Category Archives: Empowering Girls and Young Women

De-Mystifying Mindfulness 1

Over December I made a list of courses from Coursera that might be good for my future.

You can find the link to this one here.

Here are my notes on the course so far:

Based partially in experiential learning, this course aims to give you the theoretical and practical skills to understand and to critically assess Mindfulness in its various forms for yourself. Encompassing its ancient traditions and cutting edge science, this course seeks to de-mystify Mindfulness as a technology for life in the 21st century.
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the equivalent of a complete eight week Mindfulness training course based on the famous MBSR on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. This special combination of theoretical and practical learning reflects the nature of Mindfulness as a field. One of its great challenges to us today is the way that it emphasizes the critical importance of our own personal experience of it, as a resource for our understanding of it. So you need to be prepared to do some honest introspection during this course as part of the process of study.

Put together in conjunction with CFI Online Learning Lab of Leiden University

Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)

Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 21.08.23

A video on how to be successful on a mooc. I think I’ll need to make a video or two for my Spanish teaching project. This one seems simple and effective!

Theory I: Introduction to Mindfulness – This Thing Called Mindfulness (video)

In general, the results suggests that the vast majority of people who take up mindfulness do so because they feel that it will help them to reduce negative experiences. In fact, about 95% of people recognize this as their motivation for participation. This category also includes the aspiration to be calmer to regulate their emotion more effectively and so on. About 30% of people hope that mindfulness will allow them to enhance their sense of well-being which also includes aspects such as feeling happier, being more fulfilled, being more self-aware. And perhaps, even having better concentration and focus.

 

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Runs in the Family

Love, love, love this song.

Runs in the Family
My friend has problems with winter and autumn.
They give him prescriptions and shine bright lights on him.
They say it’s genetic, they say he can’t help it, they say you can catch it – but sometimes you’re born with it.
My friend despite he gets shakes in the night and they say that there’s no way that they could have caught it in time takes his toll on him.
It is traditional.
It is inherited.
Predispositional
Day I’ve been wondering what is inside of me, who can I blame for it?
I say it runs in the family
This family that carries me to such great lengths to open my legs up for anyone who’ll have me. It runs in the family, I came by it honestly, do what you want who knows it might fill me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Fill me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
My friend’s depressed she’s a wreck, she’s a mess.
They’ve done all sorts of tests & they guess it has something to do with her grandmother’s grandfather’s grandmother saving war soldiers who probably infected her.
My friend has validation in some allergies that she dates back to the 17th century.
Somehow she manages in her misery.
Strips in the city and shows all her best tricks.
I mean well, I’m well well I mean I’m in hell well I still have my health at least that’s what they tell me.
If wellness is this what in hells name is sickness?
But business is business and business runs in the family.
We tend to bruise easily.
Mad in the blood.
I’m telling you cause I just want you to know me – know me and my family.
We’re wonderful folks, but don’t get to close to me cause you might knock me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Knock me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Mary have mercy now look what I’ve done but don’t blame ’cause I can’t help where I come from.
Running is something that we’ve always done well and mostly I can’t even tell what I’m running from.
Run from their pity, from responsibility.
Run from the country and run from the city.
I can run from the law, I can run from myself.
I can run from my life, I can run into debt.
I can run from it all, I can run til I’m gone.
I can run for the office and run for my cause.
I can run using every last ounce of energy.
I cannot, I cannot, I cannot run from my family.
They’re hiding inside of me.
Don’t change my life.
Help me if you might but don’t tell my family.
They’d never forgive me.
They’d say that I’m crazy.
But they would say anything if it would shut me up
Shut me up
Shut me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Shut me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up

The Audacity to Create/Overcoming Self-Silencing

 

“Never let you’re lack of talent stop you from having fun.”

A motto I’ve developed recently for permitting myself to have the audacity to express myself. There’s a voice in my head that says:

Who are you to think that what YOU have to say is important? So arrogant. Shut up with your first world problem moaning.

Oh, you just wrote something? That’s shit. You don’t even know basic things, like how to use affect and effect properly, or what “irony” really is. You’re a sham, a fake, a phoney. A Hypocrite. Get a real fucking job you princess twat face whore fool. No one will ever…

It’s a pretty disturbing voice.

Fallout from a sexual attack: some 2 years later

This is a story about two men. One was my friend, who said he was a feminist (bless him), and another who was his cousin, who sexually harassed me to the point of me losing my fucking shit.

Two years after the incident, I bumped in to my former friend. He looked at me with eyes that glittered with… hatred, anger, upset… hurt. Maybe he’d had a bad day. One of those terrible fucking days, when the rug is pulled from under you and you land on your arse with a jolt and your like “fuuuuuuuuuck”, this is a terremoto of  a day, bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeh can’t deal. Can’t process.

I’d written some shit. What had happened was vile, complicated, as sexual violence always is; some people reacted, others stood by, some sides were taken…

My side is a lonely side. But it’s where I live.

It’s arrogant to think that his look, his terrible look, was because of what I wrote. But, the honest to god’s truth is, I’m still, two years later, so traumatised about what happened, I can’t even bear to look at what I did actually write. To reread. To relive. (There should probably be some hyphens there. Fuck hyphens.)

Maybe I said/wrote something awful about him.

Look again. Face what happened.

No. Not strong enough. Can’t relive. Can’t face.

Did I make a mistake? Of course. The best thing is probably to always retreat, to be cautious, to feel out others. Group dynamics. La manada, pack mentality. Avoid, smile, “Oh, thank you sooooo much for the compliment, I just have to go over there now. Have a great day. Love you so much. Byeeeeeee”.

My former friend, the guy who I had thought was really awesome, is cousin to the person who seriously harassed me. I’d gotten on well with him. I held him in regard. Until what happened, happened.

When “it” happens, “it” being the nightmare you are always trying to anticipate, always trying to avoid… Fight or flight. Only two responses?

No. There is a third response. And that is FREEZE.

You come out of the bathroom. The bar is empty. All your friends are outside. The bad guy, the cousin, is there. He’s blocking your path. He’s telling you a bunch of vile shit.

“I don’t care if your boyfriend is a boxer. I’m going to take you like this, I’m going to do this to you…”.

My soul froze.

It was less than five minutes. It could have been three. Maybe it was even two.

I wish.

wish.

wish.

wish.

WISH.

I wish that I was that strong girl I have shown to the world for so long, fearless. Bullies can smell fear. The wolves come after you.

Anyone who knows me, really knows me, knows that beneath the fachada/façade, I am so sensitive, and that I feel things so deeply. But you cannot show that to the world. No one can. No one, or very few people, can say: “I was vulnerable. I was xxx”. Whether that “xxx” is being fully raped, or just all those other “little attacks”, little femasculations… You wish it didn’t happen. Had never happened. You can wish a lot of things away.

He didn’t rape me. He didn’t lay a finger on me. But to me, the threat was there, the threat that cut me like a knife. And my reaction was from that deep, nightmarish fear, and the lack of support from everyone, the silence of everyone else, was the real nightmare.

What if he’d done more? He could have done anything.

He didn’t. He only went a few steps down that road.

My female friends stopped to say “hello” to him in fiestas. I turned on my heel, went home immediately, betrayed.

“His mother is sick. He’s got so many problems”.

No excuse.

My mother died of cancer. I spent six months living in her house 2 weeks a month. It fucked me up big fucking time. I was a mess for a year after, I still live with the aftershocks.

Did I do weird shit like that? Did I threaten to rape anyone? Did I?

No. I was fucked though, more fucked than I’m ready to admit right here, in this little story. I lived with my then boyfriend at the time. After we parted ways, I told him “Yo, I’m sorry that I was such a cunt while my mum was dying and after.” He was surprised. He was like: “I don’t remember you being like that at all. AT ALL”.

Maybe I want to believe that. After all, we all want to believe that we are “good”, that our position is “right”. Hitler, me, everyone; no one wakes up in the morning and thinks: Today I’m going to be a complete fucker and fuck everyone over that I possibly can. The bigger the arsehole, the better. Mwah hah hah haaaaaa. Not even Tr*mp.

Ok, maybe Tr*mp.

Everyone justifies. People beat their partners. Emotional scars last years. Men, earning more money than women, beat their wives for years, and the woman stays. Women, having power of custody over the kids and all that, can right royally screw a guy by stopping him from seeing his kids. But all abusers see themselves as victims, that’s how they conceptualise the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual breaking of another being. Everyone is right, so everyone must be wrong as well.

Except me. I’m right, right?

After what happened happened, I’ve seen the cousin about 10 times. I completely, utterly,  100% blank him. If he sees me with girls, he calls my name, over, and over, and over again. If he sees me with a guy (he often sees me with male friends. I have a few good eggs that I cherish), he’s silent.

I wish I could punch him in the face, break his nose, nut him. I would love for it to stop. But the idea that violence solves conflicts is a fantasy. He is a man, he has problems, he acts the way he acts. The more violence I show him, the more I am in the wrong, the more he is the victim. Like when he started making unwanted sexual advances to me at lunch time, then a few hours later, he followed me to the toilet, to get me on my own, to sexually harass me. Bullies are so empty inside, they need the easy prey. If he’s calling to me in the street, calling my name, and I go up and twat him, he’s the victim. That is the justification he wants and needs.

So, my former friend looked at me.

I can live the whole rest of my life without seeing that look again.

 

Good Men

There are yawning gender gaps on almost all the attitudinal statements. While at some level the attitudes of men on this don’t surprise me, they still dismay me. That 40% of men agree that women often exaggerate stories about sexual harassment in the workplace (a result somewhat at odds with the response to the question about “lasting impact”). That nearly 40% of men believe discrimination is no longer a serious problem in Australian workplaces. That half of men believe that, compared to previous generations, women have little to complain about in the workplace.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2017/dec/12/its-an-important-moment-for-women-but-will-metoo-create-lasting-change

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above paragraph from the Guardian hits a chord with me. Over the past 18 months, I’ve lost 3 romantic relationships with men, after they have told me how “equal” things now are, how “men deserve a fair trial” in the face of rape culture. Every woman has a story of sexual violence. If she hasn’t told you, it means she doesn’t trust you, either because of other experiences or because you have done something that means she thinks you won’t believe her. Women live in constant fear of sexual violence, and change their days accordingly. How much make up one wears, the clothes one chooses, getting a taxi home instead of walking…

I don’t need a man to “get” it. I need a man to be able to close his mouth, open his ears, and engage his brain. Recently, I thought I had found that guy, but, painfully, it turned out I hadn’t.

I have decided to believe all women. This is radical. To believe all women means disbelieving all the bad men, which goes against society’s current of supporting the current power dynamic.

I am aware that, in terms of women’s history, I have won the lottery. Not only am I from a country where I can vote, own property, have my own mortgage and bank account without a man co-signing, but I am white and physically attractive, so even for my generation, I have considerably more power than many.

Many men today pretend to be gender conscious. They cook, they clean, they change nappies; they are also praised by society for doing this. Women sacrifice their whole lives for their children; forget commendation, condemnation for the slightest infraction. Superhuman efforts from mothers receive no praise, with criticism of mothers in the media a subtle constant. High levels of anything? Too many teenage mothers. Too many working mothers. Too much…blame on women.

A big problem I have in my search for a partner is that I get sucked in to believing that a man can see past his privilege, can have a sense of his own power in society; more right to speak, less interrupted, less criticised. (White) male transgressors were drunk, or mentally ill, while women did it because they are bitches, sluts, bossy, headstrong. Men can do no wrong, women can do no right.

I go on dating apps. If I’m honest, what I’m searching for is “true love”, someone to build a long-term relationship with. Someone I can support who supports me. Someone with whom we both bring out the best in each other. Life would be easier if I didn’t have this urge. I’m tired of investing time in getting to know people, trusting them, and being disappointed.

 Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre