I have tagged 2 blog posts with societal-norms:

From Train Rides to Trump Trials: A Reflection on the Power and Underappreciation of Female Friendships

A bonfire illuminates two women sharing a warm embrace in cold Norwegian outdoors.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, July 3, 2024, 09:15

As the train begins its usual journey from home to the heart of Oslo, I'm jolted from my sleepy lethargy by an announcement over the radio. The sentencing hearing in Donald Trump's hush-money case, an incessant chatter in the media land, practically incessant, has been postponed. The protagonist in the courtroom drama, his lawyer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in 2018 to payment of $130,000 in hush-money to a once famed porn actress, though our erstwhile POTUS denies involvement.

The train casts a shadow over the glossy surface of the fjord, whispering tales of deceit and evasion. Guilty or not, this brings me to the thought of the immeasurable significance we attach to our relationships, the lies we tell for their preservation, a tragic comedy in its own right. And maybe, it's time to encounter parallels in an unlikely arena – female friendships.

As the train hums its near silent lullaby, trudging along the railway tracks with a forlorn rhythm, the importance of history seems more profound. The history shared among women, how it shapes us, elevates us and at times, breaks us. With the temperature outside locked at a chilly 14 degrees Celsius, these friendships feel like a humble bonfire, an antidote to the cold.

As I embark on this meditation on female friendships, it’s the sheer resilience that strikes me first. A symbolic monument that stands tall amidst the chaos, it is a sanctuary for healing and growth, a testament to the strength of shared experiences. These bonds, while often brushed aside in the name of societal norms and traditional family structure, can possess the power of an elixir - healing wounds made by a patriarchal society.

There's a word in Norwegian, 'Samhold', which roughly translates into solidarity or team spirit. It's the epitome of what these friendships represent, the superglue that holds us together amidst the turmoil of life, relationships, and the constant trial-by-fire that is existence as a woman. Whether we’re battling the personal demons of injustice or celebrating joyous moments, it’s these connections that see us through, as a steadfast anchor in stormy seas.

Yet, why is it that like the news of the hush-money case, these friendships sometimes find their way to the back burner, often postponed – always in the periphery but never in the limelight?

Maybe it's the introspective melancholy of the quiet train ride, or the grey morning sky stretching out in endless expanses- a void waiting to be filled, but today, this feels like a question worth pondering.

As I look out of the smudged window, the landscape speeding by in a blur of dull green and pale blue, I can't help but acknowledge the profound influence these friendships have over our lives. How it shapes us, comforts us, enforces our growth amidst trials and celebrations. I yearn for a world where these invisible strings of camaraderie are understood, appreciated, and celebrated – not postponed or overlooked for more 'critical' issues. But that's a narrative for another day. For now, let me find solace in knowing that when the world gets too cold (intriguingly like the 14 degrees outside), I have these friendships - a warm, crackling bonfire in the frosty wilderness.

Today, I will cherish this vital cog in my life’s machinery – these friendships – more mindfully. And I implore you to do the same.

Tags: female friendships personal reflections societal norms

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Global Diplomacy and Social Consciousness: A Dynamic Tango on the Train of Life

An intricate ballet performance, dancers poised between steps, audience in pensive silence.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, October 31, 2023, 14:22

As I sink into the softness of the worn-out blue train seats, the gray, chilly world outside my window anchors my fingertips against the electronic pulse of my laptop - coaxing them to reflect on an epistle I stumbled upon today. It wasn't about the tides pulling at the moon's whims or the delicate balance of a teeter-totter. Not quite.

The narrative revolved around an audacious tango between the forces of global diplomacy and social consciousness. A potent perfume of criticism and defensiveness filled the air, a seemingly sticky matrix of the past vestiges of history mingling with the winds of the present. A potent reminder - it seems we toggle between learning and forgetting, forever caught in this enticing, Sisyphean ballet.

In this curious dance, societal norms undoubtedly arrive fashionably late, impacting us like the quiet hum of the arrivals and departures of my fellow passengers, influencing the direction we take, guiding the moves we make. Not always obvious but there, at the back of our minds, commanding subtle yet profound control.

And let's face it, societal pressures are a bit like this train ride - seemingly straight, predictable, but gaze deeper, and you discover undulating undercurrents of norms, ethics and preconceived notions. And unlike this pleasant, two-degree chill, they often leave you uncomfortably warm, prodding your sense of worth, challenging your actions, questioning your choices.

Earlier, the crumpled paper cup of the coffee I gulped down echoed an observation; it's how we respond to these undercurrents that creates ripples of change. A stoic defiance or a gentle acquiescence, both stand to define our existence and alter our story's course.

Back to my thought thread weaving through the diplomatic labyrinth mentioned earlier, it brought to fore the parallel pressures nations face - societal norms with geographical frontiers. Their tango is far from delicate; it's fraught with accusations, defensiveness and complexities - like battling against an invisible tide, but nonetheless, it's real, palpable.

The modern world loves its binaries - black or white, right or wrong, with us or against us. Moved by this perceived pressure, we wind up casting countries, individuals, cultures into boxes, cemented with our narrow definitions and biased judgments. They straddle an unenviable tightrope, battling perceptions, like misunderstood protagonists in an over-elaborate plot.

The uproarious criticism and the echoes of accusations make one thing abundantly clear - societal norms and their consequent pressures are not limited to personal lives. They pervade nations, impacting diplomatic relations. It's a complex dance, rife with contradictions - a brew we're simultaneously sipping and brewing.

As the homogenous landscape continues its dialogue with the settling twilight outside my window, my thoughts meander in my electronic ink puddle. This tantalising mix of societal norms, diplomatic etiquettes, and swirling accusations makes for an intriguing brew, a peculiar blend of bitter and bold.

This dance, critical and laughably complex, tickles my sense of irony. Could it be that our consistent efforts to conform to norms while battling adverse perceptions mirror our collective fear of non-conformity? Do we shudder at the thought of societal norms not met, much like a bare tree shivers at the mercy of a two-degree chill?

Alas, societal norms' pressure - global or personal, echo a timeless dance - sometimes clumsy, at times harmonious, but eternally entertaining. As my train journey winds down, and the soft hum of moving wheels lulls me, I can't help but chuckle - isn’t this dance of society, norms, and values an elaborate cosmic comedy?

The hills now appear closer, painted in winter's lingering frost. A soft smile tugs my lips, leaving me tickled - in bemusement, reflecting on societal norms or anticipation for tomorrow's potential epistle, who knows? But isn't it all part of this grand, convoluted, and ever so delightful dance? To ponder, to question, to laugh - isn't that the dance we’re all choreographing, one blog post at a time?

Tags: social consciousness societal norms global diplomacy self-reflection

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