“you are bound to me by tiny threads strung from each appendage; they will not break for they are diamond strong. take the breath from my lips, twist my fantasies into a void, an abyss. laugh when my heart slams violently in my chest we are bound forever, though I want nothing more than to break free. let me go, even if not by untangling my soul from these tethers, but by giving me slack on the tightly bound ropes. we are both aware that one cannot exist without the other, but even death is not a great distance, when your souls are entwined, bound, fused. even betrayal, loss of trust cannot break these manacles, shackles, handcuffs. even the sweetest, most sorrowful goodbye could not free me. so again I beg, if we cannot sever these painful ties please, oh please allow me enough room to run, to fly, to soar as I did before I fell wholly and fully into your quicksand, laced with hooks that would sink deeply into my flesh, my heart, and my soul.”
It's a dirty word that leaves a bad taste in many women and men's mouths, but it didn't start out as anywhere near what it is now.
Though I will probably have an angry mob of people with pitchforks outside of my doors after this is published, someone needs to clear up exactly what this movement is supposed to be about versus what it has become.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men." Damn, that sounds great, right?
But here's the issue: that was the definition for the women in the 18th century, the suffragettes in the 19th century and women in the late 20th century. The definition of "feminism" has now—in the 21st century—been so convoluted and muddied that there is no real way to look at it.
I am confused by feminists who are complete and utter assholes to women who don't identify as feminists. I am baffled by the feminists who relate equality to hating men, and those that condemn other women who don't believe in their conventions of living.
I'm sorry, but I can't understand why just because I'm a card carrying vagina owner, I can't wear makeup or shave my legs, lest it be something that a man would enjoy.
No, I fucking shave because I like how it feels; I wear makeup because I feel beautiful with it, not because I want to attract a male.
I would thoroughly enjoy an old-fashioned lifestyle where I get to stay home with the kids, cook and clean, and maintain house. Not because I want to submit to another human being, but BECAUSE I ENJOY DOING THOSE THINGS.
Wanting that lifestyle does not mean that I do not want women to be paid equally and treated equally in the work place, it does not mean that I am not pro-choice, it does not mean that I don't believe that places of business should cover birth control in their healthcare packages. Because I fully believe in all of those things.
Nevertheless I'm browbeaten into believing that I am a "bad" woman and I "don't respect" myself. I'm sorry, but I respect myself quite a bit.
Now, before someone jumps down my throat, I am well aware that the feminists who fit into these categories are few, but guess what? They are the ones who voice their opinions far louder than those that still follow the initial objective of equality.
Tell me about how I should hate men, tell me about how I should think men are horrible. Well, guess what? I was molested for three years of my childhood by someone who claimed themself to be a "close family friend," and I don't hate men. Guess why? Because the faults of the few do not justify the condemnation of the many.
Can you see where I'm going with this? Just because a woman's opinion does not align fully with yours does not mean that you can condemn her and say that she is wrong or does not respect herself.
I have seen the statistics, I have read the articles and I keep up with the times. I am certainly not ignorant, but feminism is not something that I will associate myself with, at least until modern feminists get their shit together and stop belittling those who don't see eye to eye with them.
I am not a feminist, yet I am aware that the world does need those who will fight for equality.
Somewhere along the way, it stopped being about that goal and started being about deprecating others who didn't think the same way.
Go ahead, trivialize my opinion and tell yourself that I just don't know what I'm talking about. But somewhere in there, you know that what began as lobbying for equality has turned into sub-factions of atrocious hatred towards those who won't level with them in mindset.
This is what I think, what I believe and what I feel.
"Taxi" by Xavier Gonzalo Pons/Flickr Profile xaviergp
Over time we all accumulate funny, strange and sometimes over the top anecdotes, so I wanted to share one of my best with all of you.
Late last summer I was living in New Jersey and had gone out to Brooklyn with a few friends, we spent a fun night bar hopping and just enjoying each others company before heading back to our friend Dean's* apartment.
Inevitably someone had forgotten to eat dinner and couldn't stomach what he had consumed, needless to say, rendering the apartment unfit for inhabitance. So, while he cleaned up his mess and attempted to air out the apartment, the rest of us went on a walk.
When we returned, a flashily dressed, twig-thin man was arguing with a cabby on the corner of our block.
"You had me drive you all the way across the bridge, and didn't have the money?"
"Look, I just need to run upstairs into my apartment and get the cash, calm down."
Then it got physical, and the cabby grabbed the man's arm and started yelling in his face that he needed to produce the cash now. Chivalrous as he is, Dean got involved and--though he had never seen this guy before--vouched for the flashy guy as he ran up to his apartment to get some money.
A few minutes later, just as we were all beginning to think that we would have to pool our money to pay off this cabby, the guy swung out of his building's door and thrust the cash into the cabby's hand.
As soon as the yellow Honda CR-V drove off, the man turned to us and huffed, thanking Dean for being so sweet as to garner him a moment to run upstairs for money.
We all smiled politely and waited for the man to run back into his nearby building, but as he was walking away, he turned and said "I have to repay you somehow, come up to my place."
The three of us knew it was a stupid idea, but decided to go anyway, how much harm could this waif of a man do anyway?
I know, I know, we were dumb..
When we got through the door of his three-story walk up, nothing could have prepared us for the shrines to Pat Benatar, Liza Minelli and Madonna. Although, I guess we all did sort of assume that his apartment would look like this.
He told us about his glamorous career as a stylist and showed off his collection of heels for the "rare" times he did drag.
The looks exchanged between the three of us spoke volumes of how enthralled, creeped out, amused and skeptical that we all were.
But once he threw "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" on his boombox, yes boombox, and offered us some freebies from his extensive weed collection, we decided it was time to get out.
None of us spoke a word until we got back to Dean's apartment--which thankfully no longer smelled like puke--and then we delved into retelling this tale to our friend that we had left behind.
None of us ever saw him again, none of us ever spoke of the event again, but it is ingrained in my memory as one of the most fascinating experiences I have ever had in New York.
I hope you enjoyed.
*name has been changed...mostly because his real name didn't look right.
One of my favorite love songs says that "if you don't play, you'll never win."
Yet in my eyes, there is no way to lose in love.
The problems don't matter in the end, and even if you're bitter in the beginning, at some point you realize that this person's companionship in your life was necessary. That human being taught you lessons that you otherwise never would have been able to learn.
Although they may not have overlooked all of your flaws, if their love was true, they loved you despite those flaws and not with disdain towards them.
When I close my eyes, I can think of special moments with each of the select couple of people that I have truly loved. Those moments may be unhappy or some of the most joyous occasions I've experienced, yet in one way or another, the snippets of time were things that I keep tucked away in my heart and soul to remember if I doubt myself.
One person in particular stole all of the love I had, and burrowed their own love deep within me. I can truly say that they taught me more in our time together than anyone has ever shown me in my life.
What I learned from this person is simple: sometimes you just can't get over someone.
That's not to say that you won't be with other people, or that you won't move on and love again. It's just that there is that one being that touches your soul in such a way that you are never the same. There is no way to "get over" them, simply because there is no way to be the same person that you were before they entered your universe.
So thank you. Thank you for showing me that I could be better, that I am strong even when I am alone, that no situation is too large for me to handle and that I can love even after all that I have fought through.
This is going to be very opinionated. If you prefer to live in blissful ignorance of other viewpoints, kindly exit the page now; transversely, if you enjoy debate, let me know how you feel in the comments below this post.
Today I was casually browsing YouTube, watching videos of the channels that I am subscribed to and I stumbled upon a comment that really ground my gears.
In this video, the YouTube content creator was giving options for a back-to-school makeup and outfit look, and given the fact that she was raving about/almost exclusively using CoverGirl products, one can assume that it was sponsored. I have absolutely no problem with this, however, it appeared that most of her other followers deemed this reason enough to give the poor girl loads of grief.
As someone who works in a field that derivates from the Internet, I'm well aware that getting corporate sponsorships is a pretty big feat, and usually means that these companies think that you have a wide enough -- and loyal enough -- audience reach to promote their products. With a platform like YouTube, where the content creator (if partnered with YouTube) earns just cents on each view, that can be a great addition to their income.
Besides, this girl started out doing videos just so that she could share her ideas and views with a broader audience, right? The fact that she is successful enough to even have sponsorship is because of the viewers. The very people who were throwing her under the proverbial bus, just for using one particular line of makeup in a video.
The comments ranged from people complaining that it wasn't her "true view" on the products, since she was being paid to calling her "stupid" and a "sellout." This girl, who is just a few years my senior, is building herself a firm financial foundation for her future, and in my opinion is an entrepreneur.
Responses like this are not rare, and can be found on videos and posts of many of the most popular makeup artists, gamers, vloggers, comedians and bloggers on the internet.
Look at Michelle Phan. Seven years on YouTube, a makeup line, millions of fans and fantastic success later, and she is still getting hit left and right for her choices and the message that she puts across. The lawsuit with Ultra Records notwithstanding.
What about Bethany Mota? This girl is three years my junior and her net worth is probably thousands of times bigger than mine -- if not more. She liked clothes and DIY projects and landed herself a clothing line with one of her favorite stores.
Yet on each of these channels, you can see people commenting and saying that they are sellouts, their personal branding has changed or that they are no longer as "down to earth."But is this really our place to comment? The short answer is: no.
These people put themselves out there -- knowing the risks of humiliation and failure -- and still produce consistent content that, like it or not, we take time out of our day to enjoy.
To publicly shame and judge just reflects the sadness that one must have with their own lives. Believe it or not, somehow we will all be successful in our own little stratosphere, but trying to bring others down because they are furthering their own lives is not the way to do it.
Enjoy that they take the time out of their own days to try to make our days a little bit brighter; it isn't your place to judge how they do it.
For years I have been the glue that holds my family together.
I am the "golden child."
Don't confuse this arduous position with being the prodigal child who is just built perfectly. No, it is quite the opposite. Being what my therapist calls the golden child is a self assumed position where one forces themself to adopt a falsified pristine personality to protect the failures of their charges.
My goal in life was always to be what I thought was perfect so that even if the people that I cared for messed up, I could uphold the average.
This whole process ate away at me over the years, with people aging and making mistakes or decisions that I didn't deem appropriate the job became harder and harder. Though some part of my inner psyche knew that it was high risk/no reward, I still thought that maybe just maybe my actions would rub off on my loved ones.
What it ultimately did was break me.
There was no last straw that broke the metaphorical camel's back, it was just a slow process of more and more weight being added until my drive was close to full suffocation.
The response from this was far from what I thought it would be. Initially it seemed like everyone would just adapt and it would all be okay, and while some of the people around me instantly altered their sense of relationship with me, one in particular couldn't and still cannot handle it.
But in healing from my need to be the glue for everyone else, I now see that it isn't my place to fix my family or anyone else that comes into my life, even when I see it as my responsibility for their discord.
Being the golden child has showed me when and where it's appropriate to help others to be strong.
If you are the golden child, find peace in the fact that the only person that you are responsible to take care of is yourself, and in trying to fix others, you disregard your own needs. Be selfish sometimes, because it's not worth it to be ill and weak just for the sake of those around you.
My parents tell me that I was a really healthy child. (Go back and read that with emphasis on the word "tell.") I have trouble believing that because as an adult, I am the equivalent of the sickliest little baby in the NICU.
Don't start saying "awww," or tell me how sad it is. It's not. Because it's all my fault.
My parents have always subscribed to the belief that the thoughts and vibes you put into the Universe will be what you ultimately receive. This has nothing to do with Karma, and everything to do with the fact that when you have pathetic thoughts, you're going to end up living a pathetic life.
So, having grown up with that kind of ideal being told to me day in and day out, I clearly did exactly the opposite. Every day was "woe is me," "look at me...everyone else is so perfect and healthy," "I hate my body." So guess what? My body started failing on me.
I have already had pneumonia five--possibly six--times in my life, and I've had a chronic cough for the past six months. I have asthma. I have early onset arthritis (I know, right.) I have tendon and ligament problems ... and I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting.
Combining my negativity with common life stresses, and I have provided the perfect emotional petri dish for myself to become horribly sick.
Having all of this happen has really kicked my ass into gear, and I've realized that my negativity really has perpetuated my illnesses both now and in the past. So I'm making a conscious decision--and making myself accountable to any and all people that are reading this--to be positive and heal myself from within.
I've had a bucket load of emotional hardship in my life, but I can't let that slowly kill me anymore. Just two days ago, I told all of you how I am strong and successful, so I will just allow this to be one more way that I can apply that consciousness to my life.
Right, so I, Aiyana Sharai, promise that from this point forward, I will be positive about my health. I will not allow the words of my subconscious, nor the words of others, to undermine my positivity towards my physical, mental and emotional health ... erm, Amen?