Not Everyone Is Going To Like Your Body, And That’s Okay

So there is over 7 billion people in the world, and we got to that number mostly because people had sex. Minus some awesome test tube babies. And leading up to sex, in the good scenarios when everything is consensual, it’s because you were attracted to someone’s body, and they attracted to yours. Maybe to varying degrees of attraction, but hey. It works.

Now, 7 billion people don’t have the same body type. So it shows that people have been getting laid even if they might not fit the socially accepted ”ideal” body type. Which seems to change all the time, and people pit ideals against another. Reason why I’m writing about this is I’m tired that a lot of people seem to idealize one body type by putting down another.

Take the latest fad, the ”Dad Bod” which I am all for, since a lot of men fit in this body category and it helps body acceptance and boosts confidence. It shows that you don’t need a 6-pack for people to want to make you the future father of their kids.  But reading the ”Dad Bod” article, it contradicts itself and criticizes, starting with how females feel less insecure because they look ”better” when standing next to their ”Dad Bod” beau. In turn, it reinstates that the ”Dad Bod” is something inferior and its appeal is just a tool to make you feel better about yourself? What? Why not just celebrate and promote the fact that these type of men are relatively healthy and comfortable in their body. It also goes to shut down other body types, with Pearson saying that ”No one wants to cuddle with a rock. Or Edward Cullen. The end.”  Why can’t it just be said that it’s nice to cuddle someone with a bit of a soft beer gut? Really, if you’re cuddling a sculpted man or a slender gentlemen, cuddles are superb either way. The end.

You keep doing you, Dad Bods of the world.

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Now, the always heated debate of female bodies. Let’s bring up the sayings ”Real Women Have Curves” and ”Real Men Love Curves.” Bit of a double edged sword, with one shaming the ”skinny girls”of the world, while the other emasculates the partners of said skinny girls. The first saying hits home for me because well, curves. I don’t have them. I’m 22 and it seems I’m not going to get a second wind of puberty. So I’ll just have to rock out with my AA cups and just preach the truth. Big, medium or itty bitty, breasts are awesome.  And I bet there are some people out there who like man boobs as well, so we’re all good.

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But I attest, I am a woman. I am real in the whole 3-D, skin, tissue, fat, bone, who also has a vagina, kind of way. Basically if you say you’re a woman, no matter what kind of body you have, curves, no curves, than you’re a woman. Pretty simple. And to others, if you dig curves, there are curvy girls out there for you who need love. And I’m happy that those curvy girls will get some action. If you’re talking about what type of person you find attractive why not just say ”Curves are sexy” (which they are) instead of metaphorically castrating slender loving males and belittling petite girls.

As time is passing, and CrossFit, boot camps, and kick-boxing are becoming the darling favourites for women’s fitness there is debate on how much muscle a woman should have before it goes from sexy to not so sexy.  You’ll hear ”women should be toned and shouldn’t be muscular.” And I say fuck it, you bench as much as you want honey because there’s going to be someone out of the 7 billion who will want to go to your gun show.

muscleThe opposite is for males, the stereotypical ideal male body type is muscular, that’s what society tends to project through media such as advertisements, movies, and manly ”role models” children are told to look up to. Think action figures, super heroes, etc.  Basically, most males are told that to be a desirable you have to have bulging biceps and an 8-pack. Of course there’s nothing wrong with working out, and exercising for the shape you want. There’s also nothing shameful about being attracted to such a body type. It’s how a lot of people are geared.

For females, the stereotypical desired shape is one that is slender and delicate looking. Some females are naturally like that, and some work for it with healthy diet and exercise. Once again, everything is all fine and well. However there is men who may lean more closer to the slender side than ”macho” built. Growing up, I recall hearing these slight male individuals being teased, called sissy, weak looking, pansy etc. We grow up in a society where appearance equals value, but making people feel inadequate because of their body is something that should be outdated by now in our modern society.  But I assure you, lanky men of the world, there is going to be people who want to get into your skinny jeans.

To sum everything up, not everyone is ever going to agree on what body type is the best, people will have differences in taste and we should just leave it at that, instead of pitting one against another.  Hopefully it really goes without saying that the important thing foremost is accepting and loving your own body, whatever shape or form that is. Everything after that is just an added bonus.

I Never Want Kids, And Some People Need To Get Over It

I was a very opinionated child growing up, and by my mother’s recounting, it was around the age of twelve that I looked her straight in the eye and told her I didn’t want children. My Dad was worried that I was influenced by this book he got as a gag gift ”50 Reasons Why Not To Have Kids” but I also read the Bible and I’m an atheist so.. sorry Dr.Pete. Besides that, thanks Mum and Dad for not reading that book before making little opinionated me.

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Now, that is a big life decision for a young girl to make, but I was already proving to come up with head strong life decisions, such as becoming vegetarian at the age of 11 amidst a meat loving family. I understand that comparing dietary restrictions to forgoing a step of the ”circle of life,” is kind of like comparing apple and oranges, or fetuses to tofu. However as I’m growing older and when the topic comes up, I’ve received some strange, almost condescending responses from both women and men. Or well, very condescending.

Just a couple of weeks ago the topic came up, and when I said I never wanted to have kids, a person replied ”oh that’s a phase, you’ll grow out of it.” Now this hasn’t been the first time someone has said that, but I snapped a bit. I asked how old he was and if they wanted to have kids, response was ”24 and of course.” When I repeated what he told me, he looked baffled and then the light bulb went off and he saw the error of his ways. Doesn’t feel so good when a stranger seems to know what’s best for you eh buddy?

Cue the good ol’ saying ”You don’t know me, you don’t know my life.”

I think why people may be uncomfortable, baffled, or want to believe I will change because it is ”other.”  The theme of other has been applied to a lot of things, like how LGBTQ people may be told that they are ”in a phase” or maybe a male wants to become a hair dresser, and a female a construction worker. ”It’s a phase.” Anything that strays from the norm becomes some obscure outlier and should conform, to make the majority more ”comfortable.” But the root of these responses is something I want to explore, maybe it’s because by most standards, I’m young (22) and don’t know what I want, perhaps it’s because I have that life giving fruit, (flowery terms for ovaries.) So it is seen as something that I can’t help but want. Body over mind? That’s how the saying goes right?

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Men face stigma if they do not want to have children. People may wonder if it is because he simply can’t, a question of his functioning manhood is put into question. They are a factor in this whole baby making process, either by some sperm given in a plastic cup in a small clinic’s room, surrounded by ageing porno magazines, or by natural procreation through the process of going to funky town. Making the sex. Penis in vagina, sperm in egg,…. you know how babies are made (I hope.)

If you can disprove me that there is more pressure on men to have children, please do so. Although with women, it is through my experience and general observation that there is a more social, cultural, familial, pressure to have children. Never mind an individuals’ wants or desires, is she not following what is expected of her? How dare she.

Since I, woman, I, walking womb.

The one response that bothers me most is being labeled selfish, selfish because other women so badly want to have children and they can’t because of varied physical conditions. And that is unfair, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, man or woman. But would you scold someone who doesn’t want to eat cheese or ice cream because someone is lactose intolerant is served injustice , because of your choices and actions?

Okay…a bit of a stretched analogy, but a few other examples of my ”selfishness” are as followed. Being told by one of my sisters that I am selfish that I don’t want children, because she wants her’s to play with mine. A streak of the pot calling the kettle black with that one. Being told that I am selfish because my parents must want grand children and I am not giving them what they want. They do want grandchildren, but I think that will be covered by my two sisters.

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Two future baby makers

Being told that I am selfish because what if my future husband wants children and I withhold that from him. Because we all know, when someone is pressured into doing something they really don’t want to, it makes for a great marriage/partnership. While a baby can rarely save a marriage, I think it could break it. My present partner doesn’t ever want kids. There is hope you’re going to find someone who wants, or doesn’t want in this case, the same things you do.

Another thing I’ve been told is that I’m vain and overly worried about my looks and losing my figure after I have kids. I can be vain, but I wasn’t raised with seeing that as an outcome thanks to my working mother, who has a 6 pack after three kids. You go glen coco.

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Recently before writing this, I was curious if responses I’ve heard are familiar with other’s experiences. Many responses to when I’ve said I never want children were mirrored by theirs. A full list of such responses can be found here and here.

I know a lot of women put off having children because of their career or different life goals. Maybe it’s not in their 5 year plan, or their 10 year plan. However I can’t recall a time that it was ever in my plan. And I realise that women do have to worry about a certain ”biological clock” but when does it every seem appropriate to tell a person ”tick tock, tick tock”  women are not a bomb, we will not go off if there is no ”bun in that oven.”

Then there is the fearful responses ”but who will take care of you when you are old?” If I ever wanted children, it is because I wanted to, not because I want some blood related caretaker obliged to wipe my ass and feed me soft foods when I’ve gone off my rocker.

It baffles me that living in a modern society, a woman has way more options than being a housewife and mother, it’s seen as wrong to not become that. And I’m not saying that to be a strong independent career woman you have to ditch kids, many women do both. I just want many other things in life, while I can understand that having some little being with 50% of your DNA can be a very life fulfilling thing, it’s just not for me. So next time you hear a woman, man,or even a child, say they never want kids, think twice about how you respond to it. Okay? Okay.

The White Slave

History is a strange thing, it repeats itself but it can manifest, so sometimes we miss the similarities. Some parts of history is basic knowledge now, thanks to modern education and globalization, we learn more about other’s cultures or foreign countries’ history. It’s important to know how unions and alliances were formed, and sometimes devastatingly broken. The marks of war and wreckage still echo out out even throughout the centuries. A certain sinister thread has been woven throughout history, the common thread being slavery.

There is the famous story of Moses, who freed the Jewish slaves from the Pharos of Egypt, and then centuries pass for the million of Jewish slaves to be enslaved and killed in concentration camps during the dark monstrous period of the Holocaust. It might be cynical to say, as they are deemed ”The Chosen” ones but they can be called the unlucky ones as well, being made the scape goat and prejudiced throughout history. Most know about this horrendous part of history.

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It’s safe to say that the general population know about the African slaves that were forcefully and wrongfully stolen from their homeland and sent to Western countries between 1525-to 1866, and 4.86 million were sent to South America, mostly Brazil and the Caribbean, while 450,000 were sent to the United States (slavery was also present in Canada.) The British had a large part of transporting, since we know in the past the British empire loved taking land as their own and making the locals as slaves, just ask the Native Americans. The cruel treatment given to the Native Americans by European settlers has been taught readily in high school (slaughters, disease riddled blankets, assimilation schools) and mistreatment is unfortunately still present.

There are more examples of slavery that I could still bring up, sadly there are countless, but while I was taught about many types of slave trades, it was only until last October, when I was in Dublin with my *very* Irish father, that he told me there were, at times, as many Irish slaves as African slaves. Wait, what? I never before heard even a whisper about the slave trade of ”my people.” By my people, I mean the Irish. I’m a first generation Canadian, born to two Irish parents, I’ve lived in Ireland, visit at least once a year if not more, and even don a red passport with the clàrsach on it. Apart from not being born in Ireland, I consider myself pretty Irish. While Canada is my Mother, Ireland is my cool Step Mom.

Considering that there is huge populations of ”Children of Erin” in North America, and everyone claims to be at least a little Irish on St. Patricks day (I guess the Irish got around when we came during the potato famine) how has this whole white cargo issue never really been discussed? While in todays’ society, there is more racial profiling and bigotry against people of African descent, and the horrors and the beastly treatment suffered by African slaves can never be discounted, it’s a bit surprising that there is little to no education on Irish slavery when it was happening side by side with African slavery. Why was that part of history basically omitted out?

                           Irish Slave and ”Negro” Slave compared to common British Man 

In the eyes of the British, African slaves and Irish slaves were interchangeable, ”An Irish Man is a Negro turned inside out and a Negro is a smoked Irish Man.”  One was deemed subhuman because of the dark shade of their skin, the other for their Catholic religion. During the 1600s, Ireland’s population went from 1,466,000 to 616,00 in almost one decade (1641-1652). During this same time period, African slaves were deemed more valuable and thus more expensive to buy, 50 shilling for an African slave, 5 shilling for an Irish one.  Because both races were seen as slaves, Irish and African people started to reproduce, sometimes forcefully, to give birth to ”mulatto” slaves. This was done to fetch a better price on the slave trade.

Slavery (both Irish and African) was stopped by the British in 1839, sadly The United States was not a part of the British empire and thus this did not put an end to their slavery until 1865. While Irish gained freedom, they fared far better socially in the long run than their darker brethren, to this day there is still racism targeted at those who are African descent. While Irish have been accepted as white and accept the privileges of being so, we have seemed to all but forgotten about this part of dark history. Why though, that question still lays unanswered.

I Went To Therapy, And I’m Not Bat Sh*t Crazy

Recently the annual campaign Bell Let’s Talk happened, and while I couldn’t contribute money to the cause, what with Bell not being my mobile coverage provider anymore, I thought I would do what one of the initiatives of the campaign is. I’m going to talk about mental illness, and how I have, and probably always will have some form of it.  Now, if you aren’t up to date of the DSM, bat shit crazy isn’t actually a condition.  And there really isn’t just one type of mental illness and there is different cases of severity, and longevity. Although, one thing is certain, in some ways mental illness is a model citizen, for it is not racist, homophobic, sexist or ageists. It doesn’t care if you have a 6 figure salary, or if you don’t have two pennies to rub together.  Whether you let it slink in darkness of your psyche by ignoring it, or shine a light on it and acknowledge it, it’s really up to you. 590x315_Bell_LetsTalk1 The purpose of this story is not some cry for attention, while I was hesitant at first to write about something so intimately personal, I think it is important for myself, and others, to tell their story. And if you’re going to judge me, fine, trust me that I already have made up more things to worry about than you. So judge away. To be candid, I have GAD, ”Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” which I like to think of as the fidgety, sweaty, neurotic cousin of depression. I was diagnosed at the ripe age of 19, showing gradual signs of it during my teen years. As I got older the symptoms began taking a stronger and tighter hold, which is often the case. A slow dripping of unnecessary worries and panic that trickles into your everyday thoughts. And want to know how I got ”cured” ? When I would tell someone I was feeling anxious, and they told me to just ”Cheer up and don’t worry.” I just stopped being anxious. Can you believe it?  Thanks bud! Really couldn’t flip that switch without you.

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Obviously that didn’t happen, through my experience it has just really made me aware that it is hard for people to grasp sometimes that we don’t always have total reign over our emotions and mental state. You can’t always just simply smile and depression is sated, the same way I can’t just ”chill” and not feel anxious. So don’t be that person that says ”Cheer up!” if someone confides in you, don’t be that guy, just don’t. Moving along, I feel that my story is more how you don’t need to be hearing voices or contemplating suicide to think that you or someone else needs help. Only by speaking out can we begin to chip away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Honest, truthful conversations help uncloak the shame about asking for help, beginning the process of seeking a path of stability, recovery, and healing. I just hope to help others see how mental illness can take different forms, but also understand that even if you feel like you haven’t hit rock bottom, or in your opinion your mental state isn’t ”crazy” enough to ask for help, that there really is no shame in wanting to improve on yourself and your relationship with your mind. Sometimes we just need a helping hand to pull ourselves up so we can feel a little bit taller and our head’s a lot more clearer.

With mental illness, there are many types of treatments, I can’t necessarily say there are one cure all for every mental illness, but you can equip yourself with tools to better live your life.  Whether it is through therapy alone, self help books,yoga, homeotherapy or also taking the help of medication. In my case, I found therapy to do wonders, I specifically took CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and it was during therapy that I received a very oddly sincere compliment, from my therapist, who told me ”You’re very good at worrying.” Thanks Doc.  For context, I was told this when he had me write down my anxiety triggers in a small notebook, afterwards he said most patients get down a few pages, while I filled that puppy up in a week. Mental illness is a master shape shifter, at least in my case.  Things started cracking a bit when I suffered from severe sleep paralysis, which was connected and triggered by my anxiety. While I always tended to be an anxious person, I started to realize that slowly when my sleep paralysis episodes were decreasing around age 18, I started having daily instances of a very tight feeling in my chest, heart pounding, and a feeling of looming doom. To top it off, I would become nauseous, dizzy, and lose focus. My thoughts slowly started becoming increasingly paranoid, chaotic, erratic, and I would find myself plotting my demise, since it felt so foreseeable. Sometimes I may have a sense of what I feel anxious about, but generally, it’s just body seizing sense of anxiety that can last from an hour to a whole day, for no reason at all. When my GAD started rearing it’s ugly head, lying down in bed and breathing often seemed like the only viable option, that or just roaming the streets of Toronto to try and walk out the anxiety, but it always kept up pace with me. I realize I have no legitimate reason to be anxious most of the time, I have friends, a wonderful partner, a supportive and loving family.

People with GAD can realize that their problems are created more monstrous and beastly just in their heads, while they are obtuse in reality. Often the anxiety and worries can appear too fearsome to really fight back. It can also mean you are unable to come up with a single possible positive outcome or situation, not by a natural line of thinking anyway. Now I am fortunate that my mind has never gone to the dark end of the spectrum of being suicidal. But in the beginning stages of my GAD, almost everyday, any situation would appear too big for me to handle at points. Every time I went outside, I would have to fight back the silent panic of being hit by a car. To this day, I’m never comfortable driving a car, or being driven (some of those who read this may have seen me turning green whilst in the metal tin coffin that is an automobile.) And don’t even get me started on planes.

This flight didn’t even have bad turbulence, but this is the result afterwards.

Now if you are someone that I am, or was, close to in the past, I can assure you that I have come up with a thousand and one of ways you have died, and/or that you despise me and I have done something wrong to ruin our relationship. This is a result of you simply not responding to my texts/messages. I wouldn’t just naturally think you were busy or maybe weren’t glued to your phone like I am. Now, curling up and staring at my phone took up a lot of my mental strength, and that was just the tip of the iceberg of neurotic things I was obsessively worried about. Another example is there were countless times I used pregnancy tests while on my period because I was anxious and paranoid that I could still be pregnant. And those things are damn expensive. Anxiety tends to blow things pretty out of proportion, when my anxiety was running unchecked during my second year of University, after leaving an exam and finding out I got one question wrong (by checking my textbook or notes etc.) I would somehow spiral from point ”A” to point ”Z” in my head, Z being something a long the lines of losing everything and living at my parent’s house for the rest of my life. Getting a cat…or five. During those times it could just take that simple little error that would drive me into my apartment or nearest bathroom to have a silent panic attack or just to have some privacy to shed those crocodile tears. The cliche is, I seemed pretty carefree. I got really good at hiding the fact that I was having a ”code red” in my head whenever I had the slightest slip up going in my life. I would spend late nights at the library, half studying and half staring at a blank wall, where my mind actively told me I would be a failure. It may seem like a small difference, but it took me months of therapy to even change my simple line of thought from thinking ”If I don’t study enough enough, I will fail.” to thinking ” If I study enough, I will succeed.”  As my therapist pointed out,  I never came up with a possible positive outcome when faced with life’s situations. Another trick I learned thanks to CBT is that before I spiral out of control with all the horrible ”what ifs” I conjure up, I should only worry about a certain situation if ”A” happens, and not jump to worrying about horrendous ”Z” situation before ”A” happens. To some readers this may not be a concern of yours,(lucky you!) but it sometimes takes an outsider looking in to give you a chance to really see yourself and gain some self-awareness. anxiety-girl Some people think anxiety makes you productive, and for some it can make people perfectionists. Perfection wasn’t even something I thought I could aim for, I mostly was just trying to avoid and slip past failure.  My anxiety would cause me to pick up one thing and try and get it done as quickly as possible so I could move onto the next one, worried I would never have enough time, and also thinking that I would fail or mess up. Another notion sometimes people think is that anxiety makes you prepared for the worst. Which is true, but why waste all that energy worrying about situations and mentally preparing for all that anguish, while instead you could be floating on cloud 9 thinking about all the good possibilities that life can offer?

A disclaimer, I still have GAD, I have my bad days or weeks, my last serious panic attack was on my 22nd birthday, luckily for me it was during my birthday dinner, in the middle of the day, at a crowded restaurant. If my anxiety has anything, it’s impeccable timing. My birthday gift was a bottle of chill pills from my psychiatrist father,.. thanks Dad. (Side note: I promise I’m usually great at parties.)  But with a great amount of relief, I can say that I don’t spiral out of control so much anymore, and I can usually see the silver lining in whatever life throws me, thanks to all my therapy sessions at $250 bucks a pop. Joking aside, it is tremendous to not feel so out of control of my mind and attain some peace.  Obviously there is much that I need to work on in my life, and the irony that I’m a daughter of a psychiatrist and I needed to go to therapy is not lost on me.  I am also comfortable with the fact that I may have to go for round 2 some day.

The road of self-improvement is never ending. I’m fortunate enough that my Dad recognized that I was falling at the seams, and made it so I could receive the help that I need. For a long time I was ashamed that I needed help, weak minded and faulty. I didn’t openly speak about my issues with those around me, hid them in fact, and it made me realize there is such a stigma around needing therapy, whereas you wouldn’t hide the fact you’re going to the doctor for your heart or lungs.  I hope that if anyone who reads this, if you yourself or someone you know needs help, that you drag that ass and plop it in that leather chaise lounge and start talking, expressing, venting, and healing. And hey, maybe you’ll see me in the waiting room.

Waking Up To The Boogey Man, Sleep Paralysis

The mind is a mystery, and it can play tricks on us, some more cruel than others. In my case, things started to take a strange turn around the time I was age of 13, when I changed schools and started to become bullied.  Bullying is a tough thing for anyone to go through, and while I can never know if that was the trigger point, I started having nightly occurrences of waking up and being unable to move, sensations of probing, being held down, and choked. As frighting as that is, this was all overshadowed when I started  seeing strange things in my room, ranging from alien like creatures, bats, floating horses’ heads, to hooded men looming over me. With such vividness that I could sketch detail drawings of these nightly visitors.

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Even after the bullying stopped, thankfully, these occurrences continued to happen at random. Like any typical, rational, young child, I thought I was being possessed by demons or ghosts.  I was quite terrified of what I was seeing and experiencing, but I didn’t bring it up to my parents, since I was afraid of their reactions. This fear of talking about one’s personal problems, for fear of judgement and disapproval, is common for many sufferers of strange ailments.

When I entered University, it became a frequent thing, 3-4 nights a week, with increased vividness of hallucinations, hearing voices, clicks, growls or grumbles. The worst episodes was the sense of being raped. Increasingly alarmed, I had to figure out what was going on. Knowing at that point, not being 13 and actually being rational at this point, that this must be something going on with my mental psyche. So I told my father, a psychiatrist, who set up for overnight sleep testings to be done. I found out I wasn’t possessed by ghosts or demons, I simply had sleep paralysis syndrome, what a relief.

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Sleep paralysis can be triggered by anxiety. And dating back by to my high school days, I had plenty of it, over worrying about grades, friends, family issues, and the occasional boy, (I realize there are a lot of worst issues people are facing, but try telling a self-centred 15 year old that.)  The doctor who performed my testing pointed out that the brain waves and my heart showed ones of panic and alarm, even whilst I slept. This sense of panic and dread when people wake up to a sleep paralysis episode is understandable, if you can’t move or even talk, it’s a conscious nightmare.

When I told my friends and my family, there was a bit of shock, confusion over what sleep paralysis is, and responses of sometimes laughter and being quite literally told ”that is fucked up.” And sure, I laughed it off as well. But really, being terrified of sleeping I would average 2-4 hours a sleep a night, which ruined my health and general level of anxiety. However, there were some positives, I found out doing grocery shopping at 4 a.m at the 24/7 Metro is relatively line free. I enjoyed breakfast at dawn on numerous occasions, and if you wanted someone to talk to all night and ditch sleep, I was your gal.

Cutting to the chase, it is estimated 4 out of 10 people will at some point in their life have isolated occurrences of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is problems with the transition of NREM and REM cycles, REM cycle as some may know, is when you are dreaming. To more easily illustrate, think of a light switch, your body tends to not move around a lot when you’re dreaming, even though you may be fighting, flying, frolicking, fleeing etc. in your dreams. Your light switch is turned off. People with sleep paralysis, they interrupt their REM cycle by waking up, now that light switch hasn’t turned on so your body is immobilized.  And sometimes people may wake up to seeing, pardon my french, some fucked up shit. The paralysis can last seconds or minutes, while one mentally tries to will itself to move.

Ways to deal with it is not sleeping on your back, avoiding naps when possible, and trying to decrease stress before shut eye such as working out, meditation, eating well, and all those sublime things that doctors tell you to do anyways. I personally avoid naps and have found having someone to cuddle with in bed helps, since cuddling usually calls for sleeping on your side. (It’s a great excuse to get some spooning action.) Sleep paralysis really only becomes a problem that needs medical attention is if it’s happening on such a frequent basis that it is affecting your waking life. One can take sleeping pills or antidepressant medications, which is more extreme routes.

Another extreme route was thinking that your neighbour was a witch and proclaiming that she must be burnt at the stake, or that aliens were abducting you. Sleep paralysis has been thought of a possible reason for even the salem witch hunts, as well as connected to beliefs of demon possession and succubi.  

Luckily for us, the only real demons and monsters are the ones that live in our heads.

The Second Class Victim

A hand is raised.

Clasped tightly, in a fist.

Impacting with a person.

When you think of it,

it could make any person wince,

And I guess you know the story, its him versus her, one struck given but that is one too many. Attacker and the victim.

Stop.

Imagine it.

What do you see?

Does the scene in your mind change, when it is she who hits him.

She may stand just 5 feet tall, and the fists are small, but they can still make a man bleed.

This is not a hurrah, no appraising remarks will be found on how women can be strong and threatening against their male counter parts. That is for another time and a drastically different context.  This topic will be something that is pushed into a shameful corner, something that gets laughed at, and is allowed to fester as almost socially accepted. I’m talking about male domestic abuse. While male domestic abuse is a rampant issue in the LGBTTQ community, I’ll be discussing more about the female & male domestic abuse category.

Men are always told to never hit women, because they are so much bigger. But it doesn’t make it acceptable for women to hit them because we are so much smaller.  Now before anyone gets on my case, I live in Sweden, I see my fair share of women over 180 cm (approx. 6 foot), so with the prior statement I’m talking about the average global population.  And yes, female domestic abuse is something horrendous,  but while it can never be talked about enough, I feel like male domestic abuse has very little light shed on it.

There is a lot of deep rooted problems with male domestic abuse that are very different from female domestic abuse. While shame and fear is common trends in both forms of survivors of domestic abuse, they seem to derive from different paths. A lot of female survivors are trapped because of financial means, and there is a culture of victim blaming, that the female acted and ”deserved” to be punished. Males feels shame and embarrassment because how can they be overpowered and be impacted by someone that is most likely physically less strong than them? When I dug into a few articles, one survivor said they called domestic abuse help lines, and reported they were abused, they asked how big they were, and how big their female abuser was, soon after the response was laughter and followed shortly with being hung up on.  Other males said when they went to report to the police, they weren’t taken seriously and were also hung up on. This response has a severe repercussion, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, men and boys are less likely to report the violence and seek services due to numerous challenges such as the stigma of being a male victim. Male domestic survivors are put into a disabling box of being second class victims.

It is apparent that male domestic abuse is not taken seriously, on one occasion when I was with a male classmate, (won’t disclose their name for privacy reasons) they said they had broken up with their girlfriend recently. I asked why, the response was ”She was nuts,”  ” Why was she nuts?” ”You’ll laugh at me,”  I assured him I wouldn’t and he went on to recount that his now ex had attacked him, in jealous rages, on a couple of occasions.  He couldn’t take it, so he left the relationship.  Even though he was well over 185 cm with a solid build, and the vision of some pint sized girl attacking him might seem comical, he was right to leave such a toxic situation.  But it was the remark, ”You’ll laugh at me,” that has stuck with me, when would abuse every seem funny?  For a lot of onlookers in this video, you see the stark contrast between attitudes towards male and female domestic abuse. Every bystander who stepped in for the woman was in the right, but males are humans as well, and do not deserve violence. Even if no severe damage is done by a female perpetrator,  no matter what any woman,man, or child does, the only time violence should be used is in necessary cases of self-defence.

Stereotypical attributes of being male is being tough, dominant, and aggressive. Males tend to be taller, wider, stronger, than females, that is a consistent biological aspect that does divide the two sexes. This may factor in why there is such a stigma and disbelief that females can abuse their male spouses/partners. Despite that belief, with the results of a study done in 2001, by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health the researchers found that of the 18,761 relationships surveyed, 76 percent were non-violent and 24 percent were violent. Of the 24 percent that were violent, half had been reciprocal and half had not — reciprocal meaning there was violence inflicted by both partners. Although more men than women (53 percent versus 49 percent) had experienced nonreciprocal violent relationships, the statistic that was the most striking: in committing acts of domestic violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were the perpetrators. In fact, in the 71 percent of nonreciprocal partner violence instances, the instigator was the woman. This hinders the long-held belief that female aggression in a relationship is most often in the act of self-defence.

Some may say that this is not a feminist article, since right now the finger of blame is being pointed at females, but feminism to me is someone that holds up the standard of equal rights for both genders. Any female should be safe walking in her home, and so should any male.  No fist, no matter how big or small they are, should ever be raised against another.

If You Don’t Like Photos of Real Women & Men, Don’t Click.

So, finally with my laptop momentarily being fixed (it’s been on the fritz past few weeks) I thought I would clear up on this whole take on what constitutes what a real woman is, and what a real man is. This is article is based on physical requirements, and the opinion varies from person to person, like how ”real women have curves,” or ”real men have beards.”  Since I don’t know when my laptop will collapse (any minute maybe) I think a few photos would sum up things more quickly.


2D274905957771-today-monokini-140527-02.blocks_desktop_mediumEven if you have one breast, you’re still a woman. 
o-KELLY-DAVIDSON-BREAST-CANCER-facebook Or maybe you don’t have any? Still a woman.

Photo on 2014-10-05 at 2.49 PM Maybe some woman never shave, sometimes shave, or always shave. You’re still a woman.

Laverne-CoxXLRG Maybe you weren’t even technically born a woman, but after a bit of a transition, you’ve become a woman.

(Or you just feel like a woman on the inside for now, either way.)

ashleygraham_plussizeMaybe a woman can’t fit into a size 0, still a bonafide woman.


atongarjok And maybe you’re lacking a few curves and are just lean, still every inch of a woman.

Now, what’s a real man?

2_women-prefer-clean-shaven-men-1058545-flashSome men shave.

169And sometimes men own a manly ponch.

pic0218 Sometimes other men only have muscle.

man_with_mighty_beard_by_jenhell66-d63760zSome men never pick up a razor.

IMG_11651And sometimes, little girls grow into men.

man-in-suitAnd a lot of men go out into the world looking like this.

I really just scratched the surface of who real men are, and who real women are, there’s so many different mandates based on ethnic background, cultural background, generation you were born in, etc and many people feel like they don’t have all the parts, or feel like they’re not what society wants them to be.  Wanna know what? Screw those who tell you your worth, or your authenticity.

You are bonafide.