Alone,

Stuck in the collective past,

she longs for what passed her by,

for what she ran away from,

she looks for in the future-torn past,

alone,

excluded from the inertia of loneliness,

mastered, organised, systematic

loneliness, developed

through the prosperity of the nation,

fabricated to the utmost convenience,

time-, money-, energy-, life-saving,

luxurious loneliness, developed

through the austerity of the nation

alone,

stuck in the collective past,

she withers, the last reminder of our

mortality, spent beyond extinction,

while intimidatingly she’s alive

and cries through dry eyes

for anything but our perfected lies.

~

SJL

29/03/21

Musical limitation

What is humanity if not limitation?

Has anyone ever sang beyond theirs?

And what’s beyond limitation,

if not excess?

Nothing’s less definitive than music.

Nothing’s definitive, but one

the greatest entity of all,

and our greatest limit.

~

SJL

24/03/2021

Moodymann, Amp Dog Knight “I’m Doing Fine”

The Youth unemployment crisis in Europe: a call for action

Youth unemployment around Europe is in a critical state that can no longer be disregarded. Despite governments’ effort to introduce the Youth Guarantee programme, youth unemployment rates in Europe are on the rise, having jumped from 14.7% to 17.6% between just January and August 2020. EU programs encouraging businesses to recruit graduates have had little impact due to the immense recession. This is a problem universal to all youth in Europe, especially graduates and those who have been made redundant during the pandemic.

The pandemic has not discriminated against any member of society, and there are many people whose lives it has put at risk. Current lockdowns are in place to protect those people, as well as our health care service, and all those who work within it. The vaccine roll-out and the subsequent decline in cases in the recent months in countries around the world has been a necessary glimpse of hope. Many members of society who were at high risk of serious illness from the virus are now protected.

The restriction in place throughout the pandemic have put young people in a critical situation both economically and socially, however, there is little understanding of this.

As vaccines are being rolled out and vulnerable people are becoming protected, job opportunities continue to be scarce. Just as it has with every other member of society, lockdown has had a relentless effect on youth, on our mental health, our well-being, our confidence, our livelihoods, our happiness, and most of all, our futures.

Recent university/college graduates and people who have been made redundant have lost their place in society altogether. Many young people have made painful adjustments to their lives, being forced and to move back home and let go of their independence. Permanent entry jobs are increasingly inaccessible, and many graduates are opting for poorly paid internships or jobs unrelated to their field, unable to move onto the next step in their career. Some are unable to find jobs altogether, fearing a future without work.

I am a young person, and consider myself lucky to still be in university, in my final year. It gives me a sense of purpose, comfort, and I do not yet need to face the volatile job market. However, many of my friends and family are recent graduates of university, and are totally helpless, hopeless, and are feeling growingly powerless as lockdown persists. Desperate to find a job, they are having to compete with thousands of applicants for meagre vacancies. They are totally lost.

Of course, we can only hope that things will get better. However, this difficult period has taken a blow on people’s livelihood, and their hope for the future, regardless of the imminent end of restrictions. The situation for European youth like us is dire as the scarcity of job opportunities has been exacerbated due to the pandemic, and, as confirmed by Senior economist Neal Kilbane, it is true that “If you’re unemployed earlier on in your career, you’re more likely to experience joblessness in the future”. Therefore, the pandemic is having scarring effects to young people, for whom difficulties will persist beyond the economic recovery if the government does not act up.

As a young person, I would like to know that this is a focus, if not a priority of governments around Europe. There is a crucial need of hope and reassurance during these difficult times for young people, as they are immensely affected by the restrictions and the untameable impact of the pandemic. Although most of us have been fortunate enough not to have to worry about our physical health during this difficult year, we cannot help but feel like our mental and spritual health is deteriorating and given no priority.

I would like for governments to regard livelihood equally as health. While it was necessary, we must confront the fact that young people’s livelihood has been completely stripped of them with lockdown restrictions, and the only thing that keeps us here is the prospect of returning to normality with their easing. We can no longer afford to be in lockdown as young people as we are in a major job crisis, and a mental health one, which need to be treated equally as important as the health one.

Lastly – while this is not new information – I hope that it can shed a light on the crucial and urgent state of youth at this moment in time. I can no longer accept the lack of opportunities for our generation. Young people are the future, and we are the most educated generation of all time, yet we are unable to even imagine it for ourselves right now as we cannot see beyond the volatility of the current job market. I hope that this is taken into serious consideration and that government acts now.

Sofia Jade Lopes

14/03/21

Sexual violence against women: Men need to fix this

I, like most women, have experienced sexual harassment. I haven’t told my family for fear of upsetting them, and since years have passed since it happened, I now feel it would cause unnecessary distress to speak of it. I feel guilt for not exposing the culprit, who may well have gone on to do similar things to others.

I’ve kept this information from most people as I don’t want them to think differently of me, I fear being perceived as “damaged”. I fear that telling people about it will cause harm to people like me. I abhor saying it, but I fear that it will give a reason for people to invalidate my sexuality. But I’m ashamed that I am not bringing awareness to the matter.

Keeping it to myself all these years, for fear of it changing people’s minds about me, and for fear that it would dictate my identity, is only fuelling this unreasonable shame more. I know for a fact that many others have gone through similar experiences and may possibly feel a similar shame which is debilitating them from talking to someone about it, and it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that survivors should deal with any amount of shame, guilt, fear, or ongoing distress from the matter, and that perpetrators are rarely (barely ever) held unaccountable or burdened the way we are.

I only think it’s right that all men take accountability for this. Every single man should show support to women in this moment in time. It should be an obligation for all men to act out against sexism and violence against women. Only in obligating men to act and show solidarity will perpetrators become (even just the slightest bit) accountable for what they did. In turn, those who do not participate will be finally identifiable as unsafe people.

Violence towards women, as we are finally seeing, is a topic that is needs a lot of attention. But, it’s not the survivors’ or any women’s responsibility to raise awareness or fix the matter. We are finally seeing that the only people responsible here are men. All men. Women shouldn’t have to relive their traumas in order to fix this problem that belongs to men. Survivors should not feel shame, they shouldn’t feel responsible, and yet we are the only ones acting up. In all the discussion about violence towards women, we’re seeing that 97% of the people talking are women. This percentage should be 0. Although it was never women’s job to fix this problem, it now HAS to be men to fix it. Men HAVE to fix it.

I’m sick of feeling ashamed, I’m sick of fearing people will change their minds about me if they discover this. I’m sick of dealing with this alone. I want to be at peace with myself and unfortunately the only way of doing this is speaking up. There’s no real remediation for women like me, we’re powerless, and that’s exactly the problem.

~

SJL 13/03/2021

Illogical truth

The truth the universe is hoarding,

in the crevasses we come from to gather hope,

in the crevasses where I hide the illogical.

Now I’m addicted to making sense

to not endure ambiguity,

I exploit the arbitrary misery

to live within it carefree,

verging on the negativity

that wraps around your throat.

We’re all just dying to live,

the thought of doing so now petrifies

into submission.

Will we lose ourselves

before we lose the will?

As purpose erodes, all that’s left to hope

is the infinity of gratitude.

Time keeps travelling,

faster than light.

When I catch up with it,

the shadow ahead of me disappears,

leaving me alone

with nothing but fear

of what follows,

and the imminent end.

I’ve started thinking

I enjoy imagining more than I do living,

the feeling of being a prop

to the force inside my skull.

Maybe I’m just replacing joys

to not dissolve in dissatisfaction.

Nonetheless, I mourn my freedom,

and the robbery of my youth,

even through this sedation

that I misuse for sanity.

~

SJL 05/03/21

L’amour faux

Hélas, je n’étais pas amoureuse de toi

sinon de l’idée de toi.

Néanmoins, l’amour est fort

et toi, t’es la chose plus proche à elle,

à cette idée,

j’avoue, j’ai pas pu arrêter

de te penser.

~

SJL 04/03/21

The future’s here said the pioneer

The Devil’s Dancers – Song interpretation

I’m listening to this song ‘The Devil’s Dancers’ a lot these days because it reminds me of my friends and Glasgow etc., in it there’s a verse that sings “the future’s here said the pioneer” which keeps popping up in my head, and has got me thinking. I’m a bit obsessed with this verse, to me it epitomises the obsession the past has with the future. That is, to me this obsession with the future is something that characterises the past, say from the post-war until 2020. From the understanding I have of these years, there is an ongoing trend of this yearning for the future, and for all that it promised. Understandably during the post-war recovery, and the rise of capitalism and consumerism and the restoration of the economy, there must have been a very strong yearning for this idea of a better future, which seems to persist beyond the post-war recovery. Maybe I’m talking nonsense, but this is just what goes on in my head when I listen to this song… but it’s really interesting to me, because in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, the world seemed to change so rapidly with the rise of technology and all the other societal shifts that marked those years, which all seemed the result of this longing and romanticisation of the future. So, that’s what this song lyrics represents to me, the idea of a ‘pioneer’ of the future, who is forcing the future onto the present – a critique of this mentality of the romanticised future. It’s interesting, because this notion of longing for the future is undeniably still infiltrated in our society, although now we are starting to see that it is an unhealthy desire.

To listen to this song (which I’m not sure even means to evoke the interpretation I’m having) within the context that we’re living now is even more interesting, because I think this longing for the future stopped with the pandemic. Or at least to me. Of course, it’s likely this is the case because there is a sense of lost hope for the future, but I also think it’s because there is a general feeling of not wanting to advance further, that we finally feel that we are in the future we longed for for so long, and we don’t want to go further, or perhaps we don’t want it now that we know how it is. Which to me is a lesson within itself, and which is why this is a great song and you should listen to it.

What are your thoughts?

I benefici dell’arte durante la pandemia

Prima di tutto, cos’è l’arte?

Questa è una domanda che mi affascina molto perché in realtà non credo che l’arte si possa definire precisamente.

Secondo Google, l’arte si definisce come:

«L’espressione o applicazione delle capacità creative e immaginative umane, tipicamente nella forma del visuale, come la pittura o la scultura, opere primariamente  apprezzate per la loro bellezza o potere emotivo.»

Non so voi, ma direi che l’arte possa definirsi e interpretarsi diversamente da ogni individuo, e si può trovare in ogni cosa, perfino le cose più banali.

Io personalmente, per molto tempo, pensavo che l’arte si definisse più globalmente come: qualcosa che non si è mai visto prima… una creazione senza precedenti che rivoluzione in suo modo il mondo, che porta delle spiegazioni allo sconosciuto o genera delle nuove idee.”

Ma anche così, questa definizione fa soltanto luce all’aspetto innovativo dell’arte, di quello che mette al mondo, però non credo che l’arte rappresenti soltanto questo. durante la pandemia soprattutto, ho capito che l’arte non deve innovare, non deve impressionare o piacere, non deve neanche emozionare. 

Soprattutto, ho capito che l’arte non deve sempre dare… che siano spiegazioni, emozioni, piaceri… perché dietro l’arte siamo tutti noi, siamo noi che attraverso l’arte ci liberiamo di ciò che abbiamo dentro, e perciò l’arte è semplicemente un medio con cui esprimiamo la nostra umanità, qualunque modo sia. Mi piace pensare che l’arte non appartenga a nessuno e non si deve essere “capaci” o cosiddetti “creativi” per creare dell’arte.

Come mi aiutò personalmente l’arte durante la pandemia

Durante la pandemia, io mi sono girata verso l’arte, in parte perché avevo finalmente il tempo per impegnarmi veramente, d’altra parte perché ne avevo bisogno. Sono sempre stata molto affascinata dall’arte, e mi è sempre piaciuta – la musica, disegnare, scrivere, insomma cercare di vedere il mondo in un modo più romantico, magari per me è anche una specie di escapismo. Ma durante la pandemia, questo escapismo e romanticizzazione sono diventati dei bisogni piuttosto che passatempi. 

Ho finalmente potuto finire dei ritratti che avevo cominciato ma mai finito, ho continuato a scrivere poesia e ho iniziato a fare dei piccoli disegni a matita… e finalmente ho trovato la mia chitarra che ho dovuto spolverare ché ora e accanto alla mia scrivania per i momenti in cui voglio distrarmi dagli studi e soprattutto togliermi dagli schermi, ma a volte esagero. Anche se questi sbocchi sono comunque niente di serio o produttivo diciamo, ma sono senza dubbio dei modi per sfogarmi ed esprimermi.

Questi piccoli sbocchi creativi sono stati veramente importanti durante la pandemia e nei momenti difficili in cui magari mi sentivo giù o sommersa dallo stress dell’università’, o inquieta per il futuro.

Mi aiutavano sempre a liberarmi o distrarmi momentaneamente da questi sentimenti indesiderati, sia per via di rilasciare, poterli mettere al mondo e rendermi conto della loro temporalità, o meglio, la loro universalità. La scrittura soprattutto aiuta per me ad esprimere delle cose che magari non arrivo ad esprimere nel parlato.

In più, ho notato che tanti amici hanno iniziato anche loro a sviluppare dei sbocchi creativi durante la pandemia, anche iniziando a mettersi seriamente, ad esempio vendendo le loro creazioni o pubblicando la loro musica. E per me, questo è stato un bel modo di sentirmi ancora connessa con loro durante i periodi in cui non ci sentivamo o vedevamo.

I benefici dell’arte dulla salute mentale

Recentemente mi sono imbattuta su un articolo* affascinante che parlava dei benefici dell’arte sulla salute mentale. ed elencava i seguenti vantaggi:

  • Esplorare l’immaginazione e la creatività
  • Sviluppare l’autoconsapevolezza e l’autoriflessione.
  • Facilitare l‘espressione delle emozioni e i sentimenti difficili da verbalizzare attraverso le parole (ad esempio attraverso l’arte visuale)
  • Favorire l’accrescimento dell’Empatia – siccome l’arte e’ spesso uno sbocco molto emotivo, ci permette di essere più sensibili e aperti con i nostri sentimenti, così come quelli degli altri.
  • Inoltre, l’arte può favorire un’elevata capacità di comunicazione. Esprimersi creativamente permette a una connessione superiore con gli altri. Ad esempio, scrivere una lettera permette di esprimersi diversamente e più liberamente dal solito. Poi, e’ un gesto molto premuroso per il destinatario.
  • Altri benefici prevedono il miglioramento delle abilità cognitive, quali ad esempio: la concentrazione, l’attenzione e la memoria
  • La riduzione di ansia e stress. I sbocchi creativi ridurre livelli d’ansia e di stress mettendoci in uno stato di concentrazione assoluta chiamato lo “stato di flusso”. In questo stato, ci si puo distrarre dalle preoccupazioni e lo stress. In più, questo stato e’ spesso molto euforico. Lo “stato di flusso” facilita il rilassamento e stimola sentimenti di orgoglio e di successo personale.
  • Aiuta a rafforzare l’autostima

*L’articolo è questo: https://www.igeacps.it/i-benefici-psicologici-dellarte/

Questi sono i modi in cui io ho approffittato dall’arte e credo ne abbiano approffittato tanti altri durante la pandemia. Spero che vi sia interessato questo tema e che possa essere d’aiuto.

~

SJL 10/02/21