Month: August 2013

Placing Your Faith in Happiness; or, Appreciating the Wobble

Placing Your Faith in Happiness; or, Appreciating the Wobble

Like I said last week, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. This whole ‘six months in London’ thing has given me plenty of food for thought, because if I’m totally honest, I found that transition considerably more difficult than I expected to. I […]

Three Years; or, Further Steps Towards Being Healthy(ish)

Three Years; or, Further Steps Towards Being Healthy(ish)

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking this week. It’s a bit self-absorbed, but hell – that’s why I blog. I’ve made it through six months in London – which, when I wrote this post, seemed like years away – and it’s rapidly approaching […]

Let’s Get Angry, and Start Being Kind

Let’s Get Angry, and Start Being Kind

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty chilled out kinda girl. Relatively. I spend a lot of time telling people not to worry about stuff, and I don’t stress too much about the future because I figure it’ll all turn out alright in the end, just so long as I keep my chin up.

I like to think that, on the whole, I’m pretty forgiving. I’m relaxed. People make mistakes, and say or do the wrong thing, but when it comes down to it, I’m absolutely frickin’ incredible at doing that too – so I get over it. it’s fine.

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Anyway, I drink far too much coffee to take on extra stress. I’ve cut down recently, but still – y’don’t need to be getting all wound up over little things and then chucking a boatload of caffeine into the mix. That’s just dumb.

However, some things are worth getting mad about. Namely, the big things, like snark culture, body image, weight loss gimmicks and rights – not just women’s rights, but everyone’s.

But then, these big things are hard to fix, because they’re… Big. They’re mountains in comparison to lil’ ol’ me. I’d be far better off pointing my fury elsewhere, at things like the fact my mouse on my work laptop dies with exasperating regularity, or my iPhone keeps overheating and turning itself off, because these are things I can fix. Probably.

But these things only benefit me – and the overwhelming outpouring of awesomeness that followed my “knickers and v’s” post makes me think there are enough people out there doing amazing things to start a revolution. Or rather, join in with the many revolutions going on all over the world – from Go Kaleo’s “I Am Awesome” project, to last week’s Twitter silence and the shouting back that matched it, to true gentleman Joe Taylor speaking about his experience of everyday sexism…

People are doing awesome things, everywhere.

And there’s a common thread among all these things.

They’re all rooted equally in anger or frustration on the one hand, and kindness, generosity and compassion on the other. They’re about understanding; about seeing something wrong and trying to fix it with positive action and genuine care.

These examples are, generally speaking, aimed at women. They’re not exclusive to ladies, and they deal with issues that really ought to be considered by everyone – but on the whole, they’re targeted at women. You’d think, though, that these things were a minority interest, for all you’ll find them in the kind of discourse generally seen to be by and for women.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am once again referring to the women’s magazine market. I know I keep doing this. Broken record. Do not care.

I come back to them, time and again, because they represent the gradual erosion of the confidence of a thousand girls whose bodies don’t measure up to the “perfect” figures which, themselves, are anything but immune from the “circle of shame.”

This be bullshit.

When you compare and contrast, you can see that where the really revolutionary people are focused on kindness and goodness, these mags are rooted in old-fashioned nastiness and snark. They’re the product of the same culture that created low-fat and fat-free foods (which did anything but prevent the whole obesity/diabetes/heart disease epidemic) and made heroin chic a “thing.”

In short, they’re out of date. They’re like ancient relics, or the purple corduroy flares I used to wear at high school. They’re old-fashioned, and they’re no longer relevant. And unlike purple corduroy flares (which I still maintain are awesome), they’re actually pretty annoying.

(By annoying, I mean they ignite in me the fires and fury of hell – but I’m trying to be understated here. Go with it.)

Because it turns out that kindness and compassion are the avant-garde, which is kinda odd because they’re supposed to be the default setting, the one that comes naturally. Still, it’ll do. If we can be revolutionaries by being nice, then fine. Colour me revolutionary.

This is the kind of thing I mean when I talk about all-round wellbeing. I’m referring to eating natural foods (most of the time, at least); to doing exercise you enjoy because it makes your body happy; to learning to love yourself despite – and because of – your flaws; and to being positive, not just towards yourself, but other people too. When you turn that positivity outwards, I swear to God it really does come back in buckets. I’ve witnessed that for myself over recent months. People are kind.

And I figure this is how we conquer those big things I mentioned earlier. Snark culture can be overcome by just stepping back and giving up snarking; body image can be repaired if we start being nicer to ourselves and each other; weight loss gimmicks can be defeated by spreading the word about the healthy, tasty, plentiful things you can eat (that don’t come in a packet, or, heaven forbid, the post); and if we all start being more kind, more compassionate, more caring towards ourselves and each other, I reckon we could take some pretty big steps towards this rights thing being sorted, too.

It won’t solve everything, of course – not even close. But it’s a step we can all take, individually and together, to change the snarky status quo. Get angry about the fact that Heat magazine thinks you’re not perfect, and get mad about the fact that certain politicians think they know more about your sexuality than you do; but then counteract it by giving yourself credit for being amazing (because you are), and pass it on. Tell someone they’re brilliant, and that they deserve to be happy. Mean it, because they probably do.

It might not change the whole world, but in combination with the knowledge that we can – and should – fight the status quo regardless of whether some nameless internet asshat is going to tell us what we “deserve,” it’s certainly got potential to do some good.

So vive the damn revolution team – go forth and be kind!

In a Shocking Turn of Events, the Diet Industry is Selling You Lies

In a Shocking Turn of Events, the Diet Industry is Selling You Lies

You may have caught the show “The Men Who Made Us Thin” on BBC2 on Thursday night. If you didn’t, but you’re in the UK, you can watch it on iPlayer here. It was, frankly, excellent, if you’re really into shouting at your TV. Or, […]