About

Rainebowy is a positive life attitude which I want to share. This may be in the form of written out thoughts and ideas about the beauty and struggles in life, love, friendship and society, in recommendations of books and other art, or my own fictional writing.

When I present my personal opinion, I’m always happy to listen to different ideas and discuss them. If you feel like I’m talking bullshit, let me know your side of the story.

Starstruck

You simply won’t believe what just happened…

 

A star. (whispers)

Suddenly, fallen from the sky.

A star. (whispers)

Landing in our midst.

A star. (whispers)

Shining brightly, so brightly, we had to look away.

A star, otherworldly, incomprehensible, a star, unlike anything we have seen before.

Will we burn if we touch it?

Will it blind us? Destroy us?

Or will it bring peace, knowledge and prosperity?

Will it embrace us if we reach out?

Will it accept us, and our flaws?

Will it hold us, stabilise us, keep us warm? Will it save us?

Will its light shine eternally?

Will it stay here, always?

Questions, muttered by our combined voices.

Hope and desire, connecting us in our desperation.

The Star.

 

You, who just entered the room.

After the Rain

Her fingertips trace over the wet surface of the glass table

Too gently to make a sound

Gliding through shallow lakes left by dying raindrops

 

She steps towards the rail of the balcony

Deep breaths of purified air

Gazing at refreshed greens and blues and violets

 

I stay inside

Don’t dare to step into the reborn world with bare feet

Too cold is the stone floor after the storm

 

Her bags by the door

Tea cup left in the sink, empty

I told her I would wash it

Later

 

After three weeks, it won’t have moved

Keeping me company in a play of pretence

About her presence

 

 

Wine From Last Night

Might as well.

She shrugged and grabbed the plastic cup to take a sip of old wine from last night. The taste was almost sufficient to send her back to the bathroom and empty what little was left in her stomach. But she pulled herself together, walked over to the sink to pour the wine away and threw the cup in the rubbish bin. Step one complete. She looked around the flat. Step one of roughly a million to clean up the mess from the party. With a sigh, she walked over to the couch to wake up her flatmate, who was lying face-down in a half-empty crisp packet. Comfy. She tried whispering, talking, shouting, then shaking. No response. At least he was breathing.

Since the mess was too big for one person to tackle alone, Phoebe stretched herself out on the floor next to the couch and stared at the ceiling. She was not sure if it had been the most successful or the most disastrous party of all times. Everything had happened. Every.thing.

Drinking games, confessions, crazy dares, singing, dancing, flirting, making out… her boyfriend making out with his friend’s girlfriend…she closed her eyes, trying to chase away the image that had snuck into her head. It only made it change to the memory of her accusing him drunkenly, hurt, confused and feeling dizzy. She opened her eyes again, attempting to switch the channel on her mind TV. Shit programme. But the TV seemed to be broken today. Tears ran out of the corners of her eyes, wetting her hair and ears. What an uncomfortable feeling, yet how good it felt to cry. A sob escaped her mouth, then another. Last night, the full emotional load of the party had not allowed her to feel sad, and only sad. Now, she could indulge in this one overwhelming feeling that fills the whole body.

Now, surrounded by empty bottles, forgotten pieces of clothing, pizza crusts and cups, she found comfort.

Let’s Re-Think I

There are beauty standards for men and women. Most of them are confining, inducing pressure and harming self-confidence. No gender is safe from them.

That being said, let us look at the symbolic values of these beauty standards by comparing beauty pageants to bodybuilder contests, two of the more extreme displays of gendered beauty standards. While both competitions can include both men and women, their public representation is often only focussing on one gender. This is not an analysis of these events per se, but they offer themselves as distinct examples to look at potential meanings communicated through beauty standards.

Very simply put, we look at softness versus resilience as core values that are represented through appearance – because looks is really what these are all about.

Muscles play an important role in both competitions. Of course, they help to define the shape of our bodies, allow movements, lifting, pushing, pulling, they hold us together. Bodybuilding contests focus on muscle masses, on dramatized shapes, on their hardness and resistance. Human rocks are presented on stage, unmovable with the rigidness of their muscle masses. They own their space, they are present.

This kind of presence is not desired in beauty pageants. Muscles should render the body slender, tight but not hard, defining rather than enlarging. Showing too much of them as part of your body is frowned upon.

Let’s talk about pain. Preparation to these events is painful. But there are different pains. Workouts and food limitations to keep the muscles growing, basically ripping them again and again, this requires endurance. Yet, it is a process of building, of overcoming one’s own limits, of achieving. It can be euphoric. There is nothing of this in hair removal and hunger. Waxing and other methods are about the disposal of something that is wrong with the person, over and over again, in order to become soft, smooth and non-resistant. The endurance of pain does not serve the purpose of growing – rather, quite the opposite, to remove traces of one’s organic, living, (hair-)growing body.

Lastly, I want to emphasise how both competitions rank human beings with a point system. Their value is determined in relation to each other (it is not enough to be good, you also have to be better than others) and based on a catalogue of rather arbitrary categories.

I will never argue that men are free from these social forces that impact their everyday lives. However, I think we need to look closely at symbolic values that are communicated to us, everywhere, all the time. These values are not set in stone. We, as a society, shape them, adapt them, change them. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it is happening every time you talk to someone, post something, whenever you reinforce or reject values, or just simply think twice about them.

 

Black Hole

As I was sitting in my kitchen, typing, calm piano music in the background, the wall opened. A black, oval hole appeared on the right side of the wall, where no posters were hanging. It was accompanied by a faint sound, like a sliding door opening. I could not make out if there was any path leading somewhere, it was just a black shape, impenetrable, about half my size in height. I got off my chair and walked around the table to approach it. One song ended, a new one began. I stepped right in front of it, moving a chair to the side with my foot. I lifted my arm, reached out – but did not dare to touch it. Suddenly, I realised this was not normal. So far, curiosity has driven my movements, only now reason flared up. Was I imagining things? I had not consumed anything that should alter my perception like this. It would also be an incredibly strange dream, since everything else was completely normal. Nothing was blending together, no past running alongside the present, no familiar people behaving in an unfamiliar way, my identity had also not changed. I was still female, a student, in my mid-twenties. The song in the background reached its culmination, emotions stirred inside me. I made one step forward, my hand still stretched out. It moved into the wall. The physical sensation did not change, I noticed quite surprised. I had expected a change in temperature maybe, a different density, some resistance. However, my fingers still moved in the same way. I stooped down a little bit, trying to peek in. Pure blackness, nothing else. I reached farther, now both hands searching for walls, objects, anything solid. No success. I was not sure if I could step inside, since there seemed to be no ground to place my foot on. One foot firmly on the kitchen floor, I tried to enter with the other. There was a ground. Not visible, but it was there. It could have been wood, or maybe stone. I let the other foot follow and I stepped inside what should have been a solid wall. All I could see was nothing. No sound reached my ears, not even the piano music from the speakers of my laptop. I turned around. My kitchen had disappeared. The solidity below my feet began to dissolve. Grew soft. Then it felt like bubbles, popping under my weight while I started sliding downwards, right through them. The bubbles surrounded my body, fizzed in my ears, entered my nose. Just as I grew desperate for air, I was released, and I fell to my knees, clutching my arms. They felt furry. I touched my face with my paws. It felt furry. I could not stand back up anymore, my legs could no longer hold me upright. My ears, long and pointy, caught noises. Laughter, a child singing. Light, first blinding me, allowed me now to perceive my surroundings. I could see greens, a blue sky, a little girl skipping over a meadow. I took my pocket watch out, checked it while keeping an eye on the girl. I began hopping away from her. I was late.

Review: The Nakano Thrift Shop

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

Like a bubble, Nakano’s thrift shop conserves the static lives of Hitomi and Takeo. Kawakami_NakanoAs young adults, they still cannot quite grasp concepts of love, sexuality and identity. They approach each other, swerve, elude each other and collide again. The middle-aged shopkeeper, his sister, their lovers, all appear to be more experienced. Yet, they struggle with similar issues. Despite being separated by age, they learn from each other’s perception and indirectly push each other’s personal growth. The protagonist Hitomi, who narrates in first person, often fails to understand and to express her emotions clearly. Nevertheless, she is an observer with an eye for small details, which are left for the reader to interpret.

It is a peaceful novel, capturing everyday life rather than great adventures. Hiromi Kawakami depicts gradual personal development without forcing dramatic, lifechanging experiences onto her characters. The focus lies on interpersonal bonds and the impact one utterance can have. As such, I recommend it to be read in quiet moments or when life requires one to step back and take a breath. It leaves one more calm for sure.

Setting
Modern Japan

Characters
Hitomi is very observant yet oddly purposefully ignorant. In her mid-twenties, she struggles to recognise and identify love, attraction and lust. I guess we all sometimes do.

Nakano-san struggles actually with the same thing, but on a different level. While Hitomi is already completely overwhelmed with her attraction to one man, Nakano-san juggles with different women.

Masayo, his sister, is probably my favourite character. She is outspoken and cannot be intimidated. Even though she recognises the difficulties Hitomi has, she respects her and does not push her too far.

Takeo, Sakiko and various customers are more sketched than fully outlined, nevertheless, they do not seem incomplete.

Storytelling
Some would call it slow, I call it going for a stroll rather than a race. Over the timespan of a few years, only certain events are pulled out and described, leaving lots of jumps in time in between.

The Book:
Original title: 古道具中野商店 (Furudōgu nakano shōten)
German translation: Herr Nakano und die Frauen
Date of publication: 2005

Reading Experience:
Where: Stockholm, preferably near water
When: Spring 2018
Mood: Reflecting on life

‘Deeply concerned’

Children

Children!
Hope of the future Our pillars of time to come Researchers, politicians, plumbers, developers and parents
Their paths still open
for them to choose

Until the gates crumble before their eyes
Fragments raining down
Burying the paths in front
and behind
Innocence blocked out forever

For them,
reality has shifted.

When play becomes survival
When family becomes graves
When future becomes a wasteland
and home turns into dust

Then the rich have become richer
The powerful make speeches
The helpless look away
and humanity tears in half from pain