Swim Suit Sabotage

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Last Saturday my friend and I went shopping. Considering summer is rapidly approaching, bathers were silently placed at the top of the list.

I say silently because, between us, the particular time of the month we visited, pizza and vino consumption from the night before, lack of waxing and a full time job/ disgusting university assignments deemed us less than cover shoot ready. According to ourselves anyway.

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Doubt surrounding whether we were beach ready was quickly forgotten however, when we entered the Seafolly haven of bright colours, barely- there brazillian style genital cages, mixed in with fuller briefs and one pieces that seem to be missing parts. All in the name of farrrsharn, right?

Despite the scary thought of being caught in a rip in the majority of pieces, I was rather impressed with the brands latest range. It was not until I had both arms stacked with varying styles in a cloud of optimism and exotic island fantasy, when I heard a lovely, down to earth, very approachable shop assistant say, (in an empathetic tone, while frantically clipping the high pile of change room returns) “Nobody is ever happy. Every day I hear about the body parts women dream of nipping and tucking…”.

Remaining on my delusional planet, I brushed off the comment with a “poor girls, fuck society” thought, while rolling my eyes at the model on the wall. It wasn’t until someone FINALLY freed up a change room (departing in a huff) that I could join my pal in the neighbouring box. And then BOOM. My plane landed so suddenly on the tar mat, that I hit my head.

Well that is what it felt like, as the wave of self-doubt and ridicule set in. That poor little gluten-free pizza was copping a lot of blame for the mirror image staring back at me… apparently the hips don’t lie. (What purpose have all the kale juices served? maybe I should have given up sugar after all!)

img-thingNow, I’ve never been one to shy away from water environments, and I love the free feeling of floating around in my kini’ poolside, particularly with a coconut or mojito in hand.  I usually do so after devouring some form of carbs, I’m married to pasta after all. Simply put, I consider myself a comfortable bikini wearer.

Maybe it was hormones, the confined space in which I assessed ever angle of myself in, or the ‘pressure‘ from the poor souls offering constant support to silent customers. Or maybe it was the images I had been swamped with in the catalogue, on social media, or in my head. Ridiculous expectations once again, had dropped a hot (bird like) shit on my head.

Luckily, my wonderful gal pal came to the rescue, slipping into my changing hot box and sorting me out (just as she has, time and time again, throughout Europe and over lotsa vino and antipasto). Thanks to our backpacking experiences, my gal is well and truly familiar with my body shape and proved that, she does actually know what suits me, better than I do. Funnily, I was able to do the same for her, just not myself.

After re- evaluating my priorities, self-development and whether or not all those meditation classes had actually been worth the silence and ass numbing, I went on my phone, and saw the back lash the latest Victoria Secret campaign has received world-wide.

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And then I realised: ohhh that’s right, I’m just another gal, who has fallen victim to the UNREALISTIC expectations created by the media, once again.

  • This might be why we are never happy
  • This might be why eating disorders, depression and anxiety rates are on the rise
  • This might be why women bitch about each other and themselves all the time
  • This may have something to do with the beauty industry
  • This may be why so many fad diets exist
  • This DEFINITELY is a major issue.

THERE IS HOPE THOUGH!

In response To the Victoria Secret campaign, lingerie brand JD Williams has launched a #PerfectlyImperfect campaign to promote body confidence for all women, of all ages, sizes and shapes.

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The campaign includes the above image which features models size 10-16.

The brand hopes that the #FavouriteFlaw hashtag on social media platforms will inspire women to share the things they love about themselves and encourage others to look at their own bodies in a positive light – in a celebration of real beauty.

When I next brave the self sabotage that can be swim suit shopping, I plan to take this image with me, along with perspective in the form of an honest friend, quite like Stephy.

In the mean time, I’ll eat some curry, do some yoga and continue to work towards challenging to dominant views that are eating us up.

FYI- I found two fabulous sets that I plan to rock all summer along.

Happy Summer!

 

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It DOES matter if you’ re BLACK or WHITE.

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It does matter if you’re black or white (or in-between) actually, and I think it may have to MJ himself, too.

It matters because the world is DIVERSE.

Diverse in cultures, colours, language, customs, religions, practices, opportunities.

Diverse in access to shelter, safety, stability, fresh food supplies, health aid and financial support.

Diverse in EDUCATION, access to it, the content of it.

It matters because the colour of peoples skin has determined their social status globally, since colonisation. White supremacy  has determined ownership of land, and distribution of money, care, respect and justice.

To deny this history, and the effects of  such blatantly racist, inhumane actions, and to deny the existence of ones cultural heritage, is to deny part of their identity.

“Fit in or Fuck Off”

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In other words, demanding that all citizens of a country (like Australia) be part of the ONE EQUAL, HOMOGENISED TEAM that thinks and acts in the same way, not only denies the celebration of individuality and difference, it alienates and isolates the ‘others’.  It is also racist.

Last week I had a mind- altering convo with a few pals. Being the wanna- be philosophers we are, we were (as always) pondering the problems with the world and the need for social change, when a guy friend said “we just need to treat others as we’d like to be treated, it is simple”.

My friend responsed with a long pause before asking DO WE THOUGH? how do you know how the people in Somalia or Indigenous people want to be treated? do they have the same needs as you? have you had the same life experience?

She made a point, and I think she is right. We don’t know what is right for everyone, or what others may deem best for their circumstances.

We know that we all experience life differently, and have a different story  and perceptive as a result. We also, particularly in OZ, celebrate our multicultural society and laid back, fun loving attitudes. But there are limits.

Limits on what we consider “normal”, “acceptable” and “cool”.

These constricting labels don’t just apply to people with darker skin obviously, I mean we can’t even legalise gay marriage (or find healthy weights on the cat walks)

Unfortunately, when something or someone is foreign and unknown, they are often seen as a threat. And instead of educating ourselves by interacting with, and getting to know different people, cultures, practices, norms and celebrating diversity, we sit in our glass boxes and judge, assume and isolate.

This is such a shame, because not only do we miss out on the rich experience of story exchange, we miss the opportunity to identity our similarities as humans~~ as people navigating this big scary world side by side.

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I don’t see any benefit in pointing the blame at our selves individually, as shaming never gets us far and it is obvious that we, especially in the western world, have been programed to think this way. I mean FFS, where are the black and Asian emojis? Why is the angel blonde?

Even in Asia, models and actors are photoshopped to look Eurasian. This is SAD.

IMG_1752 Look, I aint’ perfect. Assumptions about culture, race and characteristics are so deeply ingrained in my European veins, that it’s impossible to claim that I’ve never made a stupid judgement in my life.

But I am lucky to have friends from different parts of the world, with different skin colours and mother tongues. I have more in common with some of my ‘foreign’ pals then I do with my white neighbours. I know this because we have taken the time to get to know each other and to bond. Bond over our similarities and our differences.

I think we need to start putting a lot more emphasis on the character of people, and whether or not they are a fuckhead, and a little less on the connotations of their associated labels. Maybe then we’ll reconsider who we choose to run our country too?

Happy Friday!

SEX [Cut the Bullshit]

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First things first I’m a freakin’ realist (if you haven’t noticed already). Apart from the odd trips to the private island where my prince charming rides his horse along coconut laden beaches, I like to believe the media and other poisons haven’t totally saturated the way I think and act.

Floating amongst the smart, independent, liberated & tech savy, and apparently lazy, debt-ridden and self-obsessed [Y] generation, I often find I hold multiple views on singular topics. I’ve been told its because of my 20+ status, but I like to think it is because I ask a lot of [Y] questions.

The responses I received when announcing I was going to be writing a post about SEX involved a lot of WHAT?! NO! HAHA! YOLO! DO IT!. This in itself reiterated the difference levels of value and importance we place on the topic; and the differing meanings we associate with sex.

If you’re doing it out of a committed relationship, chances are you’re a dirty, desperate whore; or a wild, free spirited party gal/ ladies man. If you’re not, then you MUST be part of some weird religious cult, right? you frigid virgin! Oh and if you ARE in a relationship, I hope the sex is good and consistent so nobody strays, but not SO good that I have to hear about it during work. Over compensating for shitty sex is so fucking embarrassing.

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But Y is it so embaro? what determines what is and isn’t good sex other than porno’s and hollywood? Y do we have to pretend that it was ammazzzingggg when it was shit. Or that it’s happening 7 days a week. Or down play the frequency. Or justify sleeping with painfully average people because (gasp) we actually love them.

More importantly though, when did sex become the determining factor of LOVE, CHEMISTRY and INTERCOURSE?

Y don’t we admit it can be fucking awkward, painful, boring and grossly sweaty?

Y does dick and boob size have to come into the equation?

Y do teens feel pressured to just ‘get it out of the way’?

Y do we do it when we don’t want to, or refrain when we do?

Y does horny = whore?

Y do we find it acceptable to use friends and strangers as sex machines without commitment?

Y is sex used to exercise power, control and abuse?

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A few years ago my uni pals and I were confronted with an alternative view of sex, one that actually reflects some of the reality I alluded to above.

As some of you may know, the incredibly talented Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in GIRLS. Being the realistic, feminist arts students that we were, one could assume that we frothed over the sight of Lena’s gut hanging out while she ate cake on the toilet, her oily hair and stretch marks captured from unflattering angles during sex, and the constant whining of confusion, debt and frustrations about relationships and life that she expresses constantly. But instead we were conflicted.

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I distinctively remember my girlfriend walking into class and announcing in a huff ” I’m so confused at the moment, like, I love Hannah (Lena’s character) but she fucking annoys me and grosses me out”. I was shocked by the similarities in our thinking process but didn’t realise the cause of it.

Unfortunately we are not honest. Our parents awkwardly talk about precautions, their views on appropriate locations, and timing/ stages to engage in sex, our schools provide us with stunning images of genitalia and STD’s and, well, we all know what mass media does. Can you recall guts banging together during a steaming sex scene? didn’t think so.

But no one warns us about the first time. Premature ejaculation and erectile disfunction (note the language) are framed as MAJOR issues/ illness’ that are also hushed, and fake boobies, artificial himen and vagina tightening  are on the rise [WTF].

I am not for one second claiming that sex is over rated or unenjoyable. That would be ridiculous. It is a basic human need after all, and can play an important role in romantic relationships.  All I am saying is that it is time to start TALKING HONESTLY!

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 Talking honestly
with new flames/ sex partners/ catches etc BEFORE sex occurs. At least learn their name and age?  fav sport? too much? I think defining of our intentions and expectations from the get- go is vital in establishing a basic level of respect. 

Talking honestly about our past relationships, sexual experiences and related insecurities. we need to STOP bullshitting about how many people we’ve slept with. It’s pathetic and counter productive.

Talking honestly with our pals about sex. Frequency, quality, relevance to the latest Asian porn.

Talking honestly with our partner about our likes and dislikes, and most importantly not letting our EGO take over when it’s not a 10/10 home run. Good things take time. 

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People appreciate honestly. We bond over authenticity, in realising how similar our struggles and experiences are.

Lets cut the bloody bullshit and start being a bit more real.

Strip your clothes off, grab some cake and go sit on the toilet.

 

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Boy- Blaming is as Stupid as Kale ‘Chips’!

I was not born politically correct. As hard as my parents, friends parents and teachers tried, I failed to accept the status quo, instead asking a shit-load of WHY questions (and swearing a lot). Rules are not my friend, nor are institutions or religions that demand we act and think in a particular way (particularly when used to justify disgusting behaviour).

Because we don’t really know how we will respond to a situation until we experience it first hand, I like to let the present moment determine what the hell I do.

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I am quite a conflicted cookie in my views, and while I aspire to be a special petal whose views are NEVER racist, sexist or discriminatory, selfish or materialistic,  I am a sinful sista who isn’t necessarily seeking forgiveness. Being a perfect person can be hard, defining ‘perfect’ is even harder.

On my days off spent down-ward dogging & omm-ing and watching doco’s on the horrible injustices of the world, I’m all for the sharing of tax payers money, aid and support. How could I not be? There is enough wealth in the world for everyone to be equal.

However, I have had my moments, where my patience and perseverance has worn thin after eight gross hours of dealing with dick heads (the public)/ wiping babies bums and boogies (and vom) where I consider an ‘every man for himself ‘ attitude because I work HARD 4 da money (to hell I go!).

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My constant battle between perfection and not giving a fuck includes the jumping between the months I choose to be murdered by hot wax and those I don’t, kale ‘chips‘ (they are NOT chips!) and hotdogs, and make- up over bare- faced beauty. While the sans- bra verses push up dilemma may seem trivial, it is one that is influenced by a cocktail of belief systems, that determine how I am apparently respected and valued as a human being, and as girl.

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Having attended a private girls school for 10 long years of wearing mens shirts & ties and knee-length sacks designed to deflect as much ‘D’ as possible, the  strong-willed, intelligent, healthy, determined, independent profile of #femininity was well and truly drummed into my straw hat sheltered noggin.

Studying social sciences, which involves a constant banging on about the lack of equality in the rights and respect I receive as an objectified female in a patriarchal society, has only highlighted the battle on new levels.

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It would be safe to assume that my apparent free-spirited vibe and well-travelled life, combined with my education, hometown (‘hippy land’) (and past relationships) could possibly equate to a man- hating, system- bashing perspective that does not include razors, plastic surgery or, heaven forbid, loving a sinful, wealthy business man, and I would not DARE be caught dead in a kitchen baking scones, particularly if they are for a man.

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OF COURSE the extent to which the wolves of wall street abuse their power infuriates me. The gender pay gap pisses me off, the thought or rape scares and disgusts me, and if a guy ever demanded sex or a sandwich, his little willy might be chopped right off. I can also recognise that I would born into a country where I don’t experience inhumane violations of rights or gender oppression either.

HOWEVER.. I feel like men can get a pretty bad rap these days, especially in relation to women’s insecurities and independence.

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There are a lot of guys who participate in the same classes as me, who share a frustration with existing inequality and the agenda setters of the propaganda we are subjected to.

My counselling units consist of a cross-section of guys from different disciplines, and you know what? a lot of them are more empathetic and helpful in their practice (and general convo) than the ladies.

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While I may have had my heart hurt, I’ve often run crying to my male pals who have spent hours listening to my dramatic outbursts and provided a lot of love and advice. It is not fair to assume men don’t experience the emotions women do, or to expect them to express them in the ways we do. There are gender differences, and the way I, along with my gal pals, often blame boys for our problems is  pathetic.

One of the things I admire about a particularly friend of mine, is her honesty about her life goals. While she is a smart, pretty, open minded, well- travelled LADY with a business degree, she kinda just wants to marry to the man of her dreams, make some adorable bambinos and cook her Nonna’s lasagna.

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Loving a man does not necessarily strip someone of their independence, especially if they have chosen to. As modern women we can be ‘strong’ and ‘successful’ and still want to be cuddled and reassured. And if we enjoy having the door held or accepting a free drink, then good for us! (Whats so bad about Chivalry?)

All I am saying, is that men are not the only cause of women’s issues, and it’s silly to generalise and put all the blame on them. Not all guys support the pay gap, nor do they only want girls for sex. As a naturally independent person, I am tired of being told that I must be so all the time, and that I shouldn’t wear a tight skirt unless I want to be objectified.

I like my ass, I like guys and I am a strong-minded (obviously), independent woman.

The End.

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Happily Diseased: the bug that should be contagious

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” 
― Marcel Proust

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 I have received a lot of feedback on my writing so far (I know, its been 5 days, I’m not J.K Rowling… yet!), and the most commonly shared request was for me to write about my personal experiences, because people love that stuff.

This got me thinking about one of life’s biggest ‘teachers’ I am lucky enough to have experienced; travel. Now before you close the tab at the dread of me bragging on about the awe inspiring buildings, museums and countries I’ve seen because I’m just so fucking cultured, give me a chance. I’ll also leave the enlightening experiences from the jungles of Ubud for another time (it will come though, sorry). Instead I am referring to the everyday stuff that make up our lives, but can be totally altered by experiencing life outside our cushy beds of clean comfortable sheets and the smells of Mumma’s cooking.

Speaking of mothers, it was mine who encouraged my first adventure the tender age of 17. Following a week of waking up on a tin roof and downing shots at 6am before passing out, then waking once more on a floating mattress in the ocean (otherwise known as schoolies/ leavers), I boarded a wobbly Air Tiger flight to Cairns where I started a month of backpacking on the East Coast of Australia. Thanks to a cheeky fake ID, my world suddenly opened up. I quickly learnt of the excitement that comes with being free to go where I wanted, do what I wanted, for as long as I wanted.

To my surprise, I remember my first light bulb moment which occurred in the grungy walls of a 12 bed dorm. From memory it was a late arvo and I had risen from my hung over haze to the sight of a naked guy getting dressed. He said “hello, big night?” I was slightly overwhelmed, he was rather attractive. I then sat up and had a chat, and before long I was talking to a group of  travellers.

I was sitting on my bunk listening to everyone’s stories, before I had the chance to introduce myself as the representative of my country. In that moment I could be whoever I wanted. This memory has stuck like glue because it was in the moment of haze that I realized that there is a massive world outside my own, where my little insecurities and pressures did not (and still don’t) exist. It didn’t matter if I was a good or bad student, daughter, girlfriend, person, whether I was ‘cool’, or what my ‘past’ was. I lost the imaginary labels! I realized that we can decide who we are, and that I was good enough just as I was. For 17 this was life changing.

It wasn’t really until I was 19 and on a tour bus in Italia with another group of strangers that my self confidence was majorly boosted once more through travel. I flew to the country solo, sat my ass down next to a stranger and introduced myself. It was nerve-racking but I needed a buddy. Within ten minutes of chit chat the passenger turned to me and said “I really like you”. Within 24 hours I had bonded with the majority of the group. Making friends with people from all over the world is one of the most fulfilling activities. Particularly as a solo traveller, building bonds is very comforting and uplifting. It also reminds us of how silly cultural barriers and stereotypes are too. Turns out the French, Germans and Koreans are some of the nicest, warm and welcoming hilarious people I’ve met.

Travel brings power and love back into your life.” 
― Rumi

As well as the rattling of love making at 4AM, shared dorms and bathrooms also force us to embrace our bodies! We lose the control over where and when we change, wash, how long for, and after 10 hours of busing or walking around, the thought of whipping out the GHD’s just aint’ that high on the priority list. Luckily the mentality of the majority of people I’ve met travelling, particularly in backpackers has been a  ‘who gives a shit!’ one.  Just like that, the masks are lifted, and we are encouraged to view life and our priorities differently.

This links to my final and most profound reasoning as to why I believe travelling is fantastic, the loss of CONTROL! Travelling, particularly without concrete plans, forces us to trust ourselves and the world a little bit, which is a liberating experience. From sharing bedrooms with strangers, to boarding local modes of transport and gallivanting around foreign land, we are vulnerable.  We are often unsure of how to get somewhere or to find something. These experiences not only encourage us to challenge the lack of trust in strangers that is ingrained in us from childhood, they also suggest that planning can work against us, as there is so much to do, see and learn when in a new place. Not knowing where exactly I am going next is also bloody fun and liberating. 

“Not all those who wonder are lost.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Some of my most fondest memories come from spontaneous encounters that were un- planned. So often we plan our interactions and activities, leaving little room for spontaneity. Travel taught me that this isn’t always necessary, to let life happen naturally. Because it does anyway!

The last little point I have to include for those still reading, is that some of my greatest friendships and life teachers have been found through travel- either on my own, or through others who have found their way to me. I don’t know who I would be without them, or where I would have lived and learned at certain points either- Gracias Amigos!

Swiss Alps 2014
Swiss Alps 2014