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Summer Blues ’12 by bayripley
13/08/2012, 18:21
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

It happened again. It happened again in summer.

I have written before, I hate summers. They are nothing but gloomy times for me. In the beginning of this summer, I thought it would be different. I’ll admit it, I failed. This summer is just as gloomy as past summers. This time, it is not only because of my personal life, which is a total mess. This time Turkey, my homeland, has the large share in my depression.

Last night, my close friend and I were watching a horror movie about a vampire girl who lives in a northern European country and sobs when she kills her victims. My friend said she wouldn’t continue watching the movie, and took off. It was 9.30pm. And I thought myself, I would surf the net, fall asleep, and wake up to an awesome week. I had planned it all. I would wake up at 6 am, go to the gym, and start working at 9am. I would finish all the unfinished projects, which literally needed one or two working days of focus. I clicked on one of the news portals. It all started there, and it is not going away.

In the last 24 hours, one of Turkey’s MPs was kidnapped by a terrorist organization. A policeman shot a citizen almost for no reason in the daylight, while the cameras were recording, and he just walked away. The spokesperson of the ruling party denied recalling the members of the parliament to debate the civil war. (Yes, admit it, it is a civil war!) And my favorite columnist of all times was denied his freedom of speech in his column, resulting his abrupt resignation from the newspaper.

Given the conditions, I couldn’t find peace, and sleep rejected me. I couldn’t sleep the whole night; I watched a stupid show on the Internet just to fall asleep. It didn’t work. I will not deny the fact that my life is currently a total mess, but I personally feel ashamed of whining about it when all these terrible things happen in my country.

At those moments, the moments of finding myself in total awe and frustration about the geography where my best memories about life and love took place, I ask myself: Has it always been such or is it me who is becoming more aware every time? I remember the first time I asked such a question: It was the freshman year at high school, and I was an ardent admirer of “Western countries.” I had read “A Tale of Two Cities,” and asked at the conclusion of my book presentation whether the filth of Dickens’ times was long gone or had it transformed into something else along the years. My literature teacher answered: “You will find your answer later in life.” As in many other instances, he was damn right. Nothing bad goes away from the surface of earth. They just transform into other things.

I personally feel the same for my life. The moment you think you are over someone, the moment you think the pain of love is gone and you are all healed, it all comes back in another form. My take on life is “Never celebrate the passing of a bad thing, Just prepare yourself for another form of it.”

The pain is no stranger to Turkey’s geography, either. Nothing was better 10 years ago, they were just worse in other terms. Pain seems to be the fuel of not only gloomy literature people but it is also a substantial medium in politics and history. It just changes shape; the essence is the same.

Given the situation, my biggest regret in life emerges: I wish I had become one of those party animals when I had the chance. I wish I was one of those people who would hear the news while drinking his second mojito in a Cesme beach club in the afternoon. I am not blaming anyone, I am just blaming myself.

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Omnipresent Pain for Istanbul Chronicles (Dec ’11-Jan ’12) by bayripley
07/07/2012, 21:10
Filed under: music, the city | Tags: , , , ,

#2, January 2, 2012

I am fed up. I was already fed up actually, but today, with only six days left to go and many friends still not visited, I have the urge to write it down. Istanbul is no longer my city; Istanbul is an ex with a bad break-up.

My relationship with pain was never with relief. I am not one of those who do whatever he can to ultimately avoid pain. I used to easily coexist with it. There were moments of prolonged adolescence where I took pain as “my fuel in life”, and although those days are long past now, I still acknowledge the power and importance of pain. In addition, as I have written before, I found a way to cope with pain in a sweet city to start learning how to cherish life.

Istanbul, however, is such a bitch that it could not stand my “cured” persona, and treated me worst ever: To, most probably, take revenge, it reintroduced the omnipresent pain engrained in herself. And although I no longer live here and now I am an outsider to this city, I am still able to notice and point out painful details of Istanbul life, and it totally ruins the whole experience of holiday and visiting friends.

My Ex.

As stated in the first entry of these chronicles, most of my friends are undergoing an intriguing depression in their lives and they don’t hold themselves back from expressing their resentment on my face– the tourist who came from far away after a very long time. Their fragile emotional state must have turned them into discomfort-disseminators, and their “”life” is not making my “experience” well-pursued at all.

Secondly, my inclination of hearing life not from my friends but from other people that I see on the streets, my personal preference of using public transportation, my sweet but unachievable quest for used books have taken me to many different conversations and over-hearings. What I used to notice, while I was living here, was anger—people shouting on the phone, shopkeepers cursing after a difficult customer, football fans beating other team’s fans. This time, I heard pain openly expressed by people: A shopkeeper gave me a 4-minute long monologue (uninterrupted by me, the fascinated habitant of the purgatory between local and foreing) about how he can no longer support his family despite his corner shop in the middle of Cagaloglu,; a fifth grader failed selling her used text books and her father couldn’t afford buying new ones; a girl who sat by me in Starbucks told her correspondent on the other side of the phone how her New Year’s Eve had been a disaster full of quarrel and beating with her ex; another girl passed by me in Kadikoy crying her eyes out. I was not only doomed to hear and understand all these, but I also carried them home with me. They kept me in an emotional limbo, where I constantly felt like I drank a venti Americano to an empty stomach. I felt like crashing or even passing out emotionally but something also kept me awake, and maybe even too awake.

The cherry on top has been the music, something I earlier had noticed, recognized, and admitted, but also forgotten. Last year, in a state of homesickness, I told my friends in Istanbul that they had the luxury of pain in that city. They constantly listen most painful songs, but they also could defer their blues with a good table of friends and raki—something not easily generated abroad. Anyway, this year, I noticed almost every producer is up to taking advantage of this obsession with pain. I watched a rock video where the singer was in a grave, singing how she dag her grave herself. Another “pop” video followed. A well-groomed male singer was singing a very high-beat song, with a smile in his face, but the lyrics were his cry of incapability of making people’s demands of “more” from him. And finally, I found out that one of my favorite singers, Goksel made a song called “It hurts”, and she sings this line over and over, with her melancholic and melodramic voice. The worst part in this experience is, I believe, my ongoing awe although I had had realized this long before. In my self-imposed amnesia, I probably enjoyed, deep down, this nostalgia for my prolonged adolescence. I may claim myself pain-free but the reality is not that clear-cut.

The pain rarely brings me to burst. I always burn inside within. But this time, due to my heavily altered life in Arizona, I cry that I am fed up. I am fed up with this city’s sickening relationship with pain, and I no longer hold my subjectivity back. When I first moved here, I used to refrain from complaining just because I probably was not the one to criticize this unique city. That’s why I never joined my comrades from Smyrna who used to start complaining about Istanbul the moment they step in it. Those days of respecting Istanbul for its potent place in history have passed, and my personality totally rejects its magnificence. I was never a usual-Smyrnian, I always liked Istanbul more than I did Izmir—which is extremely rare in our breed; but I feel that I am done with it. Interestingly, in a holiday of which I spent only four days in Izmir, this is the day I go back to my roots, and start hating Istanbul with all my guts.

I am fed up, and I am taking no more your BS, Istanbul.