What are you, silly school girl?
The mirror is not wide enough
To see all of your pride.
Your ego splashes over.
What a funny aura you have!
Unaware of your silliness.
When will you wake up from your deep sleep, vanity?
Silly little school girl,
Hanging on childhood dreams.
Eating an animal,
That breathes the same air as you,
And telling yourself it isn’t you.
But oh, Vanity -
You ARE the animal.
We all do that.
The ignorance, the foolishness, the hubris.
A kind of sickness,
Kept only to the worst of kinds.
Fado is my church
My religious experience,
Some see their gods in myths,
In holy books,
I see mine in Fado.
It is the heart and soul of the journey.
It is the destiny, the calling, the meaning.
It is the search for meaning,
The seeking, the yearning, the longing.
Fado is my church.
I consider myself a traveler, a citizen of the world, one that belongs everywhere and nowhere.
I don’t know whether it is my DNA picking up on years and years (hundreds? THOUSANDS?) living in the diaspora in different parts of the world, or whether it is something in my nature that always was just THERE, knowing that I am part of a big world, and that all boundaries are meaningless. I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. Boundaries ARE meaningless, and even though cultures and specific difference add value and distinction and richness to our lives - separation of any kind leads to hate, suffering, wars and so on.
Historians, activists, thinkers and politicians smarter than me have talked about finding the balance between a global one-ness world, and the recognition of uniqueness between nations. The European experiment in many ways is promising in achieving that desired balance, but there is so much more needed to do on that front.
Living in the US for nearly twenty years - I have almost normalized the mentality that many Americans have of not traveling overseas but rather traveling within the country. Many Americans don’t even have passports to travel overseas. Over the years, I have garnered some understanding to some Americans’ desire to visit their own vast beautiful country, BEFORE visiting other places, but a part of me feels so disappointed of that mindset:
If we are one - and we ARE, one race, one specie, one world - then the world is ours to see as well, no? Not only the backyard. And I think... how easy it is to miss on so much, and to be culturally limited when NOT being exposed to other cultures.
It’s a loss of possibility. A loss of connection. A loss of community.
Our world does so much to protect ignorance.
I’d like to be an advocate of knowledge, of understating, of empathy and connection.
Travel, education, and the arts are the best ways I know how those can be achieved.
When I look at my passport - it is filled with stamps. Every stamp is a step towards living as a citizen of the world. Every stamp is an openness to possibility, for connection, for richness of identity. What does YOUR passport look like? Is it full of open pages...? Take the invitation, fill those pages with possibilities. Fill it with the world.
The sounds of Alfama aren't cars, they're CLAPS.
See, every night, Alfama's restaurants and bars feature fadistas; singers who sing fado music live. They sing outside in the courtyards, to the diners AND the passers by, and their voices carry through the windows and the back alleys and behind the churches and the tiled lines walls of beautiful Alfama... Their voices carry through to me in my little airbnb overlooking a basilica. And with the voices, the sounds of claps echo loudly from a distance. What beautiful sounds to fall asleep with: Sounds of appreciation! Sounds of human connection! Sounds of joy! Sounds of Art meeting an audience.
Have YOU ever really listened to the sound of a clap?
It deserve some.... clapping. ;)
Bring me a map
And I'll show you the world
It is hanging by a thread
But still a marvel - this superworld.
And all the little people
Little do they know
How lucky they are
To be performers in this epic show.
You and I will marvel
At their vanity and pride
At their misery and joy
When they laugh, when they cry.
And then we would know
We'd been looking at a mirror
A marvelous full of mischief one
That reveals us what we are
And conceals us why we are
It is a mirror to our pain
And a mirror to our growth
From birth 'till death
It has been a mirror to us both.
So bring me a map
And we'll see it's nothing but an illusion
One that doesn't show any path
And only leads to much confusion
A mirror is a sharp and finite tool, you see
It's made of glass, it's breakeable
Much like you and me.
So we better find a crack in it and widen the tear
And then you and I will finally breathe some marvelous air.
Oh, hello there you elusive thing.
What are you?!?
You come and go. You show up unexpectedly, in times I LEAST expect you, and you NEVER show up other times. I reach for you but you turn your back at me, refusing to show.
We have an inconsistent relationship, you and I. Sigh...
I sometimes dig you, and wear you comfortably and gracefully, and sometimes when others beg for me to wear you - I toss you out with the dirty clothes, the ones I leave behind for months. I guess at times I am just not ready for you.
See, you are like stiletto heels: I know I'll look good with them - everybody looks great with them - but the pain and blisters on my feet make them such a bummer! You are like stilletos, my dear Forgiveness. Easy on the eyes, desired to the soul, but boy are you painful to actually walk in.
Dear Forgiveness, don't be discouraged by my words...
Everybody adores you, heck - many PRAY for you, but for me... I don't know... sometimes I prefer my flat dirty ole' sneakers, you know? They may not look so good but they FEEL good. Grudges feel good. Resentment feels good. Lingering Anger feels good. But you, Forgiveness? You are tough to chew on, hard to slip on and oh so darn elusive.
I hope you aren't hurt by my words.
But if you are...well, um, may I ask for your forgiveness....?
Hello? You there?
~Your on & off BFF
I have nothing.
I have no thing.
No thing is every thing.
Every thing is no thing
Every nothing is something
Some think they have things
But what are things?
They are nothing.
And nothing = everything.
I have everything.
Lady Gilda was sitting on a bench overlooking Central Park. It was by 57th street and Park Ave. On her right she could see the city types walking up and down the avenue, hailing taxis, rushing to make their millions, and on the left she'd see the park at a distance; a row of trees that have been there long before Lady Gilda was even alive. She named the trees Monroe, Sinatra and Holiday and she'd greet them every morning. Even in the snowy days, when New York's finest would shiver back at their tiny apartments, Lady Gilda would brave the freeze and make her way down the block and to her favorite bench. It was always vacant, waiting for her to occupy it. It was hers and it knew it well.
One cold morning, Lady Gilda arrived at the bench, and noticed Park officials were hovering around the ole' Holiday tree. It was white color and yet it wasn't snow season yet. 'Must be some fungus.' She thought to herself and she was right. A week later, Holiday was chopped down, leaving Monroe and Sinatra trailing behind. The thing about fungus in the forest - is that much like a virus for humans, the spread spreads like a California wildfire.
And so fast forward a few weeks later, and Lady Gilda was looking at the empty shells that were once Monroe, Sinatra and Holiday. Her heart burned like a California wildfire, but she kept coming to the bench to greet those trees, even when they were no longer there. Because like those trees, she had no children. No one to remember her once she would be gone. The bench was all she had. One day she came by and a park ranger was waiting by the bench with a big New York smile. 'Surprise.' He said, and presented a new addition to the bench: an arm rest made from pieces from the ole' three trees. So Lady Gilda could rest her arm on her beloved three, while looking at their empty spaces.
And so she did. She came to the bench day after day until her very last day. Resting her arm, and resting her eyes.
And if you pass by a bench near 57th street and park, look for the carving M, S & H, and send a little greeting to Lady Gilda. Because her memory is always there, even if SHE is not.
This word could be not only Word Of The Day, it could be Word Of The Year! Or Word of The Last Year And A Half!
*Make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify.
*Become adjusted to new conditions.
*Alter (a text) to make it suitable for filming, broadcasting, or the stage.
Personally, I always felt that adapting is a huge part of my life. I mean - isn't it one of the biggest lessons we learn and keep learning throughout our lives?!?
And on a societal level, a group level... adapting is also huge, if not even HUGER.
Over my last month in Europe, I got to see how Europeans have adapted to living with Covid 19 and letting life continue on while maintaining safety protocols.
I actually felt safe AND free roaming the streets of Europe knowing everybody wears masks indoors and in close quarters and most of society around me was vaccinated. Seeing hand sanitizers in every corner and entry put a smile on my face, and being asked to show proof of vaccine made me proud to flash my shiny vaccination card.
Meanwhile in the US, the culture of Freedom meets Ego had spiraled into being a fairly toxic environment to be in during the Covid crisis. It's almost as if America is in a toxic relationship with ITSELF, while some of the other developed countries (Like European countries) have learned to ADAPT and are slowly yet surely getting out of the Covid funk.
The biggest Hubris is thinking we have any control at all.
We don't. All we have at our survival backpack is our ability to adapt, to endure, and to see the light in the darkness.
I opened the door and there she was:
Her ears perked up, eyes open wide, posture that shows she was once an Egyptian goddess. She let out a little Meow and I melted instantly.
I reached over and lifted her in my arms, kissing her fur until my lips turned into Chewbacca. She purred like she hadn't seen me in a month, because she hadn't seen me in a month, and she looked into my eyes for a long minute, as if she was saying "I missed you, mommy." Guilt took over me as if I was an actual mom and my eyes said "I'm sorry" to her. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Cat people are strange. I thought to myself, and felt proud to be among them strange ones. "Cat people are strange and I fucking love them. To hell with the haters, the ones who don't get cats, the ones that are afraid of cats, to hell with them all!" I said all this to my cat without saying a single word. And I swear - she understood it all. Just like the Egyptian goddess that she once was. She understood and purred away like she was a loud fan in the seventies. Like she was a propeller of a Cessna plane. Like she was eager to say "I love you too."
And there I was. Home. Home at last. Home with my cat.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman