Xeni


in English in Serbian
When I travel around the world, one of my biggest joys is to meet with my girlfriends of all colors, ages and types. Living on different sides of the world, we spend “quality” time together, since we lack the quantity. In a few hours, we tell each other our lives.

Our everyday lives, on those occasions, get a new edition, a translation. These are therapeutic, cathartic friendships, for the teller and the listener. There’s no time for petty calculation: is this the real truth, dare I say this, will she understand me? There is no other chance, no time for delay, Paganini non ripete, if not now, when?…

And so you seize the moment, search for the words, and you realize that a whole life can indeed be narrated in two hours. Even better, it must be, since when you must, you must: like a physiological need. Thinking, sympathizing, a compact digest…

That takes a toll, however. After that, you go back to your shrine of solitude where you digest for months on end the words and deeds of moments.

This time, I will tell about my bridesmaid Xeni from Los Angeles. We met by chance when she was interviewing my American friend and I was sitting next to them silently. Then during a pause Xeni turned towards me and asked me in that typical American polite way: How are you doing?

And I answered, without thinking twice, in that typical rude Balkan way: I feel like shit! At that point instead of fleeing away from me as most Americans would, she started asking me questions. I spilled the beans. We never stopped communicating since then.

What to say, we became friends, speaking our hearts, emotionally and professionally too. We spoke of love, past, genocides, gossips, name it…

She was the most beautiful bridesmaid in Los Angeles County when she arrived at the security check in her shiny black boots and outfit full of alarming metal, with the tall handsome black judge smiling at her all the time. Great team for such a tense moment: it’ s much easier when the wedding fuss is shared by someone else: you just pronounce that crucial ‘yes’ and off you go!

Well, my bridesmaid Xeni discovered she had breast cancer. Which was in her body God knows how long and which she had to cure immediately, and with hard core therapy. This went on for months, according to the medical protocol. But she underwent it publicly, taking thousands and thousands of her readers, fans and friends with her to the clinics, labs scans, using Twitter Instagram, blogs: survival without any shame or censorship.

We saw her lose her hair, we saw her medical scans, eating marijuana cookies, crying in pain, hugging her mom and kissing her boyfriend… All those moments one goes through in these situations, and wants to forget as soon as possible. In her case, they became unforgettable since they circled the whole world, with huge support of her friends, faraway fellows in trouble, who wanted to help, to learn, as well as make a case for all those women who were there in that sorrow, or will go there some day.

After her experience nothing will be the same, since she managed to make out of an intimate tragedy a public polemic and even a funny story… In any case a ordinary story, without the stigma of sickness and shame. Including the party she threw the day before she went to the hospital for her mastectomy operation. We were about twenty, all in all, in a Californian vegan Ethiopian restaurant, and besides her family, most of those present were patients, cancer survivors, women she met though internet and through her story, women who were in the same boat.

I must tell you that it was one of the happiest parties I ever attended, charged with emotions and wisdom. Even though we spoke in detail about illness, how it comes and goes, not one person left that table unhappy.

We were all tremendously moved, yes, but Xeni, the very next day, immediately sent us extensive messages about her long operation and rapid recovery: what she saw, felt, dreamed and feared. Thanking everybody and everything for her chance to breathe again, see the view, live the life.

I am writing this because I know how many women are fearful, lonely and despairing in sickness. So, women from all over the world, you should know: we can do better than that, I dare say WE MUST.

Kad putujem po svetu najvise se radujem sto cu videti svoje drugarice, svih boja godina i vrste. I sto cemo provesti “kvalitetno” vreme zajedno u odnosu na pomanjkanje kvantiteta jer živimo na različitim stranama sveta. I tako i bude, za nekoliko sati ispričamo jedna drugoj živote, nekako uvek isti život u tim prilikama dobije novo izdanje, prevod, pouku. I za onu koju priča i za onu koju sluša: zaista terapeutska su ta druženja: nekako nema onog sitnog kalkulisanja same sa sobom, da li je to istina, da li smem da kažem,  da li će me razumeti. Ne postoji drugi put, Paganini non ripete, if not now when…I tako grabiš, biraš reči i shvatiš da ceo jedan život i može da se stavi u dva sata. Štaviše, mora, jer kad mora mora: postaje neka nužda. Compact digest preživljavanje , uživljavanje, razmišiljanje…sve to iscrpi mnogo. Posle toga se vraćaš u svoj hram samoće gde sažvakavač mesecima dela i reči iz tih nekoliko sati.
Ovaj put ću da pričam o Xeni, mojoj kumi iz Los Andjelesa. Upoznala smo se tako što je ona intervjuisala mog tada budućeg muža a ja sedela pored sasvim slučajno i bez reči. Onda se ona u pauzi okrenula ka meni i pitala me onako američki How are you doing, a ja ni pet ni šest odgovorila onako balkanski, I feel like shit, na šta je ona prekinula intervju sa njim i počela da razgovara sa mnom.
Šta da vam kažem, od tada smo nastavile tako da se družimo: iz duše, iznebuha, bez okolišanja. Pričale smo o ljubavi, prošlosti genocidima, tračevima, name it…
Bila nam je najlepša kuma moguća u LA-u kad se pojavila u lakovanim  crnim dubokim čizmama, miniću i s nožem u podvezici pred ogromnim sudijom crncem koji nije prestajao da joj se smeši. Super tandem za ovakav inače uvek naporan čin: zagarantovano smanjenje tenzije i budalaština oko venčanja  ako dopustiš drugima da preuzmu glavnu ulogu a ti samo izgovoriš ono presudno ‘da’ i o tom potom.
Elem moja Xeni iz LA ovaj put imala je drugu vrstu glavne uloge u našim životima. Nedavno je obolela od raka dojke koji je otkrila na prvoj mamografiji koja sledi kad napuniž 40 godina. Koji je tu bio već duže vremena rekli su joj i koji je navalila da leči eto već mesecima. I to javno, vodeći gomilu svojih čitalaca fenova i prijatelja sa sobom u klinike laboratorije, putem tvitera, instagrama, blogova: bez trunke stida i cenzure.  Gledali smo je kako gubi kosu, jede marihuanu, plače od bola, sedi kod mame u krilu…ama sve ono što čovek doživi u tim situacijama i hoće brzo da zaboravi kad prodje. U njenom slučaju ti nezaboravni trenuci obišli su svet i biće nezaboravni, uz podršku svih nas od intimusa do dalekih čitalaca, da joj pomognemo kao i svim drugim ženama pre i posle nje koje ce doći u tu situaciju. Posle nje ništa neće biti isto jer je ona uspela da od jedne intimne tragedije napravi javnu priču, polemičnu, smešnu…u svakom slušaju obišnu, bez stigme bolesti i stida. Zakljušno sa žurkom dan pred odlazak u bolnicu na operaciju masteroktomiju. Bilo nas je dvadesetak u veganskom etiopskom restoranu u Los Andjelesu:  nekoliko iz porodice i ličnih prijatelja dok su većina bili pacijenti, žene koje je  upoznala preko interneta i koje su bile u istom sosu.
Moram vam reći da je to bila jedna od najveselijih žurki kojoj sam prisustvovala. Iako se pričalo o detaljima bolesti kako je steći i izbeći, nema osobe koja je otišla sa tog ručka kuci nesrećna. Potreseni smo bili svi, to da, ali Xeni nam se sutra već javila nekoliko sati posle višečasovne operacije : šta je videla, osetila, sanjala. Slike njene na obali okeana dok se zahvaljuje svima za priliku da opet udiše vazduh i prizor bekonačnosti  života.
  Ovo pišem jer znam da mnogo žena boluje u samoći i strahu: tako dodju i tako odu sa ovog sveta.  Epa žene znajte: Može to i bolje, da ne kažem mora.

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