28/08/2013

Patience n Philanthropy

I’m beginning to understand what perilous spark creates that dystopian structure of someone’s mind when they’re young – that adolescent stage where they think they’re the only ones to feel misanthropic, misunderstood or entitled to a sense of martyrdom.

I know. This blog is testament to every sin I just listed. I guess that ‘someone’ is a lot closer than I’d love them to be. It’s fine and normal that people do feel that way. My heart goes out to the people who can’t fathom not feeling this way. Even more so my heart goes out to the people our age who can’t feel this way because, by the accident of birth, they are in the real world where they don’t have the privilege of being spoilt, able to tweet satirically about our fictitious problems. I’ve never had to deal with a single bombshell in my life. Neither have the majority of teenagers with too much internet connection and self-entitlement, no matter how much we fool ourselves into believing differently.

Impatience.

It’s not a new thing, and patience is a virtue, but people my age are feeling overexposed and overdeveloped when we’re these sickly sixteen year olds still acting like children who can’t wait for anything. Tomorrow feels like a lifetime away. 10 minutes? That’s forever! We forgot to outgrow these selfish impulses. 

Can I blame the internet? Or is that too hypocritical as I type these words? But, with all the enlightening ways to use the internet, it’s just fostered our instinct of needing everything now. We can’t wait. If you’re thinking that waiting for your laptop to wake up qualifies, then welcome to the club of online brats. It’s great – and we are lucky.

It becomes a segue of helpless impulse; I see clothes and lifestyles online, snippets of  inner monologue, people’s views and opinions on wonderful ideas with cohesive arguments and I’m impatient. I want it all to be mine.

Which is empowering: writing and self-publication is a step towards this, the whole ‘selfie culture’ of women being in control of their public image sends a strong message, and the only way I’ve managed to realise how sheltered, spoilt and straight up lucky I am is through internet campaigning and articles which speak of atrocities I can't imagine. Ironically, staring at my computer screen is making me less short-sighted. I can’t look at things I’ve said in the past, different personas I’ve had, or those ugly traits shared by others, without a sense of shame. We’re Generation Whatever and that worries me; albeit not to the point of unplugging my machine and swallowing the red pill. Expressing ourselves is a necessity and I advocate it... whilst wishing we spent as much time obsessing over important things as we do about the meaningless trivia consuming our spare hours, and that somehow we learn some form of patience to cultivate ourselves into better people. Or learn from our mistakes. I seem to always, without fail, choose the latter. 



(from elle's tumblr for flood victims and a good reminder)

15/08/2013

More Bear than Bare

People have hair.

It’s a revolutionary concept. Women also have hair because women are also people. Tiny follicles rooted on our skin, catching the light and travelling across our bodies, darkening like a curfew on more vulnerable areas; starting from our heads, arching over eyebrows, rolling along our armpits, towards regions confined in cotton underpants.

There is nothing foreign or strange about body hair. Quite the opposite: it is natural and, evolutionary speaking, a survival trait. That’s why we haven’t lost the genetic information telling us we need it. Some people find it more hygienic or aesthetically pleasing to manage this hair. Others recoil at the thought of plucking an eyebrow. Wherever you sit on the scale of one to Rapunzel, you should expect to be accepted for the choices you make concerning your own body.

If you want to shave, that’s fine. If you don’t want to shave, that’s also fine. Letting hair grow out can be one of the more liberating experiences vis-à-vis appearance - keep your razor in hibernation and save yourself money, time and... chafing. Despite my highlights and groomed brows, I am able to let my armpit hair reach the length of European athletes seen on the first televised Olympics and wear a skirt when my legs are more bear than bare.  I take pride in my appearance, which isn’t a notion reserved for females, and the length of my hair in no way proportional to attractiveness, confidence or political preference.

Shaving does not equate beauty. People have been shamed into thinking their body hair is repulsive so others can make money. Never allow someone feel lesser than anyone else because they control their body - it should not threaten you. This brainwashing from advertising obscures the truth: that body hair is not the villain and we should not feel victimised by media obsessions. 

To realise this when insecurities are being manipulated to increase sales of superfluous products is a revolutionary concept... and one we should be teaching to others, so that I don't have to overhear people lamenting about feeling ugly because they are being made fun of for having body hair. There is something ugly about a situation where others can accost, and even abuse, a person who chooses not to shave and it is not the absence of shaving. 


13/08/2013

list number one

Things I have been enjoying recently:

the obligatory it’s a video when someone films you with a mobile phone camera

forgetting that my grandad is 82 years old

when blueberries are sweet

and blueberries are sour

(so that you can realise when they are sweet)

having backlogs of work to write up so I know that I’ve done something

burning over 1000 calories on a hike

because a thousand sounds like a lot

eating two raisin cinnamon bagels because I can (gluttony is bad but so is restricting yourself)

cycling

chinese history

almond milk

impulse buying two flannel shirts

french verbs

fruit and fibre


snippets from judy and beth’s trip to germany

featuring communist mix tapes

job rejections

(because I’m trying but the universe wants me unemployed)

free time

and fear of the future


(good fear)


04/08/2013

The Frisbee Incident


Yesterday, I got my glasses fixed and ended the final instalment of ‘the Frisbee Incident’. No longer am I staring wistfully through the scratched glass dominating the space above my right pupil, like some annoying reference to the crack occupying the Liberty Bell’s exterior. My sight is as free and unhindered as it gets for a girl as short sighted as I. However, the annals of the Incident got me thinking about the injuries I sustained (and survived) whilst stateside.

Apart from a twin pair of bruises which arrived mysteriously from the airport that landed above both my right and left knees, staying with me the entire holiday whilst I bared my pale English legs, the first injury came on my third day as I held a gun in my hand. Or rather, failed to hold the gun. I kind of dropped it as it recoiled and it slipped from my shoulder… whilst it was firing (you know you want me around in times of crisis). Painful and typical of me to injure myself whilst trying to smash a flying orange target with an instrument designed for one purpose (with the ability of operation by the illiterate) I still managed to do that wrong and award myself the merit badge of a bruise blossoming on my shoulder like an odd blood stain.

The next day, I was down at the Jersey Shore and burned my shoulder. Red and pink and pale and awkward. An accurate description of the English child.
Rollercoasters. I got into a fight with a seat restraint coming off Fahrenheit. I can survive any number of ‘coasters, stand in line indefinitely, eat chocolate to an insane capacity, but I am incapable of getting out of a seat. I busted my chin and bled, looking for the entire weekend like I’d lost a fist fight. Classy English girl. Also, for the remainder of our road trip, each time I lifted up my arms (embarrassingly, to check how my sweat glands were faring in the high nineties) another bruise had added itself to the pale underneath of my upper arms… despite looking like I’d been beaten, I can vouch that they were from rollercoasters, like a stamp to remember where I’d been.

White water rafting for a non-swimmer is almost a death wish. Spending the day on the river was a kind of indescribable fun, totally upped my Pocahontas vibes and left me with bug bites, water in my nasal cavity and a pretty sore posterior. All completely worth it.

Then comes the fateful evening of The Frisbee Incident. During a game of Polish horseshoes, having just played a successful game of conceptual badminton (lacking the net), a seemingly inauspicious moment administered this scratch on my glasses as my cousin, lost in a wave of over-competitive-ness, throws the Frisbee directly to the bridge of my nose. The same cousin who had, the day before, been legally responsible for my well-being on the river was now the reason for my calamitous exclamation of “I could get a black eye!!!” The notion that it might have been my own sense of not looking and not concentrating on the game is completely false. False. It was his fault. Forgiving the person who had driven me across states, paid for me to ride on rollercoasters and down rivers, laced up my shoes and drove me home was quite easy. However the Incident, whilst forgiven, won’t be forgotten. This is possibly at my expense, for getting hit in the face with a plastic disk is really the cornerstone of civilised company.

The rest of the holiday passed in this sophisticated manner; of falling over and multiplying my bruises. On the last day I garnered an insect bite which I only noticed as I greedily devoured a bagel in my Uncle’s car (I also gained four pounds within a week, having weighed myself in my cousin’s bathroom and again on the scales that told me my bag was overweight… due to all the candy I was smuggling into England) which I have been absentmindedly scratching for the two weeks I have been back. Perhaps this is a subconscious masochistic yearning for return to the land of the Frisbee, and the home of the bruised.