Streams of thoughts and loud voices

in my head.

Barcelona metro black and white old symmetry

I get out of the metro. There’s no rush, there aren’t a lot of people around me I’m up the escalator and I’m typing a message to a friend on Instagram we’ve met during Christmas it’s a funny story I finish texting him, saying that I can’t wait to get home and read Harry Potter and go to sleep am I boring? I don’t know… a guy is climbed up on a ladder trying to fix a light in the ceiling of this somewhat dirty metro stop I walk past him and watch three girls coming down the stairs: black, pink, blue I keep walking and walking and walking and oh there’s three gentlemen and oh god that’s such an ugly cockroach and then I walk and I think to myself thank God I’m not sleeping in the streets, thank my parents actually for supporting me for so long giving me the life, well now I’m living the life, but am I really? well I have money and a shelter and I’m going to bed soon and ooops I almost bumped into someone and now I walk past the red… red windmill as in a bad replica of the Paris Moulin Rouge and then I keep walking and pass by trees and grey pavements and loud cars rushing and rushing towards who knows where? I wouldn’t want to be rushing anywhere our entire lives are just an endless stream of rushing… rushing… I keep thinking to myself… well I’m very deep in thought right now but I’m interrupted by this couple saying good-bye in front of a large, black door.

oh they’re speaking in English, but I wasn’t paying attention to what they were saying, to the meaning of the words they were saying I am just surprised that they’re speaking in English well it’s not like that is not an often occurrence in this city. He kisses her on the cheek maybe it’s a first date maybe not maybe they’re friends they’re quite old maybe not that old and then they’re gone and now I see two women kissing each other on the cheek hugging each other speaking in Catalan ‘yeah well I will see you again maybe at that …?’ and the other one starts talking about her plans for the weekend and I question myself how do I even understand without even understanding?

hey this is interesting, looking at people, looking around me, watching and taking everything in, the streets, the lights, the silence, the footsteps, the noise, my breath, people sleeping, people eating, people dreaming and screaming, maybe I’m going to remember all of this so I keep walking. I see a man walking his dog, it’s a very tiny dog, he’s throwing something in the trash I keep walking and I see so many bikes and I think to myself oh I really need to buy a bike but am I going to buy a bike? what about money? well… money… I look at my reflection in the restaurant window several people are having dinner as I get onto the street filled with restaurants and people eating and drinking and enjoying life, but are they really enjoying life? what exactly is happening in their minds? what is it that upsets them, or makes them happy. so many people talking so much noise plates forks clutter drinks glasses chatter where am I? who are they? some of them are tourists, maybe on a date but there’s a lot of groups here as well are they all tourists? do they speak the local language? do they speak more? they’re all of different faces, ages, features, I look at a waiter he’s smoking a cigarette, hunting to see whoever’s gonna pay the bill.

and I turn around the corner. oh a handsome man smoking a cigarette looking on his phone, of course he’s looking on his phone everyone is on their phones these days including me sometimes well who would’ve thought that I’m not perfect? but does perfection lie in not using your phone? there’s the guy at that restaurant who always returns my gaze back when I pass by and look through the window. I really need to buy some empanadas from there one day will I ever find out his name? I keep walking and walking and there’s only the sound of my footsteps left on the street and I think to myself am I gonna get home and manage to remember all of these thoughts and everything that I’m thinking? am I gonna be able to write all of this down?

black and white photograph thoughts blog post dating rain

ah noise so much noise after all that silence and quietness and peace so much noise from that motorbike and it’s screeching and scratching my eardrums and I think to myself of course pollution transportation motors grey dark industry capitalism death ah there’s a car and its so intrusive with those flashlights so strong i turn left and I’m so close to home but I trip on a little hole in the ground because everything is under construction in this society and a city is defined by the amount of concrete it has growing within it and i see a policeman he’s playing with some keys in his pocket and he’s also smoking why is everyone smoking? and those keys are so loud why am I even thinking why am I not shutting up can’t i just keep walking without a constant buzz in my head?

I’m so close to getting home, there’s a person across the road speaking in Italian maybe? melone, corleone, I don’t even know hahaha am I actually laughing in my mind oh two joggers I will definitely go to the gym as well yes of course this is what I keep telling myself and two cars cross and a key enters the keyhole and I get inside of the elevator and I look at my reflection in the mirror and why am I looking in all reflections that I pass by why do I need this feeling of safety that the person thinking and staying in front of this mirror is actually… me? I feel so much comfort, why does knowing who we are make us feel like this well I suppose it’s good to know that I’m back to myself after being in the minds of so many people… walking and listening to their conversations and their voices and I take a deep breath in but I put the wrong key in the door and this is the first time it’s happening since I moved here well I suppose it was bound to happen since I’ve been streaming of thoughts but here I am, in my room, so much comfort, so much silence, I open my computer, and then… I start typing.

 

belong, be part of, fit in, exist, reside

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who accessed, skimmed through, or even read my previous post. It looks like over 170 of you saw the post, and I really appreciate your interest (much love, many hearts). I will definitely tackle on the topic of relationships, ghosting, dating etc. in the future, as these are aspects that every single one of us goes through, and they often become part of our identity.

And speaking of identity, it’s a topic that will be discussed today. I spent a lot of time thinking what to write about next. There are so many thoughts and opinions that go through my mind, or that I listen to, that sometimes I wish I’d have a ‘pensieve’ (like in Harry Potter), where I could take all my memories and put them in a bucket and then sink into the bucket of abyss (well I’m just blabbering now so let’s get down to business).

A couple of years ago, in my third year of university, I remember taking a course on nations and migration, as well as intercultural identities. One of the many interesting subjects we debated then was a ‘sense of belonging’, or what we mean when we talk about ‘home’. I recollect how a lot of us wanted to make the differentiation between ‘home’, as in where our family lives, and ‘home’, as in our student accommodation at the time. A home doesn’t only refer to a physical space where you grew up in, but also to your country, culture, understanding of the world. I believe that the most important aspects of making a ‘home’ is culture and… objects. Things. The realm of the physical.

We are so attached to things that it came to a point where we are characterised by them. We don’t feel comfortable in a new space unless we fill out that space with bits and pieces that we think represent our selves. When we move into a new house, it does not become a home until we’ve spread around our personal photographs, clothes, books, computer, decorations… everything that we hold dear. Time also plays an important part of this house-home transition. The more time we spend in a place, the more comfortable we feel there.

Of course, there are people that have left all these physical and material objects behind. And they feel so much better. They are free from the physical constraints of space and can do whatever they want. They are backpackers, travellers, adventurers, or minimalists, people who are content with who they are and what they have (or don’t). People who grew tired with all the clutter in their lives, and wanted to belong anywhere and nowhere at the same time. Or just people that realised value shouldn’t reside in things, but experiences, memories, or other unquantifiable and spiritual/ emotional aspects. But are we strong, determined, or willing enough to let go? To lose our sense of ‘belonging’, in order to live freely and assess a new identity of… ‘not belonging’?

Culture, or rather a sense of national identity, is another aspect of making us ‘belong’. I believe that culture came before nations, even though today, one is more transparent than the other. I spent quite a bit of my teen life traveling through Europe, thanks to my beloved mother and her job. The division between ‘us and them’ stroke me every time I would land or take off in or from a foreign country. And after moving to the UK for my studies, I started to feel a bit weird when I’d come back to Romania for the holidays, and all of a sudden everyone was speaking, behaving, and looking… Romanian.

But then, I remembered Benedict Anderson’s notion of ‘imagined communities’ (throwback to uni, once again). Anderson claimed that nations are alive only because our minds imagined and socially created them. He talks quite a lot about how the printed press (his book was published in 1983 so the internet wasn’t really a thing back then) helps in delimiting this boundary of ‘nationess’, by also creating a division between the local and global, the ‘us and them’. This for me became extremely clear during Daily Mail’s campaign against Romanians and Bulgarians, after the work restrictions had been lifted. One would think that ‘divide and conquer’ is not the norm anymore, but in a present where break-ups are the norm (be them political or romantical), maybe we were wrong to assume that.

After living in the U.K for 4 years, I ended up doubting to whom my loyalties lay. I was born and raised in a culture, yet I don’t identify with it anymore. I spent 4 years in the other, where my acculturation process went quite well, but despite taking over some of the characteristics of that culture, I still don’t identify with it. At the moment, I am in limbo. Or maybe I just lost my ability to imagine… communities. But in the end, there’s nothing wrong with being on the grey line, instead of the black/ white one. Things shouldn’t always be definitive, deterministic, and other D words. We shouldn’t be defined just by ONE culture, but by every bit that we’ve experienced. Or maybe we shouldn’t be defined at all.

So, the next time someone asks you, ‘where are you from?’, think for a second. Are you a backpacker, traveler, an adventurer, or something completely off the books? Where do you really belong?

P.S Thank you Dan, for helping me sort this post out!