N.K. (b.1996) is a visual artist from Serbia, based in Germany.
Expressing her humanity and imagination as well as her humor, Kracunovic uses different mediums to create site and context-specific works, with mixed-media being the most prominent in her work. Through art, she has been dealing with the consumption of one’s intimacy, sexuality, and private body.
Today I got sick again. I embraced my state as something that inevitably had to happen. I was waiting for it. My body gets infected every time I drain it with my enthusiastic behavior. Once in a while, it gets infected with different bacteria, viruses, and sometimes serious sickness that lasts for weeks. It always manifests as a fever that no Paracetamol in the world can solve, sharp pain in the kidneys or low back, and a sort of sadness.
I am very tired.
Today I sobbed after experiencing the drought syndrome I have been fighting for months. The long-awaited cry was performed on my kitchen floor while cutting the leaves of my grandma’s tea and sorting it out in the small jars. I gave the names after their purpose. For instance, the ”Kantarion Diary” killed the viruses in my body many times. I drink two extremely hot cups that almost burnt and melted my fingers. The pain felt very good. I enjoyed my fingertips embracing the heat while igniting the whole body.
And then I sang.
I sang so loud while screaming the words deep down from my stomach, the words that neither mean something nor actually exist. Sounds are being transmitted through my tight skin, through my body floating on the fever for the 10th hour today. It felt like I am flying on my kitchen table with the small tea forest surrounding me, barefoot, weak, and lost. It was my own crying stage that stopped right on time before somebody visited my world. Confused and scared, the visitor offered help. I rejected and proudly said: ”Today, I finally cried”.
When all my pores fill in with the overwhelming present, I must commit suicide. Sensational suicide is existing as a metaphor, and therefore, it is fully justified. It helps to create, connect, kill, resemble, dissolve, renew, build, and comprehend the Self within the Other. My writings always juxtapose the facts and fiction, sometimes corresponding to reality, other times deviating from it.
There is a war. There has always been one, less or more physical. Some are silently perceived by this egocentric continent, while others are loud, more disturbing, close, extreme. My kids are the same during the war, everywhere – sobbing, trying to accept, escape and understand why is somebody taking away their toys suddenly. The same that I asked for 23 years ago. NATO bombarded Belgrade when I was at the age of 3.
My war experience smells like basement’s strawberry jam, mixed with moldy concrete and the unfamiliar crowd of people that happen to be in the same shelter as us. It pictures a lot of Roma kids occupying one metal bed with a flower pattern. It sounds like the siren that burns the ears while alarming the state of emergency. At that time very young uncle was on the field, ready to protect the county. My other parents, the grand ones, decided to stay in their house and expose instead of hiding from the potential bombing. They were feeding me, my mama, and a big Roma family in the basement with the tones of jam and fresh-baked wheat bread. My jelly fingers could not understand where the toys are and why is grandma’s face pale most of the time. Still, I was pretty calm in my mama’s lap imitating the siren as if it is the jingle from the film we are all having a role in.
Today I was bitten by the rat with the name Pandora. Impressed by her gentle, so human-like hands and the way she eats her rat food, I indeliberately attacked her privacy and she showed me my place. This afternoon is sitting alone in front of a Czech Catholic church breathing the air of the second country with the biggest number of non-believers. Tonight I am in a small underground bar almost 50m beyond the surface, surrounded by a language that sounds like my mother tongue without a chance to understand it. I am slowly and deliberately disappearing in these people’s faces and my own beer glass. I can transform into anything I want to.
Initials N.K., the jar persona, multiple identities, the empty-faced person seeing for the context to apply to her unformed reality. Seeking for nothing, anything and nobody.N.K., the traveler, the one that never belongs, just passes through, grabs, and loves, insanely and intensely living the life that is happening at the moment. N.K. the future, memories, thoughts, and occasionally actions.
Today is the war again. The war I can not do anything about. The one far away physically, moreover far beyond mine or any individual’s power. Today I am going away from the known, my everyday life due to the overwhelming pile that attacked my heart, my brain, and my soul and escaping in my manner, to myself. In my suitcase, there is a big rounded rye bread called Doppelmisch, packed together with the jar of plum jam I aimed to give to the person who will land me the couch in Prague for a couple of nights. The person I never met in my life. Born in Delhi, living in the Czech Republic. The escape has to be official, glamorous, thought throughout. It can not require already known. Therefore, the gift has to be current fact – Serbian jam and German bread. Moreover, in case of an emergency, I am fully prepared.
Once back in the past, the Czech Republic experienced the same terror from the Russian army as Ukraine does now. Tanks entered the city of Prague aiming to liberate the people that did not need and wanted to be liberated. A student burned his body as a statement. 15 more students repeated the same.
My body like this bread can be cut so easily, with one simple stab in the stomach or directly to the heart. It is so easy to die. So easy to disappear. Like a worm, somebody just steps on your body and decides that you are not part of this film anymore. You become a stain. A stain of jam, belonging to the society that won’t bother scooping you up. In case of the war, you are not asked. In case of emergency, try to survive. To exist, one must multiply.
Ústi nad Labem hl. n., the border back & forth März 2022
Big gratitude to all those enthusiastic people that have made complaining such a rewarding activity.
T.Kalleinen & O.Kochta Kalleinen
Opening the door of the radical wardrobe
From the very beginning of my professional complaining career in winter 2021, I traveled with the book of S.Ahmed and my little diary through everyday situations. At first, I took advantage of the Complainitivism blog to store there everything I could not in other places. Safe-travels blogging. I embraced the chance to hang out in the cheap hostels in Cairo, my WG in Weimar, and different flats and places I inhabited since that stimulated my writings. I remember most of my life I was so loud in complaining, loving it, and hating it simultaneously. On the other hand, it was such a good tool to protect not just me, but also somebody who could be bullied due to no voice. It means transforming the voice into something useful instead of using it for something that empowers the ego. Me, the protector, the rescuer – the one that provides space, I pictured. It already happened – entering the world of displeasure through the texts, and diving into the whole new world of complaining as art practice. There was the moment when the book divider cut Sara Ahmed’s piece in half, somewhere around Occupiedspaces in Part IV, and I felt precisely the task I had – to take care of the voices pragmatically instead of theoretically. To give complaints somewhere to go and open the door. The same day I decided to propose a project called Bauhaus Complaints Choir.
Something itchy decisively and loudly screams from the bodies of these young people – I thought after the first Complaintivsm live session. Emotions and openness were splashing the walls of the institution, group therapy as if nothing will exist after it. The respect for my wonderful colleagues, it is my true pleasure to share the walls with them, while pretending that the walls do not exist. How will we proceed? How to root out the issues we mentioned there and eradicate the origin of the problem? This was the basis for the cabinet I imagined creating. The place of the singing drawers, a closet full of thoughts. The words that gravitate towards the reform and aim to dissolve the complex procedures.
BCC (Bauhaus Complaints Choir) is an experimental chorus aiming to structure and coordinate the complaints within the institution. While giving a space for the voices of the students, professors, and all employees of our university, I and my colleague Margarita Garcia decided on creating the lyrics out of the complaints we receive. Making a complaint within the institution often requires reflecting on it. BCC is a cabinet for both institutionally and privately held complaints. Allof them are welcome. The music follows the dynamics of the writings, combining global, indigenous, dispossessed, classic, and experimental.
I must share a sort of disappointment regarding the response within the BCC (Bauhaus Complaints Choir) open call, that weirdly hurt me. My fragile ego was mixing the anger, protest, sadness, and actual result of the call. For weeks there was no complaint on the form. I wondered what is the problem? There must be something standing between a person who is about to voice their displeasure and me building a cabinet and waiting for it. Is there a bug in the system, a mistake in the approach?
‘’Hey Nadja, this rocks. ‘’ ‘’Bravo, I hope you get a lot of complaints.’’ ‘’This is such an important project! ‘’ ‘’Girl, this is what this university needs.’’
…but no complaint was appearing on our form, nor being dropped in the mail. No letter, no notification, no displeasure. It might be that I have made a piece of marketing, a product, and lost its actual objective on the way. One person even texted me that she would like to participate, but she really does not have anything to complain about. Even an apology followed this statement. I was feeding the air, the social media, and idea, but not the people, I suppose. On the other hand, there was this question: Are we so overwhelmed with the individual, inner complaints that the task to complain somewhere else, outside, feels like one more errand? I do understand this. I do not blame. I am, myself, having way too many on my list.
However, some complaints made BCC’s idea fight for its existence in my head, still taking the failure as the legitimate and integral part of the process. At some point, the letters started appearing – the response came from the crowd.
“If you have to complain because of failed processes, you have to enter yet more failed processes.” S.Ahmed
If I am about to create a real cabinet for the complaints, I should take care of it in the best possible way. I have to learn from the empty spaces in the form, as much from the filled ones. Moreover, it is just the beginning of BCC’s radical wardrobe, and the door has just opened.
Valituskuoro: Who sings the things?
Valituskuoro: Who sings the things?
The world of diverse voices amazes me. From the collective art performances to the theater stage happening, I was always a big devotee and admirer of this kind of noise. Except for the melody of the crow, I am in love with complaining as a sport of choice. Therefore, I started searching for enthusiasts in the same field.
In the Finnish vocabulary, there is the expression “Valituskuoro (literally ‘’Complaints Choir’’) and it is used to describe situations where a lot of people are complaining simultaneously. In my research, I found the two names that are taking this expression seriously.
It is my true pleasure to introduce the artist duo Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen and Tellervo Kalleinen, Helsinki-based contemporary artists working with cinema, installation, performance, and events. In their practice, they attempt to merge the languages and approaches of several disciplines, such as film, performance, game design, experimental education, facilitation, social architecture, and alternative economies. They construct situations and invite people to join her for collective adventures.
Complaints choirs took place in primary schools, streets, churches, villages, and big cities… Complainers started their movement worldwide. Better said, they occupied spaces.
Another example is The Resistance Revival Chorus from New York that introduces themselves as activists exploring music and musicians exploring activism. RRC is a collective of more than 60 women and non-binary singers, who join together to breathe joy and song into the resistance and to uplift and center women’s voices. Chorus members are touring musicians, film and television actors, Broadway performers, solo recording artists, gospel singers, political activists, educators, filmmakers, artists, and more, representing a multitude of identities, professions, creative backgrounds, and activist causes. And we have now the BCC (Bauhaus Complaints Choir) that exists in specific time and space. We are students, designers, artists, filmmakers, supervisors, tutors, professors, activists, protesters, everyday people. We are the diverse voices of a particular context and we aim to voice up.
Say complaint – and there I am, building my professional complaining career.
To participate in the Bauhaus Complaints Choir, please enter here.
This fairytale is a well-established concept, an interpretation, and the invention of the main protagonist of the story.
“My poor little Nadja, I wish I could scoop up your remains every time you fall apart,” she said, addressing herself, facing the text her thoughts had just woven.
The story consists of a bunch of words in English, many complaints, self-criticism, world criticism, global politics, conflicts, and personal reflections. Its content is not actually a story at all. It is more of a fake, fictional etymology of the Serbian word “beznadje” which started all this textual fuss.
ONE AND ONLY CHAPTER: ALL THE LET’S
Neoliberal capitalism breeds charming little monsters. My name is Nadja, welcome to my overexistence.
There is a word in my mother tongue, a word in which I had planted my ego years ago and have watered it ever since. In Serbian, we say beznadje / beznađe meaning hopelessness or more precisely: without hope. This compound combines the word bez (without) with my beautiful name (Nadja), by coincidence. The world without Nadja makes me sad. Sometimes I blame my small, generous family for splashing so much love onto me. You are guilty of my ego plantation and egocentric perspective. You made me overexist. There are times when I miss them so much that being so far away from their warm, loving bodies tears me apart. Time has shown me that they are the creators of the most beautiful and disgusting things that my being consists of. Let’s discuss it in my monologue.
My anxiety is reversed. Instead of, as a hedgehog or a snail, squeezing my face inwards, I go for more of what makes me anxious in the first place. Instead of covering my face with an emergency blanket, I apply for a new open call, I make a new friend, and I make new art. I overwhelm myself, volunteering for my own destruction. I stretch my body on the ceilings of contexts I do not even belong. It hurts so damn much being a captive of your own brain. It makes me feel trapped, stupid, unable to progress. I have been hanging on this clothesline ever since, and it seems I won’t pick up my clothes soon. Let me dry.
I am tired of being excited. Recently I asked my mom if I was born like this. I believe I was: strongly into everything along the way, wanting, eager for everywhere and everyone, not belonging, not existing for real, never loving anybody but their love for me, never accepting anything that does not benefit me in some way… The vicious cycle of every, any, every. The excited monster always wants to see another garden and love another flower. I am a factory. My production is unbelievably fast, so is my consumption. However, I do understand this method of mine very well, I simply fear not having the options. If I get one NO, there is something about to be a YES. If he leaves me, there is another HE loving me in the background. If you make me choose just one, I will disappear from it, whatever it is. I am a union of the contexts and queen of my clothing. I am not one, but plural. Let me be swallowed by my monsters, it is the only way to survive.
I thought about the book title that I might write if I switch from art to popular psychology book title copywriting. “How to plant, cultivate, and water your multiple egos”. Best-seller, right? I would give a course on multitasking, productive puma advice, and self-destruction, inevitably. And what is with me and this puma thing? I do compare myself to a black panther on a daily basis. Let me be the best there is in the capitalist jungle.
Yesterday I cried my face off while jogging through a German landscape. It felt like it was about to explode. I am not sure what exactly, but I felt its shape right above my bladder, growing and pulsing. Like a creature. I gave birth inside my belly. The pregnant puma is starting to feel the pain. It hurts so much. It pierces and paralyzes me. I cannot do this anymore. Stretched over my red sofa, I tried to collect the puzzle pieces and get through the fog I found myself surrounded with. It felt so blurry that I didn’t even know how to carry myself from the sofa over to my bed in the corner. It took my excited body and it suffocated me. How can I live in this world without Nadja? If she becomes tired and sad, what is this all about? She hurts me, she is killing me. I want her to calm down and pick up the fucking clothes.
The summary was urging to be done and therefore, we are coming back to the roots: the place where the complaints were planted, watered, and let out by the complainer-creator, to the#0.
I do wonder sometimes why I have started voicing the itchiness I encountered. The following question would be why I do art. Then again, after rereading the displeasures once in a while I always bump into the satisfying answer. Moreover, I love my army of complaints. The question would pop up: how is it possible to have an emotional connection to the displeasure? I might not be able to explain it well, but assume that for me it comes from the joy of complaining, the power of reflecting, something very personal, one-man therapy, the empathy with the protagonists of my story, and most importantly, being able to be vulnerable somewhere, more than anywhere else. The topics that I touched through my displeasures are a good base to realize what are the itchy places and triggers, more precisely the base for future complaints and that is, my complainers, what I was looking for a while. I might be my own feminist ear.
STICKY DATA: Complaints framed as self-damage
Is it, now when I opened these very personal, but very public questions and realized how sticky they are? Now, when I am aware of the damage that has been made? It can not be more of destruction than actually taking the words and bringing them into action. I and my displeasures are already here, which is, as I experienced, definitely not enough. Otherwise, Ahmed would call it a fatalist process (opened and started just in order to be initiated). But I would say that if my voices are burning now, there must be the next stage. Therefore, let me complete this action until it gets visible.
WHAT A LOVELY WAY TO BURN
After voicing displeasure #The Code of Visibility, I could finally cry my life off, after months of holding it back. The wonderful moment of being able to tell him how hurt I was is not the pathetic story about my father, as I always thought. It is the voice of all the girls in the world that were abandoned, living with the thought that they made a mistake. It is the voice of the anger, the spit of the tension that pierced my belly for years. Thinking about the children that are very present in my everyday life, I pictured the visibility that their complaints are creating: the contrast of being taken too seriously, or not at all. I have been observing both their creation of visibility and complaining in front of the authorities and I actually found something useful to apply in my own practice.
Never mentioned before that I have always been disguised and repelled by the way my family structure is described in the official documents. It gave many people the right to comment and construct their own perceptions of the two members of my nuclear family. I hated the way they victimized my mom seeing her as a tortured, poor woman, the single parent left alone. Once, in the report of a school psychologist, she wrote:the child’s lack of motivation due to the consequences of her broken family. Whatever would change in my behavior, that was considered weird, it was always attributed to the crack I was born in.
Once, I cried in front of a 5 years old girl I babysat because her toy/doll family construction matched mine very well. Instead of stopping the professional cry, I started the professional complaint in front of her and the game was successful. The feminist ear has no gender and no age.
voicing the burning
#The Professional Cry is a fusion that gravitates and connects displeasures written before and after it. It is, indeed very much connected to the first displeasure #Feminine Masculinity. Both empowered my female/male voice and helped me understand the NO complaint. I was not respecting my own body, and my own little girl cried inside me every time I gave it to them. I was sexually harassed, taken advantage of. I experienced verbal abuse not knowing that what has been happening is wrong. I never told that to anyone, because they would immediately give credit to the broken family situation: seeking love more than others, daddy issues, loneliness, not having a man figure to look after, etc. I am not saying that traces of the crack are not present, but how dare you? Developing masculine femininity is a process and I prefer saying that my deep voice is therefore a social construct.
#The Crying Honk was, on the other hand, at the beginning very general, global, touching something outside of my body. I started writing it after the second day of my trip to Egypt thinking about the reflection on the way. After a while, it became strongly personal and I noticed that this was the task of mine, the one this life urges me to have: I am the voice of the children. I always felt this whisper more than others and whatever is the context, I ended up working with kids. At least I know whom I inherited this complaining skill from. Therefore, the more honest and radical I was, the more visible I became. This might also be called radical softness because my words are written faster than my brain can check them. I am simply unloading and emptying my cabinets within each letter.
NOWHERE TO GO, BUT READY TO BURN
So, how to treat these empty pieces of furniture that are piling up? How to fold all these tears and screams-soaked napkins? Where to store them? The collection of the voices, cabinets of displeasure, university of ears, feminist laboratory, collective hug, complaining choir – (some)where to go?
I have a trillion questions while burning on my own and some of them are adding oil on fire, while some are swallowing me even more into the topic. I am asking:
What is the difference between psychotherapy (type of a feminist ear), official complaint (including administrative process e.g), and art practice here, for me? What am I proposing and voicing?What wouldhappen when the voices are heard and the cabinet is exposed, becoming visible? Will my writings hug the people, motivate them? What do the complainers need? Is it more of the introspection and individual complaining experiences or the instruction of how to make an act?
Until all of them are answered, until it all burns.
The sound of collective praying made me tremble. I heard the voice coming from the top of Ibn Tulun mosque communicating with the other voices, the choir of Al-Qāhirah. The collective vibration transmitted through the architecture gave birth to a sobbing city I had a chance to encounter.
Why are you crying? ارجوك لا تبكي.
All the best from the West
Scared for my white skin, I walk through the dusty bubble and pray for my white skin not to get dirty. For my white skin not to get raped. For my white skin not to experience poverty. My privileged, white body prays for the kids from this street, for the mango traders of Bazar, and the mothers feeding their newborns on the pedestrian zones, beyond the legs of passengers. The white privilege that I have not chosen but was given to me. With the whiteness and ability to wash my face after a long day on the streets, I dare to ask: how can we be part of the same planet? Me and this little girl in front of me, being alone on the street? We, small humans spreading inequality. We, mute humans, do not hear the cry.
On day 4, I slowly accepted these scenes as a part of the landscape and got used to poverty.
Honk for the existence
Being loud or visible has many purposes: from the simple joy of having attention to the emergency blankets, danger alert, and simple, everyday fear. I find the ambivalence of the honking orchestra here being disturbing and meditative simultaneously. The sound of confirming the presence on the road.Another form of crying, right? Traffic tears, polluted breath, screaming brakes.
Somehow, this typical Egyptian honking practice sounds very much like my own cry – hysteria, anger, the language of the unique emotions. Imagine honking as the only voice you can use. The honking makes you want to explode in your own anxiety and drown in your own tears. Or in mine, if you wish.
Who takes the pictures of the otherness and who is the otherness?
“The relationship between Occident and Orient is a relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of a complex hegemony.”
Said, Edward W. 2003. Orientalism
The postcolonial studies introduced us to the Westerns depicting the Orient as an irrational, strange, weak, feminized “Other”, contrasted with the rational, familiar, strong, masculine West. I would gladly comment on something that opposestheotherness, the one belonging to Orient (from the previous view), and reflect on my own, Occident otherness experience in Egypt. It is very important to underline my position here: I am not a scientific researcher on the topic, nor competent to discuss postcolonialism on any deeper level. The fact that these were my first steps out of Europe and the ways I used to experience each of them urged this reflection and made it very personal.
As I have already voiced in one of my displeasures, it feels that my everyday purpose is to be visible wherever I am and no matter what I do, say, or behave, my visibility was never so present (I dare to say even successful visibility in my case) like here. It is not me, Nadja, being exotic otherness in Egyptians eyes, but us, Nadjas that came to enjoy the heritage of their country and leave a few pounds more, possibly. And here I was even more white and prestigious, being considered a German within the group of German students I came with. What fascinates me among many things here is the way of communication that consists (besides the honking) of a couple of questions as where are you from; what is your name; and multiple versions of welcome to Egypt. These questions are never meant to actually be responded to, but to deepen the conversation, lead to the possible trade, and give them ”the promise”. Each word answering their conversation starter is a permission to enter the platonic friendship where you are the one promising to buy, to sit there and, necessary, come again. Such intensity in everything happenings. Welcome, to Cairo, they said.
What is your name?
My name is Nađa, that, according to Russians comes from Nadezhda (Надя) meaning hope. According to Arabs comes from Arabic Nadia (Nadiya) meaning moist; tender; delicate. One of the sellers from Bazar told me that the meaning is a short, but very fast river. I wanted to run aweay, that's true. So, you are Egyptian? I was asked.
The first time in this symbolic 25 years I exist in this world, somebody took the picture of me because I was different than everybody else there. I was the exotic, fascinating alien among the ordinary, everyday man on this continent. Instead of giving the superiority that attention usually does, I felt the opposite. I felt small and different in front of the whole world that I had no idea about. I felt the heaviness of the cloak of otherness that was worn by the people of color in Europe, Muslims praying on the street of the Orthodox country I came from, the women with hijabs, etc. Their unusual, extraordinary behavior or look was taking the attention of ”normal” white people and now, it is was me: an alluring, foreign subject.
I would revive the Serbian saying ”Šta je, jel igra bela mečka?‘ (eng. Is the white bear dancing or what?), the term we use for an event that evokes the curiosity of random passers-by. Apropo this saying, I wonder, who is the white bear and who is the spectator, actually? It might be that the white bear is the observer and he does not need to be tamed.
Gold-coated, crying city
Not goldening it more than it is, it is the fact that Egypt has been visited for its archeological heritage as a golden civilization that left magnificent traces dating back from the world we have no idea about. This golden coat kicked me after I left Cairo and woke up the following morning on the night train in Luxor. There I understood the massive tourism of the Serbs used to go to Hurgada every year, as well as other people visiting Egypt and seeing just Lux(or). Nobody enjoys truly the 67 layers of dust on their faces while being trapped in the traffic sandwich between the cars, buses, auto-rickshaws, and running pedestrians in Cairo. Rarely who want to live in these conditions. I do not. Yes, we are contributing through tourism and we should keep doing it. No, Egypt is not just a sandy kingdom and Giza. That is all I wanted to comment on.
Again, how to be sure that this is not one more reflection fabricated by a western explorer?
Now, poetry for the poor. (ref. Architecture for Poor, Hasan Fathy)
Welcome to the Strange Fruits episode of the Voiced Displeasure. Maybe the least favorite one, but tasty, for sure. Poetic, inevitably. The main protagonist relates to the 3 sections: Juice, danger, and joy; Systems, sugar, skin, and stain; The land of rightness, emptiness, and gray color. Next time instead of the external keyboard, you might bring the fork.Have you ever heard a fruit talking? Did you find it uncomfortable? Understandable. No judgments. This is a safe space. Let´s bite.
JUICE, DANGER, AND JOY
”I am a little parasite stuck on your ceiling, watching and waiting for the right moment to grab your face. I am an angry skeleton under the thousand layers of this skin blanket. I want to get out of my colonized past.
I am the one you want to squeeze. My lemonish, bitter body is hanging on the walls of your borders. Experience the haptic touch of this nectarous object – me. Me, the stranger. You – domestic. Me – the dirt on Your floor. You – the boundary. My amorph shape stands out from the crowd, breaks the concrete, entering the void.I produce joy. Try me. I am a violent inhabitant trying to break your comfort. I am the stain spot of this system.
These little hands were holding the poles in the foreign trains and buses, being observed. My hands are being watched – the way they move, how the fingers fold and dance around the strange objects. I am the sensation. My legs are making the gaps between the foreign feet, stepping into the unknown. Kissing the strange ground, while dropping the strange juice into the dry field. My earlobes are made of sugar, melting in the strange air. My lungs are suffocating from the bizarreness of this place. Its mystifying inner shakes my foreign outer. Its breeze freezes me. I must get out.”
SYSTEMS, SUGER, SKIN, and STAIN
The land of rightness, emptiness, and gray color
Welcome to Saxony, the land that tears the skin of the beast.Welcome to the act of peeling one’s outer. Chemnitz means stones, coming from the language that I can understand, for some reason. Welcome to Chemnitz, friends. Welcome these words that are coming and be free to dive into the experience.
”The strangeness climbs through my spine, from the bottom. Slowly and precisely it covers the whole backside. I feel the structure and heaviness of my skull. My earlobes are collapsing. My head leans towards the shoulders as if it is going to fall. I feel alienated from the outside.
Some parts of my body feel numb. There is a space around my inner skin that I have no contact with. I turn my head to the right I look at one point. My attention stays in the corner of my eye creating the tension of the eye muscle. I can see the small humans inside a human, I sense how they move around me. I see the shadows of these bodies, I feel the coldness piercing my outer strongly through the borders. IAM THE OTHER. The other on many that are the same.
I slowly pull my own inside towards the outside shell. I humbly tore the skin of a creature. I peel the layers of its skin and try to get out. It lasts and feels like forever. I am the stain spot on this map. Pulling. Vibrating. Pushing. I am so alive.”
PS: NEVER EAT THE FRUITS YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
I believe that invisibility for Him made me urge the visibility everywhere else. I must be loud. I must be seen. Spreading the presence wherever I can, proving my existence while being unrepeatable, unique, ubiquitous. You made me visible by hiding me. But watch out, I do have this voice.
The night felt long and exhausting. After I woke up this morning, there was a spit of trauma on my pillow. It is like many others very blurry, but while writing it I sharpen and sculpt it.
WALLS, DRINKS, CODES, AND SCREAMS
The bar was divided by many walls and halls as if it is an apartment adapted to a so-called place for celebrations. It felt as if the whole family and family from a family were standing in that celebration room. The blurry-faced shapes of human bodies, that presented my close friends were behind the celebration wall, with me, drinking vodka in a very hesitated, thirsty manner. In reality, I never drink vodka, but there I am – as drunk as Cooter Brown, celebrating. I can very well recognize the sound of Him through the walls – drunk as well, heavy smoker’s tone, intense and boisterous voice.
The agony entered the celebration room immediately after I did. Greeting the family (probably mine) and kissing the cheeks of the men that I have never seen before. The sweaty, muscular bodies are welcoming and celebrating my arrival – me being there after so long. At that very moment, I recognized just the figure of my little half-brother that I see for the second time. And then, He appeared. To be more precise in the description of this sibling relationship, the only thing we share is exactly Him. Approaching me confidently, bringing by each step this before-the-storm feeling. I trembled the celebration out of my skin. The scream was there coming from His mouth, manifesting years of anger – outrage irritated by my existence. Why is He furious? Shouting and breaking the glasses in front of my fragile, never-used-to-be-screamed-at body. I was the most visible and invisible person in the room. After more than 15 years of absence, He appears and yells all his masculinity at the female offspring. I could not hear the words, it was too loud to understand them. Fifteen years transformed into a simple spillage of anger. That might be the scream of becoming a father for the first time. At least to me.
All the girls in the world, unite. My code is being loud, being visible. My code is being patient and listening. My code is never ever in my life abandoning you, whoever you will be. My code is being strong like She is. The code of mine is taking care of the children, all the children of the world. My code has a voice must use it.
But, who wants to pass through me, must pass through my room. I yelled back. I screamed my face off, turning purple and spitting the sentences in His face while saying the words I can not understand. I am not a small girl to be shouted at – I am this deep voice that grew up from a child you never wanted.
Salty liquid. The sea of the eye lobe. Isn’t it absolutely the same as going to pee? Goes in – goes out. I drop the tears and let them unite into the army. Teary tear, just be.
There was me and four girls from Iran, by coincidence. We were trying to empower our feminity and learn to say NO. We said NO many times in these three hours. I almost broke into the tiniest thousand pieces of human flesh. I tried not to. Never show the instability, delicacy and fragile persona. Drop the humor, start the joke. It is not professional to cry.
The third girl said that she feels this socially constructed burden and pressure of being the ideal worker, the best one in the world. The best one in the class. The best one in the bed. The best from the best. Best beast in the wildness.
Me? I bumped into the presence of the physical objects being inside my body because my clock tik-tak-ed and it was time to drop it. What is this pile of thorns which pierce my stomach?
You are not allowed to be a pussy. You are not allowed to be a pussy. If you are going to be a pussy, be the best one you can possibly be.
You are not a blowjobin the rain. You are not apiece of meaton the bar’s toilet tiles. You are the deepest voice of Southeast Europe.
”You are a boy, aren’t you?” I was asked by Frauenarzt (gynecologist) on the first call I made after moving to Germany. I wanted my female, dear friend down there to be healthy, but my ultra-deep, male voice transformed everything into an uncomfortable phone conversation – confusion about my gender. Far away from being insulted, I was actually glad that she showed her disorientation in our dialogue. I never thought that this masculine polished, deep tone coming from my stomach, being transmitted through my mouth could be my own defense mechanism against the enemies. My own complaining tool. A voice fighting the whole army – the voice winning the war. I must admit, I was bitter and partially heartbroken that I could not be a princess of my father’s kingdom, neither could I be the most wanted girly girl in my classroom. All my honeyed and nectarous power was visible much later after puberty tore down the confused teenager.
The voice became both an important and powerful tool of mine over the years. There is so much to tell. So much to complain about. Screaming in the holes of the system, spitting on their streets, and yelling whenever I feel like it. My voice is my medium. My voice is my capital. My masculine persona was born within it.
Let’s talk about boys. Voice of the boys. Boys for the voice. Voicing the boys. The ones that I love, the ones that abandon me, scared me, the ones that empowered me, satisfied me, treated me as an object, terrified me, loved me, protected me, and let me be the version of Nadja I am, while writing this.
I will tell you about the act of loudness after I tell you the ”Mustard bastard”.
My fingers in your hair, he said.
My hair was tied up in a high ponytail so that it would not fall into miniature portions of so-called canapes. I would cut the bread into slightly larger croutons. I would cover a slice of bread very precisely with yellow, freshly produced mustard. The knife I used was the same one used for butter with a carved brand on the bottom of the handle.
He said: I would like to tie your hands up around the radiator and feed you. I will grab your hair and pull it until you start crying. I will spread it all over your body.
My favorite color has always been yellow. My grandmother bought me a yellowish backpack for the first day of school. She said that I look like the sun and that the whole world rotates around me.
He would put my yellow backpack on the floor and take my clothes off – to explore the sun’s rays. My skin is cowered while my 15 old body is shivering. When he finished splashing mustard over my belly I would cry from the pain, but he would take me in his lap calling me his little sun. The pain would pass soon.
Bon Appetit! My mother prefers eating hot dogs without mustard while I eat them with.
I can’t tell why
but I love yellow
I can’t really know
Is this taste mellow
if you plant it, it will surely grow is this taste bitter
or is it just the snow?
he talks about my body
to inhabit it,
have a sip capture it matter it body skip imagine it.
He likes my mustard, Bon Appetitt.
THE ACT OF LOUDNESS
These so-called mustard bastard made my voice silent many, many times. This phenomenon is called the loss of voice and it is a real psychological disorder. Indeed.
A girl from Yeman was born from rape, believing that rape is the only thing she deserves. An older man from the park was touching his genitals 2 meters from my 17 years old presence. Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Two middle-aged men were jerking off in front of me on the bus 706 in Belgrade, in the middle of the day. In Nicaragua, between 1998 and 2008, police recorded 14,377 cases of sexual assaults, with more than two-thirds of reports involving girls under the age of 17. A 50 years old man told me that he will tie my hands around the radiator in the supermarket, while I was selling the mustard. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
The loss of voice is an experience when a person has something she or he feels is important to say but does not say it. Often this refusal to speak one’s mind is linked to feelings of inadequacy, fear of rejection, or fear of humiliation. Once adolescence is in full force, this inner, authentic voice is rarely shared with anyone, except for a few people whom girls trust. Outside of these close and trusting interactions, girls use an “acceptable” voice – one that expresses what they assume others expect them to think and feel.
Girls must use all the masculinity. Girls must scream stronger, dig deeper and spit harder.
I dig, dig, dig
I am a juicy fig.
Take me, try me, do not jig
I smell like a bloody rose,
Look at me!
I dig, dig, dig
and it grows.
Should I be loud?
digfor the crowd.
I dig here, I dig now. You are the one that is endowed.