PARASITE.

Every so often, a film comes out and is immediately hyped up to the heavens. The film wins all the awards and it’s all everyone can talk about, with celebrities falling over themselves to gush about it. The hype creates such high expectations that are sometimes impossible to live up to. Then there is a film like Parasite, winner of the Best picture at the 2020 Oscars, that completely meets and exceeds expectations.

Parasite is a South Korean film that follows the impoverished Kim family-made up of Father, Mother, Daughter, Son- who each pose as unrelated people to gain employment with an unsuspecting wealthy family. The “fairytale” doesn’t last for the family, as their plans soon unravel and they are tangled in this web of destruction. As usual I didn’t watch any trailers or read any reviews of the film beforehand as I like to be surprised, and I am glad I didn’t because each scene was a revelation that might have been slightly diminished had I known about the plot. I’m not sure how much was revealed in the trailer and how much will be spoilers so I’ll just move on to the gushing praise.

First off, the title is completely appropriate and perfect- It was amazing to see how each member of the Kim family managed to insert themselves into the wealthy Park family and leech off them. The Kim family is not the only one leeching off them either. There is the alternate explanation (supported by the director) that it is an anti-capitalist message which shows how parasitic the wealthy people are, but I suspect this theory is just for the woke crowd. What I will say is that the film does an amazing job depicting the class divide in South Korea, which I’m sure mirrors the situation all over the world. The Kims live in a damp basement while the Parks live relatively carefree in a highbrow mansion. I noted to my friend as we watched this that the look of the wealthy areas may differ among countries/cultures, but the poor parts all look the same. This juxtaposition is stark towards the end of the film, where the poor Kims deal with a sewage filled flood at their basement dwelling, while the Parks enjoy a nice party.

The story is original and unpredictable, the acting is decent, the directing excellent, the production immaculate, cinematography on point, even the music was amazing. Simply put, it was a good film. It is very beautiful to watch, and it captured my full attention from beginning to the end. I openly exclaimed “what a good film!” a few times during the film. My friend who had watched the film before reacted as though it was her first time- it is that good. I typically enjoy foreign films -and I always have the subtitles on even in English films, so this was not a problem.

Long story short, Parasite deserves all the hype. Between this film and The Fishermen, I am so inspired to create.

Be still my heart.

Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you
-Psalm 116:7

I woke up early this morning, wracked with anxiety. This anxiety has been a staple for a long time now, coming and going in waves but always there. What am I nervous about? Most of the time there is no substance to my fears; I’ve been through this before so I know it will be fine, and yet I worry. My heart is always racing and I feel uneasy and irritable. It gets in the way of everything. I can’t fully relax because of the niggling feeling that I should be doing something else. And I cannot do any work because I’m tired and need to relax. Of course this makes me even less productive, as I end up spending all that time worrying. So I end up in this weird space where I am beating myself for relaxing because there’s working to be done but then I can’t relax either so I’m just unsettled and mentally running helter skelter. Last year this anxiety was caused by exams and now it’s work and life in general. From experience I know that nothing is that big of a deal, and everything will be alright. Still it is so hard to relax.

As a reasonably intelligent woman, I’ve decided to tackle this head on. What are the scenarios in which I feel the most anxious?

  1. When I have to make a decision and I do not know what the right thing to do is (or when I’m afraid of hurting someone’s feelings). I spent New Year’s Eve 2018 in a state of complete anxiety as I couldn’t decide where to usher in the New Year. I had two options, and though I was happy where I was, I did not want the other person to feel sad that I wasn’t there. Of course this completely consumed the whole day and took over my entire mood and had me so panicky. For some people this may seem like an overreaction and it damn sure is but still. I went out to the mall, looking and feeling like a mess, and I ran into an old friend and could barely muster enough sanity to have a nice conversation. Eventually I met up with my sister and cousin and we watched a film and I slowly relaxed. In the end I stayed where I was for NYE and visited the other place on New Year’s day and the earth continued around its axis.

    This anxiety pops up when I am afraid of hurting someone’s feelings but I also feel this anxiety at work when there are tasks to be completed and I am not sure how to go about them. I feel a sense of responsibility and cannot run to the manager for every query so I try to solve it all by myself. This anxiety also pops up when the manager at work leaves a comment about the work I’ve done and I immediately start to panic about what to do. Most of the time, it turns out to be nothing. They just wanted clarification on a particular issue but by that time I have run myself ragged with worry.

  2. When there is too much to be done and not enough time: Deadlines! Deadlines!! Deadlines!!! One thing about adulthood is that there is always something that needs to be done and it needs to be done now. This is definitely a major source of anxiety for me during the busy periods at work. This is when I have a thousand tasks to do, a twinkling of an eye to do them in, twenty people messaging me asking questions, people I have to coach and keep an eye on, superiors I have to answer to, client relationships I need to manage, and so on. It is impossible for me to relax during this time, especially when I include scenario one (above) and three (below).

  3. When I have not done what needs to be done (or when I feel I have not done enough): I work hard but sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. When I am working I like to have the TV on for company, and sometimes this makes me wonder if I have done enough work or if I’ve just been faffing around. There are also times when I just cannot be arsed; maybe I pushed myself too hard the day before and have now decided to take a leisurely approach. This is all fine and dandy until a manager messages me asking for a catch-up and I start to sweat a little.
    This also happens during exams (especially during exams) because I like to chill and study along to a nice comedy series. Again this makes me wonder if my studying is enough or if I have actually spent all that time chilling and deluding myself that I have studied.
    This is actually the source of my anxiety today. I am working on a client which is not one of my usual ones and it’s a little difficult to make sense of the tasks. The work is going slowly and this makes me super anxious for the daily morning catch-ups with all members of the team. The catch ups are never a big deal and they always go off smoothly but still I feel super uncomfortable if I am not completing and signing off tasks. The truth is I do work hard and manage to complete all assigned tasks; it’s just the anxiety acting up.

  4. When I have to do something: Having something that I have to do at a certain time stresses me out. My brain stalls and all I can think of is this thing that is happening at this time and I cannot relax until it is over. This was the other source of my anxiety today. I had to coordinate a social event for the team and I woke up nervous about it because we had not finalised the agenda. Needless to say, this also went off without a hitch and my worry was all for nought. Work aside, I feel this anxiety even if I have a fun meet-up with friends. Just the knowledge that at a certain time I have to be out of the house to get to a place adds a touch of stress to my day. My days are mundane and monotonous so anything that breaks that- a meeting or presentation or whatever-is bound to cause some anxiety.

  5. When I feel unprepared/disorganised: Now I am no Monica Geller, but I do like to be reasonably organised. Chaos stresses me out. Almost ten years ago now (damn), I was a member of a cultural club at University and the club president decided to put on a red carpet event and charge money for it. We sold tickets and told everyone there was going to be dance, fashion and awards. All through this period, I kept reminding the president that we, in fact, had no certain activities planned out. The night before we were all in a dorm room, some people lazily practicing a dance routine and fashion show. I just knew this event was going to flop because the organisation (or lack of thereof) made my skin crawl. And boy did it flop! First it started an hour late, the dancers pulled out last minute… Everything was so messed up. At the end, the only thing we managed to do was the fashion show, which consisted of four girls walking out on the runway. Oh yeah we also had the awards, which had me backstage, scribbling the winners name on a certificate at the very last minute. I would have been beyond furious if I paid to witness such rubbish. Anyway it seemed like I was the only one who was bothered by this, everyone else kept asking me why I was bothering myself. 

    This is one of the top drivers of stress for me- uncertainty, unpreparedness, and disorganisation. Back in University I took a public speaking course and before any of my presentations I would write my speech and practice multiple times while timing myself. This made me more relaxed and confident because I was prepared. This is the same with exams and work, a portion of anxiety comes from not being prepared and not knowing what to expect. When we are prepared, we fear a little less, because we know our shit, so to say. 

  6. When my phone rings: Ahhhhhhh! There are few things that piss me off as much as this. This is definitely the most irrational source of my irritation. I think this is because the phone just rings out of nowhere, interrupting whatever it is I am doing at the time and that is just annoying. There’s never a time when my phone rings and I’m happy, unless it is a call I am anticipating. It just comes out of the blue and I have to wait for the call to be over so I can get back to what I was doing. Then of course I feel bad for ignoring the call and worry about getting in touch with the caller later. Whew, the anxiety.

  7. Disillusionment and general unfulfilment: Sometimes the monotony of my life bears down on me and it is all so overwhelming. In times of high stress at work I wonder is this all there is? There has to be more to life than work. I start to fantasise about doing something else and pursuing my dream of being a writer cum television watcher. But the truth is even people who do what they love have a lot of anxiety and then this stresses me out because what then can I do? Unfortunately anxiety is a common feature in adulthood regardless of the occupation. I’m sure even youtubers, instagram influencers, and sugar babies must feel anxiety. At least I have a stable job and a stable income; the anxiety from not having a stable income must be ridiculous. Thankfully I’m not worried about marriage and children otherwise I would not be able to cope.

The day is over and I have faced everything that was causing me to be anxious. As always my anxiety was for nothing. Still I know that I will not be fully rid of this naggling feeling that trails me and bogs down my spirit. It is exhausting.

Ah well. Tomorrow is another day.

Crack.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.
The second step is making no effort to change and continuing in the same problematic routine until you cannot take it anymore.

I recently realised I have an addiction to sugar. I actually realised this months ago but let’s not dwell on that. Long story short, about two years ago I started breaking out on my face. I had always had pimples now and then but this was ridiculous; incessant and never ending. I kept waiting for it to get better but it got worse and worse until my face became a cesspit. In typical fashion I just went about my life without being pro-active until one day I thought to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps it was the makeup I was using, or making I wasn’t cleaning my makeup sponges properly. Maybe it’s my pillow-even though I changed the pillowcases every week that was apparently not enough. My formerly smooth-ish face was ravaged with ugly pimples and the nasty dark spots they leave in their wake.

It wasn’t until I spent Christmas 2019 with my family that it even occurred to me that my diet could be a factor. I was surrounded by my family, ate mostly home cooked food and did not have my typical deluge of junk at my disposal. Surprisingly my skin was largely co-operative leading me to the conclusion that sugar is bad for my skin. What did I do upon realising this? Eat more sugar of course.

As if my skin was not problematic enough, lockdown brought about an entirely new problem. A few weeks in, my face was attacked by angry painful pimples across and under my jaw, the likes of which I had never seen before. I was flabbergasted. Surely some evil forces were against me. I thought back on Christmas 2016 when a friend remarked on how clear my skin was and how my problems started soon-ish after (a year and a half later but who’s counting). Surely by uttering those words, my friend dared the universe into afflicting me with acne?

A quick google search revealed that the cherry on top of the acne sundae was called cystic acne, and a major factor is dairy. I switched to soy and other plant based milk a while back, but I always have yogurt in my fridge, I don’t say no to ice cream and cheese is my true love. The lockdown induced baking craze was another factor; semi skimmed milk costs less than half the price of soy milk so me being a cheapskate I briefly went back to animal milk for all the baking I was doing. This must have jolted my system, resulting in the cystic acne. Again what did I do upon realising this? Go back to plant based milk but continue with cheese, greek yogurt and ice cream, of course. At a point I even started drinking soft drinks (7up, pepsi etc) which I hadn’t drank in years, because I thought what the hell my skin is effed up, might as well gorge on nonsense.

However enough is enough, every idiot has its breaking point. I took inventory of my face and mah God it’s a mess. I was too lazy to go out last week and so did not get to stock up on toffee sweets and gummy bears, the result of this was that I did not get any new breakouts. So I have decided to stick to this and be good. No processed sugars and no dairy. I nearly slipped on this because I was about to order food from Dominos until I reminded myself that cheese is in fact dairy (heartbreaking!). I also just had a diet coke but it says zero sugars so we’ll see.

If I learned one thing from this experience, it is that I am not that different from a crackhead; the addiction to sugar is real and destructive. I have so much sympathy and empathy for everyone dealing with an addiction because it’s really not easy. I knew the adverse effects sugar was having on me yet I could not stop. I would exercise by taking a walk to the shops and leave with a bag of sweets which I would devour within hours; once I popped I could not stop. At a point I was not even enjoying the sweets; they were there so I had to eat them all. It was madness and chaos. Part of this is due to the fact that I live alone, and with no company there is nothing else to do but eat and watch television. I have realised I have zero self control when it comes to sweets so it’s best to stay away and not buy junk at all.

The first step is admitting you have a problem and then taking serious steps to rectify it. (I am a sugarholic and I have a problem).

My goal is to clear my skin and improve my life. So help me God.

On purpose and fear of missing out.

I don’t think your life has to have a purpose, or you a grand ambitionIt is okay to wander through life finding interesting things to do until you die.” https://www.instagram.com/p/CEuA5EUhmDG/

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one of the causes of melancholy in today’s youth is the fear of missing out, FOMO if you will.

Thanks in part to social media, the world is much smaller and everyone is your neighbour regardless of where you actually live. Like many things, this has its positives and negatives. The negative is that you have so many people to compare yourself to; so many FOMO inducing moments which you might not have had otherwise. This goes beyond parties and fun holidays but also seeps into more serious existential things; finding fulfillment and purpose. A 21 year old in Texas bought her first house, now a 26 year old in London who saw the pictures on Instagram is feeling insecure and unaccomplished because she is nowhere near being able to do the same. People feel like failures because they haven’t completely “figured out” their lives at 24. Everyone else appears to have it together (just look at their Instagram pages!) and this intensifies the pressure.

The need to find one’s purpose predates the internet age and is not unique to this generation. However the concept of finding one’s purpose is both helped and worsened by social media. On one hand there is whole new range of occupations that were not available twenty or even ten years ago. People can now make careers out of their hobbies and interests, instead of forcing themselves into unsuitable moulds. On the other hand a traditional 9-5 is considered old fashioned and dull, leaving a lot of people feel pressure to be doing something non traditional on the side. Surely you can’t simply work for thirty or so years and then retire. How uninteresting. What a waste of a life. You need to find your purpose!
Now people are running helter skelter trying to determine their true purpose because “if you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work.

This whole thing about finding one’s purpose can be both liberating and stifling. Liberating because you may be lucky to find something that enriches your soul. Stifling because unless you find this “purpose” you may find yourself perpetually unfulfilled, restlessly hopping from one place to the other in search of the elusive purpose.

So when I saw the quote at the beginning of the post, I was immediately drawn to it and inspired to write this post. Of course some people will disagree and say everyone in-fact has a purpose; wandering is a purpose. I myself wonder if I was drawn to the idea of not having a purpose as a cop-out for my laziness and lethargy. I like to write and my computer is littered with unfinished pieces. If I took writing as my purpose would I be more serious with it or would I be driven mad trying to fulfill this purpose? For now writing is something I like to do but I feel no pressure as I don’t necessarily see it as my purpose. Still there are times I feel like there ought to be more to life (see last post) and I wonder if I would feel more fulfilled if I had a purpose I was working towards.

For some, having a life purpose can be very comforting and motivating as it keeps them going. Conversely it can also be comforting to think that there is really no purpose to life, no heights that must be reached, no real boxes that must be ticked. You don’t have to get married and have children if you don’t want to. You don’t have to monetise all your hobbies and interests. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur.

If it makes you happy to live day to day as you are then don’t stress yourself out fearing that you are missing out. And to those who are desperately searching for their purpose, their raison d’etre? I hope you find this and I hope it makes you happy.

Two sides of the same coin.

There was a time when the words left and right simply referred to sides of the body/directions/whatever you want to call it. The simpler times when those words had no political connotations to me; I still remember thinking “what do they mean by right wing?”  Ah the age of innocence.

These days I hear left and immediately think of liberal democrats, and when I hear right my mind goes straight to conservative republicans. I am not even American. Nowadays, even if you are under a rock, it is impossible to miss the constant haranguing between the two sides. The friction between the two has exploded in a new dimension thanks to the volatile nature of social media. One simply cannot turn a corner on the twitter streets without running into a heated debate between the two sides, each one oblivious to anything else other than the take-down of the other; a real case of elephants fighting without giving a damn about the grass.

Continue reading

How to avoid being murdered.

After nearly two decades of religiously feeding my paranoia with a multitude of crime shows, I believe I have discovered a list of unguaranteed ways to avoid ending up on these shows as a victim.

First off, Never light up a room. Anyone who watches crime shows knows what I am talking about. Every victim on these shows is describes as having lit up every room they walked into which when you add two plus two means there is a direct correlation between a bright personality and the risk of murder.

In the same vein, Never give the shirt off your back to anyone, least of all a stranger. It is amazing just how many of the victims would have given the shirt off their back to a stranger without thinking about it. At the very least you may die of hypothermia and there are probably rules against walking around shirtless. If you must, go home and retrieve some shirts to donate or just leave it all together.

Have some enemies: At least 73.48% of the victims on the show “have no enemies” and their families can never think of anyone “who would harm them in anyway.

Close your doors, even (especially) if you live in a town where this sort of thing never happens.

Do not leave your windows open regardless of how hot it gets. Bugs and murderers are attracted to open windows like moth to a flame.

Get cameras in your house and review them regularly while you are at work. This way you can tell if some crazed psycho has snuck into your house and is laying in wait for you. A camera will also help track those who may be secretly living in your house; you’ll be surprised by how many people have been killed by secret squatters.

Do not allow anyone take out life insurance on you. This is probably the most important one! The love of life insurance money is the root of most spousal murders!

Do not enter a stranger’s car under any circumstances. If a stranger stops you to ask for directions, take off running. If they ask to give you a lift, take off running. If your car breaks down and they stop to help, take off running. Just take off running, in any case this will help put you in better shape to fight off any attackers.

Do not let anyone take you to a second location. If you get attacked fight as hard as you can to avoid being bundled into a vehicle and driven away. Do not willingly enter a car even if there is a gun pointed to your head because you will most likely be murdered in this second location, or kept as a sex slave in an undergound dungeon. The only reason to be compliant with bad guys is if that will help spare your life. Otherwise fight like hell. Let them kill you in that first position rather than risk your family never finding out what happened to you.

Do not get out of your car to talk to anyone, especially in deserted areas at odd hours. If you see someone in distress, drive on and call the police to help them. Do not come out of your car as you will most likely be attacked and murdered.

Regularly review your spouse’s internet search to see if they are googling things such as “how to make wife’s death look like accident”How much cyanide is needed to kill a 5’3 140lbs woman?“How to get away with murder (not tv show)” “How to pass polygraph”.

Be suspicious of all drinks/foods provided by your spouse. Routinely test meals/drinks given to you by your spouse for a litany of poisons including but not limited to arsenic, anti freeze, cyanide, thallium, and strychnine. Be especially suspicious if they give you a drink just before your bath. There is a high chance they have put in a lot of sleeping pills to make you fall asleep in the bath and drown.

Review your husband’s academic records: Listen, I have seen at least five cases in which the husband claims to have graduated from medical school (it’s always medical school) when in fact they have never registered. They keep up the charade for as long as possible and when this is no longer feasible they kill their wife to keep the secret from being exposed. If your spouse says he is in medical school call the school to ensure he is enrolled there. Visit him on campus, attend his graduation and make sure his name is called out.

Remain single: You are very likely to be murdered by a spouse/romantic interest. How many times have we heard the 911 call placed by a person who has just discovered their dead spouse only to find out the caller is the one who pulled the trigger? Of course we could all tell by the fake breathy scripted cries for help on the phone call. It is really hard to fake a convincing call when you have blood on your hands. Just remain single babes.

Remain childless: Yup, a few episodes of Killer Kids will have you thinking twice about those bundles of joy. In addition, if you are childless you will never have to worry about being murdered by your ex while embroiled in a nasty custody battle (see also; remain single).

Be very aware of your surroundings and switch up your routine: This is key because you never really know who is watching you and monitoring your schedule. I myself have been stopped a few times by men who wanted to chat, and I always find it unsettling when they say “I see you walking around here all the time” because if they are noticing me and know my schedule then so could a psycho stalker.

Avoid all confrontations at all costs!  Do not ever confront anyone for any reason because they will most likely kill you. If you are trying to leave an abusive partner, do it secretly and then send them a DM/email. If you suspect an employee/friend is stealing from you, secretly gather proof and go to the police. Under no circumstances should you confront someone, and certainly not by yourself. A person who is stealing from you will not hesitate to kill you. People will go to extreme lengths to hide their secrets and shame, and murder will be on their mind. If you must confront someone in person, do it with an army of backup and arm yourself with pepper spray (Apparently pepper spray is illegal to carry in some places, so deodorant may work; aerosol spray not roll on).

Never leave your house: This is the surest way to get murdered. But you are also likely to be murdered in your house so hey.

Have no friends as they are likely to murder you.

Do not get life insurance!!!

Do not ignore red flags!

There you have it; a few tips that may or may not protect you from becoming a murder victim. Feel free to share any tips that I may have missed.

I will end this post with links to stories about a few men who pretended to be doctors for years. It is truly incredible that they were able to get away with such deception for so long.

British Indian man who pretended to be a doctor for seven years attempts to kill wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law out of fear that his secret would be exposed.

French man who pretended to be a doctor for 18 years kills wife, children and parents.

Utah man murders pregnant wife after she discovers he lied about being enrolled in medical school.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Everyone who disagrees with me is literally Hitler.

Social media in a nutshell: 

Person: I love Butter 🙂

Idiot one: Oh really? Are you saying Jam is bad?

Idiot two: Wow it is really something that she’s saying she loves butter even though margarine is more sustainable and directly helps bald babies but I guess your privilege means you can ignore the plight of hairless infants!

Idiot three: Your silence regarding cheese is really telling

Idiot four: Butter consumption is a byproduct of a racist capitalist system and people who encourage it must be cancelled. In this thread I will show you why.  Tweet 1/100…

Idiot five: How interesting that two years ago she tweeted that “Nutella is yum” and now she loves butter?????? Wow okay.

Idiot six: Everyone knows that on the morning of 1941 when Hitler signed the treaty to invade Poland, he and Himmler had butter with their toast so for you to come here and say you love butter is really triggering and harmful.

Meanwhile Butter is the name of the person’s dog.

*************************************************************************************

I was recently going through  my old phone and I came across a meme I had completely forgotten about (don’t even remember ever seeing). “Everyone I don’t like is Hitler. A child’s guide to online political discussion.”  I chuckled. It was funny and true.

The word Nazi has been used for literally anything since before social media as we know it. People called themselves grammar Nazis, called others feminazis etc. But with twitter, every argument will almost inevitably end in one party calling the other a Nazi. Apparently this is something so widespread that there are even phrases used to describe this phenomenon. While searching for the meme, I came across two things;

Reductio ad Hitlerum: aka playing the Nazi card is an attempt to invalidate someone else’s position on the basis that the same view was held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party.- Wikipedia

Godwin’s Law is an Internet adage asserting that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”.- Wikipedia.

Even more interesting is that these terms were coined before the age of the internet. Godwin’s law was introduced in 1990 while Reductio ad Hilterum was coined in the 1950s when Hitler was still quite fresh in people’s minds. This shows that people were employing these tactics way before the internet. Of course as a silly millennial I assumed everything started with us.

It is indeed a tactic and a really useful one because how do you continue an argument/discussion when you have just been called a Nazi? You don’t. Instead you are distracted from the actual topic and are now debating your alleged Nazi identity. Derailing an argument is a quite commonplace and a really handy tool for when things are not going one’s way. For example:

Person 1: Homosexuality is not natural because animals are not gay
Person 2: Actually there are some animals that display homosexual behaviour
Person 1: Oh so you are saying we are animals who should live like animals. Animals also eat their young should we do that too?

Now person 2 is flustered and annoyed, trying to get the discussion back on track while defending herself  against these accusations.

This is what people do with these Nazi comparisons. There is also an element of self righteousness in which one person believes they are the morally superior good guys and everyone with a dissenting opinion is not just wrong but evil.

Of course there are lots of fascists and Nazi-like people on social media (and who would probably be proud of being called that) but even within valid things are exaggerations and logical fallacies.  I do dislike the flippancy with which some people throw the word around. Sometimes I see these silly arguments and just shake my head. Even stranger is that everyone seems to be a Nazi- today you are casually referring to someone as a Nazi and tomorrow you are the one being called a Nazi.

Let’s save the word Nazi for those who actually have fascist views (and there are a lot of them). While we are on it, let’s save the word porn for actual porn. Everything after food porn was an overkill. Goodness, I won’t be surprised to wake up one day and see “Bible porn“. Just stop it.

i love all women…even the ones i hate.

“…if you criticise X in women but do not criticise X in men, you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.”Chimamanda Adichie.

I hate to interrupt my little lockdown reverie to address this but I cannot stop thinking about it so it has to be done. Plus I have been meaning to write about this for aeons so here it is.

A member of the Karjenner Klan was recently pictured with a basketballer so of course social media, which claims to be above these women, had a field day with it. In the midst of all the silly opinions was a tweet that thoroughly disgusted and enraged me: A video of a child being passed around some teenage boys. The video itself looks innocent- just a child playing with her relatives (I assume). The caption that accompanied the video was “Kendall Jenner being passed around the NBA.

Where do we even begin?

First off, a video of a child is being used to depict a woman as a sexual object. Secondly a woman is being referred to as a sexual object.

How is it acceptable to say that about a woman? Men get so triggered when a woman is in full control of her body; or where she throws that cooch to quote Ms. Jenner. Saying Kendall Jenner is being passed around because you saw a picture of her and a man is misogynist. There are no two ways about it. If you are a woman laughing about this then you are as tragic as the men. One day they will come for you too. And please save the ridiculous master key and master lock nonsense.

It is beyond rude and chauvinist to say a woman is being passed around. It reduces her (and women in general) to objects and strips her of her autonomy. A lot of men cannot conceive of women as human beings in our own right; real autonomous humans, let alone sexual beings.

In a nutshell most of the atrocities committed against women can be summarised thus: Men want to have sex; men want to have sex with women, but men don’t want women to want to have sex. Men feel entitled to women’s bodies and are enraged by sexual autonomy on the part of the woman.

In the eyes of a lot men, women exist primarily as sex objects. Sex is largely something that is done to women and the language used is evidence of this. A man and a woman cannot simply have sex; she is fucked, smashed, banged, hit, beat, passed around. The lingo is violent to fully convey that this woman (or female as the clowns say) is an object being used by the man for the satiation of his sexual desires. She is not an equal participant as that will mean her satisfaction has to be considered as well. No, she is an object to be used and people get such a hard on watching women be degraded and belittled.

The female sexuality is so fascinating, so titillating, it drives people insane. However a woman’s sexuality is only relevant in as much as it caters to the male gaze and male satisfaction. Men want to be the only ones who benefit from the female sexuality. People love porn yet hate the women who act in the porn. Men salivate over so called instagram models, yet ridicule them at any chance. It is okay for a woman to be naked and sexually explicit so that these men can jerk their brains off, but even as they jerk off they are judging the woman for the very action that is turning them on.

These men, the slut shamers and the incels, feel entitled to women’s bodies and cannot stand that a woman has a say in who she shares her body with. Men lose their minds over women and the fact that a woman is in full control of where she throws that cooch is excruciating for them, inconceivable even. A woman moving about freely, dating who she wants and rejecting those she doesn’t is triggering for these people who then seek to belittle the woman in any way that they can.

As sex is something only to be enjoyed by men, women are berated for liking sex or benefiting from it in other ways (e.g. monetary). For example, women on onlyfans (a porn site) were being ridiculed on social media, but then there was an alleged leak and all the men were begging for the links. So they have no problems with the women performing sexual acts, all the insults were because the women have been able to monetise it. They like the videos and pictures, but the thought of the woman also benefitting from this financially is triggering to these clowns.

This perception of women as sex objects is why we are always under constant threat. If life was a National Geographic show, Attenborough would be telling us how men are predators and women are prey not just because women have less physical strength but also because of the thing between our legs which intoxicates the male human.

In  addition to being titillating, female sexuality also scares men for some reason. I do not understand why. Female circumcision, where the clitoris is cut off, is done in order to prevent a woman from being promiscuous. In some countries, young girls approaching puberty have their breasts ironed with heated objects to prevent them from developing and thereby “protecting” the girls from unwanted sexual advances. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. So many atrocities can be traced back to the female sexuality and the simultaneous craving for and fear of it.

Listen, people hate women, full-stop. There was a NFL draft recently and every girlfriend was immediately tagged a gold-digger. These people live to ridicule and belittle women; every woman is one misstep (if even) away from being painted as a gold-digging whore. Now even if she is a gold-digging whore so what?  Unless she is holding the man hostage why are you so bothered? A 90 year old man could leave his wife of 70 years for a 20 year old woman and she will be the one to be ridiculed and called a gold-digger. As though it is not a mutually beneficial relationship in which he gets her youth and he gives her a comfortable life. A man will chat up a woman by talking about all the money he has, and then turn around in shock to say she is only after his money. Men, the so called superior gender, are so babied when it comes to these issues they are practically imbeciles. A man marries a woman for her looks but it is her intentions that are always being questioned. She is the one who has to prove that she loves him for him. It is exhausting. These men must date themselves then.

Kendall is a young multi millionaire who does not need these men’s money, yet she cannot date as she wishes without being called a gold-digger and a whore amongst other names. The girl is quite literally dating. Leonardo DiCaprio is on his 101st model-his next girlfriend is still hatching in her mother’s womb- but he will never be criticised the same way. Men will live vicariously through him, and imagine it is them banging the models; women may offer weak criticisms, mostly about the age of his girlfriends but nothing too serious. Yet men and women will come together to call a woman a whore for dating more than two men.

It is especially tragic when women participate in this ridicule. A lot of women knowingly or unknowingly automatically see other women as competition for God knows what.  Every woman being ridiculed is an opportunity for some women to feel proud of themselves and revel in their virtues. They get to look down at these women, pleased with themselves that they are not like those girls. But we are all those girls. 

I am as prudish as they come, and I say this to show that you do not have to be “that type of girl” in order to defend women. I cannot understand why it makes sense to ridicule another woman for not being a prude, especially as we ignore or even celebrate men for doing the same things. You can be a church going perpetual virgin and still desist from insulting women who choose to live their lives differently. We must look at the bigger picture; it is ridiculous to join these men in ridiculing fellow women, especially for things that they would not ridicule their fellow men for. How do women not see this? I don’t even have to agree with a woman’s sexual proclivities but I’ll be dammed if I sit and giggle with a raggedy man who is ridiculing her for it. Madness. I like all women, even the ones that I hate.

As women were are bound and enslaved by the unrelenting need to preserve our reputation. Yes every one has to protect their reputation but a woman’s reputation is always hanging by a thin thread. We are at risk of losing our reputation for simple biological urges which men are celebrated for. A man is praised for having sex but the woman he has sex with is ridiculed. There is no sense in this. How many times have we seen women be worried to have sex on the first date because of how the man will perceive them. Imagine that! You are worried that the man you had sex with will judge you for having sex with him. There are arguments for and against having sex on the first date but my goodness the judgement of the person you had sex with should not be one of them. If he was such a good guy then maybe he should have resisted the idea of sex on the first date. As a man you want to have sex. You want to have sex with women. Yet you judge women who want to have sex with you. Make it make sense please.

Women are constantly running themselves ragged trying to protect this reputation of a thing. It is therefore demoralising when they cannot sexually shame a woman. Once you cannot shame a woman for being a sexual being, everything falls apart. How do you shame the shameless? They resort to threatening women with marriage; “Nobody will marry her.” Ha!

Even sex workers are not immune from the need for respectability and reputation. I have watched interviews of porn stars in which they try to distance and distinguish themselves from prostitutes; one even took offense to being called a sex worker.

I once saw a tweet to the effect of “one hundred women can accuse a man of rape and everyone needs more proof. One man accuses a woman of being a whore and her reputation is instantly damaged.” Truer words have never been spoken. This is the battle we are up against.

Perhaps this is the fascination with the Kardashian-Jenner women; their willingness to do things that to others will be seen as ruining their reputation. Women, free yourself from the prison of respectability. Free yourself from the bondage of getting these men to like you.

Of course my little rant is not going to change anything. More accomplished women with better vocabulary have been discussing this same issue for years. It is a sad thought, but perhaps this will always be the case. Still at the very least, we women need to stop laughing along with these men when they ridicule us. Hating another woman will not make you more likeable, and even if it does it is only temporary. Before long it’s you in front of the firing squad, trying fruitlessly to defend your reputation.

I will end this with a quote from one of my faves, Rumi.

“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”

 

 

 

What is the first thing you are going to do once the lockdown is lifted?

Absolutely nothing.

This may sound sad as heck, but I am honestly having the time of my life being stuck at home. This may not come as a surprise seeing as half of this blog is about me moaning about being an introverted loner and all introverts have been banging on about how they have been self isolating from the womb so this is a piece of cake. But by God I am in total bliss. Not only do I get to stay home all day every day, I no longer have to come up with excuses or explanations as to why I chose to stay home all day every day. There is no pressure for me to do something fun on the weekend or on the public holidays. I don’t have to wake up early to catch the 8am train to work, neither do I have to trudge back home wearily at 7.30pm. My feet have not ached in weeks and my spirits are high.

Best of all, I have been cooking. Before the lockdown anyone remotely acquainted with me would have laughed out loud if you told them I was cooking everyday. Cooking was this exhausting banal task that I did not care for. Fast forward to today when I cook every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. A dear friend remarked: “Who knew it would take thousands of people dying for you to discover your inner chef?
That has been the one surprising revelation- I actually like to cook. I spent all this time thinking I hated cooking meanwhile I was just lazy and unmotivated. All the time and energy saved from not commuting has been channeled into trying out familiar and new recipes. Now I am no longer intimidated by cooking and I just take it step by step; Decide what I want, look up a recipe online, get the required ingredients and follow the steps. Eh voila! When I settle down to eat I am full of pride for this thing that I have created.

I have been off from work these past few days and it has honestly been so delicious. Not only do I not have to leave my room, now I don’t even have to do anything at all. Normally I would have driven myself mad stressing over how to spend this time off and putting undue pressure on myself to make the best of my time off, to really live, but now I can joyously indulge in the nothingness.

The other day I was eating banana bread (which I baked, of course) and watching a movie on my phone and I felt so overcome with happiness that I had to pause the film and just bask in the feeling. I am dreading the day that the lockdown is lifted and I have to return to my dreary routine. Will I have the desire to cook when I am returning home late in the evening? Will I want to do anything but sleep on the weekends?

In many ways this feels like a rebirth, and I am determined to hold on to this. Sure things could be better; I could have more space or at the very least a living room, I would like a kitchen all to myself; and it would be nice to be with family and friends. However things could also be worse; I have a room, I have food, I have entertainment and I have my health. All thanks be to God.

Once the lockdown is lifted I will like to have more brunches/lunches with friends, see more plays, have more sleepovers. Apart from that though, there is no pressing activity that I am longing for. I don’t party, my family is not here, and my friends live far away so I never saw them that frequently anyway. The main thing is for this atmosphere of fear to be removed, and of course for people to stop dying from this virus.

What are you looking forward to doing once things go back to “normal”?

Self Care!

“Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.” ―Warsan Shire

Self care is all the buzz now-a-days. Social media is full of advice to take out some time to really focus on yourself, and for the most part this usually includes all the wonderfully indulgent things from soaking in a warm bath to face masks, massages and mimosas. Though it runs the danger of being yet another trite social media word, it is a much needed message in this hectic age; stop and take care of oneself.

Self care of course goes beyond the luxurious baths and brunches. It can be removing yourself from a situation that causes you anxiety. It can be turning off your phone an hour before bed (highly recommended) and also going to bed earlier. It can be staying in bed all day doing nothing or getting out of bed early to be productive. It can be playing dress up with nowhere to go. It can be reading a book while sipping tea (rather than spilling it).

How do I self care? I wish I could say I always make the right choice- Oh I put on some slow jamz and read a book while sipping on camomile tea infused with honey and ginger and waiting for my tea tree oil facemask to set. In reality I spend most of my free time staring at my screen until my eyes burn and then I go on to have a restless punctuated sleep. In fact this lockdown has been terrible to my eyes as I spend every waking hour in front of one screen or the other without the usual break (usually in commute). My poor eye has been twitching for weeks now.

I really should take care of myself by putting down my phone, turning off the computer and TV and just revel in the peace and silence while giving my eyes a break from the glare. This is what I should do, but will I? It is especially hard when one lives alone: technology becomes a substitute for other humans; the television and phone help keep me company at the detriment of my eyes. Which is why I am now here wearing oversized sunglasses in the privacy of my room.

Still sometimes I do indulge myself. These are my self-care tips, and by that I mean these are things I would like to be doing but can’t seem to sustain.

Looking up expensive apartments that I cannot yet afford: Very few things make me happier than fantasising over the house I would one day like to live in. A picture of a comfortable couch is enough to set me off for a few minutes. I could spend hours looking pictures of people’s living rooms, watching apartment tours on youtube, following the interior decorating trend on social media. Sometimes I even go on the Ikea website and screenshot pictures of the furniture I like. It may be weird, but simply looking at the pictures invokes all sorts of feelings in me; nostalgia and a longing for home. I like all the staged instagram pictures of people in bed with cozy socks and a cup of tea. I long for a cosy flat of my own-with a lovely parlour, a luxurious bathtub, a balcony, and a garden. Until I have my own I shall live vicariously through everyone else.

Reading cozy blogs: Hygge was all the rage that year, and of course I paid no attention to it until recently. Now I realise that I have been in pursuit of hygge all along- that cozy contentment- and I cannot get enough of it. I like reading those lifestyle blogs which drip coziness in each sentence- “I snuggled in front of the fire with a steaming cup of mint tea.” Of course it would be better to actually practice hygge rather than just reading about it. I would like to have breakfast with a view on my balcony, and snuggle in front of the fireplace on bitterly cold nights and soak for an hour in a nice tub. For now I try to make myself as cozy as possible in little ways- making myself breakfast and eating it in bed while watching television. I buy myself flowers and art for my room to make it more homely and cozy.

Treat yo self!: Spend money on yourself yes. It is good to be prudent with money, but sometimes you do need to treat yourself to some goodies. Buy that coat that you have had your eye on. Treat yourself to brunch. Buy the dress that makes you feel beautiful. Book yourself a spa treatment just because. Do not wait for a special occasion, just go ahead and treat yourself. Terms and conditions apply-Do not blame me if you spend your rent money on a spa treatment and are now homeless.

Be more organised aka be nice to your later self: Sometimes is self care to be a little disorganised and spend the day relaxing rather than organising. Still, disorganisation can lead to stress and anxiety. I have spent so many mornings stressed out because I am running late to catch the train and I still can’t figure out what to wear. Sometimes in a temporary moment of sanity I set out my clothes the night before and it makes such a difference. Be nice to your later self and make things easier for her. It is easier to think tomorrow will deal with itself and then when tomorrow does arrive you are stressed out to the max, wishing you had handled it yesterday.

Taking the time to clear out and clean your room is also self care. The cleaning process itself can be calming (turn on some music or a TV show as you do this) and afterwards you are left with a nice clean space which is calming as well. I like to do a thorough clean and declutter and then take a nice hot shower after. Then I can lie in bed and just relax, feeling rejuvenated and happy.

Eat well: Of course it can be self-care to stuff your face with ice cream and chocolate, sometimes it is absolutely necessary. However eating junk all the bloody time is bound to make you feel bleh and icky and that is just not groovy (lol what?). This does not mean you should start drinking celery juice (although I have heard it is good for you) but just be mindful of your diet.

Mindfully engage your time: Time goes by so quickly; one minute it is 7am and in a twinkling it is midnight. It is easy to feel down if you feel you have wasted the entire day. Self-care must be planned into your day rather than just passively meaning to do it. I have so many face masks that I keep planning to use but then I wake up and fritter away the day until it is time for bed, and I postpone it to tomorrow and again and again.

The bottom line is this: do more of what makes you feel happy. There are women who have put on full makeup (false eyelashes included) everyday of the lockdown, and while there might be discussion to be had here about self esteem and social media and keeping up appearances, if it makes them happy then why not? Spending days on end in various pyjamas feeling and looking raggedy can be depressing. Once in a while if you feel like it, get dressed, style your hair, spray perfume and make yourself feel good.

So long chaps! Be sure to take care of yourself. I have baked some brownies and will now devour the whole thing in the tin with some strawberry cheesecake ice cream, right after I paint my nails bright red.