Sunday, 19 February 2017

Dear Future Partner In Crime II - Things You Should Know About Me

Dear future partner in crime,

There’s probably a few things you should know about me. You’ll learn some of these as we go along but knowing a few of these things right off the bat should be reasonably helpful.

I get overly emotionally invested in almost everything I do - the TV shows I watch, my work, dogs I follow on Instagram and people in general. On a date a guy once said I was hard to read, but once you get to know me it’s clear that that’s a lie. I’m a open book but I’m also learning how to invest my emotions in to something without draining myself. 

I watch too much TV. Not even highbrow TV programs, I watch the awful stuff. I sobbed my way through three seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in two weeks. My favourite TV show growing up was that show with Fran Drescher as The Nanny. I know too much about The Bachelor franchise and don’t even count it as a guilty pleasure any more. As problematic as that is for a feminist. 

I spent time in therapy. It changed my life.

I own more shoes than a woman with size UK 2.5 feet living in a one bedroom open plan apartment should own. 90% of them are black and look identical. If we’re shopping I might need you to step in and make me put down the boots that I’m eyeing up.

I’m super needy but at the same time you need to give me space. Over the last few years I’ve learnt to live alone and that’s something I’m really proud of.

I don’t think I want kids. The thought of having children, especially a girl, scares the shit out of me.

My biggest relationship fear is living in fear that I’m the one who cares the most, and therefore the more vulnerable party. 

As a result of that, I’m mad good at being passive aggressive and can be mean, I don’t mean to do it on purpose, it’s more of a defensive mechanism so I’m happy for you to call me out on it.

I need someone in my life who is happy to take beautiful candid photos of me for my Instagram.

I hate seafood.

Sometimes I want to be the centre of attention at the party and entertain everyone, somedays I don’t want to be around people at all.

I own a life-size cardboard cut out of Queen Elizabeth the II. And a life-size cardboard cut out of a corgi. They used to live in my hallway right by my door, but I had to fold them up and hide them in my wardrobe when a guy stayed over. If you come into my house and see them, it probably means I’m sure about you.

I buy books that look good on my book shelf with a short lived plan to read them. War & Peace is definitely more useful as a door stopper.

I think I have massive partly unresolved self confidence, identity and feelings of not belonging anywhere issues. I don’t need you to fix me or save me, just bear with me whilst I work it out. Or even better, be there to support me through it because that’s what I’m looking for: a partner in life that won’t jump ship when the going gets tough.

All my quirks aside, I’m looking forward to getting to know yours inside and out. If you’re willing to overlook my love of the Bachelor franchise and shoe obsession that is.

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A letter to my future partner in crime

Photo by Gold Cut

Dear future partner in crime,

We might have already met and I just don’t know it yet. 

Maybe I stood behind you in the queue in the supermarket. If that’s the case I was probably in my gym gear buying a tub of ice cream. Or I was in my work clothes holding a cheap bottle of Malbec in my hands because it was a rough day. Or I was in the queue with a few cans of ready mixed gin and tonic. Either way, maybe it’s good we didn’t strike up a conversation because none of those scenarios show me at my best.

Or maybe we’ve been at the same event before and stood in the same room without realising. Maybe I walked past you on my way to get another drink, or maybe you were stood just a few feet away from me laughing with you friends. Maybe we even made eye contact and smiled at each other. I doubt that’s the case because I’m a big believer in ‘knowing’, when I’ve met someone important. 

Or maybe it’s the simple matter of the fact that we don’t even live in the same city, or even the same country so there’s no way that our paths will have crossed yet. But there’s still time for that to happen.

I don’t know if I believe in soulmates, but I know that there is a person out there who is going to come into my life and change it completely. That thought used to fill me with loneliness, but now not so much. It’s comforting to know that you’re out there and that your arrival will take me by complete surprise. 

I’m at a stage in my dating life where I am both exhausted by the process but continue to be fascinated and in search for It and you. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve downloaded, deleted and re-downloaded various dating apps. But I’m a sucker for romance and love.

That’s probably the first thing you should know about me. I’m a sucker for all those stupid dating shows, including The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (the US version, the Canadian version, the Australian version you name it). I know those shows are edited to death and filmed over something like 6 months, orchestrated from every angle and the engaged couple tends to break up after 2 months of the ‘real world’. Also they are hugely problematic from a feminist standpoint, but I can’t help but get sucked into these concocted fairytales. I’m a massive hopeless romantic. 

So maybe the love that I think I believe in is the love that artificial TV shows and bad rom coms try and tell us really exists. Sometimes it seems that the love and romance that’s shown on those shows and films isn’t real, that that kind of love doesn’t exist.  But I’m not so sure about that. I see my parents, who are approaching their 30th wedding anniversary and I see true love and dedication. 

So wherever you are, know that I’m living my life trying to be the best person I can be. I used to think that I had to wait for a good person to walk into my life, well maybe I’m going to be the best person to walk into your life.

Either way I’m excited because I know you’re out there and we’re going to have so much fun when our paths eventually do cross.

See you soon. Hopefully, but if not that’s fine; take your time. 



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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Like a girl

"I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives". - Jane Austen

When my mum was pregnant with me she knew she was having a girl even before the scan. They'd had a boy name picked out for me but my mum knew she was having a girl. She'd wanted her first child to be a girl and here I am.

Growing up I never really felt that being girl was something negative. I grew up in a bubble in the Middle East in a world that hadn't yet really discovered the internet let alone wifi. We didn't have a television with a satellite dish until 9/11 so my exposure to the outside world was rather limited. 

As a white girl from a pretty middle class family I know that my experiences as a female are just a tiny part of the bigger picture and that I live within a privileged world.  I try and make up for this as much as possible and educate myself out of the realms of what affects just me. Just because something doesn't affect me directly, doesn't mean that it's not important. In fact quite the opposite, it's vital that I understand the even greater picture, anything else would just be me resting on my privilege. 

But as I've gone through my life as a growing woman my eyes have been opened, I've realised that girls have to constantly put up with being part of an endless and contradictory balancing act.  

We're either too fat or too skinny. Too loud, too self-conscious. Too independent, too needy. Too self-obsessed, too shy. Too slutty, too prude. Too outgoing, too boring. Too high maintenance, too sloppy. Too confident, too uninspiring. Too beautiful, too ugly. Too educated, too stupid. Too intimidating, too bland. Too guarded, too easy. Too fierce, too meek. Too vocal, too silent.

It doesn't seem as if we are allowed to just be.

We're indoctrinated to believe in gender norms, that women can only inhabit certain spheres whilst others are reserved for the boys. We're brainwashed to believe the Beauty Myth - the obsession with physical beauty which traps us modern women in an endless spiral of self-consciousness and self hatred as we're told we have to look a certain way in order to be happy and fulfilled, as if beauty is our only priority over motherhood. We're told that there are certain tick boxes we have to accomplish in order to live a worthwhile life: get a certain level of education, find a partner, get married, have children, and whilst you're at it have more children that then continue to live out the prescribed gender lifecycle. If you don't live your life according to these standards you're questioned continually and deemed to have failed as a woman.

But the fight back is on.

"Like a girl" used to be that insult that boys used to throw around in primary school. But 'like a girl' is being reclaimed. Women have always had to fight that little bit harder to get where we need to get, and if we do that 'like a girl', well then you damn well know we're giving it all we have.

I revel in being a girl. I revel in being a girl that makes her own career choices, that makes her own reproductive choices and her own life choices. I revel in being in a position where I can make those choices all the while bearing in mind that I'm very privileged in being able to do so. Because for so many women out there, being able to have the opportunity to make those same choices as me, is a lot harder.

I've been incredibly inspired by the news yesterday. Seeing all genders, all ages and all races come together for the Women's March not only in Washington but all over the world, has brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. It makes me realise that I've been sat back too long, that I need to do something with what I have and who I am. I'm more motivated than ever to do something worthwhile.

When women work together to support each other amazing things can happen.

So; be confident like a girl. Be strong like a girl, kick ass like a girl. Fight back like a girl and always remember to stay nasty.

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."

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