The rough in diamonds
In the Ottoman-occupied Serbia (14th - 19th century), young boys were occasionally taken away and recruited to become Ottoman soldiers during something called blood tax, devshirme (Turkish) or danak u krvi (Serbian). I assume that there’s only so many generations of women who can start their lives without inheriting the trauma of their ancestors’ experience, which is why they smother their sons with so much attention today. This attention, however, somehow proves to be deadly either way. As a result, boys become emotionally blocked, incapable, insecure, toxic and/or spoiled to a variable degree.
This attention is deadly because of what they call ‘manifestation', which I’ve recently come across and is becoming more and more popular as the world rapidly goes to hell. Its practitioners claim that anything can be brought about with our minds, and that the only thing you need to do is to believe that this is true and to set your intentions (some even encourage not doing anything in your actual life or ‘3d’ as they call it). The tricky part is that these intentions don’t need to be what we consciously wish for, but they could as well be reflections of our fears and our subconscious thoughts. If your DNA believes that your son will be harmed, your actions, your words, your silence will do the blood taxing for you.
One interesting thing that Wikipedia has to say about devshirme is that it was "often resented by locals, though some Christian families also volunteered their sons for the service as it offered good career options".
(My heart is breaking with every word I’m saying, in the words of the 2-hit wonder 2000s singer Jojo. I wish I could make it stop, like I mute the notifications that force me to update payment methods. Wish I could really speak things into existence - and maybe I already did, for most of my life. I never thought that the problem was in me but it turns out that it is. I manifest my life from within, while beating myself up for caring too much.
For the heartbreak that I feel, as you can tell,)
I partly blame my homeland, the failed evil nanny state, the brain-drained brownfield to which I always lose. (I now wish I never lived long enough to see what this city has become.) No wonder they call it motherland when they go away.
They do ask me why I stay, even though, at this moment, it’s not like I have too many options. I think it’s because of my obsession to always believe in things even when they’re doomed, or especially when they’re doomed. And not even because I want to fix them, but maybe just because I was born a Serbian woman, and I got some Ottoman roots. I guess I chose self-destruction over self-colonisation? Not that I owe any explanations to anyone.
(But even as I write this, I still see diamonds, diamonds everywhere. And I am mesmerized)