Parents are Fantastic

This was meant to be published on the 15th of April, 2016 but never was, until now. Ah well.

If only you had muscles in your fingers, this would have been a significant workout seeing as it was all written on my Kindle Fire (by the way get one if you’re considering a tablet).

Parents are fantastic for making disproportionate and far fetched allegations. It’s a wonder how conditioned they are to believe a series of letters and numbers on a page that are acting only as a prediction, not even a report, of grades for exams. It makes me feel tremendous that they treat my sisters for merely existing. I bust my back at school (when I want to, which is a lot of the time apart from gossipy Lit lessons – kill me now) and I’m not given an ounce of recognition whatsoever. That’s not the point, however I just feel like I am punished for the way my sisters act when I am the absolute opposite to them. It is beyond a joke and it’s so tragic it’s funny. They bring up my old results from two years ago. That’s in the past it’s been dealt with. They told me I wouldn’t get into sixth form. I did without question. I passed all my exams and attained As in three subjects.

They say it’s not a lot and laugh at me saying that it’s a lot better than some. I know many people who failed at least one exam. Let alone got a series of As. I was the only of my three cousins (relatively aged that is) to get an A at all however it’s fine that my cousin drops A levels to take up a vocational course in game design. I’m made to feel like I’m shit for not “doing something with my life” like that however if it was I who decided to give the game up and go to college I would be absolutely hounded for it. There is an injustice and I speak out about it despite being condemned when I do. I get told I overreact, no I’m questioning the thought process behind these assumptions, they aren’t presumptions for they are based on hysteria, perhaps from TV, perhaps from not having and friends especially friends with kids them self. They sit at home and think up these ridiculous ideas about what I am and how I act, my attitude towards life and such but with no justifications and they contest any argument. Like an agitating jester online knowing his victim cannot react but squirm in anger on the other end. I am not perfect and I know this. I am not saintly and unfortunately I am not an Aspergers patient with an IQ of 170 (by the way you have as much credit for your IQ as you do your height). However, I know just how intelligent I am and how my of a spark, flare I have for what I am good at, what I excel in and even things I take interest in but not as good at. Without bragging, I have always had an unsatiated curiosity in me, one I can’t quench for long at least. My sisters, well, they’re basically being taught to not think for themselves.

My parents must have astronomical expectations about myself and often hint towards this in what they say and how they say it. Sometimes I don’t feel as if they realise how much they’re pressuring me. Most parents are extremely laid back or, sorry, just trust their children about their education. My parents know how interested I am and how devoted I can be to what I love yet they like to think I so the bare minimum. Yes I mess about at school sometimes, naturally as everyone does from time to time, I have fun but I pay so much more attention to my subjects than just what the curriculum expects. That’s not just recent. I’ve been doing slightly more advanced things than you’d expect on a computer since I was five years of age- thanks to my Dad! He’s the one fearing I won’t be passing my IT exams. I always was advanced in my English, they put me in a group for kids whom required extra help in English – ELS (English Learning Support) – at my primary school because I think they mistook my different approaches for being behind the standard or whatever. A couple of weeks later, they realised putting me in there was capping my potential gravely. I was always in the free reading group in each year after, being able to choose whatever advanced book I liked from the shelves of the library.

At secondary, as a lot of people do, I lost my focus in my first year – year 7 – many regard it as a settle in year, which for me it was. I’m sensitive and fitting in at that place was extremely difficult, I knew nobody except one person whom… Well her parent was a teacher so I will let you fill in the gaps as to how alienated she was and beyond repair too. That year saw a lot of ridicule and jibing towards myself however this isn’t about bullying and what happened seven years ago only really serves to me now as advice for my younger peers. I soon found my feet again and though my ever becoming. diverse music taste (it all started on rap when I was six) I became heavily into Tupac, but not just the beats and gangster appeal, no I was far more intrigued by his messages and struggles in a disadvantaged background, drugs, guns and crime surrounding him and tests of character through faith. I read more about my new idol, placing him beside how great I thought Eminem was at the time. I read about his interest in numerology and how he read The Prince whilst he served a prison sentence and how he supposedly copied the books author, Niccoló Machiavelli, in faking his own death to fool his enemies (this is where the seven day theory stems from). As a thirteen year old, in year 9, I cashed in a thousand yen note I used for a project in year four on Japan and used the eight pounds I got back to buy the book. I read it in no time and although I struggled to understand some on a first attempt, I read it until I finished it. I was just dubbed a poser by my dad, when it appears that that’s the very petty and vindictive kind of action he would pursue in. I was just interested, seems as if it’s a trait I received from my pap. I never gave a shit what people thought about me, I still don’t, and I see now why I am so drawn to my idols. I’d like to think to a degree I think like them all at least to a certain extent. Why would I pretend to like it and be engaged in it? To look smart? When all it did was gather me labels from prejudice arseholes? This is just one of the many examples of the way I’m viewed by my parents. If I break my back it isn’t good enough.

They pressure me, whipping me with words and astronomical expectations and wonder why I’m sometimes on the floor panting. They don’t appreciate my efforts. It’s not even just that. It’s the fact my sisters are demanding, often manipulative and toxic in their behaviours yet are treated like princesses and I am left as the one to answer to everything. It’s often the principle that upsets me not that “they got a treat and I didn’t” like some insolent prepubescent brat. I had work I submitted for a competition in year seven published in a Mini Sagas book by the Young Writers’ Association.

My father called it a vanity press, pissed on my parade entirely. I took my English exam early and attained an A. He grunted and jokingly asked me why it wasn’t an A* and just mentioned that I should keep it up. He tells me that I should only be doing it for myself and I know that, I don’t want to be a special snowflake but he twists my words to make me look like just that when I complain about my sisters being spoilt rotten and virtually having everything done for them without any merit whatsoever to justify it. Whomever says we live in a meritocracy is a fuckwit, we don’t at all. They demand and manipulate and twist and nag and beg. I ask and get ignored. Their needs are sated because my parents are pressured to give in so they don’t have to face hell every time my sisters are told no. My sisters are of the red behaviour card half an hour detention class clown persuasion who don’t know how to be rebels in the true sense: I was always dubbed a rebel by family members but I always had a cause. I would often speak out on social injustices big or small when I saw them. It seems to me that my sisters have no discipline and can’t take authority in any essence but think it’s just funny to talk back and fart and burp and make spasticated noises like chimps showing off at a zoo.

My parents don’t pressure them to work hard. They don’t underestimate their achievements. They don’t tell them off. They do not expect them to go to university and are completely relaxed about what my sisters suggest they want to do. Then they tell me I’m not good enough, or indirectly imply it at least. However they go on about to me how it’s competitive out there, how my results aren’t good enough in the real world (of work). How would my father know that? He’s been in the same job since he left university, 25 or so years ago,as a sales manager.

Talk to me a out competitive climate. My parents put a lot of money into my sisters’ horse riding and football game visits. Does she deserve it? Debatable. I ask for simple favours and get pushed to the side. I fear my words are hostile but only because of the tipping point I am at. My parents often tell me to “show them” – them being the collective of prejudices people that may be as of yet unknown to me. I think, however, I just need to show them as ironically at this point in my life they are two of the most prejudice people I know, it’s just harder to tell than it is with other people as you’d like to trust your !I’m and dad, sometimes the wolves have too much of a decent disguise for you to notice them, but something stinks,the wolf can’t hide its smell. For me it’s a cycle, as my girlfriend puts it “ticking boxes”. It’s as if one afternoon my dad decides that, having spent the day watching American Pickers on the lunatics lantern, that he comes to a conclusion that he hasn’t given me a good telling off in a long time. With that in mind he will soon find something even menial to bother me with, to fill in his metaphorical parenting ticksheet. My mother does it too. He will call me passive aggressive in arguments because I like to be calm. I just hate people raising their voice at me in any circumstance .

I am simply INFP (I get extreme Fi and Te when reasoning), I hate conflict and I often font care who is right or wrong as long as it stops. Unless I am presenting a case or see justice is being completely denied. My dad squares up to me and I stay still with the same polite intonation asking him to stop, sometimes telling. He calls it passive aggressive. I’m just passive. He’s just aggressive. Yet like so many people I regret to say he picks on my for his own flaws. This whole ongoing series of events ever supports Larkin’s “This Be the Verse” for those of you that don’t know it it goes…..

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
  They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
  And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
  By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
  And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
  It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
  And don't have any kids yourself.

I know this is something most of us face, at least to some extent or another. I can’t always be wrong and I used to feel guilty about arguing but I simply can’t let my feelings be twisted and broken to suit what they think. I feel like I am emotionally tormented often unknowingly but knowingly too and after reading Catch 22 by Joseph Heller I believe I’m living in some mundane version of a Catch 22 myself. I can’t complain. My Alicja is my saviour who faces a great deal of this too, she saves me. I love her. I can always escape to Alicja. Through the good and bad we are always at one another’s sides. She never fails me and by God I wouldn’t forgive myself for failing her.

I’ve escaped crazy HQ for the weekend, far out of the town, to stay with Alicja. I’m going to have a drink and a smoke, enjoy your weekend and remember just because they bring you up and raise you, don’t feel as if your parents are always righteous or superior or omnipotent. If you do feel that way, bear it in mind.

By the way, that weekend was absolutely lovely.

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Sexism, in fairytales? Happily NEVER after. [Part 1]

This post is quite long overdue, but I wanted to publish my thoughts on a paper we were presented with in my English Language class at the very beginning of the academic year (so, this would’ve been around September/October 2015). This is a less formal response to a text than what I would do at school, for humorous and personal stylistic purposes x) Enjoy.

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“I went to a place where animals talk for goodness’ sake I don’t care about gender.”

The paper was in fact of an academic thesis nature, written by Alice Neikirk from the University of Hawaii (the original paper I will be referring to is here). The paper’s main purpose appears to be, at least, highlighting a certain degree of ‘sexism’ that supposedly appears in the Brothers Grimm renditions of classic fairytales. I don’t know if you’ve read the original versions of tales that the Brothers Grimm at times adapted and effectively re-wrote entirely, but they are very different to the ones you may be  reading to your children at night, before bed. The originals often featured harrowing imagery and the tales did not end “happily ever after” like the trope of modern day fairy tales makes us expect today. For instance, the original Rapunzel story ended rather badly for Rapunzel but arguably even worse for the ‘brave knight’ whom ends up severely injured and blinded by spikes, as the witch cuts Rapunzel’s hair and dangles it out of the window simply mimicking Rapunzel in order to deceive. Let’s acknowledge the fact that the original tales were often a lot worse and clearly not as ‘soft’ as the modern version are. Yet for some people, there are still faults to be plucked out of what, to me, seems like thin air.

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Tired of ‘gender roles’? Here’s a revolutionary idea. If you think people are pressuring them onto you, ignore them. I don’t like sausage rolls, I just don’t eat them.

“A survey of these re-published stories yields a distinct trend that focuses on validating
women through submissive beauty while men are portrayed as active and, at times, violent.” Alice Neikirk writes in her ‘essay’. Is that so? Well, I don’t seem to remember that the modern versions of the tales pay much attention to the description of the protagonists, especially the extent of their ‘beauty’ Perhaps you’re talking about the even more bastardised renditions of the tales that appear as Disney animated ‘classics’. Even then, they are cartoons, computer generated figures and clearly not realistic. I don’t sense an ‘expectation’ for anyone to be that way. It may be true that men are depicted as more violent, more active than the women in the stories. However, if you add a little bit of context you will realise that it isn’t as sexist to women as it is to men, as you think. To start with, is it really sexist to women that men are depicted as abusive, more violent? I think that stains the image of men, personally, I don’t remember violence ever being a flattering trait unless you’re primitive and bloodthirsty. Secondly, let me discuss the ‘beauty races’ of Ancient Europe. The Grimm Brothers, as I am sure you are aware, were German. Germans had a lot of influence and ancestry from Scandinavia. In Scandinavia, they had so called ‘beauty races’ where ruling women would host a series of challenges for men to take so they could prove their strength, mettle and thus worth to the women.  This is clearly channelled through the modernised tales and, I think, is sexist to men if you consider ‘societal expectations’ and not women.
She goes on to say “Rather than being a mere reflection of societal ideals, these fairytales perpetuate Christian, patriarchal concepts as a means of maintaining the gender hierarchy.” which also does not quite sit right with me. If you spend a few moments to research the matter, you may come to the conclusion that these fairytales actually have little to do with Christian ideals (really, where did that come from? Furthermore why is that such a bad thing anyway? Most of your morals derive from Christian teachings…) and patriarchy doesn’t really come into play, nor does gender hierarchy as there were many strong female influences and leaders in the society in which they were published. The societies of Ancient Europe, for example, were quite matriarchal if anything. Also, the use of ‘perpetuate’ with ‘Christian’ need I remind you that Christianity is not a European religion and certainly not the only religion in Europe, I would argue that Paganism in fact still had a majority of the influence at the time.
“The effects of fairytales are evident in everything from studies done with children to the roles of males and females in current television programs. Movies, and more particularly horror movies, thrive on exploiting the stereotypes that tie together sexuality and violence that children are initially exposed to through fairytales. Fairytales have never been bedtime stories; in this day in age, they have morphed into a very effective means of exercising power over women and maintaining gender inequality.”
My problem with this is that, firstly, the so-called ‘studies’ are not listed in any manner whatsoever, which makes the statement lack significant plausibility and reliability. “Movies” and “horror movies” aren’t to do with fairy tales, so I sense a slight topic shift here. Is that a straw man to make your initial argument look more believable. I don’t think ‘sexuality and violence’ are exposed to children in the fairytales, unless you’re reading the originals, which I highly doubt you are. They also have nothing to do with these ‘horror movies’ If it upsets you that the “man might protect the woman” in a horror film, let’s see a film where the woman protects the man – I would love to see the outcry of ‘sexism’ that they let the woman die on screen and let the man live.  I do agree, however, with the first part of the last sentence of that paragraph. It is correct, in this day and age fairytales aren’t about bedtime stories, but it’s not correct that they’re about power over women and maintaining gender inequality (do you really think people make it their sole goal to ensure that woman aren’t equal to them? Maybe if you live in the Middle East.) I think they are about exploitation, but not to do with gender, to do with our pockets. Disney clearly create renditions of old fairytales to appease mums and dads and nuclear children and churn out all this cancerous merchandise to suit the cash cow they’ve clearly found in the market.
“Attractiveness is the most important attribute that a woman can possess, and is often an indicator of chances of future happiness.”
Again, is this based on how 3D models look, or the cartoon 2D illustrations of books? Any written ‘mention’ of beauty is surely subjective and hardly relevant to the outcome of the tale. Was the granny from Little Red Riding Hood exceptionally beautiful? Well, for one there was no mention and secondly, she was still saved, right?
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Because who can remember the “flattering” Betty Boop version of Cinderella?

“If the heroine is beautiful and good, then the evil character must exhibit the opposite physical attributes and this largely holds true.”
This is called physiognomy and appeared in most tales, still does to a large extent. Has fuck all to do with the gender of the protagonists/antagonists. Bond: “Handsome” Villain: “Grotesque” Try and think of some more examples. They’re everywhere and not exclusive to sex (which is the same as gender by the way c:) Also, the next section that reads: “Lazy girls and older women are generally ugly, evil, and determined to take advantage of the heroine.” provokes my response of… Lazy people are considered ugly as laziness, or ‘sloth’, is an ugly trait to many. It’s a metaphor. Secondly, all old people are ostracised by the young. It is always like that and, again, sex is irrelevant.
“They also exhibit traits that directly threaten the feminine ideal; they are strong, determined, and perhaps even greedy.”
Okay, so perhaps greed, or ‘avarice’, is unattractive and threatens and ideal but how does strength and determination threaten a feminine ideal? I thought women want to be presented as strong and determined.
“An interesting trend in fairytales arose during this period as well; rather than reflecting these changes in society, the focus on, and therefore perceived importance of, female attractiveness intensified (Lieberman, 2003). The new fairytales that began to emerge may portray a female in a more powerfully independent role, yet the physical appearance rarely departed from the heterosexual “Barbie doll” with a slight range of hair colors[sic.]*.”
* = Colour 😉
Yes, that would be because most people of the era were heterosexual and homosexuality was basically unheard of in society. Also, yes of course there would only be a ‘slight’ range of hair colours. Here! Black, brown, blonde, ginger, grey. There are your natural hair colours, anything other than that is fake! [sarcasm] Damn it’s a trip how there’s no multi-coloured haired gay fairies in any of the tales… I will never know… [/sarcasm]
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Modernising fairy tales in my opinion is uncalled for. In another 200 years someone will just re-write the re-written ones because they think ‘our’ ‘ideals’ are trash too.

Anyway, this post is getting long. See you in Part 2!