25 February 2017

River of Life // Verbal Spill

So, it's nearly March. In a normal year I would probably say "blimey look how time flies, I can't believe it!" and then carry on with my day. This is not something I can do in 2017.

Every day is one day closer to my upcoming exams and that makes it very easy to feel like I'm being swept away in an ocean of paper and ink towards the inevitable. It's terrifying. It feels like I have no control, as if time is whizzing right past me and dragging me along with it.

My life is moving so quickly. I'm teetering on the edge of my future; my sixth form plans are in full motion which is leaving me excited but dizzy because the last thing I remember is walking into primary school for the first time. I'm still waiting for the day that looking in the mirror and seeing a fifteen year old ceases to shock me.

I know this is something everyone goes through, and I unfortunately know that this feeling is going to be mirrored in five years when I'm leaving university and teetering on the edge of a career. Nevertheless, it feels like I'm being pulled through rapids on a river and it doesn't matter what I try to hold onto I'm being pulled forward. I suppose that's just the passage of time.

Today I visited a wood where I used to go as a child. I reminded myself that the first time I came here was around eight years ago, which was a totally bizarre concept. The reason for that is, after all this time, everything is the same. The trees are the same shade of green, the pathways created by dog walkers remain, the length of the grass is still the same and the sky is the same shade of grey. It reminded me that although my life is charging full speed ahead, some things just don't change. This was my one thing to hold onto on my river and for one moment, a beautiful moment, this kept me stationary.

My entire life is changing and constantly morphing into something new, something different, and that's okay! My hair is darker, I'm taller, my face is thinner, my heart is full of more love than it ever has been, my life is more complicated than ever and yet it's as simple as it ever will be. But the roads I walk down, the shop I buy my sweets from, the building on the corner that was once a hairdressers but now isn't - these things will always be there. I can always rely on the world around me to stay, it might change, but it's always going to be here.

I think my message for today is this: you've got to go with the flow of your own  river of life, I know it might sometimes seem like it controls you or pulling you forward, but it's the one thing that's keeping you moving!

Maybe this post has been a ramble, but it helped me think at least

// Jeani

6 February 2017

Lost chances // poem // Verbal Spill

A never-changing photograph
Tinted so lightly with colour
But mostly monotonous gray scale
Like the crease of an old crumpled dollar

Change brought excitement and hope
My life was moving so quickly
I refused to be one who chose to mope
Then plans were painted over so thickly

Bubbling joy and suppressed excitement
Just going for the ride and the chance
But a single second of experience
Made my heart want to grapple for more than one glance

Daydreaming and thinking
Suddenly I want nothing more
How can only a week have gone by?
When it seems like years have passed over my door

I told myself I would not take the blow too hard
I guess truth be told I always knew it was coming
Yet disappointment sits lodged in my heart
The image is gone of what life was becoming

I try to convince myself of the positives
I always knew the situation seemed strange
All I can do now is accept the obvious
Life will go on as if nothing has changed.

// Jeani

5 February 2017

High // poem

Wild eyes and thrumming heart
Sounds like romance or alluring art
I smell smoke on their blatant lies
How can I help but roll my eyes?

Not my place. I cannot judge
I'm leaving soon but I can't budge
It nags the corners of mind
Like moulding matter I cannot find

I put my faith in them 
Four years together like a sewn skirt hem
But they pick each sewing thread apart
As if it does not hurt my heart

I feel disgusted; their indifference!
Justification - it's just plain ignorance
Searching for the next kind of high
Not bothered by those left behind

I hold the hands of those kicked out
At risk of their incriminating doubt
But I will stand for what I believe in
Regardless of what life has been

They bring their bottles to their lips
Its all I can do to not be sick
To watch them waste our years away
As if they cannot hear the things I say

Remember blackened lungs cannot cry out
It does not matter how loud you shout
The actions of your past catch up to you
Consequences always do

I know that I must rise above it
It's difficult I must admit
Watching those I've strived to protect
So simply and easily forget

Tap. tap. tap. Each footstep further away
Sounds grow distant I know I can't stay
A new path laid out right before me
I say goodbye to those who couldn't see

I will never turn back. Not now. Not ever
Because no matter what, I will remember
The way I reached up for the sky
While they found ways of getting high.

// Jeani 

4 February 2017

Is Gender Real?

First of all, a little piece of background information for you all: today I attended a conference which involved a 30 minute talk on gender and sexuality, hence the perceivably unprovoked content of this post - it's okay, there's a method to my madness.

Foucault and Freud
French philosopher Foucault believed that gender is something forced upon you by the world, or people, around you. This belief falls under the idea of Freud's invention of the unconscious mind. Both these men essentially said that your character is formed through the storing of information in the unconscious part of your brain. Little confused? It's okay, stick with me.

Gender falls under an attribute formed through the unconscious mind according to philosopher Foucault. Society presses certain characteristics onto different sexes unconsciously through the media and through each other, I'm sure that as a child your parents either bought you barbies or car toys in alignment with your sex. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but most children I'm sure are raised this way. Without ever truly being aware of this indoctrination, children slowly become moulded into their typical gender without a single moment of doubt or debate. I hear your scream of horror at my use of the word "indoctrination" because of course, you have not exactly been deliberately raised to hate an entire race of people similar to the children of Nazi Germany, but the process is arguably similar. 

Natural or social construct?
So I bring us back to the question - is gender real? Or, is it a social construct formed over the millions of years of humanity? As brought up today in my conference, gender norms originate from our caveman days where humanity was a lot more animalistic i.e. men hunted and brought back the food while women were gatherers and looked after their children. It's shocking to think that millions of years later, humanity has only slightly altered or developed itself from its original heritage.

Of course, over the past hundred years there has been a huge increase in movement towards gender equality; however, there are still a lot of basic thought-processes instilled in us through hundreds of years that have not changed. For example, the undeniable conclusions we make when thinking of people of authority or servitude, the undeniable assumption that a girl isn't good at sport, the undeniable presumption that if a boy wears makeup he must be gay. Part of the reason these assumptions are there is because through society these ideas are enforced through media, drama, advertisement, education, family.

Genders and sexes
 There is a prominent argument that there are merely two genders, male and female, one of these will be assigned to you at birth and for the rest of your life you will follow a certain path laid out for you by people from previous generations which dictate which toys you should play with as a child, which clothes you should wear, the length of your hair. With an external point of view, it seems quite outlandish, preposterous even, to think that the shape of ones body can change the entire path of your life. 

As discussed today at my conference, there is a distinct difference between "sexes" and "genders". Your sex is your body, how you were born at birth, your internal and external body. But gender? Gender is a lot more complicated: gender is what you associate yourself with, how you present yourself, how you feel. As far as I'm concerned, the way a person chooses to present themselves is all that matters, it is certainly not anybody else's place to say whether or not that person is right about themselves.

Except, a lot of people do take it upon themselves to decide whether or not a person is right about their gender. This leads to bullying and increase in stigmas against transgendered people because people are afraid of the unusual, of what is not like them, resulting in defensive behaviour.

Conclusion - Is gender real?
So is gender real? Perhaps, there is certainly evidence to show that it is natural to label and categorize people into different groups. After all, animals are male or female and there is no questioning the gender of horses or puppies, are we not mere animals?  On the other hand, humanity has evolved from simple animal characteristics into creatures with complex minds and personalities which certainly have capability for release from perhaps unnecessary labels.

You tell me, leave your comments below!

// Jeani