happy birthday to me woooo
The hum of drones has returned, I can hear them hovering over our heads, choosing their next prey. It’s very hot. Jaffa is crying. My mother-in-law warns the kids not to touch her blessed plants. I write an essay that starts with the words “We are O.K. in Gaza.” But it’s a lie, we are never O.K. Nonetheless, hope is what you have even at the worst of times. It is the only thing that can’t be stripped from you. The moment you give it up you lose the most precious thing that nature and your humanity have endowed you with. Hope is your only weapon.
"Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary" - Atef Abu Saif
To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out – since our self-image is untenable – their false notion of us. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gist for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give. Of course I will play Francesca to your Paolo, Helen Keller to anyone’s Annie Sullivan; no expectation is too misplaced, no role too ludicrous. At the mercy of those we cannot but hold in contempt, we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the urgency of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us.
"On Self-Respect" - Joan Didion