My somewhat constructive critics have told me that I have a proclivity for using “big” words in my writing. “Big” is a rather ambiguous adjective and I cannot be sure if they mean the words I use are too long or unnecessarily difficult to understand. I will assume the latter in which case I have provided a definition of my subject matter for this post. I apologize if you already know the meaning of the word and you find this exercise a little condescending.
Plat- i –tude:
A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant.
staleness or insipidity of thought or language; triteness
We all have platitudes thrown in our direction at some point in our lives. I went on a personal quest to find examples of them in our daily conversations.
· You are young, you’ll survive (Can my age take on any challenge?)
· He or she is in a better place (Thanks. I would still prefer it if they told me that personally)
· Better now than later (Or what? Can I state my preference for the timing of this catastrophe)
· I know exactly how you feel (Really, when did you experience this exactly?)
· Well at least you look great (Seriously? You know the weight-loss is just a symptom of my depression)
· You should be grateful you survived (I am, I just feel like death for some reason)
· Everything happens for a reason (Please help me cite one reason for my apparent misfortune)
I can readily picture an optimist’s muscles growing tight at the cynical mental responses that appear in brackets. Reading them makes me recoil in shame. The point that I am trying to make is that platitudes rarely have the intended effect of making anyone feel better. These “educated” responses fail on so many accounts. However, since we cannot totally immerse ourselves in other people’s emotions, we dish out large helpings of trite sayings with the mere hope that quantity will trump quality. Most of us lack the emotional capacity to be finely tuned to each other’s needs. We are engineered to avoid “awkward moments”. We expect people to display a “fake it till you make it” mental stoicism.
I’m sure my critics at this point are thinking, “that’s life and what’s your point Zama?”. Thankfully I have arrived at it. That sad reality inspired me to reach out to all my dear friends and family that are going through a difficult time. There are seemingly a lot of you isolated souls. You are not alone and as cheesy as this may sound: I 100% salute you for your concerted efforts to rise above mere survival with each new day that comes.
Two months ago I had that mugging, quasi-hijacking, aggravated assault incident that altered my life. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and I unwillingly have to attend counselling for the trauma. I am in no way reducing myself to a victim in bringing up this story. On the contrary, for the first time in my life I am casting myself as a fortunate survivor who was given another shot at life. At this point in my post the limitability and transience of words will fail to convey the crux of my emotions. I ask for the reader to pardon me for that. Juxtaposed with the depth of my sadness and the intensity of my fear for living currently, it seems rather hollow to put up a blog. It is, however, necessary to capture these sadly profound thoughts in a jar - just as a reminder of my mental progress in years to come. And yes, to arrive at this point: my support network gave me a deadline to get over the whole incident. Out of sheer concern, they inadvertently tried to speed up the recovery process by expecting my personality and my life to resume a semblance of normalcy. What I wish that they knew, is that our minds have different degrees of complexities. While some may suppress a traumatic incident and forget that it happened others take a while to fully recover. The beauty of it all is that I will emerge stronger and with that mystic will that one acquires with life experience. Part of being great is to be misunderstood at some point in your life.
So to my friends and family that are going through a difficult time. I will not single you out and subject you to scrutiny but I hope that this post will be comforting in some way. Do not let your scornful intelligence stop you from developing the wisdom to put things into perspective. You are sadly not entitled to a lifetime of fortune. We all have to work for something in this lifetime. There is no need to derive meaning from everything. Be gentle with yourself even while others are impatient with your progress. Life has chaos, uncertainty and great suffering but do not let that gnaw away at your soul. When lots of bad things descend on you, I hope “What’s it going to be now” does not become a formula for your anticipation of tragedy. Lastly, patience is the catalyst for progress – that is my self-created daily mantra. Be patient. This too shall pass. Do not let other people’s lives determine the pace of your life. I am quite weary of giving cliché advice given my discussion of platitudes so I will stop there.
To my darling family and friends, thank you all for your support. Even though you are compelled to surrender to the greater force of daily tasks and deadlines, your mere existence has made me breathe easier.
To the Foord family, I carry you in my thoughts and prayers. My sympathy and love for you is poignant beyond expression. This post is for “World Peace”!
Fashion can be bought, Style one must possess. Out on the Streets - Own it.
I could never write about fashion. Pay no attention to my love for trend-spotting and blogging. My strong opinions attack my conscience first so they are diluted by a conquering desire to not offend anyone. Of course disclaimers come in handy. I have learnt that the difference between an insult and a fact is the slithery phrase “I’m not trying to be mean but…”
It is with this casual approach of not trying to be mean that I briefly explore the etiquette of wearing sunglasses. While I have been influenced by a fashionista’s superior opinion (Elle Magazine November issue 2010), this principle was surprisingly embedded in my conduct when I simply demonstrated good manners.
The rule is as follows: When the rays of the sun become a blinding menace to your vision, wear your sunglasses. I made amendments to the former “When the sun shines” clause since sunshine is clearly a vague description that fails to specify the intensity of the shine.
Should you need further convincing find an owner of a vehicle who has achieved partial customization of it with tinted windows. Ask him this question, “Is it absolutely necessary for you to roll down your window when you converse with someone outside of your car”. If the answer to that question is yes then I think it is fair to say that my theory stands. Is it not?
My Plea: If the sun doesn’t rudely hover over our conversation, please take them off. We clearly know each other and there is no need to mask your identity. Let’s not waste time finding each other’s pupils - the focal point of our attention. Engage me with your naked eyes and let me marvel at their uncanny knack to reflect your feelings and thoughts. Sadly my ears do not latch onto your every word so facilitate the use of my sight to listen. I probably think your eyes are beautiful. If they happen to have a yellowish tinge or a veiny appearance and I childishly gape stupidly or snicker then the fault lies with me. I am sure the Court of Thought Justice will punish me appropriately for my mean thoughts.
I recognize the comfort of artificial darkness held up by two glittering ARMANI arms. I fully understand the instalments that go towards securing this safe undercover shade where baggy or blue eyes can quietly retreat from hurled insults and negative attention. I commend you for your conspicuous effort to hide your hangover. More importantly I appreciate that not all beauty is in subtlety and that flashy looks miraculously command respect from prying shop assistants.
This fervent plea is just a weak attempt to promote chivalry and revive social niceties that draw a referent power. If we leaf through historical customs, I would expect to find this beside the social norm of taking off your hat when you enter a building. Thankfully both gestures are seen as polite across the cultural spectrum.
I have tried to hunt down the real culprits behind this “fad”/”swag”.
Culprit number 1: Kanye West
Culprit number 2: Anne Wintour (Editor of American Vogue)
Culprit number 3: Lenny Kravitz
Culprit number 4: Ringo Starr
Culprit number 5: Amber Rose
(I love all culprits so this isn’t personal)
To recapitulate my argument briefly: Be careful of the trends you follow, it could be a classic case of the blind leading the blind.