Stella Darkely

Dialects of Light and Dark...

I want to feel at ease…
I want to feel at ease like the summer’s breeze
Wafting past the lakeshore
Disturbing my tussled hair
making you squint.
A ray of sunlight beams into your eyes
Green, turned almost aquamarine
By the water’s reflection.

Are you mine, my love?
Do you know me?
Can you see me?

Does love linger in your gaze,
Or merely longing for another’s warm embrace?
The solace of this summer’s breeze,
My small hands’ touch and breathy tease
as we kiss…

A listlessness washes over me
And I look at the hand upon my knee
That has traced every contour of this fragile body
Thought crashing upon thought –-
Waters are churning
My gut yearning for a reply that does not come…

Am I the only one that wonders?

“I love you,” you say
sweetly beneath the doze of heavy, hazy eyelids
a seagull’s cry, as if by cue

“I love you so much,” and
my heart surrenders
I do not need to understand.
It is enough –
This hot sun
The water
The wind
And my knee caressingly nestled
Beneath your strong, gentle hand.

© Stella Palikarova, May 25, 2010

Although it kind of shames me to admit it, I just finished watching season 14 (yes, I said 14) of The Bachelor. Jake, buff pilot extraordinaire chose vain, self-absorbed, rich and spoiled (did I mention, natural blond with all the stereotypical trimmings), 23-year-old Vienna. Vienna... like the Austrian capital that she probably knows zilch about. This is the girl who confessed, in her intro, to having mommy-baby days with her perfectly accessorized lapdog.

Jake is a 31-year-old pilot... this means, he has an education; he also clearly has a good up-bringing and seems to be able to carry on a conversation. In his final decision between Vienna and Tenley (a slightly less neurotic, older, though equally dull version of Malibu barbie Vienna), he sited the "heat" between Vienna and himself as the tie-breaker. I agree that sexual attraction is pivotal to a successful romantic relationship. Without that, you essentially have, at most, a deep friendship. But folks, doesn't sexual attraction sans the deep friendship amount to having a "fuck buddy"... not even. Buddy still implies a level of companionship extending beyond the bedroom, if only as far as to the kitchen for refueling.

I'm sorry to offend any Vienna fans - apparently she has a "heart of gold" - out there, but honestly, after watching this show for several weeks, I took Jake's final choice as a personal affront. It felt like a punch in the gut. Why is it that those girls get intelligent, handsome men, and women like myself attract men with the personality of dish-soap, looking like they just got out of a reform camp?

Okay... I know, I know. The Bachelor is only one of several "Reality TV" shows on the air that purports to let us into the "real" lives of some very questionable characters in completely fabricated scenarios, with a camera under their asses all day long. After a week of shooting, the director/editors come together to compile all of the most scandalous or vapid (take your pick) segments to come up with a 45 minute episode that will rack up ratings with their key demographic: single, slightly desperate, young women across North America, who have grown up dreaming and believing that one day they would find their Prince Charming... their man of all men, all live happily ever after. Yes, I will admit it, our Western culture still places great emphasis on the importance of finding your "soulmate". For those who want to haven't completely bought into it, I believe, there is still some small glimmer of hope deep down in each and every one of us that clings to the ideal of a revelation of everlasting love.

So, where does all of this leave me? I noticed a couple of seasons ago that they did take a Canadian girl onto the show that then went on to become the bachelorette -- Jillian. I'd like to apply for the bachelorette. Why not?... You get to get dressed up in ball gowns, are chauffeured around in expensive limousines and taken on luxurious dates with a handsome man. Not only that, I have a sheer curiosity to get a closer look at the inner workings of "reality TV," and really... I'm not that jaded. Perhaps, it can work! Perhaps the next bachelor is, or could be, my soulmate and I his... who is to say what can happen in this bizarre world that we live in? So, I think to myself: 'I should apply to be on the next bachelor' but of course, this would sound just a little bit ridiculous to anyone who knows me. The reason?

I am a chick in a chair.

As a woman, who just turned 30, I am nearing what our society would consider the last stretch of road in my life when is still considered acceptable, and reasonable, to get married and have a family. I'm not entirely sure if I'll ever want children but, ever since I was a little girl playing with Barbie and Ken, I have known that I wanted to, one day, find my prince, fall in love, and get married in a luxurious white gown. Of course, I no longer want a church wedding. I also no longer want a large wedding. I am very well aware that people who look like Barbie and Ken are anorexic and gay or metrosexual, and that also, unlike Barbie and Ken, human beings have nipples, genitals, and their hair isn't perfect all of the time, nor does it melt when you try to curl it. I used to make my dolls make out and even have sex! But, dolls that are consistently smiling can't purse their lips together for a proper kiss and it just looks ridiculous having their teeth gnash together during an entire make-out session.

Really, I never had any illusions about looking anything like Barbie -- I mean, even if I could walk, who wants to stand on their tippy toes all day long? Even ballerinas don't do this! I tried to make Barbie more interesting... sometimes she was a lawyer on a difficult case; sometimes a veterinarian or an aspiring actress. What I loved about Barbie was that she was always so well dressed and fashionable -- so many options. Why couldn't Barbie have beauty and brain, and be adored by all who know her? Why couldn't I, once I was all grown up?

Turns out the reason is because, someone like me, does not belong on a reality TV show that purports to help young, successful, attractive, single people find love. There was a Barbie made in a wheelchair with flat feet, not pointed, but it would be preposterous to believe that she could ever make it onto The Bachelor.

How would this work? How could a contestant in a wheelchair ever dance with the bachelor; go skydiving with him, or molest him in a hot tub? Would they have to stop the cameras just so that she could be lifted out of her chair onto the sofa in order to sit next to him? Or would they keep this part as a of the show for greater sensationalism value? All of these questions, of course, presuppose that a woman in a wheelchair -- even if she is intelligent, successful, and attractive -- would ever get chosen to be on the bachelor. She would not. I could get into detailed reasons as to why this is the case but the bottom line is that the bachelor would never choose her -- not in a million years. If Jake the pilot chose Vienna, the vapid blond bimbo, because he felt some sort of enigmatic "heat" with her the first time they kissed, upside down as they bungee jumped off of a bridge, how could a chick in the chair ever rival that?

He would feel heat all right -- heat whenever I run his foot over. So what is a woman like me supposed to make of this, and of our society? I would still love to be able to apply to be on The Bachelor, even if they chose me to go on for sheer "Jerry Springer" effect, I would do it. Why not? What really have I got to lose? I mean, if nothing else, it might point out how silly the construction of the show really is... how silly our materialistic evaluations of others are. I would go but, the fact remains: society is not ready for a bachelorette on wheels.

A Lesson from the Mall Man

Let me tell you of a grizzly man
with a long, white cane, thin and tall
he followed me last night, you see
on my stroll home from the mall.

Clenched tight my arms behind my back
‘till naught I saw was red
as the hoarsely grunted in my ear
‘for sunrise, you’ll be begging you were dead.

He led me to a catacomb
of darkness and despair
and with a rusty razor blade
he shaved off all my hair.

Each button from my shirt he plucked
to leave my chest exposed
to have felt such fright, on that night
I would never have supposed

“Beg to die” he crackled
with a gurgle in his breath
then took his razor to my skin-
carved a sculpture from my chest.

My screams rose high, as the blade drove deep
and scraped against the bone
but no one came to rescue me
indeed, we were alone

Stabbing once... twice... thrice!
then slit me helm to stern
my lungs filled up with fluid as
my bowels began to churn.

My guts spilled out across my knees
life flashed before my eyes
I sputtered for him to “kill me please”
and prayed for quick demise.

Last thing I remember
was the knife against my neck
his final words a lesson
you’d be best not to forget.

“When your parents tell you ‘stay at home’
you’d best not disobey
bet you never thought ‘shop till you drop’
meant that you’d end up this way.”

(c) Stella Darkely, October 30, 2009

Floating. I am floating in a sea of sleepiness, as the melatonin and valerian I take an hour before bed to help me feel tired – to help my brain from thinking, over analyzing: from hurting.

School is proving difficult. Not because what I am learning is particularly difficult but, because I fail to see how anything at all is relevant to my future dreams and aspirations.

Survival. I am running in survival mode and it’s exhausting. When will I finally be free?... Don’t we all ask ourselves these questions? Why does it often feel like I am alone with these thoughts? Why does it feel as though there are more questions than can ever possibly be answered?

Jean-Paul Sartre said that people define their lives and find meaning in the projects that they set out for themselves – in the tasks that they accomplish towards a larger goal that they have. But what is my greater purpose? What is the larger goal that I am working towards? It used to be writing and a career as a writer/filmmaker. I still want that future for myself, but the closer I am to reaching a time when I can finally work on this “project,” the further away I feel.

My life cannot be about researching and cataloguing. How can I possibly advise people on what to read and where to go for information, when I hardly feel competent enough to advise myself on these things?!

Information – it is out there, it surrounds us all and I have a strange love/hate relationship with it. If there wasn’t so much information out there, we might all be just a little bit more ignorant and just a little bit… happier? Is ignorance really bliss? Is an oversaturation of information doing us any favours? Is there really just too much out there to process and digest?

There is so much information out there to weed through and select from, yet any “project,” can be rendered useless; destroyed, because of inaccurate or an overabundance of information.

I feel as though I know too much now – I know too much about people and their motivations; about society and the structures that keep us “in our place”. The prognosis is bleak (I feel like Dr. House – too many symptoms rattling around in my brain which, the more I try to piece together, the more I fall apart).

Where is my knight and shining armour?.... Oh, rescue me from my existential despair!

Where is the ending promise to us by Disney Inc.? It doesn’t seem fair that the great, creative, unsuccessful minds of this world should set such high standards of happiness for us, through the images that they create, that we can never quite achieve them…

I am tired now. The melatonin has kicked in and I am pleasantly exhausted, even though I’ve done almost nothing productive this entire day.

Perhaps tomorrow I will feel more motivated – will exhume and resume the projects currently idling beneath the veneer of my self-sufficiency.

In this, largely, isolated world that we live in -- in the lonely crevices of our mind, we search out the little things throughout our days and nights that catch our attentions and keep us from blinking. We look for, and anticipate, the hues of a rainbow as much as the wet, glistening rain. We hope that things will remain constant, even as they change with the seasons, and we search our surroundings for signs that "things are looking up".

Unfortunately, all of this we do with eyes that are predisposed to only seeing that which fits our schema of experience. We trick our minds into "shoulding, woulding, and coulding," while we never actually do that which we want. We wait for tomorrow in order to begin attaining the things we wanted yesterday, let alone today. We wait for the perfect moment to splurge on a vacation, a meal, a bottle of wine -- for the right mood and opportunity to tell someone we love them, even if we know they won't say it back. What we fail to see, over and over again, with our shielded eyes, is that tomorrow will never arrive for us because we are living all of our tomorrows, today, yet, never fully cognizant of the opportunities always lingering in full view.

Tonight, I am seeing with new eyes -- fully appreciative of the full scope of the worldview that I choose to adopt. Tonight, I am no longer gazing out at the world behind the restrictive glare of my eyeglasses. ... I allowed a surgeon to cut into my eyes recently -- entrusting him to reshape the defective cornea that were the cause of the hazy, milky, indecipherable "out there," that shaped my perception of my environment. Now I can see, unaided by any artificial prosthesis -- I see and hear, and feel my surroundings like never before -- appreciative of every hurdle and happiness in plain sight.


So, tonight, I probably "should have," finished reading an article that I need to have read in order to write a long overdue essay. Earlier today, I probably "should have," started my homework sooner, so that I would have time to do other things. I always tell myself: 'do the things that you must now so that you can do the things that you want to do later' but, as I near my 30s, my eyes increasingly widen to the fact that my idea of a perfect, uncluttered, responsibility-free "later," does not exist. I must create my future in the present.

If I want to be a writer...
if I want to be a filmmaker...
if I want to find a love...
if I want to make money...
if I want a better future...
a happy future...

I must do these things NOW, not later.

While I have no clear answers as to how I will navigate my way through school, work, and other responsibilities while, simultaneously, living in my newly created present, I can promise myself that: I will not put down my pen when inspired, just so that I can finish my overdue assignments; I will not ignore the occasional palpitations of my heart, signaling to me my loneliness; I will not put off for tomorrow the things that I could have done today to make me feel that I am one step closer to the happy future that I can now see clearly, on the horizon, with my freshly healed, eager, eyes.