Friday, 17 February 2017

When Change is a Little Bit More Than a Holiday

(Image credit to https://gothinkbig.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/holiday.png)

So it's been a while since my last post, primarily because I've been swamped with uni work and just completely exhausted the time I come to flesh out a new idea I want to write about.

Now we're halfway through February of 2017 and there's a sense of change that's coming up for me, both a feeling of who I am as a person, as well as my external environment. I'm shifting things up a bit.

I've decided, and agreed with my boss, that I'll be finishing up my current position at the end of the year. October will mark my 6th anniversary in the company and I daresay it's time for a change.

(Image credit to http://pearlsofpromiseministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Change-Courage.jpg)

I've also decided I want to go down the self-employment route so I can do what I really love and get paid for it. After all, isn't that the ultimate employment dream...?!

But in all seriousness, my heart just isn't in it anymore. I guess it never really was, but I made it work because I needed a job and there were things that I needed to experience and learn that only the people I've worked with and the things I've done during that time have allowed me to glean from.

(Image credit to http://iancleary.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/5-phases-of-change-e1442210202285.jpg)

I told my boss the other day that I just needed some time off to collect myself and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I'd pretty much just been dividing my time between work and uni for most of last year, so when I finished the semester, I was completely buggered. In fact, I'd been pushing myself so hard to keep up with everything that by the time week 11 of 13 came along, I was burnt out.

After completing everything study-wise, I just spent more time at work to get in extra money before the Christmas period and because my boss wanted to utilize the extra time I now had available to me and by extension him.

The Christmas period was all about running around to make sure everything was perfect for Christmas Day. Being the second one since mum passed on and it being the holiday she usually over-prepared for, I saw it as my duty of being the only female in the family, to step up and try to emulate what she'd done for most of my life. Needless to say, it was exhausting and disappointing in the end, but at least I acknowledged where I'd gone wrong: I was trying to make up for her not being there by trying to overdo everything and block out the emotions I felt so intensely. Lesson learnt for next year.

After Christmas came the preparations for the cruise dad and I were going on (my brother had to work across the 10 day period and wanted to save up his holidays for an overseas trip next month).

Having never been on a cruise before, I didn't really know what to expect or what to pack and whether I'd have enough of whatever I took on board and since I wasn't sure what the shops were like, I didn't want to leave anything to chance.

(Image credit to http://www.pixelstalk.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Summer-holiday-wallpapers-HD-free-download.jpg)

Upon return from the cruise, I had been crash-tackled with the flu (thanks dad!) and spent what was meant to be the first week back at work for the year, sleeping the contagion off at dad's place and intermittently enjoying the sibling time I had while my brother was home and not preoccupied with his fancy hi-tech computer setup, or the latest phone he had.

Being back at work for the past month or so, I've really started to think about what it is that I want from life and work.

I started making candles at the end of last year in order to reignite the creative spark and have since become hooked on it, so I'm toying with the idea of turning that into a business and combining it with my love of writing and helping people.

(Image credit to http://thisisagoodsign.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/organizational-change.jpg)

I've also entertained the thought of getting my own place. Don't get me wrong, I currently live in a great home, it has everything I could possibly want and need, my cousin is an ideal housemate in that we can easily be independent or enjoy outings together, but don't typically cramp each other's styles and there's a general lack of judgement between us. If I do or order something absurd, she'll acknowledge my comment and congratulate me on whatever it is, and continue on her way. If she gets completely drunk at dinner and gets home in the early hours of the next morning, I just make sure I see or hear from her within 24 hours from that moment.

Some other things that are changing include my belief systems around a lot of things. I've been seeing a new therapist for the past 3 or 4 weeks now and have taken a break from my existing one to see how I cope without her for the foreseeable future.

It's been fun and challenging to branch out and try different things which I'd been curious yet fearful about in the past.

It's also interesting to see what happens when you make change a little bit more than a holiday.

(Image credit to https://superwomanseven.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/change5.jpg)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

When Ish Hits The Fan

"Secrets make you sick"

This is probably one of the biggest and simplest take home messages from To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA).

For those who haven't seen it, it focuses on Rene Yohe and how, with the help of her friends, she overcame drug addiction. Although that seems like a really simplified or watered down explanation of what really happened, because what you learn at the end is that it's a daily battle. She comes home and writes 'Day 1' on her bedroom mirror, because essentially, every day is day 1, over and over again until you don't need to think about the number associated with the day anymore.

The most inspiring thing that I took from it is to own my story. I may not have been sexually assaulted or suffered deep depression, I may not have anything more serious than Generalised Anxiety Disorder, but my story is still one worth telling, if only to make myself heard and so others know that they're not alone.

So hi, I'm Melissa and I'm a love addict who also suffers from anxiety and possibly depression.

I grew up in a family that, due to a family history of mental illness and not knowing how to cope with it, saw me lacking in my own psychological and particularly emotional needs being met.

As a child, I didn't understand what was going on and took it personally when one or both of my parents would yell at me because I genuinely believed that it meant I wasn't worthy of love, attention, affection or any of the other things that I craved.

Throughout high school I sought out quite possibly the one person that couldn't give me the love I so desperately wanted, which only make me want to fight harder for it, much to my own detriment.

I was also diagnosed with severe Idiopathic Scoliosis at 12 which saw me undergo two intensive surgeries just before my 14th birthday. Despite this huge hurdle and the impact this had on me at the time and has since affected me and helped shaped my life, I don't consider myself a Scoliosis survivor. It's a condition that I have and was corrected as best as the surgeons possibly could, but it in no way defines me, who I am, what I do, or what I want to achieve in my life.

Anyway, with my love addiction seeking a new target after spending 4-5 years hopelessly trailing after a guy who was becoming less and less appealing as a person the older he got, I met a teacher when I was 16 and became completely obsessed with him for about 3 years. I'm really not proud of how I acted during this time and how relentlessly I pursued him despite him making it clear that he couldn't give me the kind of attention that I wanted and trying to get me to stop what I was doing, but I understand why I did what I did and have subconsciously vowed to never behave in the same way ever again.

Everything came to an absolutely crushing halt when the teacher got married. It was like my entire world had been completely shattered and I was left with two choices: either stay where I was and revel in the pain and misery of what my life had suddenly become, or ask for help and keep doing whatever it takes to get myself out of the intensely grey pit I'd found myself in.

It took a few weeks along with trial and error of counselors, but I finally found someone who was just right for me and help me get past the first hurdle of pain, find the core of my problem and helped me rebuild myself and my life, one step at a time.

I've now been seeing her for nearly 7 years and my life, as she reminds me as well, is completely different from when I first started seeing her. I've got a stable job, a happy home life, great friends, am halfway through an Arts degree, finished paying off my car a few months ago, and am finally learning to love and accept myself exactly as I am.

During my darkest times, namely around the age of 15 when I hated everything about my life, was sick of fighting for a reason to keep living and often thought about running away or taking my own life, I couldn't have fathomed I'd be able to create the kind of life I have now. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than where I've come from, which means that where I'm headed it going to be better still.

So that's my story in a nutshell. I'm sharing it because I feel like I need to and that others need to hear it.

So tell me, what's your story? What do you do when life messes with the fan?


Friday, 10 June 2016

The Culture of Rape

(Photo credit to www.longislandpress.com)

Culture: 
  1. the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
  2. a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
  3. a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)
Rape: 
  1. an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
  2. unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent
  3. an outrageous violation
Does it bother anyone else that we're joining the two?

I'm as aware as the next person that rape occurs worldwide in a whole host of different situations and scenarios. I'm also incredibly aware that it shouldn't. Period.

I get the feeling or rather the message that's being sent by there even being a 'rape culture' is that it's permitting it to happen and continue happening. It's not okay that it's happening, but since it is, it may as well be glamorized in the way that 'party culture' is, right?!

I completely understand how sensitive a subject it is for a lot of people. You don't need to be personally affected by it or know someone that has been in order to feel sensitive towards it. 

Whenever I'd heard the word used, it's made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, regardless of the context that it's in. But I think for a lot of people, it's a common feeling, so it ends up just not being talked about when it really should, and not be attached to a 'culture' of any kind that would appear to be accepting or even promoting (however passively) it's existence.

(Photo credit to www.theodysseyonline.com)

During a discussion in one of my Philosophy tutorials this semester, there was talk about freedom and if viewing pornography was a breach of that. While people have the right to view pretty much anything they can get access to, the question was around the freedom or rights of those taking part in the filming of it.

One of my classmates pointed out that when it comes to shows like Game of Thrones, where nudity and the like are all part of it, it is expected that people can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Another classmate argued in response that ill-educated people could easily watch Game of Thrones or even just porn, then go out into the world genuinely believing that this kind of behaviour was commonplace and acceptable.

A different classmate pointed out to the first that a lot of women are still terrified to walk around alone at night, and there's emphasis on walking in pairs. Why are the women talk to protect themselves when there doesn't appear to be any courses or part of the school curriculum that tells males that they can't just put their penis in wherever they want. If there's no consent, if the person says yes then changes their mind at any point, no means no!

It should also be pointed out that rape isn't only male to female. This is something that I'm sure a lot of people aren't or weren't aware of. I know I wasn't until I heard a statistic about it several years ago.
While the cases are significantly less, they're still significant.

There's also something to be said for the false accusations of rape. This is not okay either. Accusing someone of something out of spite or jealousy or whatever motives you have not only makes a mockery of those who've actually experienced sexual assault, but it creates emotional and financial distress for the accused. This may be what was intended by the accuser, but there are doubtless other things to spend time, money and energy on, rather than trying to ruin people's lives and reputations.

Going back to the ill-education argument, I was watching Murder by Numbers the other night, and the janitor was watching what was presumed to be porn based on the sounds being emitted from the TV. As he got up to check something for the guy he was selling drugs to (played by Ryan Gosling, in case anyone's interested), he made an offhanded comment about how the sounds the woman was making as she was being spanked indicated her enjoyment of it. "Look at her, she's loving it!" he said.

If the only things an adolescent or even mature male knows about sex and women is limited to what he's seen in porn, it explains a LOT, but it most definitely does not excuse his actions!

(Photo credit www.brasandbodyimage.com)

For those of you who can't fathom how a person's knowledge of the outside world can be limited to only what they've seen on a screen, this is essentially how I grew up. Aside from my lived experiences in high school, I understood the general idea of it to be exactly what I'd seen in TV shows and movies, nothing more, nothing less. I went to a religious private school in a semi-rural area where the only public transport I ever saw was the odd taxi, but even that was a rare occurrence. I also attended church every Sunday and dance class on a Friday for 45 minutes. 

When you combine all of that, there's really not a lot of real-life external influences to broaden my perception and understanding of the world. I didn't associate with anyone else outside of these areas and was too scared to even try since the fear of the unholy and unknown had been drummed into me from an early age.

That has changed significantly for me not only since finishing school and pursuing further education, but by moving homes twice after the age of 21 and gaining employment in an industry where I have to engage with people on a daily basis.

Bringing this back to point, I'm sure everyone has heard of the Stanford rapist story by now, as well as the open letter the victim wrote about her harrowing experience. As you read through, you become incredibly aware of how the perpetrator seems to be incapable of taking responsibility for his actions or how they've impacted the victim. He continually blames alcohol and the 'party culture' for what he did, even though the numerous readers throughout the world have pointed out that they've been completely drunk or at parties and managed to not sexually assault someone whilst under the influence.

'Rape culture' always tends to focus on women and how they were 'asking for it' or as with porn and what Brock mentioned in his statement 'she loved it'. 

Unless a woman who is in full control of her cognitive functions and aware of her surroundings (not under the influence of alcohol or any other substances) actually says that she wants to have sex with you and doesn't change her mind or lose consciousness at any point during the act, do not have sex with her. 

She's not asking for it. She's not loving it and you should not proceed.

It doesn't matter what she was wearing, what she was doing, saying or thinking, where she was or why she was there. If she did not consent, she doesn't want sex, regardless of what your genitalia is telling you or what it is that you want. 

She is a person, not a thing, not a piece of meat, a person and she should be treated with nothing less than the respect a person deserves.

(Photo credit to www.motherjones.com)

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Price of Gold

 (Photo credit to www.relatably.com)

It's amazing how valuable something is or becomes when it is a finite resource.

I was going through my inbox the other day noting that I had just over 2000 emails which had accumulated over at least 3 years with a few stragglers from earlier than that, when I came across emails from old friends that I no longer communicated with for whatever reason as well as emails from both of my parents.

There was a time back in 2012, a few months after I moved out of home that I was processing a lot and essentially cut off contact with everyone in my family except my brother.

For a period of about 3-6 months I had the barest of contact with my parents, still reeling from a lifetime of hurt and other emotions, having been so sheltered and finally being able to adjust to life on my own, it was a lot to come to terms with.

During this time I deleted whatever I could of theirs that came through if I REALLY didn't want to see it, otherwise I just viewed and ignored it so I wouldn't have to focus on it. I decided when I moved out that as much as I was hurting, I didn't want to be the kind of person that slams the door shut out of pain and anger, then regrets it terribly a few years down the track when they realise how much they've missed and how, with enough time and space, things could really have been forgiven and built up from.

Skip ahead 4 years and now going through my inbox, I'm treating those same emails like some kind of treasure Nicholas Cage would star in a movie about saving.

I can now completely understand how, after a popular person dies, whatever they've made becomes the most precious treasure because it is now a finite thing.

(Photo credit to www.startofhappiness.com)

The few emails I had from my mother which I normally would have rolled my eyes at, I'm now mentally and emotionally clinging to like a kid with a security blanket. Her main method of contact was via phone call which unfortunately now looking back I didn't record. Luckily her ineptitude when it came to technology meant that quite a few photos she took with her camera are actually videos with her asking dad or someone else if the photo had been taken.

It's been 8 months since she passed on and it still doesn't feel real, I'm not sure if it ever will. It's like you start new routines and they help you get through the hard times which you just keep on going with, but then you look back and realise just how much has changed even though it feels like yesterday in a way. Now whenever I say 'about 6 months ago' I do a double-take a realise that the benchmark for things occurring is around the time that she passed so I can definitely tell whether it was a certain vague time frame or not. It's a strange thing that.

The period of time around her demise and the emails that came in were harder than others to reread, as you can imagine.

All of the artworks mum made are still scattered around dad's place, the home I lived in from age 10-21. It's not that I don't want to touch them, it's more the struggle to fully comprehend that what we've got is all we'll ever have. She'll never make artworks or anything else ever again and that sucks immeasurably.

Have you noticed how much more special and meaningful something is after the creator of it has passed on? Those photos, that whachamacallit, the thingamebob, the doodad become the most valuable things you now own. Sure it's not about the money, but they're as good as gold and there's no conceivable price you can really put on them because the person that made them or that you associate with them is no more.

What do you consider the price of gold? Is there even a numerical amount?! What is gold to you anyway? Maybe it's the literal sense of money or jewelry, or maybe it's the sentimental sense of the perfume someone wore or the brown jacket with the fur trim, the red handbag still sitting on the chair in the kitchen where it was dropped one day and never picked up again.

One thing's for sure: the price of gold goes up exponentially the moment it becomes a finite resource and there really is no true substitute for it.

(Photo credit to www.notable-quotes.com)

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

(Photo credit to http://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llfc3vEaW51qgdpsfo1_500.gif)

So yesterday I had another Tarot card reading done after seeing a voucher on one of the multitude of deal sites for a 30 minute reading for $29. Bargain I say!

I was curious to know two things: what was a meant to learn at work so I could finally move on from a job I'm not passionate about to something I would thrive in, and what was stopping me from being in a relationship.

Straightaway the tarot reader told me there were definitely guys around me and I just wasn't paying attention (haven't we all been there?!).

She did the first reading with a focus on career choices and told me what I already knew, that I had an emotional attachment to my current job and despite talk of leaving for greener pastures, I wasn't really making any moves to do so. Guilty again.

At the end she told me within the next 6-8 weeks I'll shift to know exactly what I want in a new job and then I'll create an action plan to go with it. Solid enough advice and something I've started working on by doing a 'wish list' of what I want in a new job, it's something at least!

When she moved to focus on relationships and confirmed again that there were definitely romantic interests around me but for whatever reason I just wasn't paying attention, I felt fear intermingled with excitement and was torn between paying attention to what she was saying and trying to work out who of the few guys I knew or was around frequently, she was referring to specifically.

I asked her my question of what was holding me back with the belief that there was something more sinister blocking me from moving on rather than just fear of the unknown and taking a risk to find out it didn't work. Again she confirmed that I was the only person standing in my way. I want love and to be in a relationship but don't believe I deserve to be or that I'm beautiful enough to have someone in my life so I'm appearing as unavailable.

(Photo credit to https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/b1/bb/56/b1bb56388f2ecad3df66128645856054.jpg)

I asked then asked her how I get past this and allow the love that I truly want into my life. Her answer was relatively simple: I cut out some time in my week to do things that show love towards myself. I have a date night just by myself so I prove to myself that if I can love me, someone else definitely can!

It sounds so simple, yet it's amazing just how hard doing self-love related things are, especially if you haven't grown up with positive reinforcement or certain freedoms.

She also told me that I should do whatever makes me feel sexy to build up the confidence to meet someone, even if I'm not going to just yet, I'm making the effort to do so and that counts for something.

Along those lines she asked me what makes me feel sexy. I couldn't think of something immediately but pondered it on the way home. She suggested a pamper session, waxing, buying lingerie, whatever suited me personally. All I could think was how I'd been taught that sexy was bad. Every time I watched something where a female was skantily clad, my mother would tsk tsk at how terrible it was and say she wished the female in question would put more clothes on before it gave everyone the wrong idea. I disliked my mother's take on a lot of things, but being a parent, I kinda had to adhere to what she was saying even if it didn't align with my own personal views.

(Photo credit to http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wTZ5a4uyxk4/Tw-hg-oqTzI/AAAAAAAAALg/XBkue3bD8aA/s1600/SuperSexyGirls1.jpg)

So the question remains, what is sexy? How does one go about creating this feeling within themselves? What do I think is sexy or what would or could make me feel sexy?

When you Google 'sexy' you get a plethora of images of toned, slim photo-shopped women in barely there bikinis and suggestive poses. This may be what the world considers sexy, but I'm of a differing opinion.

(Photo credit to http://www.crazyleafdesign.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Sexy-girl-iOS-7-Wallpaper.jpg)

I'm more inclined to believe that sexy is a state of mind rather than an article of clothing. When you're comfortable in your own skin and have unshakable self-esteem and ultimately know your worth, that's pretty damn sexy!

As for what I can do to make myself feel that way, I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out ;-)

(Photo credit to http://intrigue.ie/media/2014/08/050812-what-is-sexy-video-965x543.jpg)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

That Space/Time Continuum Thing

(Photo credit to http://i.ytimg.com/vi/7H3ksmxwpWc/maxresdefault.jpg)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time? I mean of your own personal history, not like in Blackadder or every episode of Dr Who.

If you were given the chance, would you do it?

I've been pondering this on and off for the past week or so and wondering if it actually is possible to do, and if given the chance, I actually would do it.

I've heard people say that there are various dimensions or 'planes' and the one we're currently on is the physical, or something like that. It makes me wonder if there is some kind of alternate universe where our past exists playing reruns and if we can find a way to access it, we can go back in time to a certain point and redo things. It'd be kinda cool to do so and not necessarily have it affect our current lives. To relive a particular point where we say that thing we'd always kicked ourselves for not saying, buy that thing we'd always eyed but figured it would be there next time. Whatever the reason.

It's funny, in the kinda sad sorta way, that the person I most wanted to be during my youth is the person that I am now. Sure it's happened the way it has for a reason that I'm semi sure of, but it doesn't stop me from wondering what it would be like to go back to a particular day in my past.

I'm guessing we've all seen some movie or TV show where the characters have gone back in time so there's a younger version of themselves that they need to keep an eye out for, for fear that doing one thing different could cause a ripple effect and change everything about their lives as they became.

Knowing the kind of person I was as a teenager, it would be close to impossible to do the things I do now without going through and learning the things I had to in order to get to that point.

(Photo credit to http://digitalhint.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Harry-potter-time-travel-pendant-medallion-wallpaper.jpg)

As a teenager I was a quiet, polite and seemingly shy person who was made to feel insecure not just by peers but by parental figures, namely my mother.

As an adult who's been out of home for 4 years, changed jobs 2-3 times since graduating and completed a year of university education, needless to say, a fair bit has changed in all areas of my life.

Knowing what I know now though, would it be worth the risk to change everything that I've learnt? If I were able to go back in time, would I still have all the memories and experiences I've acquired or would I be the exact same person I was at that particular time and just looking in as if it was my own personal TV show?

When I really think about it, I imagine going back to a certain period in high school, confronting people that I always wanted to but didn't have the guts to for fear of what my parents would say. I'd stand up for myself and believe that I truly deserved better because that's what I've come to learn and fully appreciate.

I'd stick it to my crush and disentangle myself from his thrall that he almost seemed to enjoy having me under at various points. I'd tell my best friend to get real and be honest about things I knew she was hiding and taking out on me, I'd also demand a better friendship and terms of treatment because doormat and punching bag weren't working for me anymore. I'd confront the guy that liked me, maybe tease him a little as an icebreaker and see what happens after that. Plus it'd be kinda fun if I went back in time and still retained all my knowledge to play psychic and see what comes of it.

I'd learn to appreciate my family more knowing how much things change in the future. Granted as a teenager with a semi dysfunctional family, appreciating them is one of the last things on my mind, the first being get out alive!

(Photo credit to http://coolinterestingstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/time-travel-evidence.jpg)

How much would my experienced attitudes affect the future though? I know that everything can change in an instant and in some ways we're following a script without realising it. If you went back in time you'd be following the storyline of that particular era with limited information available and presumably trying not to out yourself for fear of changing the future. But what if it's meant to be changed? One might say if that were the case then the opportunity would present itself and the technology would most likely be available to do so.

For now it all seems like a crazy fantasy, a pipe-dream to keep me entertained until uni starts back and I feel more fulfilled and happier with my life knowing that I'm doing something meaningful that really makes me happy.

Seriously though, if you had a chance to go back in time and change something or just do something differently, would you? Bearing in mind where not doing that thing has brought you today. Would it really be worth the risk?

Wonderment aside, I really believe that everyone is exactly where they need to be. As much as I'd like to undo the wrongs that I perceived to be done against me, without them I probably wouldn't be where I am today or on the life's mission I'm following and I don't think that would be fair.

I also believe that karma is real and if something is meant to happen, it will be, maybe just not in the way you expect it to.

What say you?

(Photo credit to http://rlv.zcache.com.au/interested_in_time_travel_bumper_sticker-r6ca429ca43b4466da72a160c2bb628b1_v9wht_8byvr_324.jpg)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Feminist is I

(Photo credit to www.indunamag.com)

Feminist. It's such a dirty word isn't it?!

As soon as you say it or claim to be one there's a hush around the people nearby as if you've just admitted to some heinous crime. Males start flaring their nostrils and preparing for war because you've just said one of the most hated words in their particular dialect.

I jest of course. But really, what does being a feminist mean?

(Photo credit to www.feminist.com)

With Emma Watson's speech from last year inviting people from all around the world to join the #HeForShe movement and claim that they are feminists, there's a continued debate amongst people as to what exactly it means to be one and how it has an impact on today's society.

There's several anti-feminist women's groups which completely baffle feminists and a lot of women in general saying if it weren't for feminism, we wouldn't have come as far as we have.

(Photo credit to pinterest.com)

I was discussing this with a close friend of mine ages ago when we were talking about makeup and other girly things. I told her I was torn between my need to oppose the beauty industry and everything it stands for, but at the same time I saw it as a rite of passage to wear makeup, especially in my 20's.

She told me that feminism means whatever you want it to mean. Ultimately it means equality for all, recognizing that women are people not objects like the media has portrayed and led us to believe over the years.


(Photo credit to raginghag.wordpress.com)
For me, feminism means being able to be comfortable in my own skin, my own clothes, my own life, without thinking or feeling like I owe anyone, least of all a male for everything that I have or that I've achieved.

In the religious society I grew up in, it seemed the message was the complete opposite. So often I heard or was told 'Wives, submit to your husbands'. The example of that for me was mum doing everything she could for my dad, and him just being happy with it that way. From the outside it seemed all give all the time and there was no reciprocation involved, well none that I actively saw.


(Photo credit to izquotes.com)

In my household, mum believed that she had to be the dutiful wife and mother that hers was before her, even if that meant putting herself last in everything and not complaining about it because that's what she was taught.

My brother seemed to take full advantage of this and didn't oppose to her doing his laundry or cleaning up after him even though she told him off for it time and time again.

(Photo credit to www.sociology.org)

Many times she would have just finished the washing up and was glad to sit down again when he'd call out for a sandwich or some kind of a snack. Having just seen her sit down and look completely exhausted, I'd ally myself with her and call out to him that he should get it himself since he was closer to the kitchen than mum was. He'd yell something back disliking my attitude towards him not getting what he wanted from mum and mum would intervene telling him it was fine and she'd get up again to make something for him. It frustrated me endlessly that she was treated like a personal slave and she never stood up for herself even though it tired her out. On occasion if I was standing in the kitchen when a request was made for a snack, mum would ask if I could make something for him but I'd counter saying that he was more than capable of making food for himself (he was a teenager at the time) and I didn't know how to make whatever it was that he wanted and preferred the way that she made it anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I love my brother dearly and this isn't to slam him or his treatment of mum, I've heard from lots of mothers that boys prefer to let their mothers do the work for them whereas girls tend to do it themselves, or something along those lines.

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More recently though (6ish years ago) I had a boss from a Middle Eastern background who had certain expectations that because I'm a female I'd wait on him like his wife and other females in his life did. He came into work one morning when I was doing an invoice or whatever I had on my to do list and he made a point of saying that I hadn't asked him if he wanted a cup of tea that morning. I just looked at him blankly. No male, hell, no one had ever said that to me. My brother didn't drink tea or coffee and my dad either made it himself or mum made one for him if she was having one. Sometimes I'd offer, but no one had ever commented that I'd hadn't gone out of my way to ask if they wanted one. Nevertheless, my boss made himself one and sat opposite me drinking it and glimpsing at me every now and again almost as if to say 'nevermind, I made one myself!'.

I remember getting home from work after that and telling my dad about it, he was amused when I exclaimed that if my boss had two legs and beating heart, there was no reason why he couldn't make one himself. Maybe he thought it was in my job description that I'd automatically make one for him even though I'd never done so unless he'd specifically asked for one, in that case it was just another task for my to do list.

(Photo credit to girltalkhq.com)

A friend of a friend posted a Tweet screenshot about a year ago on Facebook which was sent by a guy getting up in arms about feminism and declaring that he didn't want a bar of it. I commented underneath saying that I read it as some guy who was insecure in his masculinity and wanted to blame it on women when it was really his problem to deal with.

If a guy can't handle a strong woman who knows what she wants and won't settle for less, then he doesn't deserve her.

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By the same token, my view on feminism extends towards males as well. I think a guy should also feel comfortable in his skin, clothes and life without shame or prejudice. As Emma said in her speech, guys not being allowed to show their feelings made her realise that she was a feminist.

I believe that if a woman is being belittled or mistreated in any way by a man, or even a woman, she should be able to know her worth, stand up and walk away. The same thing goes for a guy. I keep picturing all the tacky material girls who end up with the loveliest guys and treat them like a means to their own ends and the guys just putting up with it because they don't think they deserve better.


(Photo credit to carleton.edu)
If a guy wants to cry then dammit he should let the tears fall, no shame in that. If he wants to pick a girl flowers or write her a poem instead of spending half a paycheck on fancy jewelry and a 3 course dinner, then let the man be!

If feminism means equality for all, guys feel their feels with no shame, girls feel confident with no blame, then feminist is I!

(Photo credit to bellebrita.com)