Up until about 3 or 4 months ago, suicide was number one on my to do list.

I say that so casually, because, to think about suicide became so normal, such a routine thing. It, oddly, became an escapism; a relief from the battle I woke up every morning to fight. It was a way out, a quick solution if anything finally pushed my head under these waters.

Truthfully, all that stopped me from doing it, was my sister.

I was genuinely convinced I did not deserve to be here, that I did not deserve to get better.

But I knew that even if I did not deserve to be here, my sister did not deserve that pain.

That’s not to say I was selfish for those thoughts, or, if, I ever did take my own life: selfishness has nothing to do with it. Ending this pain, at any cost, goes past selfishness and selflessness.

It’s not to say I was doing it for attention, or for a ‘cry of help’. It has always been strange to me, so many others critique the act itself, whilst neglecting everything that comes before that. I’ve found that victim blaming comes from a place of fear: they don’t want to acknowledge this is indeed a reality.

I appreciate that me having someone else to live for is and was an absolute privilege, one that many won’t have.

I refuse to give advice to most now, on this blog: I’m not a trained professional, and I know myself what it feels like for someone’s words, although unintentional, to push you over the edge you were already teetering on.

But, please take 2 facts away from this.

It’s not YOU, you want to kill, it’s something in you. Or it’s because you can’t fight this tiredness anymore, to live with yourself as your everyday enemy.

NEVER listen to a depressed, suicidal, or any mentally ill mind. I could have been told 1000 reasons as to why I deserve to be here. And I still wouldn’t believe it.

That change is absolutely within your reach, if you’re even looking for it. If you are capable of love, acceptance, remorse, acknowledgement, or, again, the desire for it, it’s already within you. Believe me, you wouldn’t even think teenage me was present me: you are not your struggle, and, actually, you’re not always the way you deal with it either.

I’ve found there’s no moment that you are ever definitively defined, no matter what anyone else says or believes. Sure, there are stains on all of us, things we have to live with – it’s the human condition; but it’s always baffled me how people want others to be in a constant state of punishment, especially when they’re not evil – when did shame or guilt ever get anything done?

You can channel those emotions into higher levels, exist in a proactive emotional state – where you can take responsibility and still move on. You are what you have been up until this present moment; and in a moment that can change, even if that’s the decision to get help.

However, I also simultaneously believe it is never a victim’s obligation to empathise with their abuser, being a victim of something insidious myself. It helps some, it doesn’t help others. Sometimes even empathising can be a residue of manipulation, a failing to see someone as they really are – and in some cases, forever will be.

The journey of a victim is very different to that of an abuser – if the perpetrator ever decides to go on it.

Sometimes forgetting is the best forgiveness.

This is a personal choice, as most things are.

Went on a bit of a tangent there, possibly a little bit of projection.

But, keep strong. I am living proof you can absolutely believe it will never get better, and then life does that funny little thing; once you’ve allowed it.

And PLEASE, please, reach out for help. Even me: alexandrajanesand@gmail.com

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

September Suicide Awareness

…water occupies the lowest point of anything – and if I want to be a walking tsunami, I have to start at the bottom too.

After losing a lot of confidence, I find it incredibly difficult to be myself, to think for myself and not worry about what other people think – when it comes to my personal choices.

I think this has manifested itself mostly in my self-expression. It sounds trivial, and maybe it is, but, social media is now a hellish playground for me.

I’m constantly stuck between wanting to be myself, post whatever I want, and that crippling anxiety of how other people are going to judge it.

Does this make me look like the weird, emo kid? Am I sharing too much like some attention-seeking freak? Do I look cringe? Am I posting too much/enough? Is this even acceptable?

And then the double-whammy, what on earth am I posting this for? Why am I doing this? Who is it all for?

I kind of suffer with obsessive/intrusive thoughts too, as a result of my ordeal from last year. So my brain likes to convince me that I am living my life for social media whenever I want to post something or take a picture; it’s almost like a filter that processes all of my thoughts, and sometimes it’s hard to tell when my thoughts are true/not true.

I had been feeling kind of confident, lately, with my social media, and then someone decided to be nasty about it. I wonder why people make it so difficult for others to be themselves, when their actions or their selves have a little to none negative impact on society?

And it’s almost like, as soon as that blow hit, I could feel the depravity and depth of this cavity inside of me, that’s, ironically, full of self-loathing and insecurity – a desire to run away from the one thing I can never escape: myself. It made me want to withdraw from everyone around me, delete my social media presence (I did) and never speak again.

It left me wondering whether any of this (the social media, the dude that had fun bringing me down) was the real problem.

Or was it that, I enjoyed nothing for myself anymore, that I was no longer committed to accepting myself and too committed to growth? Was it I was trying to swing to a tree too far, when there was one in front of me to stop at first? …Is it that, I was avoiding my healing process? Avoiding myself.

Yes, I think it is.

I often think one thing is the problem, but really it’s just the manifestation of whatever is going on inside.

So, I challenge me, to sit with myself. To read more, to cook more. To walk more, listen to music a little less. To stop mindlessly scrolling through my phone, to try and make decisions for me, true to what I like and what I’m comfortable with. To just to continue to try, to stop trying to make everything okay when I’m not okay. A swimming pool has to be filled from the bottom; water occupies the lowest point of anything – and if I want to be a walking tsunami, I have to start at the bottom too. To give myself a break when I need it.

I need to be the main character in myself in my life again – so I can successfully treat everyone else as if they are the main character in their own life, too.

The Self

“Lies have speed, but truth has endurance.”

You did not lose me:

What is lost, can be found.

I don’t know what you did,

But you did not lose me.

I think when you feel those emotions,

You are at your strongest.

You’re not in real water,

Stand back,

And see this is as a symptom

Of his own evil.


And I loved where the water showed where the light was,

Where I could give life,

And not be asked much of afterwards:

Everyone was in love with me, but you,

I wonder why that was.

Was it because I had the life you had lost in a bet?

Was it because it made you feel good, to be excluded from the rest?

Did it make you feel good that it would only be us, standing together,

In this pond of no love?

I always said I could only love with you with my tears.

I kind of felt like a shopkeeper:

My shift was ending,

No one had been in –

Do I go,

Or stay,

Just in case you come in?

Love is not duty, I’m throwing the towel in.

Where you can’t prove,

You must choose

What comes natural to you.

It made me angry,

I had questioned my own sanity,

My yellow heart,

For a —- who lived in — own world.

I took on a burden that was not mine to have,

I was living with the issue of someone else.

I felt stupid for loving you,

But imagine having to hate, to bring someone close.

It made me laugh, towards the end,

How someone could destroy my soul,

And cry at the truth of theirs, when their reckoning came.

Don’t f*ck with me, I burn cold.

And when I watched the flowers on Eeshy’s heart grow,

I forgave the mud he had thrown.

When I saw the smile on her glow,

I forgave the tears he had provoked, and made flow –

Even left the hate and the judgement for him to make of his own soul.

When I saw the freedom she had created,

In the midst of battle cries and a war –

I knew she was made for this,

To be human,

To grow.

You will get past this, if you let your kindness flow. Forgive and still say no.

I had been taught to understand and empathise,

It takes thick skin, and a heart so soft – anything else would break it.

I was too young to understand my Mum had told me that,

So I would never have to question myself.

You did what you did.

You came into my house,

My body,

And did what you did;

There’s no redemption here, let me be a lesson to you if you come looking for it.

Apologies, here, mean nothing,

Just like a kiss can’t fixed ripped skin.

You want to change?

Don’t stand here and interrupt my healing,

To fix what you broke, when you broke me:

Did your mumma not tell you,

To hurt another,

Will just eventually rip off your own skin?

You need something irretrievably broken,

To keep you moving from what’s been your nature for so long,

When the sweat creeps in.

Intuition shows up,

Where ego, judgement and fear are not.

That’s why I know I must heal those wounds,

So they don’t get what they want.

I’ve seen that fear, that blind panic,

In men’s eyes too many times,

When confronted with the truth.

No concern or a bowed head,

As it should have been.

You are a coward, it’s what you’ve always been.

Let me return to my own thoughts and biases,

Issues and them all.

I’m done playing God.

For if I had sinned before,

His pain had washed me clean.

I thought I died before,

But being reborn?

Wow, the pain.

I’ve been at war too, Grandad,

I don’t want to be alone;

But running from vulnerability is what I’ve always done.

Your daughter broke my heart: you broke hers,

Took something, lost forever,

And now I am poisoned.

It’s all done to silence you,

Keep you stuck in their treacle trap.

But, you never thought I’d grow a new part,

And slip right out your reach.

Keep the old me, b*tch; you were always so keen to immortalise me.

Imagine hating yourself so much,

You run into a trap, just to get out.

Running too close to death,

The Devil burned me with His fire this time –

and you, you took too much;

Took my breath, to feel something,

In that cavity of yours where all nerve endings are dead.

I’ve given so much of myself,

Different places,

Dfiferent grounds,

Where the Moon goes around the Sun,

And stars can still shine against the blue.

I have so little for myself,

That I have a cave within,

That I cave into when I reach for myself.

Stretching against gravity,

Why are your arms so mean?

Please, please give it back,

You said you loved me,

But how can that be,

When you’re whole because you broke me,

Into pieces so scattered, my mind fell apart.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been loved:

I’ve had obsession, hate enevloped in a kiss

Held in the middle of the air, and left when I didn’t float –

Guess you forgot there’s too much life in these feet.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been loved:

They love what I give,

And show me they love back through wanting more.

Show me you love me, by stepping back, letting me breathe,

Like you want me to live, and not leave.

I’m in my head,

I live here,

Love here,

Work here,

It’s killing me, Ben.

My head is sick Ben,

My head isn’t me, Ben –

But it is killing me, Ben.

Sometimes sleep doesn’t take it away,

And sometimes I just want the days to end.

I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be me,

And it was just another day of work to him.

Do you know what fear does to a girl like me?

I loved you so much,

But who was I loving?

No one told me the dead could be living,

No one told me about the ghost in my bed, I always thought monsters were under the bed.

If fear makes a man repent, I fear he’ll do it again.

When I was seen, I wanted to be.

That’s what makes you different from me.

Not all bullshit is to deceive,

It’s to protect,

And then it’s just relief,

When we both see.

It was all just a game, I know.

We were both playing too,

Maybe that’s why I felt so connected to you:

The same hurts, held in different ways.

I know if I changed the tune,

You wouldn’t mind dancing differently too.

Poetry For Pain

Let’s talk about naked bodies.

I had a complete existential crisis today.

I had taken some photos in my bra + shorts (it’s 31° today, in England) on my new Polaroid camera. They were cool, they were sexy. I looked good, I felt good.

I, impulsively, posted them on my private Instagram. And then very quickly deleted them.

Now, I only have 60 followers on Instagram, but my anxiety went UP.

I started catastrophically thinking. What if someone wants to be nasty and send them into my sixth form? What if someone keeps them and gives them to a future employee?

I struggle with paranoia now, after what I went through last year. Expecting the worse is a safety mechanism, I guess. My body, my mind, could not cope with another traumatic effect: it wants safety, and safety is what is going to help me heal.

I also was questioning my morals a lot. Like, why am I doing this? What is it for?

Part of me felt as if it was the fact that I just want to feel confident in my body. I want this fear-based thinking gone, this looming insecurity that can ruin my day in a millisecond. In fact I need it to be gone.

I wanted to do what I wanted to do, without letting other people’s opinions and beliefs censor that. After all, this isn’t murder we are talking about. This is a personal choice that does not catastrophically affect anyone else; if someone accused me of affecting them through the way I’d dress, I imagine they would have overestimated the power of me and underestimated the danger of them.

So, then I was like: would I actually walk around, in public, wearing a bra and shorts? Would I let people see my underwear at all? And if I didn’t, why the hell not? Because people would stare? Because it would be inappropriate? Am I not hypocritical for posting something I would NEVER do in real life? Am I not hypocritical for posting something when there is no way I could stand in my underwear, in front of my peers? Is there any way I wouldn’t feel embarrassed if other people looked at the images, in my presence?

I guess that’s because social media is an insight in our life, behind closed doors. So, really, it isn’t about that anyway.

BUT.

It’s all well and good posting things on social media: it removes us a reality away from the reality. Kind of gives the same effect dissociation does.

I think I want privacy, you know? I think I want that.

And then I was thinking, why is lingerie different from a bathing costume? Why is it, my friends can show their bums on social media, in a bikini, and I can’t show off my cleavage and stomach?

What is the moral line between lingerie and a swimming costume?

Another part of me was also like: “If I don’t show what I have, I will regret it.” But, there it is. The battle between the ego, and the soul.

What I would regret, is not showing other people.

And, ‘what if’, I regret forcing myself to be something I’m not?

How could I regret feeling comfortable, feeling confident in what I chose to wear. How could I regret having a ball of a time when I go out, because I didn’t dress in a way that made me feel insecure?

Is this where I accept something within myself, rather than pushing myself to be something I’m not?

Does this go past feminism? Isn’t the advocacy for body confidence merely just the demand to make a choice between modesty and nudity? Surely it’s not demanding I be nude? Or be modest? Surely, it’s just allowing me to make a choice about the way I choose the express myself, whatever gender I am?

Although I wanted to, predominantly, post that picture to make a stance about a female’s body, because I always felt that the more I showed, the less there was to me – and I wanted to change that. Was it actually a reflection of me? Or was it more fraudulent to post something so bold, and flake when it came to manifesting that rebellion in my real, present day life?

Because even though I, as a woman, believe I have a moral obligation to empower myself, and those around me, to break the chains that were made to imprison a woman, I am also a person. I am not just a woman. I am much more than gender could ever confine.

I am a soul, with insecurities, and confidences. I love parts of myself, and love others less. I have my own approaches, my own individual path to follow.

And it’s not that my body is a gift to give, it’s not that it is a prized possession to be possessed. It is a fragile thing, with a lot of fear in it. It has been bruised and violated. It is something that is at its best, when it feels safe. And maybe, that’s okay. Maybe it’s okay to give into what my body wants. And it needs care, not force.

Again: it needs care, not force.

Posting a picture to tell others, my body is not theirs, is meaningless. I cannot tell anyone what else to think. I may be able to influence them, yes, only if my truth speaks to something within them, that only they are responsible for. But, I could say it till I’m blue in the face, and there will be a person, maybe more, who does not treat my body the way that I want them too, the way I feel they should do.

Who does need to believe it, who does need to oblige and listen and respect it, is me. Posting that picture? Does nothing for me. Absolutely nothing. It just puts a penetrable space between me, and them. It’s not real vulnerability, it’s just ignoring how I really feel and getting on with it, till all that is compressed… rots and spews out in so many other ways when I’m older.

What I really need to do is find me. By acknowledging I can empower myself with either nudity and modesty. And find where I am on either side of that spectrum, or between that, away from everyone else. And, then, then I shall see where I slot into society. How I can manifest me.

I can absolutely encourage others to be exactly what they want to be, against the odds and the persecution their peers lead against their personal + harmless choices, WITHOUT needing to join.

I will join, when I know it is what my body wants. When I know it is a deep desire for me. And not some moral obligation I am obliged to carry out. That will take time, and less thinking, with more feeling.

That, that is my middle ground.

I think it is okay to reject the things that cause me to overthink and stress. I think it is okay to want peace. And I don’t think I could ever regret that.

So… to conclude … If I can’t do it in real life, I shouldn’t set a false expectation on my social media. And I don’t need to berate myself for that. What I need to do, first and foremost, is cultivate confidence and positivity, and see where that leads me 😽

AJ ❤

Nakedness.

And after realising some things aren’t about what is ‘right and wrong’, some things that can’t be proved, I know that it comes down to personal choices.

I recently became troubled, after everything I have been through, about how our personal truths and views of others, can affect these people.

I knew in my heart that what others were actively doing and knowingly endorsing, was wrong. But, I don’t know, I kind of felt bad writing off someone’s entire existence, even if they were affecting others. In fact, feeling bad about it is an understatement, I felt completely torn over it.

So, I decided that I wasn’t going to tell other people what I thought about them anymore. And instead, speak my truth to the people who need to hear it. Empower others and their truths, too. So that they can make their own decisions, and separate themselves from whatever no longer serves them in the way it should.

Instead of attacking Kim Kardashian for her appalling influence over millions of young girls, speak to girls about their own body image, their own confidence and self-worth.

Instead of telling a controlling or toxic friend that they are controlling or toxic, I’m just going to set personal boundaries instead – instead of engaging in a cycle of abuse (when you react to abusive people and understandably so, it’s called reactive abuse). They abuse you, you react, you give them more power with the guilt you will inevitably feel and it starts all over again.

And, it goes without saying, that if others feel comfortable and secure enough within themselves to speak their mind, to speak their truth, openly and directly, then so be it, too.

I lost that part of myself, and the turmoil it brings me when I try to regain it, is honestly not worth it, for me.

I also wondered about truth a lot. How do we know if what we are seeing is partial, objective, and how do we know if what we are seeing is distorted through our own projections? Is truth a spectrum?

After experiencing the hell of gas-lighting, and the soul-breaking pain of doubting your own reality, I never wanted to be made to feel like that again.

I kind of realised that what reveals itself to you without expectation, is probably the truth. I realised that despite being made to feel crazy, mentally-ill (my nex once evilly told me I had ‘voices’ in my head), super-sensitive and insecure, I wasn’t. That, as real as these things felt to me, they were not true – because they came from the mouth of a person who both had an agenda, and was a compulsive liar.

And in realising this, I realised that we have the duty of knowing ourselves, trusting ourselves, and so, believing in the version of the truth we see.

I promise myself to see blue, even when someone tells me it is pink.

If I can’t look at the same contexts as you, and resolve this deep feeling of knowing something is not right, through communication and compromise, I will not resolve anything.

I promise to trust myself, to believe in myself: I know that everything I suspected of him at the start that he abused me into thinking was wrong, was right; I know that I am intelligent and that I am able, if not too able, to look at other perspectives because I have empathy; I know that I am a good learner when in a safe environment, with people who have shown that they care for me and that I care for them.

And I also promise myself to not aim for perfection. To know that, sometimes, I will get it wrong, and sometimes, I will get it right – and to then act accordingly, whether that is by taking responsibility and apologising, or, setting boundaries and asking for better.

But, when it does come to people with personality disorders, with my nex, this is fact. Unlike other neuro-typical individuals, there isn’t perspective when it comes to judging or analysing/understanding their character. They don’t have a ‘self’, as such. And, although you should avoid confronting them with what they are, because of the severe repercussions it can have, do not ever feel bad, if you do tell them, because it will not affect them as it affects others. It will not send them into some downward spiral because their ‘character’ has been assassinated, as his projections did to me. It will not hurt them, to know they hurt others, because they have little to no empathy. If they have a reaction, no matter what they say, it will come from a place of disbelief that you have the audacity, the strength to even confront it.

It always makes me feel very anxious when reading about narcs’ abusive behaviours online. It really does downplay the sinister nature of these ‘people’, and it’s not until you are a survivor who has seen the blankness behind their eyes, the hell of their tyrannical rampage and the deep scars they leave, that you really understand what they are. It bothered me A LOT. It still does, to be honest. Any survivor does not want to read that their abuser can change: it simply means, what happened could have been avoided and that the cPTSD (most survivors have to deal with) is just collateral damage. Especially when the trauma bonding causes you to believe your abuser can change, as some sort of coping mechanism. It’s even more triggering when you read that your abuser could have been abused themselves for them to become this way, it kind of invalidated my experience. That was also another reason I always stayed with him, I never saw him as responsible for himself because of what he *could* have gone through.

There is no proven link between mental health issues and abuse.

Abuse is a choice.

But, really, as understandable as all of those reactions are, it’s just me self-sabotaging again.

Yes, something may have caused them to be this way. It is arguably impossible for any human being to be anything without a kind of ’cause and effect’ system. In fact, I researched this a part of my EPQ. Michael Rutter believes there is interplay between genes and nurture.

Anyway…

They are what they are now. And this is what we must pay attention to. It is not a survivor’s place, my place, to see what the journey of a narc is after we have gone ‘no contact’. It is our place, however, to understand their disorder, so we can free ourselves from what they broke within our minds. What happens to the narc after, whether they choose to get help or not, learn how to live with their condition, is NONE of our business.

I, personally, do not believe a narc can change – and if they can, I think they have been wrongly diagnosed, or my abuser was something else. There was nothing behind that boy’s eyes.

Abuse IS wrong. You can not rely on what your abuser thinks to be ‘wrong or right’ to now dictate your moral compass, no matter how they have destroyed your self. They are not interested in what is wrong or right; only what serves them, hence their ever changing moral stances, if you can even call them that. You wouldn’t think it was right before, so do not now. It just one of the ‘side effects’.

And, even if I can’t prove it, I have my humanity intact. So I know, in the depth of my core, how other humans should be treated. Anyone who disagrees, either has their humanity in tatters, or, your beliefs are the product of abuse.

Yes, it really does and truly pain me that he is never going to have a fulfilling life, that, at the most, if he decides to, manage his symptoms. But, I cannot lose sight of the fact that it is what it is, and he is what he is.

I, here, promise myself to release myself from the bondage of trying to take someone on their healing journey.

It is now my journey, because of what I have been through, to solely focus on me – and to help, when it is asked for, in a way that protects me also.

There are two people here, and I also have my own healing to deal with. I strongly believe that two people should carry out the depths of their healing away from their relationships, and bring the benefits to it.

We are not therapists.

I promise myself to not let anyone back into my life who has broken me, abandoned me or treated me in a dehumanising way.

If I feel it is appropriate, I will forgive. And I will also know, that in some situations, it is not my forgiveness to give – I won’t be nasty, for my own benefit and character, but I will not entertain any communication: some things go past forgiveness.

The best forgiveness I can give, sometimes, is to simply forget. Forget it, and your existence.

This is my life. And after realising some things aren’t about what is ‘right and wrong’, some things that can’t be proved, I know that it comes down to personal choices. That I needed to build back my self confidence to make these personal life choices. So, I promise myself to release any anxious thoughts, and rather than arguing with them, be brave enough to feel the anxiety, rather than let it manifest into my thoughts.

AJ x

Some Thoughts

She told the world, not only could they not have better, they would also be the agent of their own demise – and that this, this was inevitable.

I just had to write a blog about this.

I have recently been binging the old and world-loved series, Sex and the City. Currently on season 3, episode 9 – and, yes, I have got here in just under four days.

But, having been completely outraged by season 3, episode 9, I had to channel my emotions somewhere.

Carrie Bradshaw slept with Big. Carrie Bradshaw slept with Big after finding the perfect boyfriend, who treated her better than Big ever could. Carrie Bradshaw crumbled after Big said he was leaving his wife for her, whilst drunk, and then told, whilst Big was sober, he wasn’t leaving her because the divorce would be too expensive. Carrie Bradshaw gave up a year of healing from a man who would not marry her, who then married another woman in less than three months. Carrie Bradshaw sabotaged her own future by sleeping with Big after telling her he ‘didn’t know’, but that he missed her, that he loved her, after he forced himself upon her and followed her whilst she was running away – evilly knowing she would crumble.

We all sat there, me, my mum, my sister, shouting at the computer screen as if Carrie could hear us. My sister refused to watch the show again and claimed Carrie was the most disgusting character she knew. My mum, even though she watched the show years ago, when I was just a toddler, ran out of the room in despair. And I, sat there, motionless, almost a little heartbroken myself. But, why? Why did this affect every single woman in my household?

Because all of us were Carrie.

My mum was a manifested version of Carrie’s ultimate downfall; me and my sister the product of that. And, as if it was in our DNA, I, myself, had chased after my heart in someone else’s hands – to the detriment of my own well-being, far past heartbreak. My sister had watched, growing up, the women around her fail, fail because of men – beyond immediate family.

So, were we angry at Carrie because we were angry at ourselves? Were we angry at Carrie, because we were scared of our own innate potential to be like her? Was it a way of distancing ourselves from our own hubris in flesh?

I wondered: I have always struggled with where the line is where it comes to tolerance in relationship. Me? I’ve always had a high one: I was the caretaker in my family. And I’ve been brought up to always try to understand why people do what they do. He couldn’t commit because someone broke his heart, he couldn’t do this because of x and y and z. And so on. But, truthfully? All it has EVER done is cause pain, deep pain – and allowed me to be taken advantage of. Granted, yes, I may have been understanding the wrong people, projecting some sort of humane explanation onto them – where humanity is lacked. And truthfully, I do it because I know I would always want to be understood.

I saw this in Carrie too.

But understanding is difference from tolerance, isn’t it? And empathy is difference from pity, isn’t it?

And, is there not two people in every situation? What about me? Why do we both forget about me?

What I did not have to wonder about, however, is the fact that Sex and The City failed all women. The lot of us. And instead, championed every single man that, my sworn arch enemy, Big represents.

Carrie marries Big.

What is worse, is that Big calls off the wedding by abandoning Carrie at the Church. And, again, after a whole year of immense pain and depression, Carrie marries Big.

And they live happily, ever, after.

I could not help but think the whole series, and sequential films, endorsed this damaging, backward fantasy that women must earn the love of a man, through self-sacrifice that could very realistically push anyone off the side of a cliff. This absurd fantasy that a man will eventually change for the woman that he loves. The bitter belief that having a wholesome, available and fully-ticked checkbox man, like Aidan – who Carrie cheated on for cheating, unavailable and abusive Big -, would never be fulfilling for any woman. And merely because they do not give us the ‘same butterflies’.

I was insulted. Almost violated.

The realisation that women are expected to transform a failure of a human being into a husband, was beyond me. It disgusted me. And, truthfully, I was angry at their mothers, their fathers. Their nature.

Now, this is not a spiteful, hateful speech aimed at the male species. It is also aimed at women like Carrie, women like me – and the damage they do to men like Aidan, who never even deserve it. But, that’s life isn’t it? The people who are damaged by others, in later-life, never do deserve it – they are simply damaged because they are good. Because they can be. Because they’re not far removed and deluded enough to be God- like, like Big. They are real, and here. Right in front of us. But they force us, women like Carrie, women like me, women like my Mum, to confront a very painful wound: Carrie could not bear the insanity of tranquillity, the peacefulness, the healthiness that was in her relationship with Aidan. The truth is, we are scared of being really and truly loved by a person who, if they did ever leave, would render a heartbreak that would take something away from our own soul. Ironically, we are safe with men like Big. We are safe with the predictability of their unpredictability. We are safe with the distance that pining for an acceptance, a validation, that will never be authentically given: we change with men like Big. And so, so are our truest selves.

So, I realised that self-love is not safe at all. I realised that love is, and always will be completely logical (to the opposite of Carrie’s beliefs) – but that a sexual connection will never be, a ‘love’ that disempowers you, and brings you to your knees, will never be either. How could it be, when the only logical thing, is to love ourselves? I’m talking about the self-love that brings the light to all of our darkest demons, our deepest hurts and outcasts them – so that humanity can thrive too. Profoundly, perhaps, we are programmed to self-destruct, despite all these survival instincts. Perhaps we are the masters of our downfalls, and some of us, like Carrie, do indeed fall.

Candance Bushnell, despite her genius legacy, failed all women, who are represented by Carrie. She told the world, not only could they not have better, she told the world they would also be the agent of their own demise – and that this, this was inevitable, inescapable.

‘Sex and The City’

In the face of the controversy caused by Little Mix’s revolutionary album, entitled “LM5”, I thought I should write about it.

The album itself, and it’s responses, respectively, has disconcerted the core values and ideas, I have, of my womanhood. I am a 16 year old girl, who already (like many others) has been at the wrath of hyper-masculinity, sexual objectification and gender roles.

I have continually been strongly fighting against the decorum of what is expected of women, traditionally. I see the future as both men and women, rather than either one of them. And I see the idea of a personality – the many individual aspects of a person – overcoming this idea of gender confinement. I am not my gender: I am me.

Let me elaborate on that. Many (wrongly) attach what females should be entitled to because of their gender. I think, personally, it is the wrong way to empower ourselves. Not to say that I’m not proud of being a woman: I feel such unison and passion knowing I am one, knowing I am part of a world-wide, female dominated movement. But – I don’t want to get a job because of my gender. I don’t want to be respected because of my gender. I don’t want to be treated as an equal because of my gender. You should want all of those things because your characteristics deserve them. That being said, it’s absolutely crucial – for a period of time – that women do indeed receive those things because of their gender… in order to overcome the systematic oppression of women. What most do not understand, however, is that for a woman to even reach the stage I am talking about, we must override the boundaries set for us since birth and reach the power men (collectively) have. And that means saying we are entitled to everything a male is – since he receives everything because of his gender (and most definitely).

Some of the responses that have really made me question my beliefs, come from the infamous (and chauvinistic) Piers Morgan. Most of us have probably seen them. And most of us have probably wanted to scream at him. He believes Little Mix have got it all wrong.

If you haven’t already seen it, Little Mix released this photo. To briefly explain to you the meaning, the women have stripped themselves of make-up, clothing – daily things. And despite that, the comments (mostly misogynistic) have stayed with them – showing how these words confine them daily. And by publicly advertising this, it shows they both want to bring awareness to sexism and bullying, and “strip” it away.

Piers Morgan, however, believes they are using this as ploy to sell albums via their sexuality. And that rather, they should be doing this with their talent.

Part of me was conflicted by this. At first, I was like yeah, actually that is true. Women have been confined because of their sexuality for so long, by men, and now you want to sell an album because of it? Talk about taking 2 steps back. We shouldn’t be defined by our sexuality whatsoever. We should be defined, as I aforementioned, by who we are as individuals.

But I made sure I challenged this trail of thought, to make sure it was both valid and intelligent. I came to this conclusion. I was wrong. Piers Morgan had one fatal flaw in his argument:

If Little Mix were using their sexuality to sell albums, it is GENIUS. What is more empowering than using the very thing that others have oppressed you for, for centuries? It’s almost how the LGBTQ+ society, took the word “queer” – that was used to oppressed them – for themselves and owned it.

There is something quite empowering about “re-owning” what oppressed you – its a part of your ancestry, the struggle your ancestors endured. And now YOU use it, YOU have the power – the very they used against you. God, if I’m a bitch for speaking my mind. If I’m a slut for wearing what I want. Call me a bitch and slut some more! What a compliment, quite frankly.

We should OWN OUR SEXUALITY. Women can be BOTH TALENTED AND SEXUAL, and still be who we are; in fact, that very choice, to whom ever makes it, is core to their character.

If a woman chooses to sexualise herself, that is her choice – and no man, or woman, will or can take take that away from her.

Your body, your choice. My body, my choice. Our bodies, our choice.

Woman Like Me

And, it’s been a while,

Since I’ve heard your voice,

Pressed into keys and

Notes –

Refund the broken time,

Cha-ching,

Rinse your breath from my soul,

Wash the rest down the sink,

Chests hidden in

Boats of yours and mine stories to be told.

Red seas no longer are,

Golds and White entwine in what was a star,

It heals,

It heals;

breathe you out, into a forgotten jar,

Where time is made and sold

To the devil who told

The story of You and me.

Give what was to the dark.

It’s free,

It’s free,

The pleas heard to

Let it free,

Were heard.

And yet standing in between this space of ours and mine,

Of freedom and escape,

I still love you,

It is bizarre;

Love does not know the chime,

Of my grandfather,

And ceased though you are,

Forever you will stay,

At the bottom of my beating blood red heart.

Finalities

I think there is beauty everywhere,

In every line and crevice of the human face,

Crooked and straight.

Ultraviolets and golds

At the base

Of yours and mine’s stories to be told,

That we decorate,

With the souls of strangers laced

Into our heart rate,

Where they all live forever as bold,

as of the infinitive universes’ grace.

Milks and honeys,

Chocolate siennas and vanilla,

Night skies painted with big taupe eyes:

It’s everywhere you see,

Just hidden away

From vanity and what we preach.

What We Preach

“Single-sex education is better than mixed education, for it prepares young people for the future,” was the question I was confronted with for my English transactional writing exam.

I decided it was a conversation that shouldn’t just be held with my examiner.

Usually ignorance doesn’t provoke much but boredom for me. Though it wasn’t always like that. For about six months my eyes rolled at least two-hundred times a day at the ill informed, shallow and moronic comments of the boys in my year.

For example, “Oh, I read in the news today the bigger a woman’s ‘arse’, the more intelligent her children will be,’ answered with, ‘Oh God, can you imagine how stupid —-‘- kids will be?”

Or even worse, being asked at 8:30 in the morning, “Shouldn’t women get paid less naturally because they’re allowed maternity leave?”

So, rather than throwing chairs and arguing, I educated. I realised people are just a little more likely to listen, if you aren’t screaming and if you are prepared to listen too. It’s a conversation, and I want to take the feminist conversation out of the classroom and into the world.

But, seriously? Is it not obvious that if you go to a single-sex school, it really does mirror and prepare you for ‘real life’: or is being segregated from men that normalised?

As a 15 year old young woman who is already struggling with society’s conventions, I am at odds with the idea of single-sex schools. But why, you’re thinking, right? I bet you’re thinking if the majority of your problems are because of young men, why are you against the idea of single-sex schools? And that was the exact ignorance I fore-mentioned. The problem is not individual men; feminism isn’t a personal attack. It is an attack on society’s patriarchal constructs that uphold beliefs of the superiority of the male sex, and as a result oppresses women; especially women of colour, but that’s a separate conversation we need to have. And you’re also probably thinking, ‘why is a 15 year old even thinking along these lines?’ Probably because of the internalised misogyny I’ve had to deal with all my life from other people: the fear of walking alone, and not understanding the instinct to repeatedly look behind me; why I was never chosen when the teachers asked for someone ‘strong’ to carry the benches out of the assembly hall and the sexual objectification I experience every day, with no exception.

I repeat, before you get carried away, I do not hate men. Men are great, as are women. But I do hate the oppressive nature of society. One that our ancestors have endured for far too long.

It’s often said that girls and boys will do better at single sex schools because of maturing at different rates, learning in different ways, distractions and the different (stereotypical) traits girls and boys have. It’s not to be said that single sex education doesn’t want equality, but that equality for men and women simply isn’t the same. Mostly because of those different traits, both physical and emotional biology. Therefore, single sex schools are best fitted for a child’s needs.

I don’t agree.

I think using stereotypes and generalisations to understand how best to teach kids, is dangerous. Stereotypes in themselves are dangerous: they become a person’s only story, and – almost always – confines them to society’s expectations. Children shouldn’t be confined. Our capability to change and learn is incredible. We should be able to flourish in the environment best for ourselves. Tress only grow best where the soil suits them. And that’s not to say a child doesn’t have the capability to learn in any environment! That’s a skill needed throughout our entire lives but being young, that’s a lesson to be learned in the right environment.

You get the jist I’m against single-sex schools. Am I for co-educational schools though?

One day, I will be in my own trading office, surrounded by men employed by me, who are listening to me. Rather than being hidden away from their sexually objectifying eyes and fragile egos. And I think that’s the environment a co-educational school creates. It shouldn’t be women or men. It should be men and women. Opportunities should be based on talent and potential, rather than gender. I certainly don’t want to be employed because I’m a woman, especially if it’s just for good statistics. I want to be employed because I have the capability of doing the job. I want that same capability to transcend gender. Gender is such a confinement, if you think about it, as is any label. Or perhaps, gender wouldn’t be a confinement if those of power, did not abuse it…

Sometimes I can’t help but think a co-educational school is just as bad anyway. Does the dream of equality fool me? Does it fool you too? Are we, boys and girls, continuously indoctrinated by what other people think is right? Those people being the older generation, whom generally speaking, don’t like change. Is that why my skirt is so annoyingly long, to not ‘distract’ boys – as I’ve been told many times before (of course it’s my fault). Does that not negatively affect boys, just as much as it affects girls? Is that why it took our feminist group a battle to get trousers for girls? Is the hard task of being a teenager, being made even harder by our need to defy our environments in order to do what’s right? It’s uncomfortable to even think about, even scarier to think that this limited environment I work in, just like single-sex schools, is mirroring my future.

It is as simple as this. Children thrive and flourish in schools that offer opportunities, success and academic support. Shown by Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson, who work at Buckingham University: “while there are some very good girls’ schools and boys’ schools, it does not look as though they are good because they are single sex.” [independentschoolparent.com]

Perhaps you will work aside talented young women in your school years, whilst I work aside talented young men. But it doesn’t matter, because both you and I know it will not define our future.

We will be working on a trading floor, men alike too. We will be at university, sitting next to educated men too. We will be a leading political figure, with men too.

Men and women are the future. Humans are wonderful. Go kick ass.

Men AND Women: The Future.