Community

Ever since I was a kid, I knew there was something different about me. And ever since I was a kid, I always brushed it off. The epiphany of a morning when I found out the tag in me, it struck me as odd. It was like waking up and realizing you have green eyes or small toes. It sounds like a weird comparison, but that’s what it frankly felt like. It’s always somehow been there, yet never prominent nor labeled, but always an eerie presence. Announcing that to the world is tiring, and heartbreaking, and unnecessary. Honestly, there’s so much about coming out that is deeply superfluous. For example, I found it rather bizarre that immediately after you discover, come to terms with, or come out, you have to team up with team small toes to be at level with team big toes.

-You have a penis?

-Omg me too!

-You like penises?

-Omg me too!

It’s a community, sure, but it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be. This does not define me and I may have nothing in common with these people who I now call brothers or sisters or siblings. But the way things are now, with the way we’re treated, certain shared experiences cause a sort of familiarity with members of this ‘community’.

And as empowering as unity is, the need for unity is a depressing reality.

See, growing up, it was both I and my parents who, well, grew up. They became gradually more liberal and consequently proud of themselves for it. A certain pride (I, at least, saw it as pride) came over them, causing them to gradually dissociate or, shall I say internalize (for lack of a better word), other or new values, beliefs, views or stands. And really the more they grew, the more they ceased growing. By this time, the world had stopped being black or white to them. But when I became a teen and had to face my coming out…I realized a part of their world was still pink and blue. And no matter how much I preach that this did not hinder my growth, it did.

Perhaps, despite my discomfort with such an instilled sense of community prevalent in most struggling or once struggling lgbtq+ individuals, it remains a part of my identity. Because if something chained you to the ground for so long, when you free yourself from the shackles that it caused as a reaction, it will stay and it will never be the same. So don’t tell me to not rub my “gayness” in your face when I’m proud of overcoming what’s banned me from jobs and school, connections, social stances, what’s caused my father to scream and be ashamed of me in family meetings and my mother pick away all which hinted who I was and bedew what was expected. Never, ever expect me to be coy or not make you feel uncomfortable with my active seek of equality because the more I get what I deserve, the less you and I speak of it. Or when we do speak of it, it will not be as delicate a topic; I hope my rights won’t offend you when they’re approved by the state. So when all of the times I tried to reach a milestone in my life, I was met with ridicule because I felt strongly about my gender identity, when all the times I picked flowers at sunset instead of being with the guys playing soccer, sat a wrong way, spoke a wrong way, dressed a wrong way, I was met with ridicule and disapproval, I will never shut up about it. I will internalize my gender identity, I will internalize the state of being who I am because of all the times I’ve been stepped on because of a wrong turn I took in an invisible (to me) fork.

Perhaps you never had to internalize any of this and I am very jealous of that. But never, ever ask why there’s no straight pride parades or anything similar because being a minority, I am always considered less than human to the point I’m more gay than human, more transgender than human. Because each and every single time I got closer to the person I am or want to be, this is what held me back. And maybe because being like this is a part of who I am because of people like you, you can bet your privileged ass that you’ll hear about people like me.

Random thoughts about identity #1

10442496_343658252508385_5691604037181917517_n

You know, I really feel like in modern times, a personality being both an end result of growth and a potential target of adulation/ridicule results in the process collapsing upon itself. When faced with conscious decisions regarding personality, many have settled and thus decided to conform, out of apathy, insecurity, and many more reasons. They’ve chosen to conform. What many people are not aware of, however, is that conformity does not derive from nor does it equal elimination. The molding of a trait (of one’s own personality) does not remove or replace it, it simply drowns it, in turn drowning you with it. This is where I get pseudo-philosophical instead of factual but bear with me! To receive praise (or the negative equivalent) on such a trait will not translate to approval (or the negative equivalent). It will not steer, aid nor allow your exposure to the world. Such manipulation of one’s persona will stunt one’s growth, hence a collapse ensuing, instead of an intertwining of growth and active, aware pursuit.At the end of the day, after all the voices will have been drowned, the one that’s left is the one that’s been pushed WAY down, the one you’ve turned a blind eye (deaf ear?) to. Conforming will not have eliminated the quirks and desires, aspirations and cries whose existence you deny. And the praise you receive on the human you pretend to be will never be approval. But maybe that’s a good thing.If your counterfeit persona was validated and peer-reviwed then you would clutch to its image and take it to your deathbed. But how can you die if you never really lived? Would you bring the relic of malaise to your funeral?

Kosova as a new country, abusive relationships and equal rights.

man-abusing-woman Prishtina, Kosova. Autumn 2015 Kosova is a new country in southeastern Europe. Not much special about it, Kosova used to be a part of Albania however it politically gained independence from Serbia on the 17th of February 2008. Quite tiny, partially recognized and in the center of the Balkan Peninsula it is mainly known as a war-torn country. Sure, we Kosovars hear visitors point out or complain of the damaged and inadequate roads, flickering electricity at times, corruption and don’t get me started on the staggering amounts of Kosovars and Albanians who migrate. One in four Kosovars live abroad and in two recent months alone, 50,000 Kosovars have migrated to Hungary through Serbia hoping for a  better tomorrow. Over 100,000 since August 2014. That’s a lot. However I, alike many other Kosovars and visitors galore will argue that our country’s beauty lies in the people. The kind and modest Kosovars, with the best and quite cheap I might add, macchiato in the world. The trustworthy nationality with the purest of respect for other cultures. The people whose entire tradition in built upon: “mirepritje” (welcoming) and “besa” (giving your word to someone) gives us a homely vibe, no? Ever since the war, cities other than Prishtina barely have any job openings, decent schools or decent…anything. It’s true that ever since then Kosova has witnessed a staggering amount of people moving to Prishtine after this war, in search of ways to make a living. In this new and scrawny country, do the citizens of this capital city live up to all it used to. Or has tradition been lost and the a new bubble-forming, hypocrite society emerged? In these following lines I’d like to expand on a particularly disturbing aspect of this. One day after some really mental weather it had finally calmed down and the small city was blatantly thrilled. The sky was crystal clear and the sun was out for the first time in weeks. As I sat in the bench between the  state university and public library I couldn’t help but grin in delight at the soaking rays of sunshine upon my skin. I was quietly reading my Edgar Allan Poe book which had my full concentration at the moment. My only worry at the time was who was behind the murder at the Rue Morgue. However before I could find out my attention was quickly seized by a young woman’s loud voice. I turned around to see a middle-aged man and a younger woman, possibly a student, having an argument. I decide to mind my own business. “Just another couple having one of those days” I think. But is it? No, that’s quickly scribbled out as a possibility. The argument transitions. They come closer to each other as they glind and clench their teeth. I try not to stare. He grabs her wrist, brings her closer and whispers something in her ear which makes her grow angry and flustered. She’s oozing seemingly built up anger and it’s quite obvious. He then proceeds to whisper another few lines and she slaps him immediately. “Maybe it’s not an abusive relationship” I think. “Maybe they just both have anger issues, I can’t make out that she’s a saint”. She then blurts out: “If we get a divorce my father will kill us both, are you crazy?!” He makes an imminent glare and slaps her twice. She starts to curl up in a standing up fetus position. Attempts to vomit but either stops herself or can’t. I quiver. He stands up and stares at her. Keeps it up for a couple of seconds. Then he leaves. Just like that. Walks away slowly. She wipes her tears and bites her tongue. As she sees him leave with his back turned she starts to follow. Like a fruit fly following a lightbulb. A horrible sight to behold. A man beside me starts to follow them to sort this out. He somehow convinces me to not call the police. He says they won’t take me seriously as a child but his voice will be heard. I understand that and put my phone back in my pocket. He dials the number and starts walking in their direction. While anyone, even an ignorant past me would think that this situation could be averted by the woman simply breaking up with the man. But most of us ‘s know it’s never that simple. Putting on my detective cap and applying my knowledge of stereotypical/traditional Albanian Kosovar families, my shrewd capabilities take me to but one conclusion. Fathers in traditional homes usually split their resources, land or whatever it is they have only amongst their sons. The daughters get nothing as they will marry someone and go live off his belongings. When the daughter does marry someone, likely someone with the same sexist mentality, she will, by default, be at her husband’s mercy. They’re not equal because everything belongs to him. Yes he could be nice and a total Prince Charming but what are the chances of that happening? She is lucky to have found someone who can support her so she can’t really leave at will unless she wants to end up homeless. So he can take her for granted all he wants, she’s not leaving. And there’s no boundaries as to what he can do to her. Nobody is there to stop him. And that is how abusive relationships start in Kosove. And very likely other underdeveloped countries. And that’s why we need feminism.