Make room

19 Apr

I’m drowning.

I see you from across the room, I flinch, you don’t even see me. You start to speak so softly, so calmly. Your genius, immense. I immerse myself in it for a second, dip the tip of my toes in the pond. I’m shaking. Red, hot flushes going up and down my body, like an illness that informs itself early enough for a diagnosis, but just a tad bit too late for a real cure.

I’m evaporating.

You worked me. My feet, my carves, my tights, my belly, my torso – my pulsing muscle in chest -, my arms, my body, my nose, my eyes, my hair and my face. Suddenly it was all yours. I was no longer, at least momentarily, proprietary of my being and I was being; feeling everything, the breaths and the moans and the hair – so much hair – we were only nuance, we were brief, we were coward and we were brave, we were young and beautiful, we were sad and lonely, we were old and in love, juvenile and in lust. We were there.

I’m coming.

As I left, your face was sad. I traced my finger through your beard, and your mouth, and your hand. I said goodbye ignoring the lump on my throat, the whole in my chest, the sirens going off alarming trouble, catastrophe, pandemonium. I didn’t want to listen. You were there. I was there. Then we left.

I’m struggling.

Everyday it gets easier. Every minute it gets harder. I know the size of your smile and the shape of your jaw, I can draw it in my head with perfect lines that aren’t fuzzy. I’m fussy. The memory of you is present, is alive, is phantom. It is hardly a memory because it’s happening now. The recollection of you is present. I-N-G. Organically, you say. Grown in the garden, seeded, wetted, shaded. It’s a bad seed of the finest kind.

I’m fighting.

Myself, mainly, but with you also. All the time for time. Every minute for another minute. You diffuse. You give. You take. Your shape, I can’t forget. Can’t get over. I can’t regret. Your tone, a ton. I just need more. Overdosing on this high. I can’t get enough of your voice, your mind, your endless desire to prove me wrong. I’m wrong.

I’m flailing.

And loosing. I’m bruising banging on edges, squeezing through spaces that haven’t been occupied in so long. You’re vacant. But I’m here. And I feel pain, but you’re not a painkiller: Baby, you’re the pain.

I’m falling.

And the end.

Rani Ghazzaoui


17 Apr

You were lying
I was yours
I never lie (that’s a lie).

I never lie (that’s a lie)
I was yours
You were lying.

Rani Ghazzaoui


21 Jun

– I love you with all of my heart, he said as she sobbed.
Her eyes puffing up, his arms struggling to find a position to rest around her restless soul.
– Your heart must be rather small, she said as he punched a whole in the door.
His fist now covered in blood as he walked out of the room. And he never looked back. Not once, not ever again.
Words are just words.

Rani Ghazzaoui


3 Aug


Inside her head the memories came as an avalanche, as flood, ending everything that she took so long to rebuild, to overcome. The more he asked her to stop, to not compare, to not cry and to believe that this time things would be different, the more she felt the urge to blurry her vision with tears, to cry, to plead that he stopped and left her alone.

This is the problem of an emotional person. It’s not that they don’t want to understand, or to see the truth, or to accept life by the simplicity it can represent. The problem for those who feel too much is that, behind the feeling, almost in every case there is a mind that is unable to stop, a mind that for years bless the careers of psychologists and psychiatrists – it earns them money, it gives them Doctor titles. A mind that never stops thinking, night and day, while you sleep, eat, speak, think, read, watch TV, go grocery shopping, take a test, work and have sex. It never stops.

Eleven o’clock, what did that mean? Half midday, he could have stayed with her but decided to leave after all those years, why? One o’clock, of all the people that hurt me, you were the one that tried the hardest. Half past three, and in adolescence, I know, I was skinnier and had less pimples, how is that even possible? Four forty two, I need to be more efficient at work; I am over thirty and still not what I though I would be by the time I was 25. Seven twenty two, I can’t possible eat fish for dinner again, that is all I eat every night, I’m about to mutate into a fish, or contract salmonella, I’m going to bore myself with my repetitive routine and then how am I supposed to entertain anyone else in my life if I can’t even manage to amuse my own self? Eight forty three, how am I supposed to know that he isn’t going to leave me also? What is it that I’ve done that makes me so exceptional to the point where he wishes to stay forever? Eleven nineteen, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, mother fucker, go to sleep because tomorrow is all of it, all over again and your body needs a break, but your goddamn mind won’t allow you ever to just rest.

Evaluating her emotions and her recent past, she knew things could be much worse. At least, knowing herself as she did, she knew that her crises could be coming with much less breathing space in between and with much more related pain. Problem is, this is what she understands as being herself, is what she accepts as normality because ever since she can remember she spends days and nights revisiting places in her imagination that should be, for ages now, dusted, serving her only – and if even – as a comparison bar for future experiences in which she might have to reevaluate any sort of repetitive behavior, in case things went wrong right now, in the present. It didn’t happen like that though. She picked her brain so much, and so meticulously and frequently, that she ended up, many of times, living more in her past than her present, trying to convince herself that she had learnt all her lessons while reliving cyclically all the passages of her life. Meanwhile, life was passing her by.

Life isn’t easy for anybody, I don’t think. But there are for sure people that spend way more life time thinking about what could have been, what was, what will be and in all the things that will either work out or not. At the same time that thinking too much makes one know oneself better and deeper than the next person – what could never be a bad thing, or could it? – thinking too much can also get in the way of simply living life’s moments by ruining them in an urge for analyzing what doesn’t call for analysis, by the strong desire of shoving certainties where there were no doubts, by the need to push oneself to the limit and ending up exhausted, uncertain and, of course, with a million unanswered questions.

I still feel a little sorry for people that don’t think too much, but I’m also a little jealous of their ability to go through life with a lighter conscience. Ignorance can be, indeed, blissful. It makes me sad, and a little surprised, to see the ones who think going through their excessive pain, their auto flagellation, their numbing mind anti depression drugs – those can come out of a box, of a bottle or of their own heads; the drugs that exchange paralyzed thoughts for peace of mind, but that take away any kind of sincere emotion, also.

The truth is that she, perhaps just like me, never had the option of not thinking about a thing. My head, ever since I can remember, was always messy, colorful, deafeningly loud. Today I see that nothing in me would be the same have I spent my whole life in pure silence, though. Yes, I would have probably cried way less tears, gotten into way less fights, kept way more boyfriends and remained part of way more group gangs (you know the ones, where people fit right in because they are all just a repetitive alliteration of one another). However, have I had the opportunity, or maybe the very lack of it, of not thinking so much, I wouldn’t be where I find myself right now, sharing my life with all the people that are in it, embracing my flaws one day, despising them on the other; knowing my limits and realizing that the older I get, the more I have always known who I am. And of course, without all this paraphernalia in my head, none of my pains, my loves and my ideas about this world could have become stories that I can now tell. And let’s face it, there is nothing I love more than telling a story.

So I guess that’s it, better crazy than mute. My pen shall never stop writing. My head shall never stop thinking. Amen.

Rani Ghazzaoui

Absolute realities

20 Mar

You try for years, try harder than you should. Try because you know if you don’t, they’ll say you don’t care, you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t know what you want. Try in the hope of accomplishment, but with that weary certainty that you’re not going to move forward, that sensation of anguish and despair of the loser that hasn’t even played yet.

All of us try, after all, to find that something that will make the day go smoother. A person, said the poems, your other half, added the poets. But is it really only two-way love that constitute happiness? Could it be, really, that the convinced bachelors, after all those years, feel actually more lonely than tranquil? Could it really be that the human being needs the embrace that ends on another’s arms to feel in their own chest their personal and nontransferable blood circulation pulsing strong through the veins, moving their body forward?

She laid on his torso. The little hair on his chest tickled her in an unpleasant way and his body weight against her earrings hurt the top of her neck that, still uncomfortably, gave way to his arm that circulated her spine and gave her back a funny curvature in bed. She kept on laying there quietly thinking of how good would it be to lay down in a better position, stretch out her neck, take off those earrings and shave off all his chest hair. She stood there very collected, so small laying next to that big, muscly man and so scared of waking him up from his deep sleep that she got used to going to bed thinking, ‘Yeah, it’s true. It is much better to have a bad night of sleep than it is to sleep without love.’

She wanted a better job, more friends, to live in a more cosmopolitan place. Wanted to see the world for herself, to travel, to speak other languages, to live movie-like love stories and tacky soap opera’s romances. Wanted so bad to be what she wasn’t that she realised she didn’t know if, given the chance, she would be living life as it was in that house with him, in that bed with him, in that head of his. But she thought, ‘Yeah, it’s true, it’s much better to have a bad life than to have a lonely one.’

She had dreams, plans, had wishes. He had his whole life planned out and an empty space in it that required filling. She dovetailed in it without really noticing, forcing hard against the edges that didn’t have her right number on them and spent her days pushing back her dreams to give room to his because she thought ‘Yeah, it’s true, it’s much better to live someone else’s dreams than it is to dream alone.’

The world has changed so much. We’re in a century where feminism went such a longer way then was probably thought it would when it first started. Women conquered rights, careers, equal rights’ marriages and active voice in so many rooms where before there was only silence. The years went by, and by the women so many fights went past til the world was forever changed. But was it?

Of all fears, from the career that might never take off, from the wrinkles that no matter what will arrive, from the children that we hope to conceive, from the friends that we will inevitably lose, from the trips that we might never take, from all of it, the most common fear is the lack of love. Because being lonely, for a woman, it’s ugly, it’s odd, it’s way too feminist.

I remember him looking at her, half opened eyes, judmental, when she told him that her friend had had sex with two guys at the same time satisfying a very old fantasy of hers when she turned 30. The come back was harsh: ‘No woman that is 30 and is still single is marriage material’. She took a deep breath, coughed, inhaled deeply again. Has she really just heard that? Was the sexist, repugnant phrase said by the same lips that had, one day, sworn he fell in love with her because of her intelligence, her laugh and her always strong views about any subject in the world?

In a different room, in a different country, the conversation was different. He looked at his friend and said ‘Did you hear about that new book they’re calling “mommy porn”? I heard that the writer is a cow, but I mean, what else could she be?’. Because women that express themselves in an unexpected way, that write, that speak, that feel or put out in the open any feeling that they shouldn’t feel don’t deserve respect. If she was pretty, actually, she would go from ‘ugly lady in need of cock’ to ‘hot slutty chick that loves cock’, there is really no escape.

Men can cheat, men can talk about abortion, men can be taken by their dads to brothels when they’re 12, men can propose marriage and give away a promise ring that they will never wear themselves and might never honour. And as for me, I can be as shallow as all men I have just described,  and can say all this nonsense implying that all men are like that, even though I know that there are exceptions and many men out there that understand life better than that.

Being a man and being a woman are complete different things, it will always be. We’re made out of the same, but not too much, we’re made to coexist, to give to one another what, alone, we wouldn’t ever be able to produce; made to be partners, contributors, friends, lovers.

Feminism is just another kind of sexism, they say. Unfortunately, they say it wrong. Feminism cannot be sexism because sexism is division, while feminism is the hope for equality.

You try for years, try harder than you should. Try because you know if you don’t, they’ll say you don’t care, you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t know what you want. Try in the hope of accomplishment, but with that weary certainty that you’re not going to move forward, that sensation of anguish and despair of the loser that hasn’t even played yet.

Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean being complete. Women can be strong and men can be sensitive. It tires me, it revolts me and it upsets me  when men take the role of the macho and women the role of the victim just because they feel it’s appropriate, after all, nobody needs to be what they’re not. Love is good, but it isn’t everything and, unfortunately, love by itself won’t keep any couples together, homo or heterosexual. Union needs more than love to last.

In a world so full of possibilities of happiness, no one needs to be alone, but they can do. Shameful to me is being unhappy.

Rani Ghazzaoui

Chapter I

14 Apr

So is it possible to measure happiness? Is it possible to, using an imaginary ruler and a lot of good intentions to get the exact millimetres right to get then to that one place that so few have been to and so many believe not to exist?

Life went about on unknown loopings for all through last year. Everything that seemed real and safe became – I would like to say overnight, but everyone knows that when shit happens, the stomach cramps always announce what is about to come – weird, painful, wrong.

Sunday night, one of my best friends’ birthday and all I could think about was choosing my bed over choosing a bar that would most likely be filled with more of the same people, repeated. But after five years in a relationship that didn’t work out from day one regardless all the effort, it seemed stupid to stay in regurgitating all my hurts and sorrows on my pyjamas in front of the TV that, also, only told me fables that I already knew.

Skinny jeans, top, coat. Necklace, bag, hair. Make up, earrings, perfume. Gone.

Every night is the same to whom is looking for love. Every night is the same to whom is looking for sex. My nights were also all the same, but the only thing I was trying to find was myself. When you spend a long time of your life living someone else’s, your dreams, wishes and truths begin then to become question marks and it is absolutely scary to look in the mirror and realise that the reflexion doesn’t show anything you know; the worst feeling in the world is not having anyone by your side, the most petrifying sensation of all is when you notice that there is no one in there when you look inside of you.

Walking to the exit door with my breath stuck to my diaphragm, that old imaginary hair ball stuck in the throat, time to go home, time to pretend to have had a good night, time to smile, and wave, and go, sneaking out without being noticed. Who are these people? What moves them, why everything that seems so hipster is, also, so empty? And why then is there this desperate need to belong, to be part of it, to keep on being the social butterfly that everyone knows even though I always knew that none of them will ever have the most remote clue of who I really am because my nuances are deep and hard to follow and daily people would never have (I would like to say profundity) patience to drag and hold my smoke for more than two seconds.

The drunk with the most beautiful big green eyes walks towards me, drink in hand, uneven posture, face according to the walk. ‘You’re gorgeous’, he said. ‘You’re drunk’, I said. Five minutes of awkward looks and barely any chat later, I’ve decided it was time to go. Asked for my number, I refused. Asked to see me again, I refused. Asked me to reconsider, I refused. And even though my refuses were a constant, something deep inside – my vanity – made me scream out my name as I left. Full name, ‘Add me on facebook if you’re really that interested’, our generation is so helplessly romantic.

I got home and there was the friend request. From there on is history, history of search, of wish, of denial, of resistance. Over a year had gone by and I was still unsure if I was ready to invite someone into my life, I had no idea if there was anyone who was emotionally intelligent enough to understand the mess in my chest, my distrusts, my lack of faith in relationships – or at least the lack of faith in the good ones.

Everybody always told me – one of those sayings people seem to know so well – that when you least expect it, the thing you always hoped for happens. I’m not sure if it was the way I was cranky and blunt from day one, I’m not sure if it was the way I, without caring about what he would think, undressed all my demons one by one as if he was an old friend, and I’m also not sure if it was my repulse for happiness that kept him interested all through the year in which all I did was everything possible to push him away from me.

Truth be told, it doesn’t matter. To say his love for me has changed me and has changed my love for myself is such a cliché and sounds so much less magnificent than what this story really is. To say that we are soul mates and made for each other is cheesy and I don’t believe is fairy tale love because I have always been the kind of person who developed an incurable rage for everything that was too sweet or too cute. To say that I’m happy, that I have never felt anything like it or that the chemistry, the laughter and the passion are, by far, the best of my life it’s going to make all of that sound as my endorphins are speaking on my behalf.

So I’ve decided to say nothing, I’ve spent my whole life looking, talking and writing about love and at this very moment of my story that have been documented through so many venues for such a long time, the only thing I can think about is that, until now, I had absolutely no clue of what love was really about.

For the past ten years or more I have been writing my introduction. May the chapters begin.

Rani Ghazzaoui

To the good year and the lost generation

12 Feb

I feel repetitive. Feel as if I have been, for so many years now, pushing the same button, trying to explain myself to the world, trying to accept myself, accept you and make you become part of me completely, as a new member, a third arm and a conjunction of brains and heart in perfect measure, as if it was really possible to find in a relationship the ideal balance between reason and passion.

I’ve spent the first half of my twenties – that are no longer early – wanting to find perfect fit in a mould with no measurements, trying to belong in a world that wasn’t mine, trying to believe that within my craziness there was also that sanity and  the sense of content that I see all other people in the world coming to terms with at the end of each day, when they put the lights off, rest their heads on the pillow and decide that in order not to get disappointed, it is easier not to have dreams at all than it is to follow your own.

But I don’t want to be like this. I don’t since I’ve decided, when I was still way too young to be deciding anything for myself, that I wanted to be an actress so that I could be the emotion that didn’t belong to me. I’ve decided that when you can – even if for a few seconds only – steal a life that is not yours, you can also in a way dream all the dreams in the world.

I keep paying attention to my generation. I’m so analytical that I leave the house and forget what I was supposed to be doing out on the streets; the streets are my biggest entertainment of all and there is nothing that captures my attention more than simply the fact of standing there, watching people and their mannerisms, their lack of politeness, their kindness, the way they walk, how they dress, the ones that make a big effort to look clumsy, the ones that are charming because are clumsy but don’t realise it. Seeing people make me believe and disbelieve in life day after day.

I find my generation coward. I think that we use the sense of freedom that our parents experienced in the seventies to justify all of our commitment phobias, our fears of being defeated and of growing up. It’s funny – and a little bit sad – to look around me and realise that all dynamics haven’t been changing because they already have a long time ago: it became normal and acceptable to be a thirty-something teenager; awkward is when somebody commits, when they put themselves in unpleasant situations, when they take on challenges that none iPhone app is able to resolve and, obviously, it is really hard to see someone fall in love… and admit it.

I live my life hovering above the line that divides my fogey friends from my colourful ones. The first bunch, a bit too moralistic, praising the life as their parents show, following protocol, inside the box family, job, long term relationship, engagement ring, kids, Sunday barbeque, retirement. The others trying to be more free, trying to always be creative, haircuts, music and cinema, weekend employment and weekday surf sessions, free love for lack of self-love or for necessity of love of any kind, lots of drinks, lots of drugs, lots of emptiness to be filled by fashion portraits and art pieces hanging on the walls, giving away the impression of the knowledge and the feeling that they pretend to have, but don’t.

I stand in the middle. I haven’t read any books in 2011, haven’t exercised, haven’t learned how to drive or to control my jealousy; didn’t change jobs, didn’t write my book (or have written as much as I should), haven’t accomplished any of my last years’ 31st resolutions because, in reality, life keeps going past you and you have to keep on living, no manual.

I don’t fear the future, nor do I fear the oldness. But this new year’s eve I realised that life is passing by me too fast while I spend my days looking only around me, wondering about other people’s grimaces when I should, actually, be living more of what is incomplete inside of me. My fear has nothing to do with being almost 26, my fear is to be almost 26 and irrelevant, unimportant, fear of not having accomplished anything that I thought I would have ten years ago. My fear is to never have the possibility of stepping on a stage to steal a dream again, to never sign my name on the cover of a book, to realise that while I’ve been living away from Brazil for years, my family is also growing old and, as much as I can use every single tool of technology to keep in touch, I’m not really there and I’ll never get those years back.

Every end of the year is the same story. A day doesn’t change anything, it’s only one more time that the Sun has seen us passing by, repetitive. My beginning of the year desires are always the same, want to be better than I was, want to be what I didn’t manage to be, want to be who I’m not.

2012 arrived and for those who are waiting on the apocalypse I assure that the same way Sartre found hell in the others, the only person holding the power to end your world as it is, it’s you. I’m not going to waste my time with resolutions this year because whoever has to always wish upon the New Year to be the best of their lives cannot be living a very exciting one.

Realistically, then, I’ll try to control my anxieties and schizophrenias,  try to worry less, try to breath correctly, walk on straight lines and hope that my fogey side won’t forbid my creativity to take place and that my crazy side won’t blow my chances of family, dog and Sunday barbeques. And wish for the best. That’s all.

Rani Ghazzaoui