Making Noise

The day before yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. I spent most of the day seeing, and then ignoring, related posts of people remembering where they were that day, what they were doing, who they lost. It has become a yearly thing now. I said I was ignoring the posts after a while, not due to a sense of annoyance or to diminish people’s grief – the thing is that so many countries experienced so many such tragedies over time, that highlighting only one of them starts to feel kind of obnoxious after a while.

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Let me explain – yes 9/11 was monstrous. It was mostly monstrous not because people died (though that was awful of course) but because it was a willful act of hate and destruction, aimed at one country, but resonating throughout humanity. Unfortunately, throughout human history, there have been many others like it, such as the Holocaust, the repeated terrorist attacks in France, the terrorist attacks in the UK, in Brussels, and in many other places, many of which left people dead and injured, not just physically, but also emotionally and physically. They left whole countries scarred, a whole people in fear and loathing for their fellow man. 

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All of these events were serious and should not be forgotten. Ever. And yet, it seems like no matter how many atrocities take place, no matter how much humanity is shown the cruel face of its darkest side, no matter how many times we stumble, we get up again, brush our knees from the dust and the blood, and move on again towards the light. Or we try to anyways.

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Thing is, sometimes it seems to me as though the 9/11 tragedy is given much more prominence than all the others. Why? Is it more important? Is that because it happened in the US? Because it was the sign of something which the other tragedies lack? Because we felt it more? Or is it… because the US simply made more of a fuss about it? I say this in a good way, because such tragedies SHOULD be made a fuss of. No, we should not remain silent and take it. We should not forget or let ‘bygones be bygones’. So, why are some tragedies less talked about than others?

In this world, no one stands up and listens to you unless you make yourself heard. No one will take their time to pay attention to you unless you attract their attention and tell them that you have something important to communicate. No one will take notice, if you don’t make noise, if you don’t scream, yell, cry, shriek, and make a ruckus. No one will give something importance, if you yourself don’t show that it is important to you.

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And so, yes, write, talk, scream, make a fuss, throw a tantrum. Some things are worth making a scene about.

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Living in Fear – Terrorism and Death

Political and economic turmoil have led to a number of issues with possible reverberations throughout the globe. Apart from this, during the past few years, the percentage of terrorist attacks and unrest in the streets all over Europe has also increased dramatically. Some people have elected to chuck their passport at the bottom of a drawer and resign themselves to never travel outside of their own country again. Others read the news assiduously in order to try and find some pattern or conspiracy theory whereby certain countries are deemed 100% safe from such attacks, during certain months or periods of the year.

I personally refuse to be intimidated.

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Yes, one must obviously take precautions, both in the streets and abroad. In fact, one must be careful not to squander away one’s life, or the life belonging to others, no matter what the context. Every child knows that, and it’s plain survival instinct. That doesn’t mean that we have to stop living. It certainly doesn’t mean that we have to construct a self-imposed cage for us to cower in, beset with fears of all types, instead of being free to live our lives as we choose.

Accidents can take place anywhere and at any time – in the home, while at school, at work, or on a bus. So can episodes of violence we have no control over, or even natural disasters. We could get sick, fall down the stairs, be the victim of an earthquake. Such is the frailty of human life, which, as we all know, is finite. Our days, in a word, are numbered, which is why it’s so important to enjoy and make the most of each and every one of them.

We could, keep ourselves hostage.

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Would it really be worth it? It’s one thing to be cautious, and quite another to let the fear of the unknown transform us into shivering pieces of fluff.

Of course there are bad people in this world, just as there is violence, and you can come across these issues everywhere. The point is not to transform terror into the focal point of your life. Don’t let anyone dictate how you should live, think or feel. Be independent, be self-assured, be happy and friendly with those you meet, travel the globe and enjoy yourself.

This is an abridged version of an article I wrote, which was published on the magazine EVE.COM.MT. For the full article, please go to http://www.eve.com.mt/2016/12/31/why-we-shouldnt-live-in-fear/ 

My Secret Fear

Are you afraid of old age?

Ever since I can remember, it was not the thought of death which really terrified me, but of actually growing old. The thought of not having complete control of my body, and not being able to function in a self-sufficient manner, has always been a nightmare. I hate depending on others and being a burden, and the knowledge and certainty that someday, this time will arrive (if I do not die young that is), has always terrified me.

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When I was nineteen, my grandfather, who was a writer, a poet, and a very intelligent man and whom I loved very much – had a stroke. He ended up in a wheel-chair, was not able to move the left side of his body at all, suffered from incontinence, and had to be lugged about, washed, cleaned, and taken care of by his two middle aged children and their spouses in order to survive. Day and night. Every day. For years. He begged us to let him end it. Twice, my mother found he had dragged his wheelchair to the window and was trying, ineffectually, to jump. Since assisted suicide is illegal in Malta, and since we didn’t want to let him go, we aborted his attempts. He suffered immensely for two years. And then, he had another stroke. A worse one, which caused him to actually forget who we were. I don’t even want to go into the agony I felt when my grandpa, who had been so independent, witty, and wise, who had survived the war and taught me to love books, reading and knowledge – didn’t even know who I was.

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Anyways, after four and a half years of terrible pain, my grandpa died. I know that for him, this was a relief.

My grandma, his wife, is currently over 80 years old. She suffers from severe arthritis, can hardly walk, is almost deaf, and blind from one eye due to a botched cataract operation. She is lonely and misses my grandpa a lot. All she does is cry, swallow her pills (she has many of those), and pray. I love my grandma, but I know she is waiting for death. And that terrifies me.

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It terrifies me because when I look at her, I see myself, as I will be, in some fifty or so years. It seems far away now… but time is short and flies quickly… and someday, that part of my life will arrive…

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It does not bear thinking about…

 

Rant: The SALOTT and Sticks in the Mud

So, yesterday (or more accurately, this morning actually) at around 12.30am, I was right on the verge of sleep, cuddled cozily with my better half in the silent darkness – when suddenly I heard a huge enormous peal of thunder. Or so I thought. Only, the thunder did not stop. It just went on and on and on, rising in volume, until I could almost feel the earth vibrate. Yes, vibrate – even though I was in bed not on the floor, and even though we live in an elevated maisonette with another one beneath us.

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Finally, after like half a minute (which believe me is quite long when you’re listening to what you believe might be either an explosion or an actual earthquake), it stopped. My bf was asleep and, ubelievably enough, had not stirred.

I immediately logged onto social media. I was sure someone would comment on it. AND I WAS RIGHT. A relative tornado of queries, panicked comments and questions suddenly appeared on ‘The Salott‘, a popular local Maltese page on Facebook where people debate present issues, talk about general subject, and moan and groan in general… yea I know… I actually keep logging as a member for the entertainment value these intellectually challenged people provide, but anyways – THIS time, it kinda comforted me to realize that I was not the only one feeling astonished at this amazing booming cracking sound coming on at 12.30am. They heard it in many different places around Malta, and that was quite strange too.

Now what non-locals have got to realize is that in Malta, we have a long tradition of amateur and not-so-amateur firework-making establishments exploding, literally, in flames. There was a period some few years ago when it seemed like there was such an unfortunate accident every two or three months – so naturally, I started to think that maybe something like that had happened. 

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More and more people started saying that it was just thunder, though strange thunder at that. Thunder without any storm, clouds, or inclement weather around, but still thunder. In other words, nothing to write home about they said. Storm in a teacup (excuse my pun). Just a lot of ado about nothing. ‘Why all this fuss?’ they asked us peeps who were concerned, ‘it’s 12.30am in the morning, why don’t you go to sleep now? Don’t you have anything better to do?’

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Nice, so here we, the worried peeps, are – thinking someone might actually be hurt and that something bad might have happened (what with all the terrorism and stuff happening around the world lately), and you’re laughing at us coz we actually give a shit?

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Is this the kind of attitude that’s ‘cool’ nowadays? I don’t know – is being concerned tantamount to being a stick in the mud now? Yes, it may just have been thunder, but for a moment there, no one was sure – and it might actually NOT have been thunder. What if it had been an emergency situation? Anyways, nice attitude pals… *NOT*!

Between Happiness and Doom

I’m not going to write paragraphs and paragraphs about how sorry I am that I haven’t written in ages. To be honest, I am not sorry. This is because, literally, I was too busy living to write during the last couple of months. To sum it all up:

  1. Me and my bf bought a new house.
  2. We re-painted said house, re-arranged the electricity and plumbing. Fought with said plumbers and electricians over issues, problems, mismanagement and parts to be bought and exchanged.
  3. We bought furniture, fought with furniture stores when the orders did not turn up, ran after stores when furniture turned up with missing parts, arranged the furniture to our liking.
  4. We spent money and wailed about it.
  5. Finally we packed all our stuff and moved in, discovering more problems as we went along.
  6. After all this, breathless and wrung-out, we went on a ten-day holiday trip to Wales (which was splendid btw) BUT
  7. Left us completely tired-out again. After which we
  8. Re-started chasing more stores about more furniture… realizing that for the next year or so, this would be an ongoing thing… *sigh*

And more or less, that’s it.

Much more ‘more’ than ‘less’ really lol.

Anyways, totally went off writing for a bit. Strange as that may sound. I was to tired. Too colourless. Too weak. Etc.

So here we are. I promised not to write paragraphs about why I haven’t written lately, and yet I did. Kind of. Hehe.

BUT when I find myself cozily sipping some tea on my new L-shaped sofa in front of our new 55″ screen TV, watching ‘Downton Abbey’ while my one and only hugs and tugs at me playfully (and no I’m not talking about my dog here lol), seriously, I ask myself, ‘Could it get any better?’ And the answer is totally NO, it can’t.

I just hope nothing happens to spoil this. I’m finally happy, blissfully and exceptionally so. And in that moment of realization, a tiny kernel of terror always spirals in my stomach, telling me that once everything is perfect, the only direction one can go is down, and that it won’t last.

Is it my emotional scars tugging at me once more? Or just, a feeling propheticizing some immentionable doom? Thing is, if I continue to be afraid that I will loose this, I will never really enjoy it. Never savour the moment. Never fully taste my dreams coming true. I try to let it go.

And yet, I can’t.

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PANIC – Lovers’ Day!!

So, last week i WOKE UP TO THE REALIZATION THAT IT’S VALENTINE’S SOON!

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And I must be honest – I panicked.

After having spent so much time and money over my Xmas presents, and then finally being able to say that they were all distributed and received and that that it was over… I remember THIS.

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Does it ever end? Why do we human beings need to give gifts to show someone we care?

Happily for me, in the 21st century there exists that most awesome and fabulously helpful of things – INTERNET, where one can browse and shop at leisure without having to waste a day in order to catch the bus (I don’t have a car) and visit a million and one ‘likely’ shops before actually deciding on something. I spent an hour or two on google, and voila! Problem solved!

Phew!

That being said, at least I had already solved the ‘where to go’ issue since we booked a trip to France for Valentine’s, months ago.

By the way, I wrote an article about this Valentine’s Day issue too 😀

Here it is – http://www.eve.com.mt/2015/01/20/where-to-go-for-valentines-day/

Hope you like it!

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Night-time in the realm of the Damned

This morning I woke up in a cold harsh world after a night plagued with nightmares. Again, I froze in terror while someone who hated me tried to choke the life out of me, again I shouted at someone whom I absolutely despise, screeching for some shred of justice, again and again I woke up alone in the darkness. Unloved, and feeling as though the whole world didn’t want me to exist.

This morning I went to work with a heart heavy with dread and loneliness. I looked up at the bloodied clouds, testament to a powerful and cruel sun. I looked down at the sea – a sea gone as scarlet as the lips of a cruel woman smiling in derision, reflecting the turmoil splashed above it. I walked into a square block of concrete filled with people who did not want to be there, people I do not know, people I am not interested in.

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Yet, all it took was a cup of coffee with a friend. An hour where I could laugh and talk and vent, knowing that the other person was interested and wanted to help. Realizing how much I worried, and that I needed to let it all flow. Let it all go. Leave it all behind me.

Somehow.

I smile now, trying to pick up the shards of this broken mirror, even though I know that tonight, I will have to fall asleep again.

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