Some day I am going to master this painting technique; until I do, I suppose I have no choice but to keep practising. Where do people learn these things?
Today I realised that I have never been celebrated. I have never had a birthday party. When I finished my education I did not throw a party. My 18th, 20th, 30th, and 40th birthdays were not marked in any fashion. I did have the parental units over for coffee when I got married at the mayor’s office, though.
It’s my own choice not to do anything. You have to send out invitations if you want people to show up, and to be honest, I have never known or cared for enough people to fill even a modest-sized living room. My ‘big days’ came and went, unnoticed because I did nothing to make others aware of them. I should be indifferent because this is my choice.
But I’m not indifferent. Today I am sad because I have realised that at some point in my very early life I was taught that I am not a reason to celebrate, in that no one did. It’s not missing out on the parties that bothers me. It’s the underlying truth; I was never a cause for celebration. I am just something that happened, along the way, to my parents, and while my mother at least did not simply walk out and start a new family somewhere else, she never saw me as a reason to throw a party or make a fuss. Later on, well, — lessons stick. I know my worth, and it is nothing.
“I have seven sons and seven grandsons,” the lady across from me at the chiropractor’s office declared proudly, and loudly enough that everyone heard her, not just the person she was talking to. Just as I was getting my hopes up, about to overhear a story about the magic powers of the seventh son of a seventh son, she went on to regretfully add, “I always wanted a daughter, though.”
“Oh, of course,” the other half of the conversation agreed compassionately. “To take care of you in your old age.”
I blinked into my magazine a few times. Whut?
The first lady heaved a mighty sigh. “I would just like to have the companionship and someone to take care of my needs, yes. Men, they just don’t have it.”
Cue list of things men simply don’t understand; friendship, shopping, babies, romance, — in fact, pretty much everything but grunting and bringing home a paycheck. If you want anything done as a woman you might as well just do it yourself, because men are useless, lazy creatures who simply are not there for you. Ever.
Excuse me? Did I miss a memo somewhere? Did someone turn back time by about half a century or more? Where are all the dinosaurs?
During the ensuing whinefest I learn that the lady leading the choir, so to speak, is 93 years old, meaning that she was born in 1918.
Danish women got the right to vote in 1915. The first female mayor of our capital, Copenhagen, was elected in 1962. The Pill was released in 1966, pornography in ’67. The first female army officers appeared in 1971. Abortion was legalised in 1973. The laws of equal pay for equal work were instituted in ’76. And so on. Clearly, the role of women in society and in the home changed a lot between this lady’s birth and the current date.
But that’s no excuse to be stupid. If you’ve lived through World War II, the Cold War, pretty much everything major in the 20th century save WWI, and you claim to have perfect recollection of it all — how did you miss the bits where the gender roles were and are being slowly and painstakingly redefined? Why are you doing this, to yourself, to me, and indeed, to every man and woman who ever thought of themselves as a human being, defined by more than the shape of their genitalia?
I was still grumbling to myself when I came home and told my husband about this less than fortunate little scene. He blinked, laughed, and said, “Wow, I thought those were all extinct!”
Fortunately, soon they will be.
What makes one idiot stand out like a glittery goddess of emo on a backdrop of thousands of tearful twits who can’t even tell themselves from each other?
There are offensive people on the Internet. How exactly we define offensive varies from person to person; I can laugh at humour that others would find too dark or too bizarre, and at the same time I am deeply offended by a kind of Internet user that most people seem to dismiss as tiresome but otherwise harmless: The emo queen.
Whenever I see the queen soliciting, typically among younger males, my eyes start to twitch. As a mature female I am not in the range of prey for the emo queen — but I am among those that she perceives as her enemies, and at the time she gets around to pre-emptive strikes in the hope of scaring away competition and/or people who might call for reality checks, I am aching to claw her face off. I’m not surprised that she pisses me off; I’m surprised that I give a shit.
There is absolutely nothing new about a woman debasing herself in public in order to win favours, sympathy, and support from an audience ranging from genuinely helpful and empathic people to teenage boys hoping for cybersnuggles. It’s sad, but it’s well tested and tried, and it works. Whoever posts the first and most intense essay of suffering and persecution wins. Anyone who voices any kind of objection or desire for actual fact is per default an insensitive asshole and a troll. Oh, how we love to take up arms to defend our poor, abused queen! By the way, did you hear what Tom said to Dick and Harry about her last week…
Gossip is entertainment, and gossip is attention. Ask any reality TV producer — the suckers love to watch people debase themselves in front of the cameras. The emo queen knows very well that debasement sells. She readily confesses to her audience that she is bland, ordinary, and without talent. Her fans then rush to her defense, offering support and reassurance, and recruiting a couple of new fence-sitters to the queen’s cause in the process; after all, someone who will admit to being just like you and me surely must be a good person. Eventually people get bored and the emo queen finds herself without sufficient supply of attention — and the cycle starts all over again. All she needs to do is find someone or something to feel attacked by and voila! Round and round we go.
My anger stems largely from being possessed of enough common sense and a healthy dose of cynicism coupled with a few decades’ worth of training in the marketing industry, allowing me to easily recognise what emo queen does for what it is: Emotional blackmail on the large scale. I am insulted to be subjected to this drivel in the first place, and I am embarrassed on behalf of the poor suckers who fall for it. Well, maybe not so much the horny fifteen-year-olds — at that age, you’re kind of supposed to think with your dick if you have one. Feel free to be Mr Sensitive Support if it gets you laid, you can take a refresher course on being a decent person later.
I’m going to find something more satisfying to occupy my mindspace. I have some wet paint that needs watching.
Meet M. She’s a big girl. Actually, she’s only what I would call a bit well prepared for a long winter, but her self-image is that of a beached whale and so she officially qualifies as a fat chick. M’s co-workers joke that when things go missing it’s because M ate them, and when M works fast, it’s because she swallowed someone else up so now she can work for two. M is the butt of many a fat chick joke at work but there is one cliché she just can’t get right: Fat people are always jolly, but M is not very happy at all.
Obesity, or even just a bit of extra padding, is apparently something you need to be made aware of so you can fix it, kind of like having a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth. Thanks man, I totally did not realise that I’m thirty kilos overweight and well into the morbidly obese range of the BMI index but now that you told me I’ll just go book some zumba classes and empty the fridge of doughnuts. No really, thanks, man. If you hadn’t made a joke that made me aware of how disgusting and gross I am I’d never have noticed.
No, really, it doesn’t work like that on my planet.
People get fat for many reasons. People stay fat for many reasons. I think that I’ve probably heard most of them by now — but I have only ever met two people who were overweight and had no intention of doing anything about it. The first contracted diabetes II and so had to do something anyhow. The other is still happy and healthy against all odds and I hope to whatever powers may be that she stays that way because I am sick and tired of fat people being enrolled in a strange, cultural martyr complex whether they care to be or not. She is my secret idol for among all the women I have ever known who worried about their weight (which comes down to all the women, period) she alone refuses to care one bit what other people think.
What gives slim people the right to assume that overweight, let alone obese people are unaware that they do not conform to social standards, or even take potshots at their expense? When did we accept a beauty ideal that tries to force, blackmail, and bully young girls into starvation in order to gain respect from their peers — or at the very least not be called out as fatasses by them? How did we develop a mainstream culture in which your presumed intelligence is measured by the slimness of your thighs and the absence of your boobies?
I am fat. I am morbidly obese according to the ever-cheerful BMI index. I am busting my ass to fix it, and let me tell you, that’s a hell of a lot easier to suggest than to actually do. I did not get fat from a diet of junk food and I like my vegetables very much, thank you. I have a problem. I am working towards fixing that problem.
M has a problem too. It’s called stupid, unfair, jerk people, and no amount of dieting is going to fix that.
Or, Fuck You, NaNoWriMo.
Every year, as November approaches, people start talking about National Novel Writing Month — a phenomenon that, as far as I can be bothered to find out, started out American and now has gone pretty much global, much in the same way that Halloween started out American and now is being pushed on everyone else by toy shops and candy factories. Everyone can write, dontcha know. It’s just a matter of sitting down and getting started typing and you’ll have the next Great American (English, Ukrainian, Wherever) Novel out in no time. Right?
No, that is not right. It’s not even close to right.
If you write for your own pleasure then I suppose that it doesn’t matter whether you have actually spent enough time writing to be able to do it in a way that others can stand reading. If you write fan fiction there certainly are no standards of quality that you must meet. If you write erotic fan fiction… Yes, let’s not go there. No, seriously, let’s not. If you want to write 50,000 words about Kirk boning Spock or the other way around, by all means, knock yourself out. Just don’t expect me to read it.
And that, for me at least, is what it comes down to on the bottom line: Will anyone want to read what I am writing? If I write for my own pleasure alone then I see no point to writing at all. I am quite capable of exploiting a fantasy in my mind, without troubling over where to put the commas or avoiding repetitive adverbs. If I actually sit down to write, then it is bloody important to me that what I write will be of at least passing interest to others. If it isn’t, then I’m not going to invest all that time and effort when I can get technicolour animation in my mind’s theatre.
No one gives a fuck what I write, or if I write at all. No amount of writing skill is going to change the fact that I have nothing to say that has not already been said before, and better.
All so-called social games I have played on the internet have this in common: They’re only as social as you are. For people like me who are possessed of just about zero social skill, that means the game might as well not be multi-player at all 99% of the time.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It can be either, depending on my mood. I like fiddling with things — exploring, trying out new tactics, and generally doing things that might very well put other players to sleep if they had to watch or participate. I also enjoy talking with other people, in- and outside of the game, and that’s where everything gets a lot trickier. Striking up a conversation with some random passer-by about an in-game obstacle or situation is not so difficult. It’s when these random chats move on into the friends zone that things get really murky.
If we used to hang out, role-play, and chat about our real lives as well until we were blue in the face a year ago, does that mean we are still friends today? I’m leaning towards saying no. If someone has not returned greetings or replied to conversation attempts for a year, then it does not matter how close we might have been a year ago. They have obviously moved on and away, and if they want anything from me now it’s either the result of boredom or needing a service of some sort that I/my character can provide. This is not to say that people cannot simply drift apart for a while, and then drift back together again. That experience warms my little heart; it’s always wonderful to catch back up with someone you thought had moved on and left the game or forum behind, and find out that you still click with them.
If you find that someone you used to hang out with suddenly gets weird and unresponsive when you try to catch up, maybe it’s time to ask yourself one of these questions:
- Did you bother to say ‘hello’ every once in awhile over the last twelve months, or were you just taking for granted that the other person would always be there?
- Did you respond to their casual greetings? People stop bothering after a while when they get no reaction.
- Did you share with them, or dump on them? There’s one heck of a difference between having a friend whom you share close information with, and having someone you vent at and dump your frustrations on, only to yawn and wander off when they in turn need to get something off their chest.
- Do you talk to them even when you don’t need something from them? Nobody likes greed.
There are a number of people around on the Internet whom I have lost touch with and honestly miss. There is a considerably larger group of people I used to talk to and now don’t, and they can stay wherever the hell they are as far as I’m concerned.
I have issues. Oh, I have very big issues, and I have no illusions about being an easy person to get along with — but it’s not always me. Sometimes, it’s you.
One of my first memories is of moving from one small town to another small town. I am put into the passenger seat of a truck that carries our furniture and belongings, and I sit and chat with the driver all the way to our new place, a drive that takes several hours. I do not know the driver, but I am not afraid. I am three years old and I am on an adventure.
I remember the smell of leather and gasoline in the truck, as well as the burly man who drives it. He has dark brown beard and shaggy hair, and he smiles a lot. He wears a shirt and blue jeans, and he has very white teeth. The sun is shining. The memory is crystal clear in my mind, like a snapshot in history taken the instant the truck turns to drive down the street that would later become my everyday walk to school.
I do not remember where my parents are.
This pattern repeats itself through-out my life; I never know when to be afraid, or at the very least cautious. Later in my life I am going to repeat a pattern of cheerfully engaging in situations that quickly turn out to be outside of my control. Sometimes I will be lucky like I was that day in the truck, and nothing will go pear-shaped. A lot of times, I will not.
Argh! That’s about what I had to say when I received notice from my web host that the site was suspended due to a breach of services. And sure enough, after some digging I knew that I had been hit by scripters trying to flood the planet with cheap Viagra. Anyhow, this meant I finally got my act in gear to move on from the e107 site system that had started to annoy me (is there a thing such as too much functionality? Yes, there most definitely is). So we’re giving this a shot — be patient while things happen all over again, and pray that fourth time is lucky time (since third so obviously wasn’t).