"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Monday, April 30, 2012

I used to think relationships were all about maintanence. That you could sustain any kind of relationship with any kind of person if you just put in the effort.

But now I've come to realize that relationships are just like people. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they all affect your life in different ways. There are the necessary ones, the ones you need like oxygen, and the ones that are vaguely pleasant but you know you can live without. There are biased, hypocritical, unhealthy, cruel, vicious relationships, just as there are biased, hypcritical, unhealthy, cruel, vicious people. There are relationships that are addictive, illicit, you're in it for the rush; you know that it will end, and very messily too, but you can't help but sink deeper and deeper.

But then there are the uncertain relationships. You don't know where you are - you know you are two people connected, somehow, but you're not sure how deep or tangible that connection is. There is no vaguer word than 'friendship'. You get mixed messages, they tell you some very dark secrets, you do things together that are uncertain territory. And then, all of a sudden, you're polite chit-chat buddies, and you feel like you have two very different relationships with two very different people. The kind of relationships where you're too scared to fall too deep; because you don't know what the reaction is. If you do something, you have no idea what to expect as a consequence. You lose concept of cause and effect, and everything is complicated by paranoia and manipulation.

There are some people you can't get close to no matter how hard you try. There are the kind of people I'll greet with a punch on the shoulder or an affectionate hair ruffle, and then I'll spend that class/breaktime contentedly plopped on their lap. Or there are some people that I don't spend an awful lot of time with, but are always up for a hug; and you know instinctively that you could trust them with your life - you're not joined at the hip but they're the first person you turn to with your most troubling secrets, in desperate need of the most honest advice. But then there are the people who you have so much in common with, get on with like wildfire, but there's a brick wall between the two of you and you're like Pyramus and Thisbe, whispering through the cracks. Why?

Then there are the people you know you should be nicer to, but you can't. Everything about them pisses you off. Even their existence irritates you beyond belief. It doesn't matter how nice they are, they'll always end up annoying you. I've always found it fascinating that I'll let some people do anything, say anything short of a criminal offence (actually, a couple of months ago it could have been a criminal offence) but I can barely look other people in the eye; and it's all based on my rather arbitrary opinion of people I know. But I've learned that you can't feel too guilty over these people. You're simply allergic to them; and you can be allergic to the prettiest flower, or the most life-saving drug. Allergies have no rhyme or reason, and you can't 'cure' them, you can only 'ignore them' - and most of the time it's more trouble than it's worth. You can both live without each other. 

Relationships, frankly, confuse me. I don't understand how they manage to almost completely defy the laws of physics - every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I may be a complicated, messed up, passionate, intense sort of person, but I can be as easy going as they get as long as you don't shake the pillars of my moralities. I'll listen to anything if you'll listen to anything. I hate mixed messages, I hate unreliability. I hate it even more in people I love, and people I know love me. I know this is terribly hypocritical from the girl with two personalities, but I'm geting very tired of Dr Jekylls and Mr Hydes.

Good Intent

and brace

counted, took

heard a kick
heed you

crickets on the night

slipping of panic
the waltz means


didn't prowl

hypocrisy be sombre
early to you

turns, she's there
for ordinary intent passed
now you're the string
out into comfort

didn't feel steps
a Clementine made fingers
shadow might have told good

dice that luck, hunter boy
shouldn't that reputation

take mine

money's well to do good
mean tainted heart
when you're not


This is probably too experimental for my comfort...it's sort of accidental creativity. Based on 'Good Intent' by Kimbra.

I swear school is making me dumber.

My English teacher always apologises when there is a test coming up. It's not like how the other teachers apologise - cynically, sarcastically, or to avoid getting their ass kicked for giving us so much torture work. My English teacher never apologises when there are take-home essays, even though they're bloody hard work. He apologises when we're forced to show just how brilliant we are in an hour of unprepared writing. He maintains it's the most useless way of testing someone's ability. I agree.

In high school I have amused myself enormously by getting on people's nerves. I like screwing with the system. I had one thing on my side; I've always known what I'm good at, I've always known what I wanted, and I've always known how to use the former to get the latter. School has never really known how to get me what I want; the schooling system doesn't care about me. Of course they wouldn't. I am, quite literally, just a number.

I've never understood why schools group children by age - not even by age, but by the year they were born (they've changed that since then, but it's still a largely illogical and dysfunctional system). For example, I was born in 1996, and I am assumed to be, for all intents and purposes, more or less the same as every other child born in 1996. Because I've skipped a grade, I'm considered 'smart for my age'. Even if there was a direct correlation between age and development - I argue that there isn't - I was born in early February, and I am nearly a year older than some of my peers; and believe you me, I can certainly see it. Now that I've skipped a grade, I am schooled with people born in 1995, and I am always considered the 'younger one' - I am always treated as such, assumed as such, and The Propaganda Minister even has a habit of calling me 'young one' or 'little one'. And, because I'm not such a hotshot at maths, I always assumed I was a year younger than my peers. But I'm not - I'm barely six months younger than someone born in September. If you follow this reasoning, the year groups in school are seemingly random. 

In some ways I am wiser beyond my years. I've always had a way with words. It is my primary source of communication. If it were socially acceptable I'd tell all my friends to wait for my email, and we'd just chat from there. I am the only person that I know who has the motivation and stamina to keep a very active blog. My talents are so one sided I could probably sneak into a university, aged about thirteen or fourteen - and given that the areas or study are so specialized and personalized - get away with it.

I considered this very carefully when I skipped a grade. Nobody knows more about my own failures and shortcomings than I. I don't know if I can accurately explain to you the frustration and torture of maths class. In the rare occasions that I am doing something right and getting the right answers I am not really in it - I don't understand what I am doing or what purpose it serves. I am simply copying a pattern and hoping for the best. The only maths I remember and can use is 'useful' - and I learned it in primary school. Addition, subtraction, basic percentages, stuff like that. I use that on a regular basis, I understand the usefulness of it and when I do those kind of very basic sums, I understand what I'm doing and what purpose it serves. But in anything more complicated than that numbers mean as much to me as a foreign language - occasionally I'll notice patterns, understand a word or two, but to me it is illogical beyond reason. To make things worse, this 'foreign language' is often taught to me by people who cannot comprehend that anyone can or should be ignorant of this language - Anglophiles, in a way, in that the condescension and impatience is exactly the same. 

I made the unusual decision to only skip a grade in English when I was in year eight, and I constantly found myself telling people 'my year nine classes are easier than my year eight ones' - and it was true. Because even though I hadn't the faintest idea how to write an essay, my teacher hated me and I was buried in mountains and mountains of reading material and various other catch up, I loved what I was doing, I understood what I was doing, if someone taught me something I didn't have to pretend to get it; I really got it. It was my own, familiar language. I loved to learn and was very good at it. I used to highlight all my English classes and look forward to each one - I remember sulking at the prospect of Wednesday because I only had three subjects - sport, French, and maths. Wednesdays in year eights were the worst Wednesdays of my life. In contrast, maths and science were torture. I hadn't the faintest idea what the teacher was yakking on about, and it was humiliating that everyone else seemed to understand what he was saying. If I asked questions I would firstly get a look of utmost despair and disbelief, followed by the most nonsensical response that in the end I didn't bother. If you're anyone like me, at every single parent teacher interview without fail, your maths and science teacher will complain that you 'don't ask enough questions'. But for me, asking questions was like talking to a brick wall.

In year nine I got braver. I no longer cared about maths or science, or doing well. I skipped a grade in social science, and that was more than enough on my plate. I was yelled at over the phone for maths and yelled at in person in science, but I brushed it off. It was one year of growing a very thick skin and ignoring a lot of 'grown up stuff', but it was worth it. In the end, I had used what I was good at to get what I wanted. Years eleven and twelve comprise of five or six subjects that are entirely your choice; or at least they are when you have parents who are smart enough to realize that you're not the next Einstein and never will be. My mother may be the only Asian woman I know to not cry at the prospect of her beloved daughter being barely able to count.

A lot of people saw this as cheating. I remember my science teacher in year eight reduced me to tears with the (empty, as I found out later) threat that he would remove me from my year nine English class if I didn't improve in my year nine science class. Schools these days are far too inclined to favour 'all-rounders'. I maintain that you are smart whether you're good at one thing or twenty; intelligence is really something of quality over quantity. Because it doesn't matter if you're good at one thing or twenty; all that matters is what you do with that one talent, or those twenty talents.

But that was only the first hurdle, I should have realized that. Now my biggest fear is exams.

I hate exams. It's not the work; I don't mind hard work. You haven't seen me write essays; in my really good ones I pour my heart and soul into them. It's just that exams stir in me what math class used to stir in me - that horrible frustration when you know that you're wasting your time. I am a writer, but I can't write anything in an hour of intense pressure and unpreparedness. My best work will never be written in an exam room; yet it is what I write in an exam room that counts. I will never again be judged by what I write in exams, yet that is what I am judged on. It is the most illogical way to test whether I am ready for the 'real world'. If you hear me throwing a tantrum it's not over some huge assignment that will take hours and hours to complete. I throw my biggest tantrums over the shortest assessments.

I hate how school has become so...exam oriented. Call me idealistic, but I firmly believe that education should purely be in the pursuit of knowledge. Last year was much like that; everything was creative and experimental, and classrooms blew up with the most invigorating discussion. I constantly lament to my friends how much I miss my year eleven lit class, where a few boys and I would just spend hours and hours chatting about literature and just life in general.

I spend a lot of time on my computer. I'm a true modern child. Every day I'll come across something unfamiliar and I keep note of things to Google later. I spend a lot of time on YouTube, but it's not all a waste of time - I watch a lot of documentaries and other educational stuff. I think that we've become too puritanical in our academic pursuits; we don't give enough credit to more unorthodox sources of knowledge, and knowledge is knowledge. I wouldn't be half as esteemed in my general knowledge if it weren't for the internet. I mean, God bless Wikipedia.   

A lot of people I know think that I am a bit off my knocker. I'll admit, they have many reasons to think so - I'll barge on about the evils of shampoo to anyone who will listen, I take English and Literature, which to people with no imagination may seem a little counter-productive, and I have a rather annoying penchant for sitting on laps and ruffling hair. But the single most kooky thing about me, apparently, is not my distaste for economics and maths and the hard sciences - a lot of people share my distate -  but my decision to be proactive about what I do and do not like and choose a career path that completely avoids them.

But I argue that my reasoning is practical. I will never be good at the things that I do not enjoy. I will always be good at the things I enjoy. Simple as that. Why would I condemn myself to a life of unhappiness and complete lack of productivity?

I keep telling people that they should do the subjects they like rather than the subjects they think they should like. I keep telling people that the world is not about to end just because I'm not studying maths. I keep telling people that if you don't like the prerequisites, chances are you won't like the university course, and if you don't like the university coures, chances are you won't like your career options after that. I don't know. It makes sense to me.

I am an artist. I don't want to be an artist, I don't hope that someday I will become an artist; I was born an artist, and I will die an artist. The people who love me must love an artist, or else they do not love me at all. 

There are great risks, I suppose, doing only what you love. But the rewards are marvellous - if I have a comfortable home, a good man and a family; if I wake up every morning looking forward to my work, then I'll be happy. Honestly. That's all I need.

I'll tell you someone I truly admire - Sir Ken Robinson. I've posted one of his videos here before, but he just keeps coming up with genius shit! Everything he says is true. He's so funny and cynical but so honest. My mother and I are huge fans.

As usual, I have no idea where I'm going with this post ;)

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #13:

#84: Oh, Belly Boo, there's nothing cuter than you and your little butt-wiggle

#85: Claire in lit class. Enough said. 

#86: leftrightleftrightleftrightleftrightleft...

#87: Booking the tickets.

#88: The red tint in my hair

#89: Potemkin and I were meant to be

#90: My birthday will be in the snow

#91: Realizing that I grew up listening to Clocks, back when the radio just sang and nothing meant anything

#92: A friend ready to POUNCE

#93: Modern History Group Project: Me: 1 page of notes. Girlfriend: Half a page of notes. TWO BOYS AND ONE HOUR OF WORKING TIME: three lines.  

#94: Sir Ken Robinson.

#95: Skye vs. Bella. Bella bites Skye. Skye just lost her shit.

#96: Wrestling the bees for basil flowers. 

...More to come. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sorry, I just have to have a little spatz ATM.

1. Higher-order autism, also known as higher-functioning autism, is a term which refers to autistic people who function at a 'higher level' than other autistic people. It does not mean autism of a higher level.

2. Coldplay does not have six albums, last time I checked. They only have five studio albums.

3. I love cyberpunk films, and the concept of cyberpunk. I just haven't gotten my hands on a lot of cyberpunk literature. You say you admire my writing ability but you always treat me like an ignoramus.

4. You can't hold my former love of Twilight against me. I'd never hold eleven-year-old (cutie in glasses) you against you.

5. Austen never wrote so much detail she had to write appendixes full of the most irrelevant and useless shit. 

6. I've always found it hilarious that you consider my blog an extension of conversation. One day you'll assume something is about/addressed to you when it's not, and I'll die laughing. But you are amazingly perceptive; you haven't made that error yet.

7. When I said it was a tenor song I meant that it's always sung by a tenor (although me being completely out of practice with my music, it didn't occur to me that you might have changed the key) 

8. I haven't forgotten that you invited me to insult you. 


Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. You know I love you dearly.

An Invisible Waif.

Before anything, I'd like to say that I'm very, very sorry. I don't know if you still read my blog; I understand perfectly if you've already given up on me. But I am sorry, nonetheless.

I'd like to say that I read your blog a long time ago. I thought of writing a reply then and there, but I couldn't. If friendship is about honesty then I'll be honest with you; I don't know exactly who you are, or whether or not this is a hoax. Don't take this the wrong way - there are a lot of people I have let down, and there have been even more people who have humiliated me with rather elaborate practical jokes. I guess this is me saying that I know I'm a terrible friend, but I also know what it is like to be hurt.

I've had some pretty terrible friends, I'll say that outright. When I was twelve I loved a boy who passed me over for my own best friend. When I was thirteen I loved a boy beyond reason and he let me down, as a friend and as my very first boyfriend. I was in love with someone for three years, and even though now we're good friends he's let me down more times than I can count, and I've had to cut half my heart away. Last year I thought I belonged, I thought I had people who genuinely loved me, but a few weeks ago they stabbed me in the back and broke my heart and I'm still reeling over that. Every day at school I feel so heartbreakingly lonely, and school just seems like a battlefield of broken relationships.

But then, I've been a pretty terrible friend, as well. Every time I get angry, or frustrated, I vent in the most public way possible - on my blog. I had three amazing friends in primary school and I haven't kept in contact with any of them. I had a few friends here and there, but I never had the energy to keep up any relationship of any sort. I suppose I have myself to blame for much of my loneliness.

In year eight I made friends with a girl who was going through some tough times. In the end, our friendship broke over a cultural clash - I said something, and she took it the wrong way. I was tactless back then, and I don't think I've gotten much better as I've gotten older. I skipped a grade, and I don't regret it. It is the best thing I've ever done; and it's something I had to do, for myself. If life has taught me anything, it's taught me that I'm in this entirely alone. It was something that taught me that the friends I had weren't friends at all - I'll never forget how they all turned their backs on me because I dared to dream. In the end, I thought she turned her back on me as well, choosing a large, popular, bubbly clique over little ol' me. Maybe I was wrong to make such a cynical assumption.

Falling in love with K is the most selfish thing I've ever done. I've lost friends, sleep, sanity over the most undeserving and ungrateful person I have ever known. In the end, I lost his friendship too, and I miss him beyond reason - had I not interfered so much with my feelings I would never have seen the uglier side of him, and we would still be friends. There is so much bad blood between us I feel sick when I am near him.

I'm sorry if I ignore people. High school has not been an altogether pleasant experience, and I've shrunk back into my own shell a little. I very rarely deliberately ignore people; I simply don't see social cues anymore - somebody recently had to teach me how to start a conversation. But I don't see people, anymore. It's too hard. The only people I actively seek are people who have shown me that they are genuinely interested in me, in what I have to say; I've become so insecure in this business that I'm so terrible at that I need other people to take the initiative - and even then, friendships have become a more private, personal thing.

The hardest part is accepting responsibility for the failed relationships in your life. I don't expect you to want to be best friends with me again. But I would just like to say that I did read your blog, I did take the time to read what you had to say, and I acknowledge that you're probably justified, and I hope you understand that I never meant to hurt anyobdy, and I understand how you felt. I would just like to say that I'm sorry that I hurt you. I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Poetry commentary.

This is a little experiment.

Some people write poetry, and seem to be almost completely detached from it. If you ask them what it means, they just shrug and say 'it's just a poem'. They're either very private or very indifferent. You have to respect that, either way.

I'm...not like that. All my poems mean something to me.

My English teacher showed us a story he wrote which seemed, to me, a very personal memoir. He also wrote a commentary for it, and it was fascinating. It made the story so much more meaningful.

So...I'm going to try that. I guess this is one of the many times I'm just writing for myself. Bear with me.


When I say that the meaning of this poem should be obvious, I am, obviously, writing this from Anne Boleyn's perspective - there are many hints to this, with 'Katarina' meaning 'Katherine of Aragon', the plain gold ring 'replaced with six' and, morbidly, 'you will always be head and shoulders above me'. I've always wondered what Anne Boleyn thought of her predecessor; popular legend has it that they were bitter enemies, and Anne Boleyn famously wore bright yellow upon hearing of Katherine's lonely death. But I can't help but think that Anne must have had a great respect for Katherine - she was, after all, a formidable queen and adversary, and put up an amazing fight to keep what was rightfully hers. It must also be noted that yellow is apparently the colour of mourning in the Spanish royal court. I also think that Anne must have felt a little deja vu as her marriage collapsed, and she had to endure what Katherine had to endure - miscarriage after miscarriage, as well as Henry's infidelity and notorious temper. Whether that's just me being romantic or not, you can't deny the similarities between the two women, and how they lived and died loving a monster - as Henry celebrated when Katherine died, he went hunting the day that Anne was executed. As I have gotten older and made some increasingly bizarre relationships I've felt like I can relate more to Katherine of Aragon; I've always loved Anne Boleyn. There are two song references in Katarina - Turning Tables by Adele and Plain Gold Ring by Kimbra. I worked on Katarina for two days and, funnily enough, it originally had nothing to do with Anne Boleyn; I was originally trying to write something to express my own pain and frustration; which is why the historical references are more towards the end of the poem.


I feel like I explained Freefall in this post here


I really feel like I shouldn't have called it Warrior - I only did so because I felt like I was plaguerising the last line, which is from the Converse collaboration. Otherwise, to be honest...I wrote it on a swing (back and forth and back and forth).

kai su, teknon

I told someone recently that I felt like he was two different people. I realized today that I actually, scientifically, have two different personalities. I feel like a lot of people, especially in a claustrophobic environment like high school, are two different people - who they are, and who people think they are. I wrote kai su, teknon to illustrate how people are altered by the self-consciousness and insecurity that comes when you, or you were, attracted to someone; and how this magically disappears when you're around people you love equally, but never have and never will see in the same way. I've always found it funny, that, in spite of the charms, the former will always be disinterested and despite 'throwing down armour' the latter will love unconditionally. kai su, teknon are allegedly the last words of Caesar to one his assassins, Brutus; this has traditionally been translated as a reaction to betrayal (Brutus was as a son to Caesar), but it has also been interpreted as foreshadowing Brutus' own political demise and death in Philippi - a sort of 'you'll be next', as it were.

Princess of China

This is another Tudor reference - everyone considers Anne of Cleves 'the lucky wife' because she escaped marriage to Henry, and possibly execution at his hands. Contrary to popular belief, Anne of Cleves is now thought to have been quite pretty - or at least not the 'Flanders Mare' that she is in popular culture - and as lame as this sounds, she just wasn't Henry's type. It was an arranged marriage, after all, and she was no Anne Boleyn - they had no common language, no common interests, absolutely nothing in common that would endear themselves to each other. But was Anne of Cleves really 'the lucky one'? She lived her life completely alone, without passion or affection. Sometimes I think she got the short straw.


A bit like kai su, teknon. Looking at it, it is kind of creepy and very irrational - but I was really irritated. And humiliated. When you don't know someone very well, you have to take everything on face value, and it's the little things that hurt - this was before it occurred to me that how people present themselves isn't necessarily everything they are. I don't want to remove it because it is a very accurate snapshot of emotion, but it is nonetheless a very weird thing to write about a friend. 


If you happened to catch me at the right time you might have seen that I published and then deleted a poem. I don't normally do that. Potemkin fascinates me. He is raw, masculine, supremely intelligent, passionate and ambitious; yet he is everything any woman with a scrap of ambition should desire in a man. Potemkin and Catherine were lovers, best friends, co-conspirators, intellectual equals, confidantes and soulmates. It fascinated me because Potemkin goes against the stereotype of a queen's lover - either someone who completely monopolizes her and has her submitting to his every whim, or else a feminine, weak, docile man with no ambition and a religiously fanatical adoration. If you missed it, I was writing about waiting for Potemkin to arrive, and in that faith finding peace in other people you have loved moving on from you; because they will have their Catherines, and you will have your Potemkin.

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #12:

#77: Must stop playing with hair! Is very addictive! All no-poo people beware!!!

#78: The King and the Clown. Pure Korean magic. 

#79: The best sandwich you will ever eat. 

#80: I am for some inexplicable reason craving teriyaki eel. I mean, seriously. WTF?

#81: Being reminded of the good ol' days by a big bowl of steaming congee

#82: A personality quiz. 

#83: I'm getting a pink iPod and nobody's gonna stop me. 

...More to come.

think you know me? think again.

Bear with me if this doesn't make a lot of sense.

A lot of people are actually quite surprised to find out that I an quite introverted. Privately, I am a very different person that the image I project publicly. I spend a lot of time in my own world - I like my own company, and I need my own space. As much as I welcome criticism I'm also rather bad at handling it; I take it too personally, especially when someone is being a bit tactless. I'm also much more likely to be governed by conscience than logic, so sometimes I can be somewhat...illogical.

I find it hard to explain to people my intensity; it is hard for people to understand my passion, my insatiable need for honesty, loyalty, sincerity, affection. I always try and present myself as someone people can open up to, because it's only when people open up to me that I can return the favour - I have been betrayed and humiliated far too many times to make such a great leap of faith.

If I were truly myself around people I would have absolutely nothing to say. When I am myself I find it hard to express myself verbally; everything, I find, is so much easier to explain through writing. A lot of people comment that my blog, my writing, is written by a very different person to who they thought I was.

To the rest of the world, I am a loud, flirty extrovert. I love a good argument, a good conversation. But does it mean anything? Hardly. But I've learned not to show too much of who I am to too many people. It's a massive vulnerability.

The scientific explanation is that I'm an INFP who sometimes masquerades as an ESTJ.

I don't really know what else to say. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

what is on my mind, here and now, that i cannot for the life of me transform into a coherent blog post.

1. According to the political compass I'm sort of between anarcho-communist and anarcho-socialist. Which sounds awesome, even if I have no idea what that means.

2. I haven't used shampoo for two months.

3. A couple of years ago I dug up this little book from pre-primary where each child had drawn a picture with their name in the corner and had dictated some random line about hopes for the future. Mine has my name written like Lenoardo da Vinci on crack and apparently 'I want to be a gardener'. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

4. If someone gave me a big jar of peanut butter for a graduation/going away gift, I would be over the Moon to Mars.

5. Apparently, I am a bit of a flirt.

6. I can be massively extroverted or equally introverted, depending who's company.

7. My hair was addicted to caffeine, and is still throwing a tantrum now that I've quit coffee cold turkey. I try and make up for it by doing daily black tea rinses.

8. I maintain you can believe in free love and monogamy simultaneously. Just as I think that society has proven you can be a slut and a virgin at the same time.

9. If the world communicated purely through touch-typing life would just be all-around amazing. I hate being tongue tied.

10. I like being provocative. It's the same as being proactive, only infinitely more efficient.

11. I only dream when I laugh myself to sleep.

12. My mother says that my great love of babies and children started when I was a baby myself; because I was small and frail after my first surgeries, I was put in the nursery when I should have been with the toddlers in daycare, and I would spend all day looking after babies.

13. I hardly agree with anyone but I respect anyone with intelligence.

14. I'm afraid to say that I've yet to find someone fearless.

15. I love artists and musicians and writers and actors because I spend my life with teenagers with the emotional capacity of a teaspoon. I love people who feel - I love people who love and hate and aren't afraid to tell the world how they feel.

16. It is virtually impossible to weird me out. Seriously. I'd like to find someone who could honestly say the same.

17. I always read in the bath and sing in the shower. Otherwise I might actually die of boredom.

18. I collect party dresses. Whenever a social or birthday party swings around I spend ages trying them all on.

19. An unspoken motivation for experimenting with no-poo is that I've never understood why shampoo labels - or any label, really - has to be so damn complicated. Why must you put hydrogenated purified oxygenated extract of refined oats in sodium laureth sulfate and call it 'hypoallergenic' when you could just wash your hair with porridge and not kill yourself?

20. I've always been afraid of people. I never know what they're thinking until it's too late. I love talking because I would hate people to not know what's going through my head. It just doesn't seem fair.

21. A side effect of being a lit freak is that I read into everything far too much. Someone once told me it was cute. I'm sure my sister would beg to differ. But the reason why my blog is stuffed full of inside jokes, double entendres and hidden messages is because I really hope that there are people out there who do that, too.

22. I have an INFP personality, which is an idealistic personality with a strong dislike of criticism, conflict and hard facts. I am actually quite introverted - most people don't realize that, although I am comfortable with being loud and open, a much larger part of my personality is hidden and there are only a few people who could claim to know me really well. Most people only see me as an ESTJ personality, which is an extroverted personality, which is a common 'business suit' that INFP personalities wear. 

23. I suppose you could say I am attention-seeking in a way. I don't mean that in a bad way; I just don't want to be a wallflower. But I don't want people to look at me; I want people to think of me.

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #11:

#69: Patiently brewing my half-hour black tea rinses. I am hardcore! 

#70: Studying. Sigh.

#71: Hair ruffles and sitting on laps for the win! I don't care if I'm the class flirt. 

#72: Dealing with a seriously grumpy boy. Dude, what is your problem?

#73: Oh, Claire Bear, I know you're right. 

#74: Why did it feel like a hug goodbye?

#75: The most cowardly of people are too afraid to cry.

#76: Sometimes real life just gets in the way of things. 

...More to come.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #10:

#62: First day of school. Eep.

#63: Attempting conversation. Sorta kinda maybe.

#64: The sweet words of a kind friend.

#65: A hug ;P

#66: Admitting to myself my great and growing discontent with a certain friend. I love you, but sometimes you break my heart. 

#67: Realizing that sometimes it's just easier to talk to some people than others. 

#68: Washing my hair with oatmeal. As you do. 

...More to come. 

from the girl who has washed her hair with applesauce...

...comes the story of HOW TO WASH YOUR HAIR WITH PORRIDGE.


I think the funnest part of no-poo, or anti-sham, for me is that I am a witch at heart. I love experimenting, making potions, making things up as I go along. I can't fully indulge my love of witchery in cooking, because too many things go wrong - cakes deflate, soups overboil, and, in the end, you actually have to eat the stupid thing. But making shampoo?

Now that I can do.

I still wash my hair every day, mostly because I feel okay with that - after all, no harsh detergents are coming near my precious tresses - and because I play with my hair so much that my hair is in dire need of a good scrub by lunchtime. And, because it's ridiculously fun making all of my concoctions.

My two main shampoos are my brown sugar scrub and my applesauce shampoo, which I have adapted from widely-used recipes in the no-poo community. I was really surprised on how well the brown sugar scrub tackled my notoriously oily hair - who knew that honey could actually make your hair clean? Applesauce is also pretty amazing, as well.

I add tea tree oil, witch hazel and cinnamon to my shampoo recipes. Cinnamon is meant to prevent hair fall, tea tree is antibacterial and antifungal, and witch hazel, which I have been using as a toner for a long time, is a good astringent which prevents scalp problems. 

I've started using black tea for my rinse, because of the higher caffeine content - caffeine is meant to block the DHT hormones that cause hair loss, and the tannins in black tea thicken the hair shaft. Black tea is also supposed to darken the hair, which is apparently getting lightened by the honey and cinnamon I use a lot in my recipes. So now my hair is very, very dark, with a lovely red glow from the henna I did a little while ago, and the cinnamon, I suppose. I used to add a little tiny dab of coconut oil, before deciding that it was more trouble than it's worth (my previous crowing was a direct result of triumph rather than rational thinking) and honey, but the tea has to prove for half an hour, and nothing really dissolves properly in cold tea. My rosemary acid conditioner is still brewing...

I have graduated from basic white vinegar to apple cider vinegar - which is much more acidic, and also has the mystical benefits of...apples. Yeah, I don't really get it, but apparently apple cider vinegar is the bees knees of no-poo. I add a tablespoon to the shampoo and two tablespoons to the rinse. And no, I don't smell of vinegar. I think.

I wanted to experiment with a new shampoo recipe, mostly because I'm probably running out of applesauce and using far too much of my mother's organic raw honey. I've used oats before as a face mask, and I know it can be used on animals and humans (hair's hair, right?) to cure and sooth a variety of skin diseases. I've seen shampoo that claims to have 'extract of oats' in it all the time. Oats mixed with cold cream is also a traditional remedy for rough elbows. I figured...why not?

This is, however, the first recipe I've kind of made up completely - there isn't a lot of literature on How to Wash Your Hair with Porridge. Here is what I came up with, based on what I know and like:

Three tablespoons of oats (I only had quick-cooking rolled oats, I'm sure any oats are fine), about a teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and three drops of tea tree oil. I added enough boiling water to make a thick paste and thinned it out with witch hazel. I kind of made this a little while before actually showering, and I had to thin it out again with yet more witch hazel because it kind of became oatmeal cement. In my experience, the closer it is in consistency to a store-bought shampoo or conditioner, the easier it is to handle.

It was quite sticky and, when mixed with water, very slippy, but otherwise it wasn't so bad. But it was a bitch to wash out, though! Seriously, I never thought I'd get it all out of my hair. It might be easier if I had colloidal oatmeal but, ya know...blenders aren't really my thing. I wouldn't have been so paranoid about it had I not had black hair...

I used my black tea rinse, washed that out, and my towel dried hair felt pretty...bleh. Because I am not such a huge fan of bleh hair, I rubbed two drops of argan oil into the ends and lengths. Big mistake.

Becauuuuuse.....my hair is freaking LOVING PORRIDGE. And my hair never really got on well with argan oil. So now my hair feels and looks lovely, but has a couple of random greasy bits. FML.

And so porridge joins my rotation of shampoo. I think it's important to rotate these things 

Tomorrow I shall wear my hair in a ponytail as penance. And so that I stop freaking playing with it.


I know what it is, now
To have his interest wax and wane
I know what it is, now
To watch...and wait...and pray...

I know what it is, now
To be sent mixed messages
To have the tables constantly turning, turning, turning.

I know what it is, now
To have words
But nothing to say.
I know what it is, now
To cry with exhaustion;

It is no easy task
Being perfect.

I know what it is, now
To wake up alone,
Go to sleep alone,
To live and die

I know what it is, now
To love someone so fiercely
Even when
Your love is like
Water poured upon the ground.

I have seen
As you have seen
A plain gold ring
Replaced with six. 

I know what it is, now
To love someone
Even in the very acts of monstrosity

I know what it is, now
To love your own murderer.

I know what it is, now
To lie alone in the cold, cold ground.

But you will always be
Head and shoulders above me. 

Inspired by Plain Gold Ring by Kimbra and, well...I should think it rather obvious.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eva Luna.

I don't pretend to be a very good reader, or a widely-read person. Because I'm not, and it would be rather pretentious of me to say otherwise.

I was never taught how to read. People never read to me. I learned how to read because I loved stories, and if books held stories then I was going to learn how to decipher them, come what may. One of the hardest things, for me, about learning another language is that I don't remember learning how to read English. My sole occupation was entertaining myself; I grew up in a daycare and I was always preferred my own company, even back then. When I was four Harry Potter was just becoming really popular, and many adults decided that the best way to keep a four year old entertained is to read them Harry Potter; I thought so, too.

I didn't know how to write until much later; I didn't actually connect writing and reading, mostly because books aren't written by hand and I always thought it was much easier to talk to people then to try and write what you wanted to say. It was only when I realized that once one is no longer a cute little kid it's hard to hold someone's attention that my writing developed properly. When I was five I wrote backwards, Leonardo da Vinci style - most people were shocked because I did it automatically, whereas it would take someone else actual effort to write like that; and also because they thought that I was slightly kooky. When I was five I was a chatterbox, and had no time and patience to bother with legible writing. By the time I was six I had changed from 'kid who may possibly have learning disability' to 'child who sits at the back of the class doing year three comprehension exercises' - and then ' pupil enrolled in remedial English classes' because we had a very deluded, racist ESL teacher. I still don't like writing by hand; whenever I think of 'writing' it's always 'typing' - because, you know...I'm a true modern child...

Flash forward to year eight, when I gatecrashed a year nine English class and had the His Dark Materials trilogy by Pullman dumped on my desk by my rather disgruntled English teacher. I've never read those books; I never intend to. Pushed by a very urgent need to catch up with my new peers and a distinct dislike for much of the reading material presented to me in that year, I learned the art of bluffing. It worked rather well at that level. In year ten I deliberately chose courses that didn't have really heavy reading material. I don't think that disadvantaged me at all.

In year eleven I started seriously studying literature and I finally had the love of proper decent literature instilled into me. I felt like every book I read and every poem I studied made my writing, both for school and for pleasure, better, more complex, more sophisticated.

I always read for pleasure. I go against most people I know when I say that I see no point in reading something if you don't like it. The torture of pushing yourself through a book you hate is not worth those fleeting moments when you can boast that you've read some classic that everyone's claimed they've read but nobody actually has read it. Nobody seemed to agree with me on this until my English teacher confided that he'd never been able to crack into Lord of the Rings. Neither have I, but at least I don't feel like an idiot about it anymore.

I am, however, very picky about my books. I'm very hesitant to read new books, mostly because I love the intrinsic joy of snuggling down with a well-loved volume with a hot cup of tea. I'm also iffy about books that seem so damn complicated you give yourself a migraine just trying to figure out what the hell is going on; I love well written, well-constructed, sophisticated books, but I always think that the mark of a good writer shows in easy-to-read prose and characters that are engaging and easy to relate to. A good book isn't an opportunity to flaunt the most complicated, far fetched storylines expressed with the most absurd characters and the longest, obscurest words one can think of. A good book should be honestly, simply and subtly...seductive.

It is not always easy to indulge my passion for literature, for art and music and other cultured things, amongst my peers. Some simply don't care, and are more interested in more teenage pursuits, whilst others are self-confessed snobs, dearest friends of mine who are nonetheless all too eager to have the opportunity to be delightfully condescending. It is hard for someone like me, with such unorthodox tastes, to establish myself as an intellectual equal; we all are accustomed to being the most learned of our peers and despite several years together it is still difficult to acknowledge others as being of the same elite pedigree. Although I must admit now I have thrown aside some of my insecurities and love discussing what I love best - the arts - because I don't care if people don't agree with me; that's hardly the point of academic discussion. I know now how to defend what I think.  

Soon we'll be studying Eva Luna in year twelve literature, and we've all been warned to read it - or pretend to - beforehand. I've been putting it off for ages, because it's not normally the sort of thing I normally read. But today, the day before school starts, I picked it up...and read it from cover to cover.

Eva Luna is an intriguing book. It's not the best or most enjoyable book I've ever read, and had it not been for school I probably would not have attempted to read it, or endeavoured to read the whole thing. But it was a page turner, nonetheless. The characters are intriguing; beautifully flawed and unique in their perspectives and relationships. But then, that might be Eva Luna's greatest flaw; I simply felt that it was a showcase of beautifully crafted characters at the expense of an engaging plot or message.

I've always thought that reading translations is a little bit of a pity. I feel like so much is lost in translation. I didn't realize this until I read Shakespeare in translation; when I was younger I was frustrated because I didn't have the capacity or tutoring to understand Shakespeare I read not quite a simplified version, but a rather sophisticated translation into modern academic English. Even then, and especially now that I have established myself as someone familiar with Shakespeare, there are so many nuances that are badly translated or omitted entirely - through no fault of the translator, it's just that one language will always have these little idiosyncrasies that no other tongue will even begin to understand. I can't help but feel that Eva Luna would have been a much better book had I been able to read it in Spanish.

One person I've become fascinated with recently is Catherine the Great - I am an ardent admirer of Elizabeth I but Catherine seems to have been so much more...progressive. She was in so many aspects a male ruler, and demanded to be treated as such - but she was still a most passionate, feminine character and I admire that she managed to balance the masculinity of autocratic rule and the femininity of her fascinating personal life so very well. Elizabeth, I think, never quite managed that. I am most eager to get my hands on Catherine's memoirs - although they are written in French, the lingua franca of Europe and the language of the Russian court at the time - and I shall have to settle with a translation. For now.

do you have any idea what you're doing? neither do I.

I like to think of us as pioneers. Nobody else has grown up in the world we are growing up in, now. Everything as a new meaning, new rules, new protocols - and nobody is very sure of the little details. Everything we do is new and exciting and dangerous; nobody knows what to do and how anyone will react to what you do. Friendships and relationships present themselves in new levels in new mediums, and it's all very much trial and error. If you like, we're running more on emotion than anything else; the dangerous hedonism of adolescence that makes decorum shake its head. There are books and books written on how to write a letter, how to talk to someone, how to fall in love and how to declare war; but we don't live like that anymore, and literature hasn't quite caught up yet. It's not the wisest thing, I suppose, to make up the rules as we go along, rules that aren't even worth writing down because our brothers and sisters, our children and their children, will all do things differently; we live in a time when the generations have nothing in common, there is no moment where time stands still and we all understand what is going on. There is no security in learning how to play to people's emotions, but maybe it's time that we learned to trust instict over institutions.

30 Things to Do Before I'm 30

Last year, I realized that I am HALFWAY TO THIRTY. OMFG.

A few weeks ago I was chatting to a friend and realized that, in ten years time, I'd be twenty-six and he'd be twenty-seven. In other words, freakishly close to thirty.

Thirty. Why does it keep popping up?

I suppose every young person is scared of hitting the big 3-0 and realizing that they have so many unfulfilled dreams. So, here is my list of 30 things to do before I'm 30. I will tick them off as I go along. Putting it on my blog will give me a little accountability, I hope.

I don't have huge money goals. I want enough to be comfortably well-off, and enough funds to perhaps start a family, but I don't really feel the need to drown in cash. I never have.

My goals at the moment are academic and personal. My academic goals are rather ambitious; my personal goals are a little more homey. But they work in sync with each other. 

(This is in no particular order, by the way)

1. Graduate from high school and go to university
2. Get my PhD., hopefully from Oxford
3. Travel the world
4. Learn French and Korean
5. Publish a novel
6. Live and work in Korea and/or Singapore for a little while
7. First kiss!
8. First cocktail
9. Get married
10. Move to England (this is a rather whimsical dream that so many people roll their eyes at)
11. Become a mother and live my attachment-parenting dream
12. Learn to drive
13. Buy a house
14. Experiment with self sufficiency, 70's Britain style
15. Be in a theatre production of some sort
16. Release some kind of music in some form
17. Do an artistic collaboration of some sort
18. Publish a collection of poems
19. Write a screenplay for a film or short film
20. Probably won't be allowed to, but the mikveh sounds like a beautiful idea
21. Skydive
22. Get a tattoo
23. Hit the big 3-0 completely no-poo since 16
24. Keep my blog going strong
25. Find some way that I would never have to have another heart surgery again
26. Do some meaningful charity work
27. Change the spelling of my name. It is actually driving me insane.
28. Actually do the 40 hour famine PROPERLY.
29. Go to a Taylor Swift, Kimbra, Paramore and One Direction concert.
30. Kiss someone on NYE!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coconut Oil: 3 Lady Solitaire: 1

After much research, I have been convinced that coconut oil is the bees knees of bona fide, hippy no-poo. Coconut oil has been used for hair care for centuries. As well as being a moisturiser - go figure, it is an oil after all - it is also supposed to darken hair, prevent grey hairs and cure dandruff and hair loss.

The coconut is actually pretty fascinating. It is, apparently, the only thing you can eat exclusively without becoming malnourished or dehydrated. Coconut water, which has become a new 'energy drink' of sorts, is so similar to human blood plasma it has been used for blood transfusions. Coconut milk also has medium-chain fatty acids, similar to what is found in human breastmilk. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway. I have spent a lot of time waging war experimenting with coconut oil. There are two problems - one, coconut oil is really, really, really oily. Which may sound like a stupid thing to say about oil, but I've used argan oil and olive oil in the past and neither have been this problematic. It's solid, so it's also harder to handle - it kind of has to be melted, first. Secondly, I don't use shampoo, and coconut oil is basically bulletproof. Washing it out with anything short of bleach seemed, for a little while, a bit of a joke.


Coat dry hair with masses of coconut oil. Attempt to wash out with green tea acid rinse.

Result: FAIL. Was a slimeball for days and days. Took several no-poos and the gratituous use of baking soda to get rid.

But once most of it was gone, my hair was Ah-May-Zing. So I tried again.


Mix 1 teaspoon of coconut oil with no-poo (I happened to use the sugar shampoo that day).

Result: FAIL. Took three washes to get it all out.



Result: Somewhat fail. I didn't melt the coconut oil, so I ended up with mostly nice hair with a couple of bits that were oiler than Saudi Arabia.

EXPERIMENT FOUR: (yes I'm that stubborn.)

Brew tea. Melt honey and coconut oil in tea. Add rice water. Hope for the best.

Result: FINALLY! SUCCESS!!!!!!!!

Worth it? Yes. Am I crazy? Probably.


You may find it weird that one of the many people I admire is a former high class escort.

True story.

Dr Brooke Magnanti is a research scientist who worked briefly as an escort during the period between submitting her PhD. thesis and being awarded her doctorate. Whilst working as an escort she blogged about her onorthodox and controversial profession using her professional name/blogger psuedonym Belle de Jour. She has since become a published author, publishing her blog as memoirs and writing fictional continuations of her experiences as an escort. These books have since become the basis of a TV series, The Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper of Dr. Who fame.

I haven't become a new admirer of prostitution. I am still with everyone who agrees that prostitution is normally borne out of abuse and extreme poverty. However, as a sex-positive feminist I admire Belle and her attitude; surely a modern, liberated woman would take the same gung-ho approach to sex and sexuality as she does to more traditional elements of women's rights progress, like voting and education. Belle's justification of prostitution as a viable profession is also intriguing: in other jobs, we sell the strength of our bodies of the intelligence of our minds. We sell wombs, organs, blood, sperm. We sell our souls, so what exactly is wrong with selling sex?

You wouldn't think that a former escort would be the sort of person to challenge the hypocrisy of female beauty, but the thing about Belle is that she's not the world's most beautiful woman.What might surprise you about Belle is that she values what all modern women should value in themselves: education, confidence, sophistication and intelligence.

Here is something from her blog, The Sex Myth (no copyright infringement intended.)

On Scars

It was slightly surprising - but not altogether unexpected - that on the weekend when my book The Sex Myth has its first excerpt and interview in the Telegraph that "feminists" would immediately take objection. Interestingly though the shape this appears to have followed, rather than an actual criticism of work I have done or books I have written, is a number of nasty "terrible skin" remarks about me from lady columnists who really ought to know better.

It speaks volumes about the preoccupations of critics that when faced with a woman whose attitudes, thought processes, and life experience are almost orthogonal to their own their first response is to criticise her looks. I am not conventionally attractive, but to
paraphrase Steve Martin: when presented with all this, that's the best you can come up with?

Last year I wrote a commentary on the ubiquitous blogging that was going on surrounding the bullying of feminist bloggers. As I
pointed out then, bullying does not only happen to feminists, and some of the people who were getting group hugs out of being the victims of trolling have themselves trolled other people. (Top tip: just because you write above the line doesn't make you not a troll. @'ing someone in to your insults of them on Twitter? Does.)

So to make explicit in case it was not clear: I will never ridicule someone I disagree with because of their looks. If you can't craft a sensible argument against someone's thoughts and actions and have to go for the low-hanging fruit instead, you have failed at rational debate.

I wrote previously about the experience of having facial scars on my original blog but have since taken that content down. However
Emily Hornaday archived it and so I reprint it here. If you are someone who is going through a rough time confidence-wise, please know that while haters never, ever change, how you feel about yourself will. It really does get better.

mercredi, janvier 13

Let me tell you about the best gift I ever received. And it's not a bit of sparkly jewellery, or a shiny car, or even a thoughtful trinket of affection.

I'm talking about my scars.

I had terrible acne as a teenager. By the age of 16 it was so bad a dermatologist said it was the worst she'd ever seen, which, ya know, is not super encouraging. At the hospital where I volunteered mothers pulled their children away from me, convinced I was plagued with something contagious. Strangers avoided making eye contact.

It was so bad I could not wash my face without bleeding. Many mornings I woke up stuck to the pillowcase. And oh yeah, it was only on my face. Not one blemish anywhere else on my body. To this day, I still never have seen a photo of anything like it - apart from some daguerrotypes of smallpox patients.

It was a very long, and very expensive, journey to improving my skin - remember, this all went down in America where having a disfiguring condition you have no control over is not covered by health insurance, and duh, there's no NHS.

Long story short a lot of Roaccutane and Dianette did for the acne. And more importantly here's what I learned:

1. Beauty is fleeting. Thank fuck for that.

I had a narrow escape from being just another boring blonde - not to mention an early release from the cycle of self-hatred and frantic desperation that plagues many women as they age. Corollary 1a: The larger part of how people perceive you is how you present yourself.

2. People can be hurtful to strangers. That's their problem.

My best childhood mate had spina bifida. She walked on sticks and refused to use a wheelchair for reasons I only started to appreciate years later. Looking like a medical oddity gave me, for a very brief time, a very small taste of what she encounters every day of her life. It made me pity people who equate someone's appearance with their value as a person. This generalises magnificently to strangers judging you for, in fact, anything at all. Corollary 2a: The most vocal critics are often the most insecure.

3. Other people have things you don't. Big deal.

There is no such thing as the Most Beautiful Woman in the World (sorry Buttercup). Who cares? What is considered desirable is not especially worth getting hung up on. You may not be a six-foot Amazon so will never have legs up to your neck - but for all you know, that same supermodel would give her left arm to have your hair. This concept generalises to wealth, success, talent, and intelligence as well. Corollary 3a: Envy of other women's looks is a zero-sum game, and uses far too much time and energy to be bothered with.

4. Quality of love is not a function of attractiveness.

Elizabeth Taylor, for instance, has been married eight times. Beautiful people have dry spells and get their hearts broken like everyone else. The most worthwhile and loving relationships in my life all happened after my skin problems. And for what it's worth, I've been fortunate to date some pretty nice, smart (and attractive) men in my time. See Corollary 1a above.

5. Confidence doesn't come overnight.

It also doesn't happen in a vacuum; it requires nurturing. As with anything else worth having it's work. But let me tell you, it is so worth the work. A mate recently told me about a magazine 'happiness quiz' in which one of the questions was, "are you comfortable with your body, and do you exercise regularly?" If you can see why this should not have been a single question, you're on the way. Corollary 5a: Confidence happens when you let it happen. No one gives it to you, which is great, because it also means they can't take it from you.

6. When someone says I am beautiful, they really, really mean it.

There is something about knowing someone sees you, quirks and all, and likes what they see... something rare and kind of overwhelming (in a good way). 'Beautiful' is one of those words (a bit like 'awesome') that has lost meaning in being overused as a generic affirmative. We call all sorts of people beautiful in one sentence and tear them down in the next. I'm happy to be different enough that anyone who uses it to describe me sees more than just hair and makeup.

You have no idea how much something like this means to me.

Over the years I have collected an impressive collection of scars. I used to be very self-conscious of them; I'm not anymore. I'm not going to say that the above blog post was the sole cause of my recent confidence, because I read it after I had a little revelation, but it does reinforce what I've been trying to teach myself for a little while.

The biggest scars I have are my surgical scars. I have a scar on my chest that finishes about two inches from my belly button - it's actually three scars, one on top of the other, from when I was three months, five years and fourteen years old. I also have another scar across my ribs from where they had to drain blood from my operation when I was five, and a dimple over my pacemaker from a pipe that had to be pushed through my skin. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think my scars have ever been red - the most recent one is still faint purple, but the rest are bone white against my rather dark skin. Another very slight imperfection is that my pacemaker protrudes slightly, and feels very weird; it's even more pronounced now that I've lost quite a lot of weight. I just noticed it yesterday. Damn.

I have some very weird memories surrounding these scars: when I was five, I had to lie on the kitchen table with my hair draped over the edge so that Mum could wash it; I also remember sitting in a hospital bath with about half a centimetre of water and being told to stay very, very still so I wouldn't splash water onto my cut. My scar when I was fourteen also put me off having a C-section, ever - most women see it as a kind of easy option, but trust me, there's nothing quite like having your stomach muscles cut. You don't know how much you use your stomach muscles to do everything; even breathing is agony - the kind of agony that defies even the most vicious painkillers (morphine headaches are really not fun). My scars have also taught me not to be very squeamish about blood and other lovely things; everyone was very surprised when I casually peeled off the bandage by myself, without a peep.  

When I was younger I used to go out of my way to try and cover up these scars - wearing high necked tops and very modestly cut singlets under my uniform; that was before I realized that turtlenecks are even more unflattering than an inch of scar peeping out from under a more low-cut top. But now, I'm fine with it. I even showed up to school wearing a bustier - long story - and, ahem, my scar has become a very popular conversation starter amongst boys...

My medical experience as a whole has taught me that people can be very judgemental. I have - rather understandably, in my opinion - developed a severe phobia of needles, and it's very hard to explain to people that I've been through things and been to some very dark places, and trypanophobia is a rather mild side effect of that. I also don't like it when people try and trivialize my heart condition - I know it's nowhere near as bad as terminal cancer or something, but my brother is a tree in a memorial garden and I may very well have ended up as another tree next to him. I always have that in my mind.

Most guys seem to be under the impression that girls only get stretch marks during pregnancy. Not freaking true, buddy! I look like I've been attacked by an alien - at one point I had deep purple tears as a result of acquring hips overnight; now they're kind of faded. They were the scars I hated the most.

When I was younger I had horrific acne. It was big angry red itchy patches - It was huge purple God-knows-what erupting all over my face. Nothing I did could get rid of it, and I remember countless tantrums and teary rages over how unbelievably ugly I looked. I now know heaps of people with really bad acne, even worse than mine was, and it's not such a huge deal - but it is a huge deal when you're an insecure, vulnerable little girl. After being told this and that by one useless doctor after another, my current doctor finally gave me something to kill the most vicious acne, and now I only have to endure what could safely be called normal teenage breakouts. But now I have scars all over my face, and they're more than just a lingering reminder of some seriously annoying skin problems - every day they remind me of my depression, which occurred around the same time as the acne. It's not always a pleasant thing to see in the morning, but I'm not afraid of my depression. I wish I could have been stronger, but I also wish other people could have been stronger for me. My acne scars remind me that that was something I had to pull through entirely alone. 

I am like most girls when I say that there was a time when I was obsessed with image, and how I was perceived by others. I've had to deal with a makeup addiction, depression, a ridiculously low self esteem and a weight problem as a result of that. But my scars helped me pull of of that, perhaps a little younger than some other girls; my scars made me realize that I'm really okay, that I really look okay, that I'm beautiful in my own scarred way. And, as Belle said, imperfections are a blessing; because then you know that whoever says you are beautiful really thinks that you are beautiful. It really is a blessing to have that kind of assurance of sincerity.

My scars used to make me needlessly self conscious about how I looked. My scars also make me feel a little guilty, because I feel like so much time and resources have been spent on me and I have no way to repay that; I was just telling my friend that I feel a little guilty that I'm probably not the most ideal blood donor, but I've used a lot of blood in my lifetime. But my scars also make me very proud. I'm a fighter. Whenever I doubt myself, I remember that I've been through worse and came out of it okay, and I have the scars to prove it.

Beauty is fleeting. Thank fuck for that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

No Poo Recipes!

Sugar Shampoo:

1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp witch hazel
2 tbsp raw sugar (the really grainy kind)
1tsp cinnamon
3 drops tea tree oil

Mix ingredients. Scrub into roots. Use fingers to comb through to ends. Rinse.

Applesauce Shampoo:

3tbsp applesauce
1tbsp witch hazel
1 tsp cinnamon
3 drops tea tree oil

Mix ingredients. Wash hair from roots to tips. Rinse.

You can add a teaspoon of baking soda occasionally, if you use a lot of product or you feel like you need the extra clean.  I do that about once a week. Or if I've overkilled on the coconut oil.


Tea Rinse:
2 teabags (black, green, herbal, anything goes) or a handful of fresh or dried herbs
1 cup rice water
2 tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
1tsp honey
Pea sized amount of coconut oil.

Brew teabags in 1 cup boiling water for at least half an hour. Melt honey and coconut oil into tea. Mix with rice water and vinegar. Pour over hair, sit for two minutes, then rinse.

I am making my rosemary vinegar - steeping as much rosemary I can shove into a jar in apple cider vinegar for two weeks. Can't wait to try that! You can also, apparently, use beer as a hair conditioner. No joke. Just pour a beer over your hair, let it sit, and rinse. The yeast and sugar is meant to be really good for your hair. I...might wait until I've actually had a beer before putting one in my hair.

The recipes above are a result of my own experimentation, based on what I have around the house/what I've convinced my mother to purchase for me. There's definitely a lot of trial and error involved, but the cool thing is that no-poo can always be tailored to your own hair needs and what you have available. You can be as frugal or as extravagant as you want.

Another thing that has been going around is the condish no-poo - replacing shampoos, masques, conditioners and treatments with just a really good, silicone free organic conditioner of choice. I haven't tried that, mostly because I naturally have glossy, silky hair (go Asian genes!) that tends to get incredibly greasy if I just think about conditioner too much (boo hormones). Also, I think it's kind of cheating - being the hippy I am, surely 'no-poo' would imply 'no store bought hair care products of any kind'?

At the moment I wash my hair every day, because my hair is still adjusting to not being subjected to harsh detergents (the baking soda I used to use was pretty potent), and most people who know me no that I am completely anal about my hair looking oily - although I may lay off a bit before I overwash it. There is actually lots of information on the net and whilst some things are pretty exotic, or too expensive to tip onto your hair and down the drain, some things are pretty basic.Yes, most people think I'm mad. Yes, my hair is clean, and shiny, and not greasy.  No, there's nothing growing in it. Yes, I'm crazy for making my own shampoo. And yes, I never intend to touch commercial shampoo again.

Blog on.

I actually don't know what I would do without my blog.

There's more to blogging than just posting whatever's in your head from time to time. People who do that lose interest in blogging pretty quickly. Sometimes people find out about my blog and start their own, before realizing it's not exactly twitter. A blog takes time, energy and commitment. You really have to love writing and be completely unafraid of who might be reading to blog.

I've always had a very clear purpose for my blog. I want people to know who I am, and what I can do. I don't feel like I have enough platforms in the real world; not enough chance to say that this is me, take it or leave it. When I write, I am much bolder and opinionated than in person. It got to the point where I was actually two distinct personalities; shy nerdy kid at school and reckless, angry Lady Renegade. I'm not so much like that anymore, but sometimes a pseudonym is very comforting. 

I'm still a big believer in uncensored writing, but now that I've become more and more aware of who exactly reads my blog I can't just word vomit and click publish. I do have a very good idea of who reads this, and sometimes I can even track a few distinct people - I have a few fancy gadgets and a bit of female intuition up my sleeve. When you spend five days a week locked in one place with lots of people who read your blog, you do have to be careful what you publish. I've always tried to maintain anonymity, even when I don't feel like people really deserve it. But, then again, I always have a message for people, and it's not always what they want to hear, but I have to make sure that my intentions are clear. I never butter up people just to save my own skin.

I spend a lot more time on this blog than people think - editing, researching, maintaning and doing admin stuff. I haven't really done a big image overhaul in a few years - I experimented a few days ago, but couldn't find anything I liked - but I do change details all the time. I also re-read everything all the time, just making sure that I don't have too many stupid errors or that I haven't written something that might be taken the wrong way. I've kind of intentionally left some of the really old stuff in that impossible to read navy blue on black because, frankly, it's embarassing reading what was going on in my head four years ago. But I don't have the heart to delete it. My next project, when I have time, is to properly archive my blog - I didn't realize it because I have a pretty fast computer, but apparently my blog has been known to crash slightly less reliable technology. Sorry. 

I've never really liked the idea of blogging by request, or sticking to a regular schedule. I literally blog whenever I feel like, whenever I have time, whenever I have something on my mind; some bloggers stick to a schedule, deliberately holding back posts so that they always have something to post on a regular basis. I...couldn't do that. There have been exceptions to my rules, though - Half of My Heart was actually written when I was far far away from my beloved blog and I posted (an abridged version, because I was in a very weird frame of mind) it over three days. I also don't really let anyone have much say in what I post; I'm not going to gush on and on about someone or other, and I don't really like the idea of any blog being used as shameless advertising space. Oh, and I hate to break it to you, but I'm not a crazy fangirl. The videos of Ryan were posted with permission, and only because I wanted to because I think he's crazy talented. 

When I first started my blog I was literally talking to a brick wall. Nobody read it but me and my mother. It's kind of lame, I suppose, posting stuff dutifully on a place that nobody ever visits, but I persevered. And I have had some REALLY COOL people visit my blog - Kirsty Murray, an author I had the privilege to meet at The Lit Centre; and some other bloggers like Genevieve Damascus from Mama Natural and Blur Ting (who I have met) from The day flew by so fast it was a blur.

I know I'd probably get more traffic if I were the kind of blogger who travelled everywhere and posted lots of heavily photoshopped pictures of me doing exotic things, meeting exotic people and eating exotic food. I've never posted a picture of myself because, quite frankly, I'm not very interesting, and I don't go to very interesting places or do very interesting things on a regular basis. And I suck at photoshop. But more than that, I'm a bit of a purist; I'm a blogger, not a photographer or a vlogger or a producer or anything.

I don't ever see myself saying 'enough now.' Blogging, even blogging on a blog with relatively slow traffic and a relatively small number of regular readers, is very, very rewarding. I have lots to say. I love that people take the time to hear me out.  


I'm a firm believer that all of the world's problems can be solved by one big hug.

Everyone thinks it's so strange that my idea of 'making things up to me' is 'you owe me a big hug, okay?' But it's true. Sometimes you don't need a solution, or an answer, or compensation or payment or anything. Sometimes all you need is something symbolic.

I hate airports. They're full of grumpy security people that make everyone needlessly edgy, confusing language and cultural barriers, airplane germs and babies staring grumpily out of baby carriers. I'm always tired, sick, bare-faced and grumpy in airports. We all are. It's a huge congregation of people quite at the end of their tether.

In one of the many times queuing up for something or other in one airport or another, I kept getting shoved into people, into poles, into everything. It's amazing how something petty like that can really get you pissed when you're tired and jetlagged. I didn't get a single apology, or acknowledgement that I was getting shoved around. I got shoved again, and I whirled around, ready to throw a full-blown tantrum right in the middle of the airport.

The guy behind me clasped his hands together in front of him and bowed. And then, just like that, my anger vanished. It wasn't a move of fear, or sarcasm, or 'please don't hit me, psycho Asian teenager'. It was something selfless; it was an apology offered with no other expectations. His sincerity was humbling. It was one of the most sincere apologies I can remember.

Apologies can transcend culture, language, time and place. Nothing can stop us from being humbly and sincerely apologetic, about anything. And nothing can make you angry, nothing can stop you from being forgiving, when you're presented with such powerful sincerity.

In Asia, girls hold hands and link arms all the time. Sisters, cousins, friends; physical contact isn't nearly the big deal it is over here. My baby cousins demand cuddles and piggybacks and kisses, whenever I see them, and I love it. It's so sweet.  Even when the jabber away in Chinese, or Korean, or random baby talk, I know when they throw their arms in the air demanding a cuddle, or kiss me on the cheek, that we're all family and we love each other dearly, even if we have no words to express that.

In Korea, everyone bows to everyone. It is a greeting, a goodbye, an apology and an acknowledgement all in one. It isn't something showy or theatrical - just a brief nod to someone of equal or lower rank, or a short bow from the waist to someone higher than you. Whenever we go to Korea, on the way back from sightseeing or some restaurant or something, my aunt would stop the car and my sister and I would tumble out, race up the steps of my grandfather's house, bow in the doorway, and then run back into the car. Sometimes I think people in Western societies talk too much. Sometimes sincerity carries in things unspoken.

Which is why I love hugs. I love all the unspoken things in a hug. It's the nicest way to say anything; 'just friends', 'I'm sorry', 'everything's going to be okay'. Everything cheesy and corny and cliched, everything you want to do but can't, everything you could say that could be misunderstood to mean something else, translates perfectly when you don't say them at all. If I could hug the world, I would.

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #9:

#55: Putting on a brave face.

#56: Snapping out of it.

#57: Overcoming my irrational fear of telephone calls...

#58: Conquering coconut oil. Hehehehe.

#59: I really do think you were a cute eleven year old with glasses ;P

#60: Cheerfully indulging my OCD organizing my iTunes library. As you do.

#61: My dogs are like babies. It's amazing how much joy fills you up just watching them sleep. And snore. And sneeze. 
...More to come. 


i'm falling down the rabbit hole
why can't i stop playing with fire?

i'm trapped
by my own pyromania
and i can't even scream

the die has been cast
we've crossed the rubicon
i can't run back over burned bridges.

i know what's past the point of no return
freefall, that's all

my stomach is twisting in knots
butterflies   -   murdered

you don't know what rings in my ears
and boils in my blood
every night
every night...

how much does she know?
how much does she know?

i'll laughandcry
laughandcry myself to sleep
every night
every night...

i'm falling down the rabbit hole.
meet me there. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Isn't that what Isaac Newton said?

It's not fucking true.

What I wouldn't give to be in a world like that, though. What I wouldn't give to fall in love once, just once, and it doesn't all just go to waste. What I wouldn't give to have more two way streets than one-sided relationships. I'd be the happiest woman alive if I got back just half of what I give.

I've always lived like this. I don't know how to live without loving, without hating. I don't know how to do things halfway. I don't know how to be indifferent, callous, cold, uncaring. I don't know how to do things half-heartedly, to not let things affect me. And it's not something I really want to learn, either.

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #8:

#48: Giggling myself to sleep

#49: Academic integrity.

#50: We pulled down a tree. Like actually. PULL. 

#51: You don't know someone until you've cried because of them, laughed with them and stayed up talking to them. If you do that with everyone, you won't be indifferent to anyone. 

#52: The wisdom of a good friend.

#53: Playing with fire.

#54: Another poem at 2 in the morning. Gotta love late-night moments of inspiration. Or confusion. Or heartache. Or whatever. 

...More to come.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #7:

#44: The happiness of being generous.

#45: A midnight game and a midnight snack...

#46: Sewing. Still.

#47: Walking around Fremantle and realizing that no matter how weird you are, there's always someone in Freo who can out-weird you. It's quite comforting, really.

...More to come. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

you wanna meet my friend?

 Apparently I do have friends.

This is one of them.

Ryan is a very good friend of mine and, I hope you agree, a pretty amazing singer. When he's not doing boring crap like economics or physics or maths specialist (or trying to explain to me the appeal of gaming) he's always singing, or performing, or auditioning, or...ahem...voicing Darth Vader in our year nine play...

Tell me what you think! Please? Or at least give me a few EPICs.

Oh, and apparently the fact that he's glowing has something to do with the supernatural. You'd have to ask him :P.

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #6:

#36: Eating a blue cheese pizza. Yep. Blue. Cheese. Pizza. It was actually really yummy! Roast pumpkin, caramelized onion, blue cheese and pinenuts. 

#37: More misadventures with coconut oil. I swear to God, I'll make this stuff work for me. 

#38: A couple of special songs by a special person on my iPod. I hope you don't mind my lack of integrity and see it as a compliment.

#39: Making my broken iPod work for me. Kind of. 

#40: Humbling pain.

#41: Remembering my brother's name. I love you so much. 

#42: Reliving sweet memories with my baby cousin. 

#43: Having the strength to want to be Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Whitlam. We'll rock the Feminist Hall of Fame together one day.

...More to come.   
What makes a woman beautiful?

In this day and age, education is a woman's most valuable asset. Education, intellectualism, sophistication; these things are far less eroded by the decay of time than beauty. But I've found that the only people who really agree with me on that are academics and escorts. A bizarre combination, you might say, but in both fields education makes one elite, exclusive and expensive.

There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who can hold her own and carry a conversation. The most beautiful women in the world, to me, are women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Whitlam; women who were proud, bold and independent. Women with brains, with sass, with ability. Women who were considered attractive not because they conformed to the ridiculous and ever-changing ideals of female beauty, but because they had the strength to be themselves and the faith that they would find someone to love them for it.

But you may have noticed - these women are dead. I hope that what they represent is not buried with them. I don't like living in a world where women are first judged for their beauty, and then judged for their ability to conform and compromise. I'm not like that.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


The rush
Back and forth and back and forth
The wind in your hair
The cold kiss on your bare arms and breast.

The creak
The spin
Tip your head back and cry.

Can you feel that?
I've always wondered...

If you were here,
Would you nod,

And say yes,
I feel it.

But you're never here
And I never ask.

I never do things halfway
I cannot like
I love or hate.

You must be content with
One or the other
Just as I must be content with neither.

But I can't explain away the way I feel.

Inspired by 'Warrior' by Converse: Plug In Colour  

my name.

I've never really liked my name. I've never really felt comfortable with it. When I first started this blog, it never occurred to me to publish under my own name. Part of the decision to blog under a pseudonym was for privacy; another part was because I've always had a taste for the extravagant and the name Lady Renegade (now Lady Solitaire) is a reflection of the puffed-up self importance of a twelve year old. But it was mostly because I've never felt that my name is in sync with who I am and what I want to be.

It is not always easy growing up as an Asian, second-generation immigrant in Australia. I'm not very Asian in my thinking or sensibilities but I know I do not entirely fit in in Australia; I know I am not entirely welcome. I think that reflects in my name, and my discomfort with it.

My name is not a traditional, feminine name; at least to Western ears. Nobody has ever said that my name is 'pretty', 'sweet' or 'elegant' - it's normally described as 'interesting' or 'unique' or, by those who seem to lack tact, 'fucking weird'. I am so sick of having to say my name, repeat it five million times, spell it out again, and again, and again, and put up with all kinds of variations that seem to transcend ignorance.

I have always been good with names. I've never had any problem remembering how to spell or pronounce even the most unusual names. I've always found it strange that Australians seem incapable of wrapping their heads or tongues around anything more complicated than Ryan or Claire. I mean, English is the most complicated language in that we have so many rules, and so many ways to break these rules. But then again, Australian kids have never really boasted very impressive spelling skills.

Almost every Asian I know in Australia has a 'normal' name. Some of them have an Asian name for a middle name, or have a 'normal' nickname that everyone knows them as. Even my cousins in Singapore have English names; even my niece in Korea has an English name. I do not. I don't know whether to be proud or irritated.

When I was growing up, I had very Western ideals of marriage and babies instilled into my brain. Most people I know take it for granted they're going to name their own children. I certainly do, anyway.

My sister and I were named by my grandparents in Korea. It has never ceased to amaze me that my mother didn't give in to that girlish need to name your kid something deep and meaningful and personal, the name that you've scribbled and hidden in the same place where you've hidden that scribble of you as a Mrs. Our surname is a highly esteemed family in Korea which literally means 'hand' (more like authority). Our family is a family of generals, ministers, queens and concubines, and my name is similarly grand and austere - at least to me, when you think that the name 'Cameron' means 'wonky nose'. My name means 'intent to cultivate'. My grandfather loved it so much that I have it even though it's the 'wrong name' - don't ask.

In Korea, I finally get accepted as someone with a normal name. I love how my name just rolls of everyone's tongue. I love how they knew how to spell my name even before I did - in Korean, of course. I love how I can write my name and it just fits.

As I've gotten older I've reconciled myself with what I have been named. I used to think it didn't suit me, it didn't describe me, it didn't really represent me; but it does. It does, when I'm where I belong.

A Thousand Thousand Fearless Things #5:

#30: Washing my hair with applesauce!

#31: My baby brother. Thinking of you. 

#32: Hah! I got that dubstep track!

#33: The new season of Horrible Histories!

#34: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Hot Sheikh, hot Scot, what's not to like?

#35: You can't explain away the way I feel. 

...More to come. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I've forgotten how much people in the south of Perth stare.

I grew up in what is known as the 'southern suburbs' - Perth is a big, boring, sprawling suburbia, split by a big, boring, sprawling river. Now I live in the northern suburbs, but I remember what it's like, living in the south - the great class divide between the poor immigrant families who live near the highway and the rich white families who lived near the river (I happened to live in the former kind of house in the latter kind of area), the almost country-bumpkin thinking of the suburbs detached from the city; the glamour of being accepted into a school that seemed to be on the other side of the world. But perhaps I was too young, when I was there, to realize that people in those parts of Perth can be very, very...judgemental.

It's mostly men checking out women and women judging other women. It's not blank stares; they're not even stares of awe or shock. It's that glare of derision, of jealousy, of disgust - and of judgement. You know when someone looks at you and all they're thinking is 'slut' or 'bimbo'. Without knowing me. Without knowing who I am, the people I know, what I do, what school I go to, how well I do at school. Nothing. Just a snap judgement based on how high my heels are and how high my hem is. Sometimes I hear women bitching about the most nonsensical things, as if a small waistline or big boobs or a flattering dress has anything to do with promiscuity. Who cares, anyway? I'm sixteen. There's no law saying I have to look the nun that I am.

Most of my time as a teenager has been spent in the northern suburbs. It's a bizarre combination of dead broke backpacker tourists, bikini girls and rich-suburb snobs. But there's no judgement, not really. I love how indifferent people are here. It's a good place to experiment, to be a teenager, to not have to be worried about what other people are thinking about you. Trust me. I get more than enough of that at school. 

As a feminist and a topfreedomist, it would go against everything that I am to give in to a couple of bitches who don't know how to have fun. And as a teenager and a woman, I would be a liar if I said I didn't like some of the attention I sometimes get. But it's the judgement that kills me. If you know me and hate me, fine. I'm not exactly the most adorable, loveable person you will ever meet. But you can't judge someone by stereotypes, by societal conventions, by things that are fickle and hypocritical and unspoken and ever-changing. Because you know me...I like to break the rules a bit.

teenage boys.

Like most girls I know, I was given the age old advice about boys. Don't trust them. They think through their dicks. They're not interested in smart, witty, nerdy, slightly chubby girls like me; if they are, it's because they're desperate, and I'm not talking desperate for a deep and meaningful conversation about modernist literature. They might think that they want love, want relationships, want intimacy, want friendship, but hormones render teenage boys incapable of all of that. Don't take it personally, and don't let it hurt you, but that's just how it is. Men are always incapable of understanding and giving what women want, but teenage boys are the most hopeless of them all.

It's strange how advice like this can change a girl. I've had my fair share of mess ups and heartbreaks, but I have always had that in the back of my mind; teenage boys simply aren't capable of giving what I want. Every time I've tripped and fallen in love I've kicked myself for it, because I have this idea in my head that I have to wait, I have to wait until both parties are grown up and mature and we can go about this in a grown up and mature way. I've always erred on the side of caution, always been wary and suspicious of intentions. But is that age-old tale true, anyway?

I think not. Men invest far too much time and money in relationships, in friendships, in closeness and proximity and intimacy with other people, to just be thinking about getting some. If every person we meet and know and love is an investment, then men stake the most in this most risky market. They give everything they have not for the kind of R-rated fantasies people have convinced me teenage boys think about 24/7, but for what we all want; support and comfort. Even at this age, even when society and popular culture are out to get them, to portray them as risk-takers who will stop at nothing to get some, even when that is imprinted into every girl's head, I still think that that's not true. I think that teenage boys want what we all want, and like the rest of us, they're just not entirely sure how to get it.

There is an element of sexism in that lie, isn't there? Why doesn't anyone have the right idea of what teenage girls want? Sure, we want shoes and clothes and weddings and happy endings, but our lives aren't really that PG-13. Has anyone really considered that teenage girls want what teenage boys want? Or what people claim they want, anyway. Hormones, recklessness, curiosities...these aren't really limited to the male gender.

Why do they even tell us that, anyway? Maybe it's their way of ensuring that girls are as shy and prudish and innocent and cautious as society wants them to be. It's hardly fair, you know. I wonder what would happen if it was just common knowledge - not true or false, just common knowledge - that girls are as blinded by hormones as teenage boys are supposed to be?  

I will tell you that teenage boys, in my experience, are much more...sidetracked...by new, shiny things than most other people that I meet. They're like children in a sense - it's the novelty, the newness, the newly-minted nature of things when you're growing up that is irresistble. They can't resist that new thing, that new experience, that new something or other that makes life just that bit more interesting and dangerous. I think that's it, really, the tiny seed of truth in it all; teenage boys aren't addicted to getting some, or thinking about getting some, they're addicted to recklessness; they aren't slaves to primal instincts, they're slaves to the rush, the thrill of recklessness. And I have no problem with that. I'm like that, too. 

Could I tell you honestly that I'm not really scared of men, or what they want, or what they claim they want, or what people claim that men want? I'm just a little confused because all of the above are entirely different, and not one and the same. There is no clarity, and without clarity I cannot even begin to understand. But it is impossible to weird me out, and even if I do get a bit scared I know I can handle it; I know I can protect myself. I'm not afraid of emotions; I'm afraid of people who seem to have no emotions - which would be, you know, 99% of the chums I go to school with. I'm not afraid of brutal honesty, of acknowledging what we think and feel.