New Year’s Eve is a day just like any other. It is an ordinary night separated from dawn by alcohol. A bizarre night confused by our counting. A night scared by firecrackers, shivering with cold like a puppet behind a toilet seat. It is just another repeat of the same night, the same as its yesterday’s predecessor, and even more similar to its tomorrow’s successor.
They teach us from an early age that real men do not cry. In the same way, even before we are born, they paint our room blue, they buy blue dummies, prams and towels. And rompers, bodysuits and baby walkers. Once we learn how to talk, we must know which sports club we support. As soon as we learn how to walk, they put football boots on us, wrap white, yellow and black belts around us. Here, in the Balkans, if you are not a stereotypical man who is 6’7’’ tall and who weighs 15 stone 10 lbs, if you do not have sports medals, a wife and a mistress, you are not a man. This is why children are raised according to stereotypes. In order for them to adjust more easily, and to boost their parents’ low self-esteem.
You can’t escape growing up. It hits everyone. It can be earlier or later for some people. It often happens overnight. All of a sudden. It strikes you at the most awkward moment. Like a fever and shivering at a late hour, it shakes you hard, leaving you completely exhausted to make a confession to the dawn. You grow up even faster at night. In the dark. With no advice, or acceptance or support. Those who have been duly prepared for life are a rare and privileged species. A more common way is to go from a baby walker straight to a hurdle race, from the multiplication table to trigonometry, from riding with training wheels to riding on a motorway. You have no choice but to learn, know and want. In short, you have no choice but to live.
There isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t have his or her ex. Ex-relationships, ex-friendships, ex-jobs, ex-cities. The main difference between ex-people and those who will always exist in our lives is that we ourselves consciously chose all our exes and life conferred upon us people for all times. For example, we did not choose our mother, father, our name, place of birth, but our partners and friends we did for sure, consciously, with sobriety and responsibility, and that is why they have been and will always be a reflection of ourselves.
If you are currently reading this, it means, first of all, that you have finished some schools, that you can read and that you can use modern technology. Also, that means that you have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in. If you are reading this, it means that you have a computer or a smartphone. Or both. You also have access to the Internet, a paid bill and most likely a bit of extra money left after you pay all the expenses so that you can afford this little luxury. If you are reading this, it means you have time. Free time. At least a little. And that is a big luxury today. All these things put you in the group of only a few million people out of 7 billion people living on this planet at present, and on the local level that puts you in the group of only a few hundred thousand living souls among 7 million Serbs living in Serbia.
Tolerating a bad marriage for your kids’ sake is the same as bombing for peace or fucking for virginity. Impossible. Contradictory. I don’t get it, what could be so bad about a civilised divorce that has not already happened ten times worse in a bad marriage?
Lately people who are not in a relationship have been all singing the same song of woe. Some of them sing soprano, others sing baritone, but they are all singing the same tune. The supply is of poor quality, those available are good for nothing, they are not able to find a normal person. Nobody is beautiful enough to the strong, and nobody is strong enough to the beautiful to make them feel complete. After such complacency and a schizophrenic combination of self-confidence and self-respect and after a lot of complaining (usually dismissing it as such), they finally come to the conclusion, triumphantly, that they actually do not need to be in a relationship because they are not prepared to be accountable to anyone.
How are You? Haven’t heard from You in a long time, even though I know You are here. Nearby. I haven’t written to You in a while, but I do think about You often, and now is the time.
First of all, I owe You a sincere apology for not believing in You for the last quarter of a century, even though You have been my honest friend. Then I owe You an apology for being easily manipulated, for believing others more than You, for listening to those lies on the outside and silencing You while you were screaming the truth from the inside. I beg You to forgive me for leaving You all alone down there, for wandering and not coming back to You, for leaving You worried.
The system we live in has tripped us up perfidiously and deviously ever since we learned to stand on our own feet. Fairy tales have created princes on white horses, gyms and fashion have imposed unattainable physical standards, porn movies have shaped insatiable appetites, television has promoted instant morality… Love is mentioned by only a few people, very rarely and so shyly that in such an atmosphere we have reached a point when love is unwelcome. As they like to say – it makes us feel vulnerable. That’s a lie. The absence of love makes us vulnerable, and love makes us stronger.
Certain things, people and acts leave a scar that we carry through our lives… a bleeding scar. They cut deep through the softest flesh of our insecurity, they smash the strongest armature of our self-confidence with a mallet, set fire to all our suspicions dormant up to that moment. Once they are done, they say they did not do it on purpose, they turn their back on you and leave. And we, hobbling, broken and burnt, step into the future dragging all that emotional baggage, which more often than not gets heavier faster than it takes us to heal, so there comes a moment when we start tripping over it.