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about me news opinion writing

Notes 7/3

Coffee with milk in a dark mug
Image by Nicholas Ng via Unsplash

A few days ago, a post from one of our blogging colleagues, supporting peaceful protest, vapourised just as I posted a response to it. The suppression of speech and shredding of proprietary content is only the beginning of the issues plaguing social media platforms. As Upper Echelon Gamers puts it, “Companies do not care about you.”

Many social media users complain about content banned for “reasons” including nebulous and somewhat petty rules violations. Meanwhile, the most vile content continues to be added to those same platforms seemingly without resistance. I once saw a post with an offensive word spelled out on Scrabble tiles. The justification for posting it was wordy. He knew exactly what he was doing and who would be reading. Another subscriber from a different country threatened, from the comfort of his bedsit, to get me ‘deported’ even though I am a long term resident of a country he has never even visited.

I believe that a platform like WordPress has the resources to hire staff to manually review posts flagged by an algorithm, and warn users about community policy violations. It is lazy to smoke every post that uses the flagged keyword or hashtag of the day. If you have a blog, keyword lists are not enough. People who use speech to denigrate others know how to evade the censors.

Brown paper in envelopes with fountain pen
Image by Ankhesenamunn via Unsplash

I once had a subscriber suggest here, on this blog, that “the races” should shove off to a remote part of the world so she wouldn’t have to live in harmony with us. A mutual write-off won’t make the world a better place. I’ve tried to initiate discussions on the problematic phrasing, virtue signalling and outright opportunism that occurs in times like these. Invariably, my remarks bring out a defensive response. I think the best approach is to keep using our blogs to challenge retrogressive ideas in a non-confrontational way: Art, fiction, reflections, photography, poetry, music and film. The resistance is here on WordPress.

That’s why I’m always beating the drum of engagement. As wonky as it is, this platform enables us to see more of the world. Of course it is risky to reach out and start conversations with people we have never met face-to-face. Sure, it can be a painful undertaking. And yes, it might be a terrible idea but in the exchange, I feel that getting noticed disrupts the status quo of toxic ideologies.

This leaves me with a most important question. How do we get closer to those individuals, to influence them away from divisive and destructive ideas, when the voices of the well-intentioned continue to be suppressed?

(^ν^)


Post script: As a side note, it has been five days since my attempts to upgrade this account have been thwarted. Yet, on Dashboard, I see a notice encouraging me to buy a unique domain. That is a machine talking. Not a single peep has been heard from the mysterious Help Desk humans. As far as I am concerned, they have left town.

Categories
creative writing fashion People women

Shame-free Romance (PG 16+)

 German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi doing the tango
Photo courtesy Chigirev

If romance were like sports, winning would be easy. A game has rules and a clear winner. But as Grace Dent elegantly states it, “real love with actual humans can be an arduous task.” That is why, if you’re bashful, like me, you will be appalled by the idea of approaching a person and saying, “Please, like me, please.” It seems pushy and even rude but lots of men and women do this with no fear whatsoever. I wondered if I was missing out.

Over dinner, a friend helpfully suggested that I try to be bouncy. I thought she meant I was to change into a thigh-split dress and hurl myself from a moving car.

 Rebecca Ferguson in Rogue Nation
Photo courtesy Business Insider

I liked the idea, as it is a subtle way of asking to be introduced. Until another friend explained that she meant I should mislead witnesses with a padded bra.

While my friends discussed these details, I recalled three attention-grabbing techniques favoured by women Glampions. I’ve seen these tactics in sports: The Wedge, the Lob and the Shirt Pull. They are 100% shame free.

Wedge | When a woman is talking to a man you want like, wedge yourself into the conversation with a tango style pasada, and body block. Slowly caress his thigh with your thigh, à la Gisela.

 Lonestar Rollergirls, Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Lobbing | Pretend to misunderstand information.  Lob a series of pointed and penetrating statements at your rival’s pride. For example, Fantastic Bachelor says, “Ai, you look lovely this evening.” Ai says, “Sorry I’m late. I stopped for gas.” You respond, “Oh, no! Go home and get over your case of bad gas, that’s happening right now, at this moment. Remember? You mentioned it in la toilette yesterday!” Keep at it until she evaporates.

Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open
Photo courtesy Fansided

Shirt pulling | Pull up your shirt and expose your tummy, on which you’ve scribbled your phone number. This may cause Fantastic Bachelor’s brain to short circuit. If it does, he will text you over and over until he passes out.

 Photo: London 2012 Olympics

All right. I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% shame free. But the tango looks enticing. It is a contact sport and it has a very dressy uniform.

Categories
art People women

Coffee + Heart

Melbourne – Monday, June 13 – 08.08

GUEST POST

Reflection and photos by Machine.Gun.Meow (mGm)
Facebook: Machine Gun Meow Twitter: @MachineGunMeow
Instagram: @machingunmeow

Growing up in Nairobi, as a girl of Indian heritage, diversity has shaped my worldview. I have been in a nostalgic mood of late and, given recent tragic events, SB asked me to share my morning reflection with you.

While watching The Revenant last night, I noticed the treatment of the Native Americans in the film. I said to Mr. Meow that it is unfathomable that we, as a human race, seek to hate others based on differences.

Filtered

We could go to land’s end and the hate would find us because there is always something that distinguishes one person from the other. What is more unbelievable is that the situation has changed little in the two hundred years since the film’s setting. Simply put, the hate stems from a sense of righteousness or superiority, whether you blame it on religion, ‘science’, politics or custom. I feel we must find a higher order of being instead of looking for problems where none exist.

Mixed bowl

At the moment, I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. In it, I explore the idea of diversity. The questions I contemplate are, “What is the alternative to diversity? Is it uniformity or conformity?” I wonder, is that the kind of world we want? Are we better off being cookie-cutter images of each other? Is that what would encourage acceptance?

Reflection

If the defilers of diversity were confronted with the alternatives, would they reconsider their position? This is wishful. I concede I have no solutions.

 

Categories
about me art

Letting it go…

an assortment of stationery cans, a few Disney Frozen and Heartful Fairy, colour Greetings from my desk friends.

Some stationery (note paper) with a can do attitude and best wishes for the month ahead. A little bit of support from friends can go a long way.

an assortment of stationery cans, a few Disney Frozen and Heartful Fairy, black and white

Categories
opinion People

No Views

Are our expectations a little bit unrealistic? I saw a blog post today that started with, “No views today.” The complaint had nothing to do with the rest of the post but I read it and the ONE other post that was posted the previous day. As of this post, there were only TWO posts on that blog.

Anyone who is convinced that views are a magic solution to all problems should read this article. They do not come from nowhere, and sometimes, they might mean nothing. The Trichordist released a song that got 1,000,000 views on Pandora and he earned only $17.00. It is the harsh reality.

Or how about the news that Caitlyn Jenner smashed, according to the BBC, the Twitter world record by gaining one million subscribers on her first tweet? I do not believe everything I am told by journalists, especially because I know that a team of social media consultants worked towards that target. How on Earth did one million accounts detect Ms. Jenner’s presence on Twitter if they were not expecting it? Think!

I am the above-mentioned blogger’s only subscriber at the moment. I was annoyed by “No views today,” because the follow-up was, “I don’t think I understand being social yet.” No-one can automatically detect a blog in cyberspace unless they are invited to view it through some medium or other. If not, it must be indexed before they look for keywords associated with it. 

When I started this blog, I did not quite remember that. That is why I thought that as soon as I published my first post, people from my country would be all over it to read my opinions on a current political issue. I was mistaken, so I moved on quickly and focused on other things. Nowadays, my blogging mantra is, “Don’t get up yourself.”

Here is the other reason why I have that mantra: I rarely see page views from my home country. Recently, a fellow blogger stopped visiting this blog after I mentioned that she was living (as an expatriate) in my home country. People who speak my third language avoid reading my blog, too. One expressed shock that I typed it fluently, with the correct level of formality. “C’est la guerre,” I tell myself and move right along. I am not suited to everyone’s taste. 

I check my stats maybe once a month (while covering my eyes). Did I think about how many people read my blog today as I was immersed in a battle over the placement of a comma in the notes for a fiction story? NO!

+_~

 

Originally published January 20, 2016 @ 13:42 EDT.
Updated February 02, 2016 @ 16:00 EDT.

Categories
fashion People

Faux pas

If Kublai Khan were to see my hair today (92% humidity), he would mistake me for a cave dweller. Do not be misled, Kublai. I am a vain, stuck up precisionist who was raised by a Debrett’s handbook.

I once torpedoed plans to fund a small wedding party for a recently married colleague. I objected because he invited part-time staff to his wedding. However, he snubbed full-time, worked-to-the-bone six-days-a-week staff. He did not follow protocol and inform his boss. He kept it a secret from the persons who covered for him when he skipped work.

The Monday following nuptials by the lake, the Photo Album was flopped on my desk. As I thumbed through it, there was a faux smile on my face. But he still hadn’t told me he was now married, so I did not congratulate him.

Victoria Beckham. I have two versions of that dress in grey.
Photo credit: Pop Sugar.

Snobs resemble prudes to a degree. But prudes are predictable and rigid across the board. You already know what they’ll disapprove of. To succeed as a snob, however, you need to have double standards and these must fluctuate unpredictably.

For example…

Thanks to Marc Jacobs’ final rule-bending antics at Louis Vuitton, I now have a collection of dresses that could pass for nightgowns or underwear. I have also been outdoors looking like this:

 Alexander McQueen Photo credit: Vanity Fair, Italy.

Ask my wine club. And yes, it is appropriate for male guests to remove their clothing after a few glasses of Riesling. I won a pair of neon pink lace briefs in the raffle at the last gathering. The morning after, my inbox was flooded with requests to see me wearing them. That was everyone’s way of thanking me for a fun evening out.

Now, does this view pop your tart?


A facsimile of mornings in my office. Nail polish is banned, but this goes unnoticed. 

Photo credit: Star FM, Australia.

Because I’m a snob and have double standards, that does not pass. Not at 08:13 in the morning, when my eyes have just started to focus.

Categories
about me People

Thriving as a normal, friend type

Whenever I hear a woman cursing a man, I try to find out what kind of relationship they had. At one point, I placed some of the responsibility on women who have cultivated unrealistic expectations via  Ego Butter Barbie. Later, I objected to men using S/M bedroom games as an excuse to physically torture women.

Since then, I have come to understand that quite a few women have a high tolerance for mistreatment from intimate partners. One label does not fit every woman, but it is my understanding that they get a high from retelling the worst moments of their relationships.

I will never advocate for a woman to stay in a relationship with a man who mistreats her. Hearing such stories causes me a great deal of stress, so for me, there’s a fine line between unburdening to a friend and forcing that person to experience abuse vicariously.

Specifically, I would like to discuss when this unburdening happens after it is clear what an entanglement is all about: Banana milk. When milking is over, some women say they deserve a huge helping of chocolate and cry because it was not offered to them. They refuse to see the man’s passive aggressive attempt to extract himself from the situation. “Hey, I don’t like you. See, I’m treating you like garbage. Get it? I’m politely ignoring you. Take a hint, go away.”

There’s a difference between feeling let down and failing to respect the other’s right to choose to be in a relationship. When the latter happens, I feel that some women offer up dignity and sanity, hoping to bribe chocolate out of a cow that can only provide banana milk.

Take my batchmate in university, for example. She had a fling with a fellow dorm resident, who was engaged to a law student residing in the UK. My closest friend and I sat her down. She was in love and imagined that he was, too. We told her that if he has a girlfriend and they’re engaged, that’s a non starter. His love was only in her imagination.

He graduated at the end of the semester, cut off all communication and got married in London two weeks after that. I agreed to give her my telephone number, thinking that she was a normal, friend type. On the phone, she sighed these words over and over: “I miss him. He dumped me, you know. But I miss him. I love him. I miss him so much. I love him so much. I really miss him. I really love him. He left me. I miss him.” She was talking to herself and I was obliged to overhear.

In person, she would ask how my day was going. I only said it was okay because on cue, she would continue from the middle of the thought I interrupted with my presence. Out of context, she’d continue with, “After the trip there he said he was going to do that thing we talked about.” He, we. There, that. She was not content with driving herself bonkers. If she had her way, I was headed there, too.

Broken hearts feel bad. I was nursing a breakup, myself.  Fortunately, I saw that past the point of helping her to unburden so she could move on, I was enabling her unhealthy choices. The fix was easy. I gradually spent less time listening to her. Today, I smile because I realise that she might have burnt through several potential friends in this way.

Thriving, in the context of emotional health, is a complex set of conscious decisions. But to begin, we feel that something is not right and do something to mitigate a negative spiral. I thrive when I’m around self confident people, even if they don’t feel great at the moment.

Professionally trained listeners are paid to witness hand wringing and repeated retells. They may say that this is a healthy way to recover. They might object to my method of thriving after a breakup, calling it love on the rebound. On the contrary, I prefer to remember, while my batchmate was strumming her pain, I was happy recovering with the delectable coach of the water polo team.

Categories
poetry

Jagged ends (18 + only)

I might use florid language and possess a vivid imagination but I am bashful when it comes to all matters romantic. I grew up hearing soca music on the radio. Those people do not mess around. I mean, when a song tells you to “Ride the big truck” or “Come dig it,” just imagine the lyrical carnage involved. I also did not dare go outdoors during Carnival weekend.


Jamaica Carnival revellers. Photo credit: Lahwego

I cannot write erotica, so I appreciate poets like English Delicacy, who’s agreed to let me share excerpts from her work with you. I understand the point of romantic gestures, like poetry, but I am practical to a fault, so please make me a table or shovel snow. I don’t know how I would manage a traditional wedding ceremony because slowly walking an aisle while holding a bouquet of flowers is a cannot do. Also, never do this:

 
Public proposal. Mortifying. Photo credit: Getty Images via the BBC.

Romantic poetry is fascinating even though I’m pathologically squeamish. However, what I find is that I get completely put off at the end of some poems. They all start out with promise. From Kiss (Redux),

Stubble grazes skin, soft lips clustered
Background fades into itself, time stops
Held tight, strong, unyielding touch

In the middle, most poems subtly invite readers to follow along in their imagination. From Natural Feel,

How you talk, and how I listen.
The way that your voice glides over me,
Winding and flowing around us,
Binding us like a charm.

Great so far, and I feel that most poets know what to do with their hands. However, after this point, quite a few poems get jagged. I wrote the following lines to illustrate how endings sometimes sound to me:

He slips swell dagger out of sheath
And belts her roughly underneath
Then with fell and merciless wrath
Chris jams lancet…
up Anastaath

Exactly. It is scary and quite sudden. If someone writes me a poem that ends like a scene from the 50SOG film, I’ll switch into battle mode. And the only reason I’d entertain him after, is to see if he’ll say that again to my face.

 Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil : Retribution
via UniFrance.

My preferred ending for a poem resembles a luxurious helping of chocolate powder over a generous mound of whipped mascarpone. That way, when I’m having my tiramisu, I’ll take a few extra seconds to lick my spoon. At the end, I should be Distracted:

Can’t keep my mind on anything.
Ain’t it grand?

Enjoy more spoon licking poetry at English Delicacy’s blog.

Categories
People

Notes 5/3

There are no rules for blogging and I bear this in mind when visiting blogs. Even though I understand and respect this difference, I need to get something off my chest, so please bear with me. Basically, these notes highlight some things bloggers do to lose readers and alienate supporters.

After printing, reading and rereading (as well as completing an abstract painting inspired by) a lengthy fiction story, the author has not responded to my comment. It’s still sitting there on his blog. I had to defend myself the last time someone got on my case about no feedback. As you can imagine, this is a really frustrating situation to be in. I can’t win, no matter what I do.

One aspect of hygiene I’d hinted at was that at times, authors and supporters might feel that a reader’s attention is romantically motivated.


If I visit a blog, do I want to make out with the author and do stuff, provided they’re over the age of 21, even though we’ve never met in person, have never spent any quality time together and I only know them as aliases? Go ahead, ask me.

But let me comment on the sense making of having a public blog, with tags that are visible in reader, leaving the comments open and like buttons active, expecting people to read, being proud of our work and mislabeling support. If someone supports us, there is no need to rush down what I call the fantasy rabbit hole.

The blogs affected by fantasy rabbit activity have a comparatively low subscriber count; low support per post compared to other bloggers with the same subscriber count; and limited variety in reader interactions. In other words, it is natural that bloggers will avoid hostility. Common sense, you say.


Prude close up
… support from “bras” (as opposed to “bros”) from Prude.

But don’t take my word for it, please experience Interview with Demandire yourself while getting ready for work on a Saturday morning.  What is gained, in actual fact? Approval: One like per him, per post, if he remembers.

Here’s one more way to chase readers from a blog with interesting content, decrease peer support and reduce interactivity. Once, a blogger warned me about his wife because I typed xo at the end of a comment. Misunderstandings are common, but that was taking it a bit too far. I did NOT want to sloppy wet x and o him while moaning.

Another example? I read posts before and after publishing and imagine what readers might think I am saying. Otherwise, if I don’t know what I said, when responding to a comment, I might sound like Tarzan:

Tarzan 2

To me, every reader’s eyeball on my Gravatar is a 25 carat conflict free pink diamond, offered with no strings attached. Continued support is the polished stone, set in white gold.

At this point, I ask myself: What would a professional do?

Categories
art fashion People

Prude

Prude

Collage, one Saturday morning

x (∿°○°)∿ ︵ ǝʌol
Love is free and I am an equal opportunity ego butterer.
x (。♥‿♥。) 1000%  ( ⋆•ิ ᴈ-ิ(ᵕ❥ ᵕ⁎ ॢ) x
Sabiscuit

… continued in Notes 5/3 

Categories
People

Envy, as seen from the Halcyon Pond

Guest post by Nadia
Reflections on Halcyon Pond & The World Beyond Halcyon Pond
Remarks on Envy™, The Food Drink of Glampions

Envy is the sin that “looks with grudging hatred upon other men’s gifts and good fortune, taking every opportunity to run them down or deprive them of their happiness. (Dorothy Sayers Purgatory, Notes on Canto XIII)

It is an impoverished soul who seeks to deprive others of their happiness. It’s bad enough that any soul would want to diminish others. The end result should bring them pleasure, but it rarely does.

The soul’s poverty can be so deep that it cannot be filled, at least not from outside sources. They take from others but with no positive returns, the result is a net negative. And that is what I appreciated about your post. First, envy is poisonous and second, it is fed by people’s “twisted opinion of themselves”.

I know sin isn’t everyone’s thing, but I went back to Dante’s work because envy is among the seven cardinal sins. I believe we have lost sight of just how poisonous it is. It took me a long time to understand that much of what others say in conversation is actually a reflection of what they’re saying to themselves. And so much of what a person sees of another is distorted by their image of themselves.

You wrote of the triad of Envy : Insecurity : Defensiveness. There was podcast on This American Life recently that brought this into astonishing focus for me. A female comic was being asked about the comments posted by trolls on her site. The producer found the person posting some of the worst comments. There is a brilliant section where the troll is being interviewed and asked about his motivations. And it all came back to his self-hatred. He was chastened when he realized what he was doing.

I could go on further about this, but it’s the second half of the post that I’m especially drawn to. I think you move off the subject of envy and on to something even more important, and that is shining our own light. I’m going to interpret very loosely here and say it’s about courage.

The courage to try not knowing if you’ll succeed. No, that’s not it. It’s the courage to try, without even having a measure of what success might be. To not even take an accounting of success or failure.

I’ve spent hours in the Picasso Museum (Picasso fascinates me), which has an exhaustive collection of his works. Much of what’s hanging on the walls is awful. But when you walk through and study all his work, you can see how each phase of his art built on the phases before and how he extended himself from an expert representational artist to the crazy, wonderful artist he became by exploring step-by-step without fear and certainly without giving a damn what anyone thought of what he produced.

May I suggest that you consider reposting the second half of this piece focusing on shining our own lights without being distracted by “two dimensional tokens of achievement.” I, like you, “want to thrive in a world of talented, bright shining stars.” For creativity to thrive there is no failure, just trials along the path of discovery. And each trial is a stepping-stone to the next thing to try, to the next idea.

Categories
about me

What she said

Outside

Condescension is manufactured self praise. Two things might happen. Sometimes a person wants to say “I’m great” but for that to work, the others must be low impact. (I discussed this in Envy and GOYA). Or, one insignificant aspect of the other person is used to judge them as wholly incompetent in all matters.

Bamboo

Case in point? A fine arts conference I attended this past week. After surviving a two hour planning meeting, which I co-chaired, I realised I was missing a painting session in the park. Then, it occurred to me I was only a ten minute drive from the restaurant of two friends. It is a visual spectacular stuffed with beautiful antiques.

I invited a colleague to join me. At the previous year’s conference, she was nice to me. She had not packed her lunch, so I thought she would like a delicious meal in a unique setting. Five minutes after later, I knew I had made a huge mistake. The first face slap came after I told her I confirmed the reservation, so I couldn’t rescind the invite.

Joy's kitchen

I used a PLUG for the rude remarks, but she was a slinky on an escalator. What she said: Below are the highlights.

12.40 You drive?!?!?!

12.41 Do you want me to drive? Are you okay driving a car??!

12.44 Where are we going?!!! Do you know where you’re going?

12.45 Did you get your license HERE??!?!??!?

12.48 You are driving like a wild person. (The driver in front of us has swung out in front of me and I am forced to brake suddenly.)

13.25 You’ve started eating already.

Clown

13.30 This restaurant is so beautiful. I feel bad eating here because we are attending a work conference.

13.43 You’ve finished already.

13.47 That’s a take away dessert. You must not eat it now!!

13.59 This biscuit is delicious. You can’t have flour? But it’s yummy. Mmmmm…. Hmmmm? (I am gluten intolerant).

14.01 (I quietly pay for lunch. This causes her to feel guilty about something).

14.02 Oh!!! No. I …  It’s …

14.06 (I realize I’ve left my umbrella). You’re a careless girl. People are inconvenienced by you. (It’s my friend’s shop, and they don’t care about that stuff).

14.09 You are able to paint? (NB: This is an fine-arts conference with over five hundred participants and I co-chaired the morning session).

14.20 (End of ordeal and time for a walk in the park.)

Categories
People

How to be shaded? Use a PLUG

We’ve all received unprovoked hate: Backhanded compliments and passive aggressive put downs, or “shade.” When people choose to be unkind without provocation, it might be a force of habit or hard wiring. Before I continue, I should say that like Britney, I’m not that innocent. I enjoy throwing shade at human energy drinkers, but only after they start with me.

In case someone you didn’t start something with goes out of their way to stomp on your joy, I wrote this post for you. By now you’re SMART (Sombre, Masterful, Attentive, Respectful, Tyrannical) about being hated. Often, tyranny is not the best option when in combat with Darth Shader. This post introduces a positive, self affirming response. To PLUG, we play, laugh, understand and grow from interactions with H8Rz.

Here we go? Let us PLUG.

Stay calm and PLUG
I love this meme. x SB

Play along
When the shade hits the fan, there are three ways you can play along. If you ignore unwelcome remarks, H8Rz will take this as a sign they’ve struck a nerve and dig in. So first,  keep a neutral expression and ask for repetition. (My neutral expression is a smile). I have a “third time and it’s yours” rule. I ask for repetition two times to see if the person will hear how their words sound.

If the person does not give up after the second repeat, I ask for clarification. Neutral expressions again. Defending yourself won’t work, either. If they haven’t given up at this stage, or try again later, they’ve owned it by default and I can do the third thing: Deliberately misunderstand, or get tyrannical.

For the former tactic, rephrase the statement to mean something positive about yourself. Toss it back. You will hear, “I didn’t mean to compliment you.” Say, “Thank you.” As in, “This interaction is over and thank you for your attention.” If the behaviour is repeated, that is hate and it’s time to put the T in SMART.

Laugh at yourself
Embrace the things that are uniquely you. See “shade” as acknowledgment that someone finds you interesting. Your sense of humour could win you admirers and defenders. One day, someone teased me with, “Hey, you’re walking like a pigeon.” It’s true, but that detail is inconsequential to anything happening in my day.

I played along by pretending this was a compliment. I laughed and said, “Thank you!” A different person piped in with, “Actually, she’s catwalking.” When you laugh at yourself, others may feel encouraged to warm to your side. Shine in confidence and leave haters in the shade.

Understand
You “love thyself” and your emotional set points are high. People who put you down without provocation have lower emotional set points. They may feel they’re doing you a favour. They believe that by pulling you off your perch they’ll help you avoid disappointment.

Resist the urge to adjust your emotions or responses to the lower setting. Also understand that H8Rz notice and admire your natural talent. Instead of doing their own work, they sling mud to throw you off your game. Stay focused.

Grow from it
Hanging on to unkind words can set you back. However, reflect on unpleasant interactions and think about how you want to be treated.  Then, set a better example by doing unto others. Make the effort to recognise negative characters and avoid them. Sometimes, you need to shine light on a person to see them for who they are.

I hope you’ll never need this advice. But if someone tosses shade your way, your objective is to firmly push back the disrespectful behaviour while keeping your hands clean. Play along and laugh to yourself but show some compassion and you will grow from the experience.

Categories
fashion poetry

Trendi

She is fighting the glamour wars
during office hours in cropped pants
of size… six?
You’d better take notes
and get in the mix

She is delighted to spread
in fashionless sense
with plumped up pride
what a skirt should hide

I think Mrs West is my icon and I’m, like, you know, following her on Instagram. I liked, you know, all of her posts yesterday. She wears see through tights with jackets. Now everyone is doing it. So I wanna be, like, the first person to, like, wear all capri pant suits. Just suits! I want that one and that one and that one…

OMG did you see the Queen of Spain
whose canary capris were a faux pas in vain
for Trendi bought them in bale and
f
l
i
p
s
that mane

Minutes after noon, she’ll toss
her meal in the trash
then dab some gloss
to soothe a lip rash
caused by (vitamin) deficiency
but not to worry
Facebook is telling me,
these capsules heal effectively

Haughtily she swipes past
sucking all your energy
pretending to have a blast
There goes Trendi
on a Pepsi Cola fast

Categories
People

Machine Gun Meow’s remarks for Nadia Monsengo

Guest post by mGm on Nadia Monsengo’s essay
My thoughts on Africa’s Image Problem

The way they feed on the negativity of Africa is disconcerting. The media only shows negative images of Africa … They take advantage of the negativity of Africa and take advantage of the positive light it shines on them for giving generously.

Excerpted from “Nadia Monsengo” by Nadia Monsengo of African Artista

Machine Gun Meow

What an interesting and completely relatable post. Having lived in Australia for more than a decade, I am still surprised and stung by off the cuff remarks such as, “Oh, as an African, you must be used to the heat”; “Do you have tarmac roads?”; “Is your family safe from Ebola/ Al Shabab violence” and …

“But you can’t be African, you aren’t black?!”

Some of these are general ignorance mixed with polite concern. It is the ignorance that I take issue with. During my schooling years, we learned not just about ourselves as a country (Kenya) and a continent (Africa), we also learned our place in the world and about the rest of the world with equal focus.

I feel sorry for those who never learned about other countries and continents so that their view of the world now is rather self centric and skewed. They missed out on so much. African history and current affairs, as Nadia rightly mentions, are overly represented by the negatives, which every corner of this world has some form of.

I take great pride in educating anyone who will listen about the origins and richness of Swahili as a language; about the pioneer microfinancing innovation, M-PESA; about English being one of my first languages and how most people where I am from are trilingual; about the indescribable beauty of Africa; the unsurpassed warmth and comfort of a community-based outlook.

Everyone belongs.

Africa is more than a game-watching destination or a dumping ground for last-season’s-disposable-fashion-disguised-as-charity. I devote considerable time during such conversations to dispelling ignorant myths, most of which are laughable. But real change can only come from two sources: a shift in the media perspective so that it is not all doom and gloom; and a fair and reasonable inclusion of African history, geography, culture and civics (preferably with considerations for the diversity in the same) in mainstream Western education.

Of course, the audience must listen with open mind and heart.

I, for one, am proud of and grateful for the fact that my formative education was undertaken in Africa. I am so much richer and well-rounded for it.