Friday, August 20, 2010

Is love a tender thing?

Since Beowulf days, where the stories that were told were finally put to paper, there has been just a few topics that have stood the test of time. War, Power, Currency, and the epic one... Love.
This word is known throughout the entire world, whether it be: حُب, 喜爱, láska, kærlighed, liefde, armastus, rakkaus, amour, die Liebe, αγάπη, szeretet, ást, sayang, amore, 愛, 애정, mīlestība, meilė, kjærlighet, zamiłowanie, amor, dragoste, любовь, láska, ljubezen, amor, kärlek, aşk, or simply love. That's right, 28 eight languages, and 28 different words that mean that very same indefinable entity that rules our lives, almost 7 billion people.
Have you tried it lately? To define it? Ask yourself, what is love? It's a feeling right? How does it make you feel? Sit back right now and come up with some adjectives. Warm, comforting, invigorating, healing... But nothing quite fits does it? Don't worry, you're not the only one.
For centuries, poets have been trying to define this very thing. Today, song writers haven't developed a new topic yet, either. I just searched "love" on my itunes and found 115 results with the world love in the title. Yet, the most accurate description that I've ever found is Shakespeare's Sonnet 116:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

This is what I think love is. This is one of his definition poems, and I feel that he hits it head on. Yet, I do have to say, that this is simply a poem based upon what love does and withstands, not what it is. Not the very supernatural or metaphysical existence of itself. To be honest, I have no words to define it. It does not exist in my head and although I did feel that burn in my chest every now and then, I don't believe the heart which pumps blood to the rest of my body, also holds love. I don't know whether it exists within ourselves or is perhaps housed in our auras. Perhaps it's simply a metaphysical energy that is created when two people are in close range with one another. I don't know.
I would like to, because the very reason for this particular blog is because I was staring at myself in the mirror a minute ago. I was staring, noticing the certain detachment that has grown in my eyes, and realized that it's been a hell of a long time since I felt it. There's the platonic family love, sure. But I don't feel that. I just know it's there. When my mom brings me home dinner, or my friend calls to chat. It makes me smile, but I don't feel anything. At the DIA today, I felt excitement for the first time in awhile and I almost mistook it for anxiety.
So I guess my question here is, do other people feel this still? Does love exist for those over 20 years old. And for that matter, does love exist for those who have already lost their love? Their Big, True, whatever-adjective-you-choose love? Can you feel those butterflies again, the dropping of the stomach, can't eat-can't sleep-die without you love?
Because all I keep thinking is that I had that. I had it once. It was real, and I felt it. I felt it somewhere inside me. And that part is dead now. And I'm just throwing this question out into the universe, a general wondering, whether or not I will ever be able to revive that little part of myself. Is this punishment? I had it, and I let it go. I didn't fight, I didn't fly down there and confess my love. I just let it go, without so much as a phone call afterward. Am I being punished because I made one cowardly act? I say one, because I did fight, a lot, before. I grew up believing that love could save us all, and with love, anything could be done. I once believed that love was enough, and I fought like hell to keep it. But at the end, I don't know, I must have been worn out, beaten down, and perhaps disillusioned. And when I was beaten, I told myself that I would never let it happen again. When love failed, I turned to reason. Love is not a real thing. It didn't make sense for me to fly down and be with him. I have responsibilities. And I stuck to that. I guess that I still am with questioning the definition of love. Because somewhere, deep down inside, I'm waiting. I'm waiting for that boy to look at me with severe eyes and say, "Alicia, I love you. You don't have to do this anymore."
But I chose Reason, Rationality, and Education. Does love even exist in this world? Can I really tell myself that I believe in something that does not have any real structure, format, or concrete evidence? Can I trust something that is so easily broken and walked away from? Can I truly believe in something that was never reciprocated? I guess we'll find out.
As for now, I guess I'll stick to telling myself that love spelled backwards is evol, and Shakespeare said it best when he wrote, "Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous; and it pricks like thorn."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Una Propuesta Formal para la Anexión de un Día Llamado "Donday"

"A Formal Proposal for the Annexation of a Day Called 'Donday'"

Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of the seven-day-week, or at least I used to be. In theory, the-seven-days had everything that one needed. A dreaded Monday, where everyone is excused for being grouchy and fatigued. A Tuesday, which usually is a bit better than a Monday, so most people call it a success. A Wednesday, which is a nice hump-day. A Thursday, which incorporates the best TV show night, so, enough said. A Friday, which signifies the end of the work week and is a little celebration all in itself. A Saturday (which used to be my favorite day), as you could sleep in, and spend the rest of the day not worrying about the following day's events, as you would usually have that day off as well. And finally, Sunday, which (please excuse my limited and hopefully inoffensive definition), is a day for rest, given to us by our gracious Lord.

To many, the seven-day-week is manageable. Insofar as you are a person who has a five-day-work-week, or a five-day-school-week. Yet, I must admit, with our glorious nation's love for capitalism, companies have challenged this five-day-work-week in efforts to maximize profits and feed off every last individual who happens to have a day off. Retail, Restaurant, and realistically any service-industry company have now opened their doors (count it!) seven days a week. And what does this mean for the public? No. More. Days. Off.

To me, I can recall fondly the days that I spent working for GM. I worked Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and respectively had Saturday and Sunday off, my little vacation time. Having attended school during this period as well, my five-day-week was considerably crammed from sun-up to sun-down with appointments. Yet, I would spend my days dreaming about what the weekend had in-store for me. These two days were much needed to soothe the hardships that I had to endure all week. The weekends were my tranquility. I would spend them, more often than not, doing absolutely nothing. I would sit, and read, or watch movies, or, dare I even say it, go out with my friends. The weekends would recharge my delicate little mind with its tranquil environment enough to give me the strength to go out and conquer the world come Monday.

And then I got a job in retail.

Having to work in the service-sector is not very enjoyable. The work is easy, mindless even, and I get to spend the entire time just talking to people, and yes, shopping for them. To any like-minded female in their early twenties who is finishing up college, this is an ideal job. And yes, I would have to agree. They work around your schedules and, yes, at first I was excited, have weekend hours. I was very enthusiastic about this find, as I was going to school most days and needed the extra hours on the weekends. However, as I look around me today, I see the poor American struggling to be stress-free.

In my humble opinion, Americans work too damn hard. Other countries such as Spain have siestas, which is a nap taken in early afternoon. In Serbia and Slovenia, especially among older citizens, it is common to observe the so-called "house rule," requiring people to refrain from telephoning or visiting each other between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., as people are supposed to be resting. Afternoon sleep is also a common habit in China and Taiwan after the midday meal. This is called "wujiao (午覺)" in Chinese. Almost all schools in Mainland China and Taiwan have a half-hour nap period right after lunch. This is a time when all lights are out and one is not allowed to do anything other than rest or sleep. Some Japanese offices have special rooms known as napping rooms for their workers to take a nap during lunch break or after overtime work. In Islam, it is encouraged to take a nap between Dhuhr (midday) and Asr (afternoon) prayers. What do American's have? Cat naps, and only if you're a stay-at-home parent, because lets face it, we don't have whole offices for sleeping. If we do, please let me know, and I will go work for them.

I digress. The average person spends 43 hours at work a week. 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help. An average of 20 workers are murdered each week in the U. S. making homicide the second highest cause of workplace deaths and the leading one for females. Consequently, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and what do you think the leading cause of heart disease is? Stress.

And there you have it, work is stressful, stress causes death. People in America need to calm the fuck down and take a breather. We work longer, harder hours to gain wages to pay for bigger and more expensive houses. Literally 90% or more Americans are living above their means. Everything is credit and floating around in this fictitious universe. And for what?

This is why I propose what I like to call, Donday, which will conveniently slide right in between Sunday and Monday. Since Saturday and Sunday have both been invaded by the mean, angry, soul-crushing, capitalistic punks, this day is for the feeble, lonely, voiceless Democrat to take back what was formally his; a day off without slaving to The Man. On this very lovely day, nothing, and I mean nothing will be open. The local CVS's will close (oh my goodness, how will I ever buy my greeting cards and shampoo?!), the retail stores will shut down (no doorbusters people, sorry!), gas stations and liquor stores will turn out their lights and shut down their pipes, and, yes, heavens forbid, Meijer employees will not have to work that day, either. TV stations and radio programs will cease to broadcast, and the internet will, dare I say it, turn off.

On this endearing day, one will simply have to be. I say be instead of live because I feel that, in America, one lives by working, doing things for others, vacations, etc.. On this day, this wonderful Donday, one will simply be. One will exist and feel the presence of themselves. They can sit outside and enjoy the luscious gardens or green grass that is usually such a hassle to them. They can sit and read a book all day. One can run and bike ride and fly a kite in the park. One can walk their dog around the city. People can sit, while making their own coffee, and discuss politics or literature or philosophy. One can study or brush up on something that they've put off. Paint a picture, learn a language, play with their children, teach their children, make babies, pray, write, and lay longingly looking up at the clouds pass.

This is not laziness, people. This is a necessity. We need this day to relieve our stress levels and give our Prozac and Xanax a rest. We need this day to give a giant middle-finger to America's wealthiest as they sit on their asses all day, everyday. Here's to a dream in which everyone, I don't care if you're red, purple, yellow, black, green, blue, or white, will have their own day to recharge which will never, and I mean never, be overtaken by McDonald's wanting to sell people $1 cheeseburgers, forcing the rest of us unruly souls to slave away while they make a killing.

This is but my humble opinion, so I challenge you to consider how much you would benefit from a Donday.

Oh yeah, and if we switched up the weeks, and added more days to the year, maybe the time-space-continuum would fluctuate and we all wouldn't implode in two years. Just a thought.