The Women in My Life

(True story, biographical.)

“How do you know you’re at peace?” I asked my mother once, in my teens. She told me “when your masculine and feminine stop fighting each other, when you stop fighting yourself, that’s when you’ll find peace.” So I asked, “which side should I be then? Which one wins?” My mother smiled and said “figure it out.”

I watched, trying ever so hard to understand how my mother could be so at peace despite everything she had been through as a mother. Then I looked at both her sisters, and realised they’re made of that same metal that makes my mother who she is. Naturally, it made sense to get to know my parents’ siblings better so that I could better understand them…

In the last two years, I’ve learned that mother’s younger sister has been doing remote work from home for almost as long as I’ve been alive! What my generation aspires to do, she’s already an expert. Last month, I discovered that mother’s older sister is one of the first women who ever  wore trousers as work attire in corporate London, back in the early 80’s. When she told me this, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a specific “skirt / dress only” dress code.

“We were supposed to only wear skirts to work,” my aunt told me, “but skirts can get very uncomfortable, you know. So one day I put on a pair of trousers because it was more comfortable. Next thing you know, other women start doing it too. Eventually, it just became accepted in our company (Ernst and Young).”

I reflected, and pondered: it stood to reason that the strength came from my grandma. With R20 (USD 1.50) in her pocket, my grandma moved the family of ten (five went ahead, I was told, the other five came later) to the city in the 1960s during the apartheid in South Africa. As a family, they never let the Apartheid become a factor hindering them from just living their lives. When survival is your main focus, and it slowly seeps into the “norm”, you learn to embrace the better parts of life.

My grandparents always opened their homes, always welcomed those in need. Though they didn’t have much, they gave what they could: love, shelter, and a hot cup of tea. They didn’t discriminate who came through the doors. They were loving, but they were tough.

To the kids, they were very disciplined, from what I was told. Swearing warranted washing your mouths out with soap, dishes had to be cleaned immediately after dinner. Beds had to be made and tucked in completely, without an angle sticking out anywhere (although, I was recently informed that bed-making was my great grandmother’s rule). Disciplined, but always out of love. They knew that as long as the kids were disciplined enough to later be self-disciplined, then they would be able to take care of themselves.

They were right. And so it continued in the family line. I see it in my mother, I see it in how she is with our family. I know it comes from her family, that strength, that unity, that togetherness. The way she always did her best to stay strong for all of us when we were all falling apart; when we’re at our worst, she’s always the one motivating us, holding us up, comforting us and letting us know that “it’s okay not to be okay, as long as you get up again when you’re ready.”

My mother is the strongest woman I have experienced. She taught me everything I know and more, at least by providing the platforms where I, too, could become self-disciplined and self-motivated. I am where I am (literally) because yes, she birthed me, but also because she is the one woman who has always, always been there for me, through thick and thin. The one who has lifted me when I was down, but humbled me when I was arrogant. The one who can fight me when I need it, and calm me down when I diverge.

I am strong because my mother is strong. She is strong because the women in her life are strong.

So how do I know that I am at peace?

Because my masculine energy and my feminine energy are no longer at war.

I am a person, a human. A human with strength, both inner and outer; a person with emotions, both aggressive and passive. A human with weaknesses, both external and internal; a person with flaws, both on the outside and on the inside. A human with motivation, both physical and emotional; a person with compassion, both expressed and empathised. I am not perfect, but I am balanced, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Balanced, and equal.

Within myself.

Peace,
MG

(Re-blog from https://mikavelli.com/2017/03/09/the-women-in-my-life/ )

The Downfall of Democracy

Why are we told that Republican is the opposite of Democrat?
The whole system is democratic!

Why do people who leave their country to become independent people
complain when their country wants to leave and become
Independent People?

Why do we call them Conservative when there’s not much conservation?
Why do we call them Liberal when they are not free to speak their minds?
Why do we call it Labour when taxes favour those who don’t?

Why do they complain about the government instead of themselves,
when democracies are “by the people”?

Why do people fight to change the rules instead of first learning to play
the existing ones?
Why are we taught that rules are made to be broken,
but then are told we can change them?

We do we tax those who work,
but provide to those who don’t?

Why do we restrict those who can work for a lower salary,
then complain that they do not work?

Why do they educate all who enter their doors,
then banish them along with skills bred on their soil?

Why do they complain about their countries falling apart,
when they were the ones who abandoned it in the first place?

Why do democracies still exist if they cater only to the small percentage of elitists?

And why do those elitists,
at some point,
drop out of the game…?

Think about it.

M. Gordan

What Are We?

i am one

What are we?
We are a generation.

A generation of dreamers
who are told to walk when we can fly.

A generation of poets
who speak of nothing but truth.

A generation of scholars
who are censored through education.

A generation of learners
who know nothing and everything.

A generation of thinkers
whose thoughts we are taught to suppress.

A generation of radicals
who are oppressed by our leaders.

We are a generation.

A generation of non-conformists
who are intimidating to the sheep of our society.

A generation of critics
who live by a standard.

A generation of soldiers
who are willing to fight.

A generation of fighters
who are trained to live by standards set by society.

A generation of creators
who create a paradigm of humanity.

A generation of philosophers
who are criticized for depth.

A generation of influence
who are hindered by time.

A generation of doers
who haven’t made a mark in history.
Yet.
A generation of historians
who are making a mark in history.

We are.
A generation.

A generation of people
who will not be robotised.

A generation of humans
who will not lose our dignity.

But we,
this generation;
us

We are what we are.
We will be what we want.
We are a result of history
and we are the makers of our future.

But at present,
we are this generation.
And if you break us,
you will make us.

Us, this generation,
is made from the debris of our ancestors.

~Mikaela Gordan~

Society

Blank.

I sit and stare at my screen
Trying to find the words to say
But to tell all that I’ve seen
Well… I’ve only got a day

For every finger we point
There are three pointing back
At us for our inadequacies
And corresponding fallacies

They push you to the edge
Only to knock you down
Then blame you for being on the cliff
When they nudge and you crash and burn

Instead of changing minds
My actions are seen as crimes
Being different comes with a price
One I’m paying with my life

No one seems to see
That society creates agony
The amount of negativity
A result of truths unseen

Unseen to the average human
Sheltered in their comfort zones
Safety nets of their construct
Phased by life’s cyclones

All that we perceive
We trust the concrete
All that we can see
Is our defined reality
We fear the unknown and the unseen
For it unravels our insecurities
Everything we think we perceive
The lies we’re taught to believe
The person we’re told to be
Is a manifestation of all that is
A social construct – a mythical bliss
~McGordan~

The Change

This story is inspired by Huxley’s Brave New World and Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World. 

He swung his rucksack over his shoulder and pulled the door shut behind him as he left the house, once again ready to fly solo into the battlefield. It was an average sunny morning with nothing new except his thoughts and theories which consumed him faster than the speed of light. All geared up with his knives and a crossbow, he skipped down the stairs, realising that the agonising discipline he had endured for the past decade was finally coming into play. He’d never understood why he’d been put through combat training, until about a year ago…

It was late July, halfway into the summer, that he was navigating around various city-states in his surrounding area. In this age of technology, though, his exploration was mostly conducted by travelling through cyberspace. He would navigate from state to state, find the most feasible settling point, and experiment by scouting around the boarders. For months, he had established Influence over certain city-states and civilisations, but it wasn’t until November that he had stumbled upon a civilisation that fully encompassed the types of battles for which he was trained.

In months, he had created a weapon that could ultimately destroy a civilisation of Megalopolises; a weapon that would break through the defense of Superficiality and thus expose and attack flaccidity of the archenemy both as an entity and as individuals. The downside, however, was that his weapon also unmasked his own weaknesses, and he needed to reconstruct a certain set of defenses accordingly. However, as he had allied with a small but strong Civilisation, he ended up investing most of his energy into fueling the weapon and hadn’t quite strengthened his defenses, so just over half a year later, when the Megalopolis decided to unite and declare war against this Civilisation, it was hardly a secret that his stronghold came crashing down, leaving fragments of debris on everything he touched.

With each battle, he felt weakened and defeated. But what his enemies didn’t know is that each scar they inflicted only fueled the fire and passion it took to take down this flawed and corrupt system. Two months after the initial battle, he decided to coalesce with the Army General to enhance the pre-existing weapon and defend it with double the aegis. They devised a strategy that was everything he had hoped, months ago, to enforce, but given the fact that the weapon was still in its phase of refurbishment, he decided that it was still too early in the game to bring out the big guns and fire the ultimatum. Instead, the Army decided it best to ultilise the information uncovered by their diplomats to administer alternate methods.

Finally, after three and a half months of provocation and warfare, he felt ready to save the society from falling down a swirling abyss of soon-to-be Betas of the Brave New World. The Civilisation had devised a strategy to conquer the boundaries of a backward society and catapult these Megalopolises into progressing in a universally sanctioned direction. Fueled with a passion that went both ways, he was fully equipped to train certain Melee units to defend their assets and enhance the skills they had already developed, but also to take on the antagonistic opposition from Greater Civilisations.

Each Melee Unit he was handed to train was equipped with their own set of weapons, and it was his job to cultivate these units into armies that could handle the Great Battle which was yet to come. These little battles that were coming his way at a rapidly unexpected pace were merely his next level of training, which is why he understood the importance of training his Melee Units as rigorously as possible.

The Great Battle was one he knew he was definitely not ready to face yet: What happens when his Melee Units reach their Age of Enlightenment and besiege the Megalopolis? How hard will the Megalopolis fight back then? Somehow though, his reassurance lay in the fact that they knew how to strategise around these impediments, which is why he allowed himself to sustain a few broken bones and scratches here and there: he knew they would grow back stronger, and that he would be able to take on the Ultimate Battle when it stares him in the face. For now, he just has to go on training his Units, and defend their Freedom without the Megalopolis trying to eradicate it. Being one of the few Civilisations in the Information Era, he knew he would have to wait a long time until his Melee Units moved out of the Industrial Era. That, or he needed to find a new method of combat training.

With every demonstration during the training sessions, his Melee Units felt threatened and weakened, but they didn’t yet understand that this was his way of strengthening them. They didn’t understand that the only way to grow was to conquer the existing Challenges before they could be upgraded to a stronger Unit. After three months of battling and Melee Training, he had finally come to discover that although his armies were equipped with tons of state-of-the-art weaponry, none of them had been trained to actually use any of it, so in the first few sessions when he asked them to try to use it, they all ended up shooting themselves in the foot or poking an eye out one way or another.

In his mind palace, he realised that these armies would take much more training that he had anticipated, which was surprising considering how modern their military technology and weaponry supplies were. He knew what had to be done, and knew what the ultimate goal was, but as for how to win the battle, well first, he had to decided which ones were worth the fight. But he knew. He knew that the Ultimate Battle, or the Great Battle, would only be fought when he had enough Flight Units to intercept the opposition. And for now, he would continue with his various forms of research that would provide substance and options for stronger weapons and more fine-tuned training tools to cater to the unpredicted needs of units that have been bred but not trained. He was tired of seeing his government funding the nation’s military but not actually training the army to use the tools, and considering the fact that this Megalopolis was considered to be one of the most advanced Civilisations in the whole world, his jaw dropped when he discovered that one of his Units whom he had trained for a sheer 9-month period had more common sense than the entire government. They were living proof that his expectations for the Units were not irrational or impractical, and though he may be somewhat idealistic at times, each losing battle only drove his cynicism, which in turn nourished his Strength.

And although he was very well trained and equipped to attack and dominate, the Civilisation didn’t feel that he was ready to be put on the frontlines yet. Instead, they were training his defenses and setting up the battlefield, so that when they did unleash his Ultimatum, it would act like an abstract Apache AH-64 trained to only shoot down Enemy Thoughts but keep the civilians and their Freedom safe. Tough and heart-wrenching as the process sometimes was, he promised himself that he would live to see the day when the Change took place. When the Change he had spent a decade trying to implement happens, he would be on the frontlines with a PHASR rifle to blind and suspend Enemy Thoughts, and an MAARS to launch grenades of Liberated Knowledge which his Melee Units will use to defend their Liberated Minds. So for now, no matter how much damage he undergoes, as long as he has his moments to fortify and heal, he will live to be there when The Change happens, and he would sacrifice his reputation to achieve the ultimate goal of breaking through the Stereotypes and Traditionalism of a conservative, unenlightened and ignorant Megalopolis.

Until then, he wasn’t fighting alone, and besides his immediate allies, he had, within his mind palace, the defenses of Machiavelli, Huxley, Kafka, Sartre, Hobbes, Rousseau, Thoreau and Kant. For now, he told himself 8 words:

頂天立地
永不放棄

A Decade

Searching to find myself

But all I find is you
I can hardly stand myself
So what am I to you?
~Imagine Dragons~

Midnight struck and he was still roaming the streets, trying to find his way home. He’d taken a different route tonight, one that he hadn’t frequented for almost a decade. Much had changed since he’d last set foot in that area, and he still remembered it as a construction site – a section of the train station that was still amid the process. A decade ago, he’d sat on the concrete underneath the stairs, listening to his MP3 player, waiting for the bus. His friends would be frolicking around on the pavement, doing whatever it was fifteen year olds did to keep themselves busy.

A decade ago was a different era – although this generation had only just set foot in the twenty-first century, the build-up of the two decades prior had led to this moment: him, sitting in the shade with a device small enough to pass as a lighter, containing around thirty songs. This generation which had turned the intangible into something tangible – music at your fingertips, any time, anywhere – and that was his spot, every Saturday afternoon at around half three.

Now, a decade later he set foot down those stairs he once adored, but the unfamiliarity of the new structure threw him off for a moment, and he fumbled down the stairs in utter confusion. The concrete on which he used to sit had been converted into a power generator (or so said the sign), the pavement had been paved and smoothed out, and the road which the bus always took looked much longer and further in hindsight. Perhaps he really was that much smaller, physically, a decade ago…

For once, however, he stopped to ponder more on the change in his surroundings and society rather than changes in himself, for it was at that moment when he saw the parallels between the modernised structure and the structure of his own life. It dawned on him that every construct can be destroyed (or modified). That vision which was usually so self-aware suddenly became peripheral vision – a moment when he realised that he cared more about the great wide world than what was going on in his head. He almost smacked himself in the head when he sussed the triviality of his self-interested ego, one that he would try repeatedly to kick it to the curb or drown it in a cesspool, but each failure only fuelled his rage, until he had enough to plot revenge.

And with that, he took out a pen…
Gordan, June 2014

No construct is indestructible.