Two years ago, I would not have thought that my life would take me where I am now. I am nursing, not as a career, but as a volunteer, writing professionally and creatively, living in Honduras, speaking in Spanish more than English, and all together, living a more fulfilling and enjoyable life. Want to learn how to quit your own job and travel the world for a year while pursuing your dreams? Check out the first of a series of my articles on traveling the world for a year without a job at Endless Trek Magazine.
I recently was discussing with a friend in Copan the word culture and how we both thought it was often misused to make excuses for unacceptable treatment of women and children. Until she had brought it up, I didn’t realize that I myself had used it as an excuse in my writing and conversation. The word “machismo” could very easily be exchanged for the American idiom “boys will be boys,” both placing the unacceptable acts of men in the category of “culture.” When these words are used, somehow rape, domestic violence, and cheating become more acceptable because they are part of the “culture.”
I am frequently asked by friends and family, how can you live in Honduras where men treat women like they do? This question makes me upset when people ask it, and for some time, I did not understand why. I now see that the root of my irritation is that not so long ago America’s “culture” was one of female oppression, and the phrase “children should be seen and not heard” was used frequently to ignore the voices of the innocent.
It was strong people, that’s right, PEOPLE, not just women, who helped make the freedoms of women and children possible in the U.S. Americans seem to forget that this change only really happened in the last 100 years, and we lived in a similar world as women and children do here. While the unacceptable behaviours of men in Honduras are ignored on a regular basis, and that is termed machismo, I believe that way of thinking is changing, not just here, but in the world.
I see strong children and females all around me. I am reminded, that while many battles have been won, it is an on-going war to change the mindset of a world that has been primarily patriarchal, with women and children seen as possessions, not human beings of equal standing, for most of its history.
I look at the male children around me, and I ask myself where and how can they learn to be different than their fathers? How will they learn to be champions of women and children and call themselves feminists too? So often, I see men pushed to the side in the feminist movement, but they can be just as much a part of it and are necessary to it’s progress. They can show what true culture is.
By definition, culture is “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” True culture is when people come together with all their knowledge, wisdom, experience, and history to create a statement of who they are as a people and what they have achieved together. As a cultural statement of the world, I hope someday at the base of all our achievements will be equality and respect.
Red in spite of pale demise
Art murmurs a mystery the mind cannot explain
Crisp crackles mark silence
Steps are shadows of forgotten experience
All metal eventually corrodes into dusty existence
Life is only eternal dieing
The colors of fall bring the gray of winter
Naked trees are the skeleton of entry and exit
The wind carries away ashes to ignite fire
Gentle is the passing into ether of tomorrow
Death is the loyal friend of the living
Unconditional is its love
Acceptance devours fear and welcomes peace.
Exhaustion blurs to delirious delusions
Past seeps through cracked walls
Built while wounded
Holes where the heart should be
This stone pile of disappointed desires
Laments of bitter regret
Fear of repetition’s stagnant reality
Yours or mine?
Lost in love’s mishaps
Painful position of paltry passings
Burnt flesh of fevered fermented hope made sour
I am too weak to stand
I must dissolve into foggy fumblings of mind
Sleep calls me to rest in my sea of emotion
Floating above the pain in whispers.
After a brief moment in Dublin, where I visited the Wall and Keogh for an afternoon tea good-bye and picked up my forgotten phone, I flew to Scotland. In Glasgow, I let myself heal after a month of keeping a gradually creeping cold at bay. It was the first place since New York where I was visiting an old friend, and this allowed me to accept being ill and give myself time to rejuvenate. I bonded with my friend’s flatmates over Game of Thrones and The Wire and caught up on my sleeping, writing, reading, and chatting with family and friends back home. Being lazy was the best thing I have done for myself thus far on this trip. I was treated to feasts and stimulating political/feminist conversation nightly along with daily witty banter. I moseyed around art galleries and meditated at Loch Lomond with a fellow wanderer. I got my groove on briefly in a Scottish night club and laughed at the mating rituals of humans with Harry Potter. Most importantly, I learned about vars and will define them as such for those with question marks above their heads.
Var-An abyss of piss.