Have you ever been happy because your apple is sour? Today my apple had a tinge of sourness. I was so happy in ways that I can’t explain - that I could finally taste again - I thought I may have lost my sense of taste forever. I loved that sourness.
‘Everything happens in Barcelona,’ this phrase seems to say it all for me; everything has indeed happened to me in just the last 6 weeks, and it’s honestly not been easy… Being ill for 6 weeks straight (still ill), having injured my ankle for 5 weeks, having sporadic allergy reactions and rashes over my body (since the start of my stay in barce actually), having strained my ribs muscles twice from the coughing, and for the worst part amongst other things, having to lose my complete sense of smell and taste for the past week. I actually cried when the coffee tasted like water, when the chocolate melted in my mouth with the same familiar texture without the bittersweetness, when the cereal crisps crunched loudly but blandly.
I nearly went crazy. I squeezed fresh lemon, and lime, into my mouth, and while I felt the acidity from the dryness it was nothing more than water. In retrospect, the first few days I was in denial. I ate an enormous amount of chocolate cakes, apple crumbles, sachertorte, nutella and red velvet cream cheese cakes even though I sort of knew I couldn’t taste. I probably didn’t enjoy them, but I was deriving joy from just chewing on the different textures, knowing that I’d have utterly loved them if I were to be able to taste. I started to imagine the flavours with each bite…
When reality kicked in, eating became a real chore. I hated meal times, and I was rarely hungry though I fed myself something anyway because I felt weak. I was eating much less than I’d usually do, and since that I couldn’t taste, I’ve also decided to eat healthier. I spent more than 15 euros on fruits, and I’ve probably eaten more apples within these 3 days than in my whole life. I am not exaggerating - I ate 4 yesterday and 3 today. Plus those (tasteless) apple crumbles. I never used to eat apples unless they were apple crumbles topped with cinnamon ice cream.
Not being able to walk for 5 weeks was more than terrible to adapt too, especially since I am such an active person. The first week after the injury I still went dancing, to Manu Chao concert, up a mountain (limping) - and thereafter, it swelled so bad I was almost hopping everywhere I went since I didn’t want to spend money to buy a pair of clutches. It took me 2 weeks to buy an ankle support.
Amongst the many other unfortunate events, I’m just going to end my train of thoughts for the night by combining one of my favourite quotes with the above: Everything happens, for a reason, in Barcelona.
Thank you for teaching me the different perspectives, and for heightening my appreciation for the simplest things.
“Keep singing along, keep doing it wrong”
here is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.
and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty
is realizing the you are the beholder.