Saturday, 29 October 2016

Why We Should Make Time For 'Negative' People

I've been procrastinating quite a bit lately (hey, I'm doing it right now). Which means that I have spent hours wasting my life on facebook. I'm not proud..
One thing that I've noticed is a decided upsurge in positivity and inspiration. 
I'm glad. People are struggling. People aren't achieving anything. Lives are being wasted (see above). We all need a bit of inspiration. 

What I'm not loving is all of the 

'Don't hang around negative people'
'Don't be around people who don't lift you up and make you feel good about yourself'
'Don't waste your time on people who aren't putting in the effort with you/ contacting you'

style of quotes that I'm seeing.

These are great quotes, and I think that they have a time and place. But they are also rather flawed. 

Here's why-

Everyone needs a friend. Enough said. No? Okay, let's keep going.

(For my fellow Christian readers) Jesus hung around people who were going no-where, were not positive, and were living what-we-would-consider disgusting lives. As his disciples, we want to be like him. Ergo, we should hang around people who are struggling, who are negative, and who might not have the strength to contact us as often as we feel like they should.

I want to quickly add a disclaimer here- if you have a 'friend' who puts you down, makes you feel worthless and horrible, and generally doesn't care about you, then you can certainly do better than them. Side note- if you struggle with your own self-worth issues, then don't surround yourself with people like this.You need positive, uplifting friends.

However, if self-worth and feeling loved and valuable isn't so much an issue for you, then you should be alright. Naturally, I would advise you to be wise in whom you choose to spend time with. But please don't be selfish with whom you choose to spend your time. Because you're not called to associate only with people that you like. You are called to shine Christ's love in a broken, negative, and struggling world.

If the reason that they are struggling is deeper than just being a horrible person (and it usually is), then perhaps you can be the person who hangs around long enough to dig through the gross and get to the gold. 

Every person has value.
Every person needs a helping hand.
Every person struggles sometimes.

Be the kind of person who is willing to put their own feelings aside in order to make someone else feel loved and valued. Just because you don't feel warm and fuzzy when, or after, you see them, doesn't mean that they don't need your positive input and love.  

Basically, hang around people who don't fill your life with positivity and show them Jesus.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Why Christians Should Not Practice Affirmations

My church is a big fan of affirmations. When I first heard them I decided that they were lame and useless. So, I never said them. Then, as I grew older, I started to wonder why these affirmations made me uncomfortable. They kind of reminded me of spells and witchcraft.

I've just come back from a conference designed to help us experience greater freedom and break generational bondage. I've been avoiding going for years, but God finally told me to go. So, I did. We prayed through things and broke off ties. All was well. And then affirmations came up. Apparently, in order to keep living in the freedom that we've gained from this weekend, we need to be saying our affirmations. The suggestion is that we do this 3 times a day for 40 days. I want to paint a fair picture, though.  They also suggested that to keep growing in God we keep spending time with him, attending church, etc.. That's good. My issue here is that instead of meditating on the Word of God and praying to continue to affirm the fact that I am free of whatever bondage I supposedly had, I am supposed to repeat a paragraph of positive self-focused words about my new-found freedom. I feel like I'm getting snarky, because I'm a bit passionate and frustrated, so let's stop with the story and move to some content.

Let's jump into this. Why (I believe that) Christians Should Not Practice Affirmations.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Catcalling. Yea or Nay?

I’ve just had a conversation with my sister about catcalling. Anyway, we are both on the same side of the debate- Nay.

Catcalling refers to ‘a loud whistle or a comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman’. (OED)

The wolf whistle is another disturbing term for catcalling. ‘Wolf’ as in predator. PREDATOR! In the wild, wolfs howl to communicate with each other. So a wolf whistle essentially communicates that this lady is sexually attractive.

The modern wolf whistle originates from the navy whistle used to call attention to the fact that someone is about to say something important. It was also used by sailors to draw their attention to a passing female. However, catcalling does have an ancient history.

This article explores the interesting history of catcalling. Well worth a read.
Catcalling essentially sexually objectifies women. It places the man (the caller) in a position of perceived superiority and it says that he has the right to determine the woman’s value as a sexual object (not a living human).

Even the name is problematic. I mean really, ‘cat’. Let’s not get into that today.

Fairly recently, I watched an episode of an ABC show that I cannot recall the name of that addressed the very theme at the heart of this post. In this episode, some women were for catcalling. Or rather they enjoyed it. They didn’t necessarily agree with the idea of catcalling, but they appreciated the attention of the men that confirmed for themselves that they’ve ‘still got it’.

Here is an interesting article that looks at how and why a woman might appreciate catcalling.
But here’s the issue, why does it matter what the man thinks of the woman? He is a random that she has never met who willingly objectifies her from a distance and this gives her a thrill. She gets a thrill that a strange man finds her sexually attractive. I can't judge her for this, but seriously, why do we place so much emphasis on the thoughts and opinions of those of the opposite sex, or of the same sex for that matter? Regardless of whether you are a male or a female, your worth should not be in whether or not someone else considers you sexually desirable.

Man, our society is messed up.

One argument, which kind of links to the above point, is that women should be thanking their cat callers. Umm, what?! That’s like telling a rape victim that they should thank their rapist for choosing them. I know that catcalling is not the same as rape but bear with me here because the point is valid. The idea is that the caller chose to tell this woman that she is good looking, attractive, and desirable. Something that you want to know, right? Well, possibly, but certainly not from a random with no invested interest in your life. Both catcalling and rape sexually objectify. They develop a dangerous power balance and reinforce a patriarchal society. They give the man a privileged position in determining the woman’s worth and asserting dominance over her. No, I will not be thanking my cat callers.

For an argument that defends catcalling as well-meaning and an integral part of masculinity and our society, read here.
Personally, I don’t associate masculinity with the ability to objectify others, but let’s keep moving.

When I was younger (still at school and wearing a school uniform might I add), before I really understood the deeper issues at play, I did say thank you. Partly because it felt good for someone to think that I was good looking, and partly because I wanted to embarrass the caller by showing them that they hadn’t embarrassed me. However, the truth is that if someone is only interested in you because of your appearance, then that is an interest that you could probably do without. But that is an entirely different argument for another day.

But if catcalling is okay, then where is the line? Is it okay to approach a woman and tell her how much you appreciate her as a sexual object? No, but it is okay to do this from a ‘harmless’ distance? Is it okay to force yourself on a woman as a sign of how much you appreciate her as a sexual object? Certainly not, but it is okay to force your opinion of her body as a sexual object on her from a distance. Clearly, the issue is more complex than a simple whistle from afar.

Here’s the thing- I don’t like being sexually objectified. I don’t even like being called ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’. It’s not a compliment to me. If you want to appreciate me then you may call me pretty, but even better than that, get to know me and find something about my character, personality, or achievements to compliment. Or my clothes. I love when people compliment my clothes. :)

So, there are my opinions on catcalling.

What do you think? Have you ever catcalled? Have you ever been catcalled? Are you yea or nay?

Sunday, 17 January 2016

To plan or not to plan.. that is not today's question- diary fun!

When I began writing my last post about the new year, I had intended to write quite a different post. I had intended to write about diaries.

If you are like me, a diary is an essential aspect of your life. Without it your all over the place and you can't confirm any times to catch up with friends, hold meetings, or do much of anything else. 

So, as a diary lover, I wanted to share a few of my diary finding essentials.

1. Weekly spread. I like to view my life by the week or the month. I can't just live a day at a time, which means that a day-to-a-page diary simply does not work work for me. 

2. Yearly calendar. Most diaries have an overall view of the current and following year at the front. I use these to plan out big deadlines, such as assignments or important events. 

3. Prettiness. Yep, I require prettiness in my everyday items. Usually I purchase a $5 diary from the cheap store and then I slip it into one of my diary covers. This year was a bit different because my sister gave me a diary for Christmas. It is a beautiful diary from Forever New. I can't afford to buy their things for myself, but I have no trouble accepting them as gifts. :)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Well it's that time of year again. Both the beginning and the end. A time of hope and a time of hopelessness. 

At this time, people stop to reflect on the year that has passed and the year that will come. For many, it is a time of sorrow as they recall the loved ones that they have lost and the dreams and plans that are still yet to be fulfilled. 

A new year can be a time of great joy as we prepare for the coming months and plan our health and lifestyle down to an often unattainable tee. 

As with everyone else, I too reflect at this time of year as I wonder what this year will bring and recall the triumphs and tears of the year before. 

Speaking of recalling (and before this post gets too serious, I would like to share a memory with all of you).