high on humanity

This post is dedicated to the conversations we (Zen and I) had over the weekend. I love how we could talk about literally everything, how she could be honest with me about her feelings and how I could honestly admit that I don’t feel at all or neglect my feelings in general. I love how we know that we are both super “fake” and laugh on our “fakeness”.

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it was her birthday weekend

We talked about them. About us. About some of our friends who have already had two babies, some who came back to Vietnam after studying abroad, or who are living a completely different life we thought they would live. Life is unpredictable.

We talked about their parents. Our parents. Us being parents. Toxic family relationships. We talked about how we wished our kids (if we ever have babies) to have free spirits and be able to live truly to their souls. That we won’t force our kids to live our wish-it-was-like-that-lives but not their lives, to chase our unfulfilled dreams but not their dreams. And be happy, that’s what important.

 

We talked about there’s only one life to live and the idea of settling down still freaks us out. We belong to everywhere and nowhere. We don’t know how our future goes and it cannot be planned either. We refuse to live the life which could possibly hinder us to see the world.

We talked about being present. How grateful we are, how lucky we are to have such an easy life comparing to others. How we enjoyed dancing all night and walking around the city with strangers at 4 in the morning, watched the sky brightened up and talked about what I don’t remember anymore but it was fun. We told each other about people we’ve encountered. How we appreciate the friendships we’ve made and those rare deep connections we have in life.

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We talked about growing together and growing apart. The distance between two people grows when they individually change in different ways, and in different pace. Some people choose to move forward, some choose to stand still and some choose to turn their heads away from growing. Physical time and distance are after all just excuses we love to use for the distance exists in our minds and our hearts. And it’s important that we keep our eyes and our minds opened for changes, because change is the only constant.

We talked about our messed up world. Ignorance. Discrimination. Homophobic. Uncultured people. Sexualization. Irresponsibility. Good feminism. Bad feminism. Toxic cultures. We wondered why some people would accept things as it is while the power to change themselves and to change the world is in their hands. We wondered why people dwell onto the past and believe that things would be better if decisions were made differently. We don’t believe in good decisions and bad decisions. Who’s the one to judge which is good and which is bad anyways when no one could travel time and see all the what ifs? There’s nothing could be changed but the future.

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We shared books, we shared songs, we sang on the streets in the middle of the night. We talked about how cute we are to be able to have all these kinds of conversations that I don’t normally generate with others. It was a good break from all the small talks I have daily.

Thanks for reading,

-dgna-

the beauty of words

Click.

Open.

Sounds of her pen sliding on a blank page.

Words

are just not words.

Emotions, thoughts, feelings

are words.

Beauty is words,

Joy is words,

pain is words,

sadness melts

into words.

The world melts

into words.

Words kill,

words heal,

words carry their souls

and her soul.

Letter by letter,

line by line.

She pours words down onto a piece of paper

like she was watering a baby tree.

The tree grows,

she grows.

And her soul blooms.

a whole note devoted to the Sun but not really

I’ve never liked the Sun. Growing up where humidity and heat combine to make the worst weather scenario, I hated the Sun. A “hot summer day” is supposed to be a bright and youthful concept, not a horrific one. Things have changed as I am living in Europe now, since ceaseless rain and gloomy days have managed to calm the hatred I’ve built for the Sun.

I adore the Moon. I’m obsessed with the Moon, to be really honest. I love how the Moon has its own art of shining, subtle, gentle, modest, never arrogant, although it shines on a deep dark blue sky. I love the way it never overshines the Stars, but complement each other’s existence and beauty. The Moon always calms my anxious mind in the best way possible.

Back to The Sun. It has too much power and energy, both positive and negative. Positive when it can share its joy and energy to others, negative when it overpowers everyone and drains them emotionally and physically. Too powerful. Too full of itself. Pretentious. Even the Sunset scene feels like a performance in which the Sun is the main artist. As I said, too full of itself. My apology to all the Sun’s fans.

I don’t like the Sun with its intensive power, but I’m quite happy today as I finally caught a glimpse of sunlight after a whole rainy week. There’s a 4-minute-walk from the station to the office and it was in these 4 minutes when I realized the Sun can also be humble. I was walking as slowly as possible between two beautiful greenish rows of trees, it was slightly cold and windy, nonetheless not gloomy, as the Sun was flaring through the greenish leaves. For 4 minutes, I stopped thinking about how much I hated the Sun, how much I hate to go to work, and enjoyed a little bit of delicate Sunshine on the left side of my face. Since it was such a beautiful start for the day, I’ve decided to write down my feelings for the Sun today to show my appreciation, knowing I will probably swear at it in just a few months when it gets above 30 degrees.

tell me I can be optimistic

My facebook feed is flooded with breaking news, grief and anger. The sex scandals in Korea. Toxic masculinity. Mass shooting in New Zealand. Another shooting in The Netherlands. People die. People kill. Everywhere. It hits me way harder than I thought it would do. I cannot even pull my chain of thoughts together. It feels like one thought comes after another and they just stay right there in my head, overlap each other and form this huge tangled wool roll, to the point I’m overwhelmed and feel the need to put everything into words.

Talking about the world. Somedays it looks brighter than the others, some just feels like hell. Sometimes, there is a positive, sparkling energy supporting my belief that we are moving forward to a better world. It sways me, inspires me and gives me so much motivation. Some other times, I’d rather exclude myself from everything and everyone else. I do me, the world do them. Nothing matters.

Optimism and Pessimism go together perpetually. Like I don’t get why human run this world and destroy it at the same time. One of my friend’s catchphrase is: “People this, people that”. Optimistically understood: there will always be good people. Flip it over: bad people are everywhere and they will eventually never disappear. I watched an interview with Billie Eilish a few days ago and she said something along the lines of “everyone is gonna die”. It’s a fact. But you can also interpret it optimistically or pessimistically, depends on your state of mind. I do believe staying optimistic is an active choice, but off and on I find myself wandering on the side I shouldn’t be.

I obviously don’t want to spread my gloom-ridden thoughts further, because it’s been dark enough lately with all kind of things going on. If you are reading this post, please keep in mind that I’m just detangling the knots in my brain, and do keep your faith in the bright side of the world. And tell me I can be optimistic. Because we all need to.

Thanks for reading.

p/s: I’m writing this while listening to this song: optimistic – cehryl

dgna

 

 

long distance friendship

I literally wrote a long cheesy text about friendship and all but then of course, I had to swipe back on my trackpad without saving anything. Long story short, me and my friends got to see each other after a really long time. Hope the four of us will get to travel together because we literally don’t know when will me meet again.

I love you all.

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Bratwurst and Currywurst. Of course, where are we?
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Kids and grownups love it so, the happy world of Haribo
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thanks Biggi for going around with us. love ya.
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puking rainbow

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Zen and her favourite German word

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my redhead Aurora
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us jamming to old hits

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ramen
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still ramen

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Photos taken by Olympus mju ii –  Fuji C200

I hope you enjoyed. 

– dgnaxoxo – 

what ifs?

Content may be triggering.

It began with how I started noticing things around me. Although I did not know the specific term for that. It just started with the sense of being “wronged”. I was 9 or 10 in elementary school. I was an innocent girl knowing nothing about gender stuff. Because we were so innocent, and the teacher wanted to believe in the innocence of her pupils, she would let us take a nap without separating boys and girls. Next thing I knew, a boy told me that he touched my thighs while I was sleeping and I kid you not, he did not apologize me. I was terrified. I was a child, didn’t know how to handle the situation. I boycotted him using the power of a class monitor and I remember vividly that I was so mean to him as a way to revenge. I did not tell anyone the story at the time though. Last summer, I met up with two of my “best elementary school friends” that I haven’t seen them for years. (I put them in quotation marks because we haven’t seen each other for years but we still considered each other best friends in elementary school). We talked all afternoon and the story somehow came up. Only then, 12 years later, I realized that I was not the only victim. A lot of my girl classmates had that same experience. And we all kept silent. Some talked to other friends, but no one has ever told the story to our parents or our teachers. We were that afraid.

I was 14 and we got parts of our house repaired. I had to open the door for a construction worker and there were me and that creepy man alone in the elevator. He started asking me questions, how old I was, and asked how I looked “mature” considering my age. I felt unsafe, but there was no way to escape the elevator so I was just desperately waiting for the door to open. Just by the second I heard that clinging sound and felt relieved, he grabbed my butts and walked out the door. I stood there, shocked, horrified, but said no words.

I was in high school and there was this classmate who pat on my booties as I was running pass him. Once with his hand and once with the stick you use in PE (the one when you do a relay race and you pass it to another member of the team). Just like how I was in elementary school, I did not confront him. (Confrontation has never been a thing for me). I blocked him on social media. I told my girl friends the disgusting story and boycotted him. I did not tell it to a lot of people, but there was no such thing called “secret” in high school. One of his friend somehow heard the story, and she said she confronted him for me. And his answer was he didn’t know anything, he didn’t do it, what was I talking about etc. He sounded so innocent and convincing to the point I wondered if I was just an attention bitch and made up the whole story of being harassed and blamed the wrong innocent person. “But no bitch I know when someone touched my body so how about you shut up”. I could have said that. But I did not.

All that time, I remained silent. I was scared. I felt ashamed. But then, now I realized silence is also an act of violence. My silence has given all that people the thought of being powerful. The thought that they have the physical strength and since they are men, they can do anything to my body.

It’s all about “what ifs”. What if I told my teacher and that boy got a lesson for himself, and for all other boys that were about to touch my friends’ body, could I possibly have prevented those incidents? What if I didn’t let all those catcalls or dickpics go so easily, so they don’t ever get to think that they are always able to get away with such attitude and behaviors to women? What if I stood up for myself?

My friends sometimes say they “don’t see gender” just because it doesn’t affect them that much and things like that don’t happen to them. But it doesn’t matter to you does not mean things don’t happen elsewhere. It doesn’t affect you does not mean you don’t need to raise your voice and help others.

I will tell two more stories to wrap up the post (which are not really related to what I’ve written but also related in a way and it’s not that long to write the whole post so I’m just going to say everything now). Once my friend’s boss told her that she, at some point, is going to be a housewife. He also cited the Bible, saying how he was made of a man and such and so, men and women are not equal from the beginning. In another discussion, my friend told me that heterosexual is the natural orientation, because our ultimate life purpose is to reproduce. My thoughts. First, the Bible was written forever ago, and I believe in something more recent, which is called science. Context matters and it also applies to reproduction problem. We are living in the world that has too many people and I’m sure human reproduction is not the most important natural thing that need to be done. Theories and things that once were true doesn’t mean they are still true and will be true forever. Sciences and technologies have developed and given us so many opportunities to have a better life, and with that our society is constantly changing, and so should our mind be.

Thank you so much for reading.

– dgna –

rambling session: on bubbles and being relevant

I went to bed at 4 AM last night. The consequence is I had to debate with my lazy self if I really need to go to my 10 AM class this morning. And I’m glad I did. We watched Hannah Gadsby’s standup comedy show called Nanette on Netflix, in which she talks about genders, sexuality and her stories. The show is brilliant, powerful, hilarious and extremely sad at the same time. It was quite a lot for me to digest, content wise and emotion wise, to the point I wanted to cry afterwards and I had to deeply inhale a few times to get a little bit of the tension out of my head and my chest.

I looked around the class. There are 10 girls and 1 guy. He is gay. And I wondered why. Why aren’t there no straight male person in a class talking about feminism, besides my teacher. There was one, actually. He quit after the first session. He told my teacher he didn’t see any points for him to take the class and he is more into classic literatures. I was shocked when I heard that. It does matter to him and to everyone. I mean, he is a heterosexual white man and there are endless possibilities that he can do to change the world. Sadly, he doesn’t see it that way. As so many male fellas out there. They don’t see it that way.

We talked about bubbles after watching the show. Academic bubbles. How we were in the same bubble at that specific moment. In our bubbles, we have access to information, to literature, to art. We have tons of opportunities to educate ourselves, and we are willing to do so. However, outside all these bubbles, and even inside, is the rest of the world. Racism, homophobia, sexism, discrimination and ignorance exist in all kind of shapes and forms.

I now understand why I am always frustrated talking about gender equality and feminism to my friends, especially guy friends. I feel like I am not listened and understood. It is not that they are incapable of understanding what is happening everywhere, they just don’t want to, maybe they are lazy. From their points of view everything is fine and they don’t see any problems with gender equality. I sometimes wonder if they really think so or it is just so easy for them to have the privileges so they don’t feel the need to see the world in another perspective. Well, privilege is often invisible to the ones who own it.

I am lucky enough to be a part of the bubble. It’s a privilege. And there are responsibilities and duties going hand in hand with the privilege I own. I first started the blog simply as something to get stuff out of my head, but I want more now. I want to make the bubble bigger. I want to share my thoughts and I want to inspire people. I want to reach out. I have a small ambition of contributing to change the world, little by little, although I don’t have a lot of faith in humanity. Humanity is not trustworthy, but let’s not lose all the faith. Even though it is much easier to just ignore all the bullshits and pretend that things don’t matter to you, it is not the solution. Take Trumps and Brexit as examples. That’s what ignoring turned out to be.

I listened to a conversation with Paolo Giordano last weekend, and he said something like this: “When you’re at your 20s, you are energetic and you want to achieve so many things. You want to change the world. Human might have spoiled everything but you still believe you can protect the it…At that time, there is nothing worse than being irrelevant.”

So yes, please be relevant, since every action counts.

 

Thanks for reading. Much loves and appreciations.

dgna

 

rambling session: on women, men and things that matter

I’ve always wanted to write about this in a serious way but it is such a big topic and I never can just focus on one point. I don’t know where to start and where to end and what and which and who should the post covers. Well, that’s why I have this rambling session.

*little notes: I know gender matters everywhere and there’s a lot of different aspects but I write this in the context of an assumingly-binary-world in Vietnam.

So, let’s start with a little story. For some reasons, beauty pageant contest is a thing that people care about in Vietnam. There is nothing wrong with such contests, people love beauty and so do I. I normally only watch the top 5 girls answering questions. And I remembered vaguely that one of the contestants, given the question “What makes Vietnamese women different from women all over the world?”, answered that it is “sacrifice”, and she meant that since the time of wars Vietnamese women have given all what they have to take care of their family and so on. I don’t remember her exact answer, but I do remember how confused I was. On one hand, I was like “okay, well, not bad, quick answer, I am too really proud of Vietnamese moms in the history”; and on the other hand I hated that answer. I mean, we are not at wars anymore. I don’t know if sacrifice is even a positive trait. Of course, it is a choice and can bring happiness and joy, but also, there are much more of a woman than just about family life.

I find many little things in our daily life disturbing. I hate big family gatherings when all male adults sit together, drink alcohol and have the food served, while their wives sit with the kids. Who clean up afterwards? You know the answer. I notice how that also effects kids’ mindsets. After dinner, all the girls will help clean up, wash the dishes, and the boys, most of the time, will just sit there with their phones, like it’s not their business. I hate when adults tell me that I have to know how to cook to be a good-wife-material later on. People don’t tell their sons that. But cooking is a life skill that everyone, regardless of sex and gender, should know to feed themselves, isn’t it?

It all starts at a young age. That’s why how we teach our next generations is extremely important. In my generation, most of the girls are expected to make their life choices with marriage put on their 1stpriority. Boys are not. In Vietnam, when a woman is not married at the age of 27, she will be silently judged by this cruel society, as if it is a failure. That’s why I’m already preparing my family by saying that I’m not going to get married until I’m 30, although they probably think I was joking.

We’ve been taught as if it’s our fault to be girls. “Close your legs!”, “Sit like a girl!”, “No short shorts!”, “No spaghetti straps!”, and even “Cut the banana in half!” – sounds ridiculous, but that were what I’ve heard all the time growing up, as if I’m guilty just by being born as a girl. There are news pieces everywhere and everyday about girls being raped, being harassed on the streets, on taxi, busses… and yet when I scroll down the comment section, both men and women, blame the girl for being “too sexy”, for wearing “inappropriate”, or she might be a slut. A rapist said that the girl was too pretty he couldn’t control himself. What kind of argument is that? These people have been raised thinking that women are inherently guilty, and the idea of men being unable to control themselves is more acceptable than women being sexy. I’ve never heard a man being criticized for not having his T-shirt on.

Yes, many of my male friends tell me all the time that it is also really tiring to be a man in this society. You have to pay bills, to work your ass off to feed the family, to get lots of money to get married, so on and so forth. See how most of the struggles with being a man are all related to money? It is again because of our stereotypes and mindset that men have to be strong, tough, masculine, and we tie power and masculinity also with money. On dates, men are expected to pay to prove his manliness. On a book called “We Should All Be Feminist” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, she said:

What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity and money? What if their attitude was not “the boy has to pay,” but rather, “whoever has more should pay.” Of course, because of their historical advantage, it is mostly men who will have more today. But if we start raising children differently, then in fifty years, in a hundred years, boys will no longer have the pressure of proving their masculinity by material means.

Another thing I hate about these stupid stereotypes is that it oppresses people’s feelings. Boys are taught to not show their vulnerability, fear, tears and weaknesses… and that sucks. I hate feelings and emotions because I feel too much sometimes it’s overwhelming.  And I think we all do. I don’t express my feelings often but then that’s why I know how confined and restricted it can be. After all, we are just human beings, aren’t we?

Sex is biologically determined, but gender (stereotype) is a social construction. And as it is constructed and also constantly reproduced, it can always be changed. And we need to change it, for the better.

Much love,

dgna

22.

My last blog post was a year ago. I have no excuses, I was lazy.

Anyways, I’ve just turned 22 today.

22 is an ugly number, isn’t it? It’s when you’re not that young anymore but you’re also not that mature. I want to be like “I don’t care, I’m still young, I don’t want to do anything” and on the other hand, my best friend forever “Responsibilities” starts yelling my name. Horror story in real life.

Well, today was not that bad. After quite a peaceful day I am now sipping tea, listening to my new John Lennon vinyl, reflecting on myself and trying to put my thoughts into words, absolutely random stuff. I definitely have not changed drastically from 21 to 22, but there’re actually quite a lot of thing I’ve learned this past year.

So, I’ve been working on self-love, little by little, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come, although there are still tons of stuff to do. There are tiny problems I’ve never noticed until I started taking care of myself. For instance, I have trust issues and also commitment issues. Although I know I do have them since quite a long time, I just haven’t seen any big problems and have done literally nothing to “overcome” them, which make everything even worse at some points. It’s just extremely hard for me to trust someone and I don’t even feel the need to put my trust on anyone ever. My friends say that it’s unhealthy to live in doubts, but I don’t. I mean, I can totally trust people, I just choose not to.

However, I do see how it is unhealthy since I cannot open up to anyone and I just keep everything for myself. Sometimes I feel like there is myself for me and myanotherself to meet people, which is confusing af because sometimes I cannot even distinguish between those two, like I don’t even know when I’m being honest and when I’m hiding myself. Definitely something to work on, but of course with no pressure.

This year I’ve been also quite overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts from myself and others. I met people that were broken hearted. I talked to some of my friends who have just witnessed their family teared apart. I heard stories about loneliness, worries and depression. I shared the same fear of seeing family members getting weaker every time you see them and there is just nothing you can do about it but blame it on age and time. I listened to people living with abusive parents. I met a 5-year-old-girl growing up without parents and has HIV in her tiny body. The way she held our hands for the first time we met and kind of forced us to go everywhere with her, how she climbed up my body demanding to be hugged and carried showed how much love she lacks.I met other kids who also were born with HIV and yet they are striving to live their best, with hopes and dreams. All of those stories make me think a lot, and I realized how strong human being are. And suddenly my problems shrink down to the size of dust particles.

See, that’s what I hate about growing up. Aging is not a problem, it doesn’t depress me. Thoughts do, though. You just automatically think more about deep shit stuff in life when you get older. How disturbing.

Alright, after 20 minutes straight typing what’s on my mind, I’ve realized that this post could be forever long and getting nowhere and no one wants to read such a novel, so I’ll just end my “birthday reflection” here. Thank you all for reading my no-point-life-story.

And also, thanks for all the birthday wishes and loves.

I love you, too.

dgna

rambling session: on today, and on “milk and honey”

To be honest, it has been an exhausting day. I’ve just got home from work. The restaurant is so crowded these days thanks to the climate change conference. Well, tiring but at least I got something to keep my mind busy.

It’s so weird because yesterday was still alright. Or at least it seemed to be so. I got my problems solved, had a nice conversation with a friend I haven’t met for a long time, worked without procrastinating and crossed out everything listed on my journal.

Today, on the contrary, was not so productive. Maybe it’s because of my 8 AM class, or maybe it’s just my mood swinging up and down, like it always does. I made a few decisions, can’t tell if it’s the right thing to do or not. One of them is dropping my Medieval Studies course after 5 times attending the class, with a little hope that it would be more interesting the next time. Well, I gave the course 5 chances, and that’s it. I still hate it, so I have to do what makes me feel right.

I spent 3 hours in a café, had two cappuccinos and wanted to be productive. The thing is, you don’t always get what you want. I left the café with my brain feeling heavy, and my mind feeling useless. I headed to the book store looking for something that could lighten my head and my heart a bit. And I chose “milk and honey”.

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milk and honey – rupi kaur

I don’t think I am poetic and critical enough to write a review about anyone’s works. Some people really love this collection of poetry, some don’t agree that this is deserved to be called poetry. To me, it actually doesn’t matter. I like the message she wants to deliver and I admire her ability to transfer so much pains and sweetness at the same time and in such few words. I really enjoyed reading it although I actually expected more, but just because I’ve seen her poems all over Facebook and Tumblr being called a masterpiece.

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milk and honey – rupi kaur

It’s almost 12 AM now. It’s been really a long day so I’ll end it with 3 little things I appreciated, just to ease my mind:

  1. I’ve found a childhood friend that I’ve lost contact with for almost 10 years.
  2. I’ve just bought a ticket for Oh Wonder’s concert on Monday.
  3. I talked to my mom and dad.

 

And that’s all. Thank you so much for reading.

Much love.

-dgna-