An early morning terminal, a bleak sight as I walked not-so-quietly with my suitcase clank-clanking down the empty hallway. It was only moments ago that I waited for my luggage to appear on the baggage carousel, the last person standing with me sighed gleefully after his black suitcase with a blue ribbon suddenly appeared on the conveyor belt. I quickly whispered to myself, “what am I going to do?” Even the lost property office was closed. Read More
Our conception of reality is regulated by language that enables us to explain and articulate the dichotomy between our inner feelings and personal responses interacting with the expectations and ideas of our social environment. Ethics is an example of this interaction, but some would argue that our motivations remain inherently selfish and that moral behaviour is willed by self-preservation rather than empathy. It is a very lonely domain where we are essentially separate from the world around us despite being materially and physically connected.
As most of our understanding is conditioned – where we are prompted to respond or react to what we have been taught as right or wrong – how we interpret experience is modeled not precisely on what we feel but rather what we are told to feel, automatically initiating feelings of fear or anxiety or even happiness when we think we are doing what is wrong or right. In psychology, this triptych is explained in the Freudian model of the psyche where the ego – like language – functions as the mediator between our raw, innate drives that conflicts with the superego or our moral conscience as enforced by our environment. As most of our lives is dependent on this determined method of ‘thinking’ which is really just automaton prompts conditioned by our social environment, how to think for ourselves, to really interpret and understand our own feelings and experiences lacks capacity.
When we experience anxiety or depression, they are opinions or decisions and ideas that stem from this real self but because the mind has never been independently used before, one cannot explain or consciously understand why you feel the way that you feel. We are told that one way is the ‘right’ way but our feelings or emotions are speaking something else. How do we develop this capacity to articulate and interpret our own experiences and feelings separate from those unconscious prompts that we have been taught to believe we are supposed to think?
Although our minds and our language develops within that determined landscape and therefore much of what we perceive and accept as reality is socially constructed, our brains have the cognitive qualities – imagination and the ability to calculate and reason – to learn and develop new words, education broadening our ability to construct ideas of the world around us independent of our own small environment. We have a chance to transcend that determinism or our initial conditioning and start using language or words as an independent medium to channel these feelings into reality and communicate it to the external world.
Language and how we speak and communicate requires order, the properties in discourse need to follow rules in order to make sense when one speaks, a pattern of logic that can adequately explain in a one-directional arrow of time an experience or an idea. I feeling space cannot words list down happy. For something to make sense, there are language rules that can piece the fragmented together into a sequential order that can make sense of experience. There needs to be a beginning, middle and an end where narratives have a temporal organisation.
Storytelling is the vehicle that enables words to explain our own personal, fragmented experiences into an order that contextualizes this relationship between us and the world. It cohesively patterns and organises who we are into a directional plot that we then understand not only how to explain what we feel and who we are to the world, but also better understand what we want and desire outside of what is socially constructed.
There are many different ways this can be achieved. We may have images that make little sense and therefore drawing it can enable someone to tell a story of why that image is there, to use language to explain and make sense of it. Fictional tales, poetry, metaphors and parables are all symbolic of storytelling that can articulate subjective thoughts a person may have trouble piecing together.
Have you ever spoken to someone who is not really listening to you or does not really understand you? You feel alone. When you tell your story to someone who listens, you are acknowledged, there is value and a real connection. Sometimes, those connections are false, fake, where we present ourselves and explain our stories to fit into the socially constructed landscape because a person has yet to use their own mind and so remain perpetually blocked from ever attaining the cognitive capacity to articulate their own identity.
Whether the properties of this interaction is fictional or real – there is some validity in solipsism – as though fiction and reality are like two magnets that repel one another where we never really connect with anyone, the practice of storytelling is a way to increase and broaden our vocabulary so that we can better explain this relationship between ourselves and the world around us. This, therefore, enables us to understand others and therefore is the beginning of empathy, or appreciating what is moral and valuable and therefore storytelling is the beginning of love.
Storytelling is a form of connecting and explaining experience into a temporal order, developing and broadening our ability to use our imagination that functions as a medium to connect and understand those around us. As we increase our vocabulary, we are strengthened with the linguistic tools to better interpret our own feelings and experiences. The best way to heal, to feel valued and acknowledged, to have a sense of purpose and connection is only possible through storytelling.
Her stained toes clutch to the narrow cliff-edge.
Prepared, crumbled stone trickle softly down
the overhang. Tap tap tap, a musical echo drops like
blood from the crucified lesions punctured over her crown. Read More
Alevis are a community of heterodox Muslims culture-specific to Anatolia [Turkey]. Similar syncretistic religious groups exist in Syria (Alawi), Lebanon (Druze), Iran (Ahl-e Haqq), and in Iraq (Yazidi). The Alevis of Turkey are a unique religious association and have a close relationship with Bektaşi Order who originated from the Balkans. Although there are no exact estimations of the population of Alevis in Turkey, the general consensus is that they make up the largest minority and total 10-20 million in population. Alevis are historically connected to the Turcoman Qizilbaş nomads who converted to Shi’i Islam and theology while Turkish dervish institutions “[h]ad received their characteristic features in western Turkestan from Ahmad Yasawi (d. 562/1166); they had acquired an ever-increasing expansion in Anatolia, but at the same time they had adopted heretical tendencies.” The etymology of the name Alevi is tied to a religious appreciation of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib – cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad – and only after the 19th century replaced Qizilbaş due to the derogatory label that the latter had established. Read More
Dried petals of black stained skin peel
Around the edge
Her wrinkled fingers waterlogged by blood,
A dehydrated beat, slowing, slow that
She wakens with a gentle tap.
“Don’t leave me,” she whispers,
Her palms embalmed around the organ.
The alkali sea sheets the sand beneath her
Soft, golden sponge
Cushion her knees, moored as she sinks,
Absorbed into the coast, married, merged that
The angel beside her is scourged.
“Let it go,” he whispers,
A snag of perpetuum love fruitless on the shore.
The covenant of salt betrayed by a bitter bluff
Each ventricle perish to decay as she
Still waits for one little hello, hello, say hello.
Her heart cracks to ash.
“I loved him,” she bemoaned.
Now a statue frozen to stone.