I got a comment from a friend the other day after I had written a blog about feeling tired. I like getting comment from friends or readers. I really do. It is both confirmation that I am actually being read out there and allows me a sence of connectedness that really helps. I mean, our connection to each other is all we have so why not?
However, this particular comment sort of pissed me off a bit. Specifically, the response was to the piece I wrote about being tired. I had been working hard trying to get the farm straightened out and I was out of it and wrote so, and this friend of mine decided that they knew better why I was so bereft of energy. Basically I was informed that being tired was a direct result, simply and unequivocally of being F-A-T. Fat. Obese. Overweight. This was the reasons for my being tired the other day and not because of two straight 14 hour days of manual labor.
But before I allow myself to publicly recommend to this great and old friend of mine that they should feel completely free to go and eat a big ol’ heapin’ helping of freshly produced shit, I would like to say a few things that ought to be considered concerning some other potential reasons for my fatigue.
Firstly, simply put, I do not like my life. Have I said this often enough? No, I do not like my life at all. I do like that I have a daughter and I am really enjoying the family life these days with Egor and Tatyana (and especially with Egor who has been aces lately), but in general I do not like my life here at all. Why? Well, refraining from, as the locals like to do, simply pointing fingers at the government and blaming Belarus as a whole, I don’t like my personal life because I have no face here anymore. Face by the way is how one is seen socially. Having a good face is being accepted. And having a bad face is not. These days I find that my face here is crap. I have no face at all. Why? Because I am minimally employed, completely underfinanced and overly scandalized. Not because I am fat mind you, but because I have, ever since Poland decided to make me publically a liar and a fool, been a liar here, that’s why. And because I am a liar, the people around me do not have the freedom to deal with me comfortably. And without even a decent social position, one receives almost no energy from the world. Get it? That’s one.
Secondly I do not like my current situation. This situation includes this bureaucratic business that I have been going through. It has cost way too much money and has taken way too much time. And in the end, and this is because of a document I need to take from the American side, the whole of the thing is being hung up. And you know, if this deal falls through, it is not only that I will be condemned to a financial situation that I cannot handle, but I will be forced out of here and this my friends is simply a knife in the heart to my family here. What will this do to Tatyana? To Egor? And especially, to Anya? Into something lately? Try gambling with the life a six-month-old sometime and tell me how much of the old energy that eats up.
Thirdly, I have almost no chances at this moment to change things. And this is the truth. There are no pull-yourself-up-by-he-bootstraps that will mean anything here at the moment. I mean, I m working, I am doing what I have to do, but it takes so much work and time to do anything that needs to be done, and of course there is almost zero financial rewards for any of it, that really, there just isn’t even enough time to anything else. It is more than just the documents, there is study and practice and labor involved with everything. And of course mistakes mean having to do things over and over again.
Fourthly, what I need to do in the life just to try and survive and feed my family is a lot harder than what you have to do. Wanna challenge me to this argument? Go ahead. Try subsistence farming some time. Try counting potatoes not as throw away side dishes but as a staple of the diet. And, try and understand how much labor goes into growing them by hand. Or, forget about the farm for a second, try teaching English for a buck an hour. Preparing lessons, remembering what you have already taught to each student and trying to keep the interest and the motivation high. “Oh, I am sorry, we simply do not have the money at the moment, can I pay you next time?” Of course, the important thing is that your Vitalli here be prepared for the great future out in the world that you want from him grandma. Don’t worry about the money. Just please, for me, would you please ask him to study just a little? We really could be a lot further along and you know, his English is my advertising. If he doesn’t grow, neither does my client lists…
Fifthly, I am currently without the rights that most people enjoy because I am currently caught between two countries. And this applies to the teaching deal as well. And the abuility to do business, not that I have the money to invest. And there have been some chances, not a lot but some. But most of the time that visa of mine or the lack thereof has been a thorn in my side that has simply nixed deal before they ever had a chance to blossom.
Sixthly, I am not only caught between two countries, but I have had my social legs cut off in the country I am currently in and so this had made things even harder. This has something to do with the last item but it also has to do with the fact that the Americans want to say tha they don’t give a crap about me because I am in Belarus and the Belarusian can’t control themselves from referring to me as “The American”. Who am I? Remember that Jacky Chan film? I am Little Big Man here. Please tell me grandfather, why is it I cannot live in peace with the white man?
Probably because I myself am white. White Russian… or just white. And really, really tired
And finally, seventhly, I am really tired because almost none of the work I have done, and I believe you might consider what I have done to be a lot under any gauge of such things, has been both a lot and unpaid for. And unappreciated. And you know, this is wrong. I believe I have been right a bout a lot of things from the beginning. I believe I was right to try and be real with Tatyana about being with her and about what all needed to happen for this to be able to be. I believe I was reasonable in waiting until I had perhaps enough money to start before trying to make a business here. I believe I was right in involving local bike people in the deal and trying to make for myself a good face, and one that was real in regards to who and what I am. And, when I got caught up in that little game that the Polish judicial system played with me, I believe I was right in standing up to them, in refusing to bow down. I believe that I was doing the right thing in demanding that they face the truth of the situation and in doing so, I believe I was doing right by myself, and my country (the US was supposedly founded on principles of fairness and justice), and by the bikers and everyone who would be dealing with me. I believe I did the right thing in demanding that my character not be infringed upon, that I not be slandered, that my life not be played with even though I had some desire to reside or work in a territory which was not under the jurisdiction of the USA. I believe I was right. And I believe that all of what I have done, all of the writing and all of the labor and biking and teaching and speaking, all of it, and this- were all a part of what I must do.
But it is hard, Ringo. I am trying real hard.
So what do you want from my life? I am still trying, as I have from the first day I have been here to simply try and make a place for myself where I can live. I started all of this only because I found someone with whom I wanted to be with and thought I might make a little enterprise to help finance it. Was this too much to ask? Really, was a little bike shop too much to ask for? Well, three year and a million and a half words later I am still not one step closer. And in fact, on days like today when I am tired as hell, my arms, my back, my shoulder, my legs and especially my head all ache and my spirit has absolutely no desire to even crawl much less fly, I just want to rest but I can’t. I can’t because there is still no place to do it comfortably. Why? Because I am still without the face I desired when I came here because I have never received the support I deserved or the vindication I needed.
So, really, I am tired because I am fat? Ok. You are obviously an Olympic champion yourself. Here are my shoes. They are plenty big. Your feet should just slip right in. Go have a walk in them. Try for the whole mile. And then come back and open your mouth again about who I am and what is going on here.
Or better yet, lets see how you do your public service messages. Lets see your philosophy and thoughts and dreams out there. Try it some time. Its fun.
Anyway, like I said, I m pretty tired and I want to have a little rest some I am going to stop here for today. I think I m going to go to the beach for a while. Maybe take a book and just lie out. Maybe a swim. Why not? I earned it.
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