Stop Telling Me How To Feel Good About Myself

Stop Telling Me How To Feel Good About Myself

The other day, as I was doing serious corporate work in a pantsuit/reblogging dank memes on Tumblr, a post came on my dash that had almost half a million notes. It was about how the things on your nose aren’t blackheads and how everybody has a stomach and that we should all get over it. Most of the people who reblogged were all “wow so inspirational” and, I get it, I do. It’s good to say things that will make someone feel better about themselves. To convince someone that they don’t need to worry about their acne or excess fat. In an ideal world, none of us would worry about any of that. The problem is, we obviously live in no such world – if we did, I’d have free wifi and be the Queen of the Internet.

More than just finding the post a little silly, it actively irritated me, though. There seems to be a plethora of “motivational” content similar to that one all over the internet and when I read it, I never feel good about myself, I mainly roll my eyes and scroll past, or feel worse that I’m unable to just stop caring and flaunt my imperfections. I’m not inspired by posts encouraging me to wear my cellulite proudly at all. Quite frankly, I’m sick of being told how to feel good about myself by well-meaning strangers. Because if these people want me to change the way I feel about my blackheads and cellulite, perhaps changing the societal oppressions placed on women everywhere would be a better place to start, so that I don’t have to feel pressured to constantly “fight the media” to feel worthy. I am worthy. Whether I stress over night cream for my eye bags or not.

I, and every other person who ever watched an episode of Oprah, understand that the problem is with society. We shouldn’t feel shitty about the way we look, if we don’t happen to look like supermodels. We should try our hardest to change society as a whole, starting with ourselves. The problem is, society is the way it is and, as a result, so am I. When I look at my blackheads, I don’t feel good about it, and I can’t force myself to feel good, either. I can’t go from hiding my imperfections under a face of makeup to flaunting them in order to change not only the way I view myself, but the world at large.

Every step towards change has to start somewhere, I know, but a good jumping off point probably isn’t someone telling me to accept the things I hate about myself. That’s pressure and sounds like it would take a lot of therapy time, which I unfortunately don’t have, due to all the time I spend on memes.

Society aside, maybe obsessively trying to get rid of my blackheads is something I enjoy doing. Maybe the ritual of dry brushing in the impossible hope that it will make my cellulite disappear is genuinely not a big deal to me. Beauty shouldn’t just be seen as something we do to hide things we shouldn’t be hiding, or an inconvenience that’s being forced upon women as a whole. For example, contouring can be seen in two ways: trying to hide the natural shape of your face to gain a more societally applauded shape orrr just having fun changing the way you look, putting on a costume so to speak. If the latter is me kidding myself, then so be it. I clearly already have ingrained pressure to look perfect; I don’t need pressure added on that to fight the pressure.

And believe me, this isn’t me trying to come at anyone who makes these “encouraging” posts. Maybe they genuinely help people. Maybe that exact post inspired someone to never wear Spanx again, to accept their stomach the way it is. Possibly it’s infectious, and it will spread and women everywhere will be like, “remember that post saying I shouldn’t care about my stomach? I’m going to actively endorse that by wearing a crop top even when I don’t feel confident in doing so and maybe the confidence will follow!” I mean, that sounds like a great outcome. As for me? I’ll be here, trying on Spanx of all sizes, waiting for the day that the media itself changes, Oprah is the president of the world and nobody has to feel bad about feeling bad about themselves.

Who Am I? How Do I Decide?

Who Am I? How Do I Decide?

I admire people who can make quick, hard-hitting decisions. They’re probably pretty successful and don’t spend six to ten hours agonising over which nail polish colour to pick, because which colour represents them in their very soul and also, which colour will go with what they plan to wear over the next few days and match the weather, mood and general atmosphere?

There are many things to consider with any given decision, and, surprisingly, watching numerous TEDTalks on the issue does not miraculously make one a master decider. I’ve always been terrible at making decisions. I think it’s an anxiety thing, because it is worse in times of extreme anxiety, but I think it might also just be a personality thing. It’s not that I don’t know what I want, because I definitely do, I just don’t know what I want, you know?

Lately, I’ve decided that I need to brand myself a little better if I’m going to finally get that book deal to fall into my lap (that’s how that works, right?), but I just don’t know what I want to say about myself or this blog in general. I have a few ideas, sure, but who am I? *gazes wistfully out into the abyss* *abyss gazes back* *curses Nietzsche*

I like to think he was gazing into the abyss at this exact moment.
I like to think he was gazing into the abyss at this exact moment.

It’s the question you dread when meeting new people or going to a job interview: “Who are you?” or “Tell me about yourself?” When I was 17 and 18 and 19 and 20 and, well, pretty much always since then and also before then, if I’m being honest, I struggled a lot with that question and with my identity as a whole. I was obsessed with finding my place in the world – was I indie or scene or geeky or a jock (this was before hipsters even existed, else I would have pondered on that, too, and perhaps even grown a conservative beard to go with my Ray Bans). Convinced that everybody needed to fall under a labelled umbrella, I was desperate to find mine and it was so deeply unsatisfying when I failed to do so. Where was my neat tag? Following from this, I took about 70 online quizzes to diagnose myself with a variety of mental disorders, favouring Borderline Personality Disorder after reading far too much literature about it and confusing being a teenager with issues with having a psychiatric illness.

It took a really long time, but I’m starting to become semi comfortable in the questions that would keep me up late at night. I mean, not to the point where I’d be amped to answer it in an interview, but I’ve gathered some intel about myself that is quite useful and, when combined, gives a clear picture of who I am. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to really combine it to come up with the blog title that will perfectly embody everything about me and my writing.

Any suggestions?

SHOCKING! Oprah Winfrey Exposed!

SHOCKING! Oprah Winfrey Exposed!

Recently, every unsavoury website I visit (and by “unsavoury”, I’m talking the streaming TV show variety, not the NSFW variety) has been boasting the most profound, alluring advert ever to grace the internet. You might have seen it by now. The headline reads “SHOCKING!Oprah Winfrey! Oprah Been Exposed FOR TRICKING THE WORLD!She Had Lied For Years!” Just to prove that my grammar is still top notch and I’m merely quoting – and also to provide you with the engaging concept itself – here it is:

Untitled

Don Draper, eat your heart out, right?

Anyway, my first thought upon seeing this (after the appreciation, of course) was to wonder what Oprah has been TRICKING THE WORLD about For Years! Here are some of the things I expected I might find if I clicked the link (which I did not do because I prefer the enigma):

  • She is actually a cat person!
  • Her and Gayle are just friends!
  • That isn’t even her real face!
  • What else do people lie about?
  • All those years, she was rubbing Vick’s under her eyes and fake crying!
  • She isn’t really rooting for every single celebrity that she says she’s rooting for!

What do you think Oprah’s big secret is?

Beyoncé, Epicurus and the Grammys (Or: Who Else Might As Well Win An Award Instead Of Beyoncé)

Beyoncé, Epicurus and the Grammys (Or: Who Else Might As Well Win An Award Instead Of Beyoncé)

According to the internet and real life people, 2014 wasn’t a great year. One amazing thing that did happen to the world at large was Beyoncé dropping a self-titled album without promotion or announcement just before 2013 ended, making 2014 the year of Bey. People’s love and respect for Queen Bey is so massive that it has even become somewhat of a meme.

At last night’s Grammy Awards, however, the honour of Best Album was not bestowed upon our fearless leader. Instead, the award was given to Beck, who is either a person or a band. Now, I’m not saying that Beck didn’t deserve this recognition. Not at all. I’m simply saying that Beyoncé clearly deserved it a million times more. Her album broke digital sales records, was highly lauded by every critic to ever exist, and a study conducted at the University of Music revealed that every single person on the entire planet enjoyed at least one to two songs from Beyoncé (both the album and the person). So what went wrong?

Well, after this decision was made by the Academy of People Who Award Singers Things Seemingly Arbitrarily, I was reminded of the argument from evil, which is said to have been originated by Greek philosopher Epicurus, and ponders upon the existence of evil in this world. The argument basically asks the question: if God exists, why did Beyoncé not win the Grammy for Best Album?

I’m not trying to singlehandedly refute the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being here, but this kind of occurrence is quite a win for Atheists the world over. Well done, Atheists. Did you fix the Grammys this way to push your agenda and cause people to violently reject their faith? I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

Now that my head is clear and it has been a couple of hours since I was near-fatally crushed by this despicable incident, I have come up with a list of people that they might as well have given the award to if they weren’t going to give it to Beyoncé:

  • The band I started when I was in grade 7. I think we decided on the name In Pink. None of us could play any instruments and our first song, written by me, was also called In Pink.
  • The band that Lindsay Lohan is a part of in the movie Freaky Friday.
  • Me with my currently out of tune guitar (I can play around 5 chords).

To sum up, I’m going to leave you with the words of Kanye West, who half-jokingly started walking on stage when Beyoncé lost, reminiscent of his 2009 MTV VMA stunt:

“What happens is, when you keep on diminishing art, and not respecting the craft, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. We, as musicians, have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album, and they feel like it takes them to a different place.”

I hate your poetry

I hate your poetry
Its lines are florals
Camellia base notes
Beautiful and brave
Vanilla would be ample, too

I hate your poetry
The Banting diet incarnate
Too much double thick cream
Where is the bread, man
Can I have a cracker, please?

I hate your poetry
Garnering blank looks from able faces
A knife twisting into guts
But nothing is felt
You can not murder with flowers

Breathing Underwater

I’m seeing things that aren’t there
snippets of things, of people
I feel a presence in the room with me
my cat looks up at it and I think it’s him
Is this how it happens, then?
The drowning, is this how it goes?
Softly, for months, for years, and then
seeing an irritable Indian lady in the window
out his side of the car; it could have been the tree
either way
seeing something, someone, just once,
out of the corner of the eye, startling
and then gone
or never there
feeling, sensing, a something while I wash my hands
and my cat stares at it, the place it’s coming from
and I turn around and it isn’t him?

Well fine.
I thought it would be…
more
more
than just this, I always liked to think so
But if this is it, I’m ready in my own way.
Where are the sobs, though? and the blades
and the pills and the glamour and the drama?
I’m fine with this, I am, but I did expect
more. something.

Suppose I’m just tired
from sleeping too much and resting too little
that would explain it, but the tide has been coming
for a very long time and I thought
something would be drowning me soon
I’ve been on the lookout, scouring the shores
looking out, agitated at every wave in the periphery.
A peculiar end to it; no crescendo to speak of
(there’s always a crescendo). I’ve heard enough
even with the ocean, a crescendo is inevitable:
the wave builds and builds and
breaks.
Simple, inevitable.
It’s neat enough in nature, but this has never been nature,
has it?

There’s never been anything natural about the way
you sit on the now-cold sand day in, day out
the way you squint towards the oncoming ripples,
your hand over your brow in a salute,
only blocking the setting sun.
How long has it been since you moved, do you think?
Days? Weeks? Years?
You’ve thought about it: getting up and moving
but you’d only move further down the tide-line,
tracing it with your footsteps, watching and still
waiting.

You imagine you’re a mermaid, you’re a phoenix
who’s been trapped underwater instead of in ashes,
fire never applied to you, it’s too hot and quick.
You’re a phoenix in the water and when you rise, you have legs
you’re the mermaid who traded her voice for legs
but all you want is your voice back;
you don’t belong in this sand, it’s cold here
this isn’t what you thought it would be
so you have legs and you stand on the shore
and you let the cold water envelop your calves
of course you do
and you wait anyway
because there isn’t anything natural about you, about it.