Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance

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So I was just looking down at my left leg and was reminded of my complete lack of physical coordination. On my left knee is the brutal scar from when I was 14 and tripped and fell onto a dirt road whilst racing my younger sister (trying, but failing, to prove to her that I was still faster than her), removing all the skin off my knee and creating several deep cuts. Just below, are two big bruises which I managed to obtain over the weekend – and which I can only assume are the result of something I did whilst being perhaps slightly intoxicated, since I have no idea what caused them [that, or someone came into my room while I was sleeping and punched my shins – which also seems like a likely scenario].

In fact, if you then move to the other side of my body, and I took my pants off, you would see the remnants of a massive bruise I’ve had on my right arse cheek after falling down 12 wet wooden steps a few weeks ago [which, I note, when I took a photo of it 2 days post said incident, looked exactly like a massive piece of steak which you would have expected to see a side a veggies next too – just FYI]. That bruise is probably the best bruise I have and will ever obtain [thanks].

We should probably all take a moment to reflect on the glory of that bruise [just use your imagination when you’re doing your said reflection]…

Moment taken. Just to note, it was so impressive that I pulled down my pants twice at work to show my work colleagues, just because I didn’t think it was fair if I kept it all to myself [feel free to take another moment, if that context will assist with your imagination].

I’m very tempted to insert the picture of my arse cheek here, however, I feel like that might come back around to bite me in the arse….

I’m very tempted to insert the picture of my arse cheek here, however, I feel like that might come back around to bite me in the arse….

Then, if you move back to the other side of my body, and head south to my toes, you would see a swollen toe and flap of skin from when I got my foot stuck under the bus door when I was trying to step off said bus – because you know, that happens to everybody right? I also want to point out at this point that my sister, McCool, who was on the bus with me, instead of helping to pull my foot out, fell out of the bus in a fit of laughter, which also prevented other people on the bus from helping me, as they assumed that surely the situation wasn’t serious if my only friend was laughing about it – that’s love. She was literally on the ground rolling in laughter.

The scenic tour around my body doesn’t end there.

Head back up north, right to the top of my head and there is still a tiny lump from where a massive ceramic vase fell onto my head immediately after I placed it on top of my bookcase, and it literally smashed into pieces on my head, instantly creating a growth on the top of my head which resembled half an egg – which although it did hurt quite a lot, and I’m pretty sure my intelligence level hasn’t been the same since, I did have A LOT of fun getting people to feel the lump and encourage them to comment on how gnarly it was (although it wasn’t as exciting as pulling down my pants for people to show off my gnarly bum bruise).

Although I haven’t really broken that much (just my nose four times), or caused long term damage (apart from ripping the tendons in my wrist and also ignoring any brain damage my accidents may have caused), my whole life I have walked into walls I thought were further away, lost my balance and fallen, not properly stepped over obstacles and tripped or left my fingers in things I’m trying to close. I’ve also knocked over a lot of things, walked into a lot of people and generally done a lot of stupid shit resulting in bodily harm. To an outsider, it would most definitely not appear as though I have had 26 years of practice with this body.

clumsy - toes

I started to wonder why I am inflicted so [although not sure if it’s such an infliction if I get so much enjoyment showing off my bumps and bruises – but not the point]. Anyway, I have stumbled upon the answer!

I thought the answer was going to have something to do with my complete lack of mindfulness (as it applies to my body and the space my body takes up), or perhaps my depth perception inabilities – I thought wrong.

According to Freud, there is no such thing as an accident. He proposed a model of unconscious intention to self-injury or self-destruction.

“Anyone who believes in the occurrence of half-intentional self-injury… will be prepared also to assume that in addition to consciously intentional suicide there is such a thing as half-intentional self-destruction (self-destruction with an unconscious intention).”

Unconsciously, us clumsy folk are trying to punish ourselves, revealing particular areas of our bodies that unconsciously we wish to be destroyed. So my problem, it appears, is that my unconscious believes that my body, all areas of it, is the enemy which must be destroyed.

So if you, like me, often walk into things, trip over nothing, fall up steps, accidently bite your own elbow and get your foot stuck under doors, don’t be alarmed… you just hate your body unconsciously, or at least your unconscious mind is so afraid of it, that it believes your body must be destroyed, perhaps to avoid your body otherwise destroying your unconscious mind WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT!! [That seemed like a legitimate unconscious fear].

If you’re not willing to live with that explanation or accept it, then don’t worry, I did google how to cure clumsiness. According to Wikihow you just need to practice a sport alone (because if you do group sports, you will get too anxious about how shit you are that you will just become more clumsy). It is recommended that you do 2 weeks of racquetball practice which is noted to cause noticeable improvement. Cool.

I’m pessimistic though – I’m not sure how 2 weeks of racquetball can cure a lifetime of repeated unconscious desires to self-destroy. Let me know how you go…

The love story between McAwkward and banana smoothies

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I really love banana smoothies. I’d go so far as to say that I am obsessed with them. If someone told me I could never have a banana smoothie ever again – that someone would be risking their life in telling me for starters – but I would most definitely as a consequence transition through the 5 stages of loss and grief that are experienced by people when someone they know dies [that’s right – not being able to have a banana smoothie ever again would be the same as someone facing the death of someone they love].

It's love.

It’s love.

This is how I see it going down:

Person: “So turns out that you can no longer buy a banana smoothie anywhere in the world, and also, it’s now illegal to make them yourself, and even if you didn’t care about breaking the law, apparently we’ve dried up our source of bananas and they are now extinct forever. So if you didn’t quite get it yet, let me be clear – you will never ever be able to have a banana smoothie ever again.”

Me:
1) Denial – I’ll immediately begin to run away from Person, then run back and say, “You’re wrong!” I would then return to running away towards an isolated corner and once reached said destination would begin talking to myself saying, “whatever, banana smoothies DO still exist and I’m going to go and get one RIGHT NOW even!”
2) Anger – When I try and order a banana smoothie and no one knows what I’m talking about [because apparently banana smoothies have also been wiped from the memories of everyone else around me] I’ll run back to Person and punch them in the face. I would then feel guilty about having punched Person in the face, which will make me more angry and just looking at their face will make me angry anyway because I’ll connote their face with the bad news about banana smoothies, so I might even be inclined to also kick them in the shins. I’ll pull an angry face too. And then I’ll cry about the fact that I’ve become a violent person.
3) Bargaining – I’ll then apologise to Person about having taken my anger out on their face and shins, and then plead with them to verify their statement and take it back because surely they must have read this in the daily mail or something and it’s not actually true. I’ll then also run away again and start pleading with everybody to find a way to bring bananas back so that we can once again have banana smoothies.
4) Depression – When I’ve realized that all the pleading and begging is doing nothing, and I’ve also began suffering banana smoothie withdrawals (evident from the profuse sweating, pacing and development of Tourette Syndrome where I randomly shout “BANANA SMOOTHIE!” at people’s faces), I’ll go to my bed, get under the sheets and cry myself to sleep, and never again get out of bed due to the weakness that has set in from all the crying and feeling sad. I’ll want to stay asleep forever, because in my dreams, banana smoothies would still exist.
5) Acceptance – hmmm, ok so maybe I would only go through the first 4 stages of the grieving process, because there is no fucking way I could never accept not ever having a banana smoothie again. Just, no way Jose.

Duck-No-Way-Jose-Foie-Gras

If you think I’m being dramatic, you clearly don’t love anything as much as I love banana smoothies. And if you retort to that statement with sentiments regarding the fact that you do love a thing as much but that said thing is a person and therefore the love you have for the person is more special and important than the love I have for banana smoothies, then I would call you humanocentric.

Yeah, you heard me.

Actually, the reason why the word humanocentric came to my mind [apart from the obvious fact that you would be humanocentric if you thought love for humans is more important than love for banana smoothies] is because humanocentrism (also known as anthropocentrism) is something that has been on my mind a bit lately. That is, when I’m not thinking about where and when I will get my next banana smoothie fix from.

It often comes up [humanocentrism that is, not banana smoothie cravings] when one considers the relationship between the environment and humans and in dealing with the belief that humans have dominion over plants and animals to serve their needs as a human – because obviously humans are the most supreme of all living things [italics used for the purpose of conveying sarcasm – explanation used for the purpose of conveying that I like to over explain things].

The idea of humanocentrism states that humans are the sole bearers of intrinsic value and all other living things are there simply to sustain humanity’s existence. Thus, and because this belief has been, and is, so widespread (often due to religion), human’s treatment of the natural environment is altering the ecosystem and we now face many environmental crises as a result of human exploitation and abuse of the natural environment – so obviously acting on a human-centred system of values rather than nature-centred is going to be better for humans in the long run [resisting the urge to want to explain use of sarcasm italics again]. It’s funny, because if you are truly humanocentric, then shouldn’t you actually be ecocentric so that you avoid human survival being threatened…??!!

Anyway, I got side tracked there, because, although I do care about banana smoothies the environment broadly, I’ve been thinking more specifically about humanocentrism in the context of being a consumer of animals [excluding humans – you can continue being my friend without the concern that I will attempt to purchase and eat you].

I get that humans have developed in such a way by having been meat eaters, and that we’re not the only animals that kill and eat other animals – however, the difference on that latter point is that, we don’t just kill when and only what we need to eat. Humans have created a commodity of other animals – their wellbeing considered important only insofar as it effects productivity and profit.

This issue has been something that has bothered me for years, but often, I just try and push the concern I have to the back of my mind, particularly when I have been served with a plate of meat. Even early on in my life I can always remember feeling ‘bad’ about eating meat whenever I consciously thought about the fact that my piece of meat used to be an alive animal. As a consequence I learnt to separate the piece of meat on my plate with the animal that it came from so that I could eat guilt free.

I wonder what gives me the right to think that I matter so much as a human being to act like it doesn’t matter how the animal was treated that I am now eating, or how many animals needed to die unnecessarily for this one piece of meat I am now eating… It makes me sad to think that I form part of a species that gives themselves such supremacy above all other living things to the extent that we think it is ok to separate our food with what it once was in order to make ourselves feel better, or worse, not even feel bad at all when they hear about the way humans regard other animals as a commodity.

I think the difference between humans killing and eating other animals, and animals in the wild that do it, is that they aren’t cruel in the way they go about it, and they aren’t wasteful or greedy like humans are either.

The idea of eating meat that only comes from family farmers does help my guilty conscience, but the reality is, I don’t have the time to go out to a farm and make sure I’m buying the right kind of produced meat, and going day to day about your business, it’s generally impossible to really know where the meat has come from.

To be honest, even if I got my meat from an anti-conglomerate source, I’m still left with the question about why we eat some animals and not others – people would probably vomit if I served them cat for dinner (at least in western cultures), but they would be perfectly ok with me serving them rabbit (even though my own pet rabbit would be sitting just metres from them). I also feel like a hypocrite because I know that no matter what, personally I just have to separate my piece of meat from the animal it used to be to not feel bad – if I’m personally not ok with seeing a sheep roaming free in a farm, and then seeing it killed and cut up so I can take my family farm fresh meat away with me (I’m not ok because I would feel bad about the sheep that has just died, when I could have just eaten veggies and not caused any animal to die), then maybe I shouldn’t be eating meat at all (the notion of ignorance is bliss doesn’t seem right for this situation).

The way I’m yapping on would probably make you think I have a completely vegetarian diet. Alas, this incorrect. I’m gluten intolerant and so it seems difficult to me to go strictly vegetarian, and so, I often do go about life being blissfully ignorant in this respect. I feel it is only a matter of time, however, before I make this leap.

But I’m also hypocritical for another reason, because although the undertone of the most part of the post has been that people should aim to have a nature-centred system of values and hold ecocentric views, respecting all living things – I think it’s pretty clear that if anything, I’m in fact bananasmoothiecentric (and going by my actions, this would be followed closely by gincentric).

At least no animals died in the process of making banana smoothies (and gin) – and if they did and you proceed to relay this news to me, then I refer you to the beginning of this post – you will be left with a sore face and I will be left depressed in my bed – I think neither of us want that.

Budget Smudget

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The 2014 budget. A lot of people are talking, writing or protesting about it, and I’ve resisted writing about it until now because I’m no expert economist, nor have I read all of the Budget Papers. However, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have my own little bitch about the budget… and apart from being clear about the fact that I’m not going to try and give an unbiased opinion nor attempt to consider the whole budget, I want to be clear about something else from the outset – a budget which causes the more disadvantaged to suffer the most, and have high income earners barely scathed, causes me great concern. It concerns me when people can’t see that not only should you help the most disadvantaged simply because that’s the humane thing to do, but when you invest in the most disadvantaged, this will create stability and positive returns to the economy as a whole anyway.

In the budget overview, the Government explains that it wants to make sure that the budget doesn’t remain in deficit and is focused on ensuring that Government finances are projected to be on a clear path to credible surplus, but without increasing taxes (the rich make a sigh of relief), and instead by cutting back on government spending (the rich say ‘pfft, whatever doesn’t bother me’ and the poor say ‘now I can’t afford my rent, thanks for that’).

I read in Budget Paper No.1: “The Budget will redirect taxpayers’ dollars from spending that is consumed today to productive investment for tomorrow. It will do this while supporting the most vulnerable, and taking significant steps towards ensuring that government can live within its means. The decisions in this Budget will move Australia towards equality of opportunity for all.”

I literally laughed out loud when I read this, and let me explain why, by referring to two areas I feel most passionately about – education and foreign aid.

The first reason why I laughed – the Government is effectively abandoning needs-based funding for our schools, by cutting funding to schools with the most vulnerable students, and instead continuing with a funding system which ignores the needs of students, saving around $30 billion over the next 10 years. The needs-based funding which is going to be abandoned was built on the premise that education outcomes should not be driven by wealth and all students should have access to high quality education regardless of their background. By making this cut, instead of ensuring equity in our education, the Government has chosen a course that will only further entrench disadvantage by helping to grow achievement gaps between the disadvantaged and the advantaged, rather than help in closing them because the underfunded public schools will continue to fall further behind.

Also, whilst the Government will continue to make loans available to eligible students, university fees will become uncapped (causing universities to be able to charge what they want), the Government will charge an interest rate which reflects the cost of Government borrowing on these student loans which will be much higher than the current indexation applied which reflects inflation, and the minimum income threshold at which people need to start repaying their loans will be lowered by 10%.

While it’s not clear at this stage just how high university fees will become (although I’ve heard that some courses could increase by around $100,000), the ability for universities to charge whatever they want will create competitive pricing – which in my opinion is completely inappropriate for this industry, particularly if you don’t think education outcomes should not be driven by wealth.

Let’s assume that those universities with high reputations and more prestige use this status to justify higher prices, while less reputable universities lower their prices. It would then seem safe to assume that those students who come from wealthy families will attend the former universities, with the support of their family, while the less fortunate will feel they have no choice but to choose the latter. Five years later when those students are competing for graduate roles at the most reputable law firms, banks or accounting firms etc, obviously the people who have degrees from the more prestigious universities will have better chances at those graduate positions. I’m sure you can see a cycle developing here without the need for me to explain it further.

If your argument is that disadvantaged students can decide to get bigger loans if it’s important to them to go to the universities charging higher fees, the fact that people will need to start repaying their loans, with interest, as soon as they start earning around $50,000 means you’re much less likely to choose a university with the highest fees, because you know you’ll struggle paying it back by yourself later. Not to mention the growing gaps in achievement which occur before tertiary level education, which means it will be much harder for disadvantaged students to gain the scores required to even get into university.

Whilst I don’t intend on covering all aspects of the debate which could occur around education, I will raise one further point. Some people have said to me, it’s ok that not as many people will be going to university, and it’s ok if those more disadvantaged people don’t go to university because we need people in trades, for example – but I really think that by saying this, you are really missing the point. Sure we need people in trades and other service roles within our society which don’t require a tertiary education, but I personally do not want to be part of a society which only provides access to the best education (and as a result, most likely the highest paying jobs) to those who come from families that can help support that choice financially.

These education cuts suggest to me that the Government does not at all embrace the importance of education and equal access to it by everyone – which is important not just for individuals but also productivity of society. Education is a tool of empowerment, give this tool to those most disadvantaged, and they’ll hopefully use it to help lift themselves out of shitty circumstances, which will mean they will also be able to contribute to economic growth.

The second reason why I laughed – the Government is stripping $7.6 billion out of the foreign aid budget over 5 years, by keeping foreign assistance funding at its current levels, increasing in line with inflation, instead of allotment based on a percentage of GDP. This cut also follows a number of other cuts that have already been made to foreign aid in the last couple of years.

Let’s put this into perspective, foreign aid represents just over 1% of the Government’s spending – a mere 34 cents for every $100 of Australian income is spent on foreign aid (as a comparison, in the UK the amount is 72 cents).

This means that work that is done in some of the poorest countries in our region will need to be cut back and if you’re an Australian saying, ‘Yeah but look at our terrible economy, what about us, it’s our money’, whilst you sit in your comfortable home eating your delicious dinner… I would say stop being selfish and realise that Australia is actually one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and if we can afford to help those less fortunate (which we can), then der, we should.

Also, even if you are unable to see that we should be helping our poor regional neighbours simply because we can and so therefore we should, it is in Australia’s best interests to invest in our poor neighbours – poverty undermines stability within its region, not just the country. Foreign work that is possible because of aid helps to reduce poverty, and as the number of people from our region living in poverty reduces, the region as a whole becomes more secure, fostering economic growth and trade and investment opportunities. Oh, not to forget foreign aid assists with fewer people dying as a result of malnutrition or lack of access to health resources.

Oh, and although I said I would only talk about education and foreign aid, I want to explain the third reason why I laughed. Not only is the Government planning on raising the age of eligibility for the dole from 22 to 25, unemployed people under 30 will have to wait 6 months to be eligible for the dole, and will only be able to claim it for 6 months before the payment is cut for another 6 months. They will also have to do at least 25 hours per week under a work for the dole program in order to receive payments for those 6 months.

The Minister for Employment said: “We sell our young people short if we allow them to drift into welfare dependency.” Um, no Mr Minister for Employment, you’re selling the young people short who depend on these payments by causing them to be homeless and allowing them to drift into learned helplessness and depression, and then become more likely to give up on finding employment and/or a home.

Seligman’s Learned Helplessness Theory came out of an experiment which involved shocking dogs, and he observed that because in the first experiment the dogs learnt there was nothing they could do to avoid electric shocks, in the second experiment, even when they had the chance to move away from the shock, the dogs simply gave up and laid down, doing nothing to move away from the shock. Dogs that hadn’t been through the first experiment were quick to jump away from the shocks. Seligman described this condition as learned helplessness – not trying to get out of a shitty situation because the past has taught you that you are helpless and have no control.

learned-helplessness
There have since been other studies which have shown how learned helplessness can lead to depression because it contributes to raising stress levels, thereby reducing the ability of a person to learn new things, and decreasing a person’s effort.

I am rabbit, hear me roar

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Awhile ago I was visiting one of my good friends in London and in between going to the Portobello Markets and heading out to celebrate my birthday at the Blues Kitchen in Camden Town, we sat around on her bed googling Chinese Zodiac animals. As you do.

We were both under the belief that we were born in the year of the dragon, so we decided to find out what our strengths and weaknesses were as people under the sign of the dragon. We learnt that such dragoness people are ambitious, are quite intellectual and often energetic. These characteristics didn’t seem too bad, and I guess I could see them in aspects of my personality, what being a genius and all. We read on. These people are also arrogant, impatient, fiery, tactless and unrealistic… Well, clearly this Chinese Zodiac sign stuff was all a load of crap!

As we read on, we also saw the exact dates that people need to be born within to be considered being born in the year of the dragon. It was then that I discovered that after a whole life of thinking I was born in the year of the dragon, turns out I had been wrong. Who even was I?

As it turns out, I am actually born in the year of the rabbit… And this realisation, my friends, changed things. I was once again open to Chinese Zodiac signs.  I always knew I was destined to be a rabbit, or at least, knew there had to be some logical explanation as to why I have always had an obsession with rabbits – and this was clearly the logical explanation I had been searching for.

I don’t normally include pictures of myself on here, but today I make an exception. Ok fine, it’s not actually me. But I did have Bonnie for 8 years, so it’s pretty much the same thing.

I don’t normally include pictures of myself on here, but today I make an exception. Ok fine, it’s not actually me. But I did have Bonnie for 8 years, so it’s pretty much the same thing.

I know you must be dying to know all about my strengths and weaknesses, and I could just say google it, but alas, I am a “tender and lovely” person [words of a random Chinese Zodiac website I just stumbled upon, not mine – because I am also “modest”], so I will summarise for you. I am gentle, sensitive, compassionate, amiable, modest [told you so] and merciful, with strong memory. It gets better – “These people like to communicate with others in a humorous manner.”

Oh. My. God. I AM a rabbit!

I LOVE communicating in a humorous manner! My communications are completely humorous – Am I right?! [Side note – I’m still modest] Of course, I do come with my weaknesses as well – “People born in the year of the rabbit lack meditative abilities.” I am totally and most definitely a rabbit. I am the proof for the legitimacy of Chinese Zodiac signs.

Really, it should have been crystal clear that I was a rabbit the moment I ate rabbit poo. That’s right. I ate rabbit poo. I always thought the justification for this occurring was: “PEOPLE! It totally looked like a small piece of chocolate, left over on my couch!!” [And no judgment for eating random pieces of chocolate please, but I will allow you to judge me for eating rabbit poo, because, well I can see how that is kind of fucked up] In any case, there was no justification required. It was obviously my instinct taking over. My instinct knew that eating rabbit poo would be good for me [Rabbits eat their poo – it’s nutritious for them, and me I guess].

Anyway, you would think that with knowing that I am indeed a rabbit and as a result being able to read what kind of person I am right off the web, that I would be pretty clear about who I am, and who I am not.

This is not always so, but I know that I am not the only one who feels like I am made up of conflicting parts [In that sentence, I originally also wrote “even opposing parts”, however, after enquiry with McPho I am informed that “opposing” adds no further value to what “conflicting” already portrays. So I’ll stick with just “conflicting”, but just know that I originally wrote “even opposing” to import just how conflicting my parts are sometimes… Really REALLY conflicting].

In fact, even a brief reference to any of philosophy, psychology or religion, shows us that humans have always felt as though within themselves, they have opposing desires, motivations or beliefs, sometimes leading to the conclusion that we are in fact made of different parts (or souls).

Way back when, Socrates asserted that we have three parts (the logical, the high-spirited and the appetitive), with different purposes that function together and make a whole; that there is a contrary state to the whole (being the injustice), and that one will either listen to one state or the other. Similarly, Freud’s account of the unconscious distinguished three elements within the mind, which he called id, ego, and super-ego, with the ego being the conscious self which has the task of reconciling the conflicting demands of the id and the super-ego with the requirements of external reality.  And then you look at Christianity, for example, and the belief of there being a god and a devil, which ultimately is what represents the “good” and “bad” parts within us.

Sometimes, I get really caught up in trying to figure out what parts of me are strongest, and therefore should be the parts I am more true to and act on. However, in doing so, I can’t help but feel that by being true to some parts, and not true to other parts, I’m not being true to the overall person that I am. It can be extremely difficult to reconcile sometimes, right!?

I can often feel overwhelmingly confused when I think too much about what I want, what will make me happy and what I should do with my life, due to my conflicting parts. However, perhaps I need to remind myself that we all feel this way, embrace it as being a part of life, and understand that some days, some parts may be stronger than others. Therefore, on days where I might wish for a different kind of life, know that, if I did have a different life, I would still have days in that life, where I wish I actually had the life I do have. And also understand that, just because I have this life now, doesn’t mean that later on in my life, I can’t start to listen and act more on other parts of me, changing the focus or direction of my life every now and then.

Perhaps it is actually a beautiful thing that we aren’t so black and white, that some parts of us have corresponding opposite parts? Perhaps this is what helps make life interesting, and what makes getting to know others interesting? Whilst I am not a fan of hypocrisy, the older I get, the more I realise that having thoughts and feelings that may seem hypocritical to one another, is actually just a side effect of thinking a lot, not being closed minded and being open and willing to learn more, experience more and relate more with a wider array of people.

One thing I am certain about though. I am obsessed with rabbits. How fucking cute are they. Thank the star that died for bunnies, they make the world go around. Ok fine, they don’t make the world go around, but the definitely do make the world a better place, so it’s pretty much the same thing.

One thing I am certain about though. I am obsessed with rabbits. How fucking cute are they. Thank the star that died for bunnies, they make the world go around. Ok fine, they don’t make the world go around, but the definitely do make the world a better place, so it’s pretty much the same thing.

As an aside, I recently promised a friend, McProviderofmydailypowersource, that I would blog about having finally made a decision about finally deciding on my regular coffee order. For the last couple of years, I’ve ordered pretty much as follows: soy latte, skim flat white, soy flat white, skim flat white, soy cappuccino, long black, long black with a dash of milk… the obvious theme being, I love soy with my coffee, but also felt a weird sense of guilt about the higher number of calories in a cup of soy coffee, and also not liking that I can’t taste the coffee as well in a soy coffee as I can in a skim milk coffee. So then instead of ordering a soy coffee, I order the healthier, more “coffeey” coffee. Then thinking, fuck it, life is short… I’ll have my soy coffee please! Then thinking, but but, IF life is short, I want to be skinny so that I can feel good about myself… Long black it is! Then thinking, but, I really REALLY do like soy coffees… Soy cappuccino please, because not only do I like soy but I also feel like some sprinkles of chocolate today and YOLO!

Until one day, quite recently, I finally worked out what it was that I needed. A ¾ soy flat white. I’ve had a consistent relationship with ¾ soy flat whites for about 3 weeks now. It’s going pretty strong. I feel as though I have finally found a standard coffee order that satisfies the various parts of me [I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to incorporate my coffee ordering into a blog post, but I’m pretty sure I just nailed it].

Mmmm, coffee. I’m currently sitting at a café. Fuck it, I’ll get a ¾ soy flat white right now…

“Can I get a half water half skim strong flat white over here please.”

 “It is clear that the same thing will never do or undergo opposite things in the same part of it and towards the same thing at the same time; so if we find this happening, we shall know it was not one thing but more than one.” Socrates.

Are intentions all that really matter?

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You often hear people say “it’s the intention that matters”.

But is intention really all that matters? When I initially started thinking about it, I thought surely action matters more than intention, since it is action that actually makes an impact or creates consequences?  This question has particularly been interesting to me this week, with everyone talking about their New Year’s resolutions – if one of my friends mentions that they intend on running a marathon this year, is that intention of running a marathon really all that matters, surely it should actually be the act of running the marathon that matters and the mere intention of doing it being neither here nor there (no one congratulates a person for having just had the intention to run a marathon surely?).

To be clear, I’m speaking about intention for the future (as distinct to intentional action and intention in acting).

Imagine I say to McCool, “I am going to write you a love poem for every day of the week starting tomorrow.” There, I’ve expressed an intention to do something, but then imagine for whatever reason, despite my genuine intention to write love poems for McCool, I don’t actually do it.

Alternatively, imagine I express an intention to McCool to go for a 10km jog by the end of the day, but then again I don’t actually do it.

Is it appropriate in these circumstances for either McCool or myself to say “well, you know, it’s the intention that matters”?

I think that in the former scenario, it is the intention that matters, but that the same cannot be said for the latter. The distinction comes down to purpose – what is the purpose of the intention? If the purpose can be met by the intention alone, then there seems no reason to me why it would be incorrect to say it is the intention that matters (working on the assumption that the expression of intention is genuine and is taken by the recipient of the expression to be genuine and not a lie). If, however, the purpose of the intention can only be met by the action that the intention contemplates, then I do not think that intention is what matters at all.

The purpose of my intention to write a love poem to McCool everyday would be to make her feel warm and fuzzy inside. Arguably, even if I didn’t actually write the poems, McCool would still feel warm and fuzzy because I intended to do so, in itself still being a demonstration of my love for her. If the intention is genuine, then that would mean that the not writing of the poems would have been unintentional.

Of course, whether the purpose has been met here will actually come down to McCool and whether she personally felt warm and fuzzy by the intention alone, which is rather subjective and not something I can decide upon myself – therefore, I’m not saying that it is impossible in this scenario for the purpose only to be met by the intention followed by action. Imagine also that my purpose had been to show off my poem writing skills to McCool, in this case, purpose again would only be met by the intention followed by action.

The purpose of the intention to run 10km would be to assist with staying fit and healthy. If I don’t actually go for the run, then I’m not meeting that purpose at all. Even if the intention was genuine and I had been prevented from going for the run by something completely unintentional, the fact is, having the intention alone does nothing to assist with the purpose of staying fit and healthy.

In other words, the sentiment that “it’s the intention that matters” is not really that useful at all, used as such a blanket statement. It may or may not be, and perhaps when we express an intention, we should actually take a moment to consider its value and what purpose we are hoping to achieve by giving it.

Since I mentioned New Year’s resolutions earlier, I also want to confirm that I’m not saying that people should stop making them. Resolutions would in the majority of cases, if not all, involve intentions which purpose could only be met by action, but that action also comes as a result of the intention to do it. I’m just saying, at the end of the year we can’t just flippantly say “well, I did none of my resolutions, but I genuinely intended on it, and it’s not even really my fault that it didn’t happen, so it’s the intention that matters”.

Anyway, so if I were to simply answer the question of whether intention is all that matters, I would answer by explaining that purpose met by intention means intention is what matters and purpose that can only be met by action means intention is not what matters.

Perhaps the easiest way forward is to not over complicate things like I just have, and simply always aim to follow the intention do something by actually doing it, but not feel too guilty if you were unable to do it if the purpose of the intention was met anyway. It’s probably safest to just also never say “it’s the intention that matters”, so people like me don’t spend long periods of time then analysing the value and truthfulness of such a statement.

Also, awkward if people don’t actually ever say this and I’ve just made it up.

Since I mentioned love poems to McCool, I will end on such.

McCool, you are my sister,

More important than any mister.

You have short hair,

But do not despair,

My love for you will last longer than a game of twister.

( and clearly, the purpose of intending to write that, was never to show off my poem writing skills)

I’m every woman, it’s all in GRAVITY!

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A few weeks ago I watched a documentary called Einstein and E=mc2 with my sister McCool. It was pretty great. Since McCool started studying science, I have been acutely aware of how little science related knowledge I have, and yet I find it fascinating, so I have been on a science knowledge building rampage ever since. I have learnt new cool words like electromagnetism, and finally started to have an understanding of what things like atoms, neurons, electrons and gravity, actually are. “Gravity” is my new favourite answer to any science related question:

Random person who likes to quiz others on science: “What makes the sky blue?

Me: “GRAVITY!” [Then proceed to run away. Possibly throw a smoke bomb also.]

The first great thing about this documentary, well, was obviously that I was with McCool when I was watching it. Secondly, I finally didn’t have to try and visualise in my own wee mind what magnetic and electric forces are actually doing and why they are important… this documentary not only used little imaginary sparkly lines to represent lines of force, so that I could easily see what the otherwise invisible magnetic and electric forces were doing, but also gave a little story about the guy who discovered all these amazing things about the sparkly lines, and stories about other people who built further on these sparkly lines. Yep, that’s about the gist of the documentary.

A penny definitely dropped concerning matters such as electric forces, atoms and something about light being a combination of electricity and gravity – ok, so maybe a full penny didn’t drop, but definitely at least, a bit of a penny. However, I thought the greatest thing about the documentary were the stories about all of the scientists behind these amazing theories, discoveries and inventions.

In particular, that of Emilie du Chatelet – a massively understated scientist and mathematician of the 18th century (by the time her work really entered the scientific mainstream, the idea that a woman had come up with such ideas was discredited so much that even scientists who did use her ideas came to forget who had originated them).

Emilie

Emilie du Chatelet was also incredibly talented in languages, tiggy (according to the documentary), and good at pulling lovers – which unfortunately was ultimately her tragic demise, falling pregnant to a hot young thing, at what back then was a super risky age of 43, and then sadly dying shortly after giving birth. She did a lot of cool shit during not only her short life, but a life of a woman in a society where the notion of educating girls was disliked and discouraged. She is definitely worth googling. I did. I loved it.

One of the things she is most well-known for is her work on translating and providing commentary on Isaac Newton’s work Principia Mathematica [What?! – Amazing]. Her contributions have helped shape the course of mathematics and the development of science. You read about her, and she is also described as having managed to maintain her confidence and position in Paris society whilst continuing to pursue her love for mathematics. In other words, an all-round top bloke.

Voltaire, one of her lovers, and long term friend, wrote in a letter to King Frederick II of Prussia that Emilie was “a great man whose only fault was being a woman”.  It appears he dumped her as a lover because she was smarter than him, being afraid of her seeing his weaknesses (despite having been attracted to her in the first place by her intelligence) – what an idiot. However, Emilie insisted that she would be fine without Voltaire, writing that it was “preposterous to think that an intelligent woman needed a man to be happy”. Queue, “I don’t need a man to make me happy, I get off being free” streaming loudly from Emilie’s i-pod dock, whilst continuing to critique Newton’s laws of motion – obviously.

One of my ex-lovers wrote about me once, “McAwkward was a great woman, whose only fault was being bat shit crazy.” I guess he was afraid of me being able to see his crazy on account of my insight into my own crazy…. jokes. However, I really wouldn’t be surprised if this was true, considering I am obviously a great woman, and yep, I am probably bat shit crazy.

crazy

I digress.

I have no real “point” to this post, except to just point out how awesome Emilie is. I like to think we would have been best friends if I was also born in Paris in the early 1700’s. Alas, I was not born in either Paris or the 1700’s, so I will instead blog about her and add her to my list of inspiration women. She fucking owned it. And by own it, I mean she rocked the shit out of life, and was completely unapologetic about who she was.

I know I will definitely not be playing any pivotal role in the further development of the concept of energy, or in the development of any aspect of science for that matter, nor will I be writing any text that will be my claim to immortality, however, I am definitely going to do my best to “own it”, and rock out life the best I can, with no apologies about who I am to anybody.

I’m totally going to go and listen to I’m Every Women by Chaka Khan now.

Dear anterior cingulate cortex, bitch don’t kill my vibe

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I recently realised that the reason why I am single is obviously because I am really really good looking. One of my friends pointed out one morning after a night out that upon further inspection of photos from said night, one guy in particular was actually really attractive, but so attractive that she could never actually be interested. Queue light bulb moment to the only reasonable explanation as to my state of singleness.

I’m even more incredibly good looking than Derek Zoolander himself

I’m even more incredibly good looking than Derek Zoolander himself

It just makes sense, a guy sees me, is blown away from my beauty, and assumes that he has no chance with me because I am just so much more beautiful than he is, and so doesn’t even bother to try. Or if he does bother to try, he speaks to me and realises that not only am I a 15/10 on a physical beauty scale, but also, I am a borderline genius, and so assumes he would not be intelligent enough to keep me interested. He would also probably be intimidated by the fact that I would be much funnier than he is too – triple whammy!

So basically, I am screwed. But unfortunately, not in a literal meaning of the word.

“I was very fond of them… if only they would have had me.” – Schopenhauer on women, and now McAwkward on men.

Schopenhauer wasn’t very successful when it came to women, obviously because they were unable to relate to such a man of genius… my problem is much more serious, since on top of being a borderline genius, I am perfectly good looking.

Although, perhaps I’m not screwed, since as a woman of such genius, it is quite impossible to be sociable, my own monologues indeed being much more intelligent and entertaining than any dialogue I could ever have with any man.

Therefore, although I will be alone forever, and quite possibly unscrewed in the literal sense, at least I won’t be as bored as what I would be if I wasn’t alone – having to deal with the dialogue of a man that would never match up to my needs or expectations. Also, being alone allows me more time to look at myself in the mirror, rather than at someone else, and be reminded of how the universe every now and then can really create something quite beautiful and perfect.

Ahem…

The reality is, and this is the case for many of my other girlfriends too, when someone is not interested, often my first reaction is to think of something negative about myself as to why this is the case – and certainly not to think of something positive, and most definitely conveniently forgetting about any time when someone has actually been into me.

It must be because my milkshake isn't good enough

It must be because my milkshake isn’t good enough

Some of us seem more predispositioned than others to store turn downs forever and to forget complimenting words or behaviour as though they were never spoken or existed to begin with. Why is it that upon being “turned down” or otherwise simply not being pursued by someone, some people’s instinct is to immediately think of something that tears them down, rather than builds them up.

As was spoken in Pretty Women, “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”

In some good news, I have had a new found confidence since my holiday earlier in the year – something I credit for the compliments I have received since then on my “holiday glow”, since as we all know from my last post, I was certainly not glowing as a result of any physical change in colour. I was just sick of being so negative about the way I look all the time, and letting it affect me in such a detrimental way, and somehow, I managed to finally gain some control over it, accept me for who I am and to be happy with that.

The extra happiness I have experienced since then has motivated me to continue feeling confident. It also allowed me to accept that it wasn’t a completely unfathomable notion that one day someone great would like to be with me, and so to stop pretending like I was happy to be single forever.

However, I feel like I must have a predisposition to seize on the most self-critical thoughts I can come up with – but I know I don’t want to do this – however, despite my new found confidence, I know I have come really close to letting go of it a few times, particularly when I have been in a position where I felt some form of rejection.

Which is stupid, because we can all be rejectors at various times, and from that, we each know it’s not necessarily because of something wrong or negative we thought about the person we were rejecting (I know I’ve rejected hanging out with my friends once before so that I could stay home and eat an entire block of chocolate and tub of ice-cream in my track pants whilst watching Miss Congeniality 2 – this is certainly not any reflection on them). And obviously I just made that last example up to demonstrate a point, because clearly I would never do such a thing…

On y va.

Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist, wrote a book called The Female Brain. In it she explains that “there’s an area of your brain that’s assigned the task of negative thinking.” It’s the judgmental part of the brain which says things like ‘I’m too fat’ or ‘I’m too old’. It’s the “barometer of every social interaction you have. It goes on red alert when the feedback you’re getting from other people isn’t going well.”

The part of the brain responsible for this is called the anterior cingulate cortex and apparently, in women, it’s larger and more influential, than in men. Mine must be stupidly large, like oozing out of my ear holes, or maybe that’s what boogers actually are? However, luckily I’m not actually too stupid to know (alas, I’m borderline genius remember!), that we shouldn’t just accept our limitations or weaknesses – they are there to be challenged and developed!

So anyway, I’ve realised that my next step of this new found confidence journey, is to be acutely aware of this “red alert signal”, never to leave it unchallenged, and anytime I notice negative thoughts creeping in and getting all up in my grill, take a moment to say to said negative thoughts:

dont kill my vibe

Ok, so maybe telling myself it’s because I am stupidly good looking and more intelligent than anyone else in the world, is taking it a little too far… But it would be nice if rather than letting turn downs/rejections/uninterest exacerbate our insecurities, people held on to an unquestionable belief that they are a special person with potential, capabilities and attractive qualities.