Thursday, 27 June 2013

☀ Summer's Here ☀

Well the countdown days are over since today was my last day at school and my feelings are all over the place. I've been eagerly counting down the days to get to this day because I was absolutely certain I'd be extremely excited and happy to finally be done and over with school. Well right and wrong.

Towards the end of the year, especially this year, I just get really exhausted and want to be able to wake up whenever I feel like it, sleep whenever I feel like it (well I did that throughout the year but I learned it's probably not the wisest option. And I learned it the hard way. Whoops?) But this way there are no consequences for my irrational decisions that are made in the spur of the moment at 2 in the morning when my brain concludes that it's far too early in the morning to go to sleep and just stays up even though it's practically half asleep.

Enough about my sleeping patterns.

Today was okay. I mean it was nice but the previous 3 days were just lovely. I felt like I got to talk to people I never got a chance to talk to before and that's upsetting..that there are many people out there to get to know but we're so limited to really small groups of people. I know everyone always needs a small group of people that are the closest and as you go further, the circle expands but I felt like this year I've let my circle get far too tight. I did get to know many people I didn't think I'd get close to this year and I'm really pleased about that. I guess you take small steps every year. What I loved the most about the last week was the fact that there were less people so I could hear everyone and everyone could be heard and that was really special because nobody gets a chance to get their words across anymore. Everything's super fast paced and racing past and it gets really tiring. I mean because of the sole factor of being able to communicate easily I swapped the mentality of "Get me out of this hell hole" to "Wow..I actually quite like these people" overnight.

I've also been active and consistent with my art journal/scrapbook/whatever-it-might-be-called and I'm quite excited to make it even more personal and special after a summer of photographs, memories and lots of stories to tell.

I'm glad I'm facing the summer with a tiny bit of nostalgia for certain people but an even larger eagerness to just explore for a while. To stop living online, on my iPod or on my phone and live more outside. Immerse myself into hobbies I love; take pictures, sit by the beach and just think for a while, write about everything I want to figure out without any distractions or invisible and unsaid obligations to maintain constant contact with people or society. I've also collated a little bucket list for the summer and later decided to expand it and set myself adventurous and experience-based goals from now till my last year of high school before I start university and I guess I might post it here later.

I don't know how I feel right now, but that's exactly what the next 2 months are for. I can figure things out at my own pace and desire.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer/holiday wherever you are in the world.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Before you read this post - if you can focus on reading while music's playing, click right here to transport yourself through time and play "Asleep". You'll get some vibes straightaway.

Now that's playing. See how different everything is? I have a weird bond with the link of music to pieces of text or novels in general and the fact that this book in particular is so strongly linked to music from the time period that intrigues me the most, it's an exciting experience. The whole book changed so much in my head but I can't even put my finger on what exactly fascinated me about it. Considering it's a relatively short book in comparison to the majority of books I read, it feels especially elongated in my mind. All the characters seem to have lived in my head long before I've read the book, and even long after the last page unfortunately (or fortunately) came to an end.

I read the book quite a long time ago. I remember being exposed to it when I was around 12 I think (And I'm 15 now so that's not "quite a long time ago" but to me, it feels like too much has changed unfortunately (fortunately?)) and it struck many chords. It planted new thoughts in my head and helped others grow and I felt like it was my secret. My little guide to everything written by a group of people that I've grown to love and know so, so well.

And every year since, I would read it. It became almost like a traditional ritual that I couldn't miss. Often I would pick it up whenever I feel like I need a lift or a reminder that life is a lot more than what it seems to be. Things do change and I wish I could describe what I learned from that book but I can't. All I know is that every time I read it, I felt like I was being drowned into waters that made drowning the most beautiful possibility I could imagine. I felt like little pieces of me were being torn out and lent to Charlie to write down all his letters on and given back to me, to keep. And I loved every painful moment of it.

I think...that what made the book so special to me was Charlie. Sam and Patrick had unbelievable effects on me and I know naturally the reader would sympathize and empathize with the protagonist but that wasn't the reason Charlie became one of the most important people to me. He was vulnerable, very and most people didn't even realize it because he worked so hard to hide it really well. I don't know if you often see yourself in characters and then subconsciously feel this meaningful yet irrational connection to them? I'm not quite sure what it is. But it's something.

Charlie taught me that it was okay so analyze everything. Despite him feeling obligated to participate, at the time I read the book I was constantly participating and having to shut down every little moment of analysis that I absolutely marveled over but never had the chance to enjoy. There was always something I had to be doing and that had to be done right. And all expectations - mainly academic and if family related were about the academic life I was willingly agreeing to because of my instinctual perfectionism - were screaming to get done and get done right. So the moments I enjoyed most, I didn't get enough taste of and this book, for the few hours I escaped to read it gave me a chance to just think of the seemingly great mysteries of everything, no matter how mundane it may seem to the average person.

Charlie begins his story, no actually he begins telling us about this small part of his story by saying that all the names are pseudonyms and many have jumped to assuming he was the 'unreliable narrator' and claim that perhaps you can't believe anything Charlie says after that. But this most definitely was not an English assignment to me. This was a human being who may have lived miles away from me but he was there and he was feeling these things and he was living and he happened to share this little piece of his life with me. I wasn't about to question his goddamn intentions. I loved Charlie and that is all that mattered.

Charlie has so much going on inside his mind. He's always thinking about everything and often finds it hard to suppress everything, because let's face it; that is tremendously hard. And he tries. He tries to the point where it brings me to tears. And wether it's my first read of the book or the 21st, it always does that to me. To know that he just wants to forget. He just wants to be happy and he finds those few moments of infinity when he's around Sam and Patrick because they opened his eyes to more, they made him feel like he belonged, made him feel like less of a bystander and more of a friend. And that means so much to him. They made him forget and he appreciated every minute of it. And that just brought the worst sadness down on me, like he was someone so close to me yet I was so distant to him, out of reach and couldn't be there to reassure him or just simply make him forget, even if it's just for a few seconds.

I've never spoken this much about this, mainly because i. most of the people I would tell would assume I'm overanalyzing the book as a whole and ii. I can never seem to get these words out loud. I can't organize them in my head and I feel like no one will get the full image of what I'm trying to explain but merely one hazy glimpse at the entire chaotic artwork in my head. But I have written about it so much that every time I type out his name, the bond feels like it's tightening.

I hope you got more than the hazy glimpse.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

✐ Every Day - David Levithan ✐

Every Day by David Levithan is best described in one word. Bittersweet.

As you know, I recently got this book from my best friend Katy who has read it and thought that I would really enjoy the book and to be honest, she was absolutely 900% right, because I didn't just enjoy it, I completely and wholeheartedly fell in love with it.

From the second I picked it up, I had no idea what to expect because from the little I knew about it from Katy's little emotional-therefore-incoherent descriptions. She didn't want to ruin it for me and I thought I will just find out more about it as a go, because that is the essence of reading. The journey. And this journey was unlike any other because it genuinely made me see things through a new lens. One that I have never tried to use before perhaps because I had no idea it existed. Just like my experience, the plot was beautifully unpredictable and new.

I wish I could talk about the little things I loved about it coherently, but I think I might be incapable of that. Despite that, I shall try. Usually I like to go for bullet pointing every little thing I absolutely loved - and in fact I started doing that and then erased it all - because it would simply take ages and ages to list everything I loved, so instead I'm building up from my favorite quotes off the novel.

"I want love to conquer all. But love can't conquer anything. It can't do anything on its own. It relies on us to do the conquering on its behalf."
I find this quite upsettingly true. Most pop culture focuses so much on the fact that love is powerful enough to "conquer all" but in reality, it never does. Love is never the last one standing. I'm not quite sure if that's just a pessimistic perspective or pure reality, but that is how I see it. Again. The only word I could quite feel matched the book the most is bittersweet and this concept is just that.
"Kindness connects to who you are, while niceness connects to how you want to be seen."
This is the most beautiful trait description I have ever read not because it's so elaborately described with the most creative adjectives but because it is simple and just. so. goddamn. true. 
"Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over. 
I know how wrong this is. 
It's a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again."
"The problem is the confinement, the inability to leave. Any time she let it, the weight of living creeps in and starts to drag her down.

Finally. Finally there is a realistic description that speaks honestly about mental illnesses; depression and anxiety specifically. I dont even feel the need to comment about it. It just is.
"I attack my cuticles with merciless precision. It is the only sensation that feels genuine."

This novel is so beautifully put together. It's a series of open ended stories with infinite possibilities and it makes you realize that we all should be quite - if not unbelievably - grateful to have an almost guaranteed tomorrow, to have a life that builds up and remains constant no matter what takes place over time. Despite the challenges you're still reassured by the one thing that will never change and that is that you will be yourself everyday.

What the novel symbolizes to me though is the fact that some people do not feel like they could be themselves. People that are afraid to get attached because of the fear that it will all go to waste. The fear of everything crashing back down again. The everlasting sensation of being haunted by the possibility of tomorrow when you're already struggling with today.

This post is quite incoherent because I'm still trying to gather my thoughts regarding the book and to be honest, I have never felt so emotionally involved with a book like this before.

Have you read it? Tell me about it?

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Body Image

I recently made a video called "Girls on YouTube" in response to Benjamin Cook's video from the series of "Becoming YouTube" and today, one of my friends messaged me about it saying the following (this will only be modified grammatically to make it into the form of paragraphs to make it easier to read)
"As much as I like the video, I don't think you are right all the time there. Guys as a rule do not have a problem with what they look like. Most guys would not care AT ALL. The amount of girls compared to the amount of guys who are insecure about how they look or even give a shit is MASSIVE. 95% of guys won't give a shit what they look like.  
Most of them would want to look better, because that's natural, so do I, but no one would take that to such an extent as to making a fuss or something. No one would care about how they look like in a photo or video or shirtless. Because they simply don't care what others think of them, sure it's good to look good, but I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks. Not talking about body specifically, but looks in general. Guys are just more confident. 
Guys actually don't care. We don't take notice of insults or anything. We ignore it because we don't care. If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am". No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl. 
Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view. Girls have invented themselves this idea of how they are supposed to look. It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated."

My friend and I did end up deciding to talk about this at school in person because this isn't a discussion to have over text and it's 11:31 PM but I'm going to respond to this now since I'm in the zone to talk about it and update this after we talk.

Points I want to address - I'll organize it nice and clear for you to read:

1. "Guys as a rule do not have a problem with that they look like. I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks.

You most certainly cannot base a worldwide issue on the amount of people you have met. I've never met someone that was sexually abused at home but I am mentally aware that there is a huge proportion of people that have unfortunately suffered from that experience. And to be honest, "as a rule", some guys do have a problem with what they look like. Here are some statistics (despite my hatred of categorizing people in the form of numbers, this helps people visualize the issue)

• Up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids.
• 45% of Western men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
• 17% of men are dieting at any given time.
• 1 in 10 people with anorexia are male
• 4% of men purge after eating
• 85% are dissatisfied in terms of weight; around half want to lose weight and half want to gain weight.

and these are j u s t a few statistics gathered from all around the place. But my point is, the minority of a problem does not erase its existence.

2. "Guys are just more confident"

This is partially true. Guys are just more confident because they are raised in a society that focuses 110% on their personality and attitude rather than their appearance - as it should. It is unfortunate that there are images perpetuated by the media for men to abide by or look like; because most male characters in video games and movies are also often given unrealistic expectations to live up to, but there is always more of a focus on personality and mentality on guys than on girls and that was the point I was trying to get a cross in the video.

3.  "If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am" No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl"

This is a double standard and I most definitely do not approve of double standards, whatsoever. The fact that I'm saying you should not go up to a girl and call her something you think would hurt her, does not mean I'm saying "hey but it's okay to do that to a guy." No. I was addressing that particular aspect because it is the majority and it was also the main focus of the video I was responding to.

I personally do not condone double standards what so ever and would stand by my belief that if this gender cannot be treated a certain way because it's unacceptable, the other gender should not have to endure similar behavior either. But the truth of the matter is more guys will go up to girls and say there is something wrong with their appearance (wether it's private remarks or blunt, loud ones) than girls will to guys. That doesn't make either of the genders right for doing so.

4. "Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view"

I addressed the video from a girl's point of view because of a few reasons:

  1. I am a girl and there is no one else to understand the situation better than I would. Talking from a guy's perspective will make me seem like I'm diving into the realm of the unknown, even though I'm 110% sure of my facts from that perspective too.
  2. The video I was responding to was specifically about girls. Specifically.
  3. The video was offensive towards girls and not guys, so bringing up guys while responding to someone that didn't even mention it will make it all irrelevant.

5. "It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated"

This irritates me so much.

I am not blaming you for the body image issues that have reverberated across my gender and age group. It is not your personal fault but yes you are a contributor. And you have a huge role in contributing to this issue:

The majority of guys - or how about we say people, will make it very clear what kind of girl they prefer or what kind of physique is the right and perfect physique. And this irritates me because this is something that is: a.) Conditional and b.) Out of the person's control so there is absolutely no point in you criticizing him and her over something they can't change. Can you even imagine how upsetting and frustrating that would be?

The media is the main source of the issue - as always. Women are presented in a particular manner in the media field and this affects them tremendously. I am sorry but it certainly is not the vulnerable, 10 year old girl's fault for watching a movie and wanting to be the most loved character that happens to be the only one considered beautiful with her perfect face, hair and body. These 10 year old girls will grow up to be young women that are deeply affected by it. Not everyone ends up being tremendously affected but you make it sound like it's their fault when it is just most definitely not their fault. You cannot blame someone from consuming the shit they watch on television, some people cant help it and you do not have the same filtering capacity as a young girl or boy, you are naturally absorbing and learning from everything you watch, read, see and hear.
The thing we should be targeting now is not the people that have certain issues it's what giving them those issues. Because, to be honest, when you're not suffering from something yourself you do not quite realize the severity of it all, and when you become a member that indulges in such behavior that might affect certain individuals negatively you need to get a grip, realize what you're doing and stop.

Because no matter how serious you think it is, something small to you might be the world to someone else. One little remark you've made might be the 12th comment that person's heard that day. 

I'd just like to understand, how hard is it to just try to not hurt people with your words. Don't make comments about something that is not harming you personally. If you have a problem with someone's appearance, you have a problem with yourself. Because what someone looks like, or how tall they are or how much they weigh is literally n o n e of your goddamn business! 

Just. Don't. Make. Comments. Like. That. 

It's so simple. 

Every problem should be given importance because even if it seems insignificant to you now it either already is significant, or it will become significant if it is not stopped.

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