Scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Red blood stains ruining my French manicure. Horrible of you to stare. Check your back- it probably looks the same. What would happen if we stopped scratching, Would they stop scratching back? Maybe friendships and business would crumble.
P.S. Be careful: if you let people scratch you too much, your eczema might act out. Your skin will turn on you.
Do we know what are we scratching? When did we start?
Go ahead scratch it. Scratch away to your heart’s content. You know you want to.
Only stop when you see blood pouring out.
That is how you will know you reached the limit of give-and-take.
That is the law, man created when so few resources exist for all of us to share. See, my long nails were made to scratch you, my dear.
Naturally, we are all over-grown toddlers not ready to share everything.
That is where scratching comes in. Deals. That is how we fill up our gas tanks, sleep in our homes, and get from point A to B.
I doubt this will ever change in this lifetime.
However, in the more intimate relationships, are they also dependent on scratching?
Is there any relationship without scratching?
The NO Wo/(man).
Recently, a conversation about giving things up, stirred an idea in my head, what if I started saying, “No”.
The dubious opposite of the Yes man or Yes Day. If you haven’t seen both movies, the plot is about people who start saying yes to any request.
Ending up, in a lot of fun trouble.
Meanwhile, here I am, with a chronic yes disorder. Never able to say no. Something in people’s eyes when they say, “please”, triggers an automatic yes from me.
While on the inside, I want to yell, No.
I never realized I was exchanging experiences and friendships for objects and materialism. The trade is a dirty one.
In a way, life in Lebanon, today, is like a long list of fasting. Every day you learn to say goodbye to something you will miss or need.
For instance, now we are having fuel shortages.
Most gas stations, only fill up to LL 20, 000 to LL 30, 000 of gas. That is not enough to fill up tanks.
Whereas, the line is rampant with cars, coveting a space, like unwitting mice.
Some make the best of a sticky situation getting drums, practical jokes, and even food deliveries to the lines.
Finding freedom in a two-letter word: No.
The longing and missing of a Diet Coke, my favorite shampoo, and online subscriptions, freed me.
Frankly, I am not a minimalist by a long shot nor am I trying to be one. Kudos to those who can happily exist as a minimalist. That is just not me, I’m extra and I know it.
However, the absence of certain things, the event itself, said no, on my behalf. I don’t scratch anymore. Rightfully or wrongly, I do not want anyone to scratch back either.
365 days of giving up and counting
In a nutshell, this is a rundown of how the past 365 days went for most people in Lebanon:
What will you give up today?
May: Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
June: Doritos or Lays?
July: Shampoo or Toothpaste?
August: Nescafé or Starbucks.
September: Meat or Chicken?
October: Oreos or Nutella?
November: Cheese or Vegetables?
December: Turkey or Christmas chocolates?
January: Dinner or Alcohol?
February: Roses or Chocolate?
March: Gym classes or Netflix membership?
April: University or Traveling?
May: No more choices. ‘We’ pick for you.
Could you give up everything or would you just find an alternative?
Are there choices?
The more you give up the more you realize you are not dependent on things.
It started with little choices and changes. Slight adjustments on people’s behalf due to the lack of resources and importing into the country. Arbitrary and illegal bank limitations on all credit cards.
Then, they made the choices for us. Taking away any sense of autonomy.
Maybe, we were never autonomous. Just tricking ourselves into thinking we were.
With a stroke of a pen, a leader and his henchmen can change things. Steal. Whatever they want. Those in power rule.
She gave up alcohol. Then, deserts. Then Coca-cola. Lastly, she gave up on me.
Giving up so many things and objects, let to the realization, I can cut out people too.
The ones who are there for the wrong reason. People who don’t truly care. Do not work equitably.
Likewise, the banks exchanged humans, their savings, future, and dreams for loans and money. A real business of exchanging people exists.
Finally, leaving me with the question, what will I give up next? Especially, if I don’t scratch back.
Do you prefer scratching or being scratched?