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

50SOC

image

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:06 AM, She <luv_luv_v@craycray.com> wrote:

Bodies taut and tumbled
Clothes mangled in the day
Oh what a sight we were, dear
For tourists on the bay

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:09 AM, He <whatev_v@man.com> wrote:

So drenched we were in water
Just fiery hot like toast
Now must you run along, dear
The boss might rump your roast

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:11 AM, She <luv_luv_v@craycray.com> wrote:

If only eyes could see us
If ears could hear as well
We’d rumple wrinkly socks off
Let’s write a kiss and tell

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:42 AM, He <whatev_v@man.com> wrote:

That’s all my time for now dear
My schedule’s got a bloat
Don’t call me back again here
I’ll toss you in the moat

If people heard you talking
Those red flags they would say
She might be lost without him?
Or fifty shades of cray!

 

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
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.

Categories
celebrity fiction men

Socialite Media

Jupiter
Your wife asked me to talk to you. I see that you were admitted after having a panic attack. Panic attacks are caused by stress. Are you overworked?

Neil
No, it’s a name-only job. On weekdays I’m at the horse farm. I’m in the city on weekends.

Jupiter
If you don’t talk about this now, you’ll have another attack and we’ll be back here. What happened right before you collapsed?

Neil
I’ve just finished a fencing lesson with John Tam, the designer. He asks me to follow him on Instagram. I do. I notice he has 4,000,000 followers. I scroll through and count twenty posts. I suddenly felt a tightness in my chest and here we are. Completely unrelated, I’m sure.

Jupiter
Let me do a quick check… His account has been active for … a month. And… I see that you have nine hundred thousand followers. That’s a good number.

Neil
I’m the COO of a global NGO. I have two thousand paid employees. I should be instantly recognised. Nine hundred thousand followers is unacceptable.

Jupiter
From what I see here, your posts are about your vegan diet, and you in … very tight-fitting …. running outfits and … what’s this one?

Neil
Pheasant farm in Latvia. I cooked that outdoors on a grill. Rock salt, rosemary, olive oil. Instant hit with my three Fortune 500 CEO guests. Only two thousand likes. I mean, it’s not a hamburger, so no one’s interested.

Jupiter
Okay.

Neil
You know what? I want to create a panel… of designers, professors, chefs and editors. I want to chair that panel. We will judge profiles and grade them for quality. Cut out all of those followers, delete all of those likes.

Jupiter
You could hire a PR firm to fix this for you.

Neil
This is what I hate now. Asking someone to help me to become popular. I don’t want anything from anyone.

Jupiter
Is this a competition between you and your friend?

Neil
There is no competition. I mean, what does he have? I have more influence than all of these trending people. Some of them don’t even have jobs. They can’t afford my lifestyle. It makes no sense that they are more popular when I have more prestige.

Jupiter
I see that the situation is causing some stress. So we should get you on some medication and schedule a session to talk?

Neil
Talk therapy for Instagram? I’m offended by that. This is exactly what I’m talking about. No matter what I do, I get no respect…

Categories
fiction men women

Forty

Jupiter
Make sure to hold down the home button.

N
Why are you ugly, green pepper faced fifty seven year old woman, hanging on this beautiful man?! What is special about you?! Disappear, and be gone!

Siri
That service is not available.

N
You have no attractive point!!!

Jupiter
Is this a new photo?

N
Yes. You can’t be photographed from the front …

Jupiter
Make sure to take a screen shot. Activate Siri first, and then talk to the photo, pay attention to the wave. When it stops, tap the mike icon again.

N
Okay, got it. You can’t be photographed from the front, you can only do a side by profile! You so ugly, I can’t stand your fat pig face!!! Why did you tell him you need five more years to divorce your husband? You’re married, and you have children and grandchildren. How can ugly woman like you get married to someone in the first place? Why can you force control unmarried man?!

Siri
There are no search results for Marie Dorothy.

N
Why is he loyal to you? You are bread faced girl. You are slice bread. If you stand in front of some grapes, someone mistake you for dried up onion.

Siri
I searched Wikipedia and this is what I found.

N
I cannot lose my mind to this slice of mackerel. This is not right!

Siri
Mackerel slices were found in these locations in Hell’s Kitchen.

Jupiter
How do you feel? You want to go some more?

N
I’m tired. I’m busy. I want to stop this and enjoy my life. I want to just forget the two of them. They disgust me. That doctor is dirty. His aura just makes my apartment dirty. You stinky old pervert! Shut up dammit. You know, he has no fashion sense. And that blonde hard wax hairstyle is crazy. He runs a hospital but needs to take drugs to wake up, stay up, go sleep, get up, get down. What the hell is he thinking dressing like circus?

Jupiter
What are you going to do about him?

N
I’m going to use him for money. He’s useless. Did you see this eighty dollar Pandora bracelet he bought for me? He never buys me anything cost over one hundred dollars. I’m forty years old. What is he thinking I am going to do with that?

Jupiter
Did you let him know you were worth more than that?

N
He’s just useless that way. And obviously, I am not going to tell J about him. J is for love. The doctor is for money. Only. But do you know what irritates me? J is such an amazing man. He’s talented in business, has a flawless aesthetic sense. He’s a model at sixty for goodness sake.

Jupiter
Okay. Just go with the music and let that out.

N
This is J’s island near Bali. He’s got river rafts and thirty staff. How does that man make himself so small for that pancake faced ghoul?!

Jupiter
Have you considered that he might just be a model, a stock figure with no real power in the relationship?

N
Yeah, I mean, no, it’s his business.

Jupiter
So why is it that he cannot simply cut ties with his business partner and as her lover?

N
And then there’s the … I can’t really understand him. It seems meaningless that she can say to him, “Don’t talk to her and block her phone number,” and he will just do as she asked. She controls him financially.

Jupiter
Perhaps there is another explanation that you haven’t thought of.

N
I think so, and I need to find it or else these feelings will not go away. He’s the first man I told “I love you”.

Jupiter
Not even your ex husband?

N
Not even him.

Jupiter
Alright. Do you want to shout some more?

N
No, I’m tired. I’m going to be friends with him. I don’t love him anymore. I don’t give a damn.

Categories
People women writing

Envy™ The Food Drink of Glampions

Matcha Green Tea Latte For Two
Image: Green tea latte via Green Tea Guide

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay.” He’s probably never met a Glampion. A Glampion’s envy is the heavy tax which innocent bystanders are forced to pay. When someone picks on you, they might be living out a fantasy life inspired by someone famous, real or imagined.

Is it reasonable to say that these people have a twisted opinion of themselves? I think we each have different measures for our self concept. However, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective.

The theme of this post is “envy”. It could have been insecurity or defensiveness because often these three form a triad. Envy happens when others can’t be happy with what you have. Insecurity is most likely the trigger. Defensiveness is the easiest remedy: We measure our this with their that.

Power envy happens when Glampions secretly wish they could be as influential as [name a celebrity]. Their desires thwarted, they turn on someone they believe to be weaker than they are. People of this mindset either lack the capacity to face up to their own inadequacies or they don’t have the self confidence to thrive in the presence of others who are doing well. Many of the people we envy struggle in some way and would be fortunate to be in our shoes.


Why be so nasty and so rude, when I can be so fierce, so fabulous and so successful.
Nene Leakes, Sunday March 15, 2015, via her Twitter account.

Sometimes I really want to sock it to people who get it twisted. In doing so, I am mindful that there’s a difference between being fierce and being rude.

We can thrive in a world of talented, shining stars. It is hard to remember that because mediocre people dominate our news feeds. I believe we should set high standards for ourselves. Sometimes we will be discouraged. I think we should do as much as we can, and drop that when we want to try something else.

We work hard to become champions raised up by substantial wins. Sometimes, however, we might get distracted by two-dimensional tokens of achievement. This is where a balanced perspective plays a role. It allows us to measure the weight of our trophies before using them to browbeat others. When we do that, it is hard for Glampions to crush our spirits with their own paper-thin trophies.

For the benefit of others who lack perspective: Shine your own light. They don’t need to comprehend your brilliance for you to be a star in your own right. If you burn brightly enough, the blind may never see you, but your rays might penetrate through the skin.

Note: Updated November 22, 2016 @ 08.04. This post was originally published on March 17, 2015.

Categories
fiction men women

Pull it sir

Superbelle
I don’t like the furniture in here.

Waite
It was all handmade by Christian Dillon. He’s a furniture designer from Australia, now living in London. He’s quite talented. This entire set took two years to assemble and ship.

Superbelle
It looks like poor people’s old things. Belongs in the garbage or something. Back to what you were saying about media literacy.

Waite
Yes, I’m a journalist, so naturally I advocate for this.

Superbelle
Yeah, I know, I know. I may sound like a pessimist, but I object in calling media literacy as the approach to modern education. Education for me has also something to do with the learning and teaching and formation of values, as corny as I may sound.

Waite
I see. So you’re saying that media literacy is not necessary because we can’t learn values from it? You were humming a Justin Beiber song just now. It seems that a media literate person would refuse to support his antisocial behaviour, which would mean not buying, downloading or listening to his music.

Superbelle
Yes, I know I’m ignorant. I like being ignorant.

Waite
I’m not saying you’re ignorant…

Superbelle
I don’t want to hear anything negative about Justin. I was going to say that media literacy cannot police plagiarism.

Waite
You realise that media literacy has nothing to do with plagiarism, which was rampant ages ago? Education on morals and values would discourage or stop plagiarism. Also, online tools exist to catch people who do this, so technically, policing exists.

Superbelle
Alright, alright. What?! Did I hurt your feelings.

Waite
I’m a bit confused. I thought we were having a discussion.

Superbelle
It’s just that you were elaborating too much.

Waite
I’m not sure I understand, but… ahh… have you considered presenting your opinion at a conference on media literacy? I’m scheduled to chair one later this year.

Superbelle
No. I don’t have time for that.

Waite
Okay. And what would you like to do?

Superbelle
I am going to be a literature professor. I want to specialise in poetry. First, I am planning on getting my master’s degree.

Waite
Well, you’re thirty years old now, and you finished your first degree when you were twenty three. What are you waiting for? If it’s money, I am happy to pay. No strings attached of course. I assume you’re going to pursue studies in …?

Superbelle
No. I don’t want anything from you. I am satisfied with what I have. That’s using people. I just have some writer’s block.

Waite
It would be a completely up front scholarship grant from my non profit foundation. You’d have to apply, and we would interview you.

Superbelle
What do you mean… foundation? You’re not a celebrity.

Waite
That’s nice of you to say. Thank you.

Superbelle
I wasn’t offering a compliment.

Waite
Thank you, anyway. What was I saying? I feel that if a person has a natural talent for writing, the inspiration will always find its way to them. I also like to think of people as thinkers with varying degrees of confidence and various styles of expression. There’s too much pressure to “write something” if you call yourself a “writer.” Don’t you think?

Superbelle
Not following.

Waite
Okay, so … Alright. I’d like to hear one of your poems.

Superbelle
Can I borrow your iPad? This one was published on a website. It’s called “Mama.”

Perhaps, it would be better for you to make peace with the ghosts of your past, than for me to let you see that I often go to church, that I have high grades, that I do not go partying, that I do not have a boyfriend so that I will not be your ragged doll, who bears all the lashes of your revenge

Waite
It sounds really personal. Do you have a strained…

Superbelle
What are those?!

Waite
What?

Superbelle
Why do you have celebrity photos on your wall?! This one looks photoshopped.

Waite
You don’t recognise him? It’s Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al Gaddafi.

Super Belle
Are you a terrorist?!!

Waite
He let me photograph him when I met him in Paris. I’m still bitter about the way he was executed.

Superbelle
Sounds like you are one of those … persons. This looks like your degree certificate on here.

Waite
No. I never hang that up.

Super Belle
It doesn’t go with the celebrity pictures. It’s just so plain. You should throw it out. But, it says Columbia University. And you just said you don’t hang that up.

Waite
It’s not a degree certificate.

Superbelle
What’s a “Pull it Sir” Prize? Are you a comedian?

Waite
Well, that’s debatable…