"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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

whatever my heart may want.

Whatever my heart may want
I will not look for you

My love was wasted in friendship
And poisoned by lies

And though I love you, I must love myself

Let me love you quietly
Buried deep in my heart

Where my green eyed friend
Sleeps peacefully, like a child

Let me love you silently
In mourning of your childhood, and mine

Let me love you in dreams

Whatever my heart may want
I cannot lower myself into looking up to you

Forgive my vanity
As I forgive your cruelty

Whatever my heart may want
You are not enough.

Friday, March 27, 2015



I thought of something to say to you
And then burst into tears

Because I turn, and it fades away
And you're not here

My love was unconditional
But not at the expense of my dignity

It was at the expense of all of me.

*          *          *


I was afraid, you know
During my break

Because you were bleeding
And I wanted to fix you

I wanted to hold you in my arms like a child
And I was afraid you would push me away

It meant the world to me
That you crawled into my open arms

*          *          *


I was drawn to you
Like a moth

Drawn to the flame

But I think tempers that burn so hot
Can burn anyone

And so I died
Joan of Arc

*          *          *


How afraid I am
I am not afraid of

Tangled bodies
And knotted bed sheets

I am afraid that you will touch me
And it will leave scars

That nobody will see
But me

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

my own personal brand of feminism.

Now Playing: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift (you know it used to be mad love, so take a look at what you've done 'cause baby, now we've got bad blood)

A couple of weeks ago I had the audacity to say, in passing, that I don't personally subscribe to Beyonce's brand of feminism and a group of feminists lost their shit.

I've always felt deeply uncomfortable with affiliating with any kind of organization; I joined student politics in my fresher year and, whilst I met many interesting, colourful characters, I could not, in good faith, sell a cause and sell my self in the name of something I could not sincerely endorse and did not fully believe in. Since then I have lived on the periphery of the various collectives for women, women of colour, atheists, feminists, leftists and queer folks. I have a reputation as a controversial but generally respected figure, but I really struggle to be actively involved. On the rare occasions that I do make it to a meeting, or an event, or to speak at conferences, I always feel unsettled and on edge.

For me, feminism is not really a safe space. Nothing about feminism is safe; it is an open invitation to ridicule, threats, and hostility; and not all that hostility comes externally. Within the community there is a huge amount of conflict and discord and, ironically, I think it is caused by our unwillingness to accept and embrace difference and debate.

Feminists are highly intelligent, extremely opinionated people. There are going to be fights and disagreements; but that is one of feminism's strengths, rather than a weakness. Part of the joy of being a public feminist is that people don't know what I'm going to say, what I'm going to think, or how I'm going to justify myself. I am not your average cookie cutter Asian girl; I'm a wild card. I think we should all embrace that, instead of forcing fellow feminists to adopt our own personal brand of feminism.

I have, of course, my own personal brand of feminism. It hovers cautiously at the centre-left of politics, heavily influenced by little-l liberalism. It is, of course, inseparable from my race politics and my identity as a queer woman of colour. It is decidedly sex positive and pro choice and comes with the disclaimer that I am young and still sorting shit out. I like Iggy Azalea. I don't really like Beyonce. Shoot me.

As a part of my own personal brand of feminism, there is a lot that I object to in the feminist community. I can't stand the notion that women cannot have sex with men without it being exploitative and disrespecting oneself. I can't stand the notion that equal representation for women will somehow sideline all these brilliant perfect flawless men in favour of incompetent stupid women who are just there to fill quotas and tick boxes. I can't stand the mumsy white feminism championed by Mia Freedman and other white middle class 'feminists', who slut shame and victim blame until the cows come home. I can't stand the queerphobia and racism that is rampant in the movement.

There are decidedly wrong ways to be feminist. Racism, queerphobia, trans-exclusion, a refusal to understand and accept the intersection between privilege and oppression in our own lives, is failing to understand the heart of feminism, or how to be a decent person. But, at the same time, there's nothing mandatory about feminism; there's no checklist. Liking Beyonce does not make you a feminist. Not liking Beyonce doesn't suddenly cancel your membership card. There aren't any membership cards; just the millions of different ways to be a good or shit person.

I don't think of feminism as anything special. As a feminist I have to work bloody hard, to improve myself and to fight for society; but whilst it is hard to be a feminist, it is not particularly hard to identify as one. It is synonymous to being a decent human being, and I think we over-complicate it with weird rules or strange notions about a homogeneous sisterhood.

When feminists first enter the scene, we are taught that there are two ways of doing things; the way things are now, which is wrong, and the way you yourself want it to be because you have a uterus, which is right. Which is a load of bullshit. There are thousands of wrong ways and thousands of right ways to do anything; there are thousands of 'wrong' and 'right' ways to be a feminist, and thousands of 'wrong' and 'right' ways to be a woman. My feminism works for me; and I don't mean that in a self-serving way. My feminism not only allows me to work towards the life I want, but also provides me with a suitable platform from which to serve my fellow women and society at large. The day that feminism becomes homogeneous, the day when someone can say with absolute clarity what feminism is and how all feminists think, is the end of feminism; when feminism has failed us. Feminism, at its heart, is about refusing to be put in a box; don't make feminism itself into another one of those boxes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fallen Angel/Fortune's Wheel

and now that you have had

a little time

to enjoy your fall from grace

i hope, now

that you understand

what it is to be a

wretched sinner

but now that fortune's wheel has turned

i will not judge you

as you judged me

we shall leave it all to God

you cannot mock me anymore

your pedestal has crumbled beneath your feet

fortune's wheel is turning

and i

i am on the rise

i am a fallen angel

but this is my ascension

Sunday, March 15, 2015

On Smartness and Selective Schools

On paper, I have a pretty stereotypical Asian-Australian resume. I attended and graduated from Perth Modern School, Western Australia’s only fully academically selective school. I skipped a grade. I did very well, got a very high ATAR, and I’m now at a great uni.

But that’s only half the story. Less than half, really.

I’m eternally grateful I went to a selective school; I don’t think there’s anywhere else that would have suited me better or where I would have gotten a better education. But I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, happy. Or a good student. And leaving that school wearing the garishly terrible blue and red graduation gown gave me no guarantees for a happy or successful life.

I am now a tutor; it is, as far as part-time jobs go, an incredibly rewarding job that I enjoy immensely and it suits my abilities, my schedule and my personality very well. I firmly believe that not everyone thrives in a classroom environment – I certainly didn't – and that everyone needs some one on one coaching in something, and I’m happy to provide that. I would not be able to swim if my parents hadn't hired a swimming coach – who was probably an underpaid uni student just like I am now – to patiently, one on one, teach me the art of not drowning. Tutoring is a very rewarding job, can be a great investment, and is an excellent way to gain life experience and earn money.

I have decided, however, to stop taking on board clients who wish me to prepare their children for selective schools. I just can’t support that mentality and I refuse to make money from a largely useless and potentially very damaging enterprise. And here is why.

1. Smart is subjective.

All-rounders are rare; people who are prodigiously good at everything are virtually non-existent. Your child is not da Vinci incarnate and is not good, and will never be good, at absolutely everything. I am considered exceptionally talented at English, but along with that comes some exceptionally terrible athleticism and my astounding ability to completely not process numbers.

When I was younger, my parents enrolled me into everything – all the ‘useless’ activities that other stereotypical Asian parents pooh-poohed. I learned how to read and play music, I learned ballet, I did jazz, tap and acrobatics, and I had brief flings with gymnastics, basketball, archery, and figure skating. I went to art school and I was in drama troupes. If I had been Royal Ballet Company material or had Olympic potential, I would have found out about a decade ago thanks to all those hours spent prancing around in tutus and falling on my arse on solid water.

2. Smart is innate.

I tutor specifically for exams, assignments, how to not fail the English WACE (compulsory to study and compulsory to pass if you want to go to uni) and how to uni. These are all times when a set amount of knowledge is taught and is expected to be demonstrated, and I am happy to help if there is some issue in that process of absorbing and reproducing learned skills.

Tests for entry into selective schools, however, are not testing your knowledge of the Crusades or whether or not you ate a dictionary or have memorized the periodic table. The tests as I remember them are horrendously obscure, difficult to explain and impossible to teach; these are things that academically gifted and talented children have a knack for. It is a highly visual, imaginative exercise that no amount of linear equations or rudimentary chemistry is going to help with.

When I was younger, my parents never had to push me to read or write. It was a deep, innate, powerful love – my first taste of lust, a thirst that I constantly had to satiate. It became my refuge and my sanctuary and I think my parents would have utterly destroyed me if they had somehow managed to turn it into a chore. And all these parents were looking at my parents in blatant envy, going ‘lucky you’, whilst ignoring their kid’s prodigious talent at football, or their child’s breathtaking painting, or just that kid who is nice to everyone in a way that I have never managed to emulate or synthesize.

3. Children need to go where they need to go, not where their parents think they should be. 

Not everyone belongs in an academically select school. This is sort of why they exist.

Academically selective schools are places made so kids who are often bullied, bored, and possibly physically underdeveloped have a shot at a normal schooling. The primary advantage is that the curriculum moves faster so that you don’t get bored. When I was a child I was bored to the point of depressed and destructive; I was angry and frustrated all the time, which in turn made everyone around me angry and frustrated. Sometimes people slip the system and end up in academically select schools when they really shouldn't have, and I've seen it slowly fuck with them. Low self-esteem, bad grades, inability to relate to peers, sudden interest in everything other than school…I've seen it all.

4. ‘Selective’ doesn't mean ‘superior’

I had some great teachers at school who were passionate and dedicated and extremely talented, who instilled in me a deep love of learning and a wealth of knowledge I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I also had a lot of lazy, shitty teachers, lots of mediocre, indifferent teachers, and lots of clueless, out-of-their-depths teachers. I also, sadly, had a few teachers who bullied and humiliated me on a regular basis even though I was supposed to be in a safe space.

Selective schools are not nirvana. There are still popular kids. There are still nerds. There is still bitching and bullying. There are – shock horror – relationships and interests outside of the classroom. There was drugs and sex and alcohol. It’s a high school, after all.

Going to a selective school does not, by any stretch of the imagination, guarantee that a) your kid will get a good education, b) your kid will do well  or c) your kid will get into that absurdly high-ranking university, get rich and famous, and fund your retirement. Sorry.

5. Smart doesn't mean happy.

Smart doesn't mean happy. I was a ‘smart’ kid but I struggled with poor self-esteem, body image issues, depression, anxiety, bullying…pretty much just like every other kid. I was bullied for what I was good at and bullied for all the things I couldn't do. Smart never meant happy.

Smart doesn't mean studious, either. I’m a terrible student. I lack the discipline and the concentration span.

Smart does not mean rich; I've been the butt of many a ‘would you like fries with that?’ arts-degree jokes to know that. We don’t live in a society that privileges academic talent or respects academics, so why do we insist on pushing our kids on this path in the false belief that this is the one and only path to guaranteed success and happiness? It’s not.

Smart does not even mean capable. The last time I tried to boil an egg it exploded. I don’t know how to change a tyre; I don’t even know how to drive. I can't open jars and I can't reach the cheap canned goods on the top shelves in supermarket aisles. I fail things and struggle at things just like any other person.

Forcing your children into taking paths that they don’t like and that don’t suit them is not at all conducive to leading a happy, successful life or making financially stable and/or vaguely capable adults. The academic life, believe it or not, is for…academics.

6. Irresponsible tutors 

I am not a trained teacher. I grew up being looked after by older cousins and then I looked after the younger ones. I adore children and in my other job I am paid to look after them. I love what I do and I find it quite easy to teach it.

And I believe that absolutely anything, bar flu shots and Brazilian waxing, can be fun.

My teaching methods are unorthodox; but I’m unorthodox, and I was taught by unorthodox teachers. There are lots of movies. Lots of YouTube videos. Lots of chatting and laughing. I've had students who are blatantly more into science or sports than English willingly pay me out of their own meagre pocket money for extra sessions. I believe that there is great power and potential in one on one, personalized teaching, but also a limit on how much you can teach and how much one can do, and in these realistic parameters and a focus on conscious and fun learning, I've seen my students excel under my inexpert tutelage.

I have seen tutors drill children like they've just been enlisted in the army, yell at them for being bored, sleepy, hungry or fidgety in the long tough hours straight after a whole day of school, I have seen tutors turn my favourite texts into torture devices of acute boredom, and I have seen tutors willingly take money to feed parents a load of bullshit advice about the virtues of academically select schools and how to get into them. It’s irresponsible, it’s a waste of money, and it’s child abuse. A kid who is constantly told that he is rubbish and needs to work harder will give up on the whole notion of studying entirely, and will possibly give up on the idea that they have any kind of self worth at all.

Tuition is an excellent investment to consider if your child is struggling in school, dislikes school, doesn't thrive in the group environment, and their teacher has voiced concerns over basic skills that will be required for many years to come, regardless of what career path they take. You need to know how to write essays and comprehend basic documents and, allegedly, know that 1 hour and 22 minutes does not equal 88 minutes. But, above and beyond that, your kid will find their groove if you give them space to dance with opportunity.

Tuition is also a great way to provide a boost of confidence and to improve your understanding during tough times like high school finals, compulsory university units that nobody likes, and the inevitable essays that pop up even in the most non-artsy majors.

Tuition is not a good way to get into an academically select school. If you feel the need to hire a tutor, your child probably doesn't belong there. Love your kid for what they are, move on, and save up for a new pair of ballet shoes or put a basketball hoop in the backyard.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Now Playing: Sophia by Laura Marling (let it be known that I was who I am)

In my younger and more vulnerable years I thought, like most teenage girls, that my worth was in how big my boobs were, how clear my skin was, the numbers on the size tags on my clothes, whether or not I said the right things and laughed at the right jokes. I was obsessed not only with personal appearance, but with how I was perceived, and whether or not I was good enough.

In the confusing slut/virgin paradox, I was taught that my worth was in the fine line between being fuckable, but not fucking around. Boys kissed girls; girls got kissed. We wanted the boys to chase us, but heaven forbid we chase them.

I remember, vividly, when I was little, at school discos, the boys would march up to the girls and ask for a dance; you either did it with whoever asked, sat in the corner and cried if you weren't asked, or hid in the toilets if you didn't want to dance with anybody. When the couple of odd ugly girls - me always included - tried to march up to the boys, they started to run, and everyone started to laugh. At us. For just wanting to slow dance with a boy like all the popular girls.

When I got older, I was addicted to those web pages and magazine articles that were all like 'What Men Really Want' and 'What Men Really Think'. I learned that men were terrified of body hair of any description. I learned that men hated red lipstick and didn't understand women's clothes. I learned that feminism, which was something I identified with as soon as I found the Wikipedia page, was a deeply unsexy and disturbing topic of conversation. And every day I waited for a Prince Charming who was never fucking coming.

Today I am the girl who wears her Feminist as Fuck shirt as soon as it comes out of the wash. I wear red lipstick and I don't really care whether or not that makes me unkissable or unfuckable or unwhatever. I can't afford razors because I'm too busy buying books and reusable menstrual products and overpriced blushes with risque names (I'm looking at you, NARS), and that's okay.

And I learned, come hell or high water, I am going to be that girl who likes sex. And that there's nothing wrong with that. And that I should be proud that I have sex on my own terms, and that my sexuality is my own and not defined by anyone or anything else.

My attitudes towards sexuality are unorthodox, yes, but since I took control of my own life, since sex became 'things we do together' rather than 'things being done to me', everyone has been safe and happy; and that's the important part, isn't it, at the end of the day? I don't need chick flicks and bad abusive erotica telling me what I should and shouldn't do. I set my own boundaries and I 'm happy with them.

Today I met a guy who couldn't comprehend that a girl like me could still be 'a virgin', and immediately discredited my sexuality. He was utterly perplexed that I have partners who didn't need therapy after I refused to put out. I told him my usual statistic that between 70-80% of females don't orgasm through sexual intercourse, and he told me, to my surprise, that he knew that.

So why on earth do I have to do this specific act to make my sex life 'count'?

I'm not ready for that. I haven't met anyone that I've felt comfortable to do that with. I have physical and emotional baggage to deal with that just isn't kosher to dump on a hook up. And...this is the crux of the matter, I don't *need* to do that for my sexuality to *count* - actually, my sexuality doesn't have to *count* to anybody.

I'm not going to go into details, here, but there's more to sex than what goes where, and this is the scary part, for me: I feel like for most people, especially white cis het males, sex isn't about pleasure. It isn't about respect or affection or intimacy. It's about power. You do this and then I can put another notch on my bedpost. Whether or not either of us enjoy it is not relevant.

I've met a *lot* of guys who have tried to pressure me into doing things I don't want to do. A lot of them have done it like this - like, 'oh, what you've done until now doesn't count until you do this specific thing'. The thing is, though, they're shooting themselves in the foot. I'm not interested in anyone who a) tries to pressure me, b) discredits my sexuality (if you don't think I'm a sexual person, why on earth do you want to have sex with me?) and c) I'm a queer feminist peer sex educator, and I am thoroughly unimpressed by your heteronormative bullshit.

#DearMe: you grow up to be the hairy queer feminist everybody warned you about and yes, that does mean a lot of people turn their nose up at you, but hey...they don't know what they're missing ;)
For goodness' sake

Have you never smiled at anyone else?

Is there no one else
In the world

Who can paint you as a pretty picture?

Dolphin Theatre

You always
Seem to make your way
Onto my stage

I will always regret holding your hand
And I will always regret not letting you go

Let me escape
From the ghost of your smile and your petulant glare

Why did you defile my only sanctuary?

To think that I am the one who stands trial
For the sins which are yours

Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet

I didn’t want you
And I knew you never wanted me

So why

Why must you take what is mine?

little brown girl

No, don't cry
little brown girl

You are not allowed to cry
We don't want to think

Of you

As a being made of stars
Like us

Crying tears of oceans
And oceans of tears

Like us

You are not one of us
You do not have the right

Go away,
little brown girl

Disappear into the night

We do not want to look at you
And be reminded

little brown girl

That your heart swells
And bleeds

In this big white world

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Darling, was it my coat of many colours?
My harlot's toga?

Can you see hands on me?

But darling, everything you are
Is a red paper lantern

I can see hands on you, too

But it's alright, darling
I love you still

Saturday, March 07, 2015


You don't seem quite real, anymore

You appear like a ghost
And fade like morning mist

You are not a man to me, anymore

Just cold dread
And skin crawling horror

But it is bogeyman terror

You are not real, anymore
And neither is my fear.
Now Playing: Blue Jeans by Lana Del Rey (you were sort of punk rock, I grew up on hip hop, you fit me better than my favourite sweater)

I've spent my whole life being valued for being smart and funny, and I'm so tired.

I know, I know. I know there are worse things to be known for. There's nothing wrong with being smart and funny. And I do...I do like being that smart, funny kid who makes people laugh.

But it's gotten to the point now...when people leave when I am tired and have run out of jokes. There are people who, when I catch up with them, I feel like I've walked on stage at some bizarre one-man open mic club, and soon the next act will be on and people will vaguely remember my face and associate it with some hilarity. People  forget that I do other things with my time aside from amusing them. People forget to ask if I'm doing okay.

People give me a lot of shit for my late night escapades, but I like them. I like meeting people in places where the music drowns out any kind of coherent conversation. I like sharing that visceral, physical attraction, because even though it is ephemeral, I've found friendship based on more academic pursuits is equally transient. The length of a relationship doesn't really measure its success, you know? And I am, believe it or not, still friends with some of them. We have nothing in common and we are both just one of many to each other, but there's a level of respect and affection in lying in bed, silently, thinking of nothing, not having to say anything, but having an arm slung around you in the silent promise that you will both avoid being arseholes to each other. I'm starting to think unconditional love is something of a myth, but unconditional affection is something rare that I treasure greatly.

Men are beginning to understand, now, that it's not okay to just love women based on what they look like. I wish they would understand that the 'I just want to be with the one who makes me smile' is equally bullshit, too. I can't laugh my way through everything. Sometimes...sometimes I need to cry, and I'd like a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes I just need to sit in silence because I am unspeakably exhausted; is it too much to ask for an arm around my shoulder and someone to say 'hey, it's okay, I'm pretty tired too,'?

Friday, March 06, 2015

Dear future child of mine: you're taking my name.

Now Playing: Mary's Song by Taylor Swift (we'll rock our babies on this very front porch)

'The most dangerous phrase in the language is "we've always done it this way"' 

- Rear Admiral Grace Hopper 

If you know me irl, as the kids are saying now, you'll know that I'm an extraordinarily clucky person.

I know, right? A feminist who doesn't hate children. Who knew.

I am not pregnant. I am not living with anyone. I don't have a boyfriend; I haven't even reached a point in life when I think a partner would be a good idea. My uterus is comfortingly empty.

And yet I have decided that my children, when I have them, will be taking my name.

I know that sounds like an extraordinarily stupid thing to say, or an extraordinarily weird thing for a single, not-pregnant, nineteen year old not-quite-done-with-uni girl to worry about. But here's the crux of the matter: patriarchy has decided for all my male friends - from the clucky to the chronically terrified of small people - that they will be passing on not only DNA and their baby blue eyes, but also their name. It is not even something they have to think about or consider. It just is.

Now, I have a super cool last name. In Korea, it is synonymous with aristocracy; with the power of bygone eras of warlords and kings and queens in glittering palaces. I am part of one of the oldest extant written genealogies in East Asia. I also have no brother; nobody to pass on the name. But that's not the point.

As a feminist, the thing I am most afraid of, the one thing I push hardest against, is just because. The status quo. Tradition. I'm not pushing for all children to take their mother's name; I don't know if there is a way round this patriarchal dilemma. All I know is, for myself, my children will take my name and everyone will just have to roll with that. Any argument against children taking their mother's name I could throw back at you and use as a reason why children shouldn't take their father's name. It's a default that I don't know how to challenge on a large scale but, personally, I want to make a point; the point that women are erased from the product of their own biological function, and that is not okay.

I'm claiming this right because there is no good reason why I can't. Every guy I know takes this as a given; so, so will I. It's a condition of having children on me, and I ain't budging.

Why? Well, give me one good reason: why not?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Woman Scorned

Now Playing: Beg for It by Iggy Azalea (I be on this money while your man on me) 

If there's anything I've learned about the game of love and war, is that women want men to *say something*, men want women to shut up, and taken women want single women to really shut up.

Breakups - professional, platonic, romantic - are not fun. They are a mess of bruised egos and broken hearts and everyone feels just a little bit screwed over.

Women have the right to talk. They have the right to be open about their version of events. They have the right to discuss things with their friends. It is not bitching. It is not libel. It is nothing to take anyone to court over. People are just going to have to deal with the fact that when a woman becomes collateral damage to other people's selfishness, they get hurt, and they talk.

I talk. I am a writer. And nothing and nobody will ever make me silent.

I've spent a lot of my life as the other woman. All of it unintentional. I've hit that weird liminal space of 'not girlfriend material, but I will risk pissing off my girlfriend for you'. Which is...

God knows.

When I was sixteen I was in a relationship that was fucked up and messy and hurt a lot of people, including myself. Three years on and I'm still dealing with aftershocks, which is not a great way to spend your teen years. But I knew, then and there, that my delusions about being ready for a romantic relationship were totally off the mark. I wasn't ready. And to this day, I've never seriously considered starting a romantic relationship.

I flirt, of course. I don't have any relationships that don't survive on a solid diet of innuendo and wandering hands. I fall in love at the drop of a hat. My lovers have all loved me well, only if for a night. But that's all I want. I have fallen in love with the bachelor life.

I am tired, though of being the villain. I'm sorry that just because I am single and don't cross my legs and live with Jesus, I am automatically a threat. If I'm a threat, well, your man is the bigger threat. I'm the one who's single; he's the one who has to lie.

I'm tired of being the liar. Yes, I would have loved a relationship. Yes, it was what I hope for in the future. But right now, I am happy and whole and complete, on my own. I don't need a man. I definitely don't need yours. Why does nobody believe that there are phases in a woman's life that isn't devoted to men and/or babies? I have a degree to finish, goddammit. I have people to do and things to see and none of them involve your boyfriend.

Have I been jealous before? Of course. I'm jealous of the security and steady affection that most relationships seem to bring. I understand jealousy as a visceral, physical, animal reaction to the visceral, physical, animal world of love and lust. It is something that hits you, and then you move on. It's never been something I've acted on. I don't covet. And in the age-old melodrama of unrequited love yes, I have felt angry and bitter and hurt. But I have never allowed myself to feel entitled. Life doesn't always go your way and all that. I'm a big girl now. I am perfectly capable of picking myself up, buying a cheap bottle of wine, and going out with the girls or having a night in with my vibrator.

Yes, I was once someone's bit on the side. I didn't know. Not only did I not know, but I was manipulated, bullied and abused into staying in something that went over my head and hurt me, badly. And when I was hurt and trying to heal from the scars of abuse, people had the nerve to say that I was jealous.

I was going through a rough patch with a dear friend, and I've always been a big believer in communication, and he'd admitted that he was not great at communication or 'confrontations'. Every time I tried to reach out, tried to patch things up, tried to pick up the pieces, he forgot that I had made it abundantly clear that, come what may, I was not looking for a romantic relationship with anybody. When I was hurt and losing a friend, I was, apparently, just jealous.

Fuck. This. Shit.

Women, believe it or not, experience more emotions than just jealousy. Their lives revolve around more things than being jealous of women who have men that they want. Men hurt women badly, all the time, and you can't dismiss all of it as women hurting themselves via this pesky jealousy thing. I am tired of trying to hold my friends and abusers to account, only to be dismissed as some crazy jealous bitch. Jealous. Is that all you can come up with? Is that all I am to you? I had known some of these people, these people who can dismiss me with a single word, for years; long enough for them to acknowledge that I too am a human being capable of human complexity and emotion.

Feminism is supposed to be about sisterhood. I call bullshit on that one, because even the most self-aggrandizing feminist can't even refrain from this knee jerk reaction of 'oh, she's just jealous'. Feminism, to me, is about imagining everyone complexly.

I am more than just 'that girl'. I have my own story. I will not be reduced to just being a villain in yours.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Why can't women do anything for themselves?

Now Playing: Style by Taylor Swift (so it goes, he can't take his wild eyes off the road, takes me home, lights are off, he's taking off his coat) 

The vast majority of the men I know will and do go to moderately insane lengths to have sex.

And so will I.

We never ask men ‘why would you do that?’, ‘why did you do that?’ or ‘why would you do that to yourself?’. We don’t ask men why they’re disrespecting themselves, or why they let women treat them that way. We know why men have sex.

Because they like it. Because for most people of most sexual orientations, it’s hard wired in the brain. Because it’s a physical, emotional and chemical experience like no other. Because sex with respect and affection, and not necessarily love is healthy and normal…or, at least, we think it healthy and normal for men. We have been conditioned to think of women as sexy but sexless for so long that we’ve forgotten that these universal truths apply to us, too.

When we see a naked woman, or a nude scene in a movie, or even a woman dressed up or wearing nice lingerie; we automatically think it is for a man or for men. We assume, without really saying it aloud and therefore acknowledging the absurdity of this notion that the only pleasure women extract from sexual congress is in pleasing others, or in the rewards they get for pleasing others. I have never watched a love scene or ogled at a hot guy in a nice suit or watched someone get undressed and think that it was all for me, all for my own pleasure, that they’re getting nothing out of it. Of course they’re getting something out of it; that’s why they’re there, because they want to be. And that’s half the fun; knowing that you want to be there, and that other people want to be there. I understand next to nothing about people and how human relationships are supposed to work but there is a beautiful clarity, a kind of purity, in the give and take of consensual sex.

I know guys sleep around because they like it. I know guys wear suits because it suits the occasion, and/or they like the aesthetic. We all know that. The fact that it drives the ladies wild is a pleasant side effect, but it’s not the only reason to fork out on silk ties. So why can’t we apply this same logic to women? Why can’t we see that women sleep around not because they want a particular something from a particular man, but because they like the intimacy? Why can’t we accept that when women wear pearls and red lipstick it’s because when they look in the mirror they like what they see? If it makes guys weak at the knees, so be it, and I’ll help myself to whatever’s on offer. But pleasing men is not the one and only reason any sane woman rolls out of bed in the morning and adorns herself in several paychecks worth of materialism.

Girls gloat about sex in much the same way boys do; especially now, as the pressure to keep our legs crossed slowly but surely eases off. But it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a competition, or a status quo thing. It’s more like I had such a fucking good time the other night.

Anything a woman does is for her, or at the very most, for us. Not for you. I can’t believe we still live in a society that believes that the agenda of an entire gender is largely to serve and please the other for no other reason other than ‘that’s just how we do’.

Nothing is ever purely and solely for you; at least not on my time. Deal with it.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Single Ladies.

Now Playing: Blank Space by Taylor Swift (oh my God, look at that face, you look like my next mistake)

"We raise girls to see each other not as competitors; not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are."

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nineteen years is a long time to be single, huh.

As a writer, I've always been interested in the business of reading about, creating and writing about multi-faceted women.

Which is actually astonishingly difficult, because even though I am surrounded by beautiful, intelligence, fiercely independent and complex women, the media and subsequently our society insists on viewing and treating women in a narrow range of one-dimensional stereotypes that consist entirely of tired cliches and characterizing women in the context of their relationships, or lack thereof, with men.

And it's fucking bullshit.

One thing that's stung me the most is this idea that single women are 'on the shelf'; there are many lovely terms for us ladies, including but not limited to 'leftover girl' and 'yellowed pearls'. The thinking here is that women are incomplete without men, and that all women really aspire to, at the end of the day, are romantic heterosexual relationships, suburban marriages, and changing diapers.

Single women are unsexy and sexless; because if they were sexy, they'd find someone to wine and dine with, and heaven forbid a woman look at a man without being lured in by a shiny ring. Single women are, apparently, not only deprived of the only thing that gives their life meaning - a man - but also sex. I've always found it hilarious that we don't see single men as these sad pathetic childless people who are never getting laid. We view single women as being on the shelf because we can't wrap our heads around the idea that good girls would get off the damn shelf and find a pretty person at a club just like boys do; we can't imagine women wanting any kind of sex that isn't romantic anniversary face-holding sex, and we can't fathom ladies who want relationships that aren't of the somewhat-permanent marriage variety.

In heteronormativity, guys do the asking out. Guys do the proposing. Girls just stay put and let it happen. When we view male sexuality as strictly aggressive and female sexuality as strictly passive, it's easy to see single women as being single because nobody wants them, rather than looking at the whole plethora of reasons why anyone of any age or any gender is, at the moment, not spoken for. We are afraid of women who resist this imposed passivity; which is why when you're single, you can either be a fat sad virgin or a fucking slut.

Our fear of female sexual agency and this need to view single women as needy or incomplete has led to the weirdest kind of rivalry that has, in my experience, even managed to penetrate the most rebelliously feminist circles; the Crazy Single Bitch Trying to Steal My Boyfriend.

You can't steal anybody, because nobody owns anybody. It's not like your boyfriend is a parrot in a cage and I casually broke into your house and whoop, it's mine now. That's not how human relationships work.

Also, I don't want your damn parrot.

Single women, even the most cynical, bitter, twisted sort, are not looking for boyfriends. Any idiot can get a boyfriend. Most women, just like most normal people,  are looking for a person or people who make them feel safe, loved and secure; we're looking for spark and chemistry and affection, not some trophy to drag around to pretentious cocktail parties. If I wanted just any old boyfriend, I could go out and find one within ten minutes; I'm not especially hideous or exceptionally stupid, so why not? If all I wanted a *boyfriend*, if my only criteria was 'under 70 and preferably male', I wouldn't be single.

When you're looking for a sweet, smart, partner who is committed to you, other people's boyfriends is not a great place to look because they are, at least in theory, already committed to someone else, which is kind of a deal breaker if monogamy is your thing. Yes, maybe I could make your boyfriend leave you, maybe for good, maybe just for a night. But you can't make someone leave if they want to stay, and, at any rate, why would I want to? If someone can break one heart, they can break a thousand, and I'm not looking for a cheater no matter how perfect his abs are. If you really think your boyfriend is so easily distracted your problem is with your man, honey, not with me.

In a world that privileges romantic relationships, people in these relationships simultaneously feel superior and ferociously insecure. Because there are so many thirsty, incomplete women out there who want to take your perfect white picket fence life away from you. THEY'RE ALL OUT TO GET YOU.

Single women don't want your boyfriends. If he's your boyfriend, he didn't want any of those other single women. That's how this shit works. We move on to hit the clubs and give ourselves RSI dancing to Single Ladies, and you're supposed to move on and create a relationship for yourself instead of stressing that every vagina within 100 miles of your new man is some irresistible slip up waiting to happen.

The worst offenders, of course, are the girls who date your ex, or that really temperamental friend, or that guy you once liked, or your abuser, or the girlfriend you didn't know your boyfriend actually had. The narratives of single women that also involve men are notoriously few and far between, mostly because single women who have men in their lives are sluts; or crazy homewreckers. There are girls who are so ferociously insecure about their perfect relationships that anything you say or do that is in any way vaguely connected to the man they're swapping saliva with is read as a declaration of war. Guess what, honey, your bae was a dick to me and I'm going to tell the world. It doesn't mean I want him; Jesus Christ, you can keep him. But I'm going to talk, and you're going to have to deal.

If you're with someone, and I'm not with someone, there is a good reason. Unrequited love, incompatibility, 'hey, I love you, but kind of like a brother if you weren't white', I like my own company and I hog the blankets, nobody digs my noodle fetish, whatever. There are millions or reasons why people are single and 'not good enough' ain't one of them, with the sole exception of Robin Thicke and MRAs. Singleness in a woman isn't a failure, or a lack of anything but receiving some fucking respect from a society that thinks that you need a man, or would kill to get one.