Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Feeling comfortable

Buying clothes was such a battle around here. First off, the sizes are different, and even if you think that the sizes are the same as the US sizes (say, it says “medium” on the label), believe me, they’re not the same. You’re in for an epic session of trying stuff on. But the worst thing, by far the worst, was when I had to go shopping with friends.

Shopping by myself was kind of easy. I simply never bought anything because everything I saw was too revealing. Simple as that!

Now, despite my friends’ knowledge of my background, they were unable to internalize what “modesty” meant for me. They didn’t get it, and even when I explained why something was not okay, they didn’t see why it wouldn’t be ok.

I remember a shopping trip with my best friend who picked out some things for me (because I was unable to find anything that I thought I would be able to wear). She had picked out a cute pink shirt that has some flowery ruffles on the shoulders. I tried it on and felt terrible. It had a revealing neckline – two fingers below the collarbone. I told my friend, who was waiting in front of the curtain for my signal, that I couldn’t wear this.  She was surprised to hear that I found the neckline too deep, but because I’m so skinny, she didn’t per se question this – she wanted to see it. So she lifted the curtain just a bit, which caused me to hiss at her viciously and pull the curtain closed with a violent force that hurt her hand, all while screaming “What are you doing?!”. I was convinced that once the curtain was lifted, all men (in the H&M women’s section, lol) would immediately stare at me. Kind of like zombies in a movie, when they smell blood, you know?

When I think back to those times, I usually don’t remember the negative feelings as much. I rather feel regret at not buying a particularly nice top, or dress, or skirt. I once didn’t buy a dress that I was convinced showed off my back too much. Now I sometimes wish I had bought it, because it was unique and pretty. Ah well.

It’s funny how similar yet different we all are. After reading Melissa’s post on clothing, I realized that I’m not like that at all. I love things that are typically considered “feminine”. I think the most important area is make up. I wasn’t allowed make up growing up and have developed a sick passion for it ever since moving to Germany. I love dark eye make ups and red lipsticks. I love looking vampy, or “femme fatale”. I love changing my hair – colors, cuts, styles. I don’t believe this is due to my upbringing, I think it’s more of a rebellion sort of thing. But in a way, Melissa and I are still the same. We don’t care about what others may think. Being yourself, doing things that are fun to you, make you feel good, even when it’s not conforming with norms is really what it comes down to. I like to showcase my obscenely red lipstick at 2 PM. Screw your social rules. I’m happy with it, and if you’re not, you are free to look the other way.


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Recollection of the day I learned something about love.

My heart beats faster and my palm gets slightly tacky. I hope nobody thinks it’s a good idea to shake hands today. I sit in my car, driving and singing, and I can’t take my mind off you. I remember that one night a few weeks ago, where we snuck away from the party crowd and made out in front of a desolated house. I wonder if you remember, you were so tipsy. I wonder whether you think of it, too.

I remember how I laughed and whispered “We can’t stay”, and you said “why not?” I laughed again and said that the others will wonder, and they will think stuff. You look at me with such strange eyes and say “I don’t care” and you smile like I have never seen you smile before. I remember pulling you through thick ivy on the ground, stumbling in the dark, laughing. “Let’s go back!” I tell you, and you pull me towards you, both of us stumbling over the ivy, laughing, kissing me again.

I remember that one time when we were sitting in my car, and there was this tension between us. At least I felt did. Did you, too? I remember you were quiet and I was chewing your ear off. And when we had reached your house, and you wanted to get out of the car, you hesitated, and you wanted to say something. And then you said “You know, it could have been great…” but you didn’t finish, you said nevermind, smiled and said “see you on Tuesday” instead.

I wonder what it was that you were going to say. Were you going to say that we would be great if either one of us had the guts to say it out loud? I like to imagine that this was what it was.

I remember that other night, were we happened to be at the same bar. We sat outside and there were too many people to really talk, so we just chit-chatted. My friends wanted to leave, and I had to leave with them, I just couldn’t stay here with you. I would have loved to, but it was my friend’s birthday. Before I left, I leaned over and whispered something into your ear. What I said was the truth. You looked at me with a sparkle in your eyes, and you tried to pull me towards you, but I wiggled my hand free and laughed. “I have to go” I said, and you said “I have to tell you something, too”, and I smiled and said “next time!” I still wonder what it was that you were going to say. I like to think that you would have told me something true, too.

I remember that one night, were I came to your house. I was so drunk, for no reason really, other than having the guts to ask for that true thing you were going to tell me. All of the Tequila and the Vodka made me feel like I can finally do it. I staggered up the stairs and giggle like a silly girl. You laughed and waited at your door. I came in, you closed the door behind me. I looked at you and wanted to say something, but all that came out was more giggling and the realization that the vodka obviously doesn’t help much. All I could say is “How are you… on this… wonderful night… morning?” and you came close and started to kiss me. And still I did not ask you.

I remember that time where I texted you that I would come and stood you up. There wasn’t any particular reason. I just didn’t come. I wonder whether that hurt you. I wonder whether you even cared.

Another song comes on and it goes “oh but that one night”. I flash back to the desolated house. Darkness, laughter and kisses. I think of texting you, but I don’t. I don’t want to feel silly. I don’t want to feel rejected. I get angry at your for not texting me first. Will you ever? I want you so much, but I can’t get myself to admit that. I can’t stop thinking of you, and it bothers me.


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THE HEAT!

So it’s been really really really hot for the past… 6 weeks or so. Like desert heat I’m-not-a-cake-so-please-turn-off-the-oven hot. You rarely find ACs around here so… yeah… everything, literally everything is hot.

Obviously people love to go for (iced) coffees and ice cream and whatnot in this heat, so being a waitress is a pain. The cafe I work at is right at a very central square, and on top of it there are five more cafes right next to us. The entire square is full of chairs and tables (it’s a really old square, no driving allowed!). Obviously each cafe has slightly different decorations on their tables but that doesn’t change that it’s almost impossible for guests to tell which cafe their table belongs to. I will frequently have guests who ask me for Pizza: “I’m sorry, we don’t serve Pizza, that’s two tables to your left!”. Or roast beef: “I’m sorry, we don’t serve roast beef. That’s three tables to your right!”. Or people standing confused, stopping me: “I’m sorry, what do you serve?” “Ice cream and coffee, sir! Pizza is over there, on the right you’ll find traditional German menus, and over there is cake!” It’s a funny, summery mess. And the heat? Unbearable!

There are tons of tourists around and an incredible number of festivals, fairs and concerts is coming up. I constantly find myself pointing people to the tourist information (which is IMPOSSIBLE to find if you don’t know where to find it – oh the irony!). “I’m sorry, do you speak English?” – “Yes ma’am, I do, how can I help you?” “Oh, your English is so good! Where did you learn English so well?!” “Ah, I’m from *my home state*!” “NO WAY! I have a friend who has family there, is BEAUTIFUL!”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to meet people from all parts of the world, but sometimes I really don’t want to discuss whether I really have to visit Alaska or how beautiful New York is when literally all of my tables are full! Also I’m surprised that people react to my English in the first place. Germans typically speak English fairly well. I guess it’s because Germans are weird people: They are so afraid of saying something wrong or misunderstanding that they will say no if you ask them whether they speak English, no matter how good their English really is.

School hasn’t been much better, either. While my school has ACs all over the place, I think they don’t know how they’re supposed to work. The seminar rooms are freezing cold. Spending two hours in one of the seminar rooms is the equivalent of spending two hours in your fridge. Everybody brings a jacket because it really is too cold, and it feels awfully strange walking around with your jacket over your arm. Especially if you want to go shopping after class and your bag is too small to hold your jacket… ah well hehe

Now, I have some nice ideas for the blog that I want to do in the next few weeks but right now, I’ll excuse myself. I have one hour left before I have to work, and I will go sit outside with my book and a big glass of iced tea. I hope you’ll get to do the same some time!


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Me and the great punisher

I don’t remember when I wrote my last post on believing in God and Jesus. It must have been over a year now. This post has been on my mind for so long, but somehow I never found the words. I feel some sort of inner pressure to write this, yet I don’t know how. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t find words to say things. That should say something.

You know, I really want to be an atheist. Sometimes I believe that’s what I am. There are days when I have that summery, beachy way of freedom. Those days where you think that your entire life is in your hands. That you’re not just some sort of marionette in the hands of an all-knowing, universal punisher. Those days can be so reassuring that you’re on the right track, that your life is going well and that your decisions really matter.

Other days I find myself deeply wanting to pray. And on some of these days, I do. It’s not very often anymore. Most of the time I will delay myself somehow. Do some house work, go somewhere, read some blogs, whatever. I will pray before I fall asleep, I tell myself to calm my mind. God won’t strike me dead if I pray an hour later. These are the days where I usually fall asleep just before I remember praying. But on those other days, those on which I pray, I pray fervently. Please God, please forgive me, please forgive me for being blasphemic, for saying those terrible things about you. I was angry, you know that. Please look into my heart. Please do something, please change me so I can be good and right. Please forgive me forgive me forgive me I will do anything but please forgive, tell me what to do. I am so alone without you. And then I feel better for a while. I’m thinking it’s a bit like an alcoholic drinking his first beer in months. Desired, fulfilling, but somehow it feels wrong.

There’s one thing I never say, though I’d said it so many times before: “I surrender my life to you.” It’s the one thing I don’t want to say. I don’t want to “surrender” my life. It’s my life. It’s mine and I will not let anybody decide what I do with it. I think that’s what makes me feel so bad on the days I pray. My prayers are useless because I am selfish and despicable. I don’t trust God anymore. Nothing can fix that. It’s what will send me straight to hell.

Other days again I am angry. No, I am furious. I don’t know if you can understand just how furious I get. I hate God with all my being. I know he’s there, and I hate him, and I want to spit in his face for all the terrible things he does. He is not good, he is not just, he is an evil, evil and mean little child who steps on ants and burns them just for fun. I feel for satan – I wouldn’t want to deal with the evil big guy either. Maybe satan is actually trying to save us from God’s wicked ways. Maybe he’s the only one who understood everything that was wrong with the big punisher all along. I want to scream and yell at God that I’d rather spend eternity in hell than with him, because hell can’t be worse than an eternity at the feet of such a gruesome, evil being. I get so angry that I want to hurt everyone who believes in God. I want to tell them that hating people for being gay is awful and disgusting and terrible. I want to tell them that treating women as doormats is stupid and gross. I want to tell them that all they believe is a joke. So an extraterrestrial being snapped us all into existence? And you want to tell me that evolution doesn’t make sense? Please!

And then, I am sad. Because there is no God to save us, and nobody will be there when we’re dead. And I hope that the evil punisher is real, even if that means burning in hell for me. But I hate him and I want him gone, and I want him to be there so badly. Sometimes I hear those one minute ads by the catholic church on the radio. They make me want to be part of it. Somehow I always feel better when I heard them. A few days ago there was one on christians living normal lives. A girl talked about how she can go out at night, be a bartender, even drink. That’s not against her religion. Catholic doesn’t mean boring. Catholic is young, cool and hip. I can see behind the marketing here, but I still wish this was true. I wish I wouldn’t have to throw everything away to be religious. For me, there is no middle ground, no grey area. Faith in God still means complete and utter self-denial. I thought this might change at some point, but I’m losing hope. I want to be a part of christianity, but I don’t want to join the choir of hate speech and judgement that I see everywhere.

So yes, that is my update on my faith. I don’t think anything has changed.


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The things I really miss about America!

I decided to give yesterday’s post a bit more balance by describing some things that I really do miss about America.

1. Politeness. People are rude around here. Not really rude – just a lot more direct, I’d say. If they don’t like you, or don’t want to talk to you, expect to hear “I’m sorry but I don’t want to talk to you”. In America, people are much more friendly in that aspect. Even if they aren’t too fond of you, they’ll still help you. If you do something wrong in public here, you might get yelled at. In America, people are much more likely to politely ignore it.

2. Smile for once! Kind of in a bundle with politeness. People tend to have friendly looks on their faces in the US. They smile at people for no reason. They’re just … you know, they come across as much more friendly and more hospitable. If you’re an American and you’re thinking “That’s not true!”, please, come to Germany, and be convinced that it’s true.

3. Customer service. Non-existent in Germany. The checkout counter at the grocery store is a nightmare. The woman will be super fast and if you’re not fast enough at packing all your stuff away (because not a single grocery store has helpers!), the lady will just shove your stuff to the side. If you’re not prepared for that move, expect your stuff to drop to the ground. And if that happens – don’t expect a “sorry”. Expect a “why didn’t you get a cart goddamn!” (Uhmm, because I bought FIVE FRIKIN THINGS and you mean ol’ lady are totally overreacting?!).

4. Cash. Credit cards are about as normal as an elephant dancing in the middle of the street. Aside from bigger stores and gas stations, you’ll have a hard time finding places where EC is accepted. Restaurants and cafes? Cash. Smaller stores may even not accept EC (though it’s been getting better through the years I’ve been here). While that certainly helps you save some money, it’s annoying to be out and about, and then not have the cash for a cup of coffee. Where’s the next ATM? oh yeah, right over there – a mile away. Great. No coffee then.

5. Opening hours. There is no 24/7 in this country. Not a single one! Opening hours are something of a wild card. Everybody does what they want anyway. Except after 10 pm and on Sundays. And because all grocery stores are closed on Sundays, people go on saturday. This basically means that saturday at the grocery store is war – serious war. People shop as if all grocery stores were closed for a whole week on Saturdays. I’ve been told it’s a ritual. It’s just what you do. Well. It’s not fun.

6. Another thing about grocery stores: They are tiny. You have a hard time finding everything you want and need in one single store. It’s normal to run to 2 or 3 different ones. On Saturdays, of course. Cause that’s what you do. You’re lucky if the mean ol’ lady doesn’t beat you up with her walking stick on the parking lot (this, obviously, refers to point nr. 1).

7. convenience food. You’re groaning now, aren’t you? Blech, all she misses about America is convenience food? YES. YOU HAVE NO IDEA! convenience here means you still have to cook from scratch, it’s just the spices in the convenience food! There is no mac & cheese here! Actually, there is this weird pack for mac&cheese (with a big American flag on the packaging, teehee). It tastes nothing like mac & cheese, it actually tastes like thrown up mush. It’s terrible. There’s a store with an “American ethnic food” aisle here, but they don’t have much there. It’s very disappointing. I miss good mac & cheese, real BBQs and all that. Everybody who says America doesn’t have a food culture is an idiot. Southern cuisine goodies are unique.

8. Gas prices. Because gas costs an arm and a leg here (or, alternatively, your first-born son).

9. Friendships. Americans are big socializers. Friendships will come at a much faster rate, and your social net will be bigger there. It is hard to find friends here. Seriously hard. People are much more introverted and it takes a lot longer to reach a state where you can call somebody a “friend”. Though when you do find a friend, it will be genuine. It’s just so much harder.

10. National pride and holidays. People, please, on this year’s 4th of July, remember how lucky you are that you can celebrate this day without negative feelings. National pride is a negative word here (for obvious reasons). Nobody cares if you walk around with a flag in the US. The feeling of “one united nation” is much stronger. Enjoy that you live in a place where there is this type of community feeling. You don’t get that over here. Holidays are hardly ever celebrated as big as Americans do (except Christmas, that’s big here too). IDK why, but I feel that Americans simply have a more elaborated holiday and celebration-culture.

11. Politics. This is a very strange thing in both countries. In Germany, people aren’t really passionate about politics. It’s almost like they don’t even care. Yet, the percentage of people who go vote is much higher in Germany as it is in America. But in America, people are so much more passionate about it. Almost everyone has an opinion and discussing politics is a much more interesting topic than it is here. They actually care. I don’t know why so many people don’t vote despite the fact that it is a much more central issue in American social culture.

12. Religion. Yep, I said it. I like that people who are passionate about their religion don’t get funny stares. They do here. I’d go as far as saying that religious people here have to be embarrassed about their beliefs. Americans are a bit more open towards religiousness in general, and it’s also much more important to them. While it can be freeing to be relieved of religion, I also think it is very difficult for religious people here because they are seen as “nutheads” who don’t live in reality. Standing up to your beliefs is much more difficult, socially (mind you, I’m not talking politically, religious freedom is the same here. It’s a social/community issue).

Ok I’m going to stop here because I have to go to school, but it turns out I could easily add many more points to this list. I hope it is clear to everyone that these are not evaluations of better or worse, just like the last post. It’s just cultural differences. If we all were the same, wouldn’t that be really boring?

 


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It’s like coming back from the dead

Sometimes it’s really not easy. I used to be a big sister. I used to be my sister’s partner in crime – always an open ear, a warm hug and all that. We used to have fun and giggle and dream of life and everything else. I used to have sisters who were my best friends.

My brother and his wife are expecting their first child. I talk to my family on the phone and sometimes I get emails with pictures.

I remember the first time I talked to my mom after I left. I could hear she missed me. I’m not saying she doesn’t miss me anymore, but this is not something she wouldn’t have had to deal with either way. Mothers kind of expect that their children won’t be home for the rest of their lives. But still.

I remember my sister’s funeral, and how things were kind of strange between me and everyone else. My siblings weren’t rejecting me, but it was noticeable that many things have changed.

My outlook on life and many things has changed, especially since I started University. I guess that’s just the natural consequence of it. And the more I change, the more I feel that my siblings, specifically my sisters, cannot see me the way I was hoping they would.

What I expected? I don’t know. I’m doing good in school, and I enjoy it. I recently talked to two of my sisters on the phone and things were… strange. They couldn’t relate to me. Everything I told them about my life seemed alien to them. They asked questions that were weird at some point, but understandable somehow. “Aren’t you depressed that you are all alone, that you have to care for everything by yourself?” “When will you marry?” “Do you have to sleep with your professor to get good grades?”. These are all things I believed to be true at one point in my life. That a woman by herself will end up severely ill because she’s not fit to care for herself. That Universities and colleges are places of rampant drug addiction and sex orgies. That a woman’s life cannot possibly be completely without a man.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell my family about minor changes in my life after hearing that. That a bought a suit to wear to interviews for the internships I want to do in summer. That, after growing my hair for the last year, I cut it very short again, because summer is coming and i cannot bear the stifling heat on my neck. And yes, because I do not want to spend so much time caring for my hair. That I eat out most of my days, and that I can afford to do so. That I work a lot and that I, when I have saved up some money, like to spend it on selfish things. That my roommate and I declared ourselves “H&M-Buddies for LIFE!” recently. That sometimes I listen to rap-music, when it’s on the radio, and sometimes I even sing along.

I realized just how terrible all of these things would look to them. I am THAT woman. The woman who selfishly spends her money on vain things instead of investing and sacrificing herself for an eternal reward. I am member of a group of women, the women who cry rape because they are vicious and likes to hurt men. Or the woman who aborts one child after another. That woman who does not know her place. That woman who acts like she’s a man – completely oblivious to the fact that no matter how hard she tries, she’ll never be as good. And if she is, then she’s probably a lesbian. That woman, who is everything patriarchy believes “feminists” to be.

Well. I cannot undo what has been done. I do not want to undo it. I am happy where I am. But I’m not happy that my family will always see me as an alien now. The lost daughter. Sometimes that just hits you right in the head, and you start wondering how it came to be. I cannot be someone others want me to be anymore. I guess I’ve just had enough freedom to know that everything else is a prison. It’s like realizing that you have been buried all your life, and you escaped your own grave. Do you think that, if you were actually freed from your grave, you would want to go back? No? I don’t think so either.

 


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Where am I (and how many?!)

I was shocked to see that my last post has been posted WEEKS ago! Well, I figured I’d update you. I am not sick or anything, and I have not lost interest in blogging! I actually try to follow my favourite blogs as much as I can.

I’ve taken a whole bunch of classes for this semester and I’m simply drowning in schoolwork! Turns out law is even more of word-for-word-studying than you would think. I mean seriously, I’m starting to get why people fail this by the bunch. It really is a lot of learning by heart and if that’s not the method for you, you’re doomed. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sat and read something, trying to memorize it, and then realizing that “well, this refers to paragraph so and so, but that one refers to article 7 billion and if I include that, I’ll also have to read that other paragraph and… Oh well. Might as well memorize the whole book now! ARGH!”

Other issues I have encountered are, for example, my lack of Latin skills. Which are zero. I truly understand why this was demanded years ago. Especially in classes like history of law or philosophy of law, there are so many latin terms and it’s so tiring to look everything up when others who know latin consider that a walk in the park (same with greek!). Phew.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the challenge and I love seeing the rewards for my work. But I’ll have to admit: I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I also didn’t think it was going to be THIS hard. I don’t get why people talk about “college life” and all those parties and stuff. WHO has time for that haha

Either way, I’ll be off to more memorizing, and I hope you’ll all have a great day and I’ll be back with more (and more interesting) posts as soon as I can. Until then, don’t forget to wish me luck for the next round of exams!