ukrainian by blood

Розпочали стрільці українські з ворогами тан


April 16, 2022 :: 10:35 AM


Ой у лузі червона калина похилилася,

Чогось наша славна Україна зажурилася.

А ми тую червону калину підіймемо,

А ми нашу славну Україну, гей-гей, розвеселимо!

А ми тую червону калину підіймемо,

А ми нашу славну Україну, гей-гей, розвеселимо!


If we’re not Facebook friends, you have missed my ongoing documentation of the war in Ukraine. (Actually, consider yourself lucky we’re not FB friends… I’m so tired of the endless posts about the war, too, but I can’t not share.) I watch the news constantly for attacks on Lviv. On a small village that has no reason to be attacked. On Odesa. Further attacks on Kyiv.

My friends are in Ukraine.

MY FAMILY is in Ukraine.

This is personal.

But anyhoo… I have dissected and ressected (? go with it) and dissected again, my feelings about this. I have compartmentalised and have given my shrinky dink enough material to write a fucking book. And yet the war continues and I continue to learn new things about myself.

Like that stubbornness? The drive to survive at all costs? The ability to be an absolute asshole to anyone who has hurt me?

I used to think it was a side effect of growing up with my mother…

And maybe it is, but not because of the alcoholism.

I’m starting to think that’s not nuture, but nature.

Like it’s encoded in my DNA, passed on from generation to generation of stubborn, survival focused, Ukrainian assholes.

I saw it firsthand: my grandparents, my mother, even my aunt.

I saw it in the rest of the Ukrainian community around Hartford.

I see it in myself.

And I see it in every single Ukrainian person that shows up in my newsfeed, on the news, or on a postage stamp.

One of the things we had planned prior to Putin being a putz was to see Boombox in Miami on March 8th.

Every time this song gets posted, I almost always share the link.

Because I love Andriy Khlyvnyuk (the lead singer). I absolutely adore him and the clip of him singing never ceases to amaze me.

It never ceases to make me feel proud of my heritage - of one of my favourite bands - when this shows up on my newsfeed. To have people who have never heard of Boombox talk about Andriy’s voice, to search out his music… it kind of gives me chills the same way hearing the Ukrainian anthem sung in a plaza in Lviv did. Or hearing it sung at an OE concert at Madison Square Garden, surrounded by a bunch of American born Ukrainian teenagers who weren’t old enough to know a Ukraine under Soviet rule.

And then, there’s Antytila. Who have also gone viral, thanks to Ed Sheeran.

There are so many clips of lead singer Taras Topolya singing on news shows, just speaking about the war, how his family is somewhere in the West…

But I’m going to end this post with a fun video.

I mean, how many bands can lay claim to having Zelenskyy, the fucking President of their country, in one of their music videos?

And he’s absolutely hysterical in it, but you can decide for yourself:

 

Країна – більше за будь-яке зло


March 27, 2022 :: 11:15 AM

Kyiv Independent - 27.03.2022

Скільки печалей і скільки морок, і ти вже не можеш ступити крок, і вже зупиняєш серце, рахуючи втрати.

І так нам бракує добрих вістей в країні, в якій так багато дітей знають як варто жити й за що помирати.

 



Країна, яка не тримає зла. Країна, яка тут завжди була.

Країна, в яку повертають дощі, про яку так легко писати вірші.

Діти вертають в свої доми.

Знову горять, горять мости і зводяться стіни, але тримають нам горішні основи діти, які, які проросли в небо країни.

Діти, що стали нам продовженням мови.

Що то є життя, в чому його кошт? більше сльози не течуть просто очі залив дощ.
Він може змиє бруд сухий, змиє попіл до кінця... Але не змиє слід історії з молодого лиця.

Країна Дітей (Okean Elzy version)

Steady repetition is a compulsion mutually reenforced


March 21, 2022 :: 8:33 PM

I’ll take a bag of rice, please.

OH. MY. GOD. WHY. IS. THIS. SO. HARD.

Draft four has been an amazing, almost religious experience… if you choose to worship at the altar of pain, tears, hair pulling, and very, very creative swearing.

That fucker needs some holy water AND a blow torch.

 

- - - - - - - - - -

So. Yesterday.

I turned 47 and my husband came home from the hospital.

Yeah, read that again.

Friday, he went to the ER. He stayed in the hospital until late Sunday afternoon.

Nothing serious. The symptoms he was experiencing were due to a bulging disk and not a stroke or diabetes or whatever Doctor Google terrified him with. He needs to stretch, relax, and do yoga. The husband doing yoga is a visual that I will treasure until the day I die…

But.

He gave my mother a run for her money when it came to the absolute worst birthday weekend ever. They might actually be tied for first right now.

Happy fucking birthday, Wendell.

 

- - - - - - - - - -

My godfather’s daughter and I are friends on Facebook. We haven’t spoken for… oh, let’s say thirty years, until recently.

Her grandmother was the Colonel. The Keeper of the Culture.

The baddest ass motherfucker on that part of the family tree.

That woman used to scare the everloving fuck out of me as a kid.

Anyhoo…

When all that shit with Russia happened, someone asked L on FB if she had any family over in Ukraine.

She replied that she did, but she wasn’t close to them.

I couldn’t help myself and messaged her, asking for details. The Colonel used to stay in contact with them, but nobody else had.

After a long back-and-forth, we compared family trees. The one she did when she was like 10 years old and the one I paid a professional for.

They were identical. (And, you have no idea how happy that made both of us!)

She had some information that I didn’t have and vice versa.

But, yeah. The women I found in Ukraine were definitely family. 100%.

She totally made a completely shitty weekend worth it.

I needed that sense of family so badly this weekend and I got that and more.

Моя маленька незалежність...


March 12, 2022 :: 1:46 PM

Just a reminder… Harry Potter and his friends won that war. Avada Kedavra!

As I’m doing my quick run through of Facebook, I stumbled upon a video of Святослав Вакарчук (lead singer of Океан Ельзи (Okean Elzy) - probably Ukraine’s biggest rock band.) just jamming out on a piano in front of the Lviv train station.

Taken out of the context of the war, that would be the coolest thing to stumble upon.

The set list was awesome. It’s interesting how, when put together, it’s very obvious the message Slava was sharing with the crowd. Oddly enough, it was all songs that I love that have a special meaning to me. The majority of them I’ve used as anthems as a sort, too, while fighting with the worst of the bipolar. (I’ve cut and pasted my favourite lyrics thanks to Lyrics Translate - any mistakes cutting and pasting the Ukrainian are mine. Any English errors are not.)

1) Без бою (Without a fight) - Я не здамся без бою (I won’t give up without a fight)

2) Еверест (Everest) - Шум і тисяч їхніх слів, часом приносить біль. / Та дощ із хмари темних стріл не потрапляє в ціль. / І ми продовжуєм нести свій прапор, а не хрест. / Ми продовжуєм іти на власний Еверест. (Noise and thousands of their words, sometimes brings pain. / But the rain from the cloud of dark arrows doesn’t hit the target. / And we continue to carry our banner, but not our cross. / We continue to walk on our own Everest.)

3) На небі (In the sky or In heaven) - А часом / Коли я сам не свій / І в голові дивні думки / І на душі сумно... (Once in a while, I feel so blue / So many thoughts rush through my head / And in my heart sorrow)

4) Не питай (Don’t ask)- Не питай / Де я був коли тобі було так солодко / Де я був коли тебе таку незайману / Підіймали вище неба / Тільки сам на сам / Хіба не там (Don´t ask / Where was I, while you felt so sweet, / Where was I, while you, so untouched, / Were raised higher than heaven.)

5) Не твоя війна (Not Your War) - Бій на світанні. Сонце і дим. / Мало хто знає, що ж буде з ним. (Battle at dawn. Sun and smoke. / Few know how it will end.)

6) Місто весни (City of Springtime) - Бентежне століття загоює рани / Ще до повноліття тут всі ветерани (A turbulent century is healing its wounds / Even before coming of age, everyone here is a veteran)

7) Обійми (Hug Me) - Коли настане день, / Закінчиться війна (The moment the day comes / This war will be over)

8) Все буде добре (Everything will be OK) - І все буде добре / Для кожного з нас. / І все буде добре, / Настане наш час.(Everything will be all right / For everyone of us / Everything will be all right / Our time will come)

 

- - - - - - - - - -

As is the norm lately, too much in my head. Too much I won’t write about here.

The balance between blogging publicly and keeping certain things private is never ending…

 

Не сьогодні. Не завтра. Ніколи.


March 06, 2022 :: 6:48 PM

Boston. 2016. Pro-Ukraine rally.

I still can’t believe what’s going on in Ukraine.

It hurts to even try and wrap my head around it…

But, I suppose, if one could possibly find some good in all of this bullshit, it would be me.

I haven’t kept up with my Ukrainian studies since we moved to Florida, and even before then, I was kind of hit or miss. The only time I was completely focused on the language was when I was cramming before our trip to Ukraine.

I’ve been obsessed - of course - with what’s going on overseas and I’m getting a lot of my news from Ukraine-based media. Of course, that means that all my news is in Ukrainian.

Can I just say? My reading and listening comprehension are through the fucking roof.

I can’t write and can’t speak, but I can listen like a motherfucker.

(Also, I may have a bit of a lady boner for Zelenskyy right now.)

 

- - - - - - - - - -

I had an epiphany earlier this afternoon.

I had this best friend, codenamed Soulmate Boy, because that’s what my dad used to call him.

He was my everything for such a long time but never any sort of love interest. Not even friends with benefits, even though we would have been great at that.

Anyhoo… while I was in college, he went into the Marines. He’d always wanted to be a Marine, but something went terribly wrong and he was medically discharged. I’ve romanticised and torn apart our relationship for so long, that I honestly can’t tell fact from fiction* anymore. I do know it was an honourable discharge, and I’m 99.999999% sure it was health related.

When he came home, he wasn’t himself. He lived in a shitty apartment in a shitty area near the airport and I never wanted to go there.

I get this random call from him one night and I know that shit is seriously sideways, so I jump in my car and drive from Storrs to Windsor Locks. At like 3AM.

He wants to kill himself and apparently I’m the only one that either understands or can stop him. (Again, shitty memory. Sorry.)

Most traumatic experience of my fucking life at that point in time, but the crisis was averted and life went on.

Fast forward to a few decades later and we have, of course, lost touch.

Until I get the calls and text messages to get on any of the major CT channel websites. They are all broadcasting this… situation.

Apparently, Soulmate Boy, decided that suicide by cop was the top item on his to-do list that day.

He didn’t succeed, but he did do several years in prison.

Tomorrow is his birthday and he randomly flits in and out of my life, my heart, my head, despite my best efforts to shove those parts of my life into a little box and bury it deep in the backyard.

Where was I?

Epiphany. Right.

I’m folding my laundry and it hit me hard… what if he really wants to die, he just doesn’t want to be alone when it happens?

Like an assisted suicide?

I have lots of thoughts about him. Our friendship. Our distance. Just… us, but that was a thought I’ve been unable to shake all day.

I don’t know what to do with that. It’s a lot to unpack, you know?

Any way you slice it, though, it’s left me upset in a way I’ve never been upset before. (And I thought I had a good handle on all my various moods.)

I really hope he’s well, that’s he’s living his best life… but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he’s dead, either.

In all honestly, I think he’s kind of both. Like a real life Schrödinger’s cat.

And, fuck, I know that makes absolutely zero sense if you’re not me, but you’ll just have to deal with it.

*I took a writing class and used the penultimate night of our friendship for my assignments. Scott and Kate has been shared with one person I know IRL. C-Rollz loved it, but he’s the only one I’ve ever shared it with, and he kind of bullied me into it. (It’s also posted on a fiction sharing website, but in the nine years it’s been on the site, I’ve never received one bit of feedback about it.) I think about it occasionally and wonder if I should tighten it up. I mean, the teacher raved about it, but it feels so naive. Maybe that’s part of its magic? Whatever.

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