Can you hear me?

Gabrielle Antar
Society, the way I see it, can be divided into three categories: the first, the unattainable, the second, the individualist, and the third being the queer as fuck obviously. But, the point here is to deconstruct normality; to question the very norms that rip people’s voices out and silence them, and destroy whatever makes them feel unworthy of support, kindness and generosity.

1. The unattainable

The first constitutes what has been ascribed as normal by the hegemonic decision-makers in our society. It is a fictional category that even those who have created it cannot adhere to. It is the impossible standard people try their whole lives to squeeze themselves into in vain. Just like Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters trying hopelessly to fit their huge imperfect feet into that unreal tiny glass shoe.

When I speak of unattainability and impossibility, I speak of false promises and narratives put in place by an on-the-brink of collapse capitalist machine pushing us to believe that if we just work hard enough we will be successful. Yet, if you take a second to look around, you will know that this not-so-well-oiled machine has been advertising a promise they themselves cannot fulfil.

People will one day, in a perhaps too hopeful attempt on my part, wake up from this well-structured nightmare and realize that productivity and success is not based on buying five Teslas (or coming up with the idea of a Tesla) but instead based on what good you bring to the people around you and how you decide to put an end to a generational lie that is killing our planet.

The first category is, as I mentioned at the beginning, the glass slipper, the unreal; only existing in the narrative of your conditioned, brainwashed mind. It is the category of the dominant white old man, the boomer ideal of what you think things should be without taking the reality of humanity’s complexity into consideration.

It is building something just to exclude others. It is throwing the door into your own face, thinking that by excluding everyone except “your kind” of people, you will be showered in profit and power. That perhaps is true for all those fuckers at the top of the food chain, but the only thing they are worthy of is a golden shower.

I hope every person who reinforced this culture of “eat or be eaten” has unwanted piss dripping onto their face. And, I hope every decision-maker who prioritized profit instead of the good of the people has endless shit to wipe off their filthy capitalist hands.

Okay, maybe I went to overboard with the angry curses? Perhaps. But, I am telling you if that were the case for every single one of them, indigenous populations would have their land returned to them, the environment, animals and plants alike, would be chilling instead of having to constantly survive every capitalist-made climate disaster, and, generally, people’s identities would be just that. Identities, not unattainable categories that make you feel unworthy of being a part of society.

One would say, my thoughts are too utopian, too dreamy, and they are right. But, if we are going to make up fantastical exclusionary categories in society, shouldn’t they at least be cool? Nice? Enjoyable? Empowering? And relevant to the actual people that are part of this magnificent world?

2. The individualist

The second category is for all the delusional people on this planet #special_tribute #yolo. It is for all those trying to force you into the first and destroying our existence for the sake of their individualistic life of “success”. But, who’s gonna tell them? Who’s going to tell them that running too close towards the light makes the rest of the world burn? Flying to close to the divinely golden idea of profit will make us all fall, testicles first, to the polluted ground?

I think living at the epicentre of capitalist individualism in Luxembourg has maybe unscrewed a few of my revolutionary brain cells. Originating from a place where community and generosity of spirit is ever-present, it is difficult to have to integrate into a space so void of the infamous joie de vivre.

It is somehow a culture shock that I have not yet become accustomed to. A systematic error of embodying collectivism has just not been able to compute with my neighbors’ coldness.

It is so odd to exit the door of my home to see the people who I share my street with. It is odd to see how when we lock eyes, as any person curious enough to see who else lives near them, there is no ability to say ‘hello’. Usually, I see them while they are walking past me, and when I realize we have crossed looks, I smile and say hello respectfully.

Their reaction? A computing error, where their cyborg knock-off of a human glitches endlessly. They just do not have the social ability to respond, as if saying ‘hello’ to a total stranger is just too strange for their mind to comprehend. And their fear of the unfamiliar, aka the other person who is living on their street, is just too much for them to process in their feeble individualistic mind. That’s the city life I guess.

So many other glitches in the system here in this bizarre country where you really only look out for yourself. The second category has truly been embraced in this kind of chilly society where after the sun sets, everyone quietly isolates in their big homes, and when you walk in these gloomy streets with no sound to be made.

Everyone must be hunched in their expensive but uncomfortable furniture counting their money and making sure not one penny has been missed, because how else will you buy yourself another Porsche if you are losing time saying hi to a neighbor when you’ve got all that cash money waiting to be calculated.

Upon reflection and various conversation, and maybe also too much time in the grayness of this small nation, I understood that individualism is a part of western culture. Nobody needs to call someone to help them get out of a speeding ticket when you have all the money in the world to pay that not-even-going-to-look-at-the-price fine. As we all know, money can solve a good majority of our daily issues.

Money has allowed people to look out only for themselves. Money is the foundation of individualism. In a world where money is no longer the commodity that it is today, people will be put back into a position where community support is necessary for survival.

However, even if money won’t turn back into the worthless paper it actually is at midnight, I think it is a strange but beautiful thing to acknowledge how important community, and not individualism, is the kind of green flag and healthy support system we are all striving to end up in?

Besides my never-ending philosophical questioning, my point is actually pretty simple (surprise surprise). All I am trying to say here is that I wish more people would smile and say hello when we cross paths. After all, everyone can benefit from a bit more kindness on their way to their soul-sucking job.

3. The queer AF

I feel like anyone who has reached this point of my sophisticated rant will be aware that I reek of frustrations and annoyances. But, you have been patient enough to see the promising establishment of the third, the final category in this essay of reflections, the blossoming classification that exudes potential for all future generations.

The most inclusive category to exist is dubbed by the resilient concept of queerness. Queerness not as in the naïve and basic idea of just being gay. This is not a critique of gayness but rather shedding light on the potential of having this category represent a diverse set of experiences that encompasses all those who do not fit in.

Regardless of what makes you feel excluded, know that the concept of queerness is where you will feel home again. Queerness is the deconstruction of all the normalized features of our society. It opens with welcoming arms every person who is not enough. It provides a safe space to all those who have been left to fend for themselves in an unjust system of egocentrism.

Being queer is exactly what it means: the odd, the abnormal or the weird, but all of this in the best sense. By this I mean that if you do not fit into the first or the second, the queer offers you the realm of possibilities to question, challenge, deconstruct and reconstruct a reality where your exclusion empowers you to see how your unique abilities are the key to unlock a world where you are free and embraced with love and generosity, demolishing an era of individualism and capitalist-led horror.

So, pick up the frustration that has been lying, ignored and disregarded, in the corner of your mental room, dust off the sadness and anger and see the glowing light that shines through it. See how your pain of being rejected by the unattainable demands of today’s society can be used as a weapon to build a new world.

A world where differences are not only celebrated, but also the norm, where the abnormal is the standard model of the future. We are all the imperfect foot of Cinderella’s ugly step-sister, and it is about time to rave out in an anarchic, improvised, and radical dance of the souls honoring all that is odd and flawed, so that the next generations always feel that their reality is the revolution that we have all been waiting for.︎

Gabrielle Antar, a Luxembourgish-Lebanese writer, has spent most of her life in Lebanon. Formerly a journalist, she now channels her writing to advocate for causes close to her heart, from anti-capitalism to queer transnational feminist liberation. Her mission: to mainstream the idea that “the personal is political.”

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