The Hostile Child

In the holidays, children come out to play. Big children, small children. Lots of vibrant little minds. Red haired children, black haired children. Blue eyes, green eyes, grey eyes, brown eyes. Tall, short. Fat, thin.

Mean…. and kind.

Today I walked past some kids, and I said, ‘I hate kids.’

I did hate those kids. They were loud and obnoxious. And they sniggered rude things about me as I walked past. I smiled in a way that I know was patronising.

I love kids. Small kids. Even rude, small kids. I eventually won their respect when I was a teacher. I loved to teach them, even when they did not love to learn. There was a ten year old boy who all the teachers complained about. He was honestly a handful and a half. I found him hilarious. He had a quick wit, and if I wasn’t supposed to manage a class of thirty children, I would have probably laughed at his witty comebacks. However, I kept my face stony and told him to save it for the playground. He was always in trouble in my classes, in all classes, but I made sure it was fair, and I made sure he got his work done.

On my last day at school, I was walking by with a colleague and saw that naughty kid where stood beside his mother.

‘Hey, miss!’ he called, and I turned. He ran up to me and slipped a small wrapped easter egg into my hand, ‘This is because you’re leaving.’ He looked so shy and ran back to his mother without looking at me. I was so touched. I thought, sometimes teaching is worth it.

Then I moved to this crappy town. Where I smell weed everywhere. Where the glass windows of bus stop shelters are shattered. Where children swear at you as you pass. Where they hang around smoking and talking about things children shouldn’t think about until they are much older.

And as I walked, I thought, ‘I hate kids.’

I am a supply teacher here, though. I will have to deal with kids like these, and worse. It won’t be a little witty joke in class or a disrespectful stare anymore.

And I can’t think, ‘I hate kids,’ and just walk on by. I will have to deal with these kids. And you know, it isn’t always their faults.

Today a small girl was screaming into the wind, and I saw the ecstatic joy on her face because she was probably having a moment of freedom. Her shout was cut short suddenly, harshly, when her mother whacked her around her face and said, ‘Shut your mouth you stupid cow.’

Now I am not one to judge parenting, honestly. Maybe the mum was having a bad day. But the look of complete humiliation on that little girl’s face made me feel awful for her. Honestly, though, in this town, this is not the first nor the tenth time I have seen incidents like this. A mother shoving her face right into a toddler’s face and screaming at her to ‘bloody keep up or I’ll kick you one’. Kids who are brought up in a hostile environment tend to become hostile too. They become hostile adolescents and then hostile adults.

And teachers don’t really change much, but they can do their best to teach that hostility towards others is wrong. Who knows. Maybe a kid will realise as it gets older and change its ways? Who knows.

I am not looking forward to teaching the kids in this town, after what I’ve seen these past five months. On a daily basis. However, I am gong to try. I am going to enter with a positive attitude and good intentions. I am going to go in thinking, ‘I love kids.’

Kids need love, to give love. And I was given so much love as a kid. So it’s time to give it back out into the world.

2016

I don’t have any resolutions for 2017. I think it is ridiculous because I never keep to them anyway. Does anybody?

The truth is, I don’t have anything to be really proud of this year. I have achieved nothing. In fact the only thing I remember being truly proud of is a 98% on a creative writing assignment for university.

I did get a job, but I can’t stay there because of my husband’s job. I loved the job because I was teaching and I did really well at that. Lots of colleagues told me I had a knack for it despite not being trained. I think I do well with kids. I think kids like me. I taught kids from age 5 to age 17 and it was incredible and demanded a phenomenal amount of brain power and enthusiasm and energy and it was draining but also so wonderfully fulfilling and enjoyable. I love the kids. I loved the kids. I had lots of plans and ideas for this job, and I am so bloody sad to leave it but sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices.

Everything else was pretty much a flop.

2016 was a massive learning curve. But then again, every year is. Every year we grow and change, and we have different lessons to teach us different things and frankly, every year the lessons we get are harder than the lessons from the previous year. They have to be. Life is a constant challenge. It is funny how it works out like that.

I hope 2017 will be better. I hope I can be a better person, and a better wife. I hope I can be wiser and more intelligent. I hope I can be spiritually better, and have more faith. I hope I can finally get the body I want, and treat the problems I have with my hair. I hope that I can have a brilliant relationship with my family and stop being so bloody negative about everything. And lastly, I hope I get a first class degree and FINISH THIS GODDAMN BOOK.

There.

What do you hope to see in 2017?

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So No One Told Me Life Would Be This Way

I know it’s a comedy, but you know what REALLY annoyed me about Friends season 1 episode 2, when Ross, his ex wife and her girlfriend were at the first baby scan!?!?

It made me so MAD.

It was the fact that his ex wife and her girlfriend had already talked about baby names, and decided that the baby was to be called ‘Willeck-Bunch’ after the two mothers… despite the fact that the ex wife became pregnant WITH ROSS’s BABY, and the baby was not planned with or had anything to do with friction Susan!!

And Ross was just there stuttering and making agreements and Susan acted like she had a SAY in the whole matter?!

She didn’t, and it made me so angry to see her there so entitled like she did have a say. Susan is the OTHER WOMAN. Ross’s ex wife CHEATED ON HIM with Susan, and just because she is a lesbian does not make it okay. Why should SUSAN’S name be part of the child’s name?

Okay, maybe she will have a big hand in bringing the kid up, but still. Come ON.

If I was Ross, and my wife cheated on me with another woman, then told me she was pregnant with my kid, I wouldn’t want the other woman to have a say in the kid’s name or the kid’s life. I wouldn’t!

It’s not petty, is it?

Anyway. That made me mad.

 

 

A Bit of a Think

So far this month things have been crazy. And by crazy I mean CRAZY.

I used to think people’s lives couldn’t be that crazy, but lately I have begun to measure crazy using an odd concept. I measure it by how many times a week I can sleep in my OWN bed at my OWN home.

This week it has only been twice. And once more tonight but that doesn’t count since I have to wake up at 4am. Which is technically midnight and not a full night’s sleep at all.

I now know truly what it means to be run down. I caught a ‘cold’ last Thursday. Thursday the 27th, I mean. It was so mild, nothing that a good night’s rest wouldn’t get rid of, you know? But I never got to have a proper rest because I spent the weekend getting ready for the week and catching up with writing and work, and then bam I was travelling again and living out of a bag and staying up till 1am feverishly working whilst trying not to fall asleep and then the weekend arrived and family obligations arose and on Saturday night we got ‘home’ at 2am, and slept like logs until 1pm the following Sunday and it passed SO QUICKLY and today is Monday and I am preparing for tomorrow when I have to leave at 5am again and I am just so exhausted. And I have not recovered, my throat is burning and has been since that Thursday and there is a terrible cough that only attacks me at night, and it constantly wakes me up.

It is time to question my life choices. I mean, really. I think I am just doing this job for the sake of charity. I am basically doing charity work because it is not like I am earning anything substantial and what I do earn goes on train fares. And I can’t quit because I can’t leave those people in the lurch, it is for a good cause, really.

But.

It’s just so hard.

And my husband keeps saying he doesn’t want me to go. And now I feel guilty too. But the big question is: Do I even want to stay at the job?

See, at first I did. I love this job. I love the kids. I love the opportunity to help out and be involved in guiding people and giving them opportunities. If it were closer to home I wouldn’t blink an eyelid. But since we moved it’s getting harder and harder to juggle two lives.

And I am constantly ill. And this illness keeps me up at nights so it is not like I am getting a good night’s rest.

Oh.

I just wanna stay home and lounge about and flick through Netflix and watch Youtube videos while I munch ice cream and D hammers away on something upstairs.

I just wanna be cosy and snuggly in my own bed instead of cold and uncomfortable in a lumpy bed in a cold room away from my husband and have to walk everywhere and carry heavy bags all over the place and have my boss breathing down my neck for those bloody target sheets.

I MEAN, I WILL DO THEM. JUST GIVE ME A DARN CHANCE.

Oh dear.

Well. I will carry on, of course. But at some point, I will need to rethink my life choices.

These decisions sound so great in theory but when you actually have to live it, it is not easy at all.

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Do You Want to Change the World?

I don’t think one person, or even a group of well intentioned people, have the capacity to change the whole world. It is a combination of several factors, really. The first, namely, is that if one person or a group of people succeed in changing one part of the world, there are still the other vast parts to consider.

Secondly, the world is comprised of a thousand different mindsets. Is it even morally sound to attempt to change mindsets to the one that suits you best, however well-intentioned you may be?

For example, if you set out to change the way women live in Mauritania out of righteous indignation for their rights, you may be causing more harm than good. They might happen to enjoy that way of living and deem it perfectly normal in their eyes. Of course, they might not also, but the point to be highlighted here is that ideals are vastly different across borders and cultures, and something you might see as an atrocity might be completely healthy for somebody else.

So, changing the world is then a much more impossible task. How do you conform everybody to one single ideology? Would that not be a dictatorship? Wouldn’t you have to be a person in power to make any difference whatsoever? And what about those people who would stand in your way? Greedy politicians and money guzzling businessmen and contractors wanted to build massive pipelines and destroy the natures and homes and habitats.

And what about what you would change? There is so much wrong with the world that one would not know where to start, and how to start, and how to go about fixing what was wrong in the first place!

You might be thinking that all this sounds tremendously negative. Why would anybody even bother to try anyway?

Young people think they are invincible. Free. Setting out to not turn out like their parents and achieve better and higher and much more. And to an extent that is true. They are just starting out and they have years ahead of them and very few responsibilities.

What do you think? Do you want to change the world? And how would you go about doing it?

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Hermione Granger as a Black Woman

Or woman of colour.

Or, you know, just a woman.

Growing up, I loved Harry Potter. I read it till I was blue in the face. I watched all the films as they came out and was on tenterhooks for each book to be released.

Harry Potter. Just the name gave me jelly legs and goosebumps. It wasn’t a story, it wasn’t investment in the characters.. it was an overall feeling. As though J K Rowling had beckoned her wand and invited me into her magical world, asked me to be a part of it, and created a bubble of exclusivity that nobody else would know.

Huh, those muggles.

I would stare out into the desert on the way home from school, heatwaves radiating off the tarmac, and dream that I would be whisked away to Hogwarts on a broomstick. Any second now, and Harry will come flying by my window, and I would push it open, much to the shock and envy of my classmates (who were all muggles, of course) and I would climb out and zoom off, wind whipping through my hair.

Harry Potter dreams? I am sure we have all had those.

However, as I have grown up, I have distanced myself from Harry Potter. Namely because of the ‘fandom’. The ‘potter heads’, with their judgements and their excitability and I don’t know, maybe the internet overhypes things to a sickening degree. Obsession, infatuation, I think to be overly obsessed about something is dangerous. And they all encourage each other and justify it.

I am a firm believer in moderation.

Let us get back to Hermione.

Warner Brothers started making the Harry Potter films halfway through publication of the books. So we got the first Harry Potter before the fourth book was released.

Naturally we were all on a journey together, movies and books. So to see Emma Watson bring Hermione to life was to have this caucasian image imprinted on young and impressionable minds. Who am I kidding, even I saw Hermione as white, whereas before I’d watched the films I was a little dubious about it.

I distinctly remember wondering what race Hermione was in Chamber of Secrets, way before I watched the movies, when she was described as being very brown from holiday in Diagon Alley.

That isn’t the point, though. The point here is that an actress named Noma Dumezweni, a black lady, has been cast to play the role of older Hermione on a stage play. I’ll admit that even when i first saw her, I was taken aback, so white was Hermione in my mind. But then I sat back and thought, huh, kudos to her. They clearly chose her for a brilliant reason. I wish her well! And in my mind, Hermione slowly began to morph into more than just a white character; she began to become an actual .. well…. character. She is a character! Not a white girl who is nerdy. She is a personality! A fictional personality whom anybody can impersonate and bring to life. Huh. What a crazy concept.

There has been some furious outrage from those who call themselves avid fans.

So much ignorance among people who just can’t envision a black character in place of a white one. They argue about it being a matter of continuity; oh we had a white Hermione all along why does she have to be black now. They berate Rowling for trying too hard to be ‘relevant’ or ‘politically correct’, disregarding the fact that white people have played black characters in famous productions for years without anybody batting an eyelid.

There are a lot of people justifying their anger and upset over the race of a character whose race has nothing to do with how smart and strong she was. It’s all wrong, they say. I am not racist, how is it racist to want the people in charge to not change somebody’s race. I am just outraged! Nobody was outraged when Lavender Brown became white in the sixth Harry Potter film, despite being black in previous ones.

In fact, if you watched Harry Potter blind, you wouldn’t be missing out because Hermione’s race adds nothing to the plot. Their outrage and justification is unfounded because so what if she was portrayed as ‘white’ in the books? EVEN if the books said she was ‘A CAUCASIAN FEMALE’, it would still be ok for Noma, a woman of colour, to play her. Because, again, Hermione is not real. She is a personality.

People are showing outrage even though nobody has watched Noma’s performance yet, because no matter what they say, it is not a matter of continuity or a matter of being politically correct; it is a matter of racial outrage. They can deny being racist until they are hoarse, but it doesn’t change the fact that such an outrage over something so insignificant as skin colour stems from a buried aversion to the skin colour. It also doesn’t deny the fact that much of the Hermione fan art interpreted her as being WoC.

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I am sure they would not have been as outraged if Hermione was cast as a red head for the play, because she would have still been white, despite the fact that she couldn’t have been a ginger.

They released the photos for Ron and nobody went mad because he was a blonde. I am shocked at the world, and not very surprised.

I hope Noma wows their socks off, and may she have a great time playing Hermione. I for one am rooting for her, and congratulate her on landing the part.

Wed 30 March 2016

You know, I forgot I turn 22 today!

My mum texted me yesterday saying ‘How are you Mrs 22??”

I racked my brains for a bit thinking, why on earth would she write that? Then I realised of course that she was the one who birthed me, and it was almost my birthday.

My husband doesn’t remember, though! I sat back and thought about it for a bit, and realised it actually doesn’t faze me. I know he loves me, and not remembering the date I was pushed out into the world kicking and screaming doesn’t make any difference to that fact.

Or does it?

I guess a tiny part of me would like him to acknowledge the fact. I know he has a million and one things running through his mind, though, so it’s ok. It’s OK. Okay. There.

Also today I was craving chocolate and my little sister in law who is eleven knocked on my door just now and came in with a pretty teacup filled with  Cadbury mini eggs. Which I thought was darling of her, and she deserves a big hug and a kiss from yours truly.

Anyway. I don’t know why I wrote this post. March 30 has always been a special day for me, because it’s just so symmetrical and in my diaries over the years it signified many growth milestones. Each March 30 was more dignified than the last, and each March 30 entry had better spelling than the last. Is it vain to pore over my own history like that? I don’t know.

I just remember small Len who kept looking down at her feet to see if they were any further away from her, and little Len who swore vehemently she would never become a ‘teenager’, and small Len who scoffed at the thought of boys and told everybody she would live in the countryside one day with animals and plants and run in the fields and lie amongst the wildflowers and adopt children and always always always play. She would never stop playing and laughing.

She was naive, and sometimes disillusioned, but she always saw life as an adventure and a happy place, and every month she had a ‘best day ever, even better than the last best day ever’, and she discussed how one can measure a ‘best day’ with her friends who, in those days were kindred spirits, and I don’t know what happened to her. She has vamoosed. She vanished and in her place is a girl who mopes a lot now and complains and is often sad.

So all the March 30s are little glimpses into what she became, and perhaps little motivations as to how she could go back.

Sometimes I wish she never grew up. Horrendous things happened to her and it was all my fault and I am so sorry, but I think I ruined her forever.

 

On Soul Pollution

Can you un-think what you have read and watched?

The fact is, you just can’t. And it will pollute your soul, whether you agree that you have a soul or not.

All humans are born pure and innocent. Yet as we develop, we display certain tendencies which aren’t completely unblemished, but in the majority of cases children are naive. Especially in our society. When presented with adult themes before they are ready to learn about them, children can be traumatised and it could hinder or stunt their emotional growth.

Even as adults there are certain things that we shouldn’t be privy to. Not because it is ‘inappropriate’ or ‘sinful’, but to preserve our own sanity. Too much exposure to perversion can desensitise society to it.

My mother used to tell me to stop watching horror films because they would ‘pollute’ my soul, and I would scoff at this notion, but she was right. When it’s dark and the world is asleep, I am frequently plagued by existential thoughts that often involve demonic tendencies.

Watching programs in which paedophilia and even pornographic scenes play a hefty part in the ‘art’ of the film is polluting. I’m sorry if you’re liberal and think this is how art is expressed. There is an abundance of ways in which art can be expressed sufficiently, and it doesn’t have to be through the shock factor that many forms of media today use.

For example, I started watching a TV series created by Lena Dunham called ‘Girls’. It started off alright. A bunch of girls living in the city, and their respective problems. However as the series progressed, each episode became strings of scenes in which violent and perverted and deeply personal acts were being committed by humans, things that most humans just don’t need to see, not even for art. I really enjoyed the show at the beginning but now I am left feeling filthy and horrible, as though I peeked into a room I wasn’t supposed to.

I have never watched porn in my life, and nor do I ever intend to. Sure, it’s fine for the people who do, to carry on with what they choose to do, but for me personally it is unappealing and frankly downright disgusting. I respect your choices though so don’t eat me. In this season of Girls, there is so much sex. Just scenes of naked people having sex. The THING is, this sex has NOTHING to do with the storyline whatsoever. Like the themes it is trying to portray can be depicted more powerfully without the portrayal of several minutes of human beings going at it like animals. I tried my best to analyse how these scenes (not one or two per 20min episode, but several VERY LONG ones) fit into the narrative. They did not. They only served to highlight to us what we already knew about the characters involved in the sex. I forwarded through the whole show and saw more sex, more nudity, and very little else. What started off as a show depicting the different ways people approach life has now morphed into publicly accepted pornography.

IT WAS NOT IN THE NAME OF ART. I know art, folks, I study it extensively in my course, it is something I am often confused by but always appreciative of. I appreciate the endeavours of others to make sense of their worlds, through sometimes unsavoury means. I mean, go for the graphic sex scenes all you like, some are actually enjoyable, if a certain amount of elegance is used to portray them. But this show is downright perverted. They are taking the darkest aspects of humanity and highlighting them in a manner which is just shocking. Will it keep an audience happy? Probably. It is not in the name of expression, either, because to achieve the effect I think they are going for, one scene would have sufficed. But they have consecutive scenes of intimate sexual behaviour over numerous episodes; and each scene depicts more or less the same thing. I felt as though it was vulgar and overdone and really unnecessary.

It’s not just the sex, though. I mean, if it was just the sex I wouldn’t be writing this post. My point is that although art and self expression is great and shows people the dark corners and crevices of humanity and human minds, it can also be dangerous. The whole point of unsociable thoughts being hidden is so that these ideas don’t go mainstream and get into the most impressionable of minds, who would take such ideas to an extreme and cause perverted chaos in society.

People go around thinking it’s ok to rape and hurt and abuse because they are being desensitised to it, and yes maybe not being helped enough by the mental health system in our society, but these sorts of crimes are rising steadily and it’s not just because there are more people around, it’s because more of us are being exposed to perversion, and it does have an impact on some people’s minds.

This is why it’s important to have a sense of sensibility when watching and reading things.

Anyway, this analysis was purely personal. I honestly feel so disgusting after watching that show. I’ve stopped watching it since the last episode (lol. ironic.), and have decided to watch things that are intellectually stimulating and artistically articulate. Just a personal preference. Maybe people do this and find it normal, but it’s not right, and I don’t want my kids to watch people have sex because it’s just something that should be private as its between two people. Also makes people expect things that just don’t always happen in real life.

Also, disclaimer, I absolutely do not judge anybody who enjoys such things and who doesn’t feel disgusted by it. Everybody is subject to their own tastes and preferences and I fully respect that.

This is just my two cents.

How to Treat Yourself

You: Hello, how are you doing?

You: I’m fine, thank you.

You: Have you eaten today?

You: Why, yes, thank you. I had a nice peanut butter banana and a mug of coffee.

You: Oh, jolly good. How is everything else?

You: Well my husband is being very cruel lately.

You: Oh, no. How so?

You: Well he isn’t giving me any hugs, and is being generally off with me. He comes home very late and goes straight on to his laptop and gets irritated when I try to talk to him. I think that’s rude and hurtful and unappreciative, and he can go do one.

You: Oh..

You: And I didn’t say goodbye to him this morning, but I did pack a lunch for him, and he didn’t say thank you, so I didn’t kiss him goodbye like a usually do, I didn’t tell him to drive safe, I didn’t ask him if he had his phone, keys, wallet. He didn’t care, though. He just walked out that door. I feel bad for not saying goodbye, in case he dies on the motorway, but he knows I love him, so I don’t feel that bad.

You: …

You: So I am done. He can come apologise when he is ready, but until then, I am not talking to him.

You: Yesterday he walked in at 10PM, (he left the house at 6AM) and went straight on his laptop didn’t even ask how I was. Didn’t even look at me, in fact. I came in to the living room and his mother asked me, “Is he ready to eat yet?”

IS HE READY TO EAT YET!??!?!? SOD THAT. His Lordship can get his own dinner.

Yes, I know he drove for three hours straight. BUT I AM HIS WIFE, LIVING IN HIS MOTHER’S HOUSE, WHERE I DO NOT EVEN FEEL COMFY ENOUGH TO POOP, YOU CAN HAVE THE DECENCY TO TREAT ME WITH THE LOVE AND RESPECT I DESERVE.

You: Oh, lovey. Have a nice cup of coffee, get your cycling gear on, and cycle off to the country. Maybe visit Allie on your way back, have a chat, and then go to the uni to do your work. Don’t think too much about it. You did your bit, okay?

You: *sniff* Yeah, okay, that sounds really nice actually.

You: You deserve it, my dear. Now, off you pop.

You: Thank you.

You: You sturdy thing, you!

Treat yourselves good, folks, don’t wait for others to do it for you.

January

Was an interesting month.

I didn’t do much to be proud of, really. I complained a lot about things and people. I was ‘busy’, rather than ‘productive’.

I did a lot of driving, a lot of writing. I spent money I didn’t really have. On things I didn’t really need.

January passed me in a bit of a blur. What did I achieve in the first month of the year?

Nothing, really. I submitted two assignments. I went to the gym three-four times a week, I got up at six o’clock every morning, witnessed some frost, witnessed no frost..

Sometimes it was sunny, sometimes a drizzle hung over the city, making everything wet and shiny, creeping up on us before we noticed it and drenching us slowly, menacingly.

I had some marriage hiccups. Some familial hiccups. But they all sorted themselves out in the end. As they do.

Did I achieve all my goals? I don’t know. I didn’t really have goals.

But I think in writing about each month of 2016, I might have a good picture of what my goals are, and how my year will turn out.

My husband said to me today, “I don’t want to chug away t work everyday. I don’t want to be like all the millions out there. I want to innovate and create and make this world a better place. I won’t do that designing lights for luxury cars while my fellow colleagues around me hobble past with mugs of tea.”

He has a point, you know.

My goals for February are to be more outgoing. Go to new places, do more things, be more creative, read more books, connect with my soul. Also get 85% in my next two essays. Also get my paints out of the attic.

That was my January. How was your January?