Storytelling Indian manhood by Harpal Mahal

    Winter was slowly setting its feet in Punjab, a state of the rich in the north western region of India. Winter means the season of weddings in Northern India. And that’s where I was too, with my family in the city of Ludhiana, Punjab . While we lived far away in Mumbai, my sister’s wedding was to happen in Ludhiana and we were staying at my Aunt’s in her mammoth 8 bedroom bungalow. 

It was my second day there and my older cousin Sandeep Singh and I had plans to go for a walk in one of the parks in the neighbourhood. 

Although belonging to a Sikh family, Sandeep , like me and many other modern Sikh boys, had chosen against keeping the hair long and wearing a turban. 

After shaving his face, Sandeep wanted to have a glass of milk before we headed out. He walked in the kitchen on the first floor of his bungalow. 

Seconds later, without a warning, I heard a deafening sound of a hard slap coming from the kitchen. Moments later, Sandeep came out of the kitchen whistling and smiling, asking me if I was ready to leave for the park. When my bhabhi (Punjabi for a brother’s wife) appeared from the kitchen, she seemed ashamed to make eye contact with me as she hurriedly walked into the other room. I had, however, managed to catch a glimpse of the trail of tears on her red cheek. 

Sitting next to Sandeep in his car, we drove through the markets of the bustling city of Ludhiana as the sun was slowly setting somewhere behind the jaded concrete buildings. As the aromas of various street foods entered our car through the rolled down windows, I was trying very hard to construct a question in my head that I was going to ask my cousin Sandeep that wouldn’t offend him.

Here was a man my siblings and I had adored growing up. He had an amazing sense of humour and he always had shown great warmth towards us all whenever we visited him. We would tease him, crack the meanest of jokes on him and he would always respond with a laugh. What a great sport he was!  

So why did this kind, funny man, hit his wife? 

‘Paaji, ( Punjabi for elder brother) what did bhabhi do that you had to slap her ?’

He made a sharp turn abusing a passerby who was blocking his way in chaste Punjabi. Then he looked at me with a smirk. 

 ‘The milk wasn’t as hot as I wanted’

‘What, that’s it?’

He had stopped smiling. I could see another man slowly taking his place in his big protruding eyes.

‘A husband should hit his wife whenever he sees an opportunity. What I did today is called a maintenance slap. Just to keep her in check. If you be too nice to them for too long, they wouldn’t let you breathe man!’

This was 16 years ago, I was about 20 years old then and I still remember not being able to completely process the good intentioned advice from my cousin, who must have been around the age of 30 then. 

In coming days, he had asked me to accompany him to his work. 

Soon, I found out that work meant hanging out with various guy friends talking about one topic the whole day- Sex! He had bought quite a few shops from his inherited money which made him good money through rents. It meant he could afford not working and could just loaf around with his other rich brat friends the whole day. 

Then I asked him a question. It was actually more of small talk than a serious question. But the answer he gave me still lingers inside me somewhere.

‘So Paji , when are you going to really start working ? This all must get boring after a point, no? What are your plans for work?’ 

I was sitting pillion on his scooter. The muffler wrapped around his neck was constantly brushing my face as he rode fast through the dusty lanes as we were headed back to his home. He turned his head enough towards me , so that he could be heard clearly, 

the plan is simple boy. For the next two years, main sirf fuddi maarni aa !’ ( the plan is simple. For the next two years, I will just hit as many pussies as I can ! )

I remember thinking about what Sandy had said before I slept that night. Here I was, with my over calculating, over worrying mind over-thinking about my career plans and everything else about my life .And I was only 20. And then there was Sandeep. A 30 year old married man, with a 5 year old son who was only going to fuck as many women as possible for the next two years. I had to give him full marks for his clarity of thought!   

And he had referred to sex as ‘hitting the pussy’ . It occurred to me that night that, while all this meaningless sex wasn’t obviously about love, it wasn’t about satisfying a sexual urge either. It surely had something to do with masking some sort of hidden inferiority complex. The more pussies you hit, the better a man you are. It had to do with some twisted definition of being a male in his mind.

For the next one month, I would accompany Sandeep to his various sex destinations. A short married woman working in a gift shop; a young employee working in Travel Company, a hospital nurse and many more. He ensured he never ran out of Condoms, Viagra and cheap adult magazines. I would wait outside in his car or sit on the scooter as he would ‘hit the pussy’ and return in about half an hour. His target was 5 women a day, but he would often reach three or four on good days. 

One afternoon, when Sandeep returned from ‘hitting the pussy’ of the girl working in a travel company , he just couldn’t stop giggling . When I enquired , he told me with a lot of pride in his eyes that the girl had refused sex  as her office cabin was occupied by the others,  so he ‘hit her pussy’ in the very tiny bathroom of the office . Short on time and space, he used a small blade to cut open her Salwar ( loose pants that most women in India wear to go with a long knee length shirt ) from between her legs to fuck her. He said he felt like a Lion who never lets go of its prey. 

On Valentine’s day , the ‘married woman from the gift shop’ gifted Sandeep a small box which had a silly, cotton made heart along with a perfume bottle. As he sat at the wheel of the car, he had tossed the box at the back seat of the car, mouthing choosiest of expletives after he had smelled the hideous perfume. 

Later in the evening, at the traditional dance function at my Sister’s wedding, Sandeep gave the box to his wife during a round of couple’s dance. 

As Sandeep’s wife saw her husband sitting on a knee, giving her a Valentine’s gift, she couldn’t stop smiling. It was the second occasion when i saw tears in her eyes.

When she opened the box and smelled the bottle, she pretended to have loved the perfume!

Everyone clapped and for the rest of the evening she couldn’t take her eyes off of her charismatic and romantic husband. 

I could see, she had that look on her face. The look, when a woman wants her man to passionately ‘hit her pussy’.


Harpal Mahal is the author of the comedy novel, I Know What Women Want, published with Srishti Publishers. He has authored  two Audio books, Detective Giri and Kaali Raat for StoryTel India. For the same house he  has written two Audio singles, Beimaan Raat and Oh Karishma!
Apart from writing books he has written Screenplay and Dialogues for various short films released on digital platforms.
 

 

On Love

I will never write about Love.

For when I did

I believed I could capture

Something so uncapturable.

I thought I understood

Something so unexplainable.

When words stay fixed

And are subject to interpretation

While Love is mutable, because alive

Yet fixed

But in the opposite way to words.

I will never write about Love.

For today I don’t know what it is

It is not what I thought it was

What I heard wispered in my ear

Unnumbered times

I wish I never pronounced Its name.

I will never write about Love.

For all definitions

All the teachings

Don’t match with today

And make me question my yesterdays.

I will never write about Love.

For it’s the only thing

We shall not write about

But live

And tell no one

So everyone can be caught by surprise

By a whirlwind

By a smell

By a word

By a coffee

By a kiss.

And know.

Still unable to name it.

What Santiago taught me…. #scatteredthoughts

Santiago… is not a man 🙂 nor an infant 🙂 It could my Eldorado.
Santiago was a destination. A goal. An objective.
Santiago is now a memory.
Santiago is my lesson.

I would say almost 4 years passed since that trip. Only now do I realise what it meant. Or perhaps, I knew even then but on a superficial level. I remember booking a ticket for Bilbao, with return 35 days later, and I left with a backpack. I thought I knew why I left but like it happens… there are reasons for which we do things which stay hidden behind the reasons we tell ourselves and to others. Then at the right moment they pop up.

There I was.
There I am.

I think that trip initiated a list of changes in me, supported by unnumbered situations. Some people, I’ve seen change radically right after the camino. Many don’t change at all, but tell themselves stories about being a changed person. I’ve heard and even met people who never left the camino – are in an endless loop of walking even after 10 years. To me it was complicated to change radically, I wasn’t ready. I probably needed to get slapped by life until I could stand up for myself and say no more. I kept chasing goals, chasing Santiago after Santiago. I kept a well polished and shiny suit to show the world 🙂 The woman I saw I was during that trip, or at least a glimpse of it, I thought was too hard to become… especially from the place I was back then. There really isn’t a map that takes us from here to “ourselves”, is there? There aren’t guidelines. Despite everybody becoming gurus of self loves, self respect, self whatever… there really is no manual! There are no instructions! You can take all the fucking self care baths and eat all the self love chocolate cake you want…. and still if you’re not ready YOU’RE NOT READY! You can say I’m done dating assholes but until life says so you will keep dating those assholes! Sometimes enough comes quick, other times it takes years and years and more errors and more forgiveness and more rerouting. You still need those fake friendships until you’re left alone when you need them for real. You need more empty promises until you start keeping the promises you make to yourself.

Today I asked a friend “what do you want really?”
He looked at me, “I don’t know. I came here for a reason that doesn’t make sense anymore now.”

I was walking around the city. Looking at people. And planning my future. Is Santiago worth it when we lose our health, happiness, and most importantly precious time? I look around and people chase endlessly something believing they will be happy when they get it.
Oh but my life.
My life is now. As I write.
A week. A month. Six months of life…. running, being frustrated, angry. For what?
Is it worth it? Is your dreams worth the price? I asked myself.

…. Is it even my dream? Was I chasing my Santiago or someone else? Because when I chased my Santiago… I felt different. I was truly enjoying every single moment. So much I didn’t care about Santiago at all… I enjoyed the route deeply, passionately. When reached Santiago I kept going… I went further, because after it there is Muxia and also Finisterre. And there the beer tasted sublime watching the sunset or having a 1 minute bath in the ocean! ….

What am I chasing today? Did I come for the right reasons to London?
No.
But I am surely leaving for the good ones.

I wish you to find your Santiago.
Love
T.

 

Shamans against the warlords

Personal foreword: I feel the need to translate and share with you all my dear readers this message I received from the Shaman and Italian Medicine Woman Michela Chiarelli. Whether you believe it or not this is truth and I do hope it gets to your hearts the way it stroke directly through mine. When Michela first sent me this file, I cried and she said: ok, will this make you pray more? … I said yes. And before you read her words I want to talk to you about praying because unlike what we all believe it has little to do with religion or religious beliefs. To pray is, to me, to connect with something bigger and above me… you call that God? Allah? I call unto Her. Humanity is finally waking up again to the fact that we live in a multidimensional world and that our senses are limited for we don’t see nor hear above or below certain frequencies. Who lives there? What lives there? Others… Others who have the ability to interfere with our world and ultimately to interfere with us. Some of these Others feed off of our negative feelings and thoughts (which ultimately is just energy – and energy is life source…. for some is light for others is darkness). Around the world today Shamans are undergoing a battle against invisible forces… we, not shamans, everyone, anyone, need to help them. We all can make a difference! 

Shamans against the warlords

These days I'm really worried about the world indifference towards the death produced by the dozens of conflicts that happen in the world.

I don't think there is not enough information.

Some are falsehoods it's true.  

It is some time now that I suggest working with compassion, learning to be with oneself must be useful to be able to help others.

We are shown a terrible world in which we continually live, posts, newscasts, radio, etc., etc.

But there is also so much beauty out there. There are good people, there are children, there are brave women.

I and a friend of mine a Tunguso Shaman, we pray together with the Sacred circle of great mothers and during a hard work to help the Kurdish people I was involved in a horrible battle.

I carry very invalidating signs and I feel severe pain in my whole body.
The most atrocious experience I have ever experienced and not that this hasn't already happened. If we were more to pray, it could really make a difference.

There are many good souls who pray, who know how to recognize the value of life in all creatures and, there are so many dark bodies that do not give value to life, they feed on the darkness that we carry within our hearts and I speak of the envy, of the sense of revenge, true wickedness, the inexistent ability to tolerate others.

These dark beings feed on us every day in every moment.

At this moment trying to hinder them by myself is practically impossible, so I ask you to read these words carefully as I don't know when and if you will find them again.

The world needs to recognize beauty.

That you recognize beauty everywhere.

The world needs you to think that everyone has the right to have a wonderful life.

To create a new era of peace, thoughts of peace are needed.

To create a kingdom of light, brotherhood and love, we must live them manifest them at every moment otherwise it is useless ...

If we all believe that it is possible then it will be possible.

The Dark Lords of War exist, they are everywhere.
They distort the field of our minds, our thoughts and our desires so that we can only desire useless things or produce frustrated and sad thoughts.

We are sick and worried and angry, we against our other brothers ...

We are worried about illnesses, bills, salaries ... etc

We are like already dead batteries.

The warlords use our thoughts.

They are our forms, because then we feed them with our frustration and create eggregores.

4 or 5 people in the world have power and money, and have the ability to govern 7 billion people manipulating us through false desires, making us forget who we are.

The legend of death represents it ...

When a story is told, the mind of those who are listening to it is infected, which in turn tells the same story and spreads the contagion: if the story is powerful, this contagion can last even thousands of years.

As has happened with this legend, an ancient and universal history, since it speaks of death.

The first appearance of this story is found in the Talmud, which is one of the sacred texts of Judaism and is known in two versions: that of Jerusalem and that of Babylon.
The 53rd sukkah of the Babylonian Talmud is a parable that tells of how King Solomon one day realized that the Angel of Death was sad. "Why are you so sad?" He asked. "Because they ordered me to take those two Ethiopians," replies the Angel of Death, referring to Elihoreph and Ahyah, the two Ethiopian scribes of Solomon. The King wanted to save his precious men and made them escape to the city of Luz, but as soon as they arrived there the two scribes died. The next day Solomon met the Angel of Death again and saw that he was smiling. "Why are you so happy?" He asked. "You sent the two Ethiopians to the place where I was expecting them!" Replied Death. To which Solomon expressed the moral of the parable: "The feet of a man are responsible for him: they take him to the place where he is expected." , not from their feet.

The seed is launched: various versions of this parable will ignite the creativity of authors to the present day.

Our desires are not ours, our dreams, they are not us.

If we want things or objects but we do not do anything useful to others, we shoot against anyone who does something different and we are manipulated we are not free in any way.

To make you feel even worse, sinister and manipulative journalists write articles like: We have blood on our hands because we sold weapons to the Kurds or to Syria.

I have not seen even one euro of those weapons that the state was able to sell and made a personal capital of it, plus it did nothing with that money for the Italian people, so the Italian people by themselves are not to be blamed for anything.

Let's talk to the neighbour.

Stop envying that person because they are more beautiful, toned or intelligent.

Let's play with our children.

Go to the sea or to the mountains.
Let's stop to observe the beauty.

Sign petitions ...

Go down to the square.

Let's sit in meditation

We pray wherever we believe it works.

Light candles.

Think strong of light.

Visualise it.

Call upon the Archangels.

Summon ascended Masters so that there is more and more evolution.

So that everyone gets Light and Peace.

Bring these principles into our daily life.

Michela Chiarelli © ️



Sciamani contro i signori della guerra  

In questi giorni sono davvero preoccupata per il menefreghismo mondiale verso la morte prodotta dalle decine di conflitti che succedono nel mondo.

Non credo non ci siano informazioni sufficienti.

Alcune sono falsità è vero.

E' un po' che suggerisco di lavorare con la compassione, imparare a stare con se stessi deve essere utile per poter essere d'aiuto anche agli altri.

Ci viene mostrato un mondo tremendo nel quale conviviamo in continuazione, post, telegiornali, radio ecc, ecc.

Ma c'è anche tanta bellezza là  fuori. Ci sono persone buone, ci sono bambini, ci sono donne coraggiose.

Io e un mio amico Sciamano Tunguso, preghiamo insieme al cerchio Sacro delle grandi madri e durante un lavoro forte per aiutare il popolo Curdo io sono rimasta coinvolta in una battaglia orribile.

Riporto segni molto invalidanti e provo forte dolore a tutto il corpo.

L'esperienza più atroce che io abbia mai sperimentato e non che questo non sia già successo. Se fossimo di più a pregare potrebbe davvero fare la differenza.

Ci sono molte anime buone che pregano, che sanno riconoscere il valore della vita in tutte le creature e, ci sono tanti corpi oscuri che non danno valore alla vita si nutrono dell'oscurità che portiamo dentro i nostri cuori e parlo delle invidie del senso di rivalsa, vera cattiveria, la capacità di tollerare il prossimo pari a zero.

Questi esseri oscuri si nutrono di noi ogni giorno in ogni attimo.

In questo momento cercare di ostacolarli da sola è praticamente impossibile per questo vi chiedo leggete attentamente queste parole non so quando e se ne troverete ancora.

Il mondo ha bisogno di riconoscere bellezza.

Che riconosciate la bellezza ovunque.

Il mondo ha bisogno che pensiate che tutti hanno il diritto di avere una vita meravigliosa.

Per creare una nuova era di pace servono pensieri di pace.

Per creare un regno di luce, di fratellanze e amore dobbiamo viverli manifestarli in ogni istante altrimenti non serve a niente...

Se tutti crederemo che è possibile allora sarà possibile.

I Signori  oscuri della Guerra esistono, sono ovunque

Distorcono il campo delle nostre menti, dei nostri pensieri e dei nostri desideri così da spingerci a desiderare solo cose inutili o a produrre pensieri frustrati e  tristi.

Noi malati e preoccupati arrabbiati, noi contro gli altri nostri fratelli...

Noi preoccupati per le malattie, le bollette, gli stipendi... ecc

Siamo come pile già scariche.

I signori della guerra usano i nostri pensieri.

Sono le nostre forme, perché poi le nutriamo con la nostra frustrazione e creiamo eggregori.

In 4 o 5 persone al mondo  posseggono potere, denaro e hanno la possibilità di governare 7 miliardi di persone manipolandoci attraverso falsi desideri, facendoci dimenticare chi siamo.

La leggenda della morte lo rappresenta...

Quando si racconta una storia si  contagia la mente di chi ci sta ascoltando, il quale raccontando a sua volta la stessa storia diffonderà il contagio: se la storia è potente, questo contagio può durare anche millenni. 

Come è accaduto con questa leggenda, una storia  antica e universale, visto che parla di morte.

La prima apparizione di questa storia la troviamo nel Talmud , che è uno dei testi sacri dell’ebraismo ed è conosciuto in due versioni: quella di Gerusalemme e quella babilonese.

La 53ª sukkah del Talmud Babilonese è una parabola che racconta di come un giorno Re Salomone si accorse che l’Angelo della Morte era triste. «Perché sei così triste?» gli chiese. «Perché mi hanno ordinato di prendere quei due Etiopi», risponde l’Angelo della Morte, riferendosi a Elihoreph e Ahyah, i due scribi etiopi di Salomone. Il Re volle salvare i suoi preziosi uomini e li fece scappare fino alla città di Luz, ma appena giunti qui i due scribi morirono. Il giorno seguente Salomone incontrò di nuovo l’Angelo della Morte e vide che sorrideva. «Perché sei così felice?» gli chiese. «Hai mandato i due etiopi proprio nel posto in cui li aspettavo!» risposte la Morte.  Al che Salomone espresse la morale della parabola: «I piedi di un uomo sono responsabili per lui: essi lo portano nel luogo dove egli è atteso.» Suona strana come morale, visto che in realtà i due poveri scribi vennero mandati da Salomone a morire, non dai loro piedi.

Il seme è lanciato: varie versioni di questa parabola infiammeranno la creatività di autori fino ai giorni nostri.

I nostri desideri non sono nostri i nostri sogni, non sono noi.

Se desideriamo cose o oggetti non facciamo niente di utile verso il prossimo, spariamo contro chiunque faccia qualcosa di diverso e siamo manipolati non siamo liberi in niente.

Per farvi sentire ancora peggio giornalisti biechi e manipolatori scrivono articoli tipo: Abbiamo le mani sporche di sangue perché abbiamo venduto armi ai curdi o alla Siria.

Io non ho visto nemmeno un'euro di quelle armi lo stato che ha potuto vendere quelle armi e ne ha fatto un capitale personale, non ha fatto niente con quei soldi per il popolo italiano, quindi il popolo italiano di per sé non ha colpa di nulla.

Parliamo col vicino.

Smettiamo di invidiare quella persona perché più bella, tonica o intelligente.

Giochiamo coi nostri figli.

Andiamo al mare o in montagna.
Fermiamoci ad osservare la bellezza.

Firmiamo petizioni...

Scendiamo in piazza.

Sediamoci in meditazione

Preghiamo ovunque crediamo che funzioni.

Accendiamo candele.

Pensiamo forti alla luce.

Visualizziamola.

Chiamiamo gli Arcangeli.

Convochiamo i Maestri ascesi affinché ci sia sempre più evoluzione.

Affinché tutti ottengano Luce e Pace.

Portiamo tali principi nella nostra vita quotidiana.

Michela Chiarelli ©️

On Sex and Freedom pt. 1 – Interview to Benjamin Nolot

I decided to open up about something I have reflected upon for many years.
What is freedom? What does it mean to be a free woman? And why is freedom so intertwined with sex? Moreover, does claiming to be free means having sex with a different guy every week?

Few weeks back I was talking on the phone with someone and he was telling me about how sex is very important and he needs to have it… I on the contrary said I didn’t have it for quite a while now and was just fine. He replied: oh come on! You’re a free woman, just go get someone for a night! – I calmly told him that being free spirit didn’t mean wanting or needing to have sex, moreover I feel gross about the idea of welcoming a complete stranger in my bed (and inside of me). He didn’t understand me and tried to convince me about how great it is to connect with someone new. AH HA, “connect”. Do we connect? Really?

Last year I happened to take a diving course in Italy and I overheard multiple times teenage girls in the changing room going rants about guys and hook ups. I bit my tongue every time not to intervene and comfort the girl who was venting out to her girlfriends about some guy smoothly getting in bed with her only to ignore her after having gotten what he wanted and making sure all school new. I would’ve loved to tell her that those things happen even to grown ups… and that made me think:
A. Why are girls and women not prepared to manipulation and mind games?
B. If not only teenage guys do it, but men well into adulthood still shamelessly play (and are proud of that?)… is it part of some sort of male gene? Or they just don’t grow up?

There is a wonderful film showing exactly this dynamic: LIBERATED, The New Sexual Revolution. Although in Europe we don’t have Spring Break, I think it’s anyway relatable at all levels and in many countries. For those who are not familiar with American Spring Break: basically every year students get a one-week vacation in Spring and usually spend that time with friends at a beach location drinking, partying and having lots and lots of sex. Sounds like Ibiza during summer time in Europe lol
On the surface women may have gained the so expected independence and equal rights. Like men we too are entitled to having occasional and random sexual encounters. However, if we dig deeper I am worried we have mistaken our freedom for something else. I have had one night stands, but I can only think of one time when I didn’t feel used. Most times than not our beautiful and sacred bodies are mistaken for receptacles of guys’ extra fluids.

Benjamin Nolot

I decided to interview Benjamin Nolot the writer and director of the film. Also founder of the organisation Exodus Cry – whose aim is to abolish sex trafficking and the commercial sex industry.

You say in the beginning of the film Liberated, “nothing quite prepares us for the struggle for identity and intimacy in today’s world”. How do you describe identity and intimacy?

<< The media and image based culture we live in communicate very powerful and visceral stories about what it means to be a man, a woman, and a sexual being. These stories are incredibly influential in shaping our identity and relationships. I don’t think there is enough being done to help prepare young people for the toxic and indoctrinating stories of the culture. The result is that most of us go through an identity crisis during our adolescence and I think it robs us of an authentic quality of self possession. >>

To be accepted and well liked women think they have to be hardly dressed and showcase sexiness at all times. We live – still – in a world where role models are such as Kim Kardashian who became famous for her sex tape! Likewise Paris Hilton who came before her. Powerful women are viewed as powerful in relation to how much sex drive they have and how many men they can attract (and ultimately fuck?). Living in a pornified world where sex doesn’t mean anything, I feel we are only too proud to admit ourselves that it does mean something… Perhaps by acting as “I don’t care” we feel stronger and believe we can walk away unhurt.
Do you think the people you interviewed, who claim “our generation gave up on love” / “we don’t believe in love” / “love was invented”, actually believe in these statements? And if so, why do you think this is?

<< Absolutely. I think there are two things: 
1) The false expectations of love setup by media. 
2) Their lived experiences at a young age.
One thing that was shocking to me is to discover how jaded people have become at such a young age. I think the widespread proliferation of pornography as primary sexual educator in most kids lives, and the subsequent hookup culture it fuels, create a feeling for people that relationships don’t matter anymore. >>

Basically, in a hookup culture what happens is that I have to shut down emotionally in order to have sex with you and see you just as an object there for for my pleasure. Casual encounters are the norm.
But in a culture where sex doesn’t mean anything…. who is the winner?

<< Ironically, no one. What we found is that even the people participating in hookup culture felt that it was diminishing their humanity and leaving them empty. It’s a zero sum game. When you take meaning out of sex, you end up with nihilistic relationships. It’s like Gioconda Belli said, “We have had a sexual revolution, but the sexual revolution only has made sex more pervasive. It hasn’t granted the level of reverence and respect that it should have.” >>

What is masculinity to you? And what validates it?

<< This is such a huge question and would be impossible to answer in a couple sentences, but there are a couple core ideas to mention. What constitutes a healthy masculinity is the same thing that constitutes a healthy humanity: love and empathy.
Love reverences the gift of our common humanity. It says, “You are more valuable than just the body you possess.” Love honors the whole person and desires good for them, even at ones own expense. Love is not guided by consumptive compulsions but by respect and dignity. It is the highest way of being in the world—one in which both we, and those around us, are better off. It is the only place of true joy, freedom, and safety. 
Compassion empathetically connects us to others. We see the truth about their condition and we don’t minimize it, run from it, or give platitudes to it. We feel it along with them. Through compassion we share in the vulnerability, powerlessness, and pain of others. Our solidarity forges a path for hope and healing to emerge. The compassionate ones are beacons of light amidst a dark and hostile planet. Compassion is not merely something we do; it is someone we become. It enables us to truly see, truly feel, and truly act. To be compassionate is to live out the highest essence of our nature. It is to be authentic and fully alive. 
To be a “real man” is to embrace love and empathy as a primary way of being in the world. >>

Now, looking at the movie and how easy it is nowadays to get laid… to get girls. How can a man be seen as an example when anyone can do it? I mean, when there is nothing to be proud about if just any guy can get x number of girls to sleep with him? …. I mean, there is nothing “cool” nor special nor “difficult” anymore. Shouldn’t it be seen more “manly” to be able to commit and keep one girl? 
What I mean is: if men like a challenge and if there is no more challenge supposedly… where is the manhood going?

<< I agree with you, but the media-based indoctrination of the “modern man” has taught them that the more women you can sleep with, the more “manly” you are. So in that respect, I think it is going to take a lot of work and intentional effort to changing these mindsets, steering men towards values of love and empathy as a better and more fulfilling way of being in the world. >>

Do you think over sexualised media is stealing childhood? If so how and how can that be changed?
<< Absolutely. I think that hyper-sexualized media sends young girls the message that the most important thing about them is their sex appeal. This form of female mind control programming conditions them into building their identity almost exclusively around their outward appearance. This shallow construction of an identity comes with a “visibility” shelf life, ultimately paving the way for major identity struggles as they get older and their looks and hence “visibility” diminishes.

I think this can be changed by changing the story we tell about women. We must embrace a story that celebrates the full scope of what it means to be a woman. Women are intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creative, athletic, familial, political, caring, compassionate, relational, and strong. Women are searching for deeper meaning and purpose. They have history, memories, and unique experiences. They long to have an impact in the world. Simply put, women are not merely “eye candy” for the gratuitous appetites of men. >>

And yet men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Why? In Italy for example, when a man murders his girlfriend or wife because she decides to end the relationship… he gets excused for having been too in love. This is clear evidence of a culture where possession and control are mistaken for love. How is this also related to the normalisation or criminal behaviour

<< We live in a culture and a world in general that sexualises power, hierarchy, and invulnerability. Many males eroticize women’s submission, compliance, and subservience. Women are often viewed as the property of men. Women are trained to be sexy, to be mothers, to serve, to clean up after men and children and wealthier people, to tolerate subjugation and ill-treatment, to be generous to those who mistreat them, to endure for their children when they have children. Highly intelligent women are seen by many men as threatening and are often denigrated. Insecure men prefer less intelligent female partners so that they can feel superior and secure.

Social psychology experiments have shown consistently disturbing results about human social behavior. That is, when human beings are placed in a position of power over other human beings who are defined in some measure by their inferiority or vulnerability or abject dependency, the human beings in power (usually males) become increasingly demanding, insensitive, cruel, domineering, exploitative, and aggressive. In some studies with healthy college students, experiments had to be curtailed in the middle of the project because the higher power subjects were getting increasingly corrupt and aggressively out of control in the misuse of their position of power. >>
We are indeed taught on magazines and on tv what is hot, what is desirable, what we should like, what is acceptable. So I doubt that changing the media will do any good as it will just replace the current objects of desire with a new one. What is your take on this?
<< The problem with the stories being told in media today is their single narrative. So I don’t think its about replacing what is desirable, i think it is about broadening out the story. For example, Cosmopolitan Magazine has a very consistent image of women that they put on the cover of their magazine that really only celebrates one aspect of who women are. I would like to see women on the cover of their magazine celebrated for a much more prolific range of accomplishments than just looking good. We must celebrate women in athletics, politics, the arts, academia, business, etc…Only then will young women learn that they don’t have to conform to a particular image, but rather can pursue their own path—and be recognised and respected for it. >>
After watching Liberated, I also watched “Hot girls wanted” and then I noticed how Netflix has A LOT of titles of tv series and movies about porn and the porn industry. I wonder if it’s normalising it that way. I find myself a little bit confused. On one side I feel there should be freedom of expression, on the other side I feel there is missing education and knowledge… profound knowledge on what sex means and is.What are your thoughts about it?
<< I agree that there is a lack of meaningful resources and dialogue about the inherent value and meaning of sex. I think what our society is lacking right now is a basic sexual ethic. In my view, empathy and mutuality are the most important parts of building a sexual ethic for society. Unfortunately, in the absence of that, so many people are being ripped off and sexually defrauded. >>
What is freedom?
<< I think freedom is simply the privilege and the courage to live what is true. >>

 

 

 

 

On Beauty and Silence

I haven’t written anything on my blog about the book I have written and published this year. Perhaps because it’s in Italian, and most of my readers of this blog are not Italian so I thought why should I even bother to speak about it? … Now I decided I want to translate the poems and will put the translations on my blog in the section Words & Stories.

I never thought I would publish my poetry, perhaps because unlike fiction or other forms of writing, poetry is incredibly intimate. At least my poetry is.
I began writing obsessively last September and it’s not until I had a good amount of poems that I thought to turn them into a book. I had gone through the roughest time of my life, a low I didn’t know how to overcome so I wrote down my feelings as a way to turn pain into something beautiful. Also, I wrote it to never forget and to not allow the same things happen to me again.

This week Italy is raging about the multiple newspapers that write articles about the last femminicidio (woman murdered by a man) case. The headlines excuse him, saying he was a good man, he loved her too much, he didn’t mean it… and yet he killed her. We raise girls in a culture that teaches them to excuse every violent act of men, to understand men, to help them… never mind if we lose our life in pursuit of “saving” him. My book talks about the pain and the consequences for a woman to be in a violent relationship: be it physical or psychological.
Psychologically violent relationships are the most vile, for the simple fact its scars and bruises are unseen on the outside. Many times I tried to confide in another woman (who on the contrary was in a physical relationship with her husband and father of her three children) but she would brush me of saying I am ungrateful and that the man I am with is so good and helpful… I should be ashamed of thinking anything bad of him. Well he was all that she was describing, just not with me. Anyway, somehow he also did the very best thing he could do (I didn’t know at that time though), that being kicking me out of the house – only to try get me back multiple times. Though the moment I was out of there and surrounded by my family and girlfriends, I began to write… to try heal, make sense, make something out of the nightmare I lived in.

On the beauty of life, and on the necessary silence to translate that beauty into words. My book is a reminder to women that they are not alone, that love has nothing to do with violence, that when you start sensing something is not right… it most likely isn’t!

Every word written has a meaning and a reason for being there. Every poem has multiple layers which can be reached differently depending from who reads it and its sensibility. I wrote and wrote only to understand many months later the reasons of those poems and their meaning. And only a year later I asked myself: why did I begin the book with Vasilisa…..(which you can find here).
Why is it the first? Why Vasilisa? Who is she? … Do you know the Russian story of Vasilisa The Beautiful? I wasn’t sure why that name came to my mind when I was thinking of a title to give to this poem, but it makes sense as Vasilisa’s story on a symbolical level stands for the beginning of a quest: the quest of oneself. Vasilisa is a story of female intuition.
So everything, every word, every paragraph, every sentence has a baggage.
I hope it touches you – like it touched me.

 

P.S. here you can buy a copy of the book 🙂