Feb 26, 2015

Will millennials ever amount to anything, really?




We are the millennials, the very misunderstood generation, that apparently doesn't amount to nothing, spends more time than necessary hooked to a mobile device and social media, and is incredibly self-centered and isolationist. 

Just like the younger sister/brother of the most successful kid in school, we're forced to compete each day with the image of those who came before us. In their mid and late twenties our parents already had a full time stable job, a house or apartment, children to raise, and were well integrated in their community. But so many of the millennials today in their late twenties are going back home to live with their parents, are still included in their parent's cell phone plan, are unemployed or switching from one temporary contract to another, and are just as flaky in their personal lives.

But don't blame us. We don't want to be this way. Biologically speaking in our late twenties, we do feel the need to create stable lives as well. The world has just changed and it's not the way it used to be. 

When it comes to relationships, it's not as in the cave era of our parents who didn't have as many options to find a mate so they had to just grab what they could get. With all the dating apps, and social media today, for those of us who would like to be in stable longterm relationships, it's not an easy task. Everyone's playing a spin dating game, and the notion of "settling" when there are so many other options on the menu, is plain silly for the people we so often get to meet, flirt with, date.

When it comes to work, it's not really our fault. With austerity measures, one economic crisis after the other, the job market is not what it used to be. Most of us have to pay student loans debts and we settle for less than lucrative jobs. Jobs can be exported to other countries for less money and no benefits, or can be given to increasingly older unpaid interns. The generations that came before us created this mess of an unregulated business world where corporations can play with humans as they please, but we're the ones to face the consequences. We're flaky?!

It's not for lack of ambition or for lack of trying that we are still running about trying to find our place in the world. The only solution is to change the world, but how can we, when we have debt to pay? It's quite a fantastic plan, slavery by debt. A student debt revolt has already begun in the US and we wonder whether that's going to solve anything. Should we all refuse to pay loans and work on meaningless jobs that make the world a worst place to live in, and crash and crush the nonsensical financial markets once and forever? The greediness and inability to plan longterm of the generations that came before us left our generation fighting for bread crumbs, as well as for breathable air. 

But we're the flaky ones... to them...

We want sustainability, environmental protection, elimination of debt, free education, job security, free health insurance, justice, regulation of the financial markets, banks and the corporate world, regulation of government spending, decreased wars, investment in clean energy, social responsibility. We are not flaky. We think ahead. We are the victims of those who came before us, and because of how generation after generation have sold their soul to capitalism, globalism, corporatocraticism, we're the ones who have to shovel the snow, and clear the air for ourselves and the generations to come.


"And they wonder why those of us in our 20s refuse to work an 80-hour week just so we can afford to buy their BMWs. Why we aren't interested in the counterculture they invented, as if we did not see them disembowel their revolution for a pair of running shoes. But the question remains: What are we going to do now? How can we repair all the damage we inherited? Fellow graduates, the answer is simple. The answer is..." 

I don't know, the answer is I don't know, we don't know.

It is increasingly said that this quote from Reality Bites, a movie that came out over two decades ago still stands today, and it is increasingly an even more bitter pill to swallow.

There's so much for us to do, and it's getting every day more important for us to actually do something. To actually find an answer to that question as the world gets increasingly more dangerous and radical, corporations behave more cruelly, politicians are increasingly more and more sold out, and inequality rises.

We in our 20s have lost the notion of revolution. We don't know how it's done. We don't know if it can be done. Was the Occupy movement even successful at all? Are the movements against racism, Ferguson, etc., today as powerful and effective as Martin Luther King's civil liberty movements? Did the Arab Spring actually even bring the change it wanted, or just freed place for more evil? Can we be effective in changing the world, when we don't have the guts to bring the glory? 

Maybe we need to be suffering more to understand the need for change. Maybe losing everything is what can shake us up and get us back to our senses. There's too much waste, too many meaningless wars, too much inequality, and too many decisions being made against us and the latest fashion, technology and reality tv cannot dissuade us from the revolution that needs to come. 

It is the responsibility of us millennials to fix the mess and do something about it. It is our responsibility to create a movement as powerful as those of the 1960s. 

Revolution is a tricky thing, because half of the people could die to save the other half, a head of a dragon can be sliced for three more heads to pop back up . The system is rotten because we are, and changing the world can't be done in the words of the Beatles with pictures of chairman Mao. "We all want to change the world", but to change the world we need to change our mindset. 

We millennials in our late 20s, early 30s, we need to really amount to something and put our actual anger into action, or else, in 2034, in a more dangerous, unequal, unsafe unsafe world, that Reality Bites quote will still stand. 

Feb 25, 2015

Luminous Uncertainty

Like mice running around in a maze, 
like actors performing a play word by word as it is written,
like liquids expanding perfectly within the shape of a cup,
we're all that predictable.

But once in a while, 
you say damn the universe, 
damn the man, damn the rules, 
and damn the turning wheels of fate. 

I decide. 
I'm in charge.
I have free will.

I won't become what the master welder shapes me forcibly into.

A quantum state,
fate to be written, 
mind still waiting to be set,
decisions yet not made.
Luminous uncertainty!

Feb 4, 2015

Facebook Couple Profiles and the Main Reasons Why We Should Absolutely Loathe Them


Disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental and the author takes no responsibility for hurt feelings, because it’s the job of the writer to personally make all of their family, friends and acquaintances hate the writer for being honest on paper about how weird they are, while a hypocrite just like everybody else in person. 


In 2012 Facebook launched something the merely thought of which makes me cringe to my bones which is called Couples Facebook Pages. In these pages couples can basically track their relationships and tell the world, look how freaking happy we are (cringe). Facebook people insist on sharing information that no one of their friends wants to read while they're pursuing the international procrastinating fun time.

Some keep sharing baby pictures to a nauseating extent. I’m not a baby hater, so I do like one baby picture or two of the spawn of the people I actually care about, but there are some crazos who apart from not understanding the dangers of publicizing your child too much on social media, love to annoy their friends to death with updates about their children’s lives every available second of the day. Your child went poopoo on the toilet? Why do I have to know about that? And for our sanity's sake, your child is not a model, so stop dressing them up like adults and asking me to like their Facebook baby photo contest pictures.

Then there’s those who constantly share the turned single to turned in a relationship, to turned single back again status. Please update us when you are actually sure you are in a relationship, not the first time you shtoopped they guy. I know people on Facebook who have their relationship status private, because how complicated one's love/sex life is, it's none of their friends business, unless it is to proclaim that the On Sale sign is now off for probably good, or for a long while.

And then there’s those who share incredibly depressing photos of people whose lives apparently will be saved if we like the photo. Dear friends, for the last freaking time, that’s a scam. I know you have a good heart but stop spamming my homepage with pictures of sad and sick children.

But nothing annoying aforementioned really compares to how much any of us should be loathing those annoying Facebook Couple Profiles. These couples aren’t satisfied with the idea of having a Facebook Page about their couplehood (because who is actually going to like that page) but they actually force their mutual friends to sit through the friending of an unidentified blob of an identity which is called The Couple. Not only do I really loathe these profiles and the mere knowledge that they exist out there, and in my list of friends, but I also care enough to write about it and insist on why should everybody else hate them too. I'm giving you three compelling reasons, so hear me out:

Who the hell am I talking too?

The main reason why we should all boycott these profiles is because it’s just too confusing. So you both share an email address and a password and sign in on this profile you share, but how am I to know who I am speaking too? I’d love to ask something to my friend, but then her boyfriend will read that message on the inbox later. When I am writing to you, when you are liking my pictures, when I’m inviting you to an event, which one of you guys am I actually reacting too? I have no idea…Stop confusing us with this lack of concise identity and get your own separate profile.


I really don’t want to be FBFs with your fellow

Dear friend who insists on creating a couple profile, I really don’t want to be Facebook friends with your other half (cringe). I know you're very happy in your relationship, but I care to interact with you as you. Why do you insist on making me part of your relationship and force their Facebook friendship on me? I don’t know them. Never met them. Don’t care about the stupid cat pictures or religious sermons that they post. When I accepted to be your real life friend, I didn’t sign up for this. I love you, I care about you, or I just want to stalk you because I know I won't see you until highschool reunion and want to compare my achievements to yours every day, but I don’t want to have any online relationship with that person you chose to spend your very uncomfortable relationship with. I didn’t sign up for this, just because you did.

The extremely uncomfortable shared identity of couplehood

Couples who share a Facebook profile. Couples who finish each other sentences (sandwiches #ArrestedDevelopment) #cringe. Couples who use the word We/Us/Our in every conversation: “We think you should get a boyfriend!” “We strongly recommend you try the creme brulee, it is to die for!” “The doctor told us we should get a vasectomy” Excuse me??? Where did your identity go? It all makes me think you share the same toothbrush and are attached to the hip like Siamese twins. I know you guys love each other and spend way too much time together, but dude, you’ve forgotten who you are outside of that relationship. You’re becoming part of a blob and this is making me not want to hang out with you anymore. It’d be much more fun and less creepy to hang out with someone who has a Multiple Personality Disorder, rather than two people who think they’re one person. It’s just too much. Get some nail polish and remove the glue you've used to attach your butts together, and be a human again.

And to conclude, guys, I’m sure your other half (cringe) will not get jealous of you because you have a Facebook profile, if that's the reason you don't have a personal profile, but a shared one. Facebook hasn’t been a dating social app, in like, ever. We all use it to constantly compare our lives with people we were naturally supposed to forget we actually met at one point, not to send a pheromone-heavy message of availability to the other or same sex. If they actually think that that that's the reason you want a personal Facebook profile, then it’s time for you to unglue that butt from that other half (cringe) and get a life of your own. Do us all a favor and keep your social media profiles separate, and be less cringeworthy. 

Sincerely,

The Happily Singled


Jan 23, 2015

John Cameron Mitchell Revives Hedwig, the Saint of Misfits and Losers, on Broadway

John Cameron Mitchell has now reprized his role of Hedwig, the German former male immigrant from East Berlin, turned to living a life as an awkwardly mended up Harlequin of a trailer trash divorced army wife, babysitter, probably prostitute and rocker in the US, after a botched sex change operation. John Cameron Mitchell co-created the off Broadway show, also turned into a movie in 2001, played the role and directed the film. After the show was revived on Broadway, this time played by the one and only Neil Patrick Harris or as netizens know him, NPH, it won a Tony Award for Best Musical Revival among other awards. NPH relayed the role to Girls and New Normal star Andrew Rannells, who relayed it to former Dexter and Six Feet Under star Michael C. Hall, reprising his feminine side once again. And now the original creator, star, and let's be honest, the original Hedwig is reviving her in true shape once again to remind us all again why we fell in love with her, and why we've loved her so much our whole lives.


I won't be able to see the show, because I live in the other side of the world from New York, and even if I could afford a plane ticket, visa costs, ticket to the Broadway show after selling a useless kidney (useless in comparison to witnessing the real revival of Hedwig), I'm sure it would be near to impossible to get a ticket now. And still even though I won't be able to see this revival myself, I'm so grateful that Hedwig is back in her true shape and form for all us misfits and losers all around the globe.

For all of us who saw the film, it remains one of the most important films in Rock Culture, and one of the most influential films of our lives. You don't need to be gay or transgender or even a former East Berliner to appreciate this film. The music in this film and show, the story, and Hedwig herself with all her tragedy and dramedy embodies so much of the loneliness, desire for love, from others, and for oneself, that is so universally human, that every naked soul can easily embrace and be seriously marked by for the rest of their lives.

Hedwig is far from a perfect woman, or man, or something in between. She starts as a he. She was "born on the other side of a town ripped in two". An East Berliner influenced profoundly by American Rock 'n Roll and Punk music, utterly and with no doubt gay and exquisitely effeminate and beautiful, falls in love with a huge black American army man who promises to marry him and take him away to the US, far beyond the wall. It is the year 1989. Hedwig's mother advises him to turn into a woman, take his mother's name and have a sex change operation to be able to pass the medical exam, to marry the strong, black American military man. It is 1989 and after Hedwig finds herself a trailer trash army wife, divorcee, the Berlin wall breaks down. All the sacrifice was done for nothing. As someone who's experienced immigration and the need to go beyond the wall myself, my whole life, coming from a formerly North Korean style isolated country, I deeply understand the need to get the hell out, the sacrifice, and I empathize with Hedwig's desperation. 

After being abandoned by the very same man who cut her into pieces, Hedwig has become a part time prostitute, a part time babysitter, and a part time musician. She falls in love with an innocent Christian raised young man, projects into the innocent soul all her dreams and hopes for completeness, and breaks his heart after revealing her angry inch left out of a botched operation. Ultimately he is the one who breaks Hedwig's heart even more. After receiving a great music education he steals all of Hedwig's songs and becomes a huge star. Hedwig, full of anger, regret, hate and most probably self-hate, sings her songs and tells her story to a smaller audience, near the venue where Tom Gnosis, her self-described soul-mate and heart thief is having one of his huge concerts. 

Hedwig sings of separation, love, incompleteness and finally acceptance. Origin of Love based on Plato's myth of humans separated as two halves by the Gods, seeking the other half to be complete, is one of the most beautiful love poems ever written. Who hasn't dreams of meeting that other person who's going to make us feel less alone, less incomplete; the missing half?

"Last time I saw you
We had just split in two
You were looking at me
I was looking at you
You had a way so familiar
But I could not recognize
Cause you had blood on your face
I had blood in my eyes
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine
That's the pain
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart
We called it love"



Hedwig is ripped into pieces, abandoned and abused, but she's far from perfect. She becomes abusive herself and desperately seeks an angry useless revenge to get back the pieces she's lost. Ultimately, after facing her flaws and regrets Hedwig finally accepts herself or himself or oneself in the end of the movie/show and is on the road to feeling complete. What a beautiful story for us viewers who haven't had botched sex change operations, but have had our lives cut important pieces out of us day after day making us feel incomplete and wrong. It's a story of acceptance, self love, connection to the world that can be so cruel and cold. 

John Cameron Mitchell's rendition of this imperfect creature, angry, regretful and vengeful, but ultimately vulnerable, sweet and charming in her Rock 'n Roll glamour and rawness, with her sweet, echoing, bitter voice, and her pungent jokes is a perfect artistic expression of a whole universe compressed into one sole character. To anyone who's felt alone, to anyone who's felt incomplete, to anyone who suffers an identity crisis or another, to anyone who seeks love, and forgets to love oneself, this film, this character, is a goddess that listens to our desperate prayers and tells us to walk proudly naked in our own form and be one with ourselves and the world.

Hedwig who's always been in between, between man and woman, between the East and West, divided by an angry wall, and an angry inch, who cut herself and gave pieces of herself to everyone in her life is trying to put herself back together. Her story and journey inspires us to put the pieces of our puzzle back together and find a sense of wholeness out of all this mess that we call identity, put down the make-up, take off the wig, take off the mask, the costume and turn back to the rawness that ultimately defines us, to the core person we are, whoever or whatever that might be, with all the pieces we've lost, and freed from all the foreign pieces we've awkwardly attached to our Frankenstein-Monster-Souls. Ultimately it's not the walls, and awkward body parts, and Tommy Gnosises that leave us cornered into a shattered mess, disconnected, and desperate to connect back again with the world, but our own selves. Those wires we need to sew the two halves of the split apple into one and back together to the tree, are found within ourselves. The love that we need is found within ourselves. Once we feel complete and perfectly defined we can go back to feeling part of the whole back again, connected with all the misfits, and the losers and rock n' rollers like us. 

It's not a virgin Mary but it's the imperfect angry Hedwig that shines a light at the end of a tunnel with her beautiful voice on a midnight radio. She tells us she'll be the guide to us misfits when we're lost in this town we call the pale blue dot. 






"The fates are vicious and they're cruel.
You learn too late you've used two wishes
like a fool

and then you're someone you are not,
and Junction City ain't the spot,
remember Mrs. Lot
and when she turned around.
And if you've got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
through the dark turns and noise
of this wicked little town." 

Jan 15, 2015

A reasonable amount of reasons why you shouldn't be a freelancer

I do hate every Buzzfeed type of article that starts with "Seven ways this puppy knows more about financial markets than you" or something like that, and I should know it. I used to write articles of the sort, even though way smarter, for $1 to $5 a piece! There are lots of freelance jobs out there with now hated by me websites such as Elance or oDesk (who viciously cast me aside and cancelled my free subscriptions), or Freelancer, where Indians and Africans hire you to do jobs instead of the other way around. For writers like me, the work can be exhausting, because how many original ways can you come up with describing an astonishing electric dryer?

There's so much useless information that is written online, so many writers, re-writers, sellers who bid on writing projects and hire others to do the writing for them for $1 a pop, and there are websites who use all this useless information to attract viewers to their site. And of course they're going to have to use whatever method to bring people to their site. There's no journalism and there's no writing anymore. What it's all about is coming up with titles people will click on, and filling up the rest to complete that assignment for as little time as possible, so you can at least receive a payment of $5 per hour.

Why do I do this, or why have I been doing all of this? Because I always need extra cash, and I was never a visual person to learn photoshop. I've been taking extra writing gigs on the side, for many British, Americans, Australians who can't write to save their life. I've been writing A papers for dumbasses in these countries, and I've been writing articles for idiots in these countries, and I've been paid less than the resellers in these countries, because I'm not a native speaker. The worst part about these writing gigs is that you actually sell your own work, and somebody else gets the credit for it. But hey you guys, you're just renting, not actually buying. My work is still mine. My articles are the genie that comes back to the master after being sold. 

I used to work as a freelancer to be able to pay for my very expensive university in Europe, because as European, but not member of the EU, I didn't have a working permit in the country. Have you tried to convert USD to Euros, when you get paid in the former and have to spend in the latter? It's quite depressing business. When you bid for these projects, there's always somebody else bidding lower. How can you work for $1 an hour!!!! 

There are freelancers who can earn a lot of money, but most of the work done in a day is bidding for projects. And when you're lucky enough to win a good gig, 20-40 hours a week, in the afternoon or weekends to get that extra cash on top of your full time work, or as full time work, if you only work as a freelancer, you still don't have any safety or reassurance. They can fire you at any time and leave you with no income. The website can just randomly delete your account without any reasoning, after you've spent years building up your portfolio and profile. There's no guarantee that you will actually get paid by individual employers no matter what these websites say. 

As a freelancer, you don't get insurance or a dental plan. And trust me, working as a freelancer you're going to need medical benefits to repair all the damage done to you. As a transcriptionist I've bled my ears trying to figure out what the hell that French guy was saying in English, trying to distinguish him as Speaker A or B from five other people in the table, all with bad European accents (while the recorder had been sitting comfortably at an annoying distance, and there were many other voices from people in other tables). As a writer I've damaged my eyes whilst writing for hours articles about electric dryers. As a freelancer I've damaged my back from all the sitting and lying down. As a freelancer I've blown my own brain up whilst trying to come with a way to write an article about investment, linking a snowboarding website covertly to the article. Can you come up with a way to do that? And finally as a freelancer I became at one point severely depressed, because freelancers work with no human contact for days at a time.

So next time when I tell you, I've been doing freelance work online for many years, writing articles about different topics, doing research, among other things, don't tell me "that sounds so interesting". In the corporate environment. most of the time is filled with sitting and waiting, discussing, attending meetings, and having coffee. Freelancers don't take coffee breaks (even though forget what I said, that's actually a good thing - typical Balkan coffee breaks are boring). Freelancers need to fill every second and minute of their time, otherwise another $10 is lost. I'm a workaholic, but dudes and dudetts, that's not healthy.

Working full time in an environment where there's so much waiting and hanging out from time to time is not fun either. Let me tell you my idea of a great working environment as an example I learned from my Organizational Psychology class: There's this actual company where employees go to the office to do their job whenever they want. There are no working hours and they get paid as long as they finish their projects. They don't even have the same desk when they come to work. They can just take any available desk. They finish work, and those who manage to finish fast, can actually go home and enjoy the rest of the surfing (or drinking) day. You get the benefit of a full time worker without feeling like a prisoner! Turns out there is a Golden Middle after all. 

If you still want to be a freelancer after reading this rant (nobody actually read it but whatever) don't complain about your medical, psychological and financial state at the end of the year. Freelance, is the opposite of freedom. Is pretty much slave work for most of the online working bees out there. #Truth