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Things that matter

Writing about anything and everything that matters to me.

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Miscellaneous

Slut #2

Somebody I recently met for the first time (but have been talking to for a while) asked me if my “hyper-sexual” attitude is due to the sexual abuse I faced as a child or because I was mistreated by some people I dated.
Now, I’ve realised that this query has been around for a very long time now. So here is the explanation for everything, the one nobody is entitled to.

1. I’m honestly sick of being called a “hyper-sexual”, “whore” or “slut”. I’m not fucking everybody and neither am I taking money for it, even if I am, IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
2. I have been very open about many things and have always made sure I talk about things personally to make people around me comfortable. Honest dialogue sorrounding the “taboo” topics is my speciality and I’ll keep questioning, talking, commenting, shouting. I have never mentioned anything to people for sympathy because I don’t need your sympathy. But just because I talk about some traumatic things so casually, DO NOT ASSUME I’M OKAY WITH YOU TRYING TO “PSYCHOANALYSE” ME WITH YOUR MISINFORMED BRAIN.
3. My experiences are mine to talk about. If I’ve trusted you enough to share something personal with you, HAVE THE COURTESY TO NEVER USE IT AGAINST ME.
4. Just because I don’t point it out again and again, please don’t assume I’ve forgotten or it is okay for you to joke about it. Please take my polite protests seriously.

Everybody really needs to get a life of their own, TBH. I’m really done. I tried to argue with everybody who was being unreasonable, sexist or just plain rude but now I’m done. You people who stand in the name of “preserving Indian culture” and “purity and sanctity of women” by disrespecting somebody’s way of life fucking disgust me.
If anybody has a problem with what I say, do, write, click, post-then leave. You don’t have to meet me, or text me or call me, just to remind me that “hey Shaifila, you know I think maybe your past is the reason you fuck so much”
SERIOUSLY I DON’T HAVE SO MUCH SEX AND WHENEVER I DO, IT IS BECAUSE I ENJOY IT NOT BECAUSE I AM “SCREWED UP” SO FUCK YOU.
Nobody deserves an explanation for anything you do. I don’t need that negativity in my life. Last few days have made me realise how difficult it is for people to mind their own business 🙂
I use all platforms I have to speak about things that matter to me and Facebook is one of them. You have every right to disagree but not by insulting me. I’m up for ideological debates as long as you’re not saying stupid shit. If at any point of time my “Facebook activism” bothers you, you can unfollow me and not be a dick about it.

(Even though this is about “me”, if you’re one of mean ones who try to associate behaviours with trauma and be an asshole by asking for explanations, STOP. If this is happening to you, tell them to stop or do what I’m going to do ab se, PUNCH THEM. <3)

Mother

My mother moved to Delhi right after she got married, around 25 years of north Indian lifestyle changed her a lot. She’s still the Saurashtrain chick who left Gujarat but obviously has a Punjabi flavor in her now. The difference is clear in her dialect, ways of cooking and so much more.
She has gotten used to talking in hindi. So even when many of our relatives talk in Gujarati she prefers hindi conversations.
My grandparents had many transfers, but they finally settled in Surendranagar. So for my mother, Surendranagar is the place most of her childhood and youth memories revolve around. It is the place my mother met her best friend, it is also the place she met my father for the first time.
Going to the same house that she remembered as “Amidrishti”, one could see the excitement and love in her eyes. She remembers going to school on a cycle. She remembers the paan waala mod. She also remembers the kuldevi mandir visits. She remembers the saree bhandar, she remembers almost every happy sad memory of her childhood. One of the weirdest things is to see your mother revisit her childhood and youth because you can’t imagine her being young and stupid.
My mother’s accent, language preference and mood, all changed as soon as we reached Surendranagar. Even though my mother is not the sentimental emotional kinds (explains why the wave of nostalgia calmed her down and didn’t make her cry), I rarely see my mother so peaceful.
My father, who lived around her house for a while before they got married, remembered everything. It was so clear that 25 years of marriage and love isn’t always apparent but in moments like these you see how they remember everything about each other, they’ve literally seen each other grow up.
For my mother, her roots remind her of the place she rose from. The struggles they faced and lived through. There are rare moments she talks about her childhood and tells us about the communal violence, or the love she got from everybody because she was smart and pretty or how she woke up at 4 am to study but always slept again because it was too cold or she didn’t want to study.
My relationship with my mother is very complicated and strange. We’ve always called each other frigid, emotionless, selfish women but then again, we love each other. And even when there are so many differences, it was beautiful seeing her feel young and emotional again.
It makes you wonder how difficult it is to leave a place you identify as home, it took her twenty years to come back to this place.

Twenty years to reach back home.

Parents wrong sometimes

My mother always keeps raving about how safe Gujarat is, especially Ahmedabad. This has always been her number one argument to why we have deadlines at home or why all of us should move to Ahmedabad. At some level even I believed that maybe Gujarat is safer than Delhi which is infamous for all the crimes, especially against women.
I visited my aunts and uncles (all in Gujarat) after around eleven years. Meeting my younger cousins, I had assumed that they have an amazing life here in Ahmedabad because they can all be out till 2 am without any issues (according to my mother). Loving the idea of partying with my cousins, I asked them about places in Ahmedabad they go to at night. Both my 23 year old sister and 16 year old sister told me that their parents don’t “allow” them to go out for such “useless” things.
More than safety, the concern is of the parental control in the lives of children. I have a strained relationship with my own parents because of this issue but the reason these people fail to actually talk about anything with their parents is the idea that every argument is “disrespectful”. I have always wondered why these conversations are avoided and why people don’t even consider this issue important enough to talk about.

1. Talk about toxic parenting. It is an issue and we’re raising rebels without a cause who have been emotionally manipulated from a young age. Believe it or not, these things shape the lives you lead.

2. Physical violence is not the only form of violence that demands attention. If parents use “love” as a weapon to silence the child, it is emotional abuse.

3. Stop making “obey your parents” a thing.

4. Freedom is a basic right, not a privilege that is “earned”.

5. If your child is old enough to vote, they’re old enough to make certain descions too.

6. Having constructive arguments at home is important.

7. Respect is not equal to full mindless submission.

8. The point is not to make the parent the bad one and make stupid life choices that damage your relationship with the world and them.

9. All “I hate my parents” are not teenage tantrums.

10. Hating your parents because they don’t accept your gender identity or sexual orientation or career decisions or anything, IS REAL AND ALRIGHT.

All said and done, don’t take your parents for granted. Love them and let them love you. But let’s make a conversation with your parents a normal thing where you can actually TALK.

Reminders

1. You deserve happiness. All of it.
2. All things are not your fault. Sometimes things don’t work out, some things aren’t meant to be, you’re allowed to make mistakes. Let it go.
3. You don’t need to fit in the societal ideal of beautiful to be beautiful. YOU are beautiful.
4. Don’t be somebody’s “pretty girl” because you’re so much more than just pretty.
5. Your radiance can light up the entire sky, believe me.
6. It is okay to let alcohol swim in your veins at 3 am while you’re sitting alone and wondering why you feel the way you do and why nothing seems to fill in the void in your heart. It is okay to scream and cry and throw things.
7. Sometimes, love will not last forever. Sometimes, the one you love will not love you back. Sometimes, the one that sets your soul on fire will be cold as ice. Sometimes, you will face rejection. Sometimes, you will see love fading away. It happens. But don’t let this stop you from loving. Love, proclaim your love, let love be there for you.
8. Do not romanticize the pain, the sadness and the loneliness. Don’t romanticize broken hearts. Don’t romanticize the feelings that let you destroy yourself for somebody else.
9. I know it is hard and sometimes seems to be impossible, but, love yourself. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you’re currently feeling or how somebody you trusted and loved left and made you feel. Love yourself. Don’t bring others down to feel better about yourself.
10. It is okay to question your sexuality and gender. It is okay to not choose a “side”. It is okay to be yourself. Don’t let your genitals define you.
11. Be afraid but don’t let fear control you.
12. Tell your friends you love them. Because lovers come and go. Friends are there for you, forever.
13. Believe in yourself. You’ll be fine. You live your life. You don’t know what life is and what will happen in future and it is fine. You’ll be fine. Live your life enough to be sure that you’re living with no regrets. Kiss people. Try new things. Be dramatic. Do whatever you think will help you love and be yourself. Live.
~ 13 things I preach but wish to incorporate in my life.

Sadness

The alarm goes off, you don’t want to get up. You sleep more for a while. Think about the things you “need to do” and get up anyway. You wear the same old clothes skip breakfast because you’re late, shut your mind off because your own thoughts distract you.
All you think about is getting back to your bed because you’re tired. Physically, maybe not. Sleeping for 12 hours doesn’t change anything but you haven’t been able to sleep for that long in so long. Maybe this is the worst kind of tired because all you want is to slip back to thoughtless pits where you don’t know what is happening.
But you keep looking for something to look forward to and nothing makes sense to you anymore because all the TV shows or books you liked don’t give you pleasure anymore and going out seems useless too. But there are times your friends say something and you smile but as soon as that moment passes, so does the happiness. Nothing changes.
People keep telling you how it could’ve been worse. So you think about the better things like that one person who loves you or how your parents are sometimes proud of you or how you’ll receive the shoes you ordered in a day. But these thoughts don’t make you feel any better because you’re numb. And this numbness is always translated to ungratefulness. “Such a bitch for not acknowledging her privilege and crying all the time”.

You feel worse for complaining ALL THE TIME. You always turn down invitations because you don’t want to make plans, always force your laughter, always attend enough number of events to make people believe you’re okay. But this doesn’t help because you didn’t CHOOSE to be sad. You wouldn’t choose to be unhappy and hopeless and so numb all the time.
You believe there is only one way to push the sadness away. Purpose, a successful relationship, money or friends. But you can’t find purpose of you’re in bed all the time. You can’t find love if you feel too worn out to meet new people. The sadness gives birth to more sadness and you’re stuck in the loop.
Maybe some day the sadness will go away, but I know. I know, it will always come back.

AM I PRETTY?

 

Looks,appearance,clothes,size and all these peripheral things hold immense importance in this day and age and affect each one of us,knowingly or unknowingly.From birth we see beauty ideals on TV and in our toys and thus start considering it ‘normal’.[

For example,Barbies. Many young girls believe that every normal girl looks like the doll,that the Barbie figure and skin are imperative.These perceptions form unknowingly.

 

How many of us have complained about our size, looked at the mirror and seen an ugly person stare back? At least I have.I was reading about ‘ugliest woman on earth’.She is anorexic. When she was 12,somebody called her ‘too fat to exist’,and that changed her. One small comment spoiled this woman’s entire life. She can never be okay,never truly live. It’s saddening to see young people ‘striving for the perfect body’. Wasn’t childhood the period of innocence when all we cared about was what to play and eat?

Media plays a major role in setting up this mindset. Ads have only airbrushed photoshopped thin women and muscular men,and when we look at them and compare, we realize we look different,not “desirable”,perhaps. We have constructed some unwritten norms about the way a person should look,what is ‘attractive’ and what is ‘ugly’.

 

So what is body image? ‘Body image is the picture we have of our bodies at rest or in motion at any moment. It is from internal sensations,postural changes,contact with outside objects and people,and our emotional experiences and fantasies’ (Freedman 1998, Salkin 1973). According to Hutchinson (1985), body image includes feelings,attitudes,and beliefs about our bodies. Basically,it is what we think of ourselves and what image of self we have in our minds.

Symmetrical features,voluminous hair,long neck,busty and voluptuous or totally skinny girls are what media projects as beautiful.All the airbrushed models give complexes to women, young and old alike.One in four adolescent girls have admitted that they follow a diet.For young men; tall,dusky,handsome and strong,groomed the ideal. However,these pressures are mostly linked to depression in case of women because of the constant ‘need to look sexy’.

While the media portrays this image of perfection,we feel the need to conform to it and every time we see ourselves in the mirror, all we see is our imperfections staring back. We are too fat,too thin,too dark,too short or too anything that is not perfect.

But who gets to decide what a “good” body is? The very flesh and blood you occupy is a social construction. Does body image issue depend on our gender? Yes.

We become aware of our looks and compare ourselves to others from a very young age.

Children (2-12):

By the age of two,a child has a clear sense of ‘me’.They start recognizing themselves in pictures and in the mirror while developing a sense of pride and shame. By four,they are able to compare themselves to others.By eight, the child can compare the self to all the peer members and they start evaluating themselves in four categories: Academic,Social,Athletic and Appearance.

In the age group of four to six,the child starts thinking about their weight and shape.They also understand the social rejection to ‘fat’, are concerned about their clothes and hair.The kids in this age group want to ‘grow up’ and their sense of grown up life is seen from their TV shows and toys.Girls desire to be thin and have long hair like their barbies.The boys aspire to be muscular like their action figures.Recent studies reveal that roughly 50% of children in the age group of six to twelve are dissatisfied with their bodies.

Children are influenced by parental comments,toys,peers too. There is a concurrent relationship between these factors and body image.Take media, for example,We see in films how thin women are always attractive and muscular men are desirable.Generally the unattractive characters are fat or underweight and unintelligent and antisocial.The peer in this age generally have a negative effect on the child’s self-esteem.The parents also tend to unintentionally affect a child’s perception towards food by controlling the eating habits and making the child believe that fat is bad.

Obese kids are more dissatisfied with their bodies and have established anti fat biases because of the society.Children as young as 4,refuse to choose a chubby friend.This being particularly dangerous because young children may grow up feeling constantly excluded. The only way to protect young children is teaching them autonomy,to reject the thin ideal and learn that the images projected are not always real.

 

Adolescence (13-19):

Girls-

Adolescence is the period when hormonal and physical changes occur.Around 70% of the girls want to be thinner as they think it will make their life better.Larger girls are more dissatisfied. This is when most of the girls start fasting,dieting and using laxatives. Many girls even take the drastic step of getting surgeries.Such dissatisfaction harms them both physically and mentally. The most common disorders in such a condition are Anorexia and Bulimia.

Physical changes include acne,increased hair growth,breast growth,widening of hips and menstruation. Due to manifold physical changes,there are many emotions that a girl struggles with. Joy,fear and shame;all occur simultaneously.There is also a consistent need to ‘fit’ in and there is a fear of having no control over their body. Peer acceptance is very important too.The body image stabilizes over time and they feel comfortable in their own skin.

Boys-

Most of the boys prefer being ‘lean and muscular’,influenced by the media.Boys suffer from ‘reverse anorexia’.They might end up using protein supplements or exercising excessively. The pubertal development is generally positive for them as they move closer to the societal ideal of ‘perfection’. However,some boys might hit pubery later than their peer members and this may create a problem. Thinking that they’re ‘weaker’ than their friends makes them feel insufficient. Such dissatisfaction may lead to alcoholism,using steroids, and aggression.

In many surveys it has been found that most of the boys have a positive body image or are neutral. The stigma against fat and underweight people persists. Girls are more dissatisfied than boys.

 

Adulthood (19 onwards)

It is only recently that researchers started focusing on adulthood. The general pattern of growth shows that in adulthood,we gain weight,have saggy skin.

There is a social pressure to maintain youth,especially on women,the reason cosmetic industry survives. Wykes and Gunter claimed that young and white women were attractive and old women were asexual and depressed,according to the media.

While all old women are shown in a bad light,old men(fifties) are still ‘sexy’ and have young women swooning over them (eg: George Clooney). But even the men suffer ridicule at seventy,they are incompetent and pathetic.

 

 

Contrary to what media shows,in reality, women are more satisfied with their body image when they are sixty(and more).Research shows that women in the age group of sixteen to sixty three are mostly dissatisfied with their bodies.In eighties,women are more satisfied because old age makes them more realistic. As women grow older,they realize that looks don’t matter. It was also found that their role models are age appropriate. As women are older instead of believing that they don’t look good enough,they think that they ‘look good for their age’. Such realism is positive for their body and self-image.They also don’t have appearance anxiety and the only reason they want to lose weight is for health reasons.Surprisingly,women in old age are more satisfied than the men.

Men in fifties want to be slimmer and look younger.But this dissatisfaction is lost once they reach their sixties. After their sixtieth birthday,men are satisfied with their bodies and believe that they are good looking.

 

 

But,so what,right?

From the age of four we see our body ideals in front of us and want to conform.Changing the societal ideals is not very easy but it is never too late to take a first step.

We need media literacy to let our children know that whatever media shows is not always true. Advertisements generally Photoshop/airbrush the images and nobody is perfect.

We need to encourage body positivity movements and make people realize that everybody is beautiful and size doesn’t matter.

Media needs to break the stereotypes and take the first step towards a big movement that shuns societal ideals.

 

Remember,we should not want to be the same as others and we should not want others to be the same as us.We should glow and shine in all of our differences,flaunt them fabulously for all to see.We need not conform.

Don’t be ideal,be you.

Life beyond Delhi University

 

Class twelfth board exams are one of the most important milestones of any student’s life. There’s a sadness of leaving the comfort of school and the excitement of going to a new college and experiencing the freedom. But who knew getting into a college was so difficult! With the average percentage increasing to 90s and so many students,securing a seat in a college with good faculty and affordable fees is difficult. Till I actually got my (comparatively terrible) class 12 result, I had no idea about other colleges.

Most of us dream of getting in any of the north campus colleges because of the reputation and ongoing media attention the Delhi University receives. But with cutoffs as high as 95 and less number of seats,it is no piece of cake. In the glamour that DU receives,we forget about some other colleges in Delhi that have the same facilities as DU has. Life doesn’t end at one university’s list. We might be disappointed by our marks or how just a few marks disqualify us for an admission this year,but trust me,there are other universities too. Some of the popular universities are:

  1. Jamia Millia Islamia

I am a student of this university so I can assure that the faculty is good. The campus is also spacious and green. It is a central university,just like DU so the quality of education is similar. Even after being as good as one of the most popular universities,not many people prefer to go here due to the belief that it is a Muslim university. It isn’t,we have a diverse lot of students and faculties. The university offers undergraduate courses in languages,psychology,sciences,social science,hotel management,dentistry,law and B.Tech.  At the end of the day,there is no religious bias and there are many cultural and social events to participate in. Just no media glamour. Admission is based on an entrance exam,so even if you couldn’t score in class 12,you have a chance.

  1. B.R. Ambedkar University

You can also try the new upcoming university such as B.R. Ambedkar University. The B.R. Ambedkar University offers specialized courses in the arts and social sciences such as English, psychology, economics and history. This university also allows students to appear for the campus placement after completion of their degree. From what I have heard,the faculty is good and since it a government university,fees is less too. Admissions are on the basis of class 12 marks and forms can be filled online.

  1. GGSIPU

If you’re looking profession courses at undergraduate levelGGSIP University is a good option. It  offers plenty of technical and professional courses, including BTech, Bachelor degree in Business Admistration, computer applications, fashion and apparel design , physiotherapy, medical laboratory technology and nursing. It is famous for its law courses. IP University admits students on the basis of Commom Entrance Test (CET) by the University for almost all the programmes.

  1. JNU

Another central university which is very popular for its postgraduate courses is JNU. However,not many people are aware that it is a school of language and cultural studies. It offers BA program and honors courses in foreign languages such as Chinese, Spanish, Korean, French, Turkish and Japanese.

 

These are some of the government/semi government universities which have all the facilities and the fees is also reasonable.

Otherwise there are always private universities like Amity and Sharda University which have all the courses and are popular too.

Whichever college you go to,all you need to remember is that it doesn’t matter where you study. It is about you and your dedication. Choose your college course wisely and whatever you choose,make sure you like it and put in your best efforts.

Do you believe in what you don’t see?

 

“Auras are like a signature, each as individual as the person they surround”

~Gina Allan

Have you ever seen somebody and instinctively felt positive in their presence? Or maybe that time when somebody stands too close to you and you feel like they are in “your space”? Some people explain this “feeling” or the idea of energy around each object, person and/or place as “Aura”.

Probably one of the most debated topics, the presence of aura can not be seen but felt. Auras are always associated with people. We even use them to describe people: “He has a glow,” or “She has an aura of power around her”. But in fact all living things generate this field of energy. When associated to a person, the aura provides insight into the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of the individual.

The concept behind auras is that everything generates a magnetic field of energy around them, this field defines you, your thoughts and your beliefs. Aura comes from the Greek word for breeze and has only a few empirical studies in its favour.

“The aura is claimed to be a glowing field surrounding a human being that is undetectable, except by gifted psychics. By interpreting the aura of an individual, one is said to be able to deduce personality, health, and present emotions” (Randi 1995). It is defined as, “vital force [that] spills beyond the perimeters of the skin into the atmosphere to create an energy field, or aura, which provides a great deal of information about the nature and functioning of human beings” (Pierrakos 2005, 18). The aura can be viewed as a visual representation of the soul. It is a complex system every aura is distinctly different and changes over time. Apparently, they have colours that depict certain emotions, that are common to all of us, such as red for anger, pink for love and green for envy etc.

But will the sceptic in you ever allow the belief in aura? I don’t believe in God much, neither do I believe in predestination; yet, there is a part of me that believes in the “vibes”, aka, the aura. I am sure you have heard the phrase “your vibe attracts your tribe” and you might have noticed that even though the belief is that opposites attract, most of your friends and acquaintances do have the same ideologies as you.

Sensing auras is what we do every time we meet somebody new; through feeling and knowing, like trusting your gut instincts about someone or something. Everybody does this on a day to day basis through normal social interaction. You sense somebody’s anger, fear, love and compassion. These are all easily identifiable and this is all part of your ability to sense auras. These feelings and intuitions are a result of another persons energy passing through yours. From feelings to energies, aura comprises of so many things. There are certain images and associations your mind makes whenever you see somebody new and this is what makes you connected to that person.

So many misconceptions and superstitions have obviously contaminated the simple and succinct concept of auras but it is just the simple presence of energy around somebody produced by your thoughts. Every time I have had negative thoughts my mother has asked me to think positively, and somehow it does work. What I feel changes so many things around me. Maybe it is the idea that optimistic thoughts make you positive and thus more productive or maybe all this was just a coincidence; yet nothing explains the sudden “click” you feel with somebody or the inexplicable hatred.

For me, your aura is the first thing I feel and our relationship will be defined by it. Seeing is not always believing.

It works for me! Let me know what you think! 🙂

Ramblings of a confused woman

Have you ever felt useless? Like you’re worth nothing? That you’re ugly and not even smart? I have. I think all of us have that one point in life where we are too afraid to do something new but too tired of the monotony. And I’m on that threshold right now. So when I say I understand, trust me,I do.
I have finished one year of college and if you ask me what I have learned,I can say for sure that I haven’t learned anything that will make me feel better about my existence. I want a job but I don’t want to look for it,I want to read but I can’t. It is frustrating. I am nineteen now and if you ask me about what I have achieved,I won’t be able to say anything.
But are certificated things are the only things that matter? In practical life yes. But what about inner satisfaction? I don’t know.
I don’t feel beautiful enough because I’m insecure about myself. And why is that? Because I don’t believe I have met the societal standards of beauty. This is sad. Sad that so many women feel too fat,too thin,too dark or too ugly. It is sad because so many people die thinking that they’re not good enough.
People die thinking they’re not good enough for a particular job,or not smart enough because they didn’t get good marks. We are so pressurized to believe that some things are normal and some are abnormal.
Who set this standard? What if I don’t want to comply? What if I want to be fat and yet called beautiful? What if I want to be a mediocre student and lead a middle class life and be kind to others? What if I want to dress up everyday like my life is a party?  I cannot because I allow an outer world to dictate my life.
So stop feeling like you owe an explanation to the world about what you are. Love yourself. Be happy. Be healthy. Of course this post leaves so many things open ended and no conclusion and zero writing skills,but let’s just think about these points in solace.
And if you want to talk,I’m here. 😀

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