littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


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Friday Fictioneers – Trapped

Early morning, just the way I like it. Barbed wire, not so much.

This was my favourite part of the day, before my parents woke up and started working me into my own mental grave, trapping me into my entire life.

A bundle of barbed wire hung off the fence; that wasn’t there yesterday. I took it up. Perhaps there’s something else I can do with this.

I smiled. If I could trap them the same way they trapped me here, maybe I could escape and make my own life. If I could escape this farm… maybe I’d see what they’re really hiding me from.

Madison Woods‘ blog.

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Why Men Think They’re Better (Than Women)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately; The Male Privilege Checklist. I think many men are either are unaware of the things they have, or they do know and flaunt it as a way of shoving in our faces so they can say they’re better and we’re nothing. Of course, there could be a third option, but…

Those men are just sad. If they have to do all that to reassure their own minds, I could almost feel sorry for them, if not for the invalidation they put us through. Especially when one considers the vast amount of girls who have to adhere to gender roles that put them down.

After the Tosh.0 article, I have been thinking more and more about the subject of feminism, and the more I think about it, the angrier I get. I have officially sworn off the series, though I used to enjoy it, the anti-feminist comments he frequently spouts has become too aggravating for me to sit through.

I don’t know if I will go back on this after I calm down, but I have been looking back on it. I’m not the type of person to waste my time on YouTube watching the kind of rubbish Tosh frequently plays, but when my sister got me into the show, I figured I could make an exception for Tosh.

It’s not frequently that I’d watch his show, just as it’s not frequently I’d watch such useless crap online. I always consider it a sad commentary on modern society that this is what most people care about, rather than anything that actually matters.

I’d think you’d want to see something that’d make you think. Something that’d make you feel. Something compelling, at least. But no.

But when I started watching Tosh, I figured that this stuff could be entertaining in its own right. There were certain nuggets in the viral wasteland of popularity, at least. I didn’t even mind his slams at women, disregarding them and treating them as simple-minded and unserious jokes.

Since I was young, I absorbed people’s bullshit. When people told me that when boys bully girls it means they “like” them, I believed it. I was bullied very generally as a child, so this did apply to me. It made me feel special to be bullied then, though I never outright said the reason, for fear of embarrassment.

And it was something to be embarrassed by, never mind the impossible standards people put on girls, let alone me. Eventually, I dismissed the lie, having learned the truth. I started to feel that I wasn’t worth much, and I carried that feeling through life.

There was a lot I disregarded. This feeling is likely what caused me to close myself off to people. Again, this started to make me feel like I was special, because I no longer had the same emotional vulnerablities as most, and I would not be swayed by lies meant to weaken me. I was a proud loner, and I didn’t need others’ approval.

But closing myself off wasn’t what I always thought of it as. When I was a fair deal older, I learned the kind of feeling granted from having friends. I’ve also realised all it’s disadvantages too, like certain parts of my person that are underdeveloped. Social skills, sexuality, willingness to grow past anxieties, and hygiene.

These were all things that were stunted far back. And it had led this way because I felt none of these were necessary for fulfillment.

This is the sort of field of problems women face in their lives. Not these specific problems, of course, these are entirely personal. But it doesn’t really seem like much of a fight when men have so fewer debilitating problems that are ingrained in women from the start.

This is why it’s no big argument to say that they’re better. They perpetuate this set of values in us for their own advantage.

Indeed, these problems are not just limited to body issues. Certainly, many women dress provocatively in order to feel good about themselves, as the ideal of prettiness has been taught to them since primary school. It’s just that body problems are the visible tip of the iceberg.

#TheConversation started by @AshleyJudd after the media targetted her looks, and she struck back.

For a girl, it’s hard to fight against all the invalidation and disapproval that exists in the world. That in itself can cause many problems for girls in general, particularly when it leads them to make foolish decisions later in life. Anyone who’s ever seen How I Met Your Mother knows Barney Stintson is a very good common example of this.

But of course, there are also the girls who dive into deep decisions without thinking or understanding what they’re getting themselves into at large.

Even the girls who don’t feel insecure in themselves (and that’s an honest minority) have their own problems. I recently heard of a woman who was so pretty, most women hate her out of jealousy and most men lavish attention on her. This woman is at a certain disadvantage too, especially considering that she’s a journalist and just doesn’t get appreciated beyond her beauty like she deserves to. Not to mention all the negative and positive gender reinforcements that shapes her perspective.

Ashley Judd is one person in the media who has struck back against this misogynic culture, writing an article against a tabloid who called her face “puffy”. Since then, it has fuelled BuzzFeed to join her by having a countdown of celebrities the media has called fat, and now Judd’s new-found twitter activism.

Many others on twitter are following her lead. According to one link, “We are the media now… we can start our own revolution“.

Clearly, I’m not the only one embarrassed by how low our society’s values are right now. I know that there are plenty of people, and not just women, who disagree with the majority values in our world that damage so many girl’s and women’s self-view.

Maybe we can level the playing field if we do. Maybe then we can show the men who preen that we are no better or worse than each other. We are all different. If you think you’re not, you’re dreaming.

One outlook has been that people form groups, and anyone outside those groups that are different are enemies. What people don’t understand is that we don’t have to think that way. Everyone has their weaknesses, and their strengths.

As women, we don’t need to be politically correct. We just need to be seen as equals. We don’t have to change our entire natures to better all of us, we just need to widen our understandings of people. Because, after all, what else can any of us be but human?


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Shedding Labels?

Labels

I’m not after a reward for writing this, just understand that. I was urged to write this post even before I saw the giveaway (which I couldn’t enter even if I actually wanted to) anyway.

I’m referring to the post in the second link above. It is a post from the first link above, but I found it confusing to find that post from the home page so, you’re welcome.

The question:

What label are you trying to shed?

Well, if I were any label at all, there is of course the one that jumps out at me straight away, the one I can’t refuse: loner.

But am I trying to shed that label? At first I didn’t think so. I’m not making much of a true effort to make friends. Even when I make friends, I usually leave them behind moving forward to the next place.

But then, I do have facebook. I do have friends, or at least acquaintances, who I have left behind in the past there. Not all of them, but a fair amount at least.

But more important than that is the fact that I rarely leave the house for anything but necessity. I go to work. I go to eat. I join the family in some joint activity, like when we went out for dinner on my sister’s birthday. I join members of my family for similar, if less rare, occasions. But I still don’t go of my own accord.

I go to the gym sometimes. This is a new thing, and something my freshly weight-conscious mind has directed me to. Well, that and the fantasy of surfing has made me want to perfect the art of paddling and manouevring the board based on how I did in Hawaii last year.

Surfin' USA

Of course, going to the gym regularly is not a big deal, and the way I eat is of course as bad as ever. But that’s not my point in this post.

The point is that it tests me. I never go unless I’m driven, even though I could probably take the bus if I put the effort in. And sometimes I don’t go too close to equipment or hang around too long in case I look like an idiot who’s trying to figure something out, or I look out of place.

Because really, me being there feels out of place, if to no one else but me. I’ve started eating salads sometimes at least, but there’s still a fair bit to the healthy lifestyle that embarrasses me to do. I always thought before in my life that the average lifestyle is enough, and that I don’t have to step too far outside of it to remain relatively healthy.

I’m nearly 100 kilos. Clearly I was wrong.

But the reason I told myself that in the first place was because I was afraid of appearing even more out of sync with the world than I already was.

So there is one facet of my life about which I’m trying to shed that label.

But are there any others? Well, not that I can think of, unless connecting with people on facebook or this blog counts.


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Trifecta – Confidence

I had his confidence. I had confidence in our confidence. I guess that shows where trust will get you.

It felt like there was a weight in my chest; or a kettle bell… I dragged myself around all day, watching girls giggling and boys sneering. There were no men nor women here. What they had in years they lacked in maturity. Story of my life.

He told everyone my most intimate disgrace. It wasn’t a true disgrace, but judging by the faces around me and the feelings they gave me, it was my disgrace. They hated me. You couldn’t tell by their light-hearted faces, but that was the game they played. I hated them.

“Hey, Belle,” they cried. “Wanna do the nasty?” teased Rob. “Or would you prefer to carpet munch Tracy?” taunted Erin. “You greedy bitch,” stabbed Alex. “Bisexuals don’t really exist, you lezzo,” whined Sam, “why don’t you just come out and stop hanging yourself in the closet!”

That crossed the line. “I do exist,” I shouted at him. “How would you like it if I said you didn’t exist, you ignorant prick –?”

“But I do exist,” he said flatly, slightly confused.

“And what the hell is your problem, making light of the gay suicides? How would you like to be driven over the edge by everyone calling you gay, or saying you didn’t matter at all? Because that’s what you’re doing! And you know what’s even worse is that there’s not even anything true in it at all! We all exist, even if you’re too scared to admit it!”

“I’m not scared of any of you!” he retorted. “You’re all sick! None of those things would ever happen anyway, because I’m not gay –”

“Some of those suicides happened just from people thinking they were gay. For all we know, you could be.”

“As if,” he said. “I’m a stud.”

Now,” I retorted. “But you wouldn’t be if rumours strong enough ever spread. Think about it.”

They whispered scandalously. I left.

Confidence, from this week’s Trifecta.


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Trifextra: Bleeding Blondie and the Bats

Blondie was no princess. All dressed up in boots, jeans and button up shirt, there was nothing clean about her. All she wanted was a little adventure, and she resented her nickname of ‘Blondie’. As if being a ‘dumb blonde’ was all there was to her.

They didn’t know her at all. And no matter how much she flaunted her difference, that never seemed to change.

The forest never asked anything of her. It didn’t pressure her with the cruelties of blind expectations. In fact, it didn’t even expect anything. The forest just survives, plain and simple.

So when she happened upon a cave through the brush, the darkness beckoned her. She loved the darkness. Other girls would be creeped out, but not Blondie. Crushing the dirt beneath her feet, she ventured slowly in, curious.

The first thing she noticed was three forks in the cave. Unusual. Which would she travel?

She tried the right one. She walked ahead through it a couple of steps. Suddenly, she was sweating, suffocating in the humidity. Quickly, she backed out. That passage was too hot.

She took the middle passage. She walked further down the passage, when all of a sudden, goosebumps prickled all over her bare arms. She stopped. Should she keep going? She stepped warily forward… before her teeth started chattering. This passage was too cold.

Backing out once again, she took the final passage, hoping desperately there was nothing wrong with it this time. She walked ahead comfortable, nothing happened. This passage was just right.

Soon the passage started to get dark, and she guided herself along the wall. But she was getting tired.

Quickly, she found a cave rock to sit on. She leapt up with new energy. That rock was too hard and spiky. She found another spot, but the ground cracked beneath her. She had thought that place was solid, but it was too delicate.

Finally, she found a cozy place along the wall. Just right.

She rested for quite a while, taking in the mysterious and intriguing sounds around her, happy in herself and quietly decreasing in injury. Finally, she got up and kept moving.

Disappointed when she found nothing in the cave, she moved toward the light at the other end of the cave. Maybe there would be something interesting out there…

She yawned. How long had she been walking? She had to lay down to rest first. She tried in an under-hanging, of cave stone, but the ground again was too hard. She scooted down a few inches, but she slid on wet rock and was only stopped by more cracked rock.

Getting up, she moved across to the other side of the cave to some ground that was just right. Quickly, she settled down and had soon drifted off…

A dull pain awoke her. Her face was wet. Had something started dripping on her…?

Shifting around, she suddenly found out it was blood pouring down her face. What…? Her eyes went wide when she saw what was happening… Three ugly bats sucking the blood from her skin!

“Ew, bats!” she screamed, jumping up and running for the end of the cave, swatting at them, an unbelievable amount of blood pouring from her.

They were in her hair! Ew, creepy, she thought. Get them out, get them out! The blood… they would kill her!

And this self-claimed tough chick ran all the way home, tears mingling with blood, making her doubt all that she thought about herself. Yes, the forest was all about survival, and that was something she had never truly appreciated before. But it had taught her something deep about herself, even if she never told anybody the true story of what had happened there.

From Trifecta


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Friday Fictioneers – Bats

Bats are native to this area. I couldn’t help thinking that as I came hiking through this part of the woods. As I discovered the overhanging of rock which seemed to be the entrance for a surprisingly small but deep cave, I couldn’t help imagining bats bursting out of the little hole come evening…

…Which wouldn’t be long now. My spine crawled.

Like the cave, the rest of the forest was dripping with moisture around me, glistening with yesterday’s rain and making the whole forest gleam with dew. But all I could wonder as I stood there in the loud racket of the forest was whether moisture attracted bats.

I hate bats.

From Madison Woods.


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Indie Ink: Bare Bones and Bombs

The texture of the sand rattled beneath his feet as a short-haired dog lightly moved over it, slightly shifting the grains. It was hot, but besides its clever movement across the ground, the dog showed no indication of the intense heat.

Winston’s eyes followed it. “Do you like dogs, Mr. Churchill?” asked an Egyptian labourer, working with the archaeologists.

“I like pigs,” said Winston, turning into the man’s face. “Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

“Don’t you eat pork?”

Winston looked away. “Do you know when your employer is coming to meet me? I’m getting impatient.”

“Ten more minutes, sir, ten more minutes…”

Winston continued to watch the dog running around on the sand. Did he belong to anyone? What was a dog doing here, anyway? For a country on the edge of war, it didn’t look it out here.

Of what he’d heard of the dig close by, an ancient Pharoah had been discovered in the most intact tomb site ever found, and that the casket inside the sarcophagus was made of silver. According to some stuffy archaeologist he had met, silver was said to be the bones of the gods, whereas gold was the skin of the gods.

A bunch of nonsense if you asked him.

“Mr Churchill,” came a voice, different from the Egyptians, a more comforting British hue. Winston turned to find the man he had been waiting for.

“Glad you could make it,” he told Winston, I know you have been busy in Britain at the political front of the War, but I have asked you here for a special reason.”

“Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry,” he said. “Which is why I must ask you… You didn’t ask me here for this mummy I’ve been hearing so much about, did you? People are dying out there,” said Winston, “the world is in turmoil.”

“Oh, no, no,” the man chuckled. “He is certainly a pretty proud discovery around here though. Most intact tomb since King Tut!”

“So I heard. So why am I here?” asked Winston.

“We thought this was the ideal meeting spot as it’s both remote, and the King of Egypt wanted to show off his country’s pride and culture in the hopes that you might be persuaded to help us.”

“The world will soon be overrun by Hitler’s Nazi. Why should Egypt be any different?”

“The King would like to create allies with Britain,” said the English spokesman. “It isn’t about being any different or superior.”

“But he is an extravagant person,” said Winston. “Even through the coming invasion, I’ve been told by the labourers that he keeps all lights burning in his palace despite the war coming down around us.”

The spokesman shook his head. “Rumours, Mr Churchill, I’m afraid you’ve been taken in by common rumours. The King will be here soon though, don’t you worry. I’m simply here to make sure the negotiation goes well for both sides.”

Sure enough, an elaborate carriage  soon arrived carrying King Farouk. They shook hands. “Sorry we couldn’t meet in the city, it’s just too risky to be seen there right now. I hope you have enjoyed stories of our most recent cultural discovery, though I’m afraid I couldn’t show you inside. The whole site has been closed off due to the War.”

“I wouldn’t worry,” said Winston, having no interest in such things.

“If you wish, you may accompany me back to the palace, where we may talk more privately.

“I would.”

“Very well, come inside my carriage,” he invited them both. Winston climbed first inside.

At length, they talked in the carriage about trivial and familiar things. At a point, the King brought up his beloved Pharoah Psusennes again, asking Winston’s opinion about how he felt about the effects of the war on the discovery.

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right.”

“You’re only saying that because of the dog from the site –”

“No, I’m saying it because it’s the truth.”

“Well, I’m afraid that’s where you and I must differ,” said the King, closing the discussion.

Upon reaching the palace, Winston soon saw with his own eyes that the rumours were true, admonishing his nameless spokesman for lying. “I might just hold that against you,” he warned.

“I don’t know if you know this,” said King Farouk, “but I have a little taste for adventure. I funded the excavation of the Silver Pharoah, and I promise you I was not disappointed.”

“I suppose the mummy was well preserved,” chatted Winston noncommittally.

“No, it was very broken down,” corrected the King. “You see, he was discovered in the Nile Delta, not Memphis. But enough chatter,” he said, as they reached a long table. “Sit. Let’s talk.”

Caught in war-ready Cairo, I prepared myself for impending war. There was nobody of due importance in the city anymore. I was nobody. Let them sit about in their extravagant ways. King Farouk isn’t a man of the people. Neither are these foreigners running around our country.

There were no curses of the mummy’s tomb. There were no mummies risen from the dead. That was just America’s Hollywood destroying our culture and turning into some half-baked horror film. Mummies have no reason to come back from the dead because they are already crossed over into the afterlife.

I knew this because I had grown up in Egypt. I was even raised by tomb robbers, and I knew our culture better than any white man, and I knew the land better too. I began digging for the white archaeologists in order to set things right in other’s understanding of our country’s history, yet I was beaten to “Psusennes'” tomb by a damn Frenchman!

Psusennes is not his proper name. He was never a Greek man, he was Egyptian, and I hated the fact that every other culture was placing their own mark on Egypt rather than let it stand on its own.

Pasebakhaenniut was still in our country, perhaps. But he was being hidden away, and I had sincere doubts he would ever come out for as long as he had remained hidden.

But it was something we deserved for our country. We couldn’t let it be stolen from us. That’s why I needed to talk to Churchill.

Winston shook hands with the King of Egypt. An ally was made.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Wendryn challenged me with “Winston Churchill versus the mummy. Use as many actual Winston Churchill quotes as possible in your piece.” and I challenged Allyson with “Write 42 words about a character lost in the dark.”