this person who redefined my world

I keep deleting this post and image, cause I’m so anxious and shut myself down.

I was considered ugly and unattractive growing up, and now, by so many people in my life, cause my skin was “too dark” and my “lips too big”. I never took photos of myself and never had social media accounts for the longest as a result.

It took me a very long time to understand that eurocentric beauty standards fuck up our concepts of beauty and I need to redefine beauty for myself, in a world that tells me what I should look like.

Fuck your eurocentric beauty standards
Fuck your misogynoir
Fuck your concept of beauty, that shrinks the hearts of so many black women and black girls like me.

Here’s a picture of me, smiling and shining cause I don’t shrink anymore.

Take up space, we are beautiful!

To all my darkskin siblings out there - who rarely see ourselves represented - I love you. Take up space.

I love u ❤️♥️❤️

trishica fic recs

a crash course in my bookmarks for all things jessica jones and trish walker? i guess? i also guess that my format’s gonna be: necessary notes > shining star fic rec > cut for other fic recs. these have been my necessary notes! i’m gonna shut up!

Proxemics by teyla

Proxemics: the study of personal space. In which the aftermath of Kilgrave’s death prompts Trish and Jess to redefine some boundaries.

this is! the best fic! in the world! there are kittens! there are LESBIANS EVERYWHERE! and all the while, it’s about RECOVERING FROM TRAUMA! and it’s genuinely just very pleasant while (obviously) dealing– respectfully!– with unpleasant stuff. i have tried to force literally everyone who speaks to me on a regular basis to read this fic. 

Keep reading

I’ve seen a lot of complaints regarding Dean’s characterization in the last episode –particularity about him being ooc or being gross –and I’ve occasionally disagreed with these complaints. I am not a fan of Perez or his crude humor, but I’m also not a fan of “neat-freak” dean phenomena, so I wanted to make a post to explain my thoughts. (as jumbled as they are) 

We tend to associate certain characteristics with certain personalities and professions. We connect book smartness to intelligence, talkativeness to compassion and education to emotional maturity. There is a certain white collar v/s blue collar tension, a certain classism that exists in our minds and in our perception. In our every day outlook.   

To me there seems to be two camps when it comes to decoding Dean. One side sees Dean as this redneck gross Neanderthal while other side sees him as this neat-freak, ultra-sensitive person. There are assumptions made  –checklists drawn and traits outlined, to define who dean is and to dictate how he must act. 

Usually, the redneck gross Neanderthal persona acts as a stand in for the blue collar identity while the ultra-sensitive/feminine neat-freak persona acts as a stand in for white collar identity. Each of these personas comes with specific, rigid, pre-defined characteristics and expectations. 

That joke about Dean being gross? that was a push for “redneck” Dean from the writers, which also implied a Dean who wasn’t very bright or interesting. Which is why a lot of Dean fans struggled in accepting “occasional grossness” as part of Dean’s personality. Because, subconsciously, we connect being unclean to being blue-collar and to being not intelligent. This also explains all those Sam fan meta where they describe Dean as this dim, redneck, insensitive person with zero emotional intelligence. 

But there can be a middle way, an alternative reading where we don’t automatically connect certain qualities to certain outcomes, where we don’t randomly assign arbitrary meanings to individual characteristics, where Dean can be a redneck (perceived negative quality) and emotionally intelligent, where he can be “not into books” but become an intuitive genius. 

Thankfully, Dean, real Dean, is a curve ball, an anomaly. He is too colorful, too different, too vast to ever fit within these stereotypical boxes. He is intelligent without being book smart, he is loving and compassionate without being overly emotional, he is everything and anything. He doesn’t follow the rules, he makes and destroys them on a whim. 

Dean, our dean is a study in contradictions, a collection of conflicting layers. He is gross and improper, but he is also a neat freak. He is “no chick flick moments” and manly tears, angry silences and heartfelt embraces, painful memories and childlike enthusiasm. He’ll guard his heart but he’ll eventually let you in, he’ll hold grudges but he’ll also fight the world for you. He’s a killer, but he is also a protector, a lover. 

Dean has redefined and reinvented himself multiple times –he has shattered assumptions, changed perceptions and eroded the very boundaries of his personality during this process. He is unconfined and boundless, unapologetic and unashamed. He can’t be restricted and reduced to simple checklists and stereotypes –he forces us to change our perceptions and worldviews just by existing. 

Feeling guilt for not being productive, but also for doing tasks?

If you were often criticized, shamed, interrogated, ignored and dismissed, or compared with someone while doing some basic tasks (like making food, doing assignments, having fun, resting, procrastinating) it’s likely that you feel guilty of something for doing pretty much anything. You could feel guilty for doing it too late, not doing it good enough, or in a correct way, or feeling like you’re doing something awful no matter what you’re trying to do. 

There’s often a sense of “ruining your own life” if you do procrastinate tasks, don’t push yourself to be productive every single moment of your life, take rests, naps, don’t put maximum of your energy and time into chores and assignments, don’t do everything someone asks you to do. 

Now this means you’ve been operating on someone’s standards and rules, someone set out for you just how good you have to be, when do you have to do things, how much you’re allowed to rest, how hard you have to try. And for the most part, these standards are impossible, unachievable, and not humane. Person who set these standards for you? They did not have your well being in mind. It could feel like they were set on you in order for you to succeed in life, but this is a lie. You can’t succeed in life while generating massive amounts of guilt for not achieving standards that human being can’t possibly achieve. It’s a way to generate misery, low confidence, always feeling like you’re late with everything, like you’re not good enough. Often capitalism and society will set these standards without you noticing, we’re subtly expected to work constantly, to the point of exhaustion. 

If you feel like you set these standards yourself, because you wanted to be successful and do your best, it’s likely that you felt you had to do all you possibly could to make your life situation better, and you ended up creating a system you felt you could follow, but now you found out you can’t, and you feel incredibly disappointed in yourself.

So what now? It’s time to redefine success and make some new rules! I am going to describe rules  I made for myself, but these don’t have to be anything like rules you make for you! You know yourself the best and what will work for you, my only advice would be to make them humane and possible for you.

Definition of a success? A person who is able to enjoy life. The idea that you need to be successful in professional world, achieve glory or get rich in order to be a successful person is bullshit. You’re going to feel good if people around you appreciate and value you, if you’re able to use your abilities to contribute to society and have that acknowledged. Do you need to be the absolute best at something and insanely successful in order to have this? No. You need some decent people who appreciate you as you are. You can be the best and still feel like shit. 

Rules for life: Feeling great about what I’m doing as long as I’m not hurting anyone. Spending entire day in bed? Didn’t even get a chance to hurt someone. Procrastinating? Literally no harm done to anyone, not even me, because imma get that shit done in last second. Not doing a task the way it’s supposed to be done / the correct way? Who cares! I’ve done it. It is done. I took three times as long for a task that should be done quickly? Who cares! No harm done. Taking 8 hour long nap? I likely needed it and did a favour to myself! No harm done. Refused to do a favour to someone? I need my time and energy for myself and I stopped them from messing up my recovery. There could have been harm if I’ve gotten out of my way to do it and then had to recover from that for days! So again, no harm done. I made a thing but it’s shitty? I practiced in order to achieve greatness! No harm done. Cried for hours? It’s healthy for me! Good thing done. Didn’t achieve expected milestone like job, marriage, car, housing in the expected point in life? What’s the hurry! You’re not hurting anyone by taking your time and keeping your own pace. And you don’t even have to do those, you can literally be self employed forever, never marry, travel however you feel like, and live wherever you feel good.

So rules are, do whatever the hell you want, when you want, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, nobody is allowed to give you shit or to pressure you into changing your rules and system. Of course people will try to, they always do. Keep in mind they do not do that for your well being, or out of honest concern, they’re messing with your values and your personal happiness and they need to be shown out. Someone making you feel bad for procrastinating/ resting/ crying/ not doing them a favour/ not having a job? They’re a piece of shit. It’s an attempt of controlling you and how you feel about your own life and it is not acceptable, no matter what they say their intentions are. You have the absolute right to decide your own values and standards, and as long as you’re not actively hurting someone, nobody has the right to give you shit for how you live your own life.

Understanding Modern #Love

The act of dating during my teens was rather elementary. This was the mid 80s in India and technology was non-existent in personal lives. For a vast majority of not so brave souls, myself included, the laws of physical and emotional attraction were confined to seeing ourselves on the screen as the chief protagonists in the movies in the act of falling in love. The movie industry made a killing churning out movies catering to lovelorn folks like us with the act of falling in love dished out in countless flavors while the protagonists tirelessly danced around the trees.

With the constraints imposed by the ‘unplugged’ world, the pursuit of finding a real love and a potential mate was limited by the physical space in which one existed and the primates were mostly driven by harmonal changes. However, the act of falling in love was an immersive experience that used all five senses and it was easy to filter the signal from the noise before it was too late.

I had my share of dating when I was young but all of that was confined to watching movies together or eating out. Having run out of patience with my proclaimed devotion to celibacy, my relatives set me up with a girl without any deference to my likes or dislikes. I guess they expected marriage would make me a good human being and make me fall in line like everybody else. I quickly realized during our phone conversations and the letters that I wrote that we were poles apart and there was nothing in common between us, except that we both were just ordinary human beings. Over time, the initial sensitivities to our idiosyncrasies grew into finer appreciation of individual traits. I guess it is very typical of any relationship/marriage. I tend to characterize it as an institutionalized stockholm syndrome to the dismay of my friends who vehemently deny it. 

Post-internet and smartphone era, with the ubiquity of instant communication at the very tip of your fingers, the constraints one had in discovering and communicating with potential mates virtually disappeared. Now, it is just a matter of a ‘will’ to find a way to connect with anyone and trying to pursue a relationship.

A few years ago, a young friend of mine set up a fake profile with the name #BradPitt2 on Twitter and started following #Jolie_Angelina. I guess she was not interested in a sequel and didn’t care to follow him in return. Recently, he was still hoping to find her on Tinder, inspite of we constantly ridiculing him that there is no app for ‘hope’, during his trip to LA and was instantly matched up with JoeyAngelina99. He was not too keen on fake profiles either although he pursues his dating using only fake profiles.

Technology and modern love have become inseparable. While it made finding a date elementary, it also made a debauchery of true love. One can can look up profiles and connect on Facebook, follow on Twitter, like on Instagram, and hookup on Tinder. If you get lucky, you can start texting on Whatsapp, get intimate on Snapchat, and become passionate on Viber.

The pursuit of modern love in the new age of technology completely changed the game of love and the experience of falling in love, and being in love has become highly fragmented and asynchronous. While technology became an enabler it also complicated matters. Just like the global economy, the commerce of love now extends beyond our schools/colleges, neighborhoods, countries, and even across continents. My friend Eddy found his love in Europe, sitting in his lazyboy recliner, from a remote cabin in Montana, and they didn’t speak the same language. He spoke English and she spoke Russian, and they communicated mostly using emojis and found they were perfect for each other and got married. Speaking of symbolism, one doesn’t really need to know a language as long you are the master of emojis. Archaeologists will surely vouch that this is how the early primates communicated their feelings of love. No wonder there is new social network emoji.li that lets you communicate only with emojis.

Technology did give hope to all those who missed the bus and those who are trying to get off the wrong bus. With all the choices that technology offers, it has also made us a victim of choice as we get sucked into an illusion of unlimited choices when, in fact, they are limited.  While technology can be credited for overcoming hookup problems, it did complicate the act of forging an enduring relationship as the physical and virtual worlds collide. All those emojis that got you hooked were not really all that funny and engrossing when manifested in the physical world. You suddenly start experiencing your relationship with all the five senses instead of a two dimensional visual. The visual that you saw with your eyes on your screen may not be palatable to your taste, not music to your ears, or may smell bad in the real world.

Has technology made an impact on how modern love is perceived, discovered, and experienced?  Love is a complex phenomenon. In an effort to simplify love, matchmaking services such as Match.com and Tinder use advanced algorithms to model individual traits to find potential matches. These algorithms do help in narrowing the search, but have limitations when it comes to finding the perfect match. It is the engineering difficulty in accommodating all the individual traits, and the variability of weightage from an individual to an individual, all in a single algorithmic model. There is also an inherent danger in oversimplification and generalization when we’re dealing with a subset of variables from a large and diverse pool. However, we blindly start following the recommendations and are led to believe that it is the correct match when in fact it is not, and soon the euphoria turns delusional.

According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. Compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another. Passionate love is the result of strong physical and emotional attraction. Technology complicated the matters as the act of dating became series of technology enabled transactions. We begin to fall in love with the emotional transactions - likes, posts, texts, emojis, and chats, more than the person who is sending these.

Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed a triangular theory suggesting that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. The different combinations of these three components result in different types of love. For example, a combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love, while a combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love. According to Sternberg, relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring than those based upon a single component. Sternberg uses the term 'consummate love’ to describe a combination of intimacy, passion and commitment. While this type of love is the strongest and most enduring, Sternberg suggests that this type of love is rare.

With the advent of technology, the intimacy is now replaced by what you text your mate and passion is now measured by how many texts  you send per minute, commitment is defined by whether you maintain the same rate of texting even while driving or after you become weary and your finger tips start hurting.

Is technology altering the psychology of love?   Do we perceive love differently than before ?  The jury is still out. Discovering your love is now easier with technology.   With the ubiquity of instant communication you can send a signal at the press of a button. In 140 characters or less you can convey your feelings which used to take pages that one wrote over a number of days expressing their love.   As these tiny transactions that make up the commerce of love flash across our screens, we respond to it at the speed of light and wait for the next one to arrive.  A long intense conversation that typically happens in a physical world is now replaced by tiny waves of conversation in the virtual world.  Breaking up could be as simple as stop responding on a convenient pretext instead of a long-winded closure.  

Technology democratized #Love by making it accessible to everyone and made it possible for all those souls who are starved of a basic emotional need regardless of age, size, shape or color to find their match.   I don’t need to be hanging around local bars when I can find someone from the comfort of my cabin in Montana.  For those who are looking for love sans commitment, it’s a blessing that many apps allow you to block or remove a person from your contact list. If you don’t want to hear from a person anymore, you can do so with a single click.

Technology brought in new types of love – instant, casual (with no strings that one can indulge without having to engage in a serious commitment), and in a way redefined and diluted the older forms of love.    A selfless love in the digital world is liking your mates selfie without he/she reciprocating with a like on your post. An obsessive love is where you keep calling and sending messages to your mate in spite of not getting a reply. And there is more - the pragmatic type of love (realistic and practical) that  means  you can now offer several more excuses to your loved ones  -  from battery died, being in a meeting, signal loss to a lost phone.

  I have found technology to be healing in the game of love. When there are days me and my wife get into a fight and stop talking to each other, we still text about chores that need to be done. Technology has also been a great leveler as it removes the awkwardness of re-connecting with your loved ones when you don’t see eye to eye. A simple 'Hi’ or a 'Hello’ or if you are appsmart a 'Yo’ can now reignite the magic of love.

After reading Janet Mock’s book, #RedefiningRealness, I realized I still had areas of my life that needed redefining. I have a successful career that seems to only be getting better;  I’m blessed to help other transwomen re-discover their value in the workplace and redefine success for themselves. My love life, however, is so un-encouraging. From the age of 19, when I had a crush on an Italian heartthrob named Savino, to 2013 even, I experienced a string of let-downs.

I’ve attracted the type of men I’ve always seen myself dating, yet ultimately knew that the relationship was going to end and that it would be “the first of a long line of romantic rejections.”  I learned a lot more than I expected around issues of disclosure reading Janet’s book.  Like Janet, I too have the privilege of passing, but have ultimately felt the need to out myself very early on in meeting someone. Doing so has either abruptly ended the experience, or taken our conversation hostage - everything we talked about would be intimately related to the fact that I’m a girl with a penis. Guys who presented themselves as gentlemen and relationship-ready turned into curious creeps who asked questions they would never ask a cisgender woman so early on. Emails and text messages asking, “How big is it?”, “Are you versatile?”, “Will you dominate me?”

These were men who lied to me about their intentions just to try to sleep with me. At that point, such a man no longer sees me; he no longer sees the woman who is passionate about her career and helping others; he doesn’t see the woman who plays two instruments, or has an insatiable appetite for non-fiction.  He sees a chick with a dick: his personal Internet fantasy. Since reading Redefining Realness, I have taken down all of my disclosures on my dating profiles and decided to just allow the right guy to get to know me for me.  It has made a WORLD of difference.  

Even something as simple as waiting a few emails, text messages, or phone calls sets a better tone for him respecting me for who I am.  By the time he realizes just how amazing of a woman I am, the gentleman inside himself won’t allow him to degrade or disrespect me, even if he decides that I am not the type of woman for him.  I owe this ah-ha moment to Janet Mock and Redefining Realness.

I’ll forget what I’ve done, I will be redefined
A personal essay about Years & Years

(Content warning for discussion of depression)

I bought Years & Years’ album ‘Communion’ around three days before a depression that had threatened to arrive for several weeks hit me harder than it had for several years. It became the soundtrack to that particular bout of my illness, and my recovery, as well as the other side, where I am now. It would be corny and embarrassing to turn this into a confessional, but this record, and Olly Alexander’s voice in particular, felt so much like a friend to me during the summer of 2015 (I listened to ‘Communion’ every day) that I can’t help but align it very specifically to my personal experiences.

During the worst weeks, I had almost completely pushed away everyone that I cared about. I rejected all but the barest, blandest contact with my friends, my boyfriend, my mum. They knew what was going on of course, but I didn’t think I deserved contact with any of them. None of them felt real, it was just me and ‘this’. There was nothing else and I could see no future for myself – not in a nihilistic way, in a genuine, pathetic, banal way. I needed something to tell me who I was again, because I was losing that, and I couldn’t find the words myself.

I booked a holiday to Paris by myself because I needed to be somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t speak the language and I couldn’t face the idea of being around anyone else for 3 days straight. I spent the holiday walking around Pigalle and Rome, looking at paintings, writing idealistic, indulgent, awful prose about beautiful boys I saw sat outside cafes and listening to Years & Years over and over and over again. On the last day, I walked through the station to get my Eurostar home, passed a billboard for ‘Communion’, and almost burst into tears.

I’m not going to go into huge detail or specifics about what it was that made ‘Communion’ the thing that I latched onto (as this isn’t a confessional). It was everything that I’ve already talked about – the longing, the dancing while crying, the tension between feeling in the moment and looking back differently. I saw my friend do a lecture earlier this week on symbolism in Victorian art, and one of the things that she talked about was how symbolism was about giving the viewer something to interpret, it was about the potential of the symbol rather than the specific, concrete meaning of it. I think that’s the magic of deriving meaning from music, too – it doesn’t matter why a certain song means the thing you want it to mean, or how you got to that point. It matters that it means something at all.

I wrote yesterday about finding it difficult to listen to ‘Shine’, and I think this is because on a record that described my feelings of confusion and self-doubt perfectly, it initially appeared too cheerful, too removed from what I was experiencing when I first starting listening to ‘Communion’. I often skipped it when listening to the album. But when I started to feel better, it felt more like a release and a celebration of vitality than a reminder of what I was missing out on, what ‘normal’ people were feeling. The line ‘I’ll forget what I’ve done / I will be redefined’ really helped me, as did the repeated ‘ooh ooh oohs’ when they reappear at the very end of the song, the bit that feels like coming out of a haze into the light. That’s so, so cheesy, I know – but after feeling nothing every single day for so long, taking solace in anything is a fucking miracle, and it doesn’t matter if it’s tacky or clichéd or just some backing vocals that aren’t even real words.

I’ve always been a fan of overwrought emotional art – I like Pedro Almodovar and Bas Jan Ader and the Romantic poets – but it all felt like it was from another time, a time when I was better. These books and films and songs felt like my friends, which is why I pushed them away. Years & Years was new and that’s why it showed me myself and let me get better. I’ll forget what I’ve done, I will be redefined.

‘Communion’ feels more personal than anything I could ever make myself. It feels so personal because it’s not showing me to the world, it’s not expressing whatever representation of myself that I want to show to others; it’s showing me to me. This is what you feel. This is what you have always felt. This is who you are, really, and what nobody else can know. The name feel appropriate.

Of course, Olly and Mikey and Emre didn’t ask for this, and I wonder whether relating so closely to someone else’s art is like an invasion of personal space. Isn’t it such a cliché anyway? A record ‘saving’ you? Pop music knowing you better than you know yourself? Popstars putting the words in your mouth? Isn’t that why it’s called pop music? Because it’s popular, it’s usual, it’s common, it’s what we all think and feel and do and see. It’s lowest common denominator. It tells us what we feel so that we don’t have to articulate it by making records ourselves. Does everyone else really feel like that too? It is showing everyone themselves, like it shows me myself? Does everyone feel like me? Am I usual, common, like everyone else?

I’ve never really, really loved anything that’s super super popular before. Pop music makes up the majority of what I listen to on the daily, and I’m a major advocate for pop, but the songs that I relate the most deeply and specifically to, the songs that speak my thoughts back to me, tend to be from artists who are popular but not million-selling, Radio 1 A listers – Elliott Smith, Owen Pallett, Patrick Wolf.

Years & Years are super super popular. I have to admit it is a new experience for me to watch them performing ‘Real’ or ‘Foundation’ or ‘Memo’ in front of a large crowd at a festival, and see everyone else singing along. All of those people – do they feel it like I feel it? The sensation of feeling a deep connection to a certain group or a certain song taken to the extreme is feeling like it’s just you, you REALLY get it, all these other people couldn’t possibly understand. When Olly Aexander looks down the camera at the beginning of the ‘King’ video, when he looks into the crowd, it’s YOU he’s looking at. It’s selfish, and you obviously know it isn’t true, but a part of you believes it.

This is part of the inherent competitiveness that exists in fandom, too. Who’s liked them the longest? Who likes them the most? Who likes them in the right way? This kind of thing is mostly associated with pop fandom, boyband fandom or anything else that’s enjoyed by teenage girls, and it’s evident in Years & Years fandom too – every post on Instagram and Twitter is followed by hundreds of replies and comments and confessions of love and pleas to be noticed and requests to play Poland/Chicago/Germany/etc again.

I have nothing whatsoever against these expressions of fandom, but I don’t feel I relate to them either, which is probably normal for a 28-year old woman. I’ve spoken a lot about duality this week, about the power of Olly Alexander’s performance and Years & Years’ music being in their ability to be one thing and the other at the same time. I feel that same duality when I go see Years & Years – when I’m in a crowd, dancing, enjoying it with everyone else, feeling part of a larger something, but also reflecting, and feeling a connection to it that’s so, so personal and specific to me. ‘Communion’ didn’t save my life, but it certainly helped me to live in it again as a fully functioning person.

(that’s my hand and my friend’s top hat)