I am a little late on the draw but my new year starts on my birthday which is in this month so I take slow strolls into the new year, then I decide why should I use the Gregorian calendar, maybe the Chinese New Year is more favourable to my temparement.
Can you tell I am a little confused?
I’m not generally a New Year’s Resolution kinda girl coz I do that through the year but I am excited about 2015!
Recently I’ve found myself in scenarios where I’ve had to question what is truly important to me and I’m going to share them with you. Because I have work that needs doing but these thoughts are distracting me.
The First incident occurred while the dude and I were watching “What If” (if you want to see Daniel Radcliffe as a love sick drop out who could teach Harry Potter a thing or two and are a fan of quippy dialogue and have at least one romantic bone in your body then you should definitely check it out). I hate the title and don’t think it does the movie any justice but anywho, while watching it I was rooting for the female lead to go to Taiwan very strongly. So strongly it was actually impairing my ability to simply enjoy the movie because I was pushing my own agenda. She had a choice between going to Taiwan to develop her career OR stay in Toronto and have a stagnant career but stay with the potential (but as yet uncertain) love of her life OR maybe (and this was a distant third) pursue a relationship with someone she has been with for eons and go to Dublin because his career had taken him there but start from scratch with no prospects.
The Second Incident was going to a corporate function where I had a chance to meet a rather senior female executive that should have inspired me to believe that my own career could end at CEO level of a multinational and not that I don’t think this could happen but I spotted someone I was on campus with. I can’t remember if she was in my year or earlier than me but she was significantly further in her career than I was and I remember being impressed by the fact that she gets to travel as part of a senior executive entourage and has an opinion that commands attention. I never confirmed if she was at university with me because we didn’t have much in common. I was aware of her but we weren’t friends and it would have been a waste of both our time to start a conversation that I couldn’t hold simply because I was feeling sorry for myself at not being “at her level”.
The Third Incident of discovery was hearing of a former colleague of mine who is being considered for a position that would catapult his career at least three shots ahead of where it is now (and by default ahead of me). I really do hope he makes the move because not only would he be an ace at the role but his mind is bored where it is and this could be a chance to wake up the parts of him that his current role has deadened.
Now, why did these three things cause me self introspection (other than the fact that I must be some mega self absorbed individual to make all these things about myself)? I really am not that self involved but I do think there are lessons all around us if we are willing to see them.
So, with the “What If” sitch, it’s for me to see what I sought in my own life. It is so easy for women to lose their identities in their relationships and then convince themselves that what their partner wants is what they want even when they know it isn’t. I am not yet at a point where I have lost my sense of self but I am fearful that it has dulled a bit and will continue to slowly dull till in a few years I wont recognise myself.
Now, like most people I wear multiple faces. The most basic of these are the “work” and “home” faces. At work, no one can contest that I am dedicated to my job and am more than just “fairly competent”. At home I am the dutiful daughter and responsible sister. Both these faces aren’t me though, somewhere behind being dedicated and responsible, is a girl who decided to go to Japan for two weeks because it was a dream that she didn’t want to lose. A girl who wants to sit in a welcoming office dissecting how minds work both by telling stories that answer my own questions and speaking to people to get to their own. On a daily basis I do things to feed the work and home faces but nothing to feed the girl and she is beginning to scratch at me (again), warn me that if I don’t feed her she will climb into a cave, roll a large rock behind her and refuse to ever come out. And I am not sure I want to lose her.
Here’s the thing with the campus-mate scenario. I hate public speaking… or rather I am so fearful of judgement/embarrassment/failure that even though I’ve been told I am not terrible at it I cannot enjoy it or see my good points. What I wanted out of this campus-mate’s life was to go somewhere where no one knows you and command attention firstly because the company you keep gives your presence weight and then when you open your mouth you can carry your own because you know your sh#*. I’m not the greatest “public” person either. I am terrible at small talk, suck at jokes and crowds irk me. I don’t think I have a disorder or a severe anxiety but I definitely have a “healthy fear of ridicule” but that doesn’t stop me wanting to have a certain gravitas in public situations.
The third scenario was a little trickier to sort out because not even I understood it at the time. When I was telling The Fella about this person’s potential career projection I said I didn’t want “that”. He asked what I meant and I didn’t have a ready answer and then something more interesting on Buzzfeed took our attention but later on I thought about it. What was the “that” that I didn’t want?
It came to me on coming out of a nightmare of a ghost of a woman who eats children by licking them (because she ate her own babies slowly while they were still alive… I’m pretty sure I fleshed that out on waking up but it’s a compelling idea that has nestled itself in the folds of my brain because I don’t know why she did it), anyway I digress. The “that” was me not wanting to lose myself in the pursuit of an external measure of success that wasn’t part of my personal goal. This person’s personal ambitions are very far removed from this opportunity and if he chooses to take it, it will be even harder to go back onto his personal path because material rewards can be VERY gratifying and his personal ambition doesn’t guarantee that. The promotion does.
I don’t want to lose myself to fulfilling the campus-mate recognition by ANY means, I want to do it by MY means. You know the saying, by hook or by crook? I want all hook baby! No crook here.
But that is at odds of what I ACTUALLY do. I know the girl is screaming to get out so I shove a cupcake in her face and go read a book, play the xbox or watch TV, heck I even delude myself that I am a gardener and prune a rose bush! I know she needs to feed but I am scared of indulging her because its easier to focus on other distractions and its nice not to feel like a failure. If I get promotions I cant be that bad career wise. If I’m getting married then its proof I am not such a deplorable person because someone wants to spend the rest of their lives with me. But these things do not make the me that I am left alone with on either side of my nightmares feel any better. These things are great but they aren’t enough. I ran away from NaNoWriMo this year because I’ve failed it both years I actively tried it out. I don’t “write” because I think my words are garbage but I entertain ideas and then tell myself everyone has them so I’m not a genius for dreaming things up. That isn’t hard, doing something about the dream is and I’m killing mine.
So, after that lengthy post, how are you starving that inner girl/boy and more importantly what are you doing about it? If you aren’t, tell me about how you’re doing it. I am shelving up a bunch of emotions for a huge ass ugly cry tonight for all my failures (real and hocus pocus) and then I am starting again from scratch. I’m not going to lay down my plan here right now (because I haven’t the foggiest what it is yet) but I need to figure things out.
And then actually do the work, which can suck balls.
Kids make silly choices. That stating the obvious but its a natural side effect of not knowing any better and consequences being a far notion in relation to present gratification. I came across a story about kids sharing a blow job selfie (why, oh why? and also there were other people watching!?!) but it makes me think of a local Zambian case where a “well known” musician Bobby East and his partner in crime Ruth Mukanga made a “sex” tape (that is in quotes because there is debate on whether there is actual insertion which incidentally led to brief spate of BobbyEasting being a thing) . While my consumption of Zambian music is low, I am generally aware of artists even if I cannot identify their music but the only time I heard of Bobby East was due to his “mishap”.
First, a step back. Pornography is illegal in Zambia. Making of it (either for personal or commercial use) is considered “corrupting public morals” and obscene plus you can face jail time.
Bobby and Ruth decided they would record their “activities” on his phone. I obviously cannot provide a link to the video but they are both apparently clearly identifiable. The video somehow started getting shared around and lots of people were talking about… I kid you not, police on TV and in the papers were talking about it, the cell phone and internet regulator/authority (ZICTA – Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority) even made statements on how they can track that video being transferred which they later retracted.
Anywho, their defence is they made it for their own personal use and only after his phone got stolen did it get shared around. Unfortunately the theft wasn’t reported and the couple have since been convicted of corrupting public morals and await sentencing later today. Now, he is 25 and she is 21 (I stand to be corrected) and that is still young enough to believe life is so long you can outrun your own foolishness. Life still has a rosy tinge (unless you’ve led a harder life than most) but generally, you believe you own the world at that age. Life is good! Its in those Life is Good moments that sadly, being silly can cripple you.
This isn’t the first porn “scandal” that’s made waves here but it is the first that I am aware of that has resulted in a conviction. Now, Zambia prides itself as a moderate conservative society. We are slowly getting used to the idea that women wearing minis doesn’t mean that she is a harlot, and while you may go to a funeral wearing all black, you are inappropriately dressed if you aren’t wrapped in a chitenge (even if it is loud or garishly printed).
We recently celebrated 50 years of independence and my own observation is that it would be more meaningful if we had an actual self identity to celebrate (among other things but that is the seed to it all). That may seem like I am running away from the topic but there’s a method to my madness. See, that moderate conservatism is slightly out of touch with the growth that society is generally going through. In urban areas, young children spend more time exposed to ideals that do not match with the morals their parents grew up with and may want to fling at them when they are present. But parents are also so busy working to attain the same “material standing” that these “perverted ideals” present as an elevation from what moderate conservatism supports.
Does that make sense? Let me try again. What I mean is you have parents that want to live lifestyles that generally idealise not only how much money you spend but how “full” your life is with experiences at odds with conservatism. For example, working for a major commercial that supports family values on paper would probably come with networking at functions where alcohol consumption is high and illicit affairs the norm. So you spend your time schmoozing and schtupping other people while your kids stay at home watching unrestricted channels on DSTv or going to other people’s houses where they have access to that. You’re never home because you have to work and chances are its both mum and dad working because who can afford having a stay at home parent in this day and age?
So adults are going through that change, teens are watching it and children are living it. What we actually glorify is the “glam life” but we still want to hold on to that conservatism tag because of religious purposes and this case is “proof” that we are still a moderate society and youthful sexual exuberance should be quashed.
Is what Ruth and Booby did wrong? I don’t think so, they were simply stupid. Recording your exploits is risky business even in places where pornography is illegal (iCloud anyone?), so doing it in a country where it in fact illegal is quite risky. Do I think the law has better uses than policing porn, absolutely.
Kids do foolish things all the time, sometimes there’s malice. Blowjob selfies with an audience doesn’t seem like an action with love in mind even if it is puppy love. Private sex tapes that people make because they think it’ll be “fun to do” is simply silly. Jail time wont correct their morals. There are worse crimes than foolishness.
A friend of mine is trying to have a baby and it’s gotten me thinking about my own (eventual) quest to motherhood. I’m not the most “affectionate” of people, not because I have been denied hugs and kisses as a baby although… one of my sisters believes the differentiation in size in the part of the brain in psychopaths that reflects their inability to properly process emotion may be present in me but just not at levels of murderous deviation levels, so that isn’t inspiring.
My parents are your a-typical traditional “African” model. “Study hard so you can get a good job, get married, have kids, buy a house, retire and farm till your maker summons you”. The only thing they were really strict about is the getting married before having kids which is interesting now because none of my siblings have any children yet and the parents are craving some young ‘uns to spoil to oblivion. Hearing them drop hints about how one having children matures them is interesting when technically none of us are “allowed” to right now without being married.
Now… I lost my thread, where was I going..? Ah yes, affection or rather parenting. I have found myself asking what kind of mother I want to be. I have had this introspection before but now the question seems closer because of the pending wedding and this very close friend of mine taking the plunge. The question then got me thinking about how it is women “change” once they are married but men get away with staying the “fun guy”. Even when children fear their fathers, it more due to size than it is to do with rule setting… Dad’s enforce what Mum’s lay down. This assumes a “normal” household of course, no abuse and average emotional functions for all concerned.
So, why do mothers lose their “fun” streak once that ring is on their finger? From this point on, I am looking at this from a Zambian point of view because that is the data I have right at my fingertips (see what I did there, no? alright then…). On my little patch of earth, two people simply do not meet, decide to get married and live happily ever after (don’t even get me started on *gasp*co-habiting!). Oh no… over here, first your parents need to advise Elders. These Elders then get a group of people together that decide your value as a bride and the fella also has his own Elders that meet and negotiate the price tag and how much the fella will cough up before a marriage can take place (if he’s lucky maybe family members will pitch in but its really his tab). After this has been agreed, now the woman’s Elders decide what kind of “lessons” should take place to prepare this (usually young) woman for marriage.
In summary, these lessons cover “How to be a Good Wife”, which is admirable but what makes me bristle is the lack of dialogue that SHOULD happen between the two people ACTUALLY getting married. I haven’t undergone this particular tutelage but I understand not only will it cover what food I should cook so my husband eats well (which is valuable foundation to family nutrition but I don’t understand why his preferences are so predominant and why some woman who has never met him should TELL me that) but also what I need to do in the bedroom. What causes me unending bafflement is why this is not a dialogue WITH THE ACTUAL fella. I’m supposed to go off to some hut (where no one can hear me scream *insert evil maniacal laughter here*), learn THEIR version of what being a “good wife” is and then I am not supposed to talk about it with my partner! That not talking about it is truly what does my head in… how am I supposed to lay the foundation of my marriage with beliefs that I may not have had till right before my parents decided to throw out “western” education in exchange for secret traditions I didn’t even know existed? Those “Western” beliefs that may in fact actually have led me to pick the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.
I think I have to back track a bit. So, when I said that my parents were A-Typical African, that should be taken into account with their generational experiences. They both had a foundation growing up in rural settings (although my Dad more than my Mum) and were determined to have a successful urban future and they succeeded in that. They also made sure that their children knew where they came from. I’ve been to the village my father grew up in and have an appreciation for the life I live and how it really could have been VERY different, not in a bad way but my experiences would just have been entirely different. But one thing they didn’t really do was talk, my parents “did”. So you led by their example and what they showed you was important. I didn’t go to the village very often but I never missed a day of school and not simply due to logistics. I have some fond memories of family Tekken battles and my Dad helping my youngest sister cheat at Monopoly. What I have no recollection of is why after years of being told I need to be a self sufficient human being, I now need to “submit” to teachings no one can talk to me about because its all a secret but will define my value as a wife that exceeds any worth I may have accrued as a person on my own.
I’m sure this isn’t the last post I will have on marriage and expectations wives have and because I have meandered so far away from what I actually wanted to say I need to wrap this up and save us both from my rant. So… what the kind of parent I want to be is present… and communicative… no I’m not going to answer this in this post. Maybe y’all can tell me what kind of parents you would like to be if you aren’t yet, hope you are, if that’s where you are already or even why answering this question is a waste of time for you…
There are some things that exist and make you wonder how on earth they can occupy space when ATLEAST more than on person saw it before it was put on display in public spaces. I came across this video about a “rape t-shirt” being sold. Its tagline is, “It isn’t rape, its a snuggle with a struggle.” What the freakin’ hell were people thinking?!?!?! The link to the video I saw is here. I understand the t-shirts have since been pulled off the shelves but the principle still needs some evaluation.
Now, there are some sections of society that believe that the world is just “too damn sensitive” and needs to relax and their defence would be “this is a joke, if you don’t like it don’t buy the shirt”. The problem with that is, not buying this item doesn’t mean you prevent this kind of idea being OK and its the idea of this t-shirt being OK that is more of a problem than the t-shirt itself. The fact that rape can be both glorified as an achievement and belittled as an act should not be allowed to exist.
I normally shy away from absolutes because they leave little room for discussion but I fail to see how any rape situation could be proven to benefit the raped person. If you are able to support that view, by all means, let’s talk but we cannot belittle what rape is and glorify the person performing this violent act. Or maybe that’s the problem, we have negated the effects of different kinds of rape because it isn’t always a “clear” rape. We deconstruct what the victim was in order for us to guage how bad the rape was which is such a flaw in our process that it baffles me and sadly even I do it too. When you hear of a woman being raped for example, you want details on the woman. What was she doing in that place? What was she wearing? Who was she with? Why didn’t she see it coming? I am not going to go into why we hold women as paragons of virtue and when their male counterpart fails in some moral test its the women in his life that are accountable but that needs some deconstructing.
A friend once told me that she felt she was being raped when her boyfriend and her had sex and I told her, there is no way you can say that and keep sleeping with him (and I thought no way he can keep wanting to sleep with you unless he is a psychopath). I don’t know if he was a psychopath but I found it very curious how easily this friend was able to tag the label of “rapist” on her boyfriend and yet keep going through the same motions. There is of course a difference between sex you don’t want because you aren’t really in the mood and doing it because you feel like you have no other option. That is what rape is, removal of options and power, whether you have done that by holding a gun or by whispering a threat both of you know could be carried out.
This is just a short post because I don’t want to dwell too long on negatives but we cannot support ideals that should die. Violence is glorified enough, physical violations of someone else’s body should not be tolerated under any circumstance and we need to kill the seeds of this thought. Again if you can show why my absolute is off centre then by all means, speak you piece. I’ll listen, we can talk.
When I read that headline I thought, “Have we completely run out of news” and “Guess The Post is officially a tabloid now”. After reading Diary of a Frustrated Brotha’s take, I figured I would add my own spin on this. Oh, and I will respect this woman’s choices even if I don’t agree with them.
On Friday 12th September, one of our national papers (arguably the most popular one) decided to go with this headline: “I am a virgin and my dream is to marry a white man”. Now I’d just roll my eyes and move on but on reading the article I discovered a few “inconsistencies” with this young woman’s aspirations.
Firstly, attraction is its own beast. You like what you like and its based on some gut instinct you have no control over mixed in with a heavy dose of life experience. This is a 21 year old’s dream, and most 21 year olds are heady with youthful optimism and not enough life experience to know any better… unless life hasnt been particularly kind in which case that’s a different story. But her experiences are the dreams she believes will come true and teen boys affections.
Last year I think I had a conversation with a friend from South Africa and she asked me why Zambian women are “so into white guys”, and I have had a few conversations with Zambian women (and men) on why this apparent attraction exists and I’m not sure its about liking white guys but about what those white dudes represent.
Historically, Zambian society was segregated along racial lines (as with most African populations) and white societies lived better and had better experiences than indigenous ones which is in line with most African countries in general but where the Zambian experience deviates from, for example, the South African scenario is that there was not enough blood shed to want us to “own” our own wealth. We migrated from a society of servants to a society of envy but without enough “muster” to make it work for ourselves.
Of course there are exceptions of Zambian owned business and Zambian execs that defy this general mentality but in general, while most Zambians may aspire for more they lack the tools to believe they are capable of attaining more unless it is given to them and I think that is our greatest societal flaw. You cant “earn” something, it has to be “given” and I think that foundation could be “guiding” this woman’s views.
I am not a historian or psychologist and do not know why we have the belief sets we do but our response to independence was to become more “English” (former British colony). So we aspired to live in “white” houses and have children that sounded “educated”… read spoke with an accent. Perhaps the dream was if we sounded “white” we could have white lives? But here’s the thing, on the whole, we did not sit around and talk about what life was like for indigenous Zambians pre independence and actually make plans to empower the indigenous population to attain a better quality of life unless they were involved in politics. The white populations remained so small and localised around their economic interests that segregation continued after independence and we continued to romanticise what “living white” was like.
When my family moved to South Africa (in 2000 I think), I remember my mum telling me not to get a black South African boyfriend because “they can kill you”… I haven’t reminded her of that in light of the Pistorious trial but our experiences cloud how we experience life and when we were moving, headlines were about jealous boyfriend kidnappings and killings and baby rapes and murders.
When you grow up in one society and lack exposure to how other societies REALLY live, hearsay and romanticisation colours any judgements you may make. As a 21 year old, chances are the guys she is surrounded by are not mentally mature and that goes across all races but the stories she is exposed to in her society aren’t about love or guys with interests that dont involve alcohol or sex. Dudes can be a shallow lot, cant they? However, this speaks more to the kind of society we are that in and the experiences our young people have than anything else. Interstingly, the only (other) published response to this article was:
I totally agree with Buumba, the virgin in search of a white man to marry.
Most zambian men are not only violent and difficult to ‘manage’ but also promiscuous and unreliable. I however advise her to be cautious in her search. There are many whites out there involved in human trafficking and she could end up regretting for the rest of her life.
What this girl wants is the kind of love she sees in the movies, romantic, sweeping sacrificing love and she thinks black men are incapable of it because sadly Zambian society does not value loving marriages that highly. Marriage seems to be a transaction, woman gets “shelter”, man gets a maid with bangable benefits. Or its a marriage that “fixes” an unplanned pregnancy… but we have no love stories of our own. Fidelity is not guaranteed from a husband and if you find that he has been “wandering” then you have to forgive because you are better off married than not and “all men do it”.
Plus our society is still segregated enough that unless you happen to be in “affluent” areas, you can go ages without seeing a non-person of colour (or is it person of non colour?) and if they are coming into a non affluent section of society then its either a backpacker, an NGO worker or someone involved in some kind of missionary work… all of these attest to a better life somewhere else.
So, I refuse to judge this young woman who doesn’t know any better but choose to question our society as a whole, we have problems on what we choose to glorify and that needs way more attention than one girl who thinks the worst a white fellow will do to her is traffic her.
There is no question in today’s post but should you have an experience or insight you’d like to share, comments down below!
Yesterday on my way out of a meeting my right leg went numb and I stumbled, corrected myself, took two steps and went plummeting into an ugly brown carpet in a hallway and sat there looking like an idiot, trying to figure out what had just happened. Thankfully it was slightly after hours and there wasn’t a massive audience to my grand splaying.
The meeting was with two male colleagues and one male supervisor. Their reactions were a little giggle worthy because they “didn’t know what to do”. Here’s the thing, I’m not a “dainty gal”. If something needs to be moved in my office and I can, I do. This causes some amusement to my colleagues because someone at my “level” shouldn’t be doing that, worse off a woman at my level. I’m not a “butch” girl (I don’t think I have any muscle definition in my arms and I am way too lazy for the gym) but I don’t often wait around for someone else to something when I can do it myself. Labour is also relatively cheap here as well so there is no reason why someone else cant to general grunt work.
One of my (many) faults is delegating. I am terrible at it. Just terrible. I almost always think I can do things better than anyone I can give a task to which makes it difficult to work with me because chances are, I will struggle to appreciate you fully and believe everyone is operating at less than their 100% and willfully choosing to do so. I will try and make you feel better about yourself after you have delivered whatever output I want though. I try and teach people what I want them to give me but there’s always something “missing” and I try not to let it get to me. Note the abundant use of the word “try” in that paragraph. I am a work in progress.
The other day I saw Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off! video and I got an attack of the fuzzies. Lovely warm feelings and I empathised so much with trying to fit into activities that are sooooo not me. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it!
Here’s the thing, you have to do you. But sometimes doing you needs some work and you have to acknowledge it and choose to do better.
I’m not sure I would have liked any scenario where any of the people who saw me fall picked me up (oh yeah, I have a problem with unsolicited body contact too… general physical proximities in general actually), and I remember thinking, “thank heavens I am wearing pants today.” One of my female subordinates “came to my rescue” and chastised the fellas for not helping me, grabbed my shoes and then watched me walk to my desk (while my supervisor told her to massage my foot which I thought was inappropriate but that’s a story for another day).
What about me in that scenario makes me think I should question whether I am harmful to myself… in that context…I’m coming up empty but another fault of mine crops up and that is going over incidences and building them into things that don’t need to survive their existence beyond the occurance. I am not always perfect and I am not always at fault (somehow both those thoughts exist in my world constantly), I just have to shake off what was and focus on what is and will be.
I guess my take away question for the day is what do you do in the name of “being you” harms you and how are you going to fix that?
Quit trying to be someone else but make sure you’re honest about how being you can suck and improve it.
I came across this article: Why Girls Cant Take a Compliment a while ago and it got me thinking about myself and my inability to take compliments in general (my brain refuses to accept “nice” things), perhaps I am not sure people actually mean “nice” things when they say them and there is some kind of hidden meaning but in this post I will mainly deal with “sexual” compliments. The other day someone I work with came up to me and used this phrase: “You have bulged!” while staring at my hips. I am sure in his mind, this should have flattered me but in my mind I felt: “If I could gouge the eyes out of your head and make you swallow them, I would.” but I just smiled, mumbled something, came back to my desk and took of my heels and spent the rest of the day in flat pumps. Here’s the thing, I wasn’t dressed remarkably and I definitely was not “fishing” for compliments. I knew I looked OK but I was not by any means “dressed up”. I’m on the pill and its added some weight in very “womanly” places that complement me even though I grimace every time I see my tummy and swear I will never eat bread again coz it bloats me but I digress… Being told I was “bulging” no matter how well meaning did not flatter me and reminded me of that article above.
Its not been easy for me to be comfortable in my body, the usual teenage issues that translated to adult inadequacies, very little new there but I want to talk about how much “weight” (see what I did there? no? never mind then) we give to female “virtues.” There is so much value placed on how the rest of the world sees you rather than on how you see yourself. I don’t think I can recall my mother or any formidable adult female (or male) telling me that what I thought of myself mattered (except when my older sister was trying to push a rebellion on me and I feared disciplinary measures way more than I yearned for “cool points”), so some of my earliest foundations were: you only matter by how much other people value you and as a girl that will be valued by how short your sexual history is and how long your skirts are. That’s it. Look nice, be nice and all will be good, in fact if you could play stupid and just grin all the time, that would be fabulous.
Other people’s perception of a female’s sexual prowess, whether validated or not is going to be the only thing that matters. For instance, the other day on the radio, a woman was seeking “advice” on her domestic situation. She’s been “married” to this guy for at least two years (I caught the show in the middle so I don’t know exactly how long) and he regularly beats her. In 2013, he beat her while she was pregnant so badly that she lost her baby… after that, BOTH her family and his believed they would still be better off together, she is pregnant again now and doesnt want to lose this baby. And you know what the majority of comments were, “are you sure you are married?” (and other variations on establishing that she was indeed “recognized” by him and his family), “you need him because you wont be able to support a baby by yourself,” and then chastising her on not following up with the police when the police failed to provide any remedy to her after she filed initial reports (I think three different policemen called in with procedures on what happens in such cases and it was her fault why no traction had been made on her case). The dude is on the run and boasts that beating his women is what he does and there is no way the police can ever catch him. Of all the callers I heard, only one (the only woman) actually provided her with concrete other parties she could consult with for options and a method to escalate her case. Only one man told her to leave this fella coz she could die and I am thinking, “wait… how is it that she comes on radio, says she is an abused wife, has even filed a police case and we now need to “analyse” her moral character by suggesting that she shouldn’t be making these accusations if she isn’t married and then by giving her flack for the police not doing their jobs?” I am sure there was a reason I started on this tirade… gimme a sec…oh right! So, this lady on the radio did not sound “dis-empowered” and by that I mean she did not play the victim card. What she wanted was another option on top of what she had already tried, she sounded reasonably educated and therefore the perception is she has “lived”… and that is why those calls were the way they were. Attacking (I use this word for visual effect of course) her for not “fitting” the prescribed perception of what a wife should be: obedient, agreeable and mostly “not know any better”.
A colleague of mine once said to me that men always go back to their wives no matter what they do “elsewhere” and suggested the wives will always take them back and this is partly why compliments are difficult to take in for a lot of women, because they are generally so shallow that they do not even cover a tenth of the person you are dealing with. A compliment of a sexual nature doesn’t take me, the person into account. Its only about what you THINK you see when you look at me, what values you think I have based on your perceptions of how I present myself. When you are looking at me in that way, you are seeing an idea of what I should be… and that kinda pisses me off.
Tell me when I actually DO something that is worth talking about, set me a bloody goal I can aim for and attain that doesn’t centre on external validation but internal motivation. Anywho… I’ve gone way longer than I intended to. Let me know what compliments piss you off or what you think doesn’t get seen about you because people tend to get stuck at face value. O&O
The other day I was checking out some Kpop videos (which usually happens when I feel like I might strangle someone at work and my Xbox is too far to kill something). The bright colours and weird wiggles tickle me, anywho… There I am checking these videos out and then this odd gem comes my way: “Nice Body” by Hyomin.
Now… because I don’t want to be an ignoramus I try watch these videos with English subtitles (I don’t speak Korean) but I figured, there HAS to be a mistake because “what the frick?” but no… my (limited) search didn’t find any translation that changed the context of this video in any way at all!
Then I thought of this vid: “Yum Yum Yum” by Lip Service and I remember thinking “that’s a super fun catchy track and I am going to make my siblings ears bleed with it” but at no point did I have a negative response because I did not find it insulting or hurtful. Turns out though, that some people did (because they felt like it made fun of “fat Americans”) my response to it was simply, “girl… I am so with you! Dieting is the pits (even though I think my longest experience was doing the Atkins diet so I could eat more meat so I cant really feel your pain).” So I had to figure out why my response to “Nice Body” was “Hell nah!” and yet I had silly giggles to “Yum Yum Yum”.
One is an “I’m sexy and THAT is why you like me” and the other is kinda “It’s hard being a chick but we gotta laugh about it”. Obviously in my part of the world Hyomin’s body wouldn’t generally be considered sexy and that got me thinking about body shaming but I didn’t want to start a rant about how its easily we women hate on each other for being different (which would be pretty long coz we don’t even really need a reason), instead I wanted to find a way to turn my negativity into something positive. Like rainbows outta turd.
I didn’t really have to go far to do it too, so here’s my take. Thing with “I’m sexy and THAT is why you like me” messages is that they voice self acceptance, whether that feeling is honest in most cases is irrelevant. We’re all in a race for (and with) limited resources, be it that promotion at work or the dude who orders bran muffins from your favourite coffee shop. We want what is in little supply and we have to use what we have to get it but we have to own what got.
I know I am kind of skirting a murky line here but here is what I am not saying: Sleep your way to what/where you want. The reason why I am not saying this is because if you don’t believe that this is a choice you have actually made you are going to end up feeling pretty damn crappy afterwards and that’s just a bag of nuggets you don’t need. There’s a difference between using your looks because YOU know they are your added advantage and using them because “everyone else likes them”. The first comes from you. You have to validate yourself to be okay when other people’s validations are coming out their blowholes. Some people are literally rocket scientists and being that way gets what they want, other people have the shiniest, flowiest hair you have ever seen and teeth that look like God’s chiselled them. One is not better than the other, they simply have different advantages.
We just have to quit pulling others down so we can climb on top if them, especially over how they choose to use their assets. THAT is the key thing to take away here, as long as it is your choice work that. Be unapologetic for your advantages. Everyone has something they have that is working for them.