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EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN
by Gülsen ÇALIK
I decided to write in English. I could have written in Turkish as it is my mother tongue, the language I was raised with. My first words were in Turkish. It's so long ago that I don't remember any more. It's possible that I never remembered it once I grew up but
my first word was probably "mama". This means "food" in Turkish baby talk. Yes, it sounds like mother in English but it isn't. It's possible that at a time when all nations were one, children called their mothers "mama" and meant both the mother and the milk
that came from the mother's breasts. That, too, I don't recall with any precision. It's all guess work. I'm just writing an introduction to my writing. The limited vocabulary of a Turkish toddler is not any more varied than that of a child of any other nation.
We are all instinctive beings at birth, guided by hourly hunger pangs and a need for love. That said, I shall get on with my musing:
Section One: I just had a revelation about ten minutes ago which prompted me to write these lines. I'm not going to edit my work so if you find great errors in thinking or in insight, understand that this is spontaneous writing, similar to letter writing or better yet, talking.
Here is the revelation:
Anyway, when I was in college in the '70s, it was a fashion statement to wear these scarves wrapped around your neck. The yemenis usually have fancy beadwork around the edges and young women like them because they are so pretty and so I started buying them in the Covered Bazaar and wearing them. Although I was a city girl, I was assuming some kind of sisterhood with my Turkish peasant sisters and that made me feel "cool." (I know, I'm laughing too but it's all true.)
And then, this morning when I gave my daughter this scarf to wrap around her neck, I remembered the trips I made to the Covered Bazaar, discovering Turkey and Istanbul the way foreigners did. I also remembered seeing foreigners and wondering what they thought of my wonderful country which was so dirty and so polluted and so chaotic at times. I remember thinking, "Too bad they can't come to my home and see how I live, how clean and beautiful my home is." This is embarrassing but so true. I remember feeling really self-conscious about my people, how we rode in crowded buses and smelled like we had not heard of bathing or of deodorants; how upset I would get because the men would harrass women, trying to touch them, or whisper weird comments to them, trying to see if they could get anywhere with them. It was so inane and so absurd and so annoying.
This morning's revelation was that I, in my lack of experience with the rest of the world, had caught sight of Europe and America through their movies. In the movies, everything seemed so wonderful. People were polite to each other. Men kept their promises.
Women were always cheerful. Children, although mischievous, always ended up being fun. The roads were well-paved and clean. Nobody littered. There was no wierdness in the air. And everything had a perfect ending.
I couldn't wait to get there.
I guess I'm writing this to make a point: That happiness, joy, honor, dignity are qualities found all over the world regardless of appearances of wealth or appearances of beauty. When a person starts paying attention to deeper stirrings within one's soul and deliberately decides to think beautiful, powerful, enabling thoughts, a totally different world emerges inside and out. If we feel that we are at the mercy of time and circumstance, we will not be able to change our lives. But if we believe that we are individuals who have the intent and capacity to take control of the voice within, then our lives will be happy, fulfilling and successful.
I feel happy that I have been able to straddle both sides, experiencing Turkey, at first, and now finding out about the rest of the world. It's been lovely, it's been mostly fun. I'm still learning although I'm also concluding. My major find today is that the world has to be experienced one molecule at a time, without generalizations, without prescriptions and with no prejudice. I forgive all the nonsense I learned from grownups and teachers and peers who taught me about fear and caution and history and survival and protection. I am working on developing an incredible appetite for my own power within. That power knows no borders, no nationalities, no religious differences. It knows life and enjors it.
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About Gülsen ÇALIK