The agenda with empty pages

I wish I could say that I’m an activist, but I’m not. I don’t feel like I’d have what this needs. I am only someone with questions. I sit, observe, put things together, and then ask myself questions about this process. The same goes for the outer world. I sit, observe, gather information, and then try and make something coherent out of everything.

Or this is how it used to be, as 2020 came like a hurricane, shattering every single thing I thought it was already figured out. It brought a pandemic and a whole list of questions to be answered. It brought new issues to be addressed, and put some light on older issues, often left for later.

One of those issues to-be-addressed-later is the way we are looking at politics. I used to hear frequently that old line, I am not getting involved with politics, it is none of my business to do so! long before 2020. But then a pandemic came and made us ask ourselves Is this true, or just comfortable?

But let’s look a bit closer to it. When we talk about politics, we talk about agendas. About issues and core values that politicians find worthy of being prioritized. From women’s rights to migration and education, everything is or could be, a point on some political agenda. And I’ve managed to see a lot of issues being publicly addressed by politicians, real and heavy issues of the society. Excepting for one: the mental health state of the population.

Even when the environment is toxic, focused on competition and over-achievement and, constantly fearing that you might not be good enough, no politician or political party has made a statement about the mental health crisis. Because it is a crisis, and the pandemic is only putting it under the spotlights. And there are a lot of arguments as answers to any related questions.

It is a crisis because it does not provide any kind of recommendations on how to stay sane during these times. Our lives are nothing like before, we still have restrictions to face, dear ones that we can’t see, and are told to limit any unnecessary kind of interaction, for as long as it will be needed. We are being told to obey the rules, protect ourselves and the others, but no one tells us how to cope with all the anxiety and frustration that this situation has brought.

People have to deal with anxiety, grief, stress, and uncertainty on their own.

There is no real support system for psychological needs. Access to psychotherapy is a privilege and not a realistic possibility. I’ve heard a lot of I will start going to see a psychotherapist as soon as I will afford it from people perfectly aware of what they are facing.

There is no real support system for the children’s psychological needs either. They are also feeling anxiety, depression, pain, neglect. They are also feeling rejection and heartbreak. They are also needing help with learning to manage their feelings. They also need someone else to be there for them with empathy and objectivity. A bigger person, worthy of their trust and openness.

And I will not talk here about the lack of psychological support for the families having a member with disabilities or chronic conditions. I will not even open the subject.

Yet all these have a common root, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like it: the social stigma associated with the topic. Society doesn’t see mental health as actual health, but more as a trifle. It is optional, not vital. Public policies on mental health can wait, we have bigger things to focus on. Even if this might, to some extent, be true, there is just as true the fact that a bunch of individuals facing mental struggles all by themselves won’t form a thriving group.

The public agenda on mental health policies is empty. No words about deconstructing the social stigma surrounding the mental issues, no words about increasing the awareness about anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and nothing to be said about the tendencies of romanticizing mental struggles. Silence and empty pages waiting to be written. People waiting to be seen, heard, and represented.

Nothing can be changed overnight, but this doesn’t mean that things have to stay the same forever. We need help, and we need it on an institutional level. Of course, the help given by the NGOs that advocate for mental healthcare is like a glass of water in the desert. Deeply needed, and definitely something to be grateful for. But it is not enough.

If we scream and brag about how much we care about people’s health, yet we won’t do a thing for their mental health, then our care for the overall health is just a lie. A lie we keep telling ourselves and others, without understanding that we can’t have a healthy individual with a struggling mind. Even this splitting between mental and physical health is artificial, therefore worrisome.

There is a lot to be built, but the good news is that it’s worth it. Because a society where you can afford seeking medical help when you have a broken bone, but not when you have a depressive episode, that is by no means a society that has any interest in her citizens’ health.

And that’s a society no one wants to live in.

The world as we knew it

I am now, more than I used to, looking around me, and I have this feeling that the world, as we used to know it, is coming to an end. A rough, yet unexpected ending. This pandemic context made me aware of one thing in particular, and this is our tendency to taking everything we’ve had until now for granted.  It is not the end in a biblical way, but rather the ending of a way of living, understanding what happens around us, and reevaluating the ways we cope with everything what happens around us daily. In times like this, the real challenge is to remain calm and sane when everything is shaking.

I see a lot of things happening around, people trying their best to manage this situation they have never experienced before. Some try to follow their old routine as much as they can Some are drowning in anxiety and confusion, being unable to adapt to the new way of doing things. If I can say something about this, it would be that this global issue has put every one of us in front of our friends from the closet. Because we’re only human, after all, and every crisis has the potential to bring up to the table the unsolved issues we’ve been successfully avoiding for so long.

It happened to me as well. I’ve been pushed to revisit and reconsider the way I’ve been placing myself on certain topics. One of them was my homeland. Coming from a small village surrounded by hills, I’ve always wanted to get out of here and never come back. Somehow, this whole thing caught me here, due to some things out of my control, and it took me a few days to understand that this was not a bad thing at all.

Even so, adjusting was hard, as I’ve seen, once again, that all my plans were blown away. This forced me to sit and ask myself Who were you before wanting to have it all at once? and everything became slightly more clear. I’ve seen that there are still things I can do, such as reading outside, in the sunlight. That there are still little joys left.  That slowing down for more than I’ve initially hoped I will have to will, eventually, help me know myself more.

I’ve understood that this is not some form of punishment, but a road meant to reconnect me with the pieces of the puzzle that I’ve lost in my rush. That I can have a taste of the things that used to make my childhood here, in the countryside, pretty. But it also made me aware of the fact that our ultimate survival tool remains gratitude.  It made me understand that I should be grateful for having enough space, living in the countryside, to move freely. That I still have my mother and cats around me. That there are still things to be done here, as the nature doesn’t really care about our whining.

I’ve begun to discover the old ways of doing the things, and that every ending has a little door left open. I understand that there are still little things that can be done, and that no bad shall last forever. Also, I’ve got to understand how important is the way we look at the things we live. Our perspective is a big part of what we’re actually living and what we understand from it.

Only by being grateful and trying to see more in-depth this brutal shift of our daily lives, we can get out of it sane. Because this is the perfect moment to look behind us. To see all the Mondays we didn’t do anything but ask Is it Friday already? and all the times we procrastinated just for the sake of it. Change is hard, is painful, is bringing up to surface all our well-hidden anxieties, but it is, at the same time, so necessary.

We need to get through all this process to finally understand how privileged we have been, and for how long. We have to change the way we live, work and dream so that we will be able to appreciate what used to be our taken for granted normality. We have to dream new dreams and discover new ways of making things work and, above all, we have to understand that slowing down is not a crime.

Because we’ve rushed for too long. We’ve been greedy and ungrateful for too long. And now we’re being forced to unlearn as much as we can these things. We are put in front of a whole new context, and this brings up to me an old phrase from a psychology handbook, saying that Intelligence is the individual’s capacity of adapting to new situations. This means, above anything else, to be able to let go. To reinvent our routines in ways that make life bearable. To keep from our old ways of doing things only the bits that were genuinely bringing us joy as they were also functional. And, last but not least, to relearn how to use technology to connect with the ones we care about, and not only for showing off our personas.

This, too, shall pass, but it doesn’t mean that the world will remain how we used to know it because it won’t. But it means that we have to learn how to be selective in a constructive way. It is the moment when we have to admit, to ourselves in the first place, that individualism won’t bring us any good in the nearby future. To rebuild our communities, to share more openly what brings us joy and what we feel that could be done better.

To spend more time doing things we love, even if it’s reading, listening to music, or calling our loved ones to chit-chat. Now is the later where we’ve stored all our projects, plans and dreams. We can either get intoxicated with fear and uncertainty or try to rip out pieces of what we’ve been postponing for so long and take everything step by step.

Yes, this is a hard time for all of us, and harder times are expected to come. But this is no excuse to let ourselves down once again or to allow ourselves to drown into anxiety and fear. We can do that, but we can, as well, start and accomplish everything we’ve been postponing for some undefined later. Not if we want to get out of this sane and mentally prepared for the good that is to come. Because, yes, things are bad, but this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing good to be expected.

So go and put some water to boil, have some tea, listen to some music. Maybe you will watch a movie, or read a book. You can call your best friend, or your mom, or that person you’re always saying that you’re going to catch up with, but you never do. Or maybe don’t do any of these, and just go to sleep. It doesn’t matter that much. What matters, instead, is how good you’re managing to hold up and stay collected, because now, more than ever, we can see how contagious our emotions are. So let’s just try and be our most responsible, patient, caring and rational selves, at least for a while. This might be the only way out from what tends to feel like a trap for most of us even if it is, ironically, only putting a mirror in front of who we are.

Fresca a la modernisme



Se zice că adevărul este una dintre coordonatele fundamentale ale progresului omenirii. O fi fost..cândva, demult. Căci Adevărul este un concept taare vechi, mai bătrân chiar și decât Antichitatea, ce azi ni se pare atât de îndepărtată în timp. Iar datorită vechimii  sale considerabile, nici numărul mutațiilor suferite de statutul de valoare a conceptului nu este unul neglijabil, acesta variind în funcție de mentalitățile epocii despre care e vorba sau de contextul politic al acesteia.

Astfel, adevărul a fost, secole de-a rândul, punctul central al  unei ierarhii valorice în continuă schimbare, în Antichitate fiind considerat, alături de Bine, Frumos și Dreptate, una dintre coordonatele sufletului uman, un ingredient  de nelipsit pentru desăvârșirea umanității, pentru aducerea acesteia la stadiul său de perfecțiune ancestrală, acum pierdută.

Sau, în orice caz, așa se pretindea, așa se dorea, așa se visa. De fapt, odată cu Evul Mediu s-a introdus în mod tacit, subversiv, o singură valoare în cugetele oamenilor : puterea. Dorința de confort și, prin asociere, de putere (o viață comodă, lejeră își permiteau doar aristocrații) a dus la o dărâmare a vechii lumi, o demolare din temelii. Și cum se poate dărâma o societate, o ordine, o  ierarhie practic, mai ușor decât prin degradarea valorilor sale?

Astfel, Adevărul în starea sa primară a rămas doar în sufletele unor nostalgici ai lumii vechi și în discursurile demagogilor, a oratorilor de ziua a 16 a, devenind un fals,  modificat în funcție atât de conjunctură, cât mai ales de interese. Și cum, în treacăt fie spus, adevărul și sinceritatea rentează din ce în ce mai puțin, pornind cu pași repezi spre ”deloc”, alegerea majorității la întrebarea ”Ce ai alege, adevărul sau minciuna?”  ar fi, fără îndoieli prea mari, minciuna. Asta, dacă eliminăm din ecuație ipocrizia, ajunsă astăzi ”un rău necesar”.

Dreptatea s-a sulemenit și ea, ajungând să fie o parodie ieftină a ceea ce era cândva, mai oarbă decât ar fi cazul, iar talerele ce-ar fi trebuit să  rămână în echilibru, nepărtinitoare, parc-au devenit subiect de…licitație! Cine dă mai mult, ăla e nevinovat!


Și de-ar fi ”doar” atât..parcă am mai putea să ne păzim cumva de anxietate și nevroze, dar când  vezi că din Binele de odinioară, ponosit și colectiv, din acel Bine modest, care cerea ca bunăstarea s-aparțină, echitabil, tuturor, n-a mai rămas ”decât” binele propriu, Binele MEU egocentrist, ce s-a umflat peste măsură și nici gând să pleznească n-are, ba s-a mai poleit și cu foi de aur…cum să nu te-apuce isteria de-ai mai rămas întreg la minte?

Și peste toate vine, mândru, Kitschul. Vine pășind semeț, agale, ca un stăpân incontestabil ce se află, sigur c-a luat sub stăpânire tot ce se putea lua. Iar în răstimpul ăsta, Frumosul zace la gunoi, așteptându-și moartea, îndurerat peste măsură de tortura agoniei. Căci Frumosul n-a dispărut doar ca etalon, ci și ca mod de viață, ca mentalitate. De la limbaj la suflete, de la pavaj la haine și clădiri, la lucruri  peste care suntem dispuși să trecem ca să ne vedem ajunși acolo unde-am vrea, Frumosul a murit, iar dom e Kitschul.

Frumosul a murit întâi în noi, în oameni, în fiecare, ca mai apoi să moară-n lume.

Și nimeni n-a avut curajul (sau interesul, cum vreți voi s-o luați) să-ncerce să oprească degradarea, vulgarizarea. Așadar, bun venit în modernitate, oameni dragi! Sper doar c-o să vă placă ce-ați creat, că o să spuneți cu mândrie-n glas ”Dar am contribuit și eu la asta!”