Just a quick post today because I had some thoughts but I don’t have the time to write everything I want to say :)
I was in part inspired by The Happiness Project (yes… which I have been harping on about for a little while now) and what Gretchen said about being a treasure house of memories. I really thought about it and started looking through my old photos, even though I’ve barely taken any this year. I’m not a very big photo taker anyway, but I realized that all the times I HAVE bothered to whip out my camera/phone to take a photo weren’t necessarily the happiest times I remember. It’s not always the birthdays, the graduation dinners, or any other significant event. Mostly it’s just something that happened in my day-to-day life when I’ve been too busy to take a photo or otherwise mention it in writing.
It’s made me think that maybe I would benefit from more regular photo taking. That doesn’t mean taking more photos at events or get togethers, but rather getting into the habit of taking photos every time something catches my interest or attention - for inspiration, if you will, as well as for recalling happy memories. I also played around with the idea of scrapbooking (kikki.k’s influence again). Perhaps I should get a Polaroid camera and get into the habit of bringing it around with me daily, capturing any small thing that is significant to me, so that I can have a visual component to any scrapbook/journal entries. I was also contemplating on saving it for a special trip, but the word special seems like such a difficult word to use anymore. What constitutes as a special day, phase of life, memory, event or occasion?
On the same topic of saving things for special days, I was also thinking about what Gretchen said, about saving things for later. I completely agree with her sentiment that it’s important, most of the time, to not do that. I’m not a hoarder - as a matter of fact, I’m a purger - and I make it a habit of using up things now. I used to save things, until… until I realized there was no point. I saved nice clothes for occasions that never happened. I grew out of things, lost things, had expired things, didn’t use up enough of something before I started getting bored of it, all because I had a more special occasion or time in my life that I wanted to use those things for. I saw my mum doing the exact same thing with her nice clothes and makeup. My mum is in her 60s. In recent years I’ve found myself telling her, “What are you saving that pretty blouse for?” and in reply she would simply say, “Well, I don’t know, but something special I guess.”
But as a matter of fact, I found myself a hypocrite when I noticed something in my room that I had been saving up for a very long time.
I was in primary school (I’m 23 now) when someone gifted me a beautiful, beautiful Winnie the Pooh diary. It had a matte-finish hardcover which was a big deal for a little girl, was illustrated with classic Pooh and Eeyore in the front, and even had a little clasp to hold the two covers together. The pages inside were a pale blue, uniformly lined with a darker border around the edges of each page. It’s been - what - 13 years, maybe more. I still haven’t written a single word in that journal, and deep inside I still feel like I’m saving it up for something. Saving it up for a day when the words I say will really matter, and I won’t look back on that journal and cringe at what I’ve written, that I won’t want to throw it away as a less-than-welcome reminder of the kiddish adult I used to be.
But it occurred to me that even though I never thought my words were important in hindsight, the act of writing is important. If not for preserving memories, words are important because they help to organize, decipher, highlight and improve your thoughts. Or that’s what it means to me anyway. Change and improvement is inevitable. I don’t really think it matters whether I am 10 or 20 or 30, because chances are I will still look back and think what an idiot I have been! But the issue is that if I don’t use that journal, it could easily sit around for another 13 years - lovely, appreciated, but purposeless. And perhaps the most tragic thing to happen to a gift is to not use it at all.
Something else I also wanted to mention, which I don’t have time to talk about in depth today, is Gretchen’s 12 Commandments. Basically these are her personal commandments that have served her well during her adult life, and it’s 12 things that she always wants to remember and turn to during hard, frustrating or confusing times. I actually tried writing my own and came up with more than 12 - so next time I make a post, I hope to have narrowed down to 12 and to share what they are and why I think they are important.
For now, hope everyone is having a good Tuesday. Hump day is coming soon, hang on there!
Hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend :) I was watching It’s Kind of a Funny Story the other day, when I came across a quote that I found interesting:
"The absolute worst part of being depressed is the food. A person’s relationship with food is one of their most important relationships. I don’t think your relationship with your parents is that important. Some people never know their parents. I don’t think your relationship with your friends are important. But your relationship with air - that’s key. You can’t break up with air. You’re kind of stuck together. Only slightly less crucial is water. And then food."
It struck me as being very truthful. I think that in the past few months I’ve had a very volatile relationship with food (although not of my choosing), and that I’ve been so fixated on it that ‘good’ or ‘bad’ mealtimes pretty much determine my entire mood for that day. If my stomach feels upset, I have a poor appetite and have trouble eating, then I generally get angry, frustrated or depressed. On the other hand, if I feel physically hungry, am able to eat decent sized meals and genuinely enjoy it, I feel energized and happy and even proud of that small accomplishment.
As easy as it is to lapse into a state where my relationship with food and my physical body determines my appreciation of my day, I don’t think it’s very healthy. I think that from now on I’ll try to separate the two, and be mindful of the fact that I can still experience a good relationship with other elements in my day to day life, even if my relationship with food is not so great :)
Have also started keeping a therapy journal, which I’m really excited about! I hope that it will encourage me to write down everything that I find helpful and positively thought-provoking. I’m rather obsessed with journals (why does kikki.k always come out with new ones I want to buy?). Although I’m used to keeping just one main journal, I’ve started playing with the idea of having different journals for absolutely everything - dance, meditation, food, exercise, negative ranting, happy events, everything. At present I have a main journal, a therapy journal, an electronic journal (on my phone), an errands/organizing journal, a happiness journal and a negative ranting journal - the last two of which are still empty.
I’ve been putting off writing in my negative ranting journal, because I wasn’t sure if it was healthier to express negative thoughts and feelings OR to not acknowledge them and pretend they’re not there. I don’t have the answer for that yet.
On the other hand, I’ve been dithering about with my happiness journal for a long time, simply because I didn’t feel as though I’ve had any days so far which have been outstandingly, overwhelmingly happy. For some reason I felt as though it would be a waste to make a record of a day that is only averagely happy, since I wanted to keep a literary collection of only the very best days that have occurred. But then I wondered if this is the kind of thinking that leads to a whole life of waiting and observing rather than truly living. And so I decided that I would write in that journal, any day that I felt a genuine, full-hearted moment of happiness, no matter how small.
I am happy today because I realized I do like myself and the person I’ve become.
I am happy today because I spent time with somebody I loved, had a great conversation and really, like really, enjoyed my food.
I am happy today because I had a revelation that made me feel better about life.
I am happy today.
On a side note, I am halfway through The Happiness Project and really liking what Gretchen Rubin has to say. I like the idea of separating a year into twelve months, and focusing each month on something you want to change or improve in your life, and documenting your experiences, challenges and revelations. Perhaps that’s something that I can keep in mind for later :)
Today feels like a good day. I’m pretty sure it’s just because I managed to kick myself out of the house for a walk AND I had three bowls of pasta (I’m a monster today and very very proud of it after struggling with food for almost 7 days in a row), but anyhow. I feel like I earned it!
There is a fundamental reason why we look at the sky with wonder and longing—for the same reason that we stand, hour after hour, gazing at the distant swell of the open ocean. There is something like an ancient wisdom, encoded and tucked away in our DNA, that knows its point of origin as surely as a salmonid knows its creek. Intellectually, we may not want to return there, but the genes know, and long for their origins—their home in the salty depths. But if the seas are our immediate source, the penultimate source is certainly the heavens… The spectacular truth is—and this is something that your DNA has known all along—the very atoms of your body—the iron, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and on and on—were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.
Rape culture is when I was six, and
my brother punched my two front teeth out.
Instead of reprimanding him, my mother
said “Stefanie, what did you do to provoke him?”
When my only defense was my
mother whispering in my ear, “Honey, ignore him.
Don’t rile him up. He just wants a reaction.”
As if it was my sole purpose, the reason
six-year-old me existed,
was to not rile up my brother.
It’s starts when we’re six, and ends
when we grow up assuming the natural state of a man
is a predator, and I must walk on eggshells, as to
not “rile him up.” Right, mom?
Rape culture is when through casual dinner conversation,
my father says that women who get raped are asking for it.
He says, “I see them on the streets of New York City,
with their short skirts and heavy makeup. Asking for it.”
When I used to be my father’s hero but
will he think I was asking for it? (will he think)
Will he think I deserved it?
Will he hold me accountable or will he hold me,
even though the touch of a man - especially my father’s -
burns as if I were holding the sun in the palm of my hand.
Rape culture is you were so ashamed, you thought it would
be easier for your parents to find you dead,
than to say, “Hey mom and dad,”
It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for it.
I never asked for this attention, I never asked
to be a target, to be weak because I was born with
two X chromosomes, to walk in fear, to always look behind me,
in front of me, next to me, I never asked to be the prey.
I never wanted to spend my life being something
someone feasts upon, a meal for the eternally starved.
I do not want to hear about the way I taste anymore.
I will not let you eat me alive.
Rape culture is I shouldn’t defend my friend when
an overaggressive frat boy has his hand on her ass,
because standing up for her body “makes me a target.”
Women are afraid to speak up, because
they fear their own lives - but I’d rather take the hit
than live in a culture of silence.
I am told that I will always be the victim, pre-determined
by the DNA in my weaker, softer body.
I have birthing hips, not a fighter’s stance.
I am genetically pre-dispositioned to lose every time.
Rape culture is he was probably abused as a child.
When he even has some form of a justification
and all I have are the things that provoked him,
and the scars from his touch are woven of the darkest
and toughest strings, underneath the layer of my skin.
Rape culture leaves me finding pieces of him left inside of me.
A bone of his elbow. The cap of his knee.
There is something so daunting in the way that I know it will take
me years to methodically extract him from my body.
And that twinge I will get sometimes in my arm fifteen years later?
Proof of the past.
Like a tattoo I didn’t ask for.
Somehow I am permanently inked.
Rape culture is you can’t wear that outfit anymore
without feeling dirty, without feeling like
you somehow earned it.
You will feel like you are walking on knives,
every time you wear the shoes
you smashed his nose in with.
Imaginary blood on the bottom of your heels,
thinking, maybe this will heal me.
Those shoes are your freedom,
But the remains of a life long fight.
You will always carry your heart,
your passion, your absolute will to live,
but also the shame and the guilt and the pain.
I saved myself but I still feel like I’m walking on knives.
Rape culture is “Stefanie, you weren’t really raped, you were
one of the lucky ones.”
Because my body wasn’t penetrated by a penis,
but fingers instead, that I should feel lucky.
I should get on my hands and knees and say, thank you.
Thank you for being so kind.
Rape culture is “things could have been worse.”
“It’s been a month, Stefanie. Get out of bed.”
“You’ll have to get over this eventually.”
“Don’t let it ruin your life.”
Rape culture is he told you that after he touched you,
no one would ever want you again.
And you believed him.
Rape culture is telling your daughters not to get raped,
instead of teaching your sons how to treat all women.
That sex is not a right. You are not entitled to this.
The worst possible thing you can call a woman is a
slut, a whore, a bitch.
The worst possible thing you can call a man is a
bitch, a pussy, a girl.
The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl.
The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl.
Being a woman is the ultimate rejection,
the ultimate dismissal of strength and power, the
When I have a daughter,
I will tell her that she is not
When I have a daughter, she will know how to fight.
I will look at her like the sun when she comes home
with anger in her fists.
Because we are human beings and we do not
always have to take what we are given.
They all tell her not to fight fire with fire,
but that is only because they are afraid of her flames.
I will teach her the value of the word “no” so that
when she hears it, she will not question it.
Don’t you dare apologize for the fierce love
you have for yourself
and the lengths you go to preserve it.
I am alive because of the fierce love I have
for myself, and because my father taught me
to protect that.
He taught me that sometimes, I have to do
my own bit of saving, pick myself off the
ground and wipe the dirt off my face,
because at the end of the day,
there is only me.
I am alive because my mother taught me
to love myself.
She taught me that I am an enigma - a
mystery, a paradox, an unfinished masterpiece and
I must love myself enough to see how I turn out.
I am alive because even beaten, voiceless, and back
against the wall, I knew there was an ounce of me
worth fighting for.
And for that, I thank my parents.
Instead of teaching my daughter to cover herself up,
I will show her how to be exposed.
Because no is not “convince me”.
No is not “I want it”.
You call me,
“Little lady, pretty girl, beautiful woman.”
But I am not any of these things for you.
I am exploding light,
my daughter will be exploding light,
better cover your eyes.
Rape Culture (Cover Your Eyes)
The Midnight Planétarium watch was a collaboration between Van Cleef & Arpels and Christiaan van der Klaauw. The watch is made of 396 separate parts and features the six closest planets orbiting the sun in real time (Uranus and Neptune were left out because you probably won’t live long enough to see either one complete a full orbit).