Courtesy is overrated.

I have made a lot of declarations in my lifetime, but none so morbid and potentially controversial. And even as I use the word morbid, I cannot help but think of how contextual it is. If you ask me, the very survival of the human race depends on things being in context.  We seem to need things to be said and done by the right people at the right time.  We need condolences when a loved one dies, we need hugs when we are feeling sad, we need food when we are hungry. If say, someone offers us food when we are full, it is considered useless. The timeliness of things has become such an essential part of human interaction, I for one, cannot fathom of a world without it. But it has also branded some things awkward and abnormal. And that in a sense, may be my premise for this absurd declaration. Before I go on, I feel it would be in order for me to mention that I may make a lot of out of place declarations and segues. Getting back to the start; for something to be considered morbid, it has to be out of place; an unheard of thought, an inappropriate gesture, a misplaced human being. It has always puzzled me that as a people, we’ve always been so obsessed by this need for things to fit in. 
My history teacher used to say that the need for acceptance is the fourth basic human want. This utterance always confused me; it simultaneously elicited disagreement and acceptance in me. My brain disagreed vehemently, but somewhere within the pits of my stomach, I felt warmth, an agreement of sorts. It is almost as if my intestinal walls were saluting the return of an old friend presumed to be lost in the war that is always raging in my mind. I have learnt to not fight the things that affect the feel of my stomach because more often than not, these things have turned out to be the things that make my life worthwhile. This however, doesn’t make my disagreement less valid. For one, there are only three basic human needs. To declare a want for belonging a basic human need would not only be pretentiously philosophical but also a tad too simple. I do not say this out of disrespect, but only as a candid expression of a firm opinion. Also, the mere fact that I have a disclaimer of sorts when expressing my opinion, is a further proof of my point. We have become too engrossed in courtesy and keeping things in context, we have forgotten to have opinions and speak our minds, wholly, honestly.

So when I say courtesy is overrated, I am in no way championing for a disorderly, disrespectful populous. I am only stating that perhaps being on our best behaviour every damned time isn’t at all that necessary. I am suggesting that it wouldn’t hurt to find out how the world would feel with a little more honesty, a little more rawness, if we didn’t have to walk on egg shells attempting to cater to the feelings of everyone that could be offended by any possible combination of the words out of our mouths. 

I have been told on numerous occasions that I am bluntly honest and on more than one occasion that it is rude and annoying. I do see their point. I am unable to keep disdain off my face when someone says or does something I consider vilely stupid, I am unable to fake pleasure at meeting someone I do not like, I am unable to hold a polite conversation with someone I do not know. I could blame a bit of it on my introversion, but lately it stems more out of a purposeful refusal to indulge a dishonest culture. Also, it comes rather easy to me because I have never much cared for my likeability. I have never thought of myself as a nice person. And quite frankly, I find it mildly aggravating when people think of me as a nice person. So while I do endorse humane characteristics like kindness and sympathy and generosity and I will till the day I die, and even in my next life, endeavour to be as humane and as good a person as I could be, what I will never try to be, is hold my tongue or pretend to be pleased by something that isn’t so just so that I can be liked. I may hold my tongue to spare a loved one’s feelings, hell, I would even lie to them for the same reason (but that would depend on how much I love you) but there is only so much compromising I am willing to do.  And if that makes me an oddity, then so be it.

And that may be the reason why I write. It could be because I am very opinionated and my lack of social skills doesn’t allow me to fully express them. It could be because I spend so much time in my mind and I need an outlet or it could even be because some of the things I say and believe hold a bit of wisdom or maybe even some truth.  It could any number of these things, or none of these things at all. I don’t know. What I do know is that I write not to lay claim to the conceptions of my mind as righteous or even absolutely true, but as the unapologetic, honest opinion of a misunderstood child trying to understand a vastly complex universe and vaguer still, the occupants of the aforementioned universe. It is not in my desire for the opinions expressed in my writing to be used as a threshold by which judgement can be passed or counter-opinions dismissed. I only document the changes my mind (and sometimes body) goes through. My writing is solely for myself; an attempt to clutch on to the quarters of my being that are most honest and free; an unwillingness to give up on the bit of madness that I was bestowed; if anything, to make sure this insanity runs it’s full course. I only share it for like-minded people to relate to and more than that, offer insight to help me grow. The contents of my writing may not always be true. But they will always be honest. Besides, there is no such thing as absolute truth. Even the declaration itself may not be absolutely true. 

 

What do we want? Control over our own bodies. When do we want it? Now!

My favourite things about people is that we are such paradoxes, or lazy and unmotivated, depending on how you look at it. We say we want to be happy, but stay in unfulfilling jobs and relationships. We say we want to be successful, but do nothing about that idea we had. We want to be respected and appreciated, but do not stand up for ourselves in the face of an injustice. But more than that, we have this immense capacity for compassion, even at the expense of self. There is very little we wouldn’t do for the people we love. This, is simultaneously my favourite and least favourite thing about myself. I don’t like it, because sometimes it gives me an excuse for my laziness and failures. You take a word as ugly as procrastination, over-indulgence, recklessness and you wrap it up in a beautiful word such paradox or a difficult word, say, complex, and just like that, our less proactive moments become palatable. But it also beautiful that I can be mean and kind, I can be selfish and generous, I can be good and bad. I like that my human nature allows me to be everything I want to be, that it doesn’t box me. I believe an understanding of this makes it a lot easier to live in a world that endeavours so much to make extremes out of us. A world that doesn’t seem to place tolerance, understanding and equality as the foundation for all human interactions. A society that has decided that there are certain aspects of femininity that girls and women should be ashamed of.

The hardest thing I have had to do in my life (apart from being a semi-normal human at social interactions) is unlearn the sexist, subjugating ideals I internalised as a child. Even now, I cannot completely say that my outlook on these things is purely based on my understating and appreciation for their necessity and not the vague memory of the careless, misinformed opinion of an ignorant acquaintance, an agreeable parent or a well-meaning grandparent. I cannot tell you how many times my mother remarks about my dressing and it takes all of me to not weep.

Here’s the thing, I generally do not like long clothes. I don’t even know why. I just don’t look at a long skirt and think, “hey, I would like to wear that.” That only happens I see shorts and above the knee dresses and skirts. I think my mother has nightmares about this. So I do her a favour and stick to pants and keep my less than “modest” clothes to when she can’t see me. The problem occurs when I’m home and I do not intend to leave the house and I’m in shorts and a vest. Even when she doesn’t say anything, it says everything. And I know I am not the only girl who goes through this with their mothers and aunts and grandmothers.  I cannot count how many times girls are told to not dress like prostitutes, or wear a longer skirt because short skirts make boys uncomfortable and they might just get this urge to rape you (I hope you guys can hear the sarcasm in my voice because my eyes are rolled all the way to the back of my head) While they do mean well and all they want is an assurance, as feeble as it may be, that we will be safe, the language they use to express this concern is counter-productive and just serves in perpetuating the implication that a woman’s dressing and largely, her body is not under her control. 

See, when you tell a little girl to not dress like a prostitute, you are implying that dressing is an assessment of morality. Which is absurd. As far as I am concerned, the only thing that makes you immoral is doing immoral things; like killing people. And the only thing that makes you a prostitute is getting paid to have sex. And even then, that is a personal choice and it’s none of my business. Even if there was a correlation between dressing and morality, a certain way of dressing does not cause immorality. Correlation is not causation.  As I see it, dressing is about comfort and expression and attractiveness and presentability. Would it not make more sense to tell a girl, “Wear a longer dress because it is chilly outside. Or because you look more attractive or more presentable in that.” And when I say attractive, I do not mean for the sexual gratification of men, I simply looking your best self. And when I say presentable, I mean appropriate; not subject to the judgement of others. Because dressing is never about other people, especially men. Which makes it even more absurd when we make girls feel like their dressing should take men’s comfort into consideration. Not only is it an appropriation of the rape culture of victim shaming, it is also dehumanising and sexually objectifying. As Chimamanda Ngozi put it, we are teaching our girls that they are mere props in managing men’s sexual appetites.  We are teaching them that they are only avenues of blame should the said management of men’s appetites not work and we end up with a rape victim.  We are teaching them to value themselves less; to put a man’s comfort above their own.

I am all for decency. But decency should never be used as a justification to undervalue others. To shame them for the things that they love. We cannot want to control how women view and treat their bodies and hide under the guise of decency, at the very same time shaming victims of rape and sexual assault and blaming it on a supposed indecency. A case example, a guy who sags doesn’t get little more than a few scornful looks but a girl who wears a short dress gets a myriad of things, starting from insults to rape threats. Why do we treat women’s bodies as some sort of abomination? Why do we shame them for letting someone see them? More importantly, why do people who are not the women themselves even get to have a say? We make our girls think that their naked bodies is something that should make them uncomfortable, something they should be ashamed of. Is it not enough that women already have to try to attain these impossible standards of beauty imposed upon us? I understand and support the concept of healthy living and having a body that doesn’t weigh you down. What I do not support is that the toned thighs and flat stomach and clear face should only be for the guy(s) you are intimate with. It’s everywhere; from status updates on Facebook to anecdotes on WhatsApp groups. Women are constantly told to cover up, that there are some parts of their bodies are only meant to be seen by certain men. So we are telling women to do the hard work and get a nice body, but not allowing them to flaunt it? I’m not saying that people should walk around naked, I’m saying that the decision to not walk around naked, should be left to the women to make. My point is, women looking good naked shouldn’t be about the guy she’s having sex with. It should be about promoting a healthy perception of self, about women loving their bodies; loving their reflection in the mirror. It should be about women feeling beautiful, for themselves.  Also, if we are going to treat naked bodies as taboo, let’s do it for all genders.  Let’s raise hell when men are shirtless all over the place as they always are. 

But above all else, women are sexual human beings. There shouldn’t be shame in this. We need to  be open and honest about sex. I’ve always thought of it as a pity, that I have never been able to tell at what point exactly I developed a healthy opinion about sex. It means, I don’t remember an authority figure being open and honest with me about sex. For most of my pre-teen years, I thought talking to a boy would get me pregnant. I remember when I was ten, my social studies teacher decided to talk to us about sex. Actually it wasn’t so much a talk as it was a reprimand after he asked the girls who are not virgins to raise up their hands and everyone was too confused to raise up their hands. I have never understood why a teacher would find it appropriate to ask ten year old girls in a mixed classroom about their virgin status. I remember feeling attacked and exposed and later on swearing to never have sex until I was married. 

While waiting till marriage to have sex is a beautiful decision, it is not a decision that should be made after a tirade. It should be based on information and experience. Choosing to not wait, is also a valid decision. It is not right that we tell girls shit like, “being a virgin is the best gift you can give your husband on your wedding night.” It is not right that we make girls feel like losing their virginity before marriage is a failure on their part.  It is not fair that the same standards and embarrassments are not imposed on men. What we should teach girls is that sex is beautiful and sacred it should be between consenting people. We should tell them that it would be easier if they were adults and are better equipped to deal with its consequences. But more than that we should make them understand that losing your virginity doesn’t define them. It doesn’t make them whores. It doesn’t strip them off their dignity and make them less worthy of respect.  But they should know it matters because it’s fucking personal and as my roommate says, “it should be with a friend. Someone you are comfortable with. Someone you aren’t scared to say no to.”

Can we just let women issues be decided by women? Can we not make it about men? And can we not shame women for being women?    

    

On change.

The year was two thousand and fifteen. Young, ignorant me was excited about the new year. I truly believed it was going to be my best year yet. I really did. It makes me laugh(and sometimes cry) to think about now naively optimistic I was. I guess I just needed the hopeful illusion. Two Thousand and Fourteen had been an awful year. As it turned out, 2015 wasn’t that different anyway, at least not the first quarter. The prominent memory about this time is we were almost homeless, my roommates and I that is. We had to move out of our residence at the time, and we had no prospects of finding another place to live. Also, we were doing exams and we were as broke as it gets(or at least I was) Looking back, being almost homeless was a good thing for us. We really needed to move out of that place. The environment was toxic, both physically and mentally. We were out of Our league, We were spending way too much money and for some weird reason all our relationships were falling apart. I can confidently say, my roommates and I cried ourselves to sleep more often than we care to admit. Even so, moving out wasn’t that easy, change never is. I remember when we finally moved out and because it was to a different building, structured differently, we had to switch the curtains. Just the mere thought of having different curtains in my room, upset me more than it should. It was a while before I grudgingly admitted that we had done the right thing by moving.

Like I said, change is not easy. I guess we get so used to having things a certain way, as harmful as those things may be, that we dare not try to make things better. Change comes with unknown variables and with the unknown comes this paralyzing fear. You know what they say, better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know. And for the most part, it is understandable, I could say acceptable to some extent. It is okay to be scared. As long as you know, and are preparing to face that fear someday. What isn’t acceptable, is how we let this fear of change rule our lives. How we stay in a state of destructive inertia, we let ourselves hurt, how we slowly kill ourselves just because we are afraid to venture into the unknown. How we feed our bad habits, excuse others for theirs and pretend that we have forgiven ourselves for being so cowardly. If there is one thing that is common to all human beings, it is that we are capable of change. We owe it to ourselves to change, to grow, to discover the better versions of ourselves.

And it is on this premise that I am basing my dissatisfaction and disappointment in myself and others close to me(or everyone) for the times I have not been my best self. For the times I have procrastinated, for the times I have indulged my self-destructive thoughts, for the times I have used my humanity and my room for error to excuse my bad behavior, for the times I fell back into old habits, for the times I have let my ego get the better of me, for the times I have been as human as I could be. But more importantly, I am annoyed at the times I let people take advantage of me, for the times I let people hurt me, for the times I have forgiven people, or held my tongue and given them another chance simply because I understood where they were coming from, or that they didn’t mean to. This is also about the times I have been the offending party but still felt entitled to some forgiveness simply I was hurting. This is to say that hurting others isn’t okay just because you are hurt, or you have been hurt. Because we are capable of being better, because the goal in life is to be better.

Here’s the thing. We are all a little damaged. Nobody was raised by perfect parents. Hell, some people aren’t even raised by their parents. More often than not, the people that raise us, also break us a little bit, knowingly or not. We internalize things, we take up their bad habits, we accept the lies they tell as truths, and we never quite forgive them for the careless utterance that broke our spirit a little bit. As we grow up, we learn that we have to unlearn some of the things they taught us, Or at the very least, put it in context. The people raised in abusive homes have to learn that it is not okay and it is never an excuse to be abusive. The people raised by neglectful drunks learn that you can’t go through life evading your responsibilities and drowning your sorrows in alcohol. Even those brought up in seemingly perfect homes find the need to discard or at least change some ideologies they were raised up with. If not for anything, then for the fact that the passing of time necessitates a change. So while some people are more damaged than others, and some people need more time to change, it is never okay to use your damage as an excuse for the less than noble things you will do. Nobody should have to endure and constantly forgive your mistakes just because someone made you like that, or because you have always been like that. If you can be better, you should be better.

I have been told on numerous occasions that I should develop a sense of humour. What stands out about these instances is the people who told me that usually said it after they cracked a rape joke, or said something misogynistic and I wasn’t amused. I used to get so worked up when people tell me that because for starters, I have a sense of humour. I will laugh at anything. I just saw this text post about this vegetarian who climbed Everest to prove that vegetarians aren’t weak but she ended up dying. People were commenting things like,”Lettuce pray” and “rest in peas” and I laughed so hard. Don’t judge me. I have a heart. And a weakness for puns. Also, I do not have anything against vegetarians. It takes courage and strength to be so healthy. My point is, I have a sense of humour, dark as it may sometimes be. What I don’t like about these people who tell me to lighten up is their argument that “boys will always be boys.” It is essentially saying that boys will always be sexist, violent people. And that is not true. Did you know that there was once a convention in the middle ages where the table legs had to be covered because boys found them sexually attractive? I guess the table legs resembled women legs, but still. All I am saying is, if boys can learn not to feel a sexual attraction when they look at table legs, then they can unlearn the sexist ideologies that they have internalized. Boys Can Change. Girls can change. Everyone can be better. So let’s be better.

Everyday sexual harrassment.

A couple of months back,  I was walking with my two male friends when some random guy tried to get my attention in a not so polite manner. What stands out for me about this situation is that my guy friends were more offended than I was. Let that sink in. Here is a situation that  potentially could have led to sexual harassment and what stuck with me is that my guy friends were offended more than I was. I should have been  more offended. But you know why  I wasn’t, because I am acutely aware that things could have been worse. Part of me expected things to be worse. And that right there is the reality for most if not all women. Ask any female and they will tell you that every time they pass a group of men, they expect to be cat-called, or for someone to say something sexually offensive or even for someone to grab them. The women who will counter this are the ones who haven’t realized that whatever happened to them actually qualifies as sexual harassment. And that is the saddest thing; sexual harassment is so commonplace, sometimes our brains forget to register it as offensive. Now tell me that isn’t messed up.

But you know what is worse than being sexually harassed? Actually, nothing is worse than that. Being shushed when you speak up about it however does add salt to injury. Society has numerous ways of saying shut up when you try to tell your story. People will tell you things like, “it was all in good fun” or “it was just harmless cat-calling” or “you should be grateful that nothing serious happened.” In a nutshell, what we are basically saying is your violation doesn’t really matter as long as someone got a good laugh out of it. Laughter after all is good for the soul. What you need to do is shut up and feel grateful that some male was merciful enough to not exercise his privilege to make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe to its full extent. I could take all day exploring these responses and their various implications but I want to focus on the three rebuttals that I find most infuriating.

“Boys get harassed too.” While this is a true statement, contextually speaking, it is an insult. So yes, boys get raped, boys are victims of gender-based violence, boys undergo forced genital mutilation, but why is this only an argument when I am talking about women issues? This is the equivalent of the hashtag #alllivesmatter only after #blacklivesmatter has been generated. You get why that is offensive, right? Why must we use the plight of men to water down female suffering? Does female suffering not matter? Is it not relevant? Is female suffering only valid when it is compared to men’s? Boys get harassed is a complete statement. It should never be used as a justification or a distraction. And you know what the worst part is? How the people who wave this statement around don’t really care about sexual crimes against men. They just use it to shut up women. Because even when a boy gets raped, it is  mostly women who are up in arms against it. Most men just brush it off.  I once heard a guy ask how a boy could get raped by a woman. Why didn’t he overpower her and rape her instead? Now, I am not defending this woman rapist but that right there is an indication of how rare sexual crimes against men are.  So much so, when it happens, it’s laughable. It only serves to assert this mindset that sexual harassment is something that should happen to women only. Well no, sexual harassment should happen to no one. So yes, boys get harassed too, but the conversation is currently about it happening to most if not all women. So dear guy who has never experienced it, do not make it about you.

“What were you wearing?” For starters, it doesn’t matter what she was wearing. The amount of clothes on someone’s skin is no justification for sexual harassment. I could walk around naked and no one should make a comment. There is no such thing as asking for it. No one ever asked to be raped. No one ever asked for sexual objectification. No one ever asked to be made to feel unsafe. And when I say it doesn’t matter, I mean it literally.Because you could be wearing the most conservative clothes  and it wouldn’t help a thing. Because the men who sexually harass women do it simply because they can, because they grew up in a society that mistreats women. They have no reason, they are not doing it because you are dressed seductively, they are not doing it because they like you but know they don’t stand a chance. They do it because they are men and inherently have privilege to dominate women, and say whatever they feel like and there is not a damn thing you as a woman will do about it.  So no, it doesn’t matter what you were wearing. As millions of women all over the world have hard to find out, wearing a longer skirt never decreased your chances of getting raped. As a matter of fact it doesn’t matter how old you are. As long as you are born female, some male somewhere has earned the right to be sexually inappropriate with you. And that is not fair, it is not right. No one has a say on their gender anymore than they have a say on getting cat-called. Society needs to stop making women feel responsible, guilty for being sexually harassed.

“Stop making a fuss about it.” This to me is a way of saying that while society acknowledges there is a problem, they do not want to deal with it. Yes, we know that someone disrespected you, but could you please shut up so that we don’t have think about it and all the ways knowingly or not, we have perpetrated male privilege and enhanced this cycle of gender based violence. I remember the first time i was sexually harassed(or rather the first time I acknowledged it as such.)It was a crowd of people, waiting to board a bus. Amidst all the pushing and shoving, this guy came up to me and pressed against my chest in the most deliberately disgusting manner I could possibly imagine. I wanted to brush it off as an accident but then I turned and he was grinning as if to re-affirm that he did it on purpose. I remember I was so embarrassed and offended and quite hurt(physically and emotionally) even after I was seated inside the bus I had to cover my face as I was fighting back tears. Some girl who had seen it happen tried to make me feel better by telling me not to be so offended because the guy probably only did it because he thinks I’m hot. Today if you ask me what the worst part of this encounter was, I will tell you it was what this girl said. I understand that she said it in good faith, but when you think about it, it is almost as if she was saying that sexual harassment is a complement, it is something that validates you, it is something you aspire to. Well, it isn’t. It is wrong and it is hurtful.

My whole point is, sexual harassment is something that happens to women on a daily basis. So do not let anyone shut you up, prevent you from telling your story. When it happens to you(notice I didn’t say if), you make a fuss; scream, kick, yell, whatever you do to get attention on the matter. Because getting enough attention is the first step in eradicating this, the first step in reclaiming our dignity as women. Do not let some guy who doesn’t know shit about being sexually harassed stop us from getting there.

self-love

“There is no such thing as too much self-love.” Even as I type this, there is this voice in my head screaming, “Yes, there is. It is called narcissism.” But I read somewhere that your first reaction to something or someone is what society has conditioned you to think. Your reaction to that first thought is what defines you, makes you who you are. So what I really think is, you can never love yourself too much. Not practically. Hell, a lot of us don’t even love themselves enough. We don’t even do the bare minimum for ourselves. And I have been thinking quite a bit about this and its connection to what society has fed us. Correct me if I am wrong, but here it goes;

See, when you love someone or something else, no one will ever criticize you for overdoing it. Sure, some people might find it smothering. But really, what is annoying is what you do when you love someone too much. You might nag, stalk, kill them, I don’t know. My point is, it is your actions that are criticized, not the feeling itself. If anything, you are encouraged to love hard, to love with every piece of your being. But when it is yourself that you love to a certain amount, then suddenly you are egotistic, proud, self-absorbed, arrogant, you name it. Which is such a shame really. Because we live in a society that makes it so damn difficult to love yourself. I mean, none of us will ever be Kim Kardashian enough or have jay-z’s money. No one is just the right combination of beautiful, talented, intelligent, funny, rich, sensitive, curvy, skinny and everything society makes us feel like we need to be. And everyone on a daily basis has to struggle to see beyond what you lacking and just love, or at least accept what you packing.

So maybe you can understand just how annoying it is when someone actually gets to a point that they are actually comfortable with who they are, society starts to tell you crap and make you feel like a criminal for simply trying to live your life. Well I’m going to tell you this, love yourself. Love yourself even if it makes people uncomfortable. Love yourself to the moon and back and if that isn’t enough for you, do it to the ends of the world. Love yourself at six in the morning when you’ve just woken up and look like a thug. Love yourself at eight in the morning when you’ve showered and done your make up and are wearing your favourite lipstick. Love yourself at two in the afternoon when you are swamped and bored and hungry and cranky. Love yourself at seven in the evening when you’ve just gotten home and don’t feel like cooking so you ate a ridiculous amount of junk food. Love yourself at two in the morning when you can’t sleep and so you got drank, and all you can think about is that boy who said you weren’t enough. Because you are enough, hell, you are too much. If you ever just gave everything you have to offer, I promise you the world would not be able to handle it.

Because at the end of the day, that love for yourself is all you got. It is what stops you from overdosing, or jumping off a cliff. And it doesn’t matter how many close friends you have, how many people claim they will go to hell and back for you. If you do not believe it, it doesn’t mean anything. So the next time society tries to make you feel bad, don’t let it get to you. And if it ever does, you cry it out, let go and move on. Just don’t let people tell you how you can feel, or worse not feel about yourself. Do not let society school you. You have a mind, a heart and a soul for that.

do you my friend, do you.

So I have been thinking a lot about fitting in. and can I just say, I am feeling pretty darn proud of myself. I can finally say I have gotten to a point, at least mentally, where I do not care about fitting in. About what’s cool and what isn’t. About what everyone is doing on a Friday night. I just don’t care. And if that isn’t growth, I don’t know what is. Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because these past few months have been a little rough. Let’s just say some things happened and some parts of me started feeling like I should be more like everybody else. Stupid, huh? I think so too. And yes, I want to sit here and pretend I am one of those people who don’t have issues like these, I certainly want to pretend that lame issues like these do not get to me, but I would be lying. And the good god knows I do not want to lie about the biggest lesson I have learnt in my life. And that would be; do not ever let anyone tell you, or worse make you feel like who you are is not good enough. Trite I know, but it is so important.

See, I know what’s it’s like to be different. And I just don’t mean different, I mean awkward, strange, quiet, interested in all the wrong things, insane, too emotional, incapable of getting along with more than a handful of people, not even the ones that mattered. And I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture by now. And I cannot tell you how many times I have felt like a failure, a disgrace to humanity. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt like a disappointment. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a room of people and all I could see in their eyes is their inability to comprehend how someone mechanical like me could even exist. So I guess it goes without saying that I am not much of a conversationalist. And who could blame them? I am the kind of person who walks into a room full of people and it doesn’t occur to me that I should greet them. I am the kind of person who sees someone I know across the road and looks away, hoping they go away. I am the kind of person who will turn right around and go the other way just because I do not want to run into some old classmates. And yeah, for the first fifteen years or so of my life, I did not know that was wrong. Anyway a few lectures from my aunts, and I am kind of working through it. Because yeah, courtesy is an elementary part of being human. I get that.

What I do not get is these past few months. Because I swear to god, I have tried to be normal. I have said hi to people I didn’t know. I have let my friend’s friends hug me, because apparently, hugs are not intimate things as I thought. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just met someone, you have to be polite and hug them even though most of them are perverts who just want to feel you up. And yeah, I also learnt you are not supposed to take offence when they do that unless you want to come off as a bitchy prude. Seriously, bitchy prude? How do these two words even fit in the same sentence? I have also learnt that you are expected to go to some party just because some people you just met know this host. And what’s worse, you are expected to get drunk, and give some random guy a lap dance, then pass out on a stranger’s bed. Speaking of beds and strangers, am I the only one who thinks beds are sacredly personal and only a selected few are allowed to sleep in yours? And I also learnt that if you do not do any of these things, you are just not fun. And what’s worse, is people judge you, and they don’t care to know past your name. Which is probably a good thing because what would I tell them even if they bothered. That I think fun is a personal concept. And for me, my ultimate idea of fun is just me in the house, listening to my music, drinking my tea, reading my books, watching my comedies? And don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with drinking. What is wrong is writing some people off because they like to do it in the house, with friends they can make fun of and roommates they can tell dumb jokes to. What I am trying to say is that we are into different things and I for one would love it if just once, somebody understood that. Because I am tired and pissed as hell of being judged and misunderstood. Because, yeah, it hurts.

But all the ranting aside, I’m just going say this, do you my friend, do you. Do not ever let anyone tell you that it is socially unacceptable to break dance in the middle of the road even though you are horrible at it. Unless you might cause an accident, then don’t do it. Do not ever let anyone tell you that speaking to yourself makes you look crazy because guess what, we all are crazy anyway, at least you are embracing it. And more importantly, never surround yourself with people who make you feel imperfect, like you need to work on yourself, like you need to do the things they do to be complete. Please, do not ever change for anyone. Unless that someone is you. Because as far as I am concerned, the only thing that’s wrong and socially unacceptable is intentionally hurting someone else. And that’s my golden rule, never ever intentionally hurt someone else. And if you ever do, as you will, apologize and do everything in your power to make it up to them. That being said, be your different self and watch everyone else a few years later try to get there. Because that’s the thing with life, people spend a lot of their years trying to fit in and then one morning they wake up and realize that living life by some set of standards is just bounding and not fun anymore. And then they spend the rest of their lives trying to be different. And that’s where we weirdos win in life.

when boys say men are stronger than women..

“men are stronger than women”
yeah of course.
it would be stupid to argue the fact that you can bench more weight than i
it would be stupid to deny that i like it when you carry me
of course you are physically stronger than women
but it would be stupid not to acknowledge there are several dimensions to strength.
and in some things, women are stronger than men.
strength is how your mother carried you for nine months, painfully gave birth to you and still gave you her whole life.
strength is how we bleed for seven days in a row and still go about our days as if nothing is happening
strength is having to deal with cramps; feeling like your lower abdomen is on fire, like the whole world is seated on your back.
strength is trying not to take offence when some cheap dumb ass on the street makes an insulting remark about your breasts.
strength is how everyday is a struggle
how everyday someone struggles to forget the fact that some guy did not need her permission to shove his penis down her vagina
strength is having to sit down and listen to your male friends say shit like men are better than women
strength is how you get so mad but still don’t slap them
strength is how you go outside and take a deep breath
and while you are outside, convince yourself that it is not their fault
how you pretend that you do not blame them for feeling that way
strength is how you try so hard to pretend that you are not upset
so you smile and pretend you did not take that personally
and hope that tonight;
when you cry yourself to sleep
when you pep talk yourself out of overdosing
when those suicidal thoughts come creeping in
when you compare yesterday’s and today’s entry in your journal and realize that there is not much progress
that maybe then you’ll understand its not their fault
that you are still such an emotional wreck
that there are days you wake up and you just hate men
that you still cringe when your best friend sits really close
that there are days you stifle a scream when you hug your male friends
when you realize that you probably won’t ever look at your male friends the same way again
because in just one short sentence, they made you feel so unsafe and nervous
and without even knowing it, they admitted to misusing their strength,
perpetuated this never ending cycle of gender-based violence.
so yeah, men are stronger than women
but maybe if you sat your tiny ass down
and did a little reading
you’d know its only so because you are to protect women and children.

#MyDressMyChoice

first, i hate hash tags. so you bet if i am hashtaging something, it must be worth it. so this hashtag has been generated in Nairobi, Kenya due to some barbaric events. it so happens that there are some idle men in the streets of Nairobi who take pleasure in stripping women. their reasoning is that these women were indecently dressed. so one minute you are walking and the next there is this gang of men stripping you. how humiliating?? and i thought, i have to say something. but first;

your dress will never be your choice. you will never walk into a corporate office dressed like a stripper and expect no one to tell you nothing. we have dress codes. and codes could be synonymous for rules. and rules should be followed. so technically, your dress has never been your choice. it will never be.

again, your dress will never be your choice. in as much as we would like to personalize morality, some things remain. indecency is indecency. and yeah, there is such a thing as too short, too revealing. there is such a thing as indecently dressed. and you know why that is, because long before the ancestors of your ancestors were born, there was this panel of beings that decided that indecent dressing is wrong. and if history is anything to go by, this was a panel of men. and these men decided that women cannot wear some things. so no, your dress has never been your choice, not to women at least.

but onto the main reason for this post.
so this hash tag is a campaign of sorts. it is a clarion call for women to fight for their rights, not just to wear whatever they wish to, but their right to be respected, their right not to be humiliated, their right to equity. and i get that. hell yeah, i support that. but there is something that bugs me.

its been splashed across social media. everywhere i look i see something along these lines; that men should respect women. because those women could be their daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, mothers,wives. that just as you strip someone’s sister today, someone could just rape your mother tomorrow. on the surface, this seems logical. but sit down and think about it. what exactly are we telling these men? that you should only respect the people you care about? is that it? so that lady sitting next to you on the bus does not deserve your respect? so we realize that in part we are saying that it is okay to rape, mistreat, abuse, strip that lady who is new in town and is asking for directions? do we realize what is wrong with such a campaign?

so no, men should not just respect women because they could be family. men should respect women because they are human. it’s that straightforward. people should respect people. gender has nothing to do with it. and i am feeling rather geek-ish. so i am just gonna say that it is practically impossible to sketch a curve of gender against respect or vice-versa because there is none that makes for a dependent or independent variable. okay, so that was lame. but all i am saying( especially for those of you who do not get the math behind this analogy?) is that respect is not dependent on gender.

The Friend Zone

The friend zone. this phrase rolls differently on my tongue. it tastes strange, unfamiliar, stranger. not because because i have no experience with its implication. actually i do not; at least not according to me. let me tell you why.

first, there is nothing more precious to me than friendship. i do not understand why people make it seem like a bad thing. just because somebody cannot be more than a platonic companion does not make you less of a person.it does not you to a lower rank in their chain of importance. because people do not rank the people they care about, i know i do not. and if the greatest measure of love is giving up your life for someone, you couldn’t possibly tell me that there are people you’d give half a life and others that you’d give the whole package. so no, people do not friend zone people. if someone ever refers to you as their friend and mean it, trust me it does not get better than that. because lets face it, if i cannot see myself in a relationship with you, it goes without saying you can never be my friend. so before you go and complain or cry your eyes out because whoever won’t see you as more than a friend, maybe you should ask yourself, are you even friends in the first place? because i know if i do not like a guy, i won’t even bother saving his number. so tell me, would this guy be right in claiming that i have friendzoned him? because as far as i can tell, i have just forgotten his existence. and friends do not do that to friends. and if i liked a guy who never liked me back, honestly he hasn’t friendzoned me. because as far as i know, my guy friends care about me. they listen to me when i rant about my useless problems, they open up to me with theirs, they make my life a little brighter, a whole lot brighter. and would this guy who did not like me do any of that stuff? i do not think so. so my point is, friendship is everything, it is not an in between between an erotic relationship and nothing. no people, it is not.

second, there is no limit to what you can and cannot do when you are someone’s friend. you know with the exception of having sex or being inappropriately intimate. but then again, that would depend on your moral standing. plus we all know principles is a personal concept. you decide what you will and will not stand for. if banging every person you set your sights on is okay with you, i won’t judge you. no seriously, i won’t. i realize i sound judgmental, so i am assuring you that i won’t judge you because there is just no way to write this without sounding judgmental. but i digress. what i am trying to say is, could we just stop stupidity; this annoying list of i cannot do this for my friend because that is something i would only do for someone i am having sex with. first, it is human to be kind and helpful. you should help someone whether or not you will get laid later. and if you are only going to help someone because you are going to undress them later, then how about you just don’t. second, sex is not a transaction, it is not a reward, it is not payment for a job well done. it is a show of affection between two consenting people? okay, so i am not an expert at this topic. people have sex for whatever reason. but the key word here is consent, otherwise its just rape. so you want to help your friend move, wash his dishes, pick up up his clothes from the dry cleaners? that does not make you a cheap, desperate whore. unless you are. because if this guy is your friend, he will return the favor. he will one day do your dishes, pick up your clothes from the dry-cleaners. notice, i did not say have sex with you?

so can we please stop this madness. can we please not make fun of that guy with a female best-friend, calling him a wimp, teasing him for not being able to seal the deal with her. because girls do not exist to be fucked. and friendships are not limited to gender. and would we not make the life of this female miserable? just because i am close with this one guy does not mean i hate women, does not mean i am not pretty enough to be his girlfriend. it simply means that in that one person, i have found someone i can trust, someone i can embarrass myself in front of. someone i can share a bed with for a whole freaking night and he wont touch me inappropriately. someone who loves me for me and not because he thinks he will one day get lucky with me. someone i can risk to entertain this illusion of forever with. that one person i do not ever have to worry about breaking up with. and if we ever drift apart, it would be because of different priorities, or distance, because life got in the way. and not because the sex sucked, or because my parents did not like him, or because we just did not feel the same way anymore. and that is hard to find on this shitty ass world.

so if you have that one person that this post reminded you of, don’t ever give up on them don’t ever let them go. and don’t ever let this two words “friend zone” define your relationship with them. and you why that is, that shit does not exist. because while girls and boys will come and go, friendships are forever. plus do you ever think, if men were to rate who is more important to them, top on that list would be the people that they are not sexually attracted to. like their mothers and sisters. and even if their wives made that list, it is because above everything else, their wives are their friends?

Is this a sequel? i do not know, you decide…

so my previous blog post was about finding yourself and about how back and forth a process this is. so back to the same friend i was having this “finding yourself” conversation with, would you imagine she had the audacity to tell me i am transitioning from “depressed” to “not depressed.” but i am just being dramatic, i will admit though, there is some truth to this. so i have been out of school and i have been doing a great deal of thinking.(and i realize i should be prepping for my exams, but who am i? Albert Einstein?) but i do not want to make this about me, i want this to be about everyone who can relate to hating your life. and i do not mean hating your life because you just cannot get the hang of that programming assignment, or because tomorrow is Monday and you are hung over as fuck. i want this this to be about that one person who knows what it feels like to want to have it together, but for some reason, this concept is as elusive as ever. this is about those moments when you doubt yourself so much, you cannot even trust yourself to open your eyes in the morning. this is for everyone who is struggling with something, trying to get over someone, deciding what you will do with your life; what path your career will take, grieving the loss of a loved one, stuck in a relationship that is not working. this is for everyone who is having a hard time at something( growing up more so). and i know that’s basically everyone.

first, i am not an optimist. i am more of a pessimistic realist. so trust me when i say this, a little positive attitude is refreshing. sometimes choosing to see the sunshine when its pouring down is the only way to get through those dark days. while it would be easier to lay in your bed and cry the oxygen out of your lungs, sometimes you have to grow up a little and sit up and smile and believe its going to be better. more importantly, you have to go out of your way and make things better. so save yourself some tears and have a little fun. write weird poems, draw ugly pictures, dance around, make dirty jokes, call up your friends and don’t complain. love your fucked up life, its all you got anyway.

second, life is not fair, but you get exactly what you need, or deserve. you know those days when you feel like the earth is rotating on any other axis but your own( man, i love this phrase), actually, it is on those days that the earth is rotating on your axis. i mean, if you have so much crap going on, its because the giver of crap is paying you too much attention. so man relish the attention. i honestly have no idea how that is done. but you’ll figure it out.

you are not your experiences. you are your choices. so you’ve been raped, does that make you a rapist? no. so you’ve been bullied, does that make you a bully? no.seriously though, why are my illustrations so gory? you are who you decide to be. as trite a this is, it is true. you can shape your reality or let your experiences shape it for you. and i say this because i know if i decided to react to all the crap I’ve been through, i would probably overthrow the devil. i would be the very definition of hell.and i know there are people who have been through worse. and so i am not the sweetest person you will ever meet, but hey, i am not Satan either. so my point is, treat people the way you wish they treated you. love someone the way you wish they’d love you. be the person you wish people were.

lastly, be your world. fact one, you are just one person. it doesn’t matter how many paradigm shifting breakthroughs you have, you will never be able to heal the world.fact two, we all wish the world was a better place. so how about you be your world and make your world a better place.

writer’s bonus:
this is so important. and because i sounded like a motivational speaker. and i know just how much people hate being told what they know. but this was for me and the few people who’ll appreciate it. anyway, here is a few graphics for the rest of you guys..

vulgar, but yeah..
vulgar, but yeah..

right.
right.