Monday, 6 June 2011

Outsecurity.

I suppose most people would say I'm a confident person.

It seems to me this confidence isn't permanent. I don't know if insecurity and confidence exist on the same sliding scale, at opposite ends, or on two separate planes. This is, does a person tip from confidence to insecurity to confidence, or do we leap back and forth from one level to the other? All very abstract, sure. I want to work out how and why and where my insecurities arise. So maybe all this cloud-thinking helps.

I've set myself a task. I'm going to list my insecurities, what I'm afraid of. Here:
- being left. Abandoned? No, left.
- being second-best.
- being misinterpreted.
- being unwanted.
- being boring.
- being perceived as stupid.
- not knowing where I stand.
- not being in control.

There are also, of course, the superficial insecurities. I don't have bright white teeth, I do have stretch-marks, I do have a scarred hand from an accident with boiling water when I was young, I don't have a high-earning job, I do have large pores, I am weak in saying no to alcohol and cigarettes (I CAN say no, I just don't do it often enough).

We all know where the body-image stuff comes from and, to be frank, I'm not really terribly bothered by it. It's the Big Fears I'm unsure of. As a kid, for the first few years, I remember hating it when mum left me alone. Give me attention, lots of attention, all the time, don't go away. Mum and I were a team. Us versus dad's Schizophrenia. Eventually but suddenly, mum left dad and, for a couple years, focused inward. Christ, I was pissed at her for leaving me alone, without warning, in the middle of the field, forced to compete as a one-woman team.

Please don't cry me a river. See? I'm worried about being boring, being self-indulgent. I'm trying to figure things out. I'm broke and I can't afford to pay my psychologist twice a month, like I should. So I'm blogging instead.

What are your insecurities? And are they friend or foe?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Cleavage.

Right, here it is: an article titled Cleavage. So titled, in this case, because of the very wide valley between truth and socially vetted opinion.

In an effort to find an Australian news publication NOT ruled by Rupert Murdoch and his kingdom, I came across Melbourne rag The Age. It's a little left-leaning, apparently.

So I'm browsing through The Age online and I come across a blog written by a woman named Sam. The idea is that she talks about sex and love and relationships. She's written a few books and been on TV so she's totally qualified to opine publicly. Or something.

Anyway, I start reading a posting of hers. It's about promiscuity among women and the perceived double standard that exists for men and women. Yawn. This particular theme invariably ends up with people siding with whatever their own experience tells them, thus suffocating any chance of objective and intelligent debate. Nevertheless, I give Sam and her blog the benefit of the doubt and read till the end. Sam's pearls of wisdom include this:

"I understand there are women who equate sex with love. But surely these days women have wised up? Surely they understand that men will do, say, buy anything to get some action between the sheets? "

and

"Of course, any woman who has casual sex with a man she's not in a relationship with will know all too well that, on the night, while she might feel closer to the dude she's bonking (physically, emotionally, even spiritually!), the next morning when the booze has worn off, the pheromones have died down and she's no longer looking as hot as she did the night before, he's (most of the time) no longer that into her."

This is just so damaging.

Firstly, what's with the hating on men? A lot of men like sex, yes. A lot of men find a lot of ways to have sex, yes. But the idea that they'll do "anything"?? This posits all men as sex-obsessed. Thing is, all men are NOT sex-obsessed. Men, in general, do not walk the streets with their dicks greased, straining to forcibly penetrate any oncoming orifice. This tired idea does a disservice to all of us, men and women alike. It is deeply troubling for the many men who feel great pressure to fulfill this 'sex fiend' role set out for them, who feel obliged to be overtly sexual. Men have to be accepted as so much more than their genitals. A whole lot of people, mostly women, have been going on about the need for women to be understood as not a hole but a whole person. Let's give the blokes the same respect, right?

The men-must-fuck-constantly myth means women are socialised to use sex to control and manipulate men. We are told that this is sexual 'power'. Really, it's playing in to the idea that women are only able to get what they want through their bodies and their sex. Not so liberating, is it?

Secondly, there's just so much wrong with Sam's paragraph here regarding casual sex. It's asking the reader to agree that a woman will most often be disappointed by casual sex because, basically, the man probably won't like her in the morning. I mean, a lot of the time, it ain't about whether HE is into her. It's about HER. The sex is about HER, HER enjoyment, HER sexual agency. Sam is only reinforcing patriarchal notions of woman's sexuality. Way to go girlfriend.

I'll finish up with saying how dangerous women thinkers such as Sam can be. She's basically blogging her opinion, under the guise of journalism. She's not liberal in her thinking. Rather, she's a conservative puritan disguised as an objectively-thinking liberal. I only hope we educate our children well enough to see the difference.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Cleavage.

There's an article to be written here, I'm just not sure what it is yet. I'm reading Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex'. She talks a lot about cleavage, although rarely of the boob kind. I just think 'Cleavage' is a great title.

All ideas welcome. Nothing predictable please.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Torn.

I love the beach. The salty water scrubs me clean of worry; the peppery sand massages my soul and my feet. I want to go every day to swim, to sit, to breathe, to feel warm.

Alas, alack.

Back to Paris this Friday. All polluted city and no taxis and arguments in restaurants over bad service.

And the most beautiful walks through history as I race by foot to work.

And friends who are family.

And an apartment high in the sky with a white cat aggressively purring to be fed.

I will greatly miss the beach and long for it every day. Now, though, Paris is a home found. Paris, mon ami, I'll see you very soon.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Her dark hair is curly and long.

I know a woman who is courageous and tough. Born and bred into the Mormon church, she has recently left to pursue a life without Joseph Smith. She has fought a bloody battle, playing fair herself only to be pulled into a dirty war by those who judge her. She has already won but she doesn't give up. There are plenty more causes to fight for, and fight she does. For the rights of people to love and fuck and be whom they want, she fights determined and strong.

Seeing this woman's eyes sparkle with adventure and pleasure last Saturday night made every part of me smile and ache all at once. She is so much of who we all need to be. Maureen, you are proof of the power of goodness and love. You are an inspiration to us all.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Tree to be me.

Being back in the town I grew is good. I like it here: the sun, the sea, the space, the trees, the family, the friends.

The friends.

The friends I made in my years here seem to peel away, drop off with every visit. Do I care? A little, I admit. It's a small rejection and it does dent the ego.

Some here continue to lovingly embrace the friendship we share, to nurture it. Others seek to develop a friendship, carefully planting the seeds for what will thrive for years or bloom only briefly. And there are those who don't seem to do much at all.

To encourage new growth, I suppose the old does need to peel away, to drop off. Friendships do expire. I know this. I don't know why the aftershocks of loss still hit me.

I'm glad I have friendships that exceed my high expectations. Pushing ever upwards towards the sun, it's these friendships that keep me growing.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Considering religion.

My family was never particularly religious however I do remember going to a church group as a child and singing along to jesus jingles. Mum found solace from dad's schizophrenic terror in church spaces. I remember she ran a thrift store from a room in a big church in Brisbane. She liked working there. In this church space, I think, and in others, she was able to let her awesome operatic voice loose, and play and practice the piano.

Other experiences. In my early University days, I developed quite a successful eating disorder. I remember touring a theatre production with a large group. We had some drinks and some of us went in to the kitchen and helped ourselves to bread and butter and jam. That is one of the only times I tried to make myself vomit. I then went and told one of the other group members about it. She hugged me and told me how she loved jesus and how this love makes everything OK. In my fog of drunkenness, desperation and depression, what she was saying made sense.

When I first started masturbating - how old was I? 12 or 13? 14? - I would almost always stop at some point, lifting my fingers off my clit and surrounding areas, and recite a short much-repeated prayer I've since forgotten. I see now I did this out of guilt. I honestly thought - but without thinking much about it at the time - that my masturbating might cause harm to those I love. You know what? I still feel this guilt sometimes, even today, and while I rarely stop touching myself because of it, I do feel its ghost there, silently judging me.

Of course, masturbation is brilliant and necessary. Anyone who argues otherwise is misguided. Guilt is a dreadful thing to impose on anyone. Most (all?) religions operate on this corrupt idea of guilt and salvation. This is wrong.

People have helped me and my family over the years. Some of these people have been associated with church and/or religion, a lot haven't. Churches are big and beautiful architectural feats and I like them. There is no god at work here. Just people. That's all.