Sunday, 18 January 2015

On ignorance

Salutations friends!

So, I wouldn't wish upon anybody the experience of being bullied, discriminated against, catcalled, or harassed etc. because those experiences are awful.

But at the same time, I would never wish upon someone the ignorance of never having experienced any form of the above.

It all comes back to the idea that we need to have the bad times to appreciate the good.
 photo daffadil1_zps31326c9a.jpg Without having been left out, it is harder to be aware of how exclusive you are, because seeing someone left out does not bring back all the painful memories you have of being excluded.
Without having been catcalled on the street, you don't know how it feels to be on the receiving end of these "compliments"; instantly hyper self-aware, embarrassed, awkward and knowing that you should do more than smiling uncomfortably and continuing like it was nothing, but feeling too afraid to do more.
Without having your identity used as an insult, it is harder to know why saying that's so gay, you're such a girl, tranny, you're a retard etc. is so damaging.
Without having someone bully you, and pick apart what you do and say everyday; without having someone physically or emotionally manipulate you, it is harder to recognise when you are doing it yourself.

You know objectively that to be a good person, you shouldn't do those things, but you don't have the memories to remind you why.
 photo daffadil2_zpsee161b3a.jpg The other day I was talking to a friend about the Imitation Game (side note: highly recommend) and she was saying that a mutual friend of ours found the flashbacks to the main character going through school really hard-hitting and surprising. I asked why, because to me the way he was treated by his classmates because of his intelligence combined with a lack of social skills was sad, but not unexpected. My friend told me that the reason our mutual friend found those scenes so startling was because she hadn't realised how terribly people with social or learning differences could be treated at school.

This confused me for a moment, because to me it was obvious, simply because I had never been on the higher rungs of the popularity ladder at school. But then I realised that, of course.
Of course she wouldn't know what that feels like. Of course she wouldn't have noticed it happening right under her nose at school. Of course she would find it surprising to learn that some people don't have a good school life, and that it isn't some mythical thing that only happens in American dramas.

She has a strong personality that can be slightly intimidating, but she is very kind, and fun to talk to, and liked by most people. A little left of popular is how I would describe her. And so she simply was not aware of how awful people can be when they don't like you, particularly in a school environment.

And so that got me thinking.

And like most of these posts, I have no definitive conclusion.

But I think that ignorance is something that is a problem, and an interesting thing to to think about, in terms of the cyclical nature of ignorance, and bullying, and how they are intrinsically linked.

ps. I updated my about page, if you want to have a wee look. :)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

18 observations for 18 years

Today, I am 18.

My day; the walk to work, presents!!, and dinner with lovely people :)

In New Zealand, that means I am an adult. I can now drink and do whatever really, there are no more things that I am too young for in the eyes of the law.

And it is an odd feeling, because I don't feel 18 at all.

When I was little, it seemed like 18 was a far off age that I would never reach. But I thought that when I did eventually reach it, I would know a lot by then.

I don't feel as if I know a lot. I am still ignorant about a lot of things. But I have learnt some things in my 18 years, and I am not as ignorant as I used to be. Especially in this past year, my 18th year, I feel as if I have learnt so much. Because I am a firm believer in the idea that “that’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible.” -Malcolm Gladwell

Anyway, here are 18 things I have learned over my 18 years.
  1. Having a good night's sleep is more important than you think, and you will always feel better in the morning.
  2. Listen to the music that you love, because life is too short to base what you listen to off what other people consider 'good music.'
  3. Read. Read all the books.
  4. Being a little bit (or a lot) weird beats being normal every time.
  5. Dress how you want to, dress for yourself, and you will feel so much more comfortable and confident.
  6. Faking it till you make it when you're nervous about talking to someone or trying something new really does work.
  7. Exercise really isn't that bad. Go for a walk, do some yoga, dance, but do something, and you will feel so much better and more productive.
  8. Hugs are the best. Always go for the hug. :)
  9. Look for the good in people. It is always there.
  10. But, there are some people you just don't need in your life.
  11. Following on, not everyone is going to like you. That doesn't matter.
  12. Dance till your feet ache, and laugh till your face won't stop smiling, because you can.
  13. It's ok to make mistakes, to compare yourself to others, to accidentally be prejudiced towards something, so long as you recognise the mistake and learn from it.
  14. The people in your life, the ones you are close to, they love you, they really do. Don't doubt that.
  15. School is not more important than your mental health.
  16. You can do it. You can. And saying that you can will help too. Think positive thoughts.
  17. Nothing lasts, not the good things or the bad, but especially not the bad. All you have to do is remember that when the going gets tough. You will make it through.
  18. It's ok to be you, unapologetically.

Ps. This is last year's birthday post, if you're curious. :)
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