and almost fully immersed in the culture because of my family and the ties I get from them.

But no matter how many reforms for the reservation I vocally advocate for, no matter how many times I make note of people’s insensitivity, I’m just the pale white girl to them.

I’m the one with the privilege.

Fam getting icecream
I’m the one in the right corner, the one with the raging privilege.

 

Beige

I’m starting to feel sick again.

It isn’t the gooey darkness in my heart, no, now

It is beige like a balance beam.

I’m teetering on the edge of the cliff, this time

I’m close to falling, unlikely to fully regain stability.

It’s just who I am; been this way awhile now.

It’s just something I deal with, once in a while

I’m within the inebriated beigeness so I sit and ponder some.

I’m lost in the swirling complexities that could be.

It’s without reason that I drown in sand, breath in water, and

It’s without reason I respire, only half alive.

I’m alive, my heart beats with every unfair rhythm, and

I’m breathing, just under the pressure of the sand.

It’s with thoughts that I find small treatment, only treatment, as

It’s far from being a curable ailment.

I’m on a balance beam, and this time, it is foggy, this time,

I’m not sure I’ll stay beige.

Everything is bland, unflavored. Everything is beige and feels like sandpaper. I’m not here… I am floating somewhere else, somewhere dark and beige and lifeless. I don’t like it here. It hurts my chest.

-Excerpt from Solomon, a novel by Kylie Eileen

You can read Solomon here

Coffee Coffee (and cigarettes)

“Nothing is original…Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”

-Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch is an independent filmmaker, creating things like Coffee and Cigarettes, a movie that I vaguely remember falling asleep to once. Though I particularly didn’t find myself absorbed into his creative efforts, I’d consider that movie pretty original. It captured things like subtleties in dialogue and made something as raw as conversation into this tangible (and boring) movie. Normally you see action and adventure or at least conflict, at least something to get the viewer’s attention in order to portray whatever complex thing you have to say on screen. Not Jim, though. He did something different, something unique, and people really took that on and grew a liking for it.

However, the quote above is a snippet from this larger excerpt about how Jim goes on to say that it’s okay to steal things from other artists. I know it sounds bad, but as you can read here, it’s actually pretty insightful.

It also helps back up this point that I am now going to make.

Nothing is original.

Since I’ve put myself on the foundation of being a “writer”, and in my spare time I make videos and whatnot, I guess I could call myself an artist, in a way. I’m really trying not to be that pretentious here. But, as an “artist”, the only cool thing about my passion would be making something new, something engaging, something people want to read or watch or, most likely, criticize.

And I obviously love writing. I love making stories and poems and expressing myself and my feelings to the world in a way that can end up being slightly unique. However, nothing is truly original. I’m inspired by things in my life. From watching a book’s pages move in the wind, to spending time with someone I adore, everything I write is inspired by something else. The style I choose to write in is inspired by recent things I’ve read or things I’ve been planning to try. My vocabulary is taught in school and is then pushed around and added to by books, people, places. Nothing I can compose on paper, or on screen, will ever be truly unique.

And I know the old saying: It’s unique because you wrote it.

But, really, it isn’t. I’m writing in a classic style here. It’s a blog/essay/rant/thing that millions of people have done before. That whole one sentence paragraph thing isn’t mine, the overused parallel structure isn’t something I’ve whisked out of thin air. Nothing besides a tiny bit of Kylie flair differentiates my 3 view blog post from the countless others across the internet just like it.

Now, looking at Jim’s quote at a different angle, it can be proved wrong (and then proved right again because no argument can be that simple).

There is something that stands out to me when I think of originality. About a year ago now I happened to stumble upon something that really changed my outlook on writing. It was a poem:

Lighght

Aram Saroyan, my favorite poet, created that poem above. He is known for being this revolutionary in concrete poetry, making one word poems that weren’t meant so much as to be read, but rather looked at. His sentences weren’t prose, but a picture on a page that held more than verbs and nouns, and signified something unique to his era. He actually, I believe, created something authentic, something original.

Aram is this representation for me of what is new, what is actually original. His poetry inspires me to strive to do something different, to try and create something idiosyncratic.

Withstanding, I don’t think I’ll ever be the revolutionary in anything. I don’t think I can convey everything I want to in something as simple as words. Even video and other forms of media can be limited and the effect I want to make just isn’t achievable. I admire what both Aram and Jim have done in their perspective fields of expression, however as groundbreaking as they were even they weren’t completely original.

It’s a paradox, maybe.

Originality is subjective. Henry David Thoreau, my favorite philosopher, didn’t create his ideas about society and values out of thin air. He actually mentions in his writings how fond he is of Homer and how everyone should be required to read the Iliad, or something of that nature. His beautiful prose is a combination of taught language, read literature, personal experience, and then, at the very end, sprinkled with that old Henry pizzazz. The length of time something has been around doesn’t directly show how original it is. And I think many people don’t really understand this concept, hence all pretentious people raving about classical music. Even Homer probably gathered his original thoughts from other people and experiences and

I’m guessing you get the point now.

Originality is subjective. And though it may not truly exist, and I may not become any sort of revolutionist in terms of writing or film media, at least I’m being an… “Artist”. I’m creating something new out of a bunch of other ideas and things that have happened in my life. I may not be completely content with that, with the fact that nothing I do will have any huge impact in the world of writing or otherwise, but at least I’m taking these ideas and adding the Kylie flair. It’s really all in the way you look at it.

Nothing is original.

And even when you see an original idea, it’s just another one taken, diluting the sea of authenticity.

coffeecoffeeandcigs
This image is something I uniquely made, but out of two ideas not my own. Its a paradoxical picture of symbolism.

 

 

 

Sohrab’s Suicide

It was a little past 9:30 pm. Small streaks of light fell into the hotel room through the half covered window, a few cascading on Amir Agha’s sleeping face. A few lining up with the door to the dastshooi. Bathroom.

I could still feel the tears on my face, dried up by then but still there, still reminding me of what he had said. He had tried to dress it up, calling it a home for kids. A home. A home is where my father and mother raised me. A home is where things are happy and clean and free of the Talibs, of men in suits, saying something disappointedly in English. A home is free of violence, of terror.

I wanted then, desperately, to go home.

I thought about how he was going to send me away, how he broke his promise, lacing it with lies to make it seem better. His voice so soft and sure of itself. Telling me that this orphanage would be different. That he would visit me, make sure there’d be no pain, no dard. I asked him, I begged him to promise not to. To find some other way, any other way, the whole time memories of the orphanage flashed in my mind. Dirty floors, hunger, hands all over me. I couldn’t live through it, even if what he had told me was true, even if he could visit me, even if it’d be for a short while. Because, in hell, a short while is an eternity.

I kept watching my half uncle sleep, trying to wipe away the tears dried on my face. I felt lonely in his company. His breathing, rough and uneven, might have once been a comfort. He was a guardian, giving me light, giving me a sense of peace in what he offered: little things about my father, assurance of a new life in America, a way to maybe move on and feel like I belonged in the world so forcibly unjust.

But each staggered breath filled the hotel room in an uneasy, lonely way. Amir was not my protector. I knew that then, sitting in the dark, watching him sleep. He was nothing more than a man in a procession, leading me back down into hell.

Though my eyes were now dry, I was filled with deep, dark sadness. I could feel the orphanage calling my name, I could feel Amir’s hands escorting me back into the pit of despair. We’ll go home together, he said. You’ll see. It’ll be alright. 

When my father looked out the window and saw the black car of the Taliban pull into the drive, he looked down at me with his kind, green eyes, and said “It’ll be alright, Sohrab. Just wait here.”

I noticed, again, the hint of light fallen over the hotel room. My eyes lingered on the strip of bright yellow, illuminating the door to the bathroom. It was a glowing, golden stream in midst of a dark abyss.

I stood up, tiredly, and walked over to it, stepping through pools of darkness, wading my way through the dismal reminders and memories, and made my way to the flaxen haven.

I closed the bathroom door, turned the light on. It clicked with a warm buzz, and soon I was immersed light, feeling like a moth when it approaches a street lamp.

I touched the cool end of the razor sitting on the sink. I noticed it yesterday after Amir had taken it out and used it. The blackness in my chest fluttered with a palpitation of hope mixed with uncertainty.

While I waited for the bath to fill with warm, liquid bliss, I took out the polaroid in my pocket, the one Amir gave me, the one of his half brother, of my father. I studied the picture, my hands starting to shake, the dark, lifeless feeling in my heart growing, expanding like a sponge in water.

Soon father. I whispered aloud. I will see you and mama soon.

I took the razor and got into the warm bath. My hands were shaking so violently, I wasn’t sure if I could do it right. One of the children at the orphanage had told me how. Warm water. A sharp blade. The vein under your thumb. Wait.

I can’t remember much. It hurt, not as much as I thought it would, but enough. I left the arm in the warm water, watched the red life escape into the pool of purgatory. With the life left all the badness, all the pain, all the hands on me, all my sins, all the gunfire, all the lies. It seeped into the water, clearing out everything that so consumed me, that made me so dirty and dark. I felt the life leave, cleansing itself as it mixed into the warm saturation.

Maybe, I thought, Amir Agha was correct. Maybe it would be, finally, alright.

As I let the blood seep from my body, I felt the dejecting feeling slightly dismiss, lifting me up out of this disgusting world of darkness.

That was when, finally, I felt clean, and not dark, but, noor.

Light.

 

This is my final project for a class I’m taking called “Eastern Studies”. We read contemporary literature in order to better understand the problems facing the Middle East. We have just finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. There were several project options; I chose the creative writing one. My task was to write a section of the book in another character’s point of view, keeping Hosseini’s style… so obviously I chose the suicide scene. If you haven’t read The Kite Runner, I suggest you give it a go. It’s pretty spectacular.

Wayward Wind

White listlessness upon the leather bound spine gathers up with the wind, creasing the air with every weathered page’s sound, life itself not sturdy enough as print to stop the incessant drain of words that have leaked out of the blank spaces of the mind. The mind, of course, being a representative for actual life. For actual words.

Wind as sweet as the trees which drive it carry the dead, thin passages through the dimensions. The wind’s howl, though soft, rustles the layers of death and leaves the carcass standing still, for it does not have the strength to ruin everything, to affect everything in it’s way. The structure is surely gone, as the black liquid has already vanished, a varnish not suitable for the droplets of purity, for the cleansing it rightly deserves. However the skeleton stands, upright in comparison to what structure actually is, deep and saturated in color, unlike it’s dead predecessor of winding, crinkling, white lies. Lies, if not true, can also be washed and forgotten. A secret, in a way, is an empty surface where the death used to stand.

When the wind seems to stop, and the hollow structure is indeed not hollow, but rather just empty, the print does not feel inclined to find it’s way back. The telling way in which the cream is left pure, or broken if the wind proves stronger than usual, directly showcases the life which has been forgotten. The air, though crisp, is deep and changing. It is symbolic in the sense that to allow such to occur, forgottenness would have already taken place, and the blank mind would have already been formed. (Of course in an extent all minds are deemed blank). And the structure would have been appealing still, have not the judgement been blank in its measures as well. Hollowness, fondly found in a tree, ironically, may not be as apparent as in the dead coffin. For there to be blankness, there must be something to be blank, even if words reappear, though unlikely.

Wayward wind picks up again, fluttering the life, manipulating the death, whiteness aghast at what insolvable misery has become of the darkness that once left. The spine, of course, stays, supporting nothing, supporting everything. The mind, lesser than the spine in a sense, has become aware of it’s fate. Knowledge not meant to jest, the wind does not hold the fate. For, eventually, each white, listless, blank, empty slice of life, will be overturned, will be evaluated for no purpose. Each will have it’s light, it’s darkness. But the mind will stay in place, the spine will not move. Fate is not determined by the wind, as soft and sweet as so. Even a harsh wind will not change the binding; not really.

Winding up in a pattern, an unforgiving combination of wind and misery, each white layer of life will still be blank. For the strongest wind cannot change the fact that all death has left. That the black lettering will not return, even if so replaced, will not give meaning to blankness. The wind carries the ideas around, not very far, for the binding still acts as a skeleton for the mind, still encompasses every blank thought. The wind, then, perhaps stands as a sweet relief, a realization that all of it would have been for nothing. Unless, of course, the absent print means something else entirely. However so, the pattern continues, the white listlessness upon the leather bound spine gathers up with the wind, creasing the air with every weathered page’s sound.

book