Thursday, January 19, 2017

"They Are Very Terrible, Sir. Our Troops Have Broken Before Them"

DUNCAN
What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.
MALCOLM
This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.
Sergeant
As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
No sooner justice had with valour arm'd
Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage,
With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men
Began a fresh assault.
DUNCAN
Dismay'd not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
Sergeant
Yes;
As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorise another Golgotha,
I cannot tell.
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.
From Macbeth, Act I Scene II, by William Shakespeare

The callousness of this passage and the overflowing of praise for our villain-protagonist has never ceased amuse me. It would appear that Jonathan Stroud shares my feelings.


Great concussions in the city; half the suburbs were now alight. A small imp came bowling over the parapet at the end of the terrace, its tail aflame. It skidded to a halt beside us. 

“Permission to report, sir. A number of savage afrits are fighting their way up to the castle. The charge is led by Honorius and Patterknife, Gladstone’s personal servants. They are very terrible, sir. Our troops have broken before them.” 

It paused, looked at its smouldering tail. “Permission to find water, sir?”

From The Golem's Eye, Bartimaeus Trilogy #2 by Jonathan Stroud.

Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mermaid


I try hard not to read my first posts on this blog - but they're still better than the ones that came in the middle, and the ones that continue to turn up.

There's also the fact that reading my first posts always leaves me with an irrepressible urge 2 tok lyk dis and use "lol" as punctuation.

There was a couple at my boarding school. I used to believe they were the only "real" relationship in the area. That is to say, I used to believe they were the only ones who ever made out.

Boy was I wrong.

I always thought those two were progressive and stuff. It took me ages to realize I couldn't be more wrong. For some reason, their "indiscretions" had the opposite effect. It closed them off. Narrowed their minds.

Sad, huh?

This sort of thing happens a lot, to be honest.

***

To leave behind childish things.. To feel, as it were, that actions from a year ago belong to someone else entirely.

I'm horrified, or I would be if I had any space for horror. Something's got to give. And soon, I hope.  

A Letter Filled With Evil


What a curious mix of things, things that can only be described as a story. People will believe anything you tell them in a story.

People now, for example. Even in my limited experience, the people I've met are so diverse, so defiant of generalization. One needs to dip across stereotypes for a simple pen portrait, let alone an entire life.

Despite my best efforts, they will do as they please. And how is that surprising, when, despite my best efforts, I too will do as I please.

You know, empathy can only take you so far. Advice can only take you so far. After that, well, we're all on our own. Some of us do well. Some of us stay afloat. And some of us continually drown.

I can't tell the difference though, between any of those categories as they apply to people.

Dear friend,
I can relate, but I also don't care. And I find you pathetic. I see in you the weakness I despised - and still do despise - in myself. I see in you someone that cannot be helped. I look at your grasping need, and I feel the slow fires of hatred. I wish your misery would end, only so I no longer have to look at it. 

Morbid, I know. It's where I am right now, frame of mind-wise. And, no, I don't know whether I'm writing to myself, or to someone else. I don't think it half matters.

Dear friend,
You both know, and also don't know, what it is you have to do. Dear friend, your mind is your greatest enemy. As far as I know, it's an enemy that cannot be defeated. Your mind, my mind... The mind holds all the cards. You, me, whoever we are, we have lost before we could begin.

I tried explaining it to my mother, but I don't think she got it. Because like all the rest of us, her mind is her greatest enemy.

And perhaps her greatest friend. Ignorance and forgetfulness are the twin keys to bliss, after all.

Dear friend, 
I'd wish you'd pick yourself up by the bootstraps. Dear friend, I know you can't, but I wish you wouldn't advertise it. You betray your weakness, you betray all our weakness. It's horrid and selfish, I know, but I wish you wouldn't advertise. I wish you wouldn't go where you're not wanted. I wish you wouldn't speak where you shouldn't. I wish I'd never met you, I wish I'd never known your stories. All your stories. 

The spiral of viciousness gets passed on without any particular direction in mind.

The one hurts the other. He hurts his brother. And then he in turn hurts another. And so it goes.

Until it stops at another. Until it stops at one who cannot quite escape the bounds of their goodness, one who will not pass the hurt on, but will hold on to it, let it destroy them.

Would that we could all be like her. The spiral would die before it was given life.

Dear friend.
I regret it. I regret it all. I'd take it all back, except I didn't even write more than half these stories. I merely heard them, merely suffered the echoes of them. 

Dear friend.
I wish you were but a memory, a faint and distant dream. 

Sherlock: The Final Problem of Human Mediocrity


Eurus Holmes
(Why does she look like Zoey Deschanel?)

The Sherlock series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman captured my imagination from the very start. It's not highbrow, certainly not. It's a series produced for mass appeal. And appeal to the masses it does.

Perhaps it's because I've been such a massive fan of Sherlock Holmes, since the first time I ever read the series. Twice I've read the complete works. The more popular stories have gotten countless re-reads.

It kind of helps that there's always so much going on in the show, that I rarely get time to socio-analyze it. Certainly, its treatment of its female characters is stupid. To be honest, outside of Mycroft, Watson and Sherlock, every character is treated as somewhat worthless. Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, the original character Molly Hooper, this particular incarnation of Mary Morstan, the strange case of Dominatrix Adler, even Moriarty. And now Eurus too.

I just read a review that complained that the show made it all about Sherlock. And that's okay. Because I find myself drawn, over and over again, to stories that tell of extraordinary intelligence.
And again and again, I find that these stories hopelessly get things wrong. Perhaps it's because the authors are like the rest of us, average human beings trying to imagine what it'd be like to be smarter than they are.

Mental illness seems to go hand in hand with superior intellect. Hannibal the Cannibal, anyone? Mona Vanderwaal? Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, the original Moriarty? It's a common trope. I wonder why. Perhaps we take comfort in the idea that our lack of intelligence is what roots our morality. That we should all be cunning and logical and cold, should we be more intelligent.

But why should that be? Why assume that a higher intellect amplifies only logic? Why equate logic with intelligence?

A higher intellect, one able to perceive a bigger picture, would perhaps believe in necessary justice - as we do. But I can conceive of no reason why empathy shouldn't be amplified alongside logic. I don't see why a more intelligent person shouldn't be more compassionate, not less.

It's plain stupid, equating logic to intelligence, when we as a race are just as incapable of comprehending empathy, as we are logic. We divide these qualities and gender them, elevating the one while patronizing the other. Such nonsense. We're neither logical nor empathetic. We're floundering, is what we are. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

In Horror, Always.

http://nlsquirks.in/on-feminism-and-forgiveness/

So there's this girl we don't like.

(No, she's not the author of the above post.)

And yes, there are lots of boys and girls we, as a friend circle, don't like.

But anyway, this girl. We don't like her coz she's pretentious and hangs out with pretentious people and says pretentious things. We don't like her coz she's friends with that other girl that we all had a huge fight with that one time.

I personally don't like her because I suspect anyone my age who likes the Beatles are faking something.

Petty, isn't it? I'm sure there was, at some point, a reason. We've all forgotten it, but the dislike remains.

But she's a feminist. She identifies as a feminist, and she writes the most lovely feminist articles. Her articles are on point. I've taken lessons away from reading them. I've remembered examples she's used, and used them in my head. To this day.

And the above article reminded me of her for reasons that would be obvious to anyone who Was There.

There was a time when I repeated that "he's always been nice to me" like I was a broken record. Today, of course, I hate that guy but that's besides the point. He never did do anything bad to me. I just grew up and saw him for who he is.

This girl, she was the first time I had to publicly face the fact that one of my friends was capable of gross sexual assault. The first time I had to take sides, and take sides I did. The eye witness accounts of a room full of people meant he couldn't be let off the hook, so I put it down to his being blacked out drunk.

I'd fallen asleep next to him, after all, and he'd never been less than perfectly brotherly. It was all good.

It was not all good.

I believed he wouldn't have done something like that had he been sober. The years proved me wrong. Over and over again.

This article spoke to me. It spoke to her as well. And I realised that much as I hate my former batchmates, there's no denying the collective experiences we share. We learned the same lessons, more or less, and we learned them at the same time. We all reacted differently to those experiences. There are those among us who will still hang out with people we know are guilty of horrible things. Even those that will defend those people.

But the things that happened, happened to all of us. Later in time, I too faced the same sorts of things. (Sort of). She didn't come to my rescue any more than I did to hers. We were never friends, after all.

But I cannot - and should not - dismiss these people as somebodies I used to know. As irrelevant to my life. Cause they're not.

Each and every one of them, the good ones and the bad, the girls and the boys, they were pivotal in a learning experience that reached far beyond the classroom.

And while we had the privilege of facing these things together, I at least, and those around me now, we face them alone. Each experience an individual one, somebody else's problem. I will smile and joke with my slut shaming, assault burying supervisor. Even though I know what she did, because I wasn't here when it happened.

Anything that happens to any of my colleagues happens to them and them alone. I can no longer step in. Back there, the lines could have been drawn black and white, but we all failed to do so. And now, here, the lines are gone. Washed away. Nobody cares, and it was probably your fault anyway.

What a thing life is. It takes my breath away.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

At The Very Thought

Every single month, I get my periods and go like, what is this horror? How could I possibly have lived through it before? Even though it's only been 28 days.

Only 28? How can that be???

*Runs off wailing into the distance*

Or rather I would, if I were capable of actually getting up from here.

Planet Bizarre

It's next to impossible to describe what it feels like right now, to be awake and exhausted and like the bottom half of my body is currently living on Planet Pain. But caring for my body today means not caring for my mind, and vice versa. This is a big house, and it's just me in here and if my parents came in right now they'd start yelling at me for how messy the place is.

Never mind that neither of them have ever done what I'm doing right now (or more accurately, what I'm failing to do right now.) Neither has simultaneously handled the demands of a house and a job. They split it in the traditional manner. My mother did the house stuff - obsessively, I might add. My dad did the work stuff, and while he was good at it, he too had trouble going off to work at the right time some days.

Other people in my life pay people to come and cook and clean everyday. To me that's money I can't afford. That's another responsibility I won't be able to manage.

Everyday I face the same choices. Self care is a constant conflict of interest. Some days my mind and my body are on the same page, lined up against my career, my life. So many variables. So many things fighting for attention and care, and those things, they are all me.

Which is why I hate people who seem to not have these troubles. People whose minds and bodies are on the same page. People who have boundless energy. People who rely on their parents (read: mothers) for well cooked, healthy food that won't make them ill. People who can afford to eat out when their mothers aren't around.

People who can calibrate their minds to work at a certain pace. People who don't have debilitating cramps once a month to contend with.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go throw up some more.

New Year Resolution: Day 8

Two different kinds of stomach ache and sleep deprivation. If I can make it today I can make it any day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's Got Cats In It

*Desperately casts about for something nice to write.*

I have a new colouring book and it's awesome.