From one woman-child to another: A letter to my sweet 16

The_Dancer_by_complejoThe dancer, by complejo

Hi 16,

I’m not going to tell you what’s in store for us. We’ve never believed in future-telling (although it’s always fun to have our palms read – just because it feels so nice and tickly when people trace the lines on our hands) and we’ve never wanted to know what happens to us in the future. That doesn’t change with time, so I’ll respect that.

Let me tell you a little about myself though. Don’t worry – I won’t give too much away. I’ll be 25 in about 6 months and I’m freaking out about that a little. 25 is so old and scary and adult-sounding. I still feel like a kid metaphorically wearing shoes way too big for her.  I still have a lot of unanswered questions – sometimes I feel more 16 than almost-25. So while we’ve changed a lot, we still have a lot in common.

I know 16 was an age of swirling, engulfing insecurities so let me tell you a few things to maybe ease the teen angst a little:

Don’t worry that your grades aren’t perfect. They’re good grades although they’ll never be as high as your siblings’. That’s ok though. You are a different person, although the people around you tend to forget that a little sometimes. Don’t you forget ok? Continue reading From one woman-child to another: A letter to my sweet 16

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Understanding Horror

guernicaGuernica, Pablo Picasso

I’ve tried to understand this war, and failed.

It’s made me feel rather stupid – this inability to wrap my head around 30 years of horror, why it all started and who is to blame. Everyone seems to talk about it with such ease – like it’s the simplest thing to understand. As if it’s effortless to take one particular view and stick to it. I listen to the sophisticated talk of politicians, of family, of friends and marvel at the sureness of their convictions with frustrated envy.

It could be my limited understanding of politics and history that’s to blame. I have tried to remedy this over the past year or so, and despite accusations to the contrary, I hope I am making some headway. The more I learn, though, the more that yawning chasm of untapped knowledge stretches. I wonder if I will ever conquer it. And if I do, I wonder what that will mean.

Because, when you think about it, is there any such thing as understandingthe war? Is there any way to rationalize what happened? Every gun shot, every limb torn away, every life snuffed out, every radicalized mind, every spirit shattered – how can we justify those things? How can we say, “it had to happen”? How can we blame it on a few people, sit back and feel better about ourselves? Continue reading Understanding Horror