Monthly Archives: July 2014

BRAVE HEART AWARD

Brave Heart Award

I saw a notification that I had been nominated for a Brave Heart Award, I was so overjoyed. Then I thought I had seen wrong, so I clicked on the link to view the original post at http://april4june6.wordpress.com
Other than the fact that I had been nominated for the award, it’s the award’s title that had me beside myself with happiness; it’s a Brave Heart Award. The title is in itself a huge inspiration. The thought that my blog had been nominated for this very beautiful award was just unbelievable.

I’m so honoured, and I lack the words to express my joy. Thank you so much april4june6 for thinking of me, and for honouring me with this award. THANK YOU!
Please visit her blog, where she documents her journey of self-transformation.

My answers to the questions asked:
Tell us a little bit about your blog. Who designed it? My blog’s theme is the free twenty twelve theme. I’ve customized some of the basic aspects like colour, background and the header picture. On my blog I’ve used a picture of doves as my header. It symbolizes peace, and tranquility. The background is made up of many butterflies, which symbolize freedom/ a free spirit.

What is the title and description of your blog? Alygeorges-my name- is my blog’s title and memoirs of aly (the way I see it) is the blog’s description as I intended to use this site as a platform to share my personal experiences or other people’s experiences from my perspective, all in the hope of inspiring all those who stop by.

Who is your intended audience? I write to reach out to people who have gone through painful experiences and to those who haven’t been through such, just to give them some insight on shared experiences for learning purposes, so basically my blog is intended for anyone who seeks inspiration/motivation.

How did you come up with the title of your blog? Before I started blogging I was still writing on the same issues I still blog about; my life, my perspective on different matters. I needed a name that would incorporate all that. So I chose ‘memoirs of aly’ for my experiences and ‘the way I see it’ for my view on experiences that weren’t mine.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your blog. Initially when I started blogging I intended to publish at least one post everyday but my tight schedule made that difficult, so I always try to post at least thrice every week and sometimes that proves difficult too.

What other blogs do you own and what makes them alike? This is my first and only blog-so far- and I’m really having so much fun. Before I started blogging I wasn’t reading that many blogs but now I read so many; I interact with very many people and from that I’ve really learned a lot.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies? I don’t know if my singing is unique but that’s one of the talents I have. I can hit two octaves comfortably. I’ve also written song lyrics which I’m yet to have officially produced. Additionally, writing is something I’ve always loved. It started as a hobby but now I feel like it’s my calling. Blogging is one of the first steps I’ve taken towards accomplishing that and when I get some free time I enjoy inline skating.

What can we expect from you in the future? I write to inspire/motivate and I hope to keep doing that. With God’s help I hope to continue inspiring/motivating/empowering people; to put my indelible mark on the vast blogosphere.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers/bloggers? One tip great writers share is to read more. Personally I must confess I don’t read as much as I would want to but it’s something I know I should do. Again, I find writing therapeutic, so I would advise other bloggers to use blogging as a channel to find some inner peace. Nothing feels good like when I post something and readers relate to it. It makes me feel I’m not alone. The advice given also helps me in ways so unimaginable.

Before you go, could you share a snippet from your blog? Life is difficult; that’s a fact, and I’ve learned that one doesn’t need to have it all; to accomplish all their dreams in order to be happy. Having suffered from depression and some other stress-related illnesses, I know how important it is to be happy; so I’ll share a post I once wrote on happiness: How to be happy.

As a prerequisite to accepting the award, I need to nominate a few bloggers, and while I’m not so sure what makes a blog (ger) eligible for this award, I believe it’s anyone who is going through some challenge/ has had to overcome some difficulty to be where they are today.

Most of the blogs I read are some sought of journal, where the bloggers give accounts of difficult challenges they have faced and because of that I feel many deserve this award. However, because I can only nominate a few, these are my nominees:

http://woundstofeel.wordpress.com Emily has struggled with chronic depression and anxiety her entire life. She is also a former (devout) Mormon. Her Mormon experience, along with traumatic experiences and dysfunctional family dynamics, have influenced deep-seated body image and self-esteem issues that she has only faced head on within the past year. Last year she entered treatment for Binge Eating Disorder and has slowly started chipping away at her past so she can move forward and be a strong example to her daughter and niece of what it means to love oneself.

She is here to work through her continuing healing process and hopefully help others with theirs. She’s also here to continue the spread of information regarding mental health and reduce the stigma associated with it.
http://live2laugh4love.wordpress.com/this-is-me– Sharing about herself has been difficult her entire life. She has been a private person and really wanted to keep things that way. She says life really has a way of changing what you want, to what you need.

Ajaytao, describes himself as an extremely introverted guy, who will never open up to anybody until he feels deeply intimate with that person. Since being diagnosed with cancer he’s decided to open up and share his thoughts and feelings with the world.

Panikikubik on her blog Panic yesterday, writes to reach out to all those who suffer from any form of panic disorder, generalized anxiety and worry and even to those who don’t because she believes it’s always good to learn something new. Having suffered from panic attacks of varying intensities for over 20 years, she has been on a journey of hopelessness and is determined to get rid of her panic attacks.

Kim believes we are all capable of greatness; but we can’t have a future if we’re bound by the past. This is why she has a blog, Kim Saeed’s let me reach; hoping her posts can, in some way, instil in others the insight, confidence and courage to believe in themselves enough to live the life they want. She says it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if one believes.
http://lookingforthelight.me/ was abused by her mother, stepfather and father until she was a teenager. All scars hurt, especially of her father, who sexually abused her. He later committed suicide and even though he hurt her it’s difficult to come to terms with such tragedy. She also struggles with treatment-resistant bipolar.

Rules for the award:

Answer the above questions.
-Post the award.
-Link back to the person who gave it to you and nominate others.

Wheat or weeds?

parable of the weeds

“The kingdom of heaven is like this: A man sowed good seed in his field. One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the plants grew and the heads of grain began to form, then the weeds showed up.

The man’s servant came to him and said, ‘Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weed come from?’

‘It was some enemy, who did this,’ he answered.

‘Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?’ They asked him.

‘No,’ he answered, ‘because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them. Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them up in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.’” (Matthew 13: 24-30).

This is another parable told by Jesus, commonly known as the parable of the weed, which He went on to explain:

Jesus explains the parable of the weeds

When Jesus had left the crowd and gone indoors, His disciples came to Him and said, “Tell us what the parable about the weeds in the field means.”

Jesus answered, “The man who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; the good seed is the people who belong to the kingdom; the weeds are the people who belong to the evil one; and the enemy who sowed the weeds is the devil.

The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvest workers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so the same thing will happen at the end of age: The Son of Man will send His angels to gather up out of His Kingdom all those who cause people to sin and all those who do evil things, and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash the teeth.

Then God’s people will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Listen, then, if you have ears!” (Matthew 13: 36-43).

Jesus’ use of parables

Jesus used parables to tell all these things to the crowds; He would not say a thing to them without using a parable. He did this to make come true what the prophet had said:

“I will use parables when I speak to them;
I will tell them things unknown since the creation of the world.”

Reflections

Jesus likened believers, who live in accordance to God’s commandments as wheat, which after the great harvest will be gathered and put in the farmer’s barn; and sinners to weed, which will be tied up in bundles and burned.

Life is a journey; sometimes we bump into obstacles which weaken our faith and subsequently make us fall from the grace of God. Whatever we do with our lives, we should always remember that at the end of it all, we will stand before God, and we will be judged.

Everytime we’re doing something, we should take some time to reflect; whatever it is we’re doing, does it pull us close to God or further from Him? Will our actions, thoughts, words…etc. have us thrown in the barn or in the fiery furnace?

According to the gospel, there’s good and wrong. That is why Jesus used two examples: wheat and weeds. And from what I’ve been learning since I was a kid, each one of us has the power to curve out our own destiny. We should therefore strive to be in God’s good books, by being kind, loving others and basically, doing what He requires of us.

It’s not easy trying to walk a straight road, but with determination and God’s guidance, we can all secure ourselves places in the farmer’s barn after the great harvest.

Accepting and loving the disabled

living with disabilities 3

Is a disabled person as important as a person who is not disabled? That’s an odd question, right? But I’ll tell you why I’m asking that. On the news there was this story about a young girl, suffering from a mental illness. They didn’t specify what kind of mental illness the girl suffers from, but from what I gathered, it could be pyromania (a mental illness that causes a strong desire to set fire to things).
Her parents took her to hospital and she was given medication that contains the illness. Regrettably, at some point, her brother hit her on the head and the illness came back stronger than before and since then it has been difficult treating it.

One day her mom went out and when she came back she found her daughter had set all her clothes on fire. Furious, she brutally dragged her to a secluded shed in the compound and tied her up, in an attempt to stop her from destroying more things.

Days later, the girl’s hands started rotting; I’m assuming her mom tightened the ropes so hard, thereby cutting off the blood circulation in her hands. When she was taken to hospital, the doctor said the only way they could save the girl’s life was to amputate her hands. As we speak, the girl who I judged was in her teenage hood is not just mentally impaired, but also physically.

In all sincerity, I respect all the parents whose children suffer from any form of disability; because they require so much love and attention than an average child. If the girl’s mother had been caring enough, she would have sought treatment for her daughter instead of locking her up so inhumanly.

Now the poor girl is physically disabled. That means even if she later gets her mental illness treated, she will need prosthetic arms. She has an extra disability, thanks to her mother. Judging by the fact that her own brother also aggravated her mental illness, one would assume the girl lives in a hostile environment.

If she was a ‘normal’ child, I bet her family would have loved her a little bit more than they do at the moment. That’s why I asked in the beginning if disabled people are as important as those without disabilities, because some people treat them like they have no right to be on this earth; like they don’t have feelings.

What we need to understand is that they did not choose to be disabled; because in all honesty, who would love to be born with a disability, when it makes one require so much attention from their families/caregivers? Who would willingly choose to be a burden to anyone?

Any disabled person needs to be showered with affection, not to be treated like they are lesser human beings. I find empathy a solution to many things. In high school we were taught about this golden rule: to treat others the way we would love to be treated. For instance, that woman tied her daughter up in a secluded shed, instead of trying to understand the girl’s situation was triggered by an overwhelming health condition; would she like to be treated the same way, to an extent of having her arms amputated?

The girl lost her arms. If she was a burden to her family before, now she will be a bigger burden. She will need people to take care of her, more than she did before. I’m thinking, she will need someone to always take her to the bathroom everytime she needs to go, until she can manage to do without her arms. That’s just unfair.

She already had one disability; she didn’t need anyone disabling her more. The mother should have been more understanding, and loving. Sometimes when I fall out with mom, I always wonder, if she can’t understand me and she is my mother, who will understand me then?

Mothers should love their children the most. What’s the point of going through agonizing hours of labour to bring a child into this world then end up treating that same child so unfeelingly? And those things we wouldn’t want anyone doing to us, why do them to others?

living with disabilities
Disabled people require special attention, not to be mistreated. It’s not their fault they have impairments, which may prevent them from performing some activities. If anyone is taking care of a disabled child/person and they just don’t know how to handle their illness, they should seek help/advice from a professional.

Of jobs, grandmas and opinions

What does one do when they don’t like their job and their partner doesn’t want them to quit? That’s the dilemma mom’s in at the moment. The company she works in is slowly going bankrupt and as a result the company’s management is becoming too aggressive towards the employees. The company already closed up three of its branches in a span of two months, with the branch she worked in being closed up last month.

Following the closure, mom was relocated to another branch but as it is, she is standing in for an employee who is on her annual leave. She is afraid she might be among those who are laid off because there’s a surplus of employees.

Some of the employees who haven’t been reassigned to other work stations have been sent on compulsory leave because the company’s management is reluctant to admit the company is sinking fast, though it is quite evident.

Mom, realizing the company might be dissolved soon, started up her own business two months ago. That was after she decided to quit her job because she realized if she waited for the company to collapse, she would be left stranded, with no job and no money.

A month ago she tendered in her resignation but she didn’t tell dad about it. She officially leaves the company this Friday. Everytime she brings the issue up, dad tells her to continue working until the management declares the company has been dissolved; however, my aunt, who works as a financial advisor in the same company, told mom if she waits until the company collapses, she won’t get her full benefits because the company will be too broke.

Quit my job

Mom’s resignation wasn’t just a spur of the moment thing; it’s something we-me, my sisters and mom-deliberated over until we all came to a consensus; that quitting was the best thing to do. Given that she’s married to dad, it’s only appropriate she tells him about it but we agreed against it for one main reason; if he knew she quit her job, the thought that she doesn’t have a job would make him start feeling superior and with that will come untold oppression. He’s done it before.

I have thought about dad’s reaction when he finds out mom quit and I imagine first he will be shocked, and then the shock will gradually turn into rage. I know he won’t be mad because mom quit, but because she didn’t tell him about it. Earlier this year when she started contemplating to quit, she told dad about it, but whenever they started arguing he would use the information she gave him to attack her.

Mom was telling me what she will tell dad when he finds out. The problem with dad, she was saying, is that he is not really the helping type. Lately she has been trying to tell him indirectly their company is collapsing, but everytime he tells her to hold on; to wait until they tell her to leave.

Mom then started telling me dad is like those people, who when a woman who’s being mistreated by her man tells them about her predicament, tell her to persevere. Eventually the woman ends up dead because no one told her to leave the man. Staying is not always the best option.

your time is limited-Steve Jobs

That example brought memories of her mother, and she told me what her mom once told her when she and dad were just newlyweds: “If ever the day comes when you leave your husband, if you come alone, I won’t open this door. But if you come with your children, I will gladly open this door for you.”

Those words almost made me cry, so I inhaled deep so tears wouldn’t well up in my eyes. Grams asked mom to never leave us behind if ever she left dad. She was a woman who was so religious and reserved and didn’t particularly support divorce/separation, but she knew those things were possible.

Dad on the contrary, told my sisters and I to never go back home if ever our husbands threw us out. He said we would never be welcome in his house if we left our husbands. He has repeated it severally so I know he is serious about it.

His mother on the other hand, has never loved my sisters and me. She hated us long before we were born; because our mother was just a poor coffee farmer’s daughter. She always wanted her children to marry into rich families; so basically dad failed her.

I thought about my two grandmothers; one loved us so much, and the other couldn’t hate us more than she does, and there’s nothing we can do about it. One taught to love without discriminating, while the other teaches to love the one with the most wealth.

I have very fond memories of my late grandma, but I can’t say the same about my paternal grandma. My paternal relatives hate us because of her; the things she taught her children have pitted her children and their families against my family.

She tried discouraging dad so he could leave mom but I guess, even if he doesn’t quite show it, he loves her; because he refused. From what I have learned, parents should be careful what they teach their children because those things don’t just affect them, but the generations which come after them.

My late maternal grandma may have been a poor farmer, but she was kindness embodied. My paternal grandmother on the contrary, is just proud and prejudiced.

 

 

 

What type of soil am I?

parable of the sower

“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As He scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots hadn’t grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up.

Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and chocked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.”

And Jesus concluded, “Listen then, if you have ears!” (Matthew 13: 3-9)

The purpose of the parables

Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

Jesus answered, “The knowledge about the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven has been given to you, but not to them. For the person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing will have taken away from him the little he has.

The reason I use parables in talking to them is that they look, but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear or understand. So the prophecy of Isaiah applies to them:

‘This people will listen and listen, but not understand;

They will look and look, but not see, because their minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and have closed their eyes.

Otherwise, their eyes would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.’

As for you, how fortunate you are! Your eyes see and your ears hear. I assure you that many prophets and many of God’s people wanted to see what you see, but they could not, and to hear what you hear, but they did not.” (Matthew 13: 10-16).

Jesus explains the parable of the sower

“Listen then, and learn what the parable of the sower means. Those who hear the message about the message about the kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in them.

The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once.

The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit.

And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.” (Matthew 13: 18-23).

Understanding the parable

In the parable, Jesus talked about the sower. He is the sower; the one who doesn’t choose or discriminate against anyone. He preaches about the Kingdom of Heaven to anyone who cares to listen. He even gives chances to those who might not even listen, and He does it tirelessly; without giving up.

The seeds on the other hand, are the gospel and we are the soil. Some of us are likened to the soil along the path, others to rocky ground, others to thorny bushes and others to good soil, depending on how we understand the gospel, and our faith in relation to it.

This parable used by Jesus helps us reflect on the kind of people we are. How strong is our faith?

“What type of soil am I?” This is the question we need to ask ourselves.

 

Wife battering; a sign of love?

battered women

Is there any woman out there who gets battered by her husband/partner and is under the impression the reason he does it is because he loves her? The other day I was listening to this very odd conversation on the radio, where some women were contentedly saying that they do get beaten by their husbands because they love them; what’s more, they said they would totally freak out if their husbands stopped battering them because that would mean they don’t love them anymore and are cheating on them.

I’m not really a relationship guru but isn’t it the other way round? In my opinion, a man doesn’t beat the woman he loves; in any case, he will start beating the one he has when he finds another one who he desires to please and finds his wife/partner a hindrance.

I’m not saying this because I’m married, but because I’ve seen dad act violently towards mom and there is no part of me that’s convinced he did it because of all the love he has in his heart for her. I have never had any evidence of dad cheating on mom, but I remember when I was a kid, some women who were mom’s friends at the time kept telling her the reason he stayed out so late was because he was seeing other women.

I can’t say if it was true or false, but I remember the time those rumours were going round, was when he was so violent. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. From my own understanding of love, one doesn’t hurt a person they love.

We interpret different actions differently, but one thing I have difficulty wrapping my head around is the idea of being beaten by a guy as a sign of love. As a result of the domestic violence I’ve witnessed in my family, I feel I would walk out of a relationship the instant I sense the guy I’m with has violent tendencies.

What people need to understand is the fact that domestic violence (because that is what it is) doesn’t just affect the parents but the children too. A woman might interpret battering as a sign of love but the children interpret it pretty badly.

Once, my aunt told mom, she was so furious with my cousin and as a result she slapped her hard. My cousin’s daughter, who was watching got so annoyed and started hitting her-my aunt-with her tiny flip-flop, asking her to stop hurting her mom.

From the way I understood it, my cousin, who lives in her mom’s house together with her daughter had been coming home late when everyone else was asleep. Her mom tried talking to her about it before, but apparently she wouldn’t listen.

Furious that my cousin wasn’t behaving right, my aunt slapped her. From that, one would reason she was doing what was right for both her daughter and her granddaughter. The four year old girl however, felt her mom was being hurt and went to defend her.

My aunt justifiably did that for love, but did the little girl interpret it as love? That is the same way I feel about men beating their wives. Maybe they feel they have all the reasons in the world to do it, but I don’t interpret it that way. When a man decides to hit a woman, it never comes out as love; at least not to me. And I believe any man who truly loves his wife would totally back me up on this one.

Hitting doesn’t signify love. It’s just one way of demeaning women. The way I see it, under no circumstances should a woman feel her man hit her because he loves her. It just doesn’t make sense.

Lately when I go to get my hair done, there’s this lady I see. She’s a beautiful woman, who runs her own salon nearby. Everytime I see her she’s always in dark sunglasses, even when it’s not sunny. Last Sunday though, I saw her without them on and she had a huge black eye. Based on what I heard from some chatty hairdressers, she was beaten by her husband. No one can convince me that was love.

How does a man who claims to love his woman give her a black eye? An evident sign of battering. This is just one example of battered women; I have atleast a dozen of them, and none of them convinces me wife battering is a sign of love.

If battering was a sign of love, why would victims try to conceal scars under layers of makeup, with some saying they fell in the shower or they ran into a door…etc.? Last I checked, when a woman receives flowers from a guy she loves, she proudly shows them off to friends.

Honestly, if a girlfriend walked up to me and proudly showed me some finger imprints on her cheek where her man hit her, I would be tempted to think she is into BDSM or something of the sought (which is an entirely different thing).

Is there any woman who would honestly want to walk around with a bruised face, or scars hidden under layers of clothing, knowing that her man did that to her? Bruises on a woman’s body only bespeak violence. All I’m saying is; no form of battering should be considered acceptable.

 

Invisible friends

invisible friends

Making friends is one of the best things in the world, especially if those friends are genuine. It feels really nice when one knows there is someone somewhere who holds them dear, and not because they expect to get anything in return; just pure friendship.

Some years ago, when I was in boarding school, we had invisible friends. I don’t know who started it but anyone who desired took part in it. Basically, one would secretly pick someone they wanted to be friends with. Then they would send them small gifts, wrapped up in whatever fancy wrapper one could afford.

Since we were in boarding school, we didn’t have fancy items to offer. Gifts mainly consisted of the toiletries, pens, pencil pouches etc. we had carried to school. Carefully, one would then place the package on someone’s bed or desk, with the note, ‘To… From your invisible friend.’

It was really fun getting gifts from ‘invisible’ friends. What made it even more interesting was the curiosity to know the real identity of the invisible friend. Sometimes, one figured out who their invisible friend was by telling whose handwriting it was on the note.

If one suspected anyone, they would confront them and if it turned out they were right, they would become friends. I’m not sure if it’s because of how such friendships began, but they seemed to really last.

What I particularly loved about the whole thing was the idea that one could do nice things to someone knowing there were high chances they would never get anything in return. When one took out a personal item to gift it to someone else, it was done with so much love.

When I look at most friendships today, I feel they don’t last because the people involved expect too much from each other. That leaves me wondering; the nice things we do for our friends, if we knew they wouldn’t know we are the ones who did them, would we still do them?

Do we do nice things for our friends because we love them, or because we only want to impress them? If we were just invisible friends, what kind of friends would we be?

 

 

Family isn’t always blood

family isn't always blood

Friends are important to us. In cases like mine, they feel closer than family. In many of my posts I’ve mentioned how I’m not close to my extended family because they regard people based on how much money they have and for the longest time my family has been holding the last position on the ladder so needless to say we’ve always been treated like pariahs.

When I look at the things they have done, they feel somewhat petty, but it’s the implication of their actions that make it really painful. I remember this one time we attended a get-together party and one of my paternal granma’s sister was the one serving food. Somehow she managed to serve all the people sitted in the same table with my small sister and I but ignored us.

We didn’t want to create any commotion so we just let that one slide. It was awkward being sitted amidst people who were eating while we weren’t, but since we didn’t feel free around them (based on previous meetings) we kept mum, even though we were extremely famished after travelling for hours to get there.

Later on when everyone was leaving, she invited all of our cousins to go spend the night at her place but again, she failed to invite my sisters and me. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. Devastated, and feeling rejected we drove back home. After holding back tears the whole day, when we got home, mom, who hadn’t attended the get-together opened the door and I just broke down in her arms.

I was a teenager, an age someone might consider old; nonetheless, rejection hurts. Almost all family gatherings I can remember have always left me feeling rejected; and basic conversations are usually targeted at my family, degrading us, making us feel like we’re simply nothing.

Based on this very wanting relationship, I’ve always felt disconnected from my paternal relatives. The cousins I have are the very condescending type, who only focus on one’s lows; what one doesn’t have and those little blasts from the past that make one want to cringe. Someone might disregard their behaviour citing frivolity, but what hurts is that they’re mainly inspired by disdain.

If for instance I have a phone that seems really beautiful, someone will point out it’s nice, then add, “But it only costs…” So if I was really confident I have a nice phone, I will leave feeling like it’s just a cheap phone. Normally what bugs me isn’t the fact that they only see bad things, it’s why they do it. They do it to hurt; to scorn, and that’s what I always find trouble adjusting to. Most of the times I just ignore them but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

And just to prove the point, they will come with new phones the next time there’s a gathering. So basically at the end of the day our relationship with them feels like a competition. I must admit, I do feel envious of big happy families; families where people love without discriminating; where one isn’t hated or loved based on how much wealth they have.

Last weekend, my cousin invited family members to introduce her fiancé. We only live a few blocks apart, but my sisters and I weren’t invited (not that we would have gone anyway, because our encounters always end up badly). We didn’t even know there was any gathering until one of my mom’s sisters-in-law called her to tell her how it went.

Later, my cousin’s mom told mom that my cousin had only invited people who are close to her. That statement hurt for two main reasons: Firstly, we’ve never had any particular disagreement with her that would make us apparent enemies. If we’re not close it’s only because she has always felt her richer cousins were better.

Again, that sounds petty but her actions have never proven otherwise. Secondly, she got pregnant a few years ago and since most of my extended family members are the judgemental type, they shunned her as they didn’t want any embarrassments. At the time her own mom wanted her to get an abortion but because she wanted to keep the baby she was kicked out and we took her in.

The entire time she stayed at our place we were very close. When finally mom managed to talk to her mom, she went back home and even after she gave birth we were still close. When she gave birth, everyone fell in love with the baby and all those who had abandoned her came back. The instant they did, she pushed us-my sisters and I- away.

Everyone was invited for her daughter’s first birthday, except us. We felt used, and ever since, we’ve never been close again.

Owing to that strained relationship I have with the rest of my extended family, I feel closer to some of my friends. Though we’re not related by blood, I feel they are my family, because they don’t judge me and are always there when I need them.

‘Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.’ That’s a quote I heard some years ago and everytime I hear it I know just how true it is. My friends are my family.

 

VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD

Very inspiring blogger Award 2

The other day when I was checking my notifications I found this lovely comment on my about page: “I nominated you for the very inspiring blog award and I hope you don’t mind. Please forgive me if you don’t want awards, or already have too much. However I nominated you because I like your blog and I hope I made you smile.” (I’ve left out some parts of the comment).

I definitely smiled. Blog awards are special, because for me, it’s not the award itself that actually makes me happy but the thought that someone considered my blog worthy of one. For me, it’s the thought that really counts. And about me feeling like I have many awards; I don’t think the day will ever come when I feel I can’t accept more awards because I have too many. Each award has its own special significance to me.

Thank you nonsmokingladybug for the nomination. I feel so humbled. You made me smile. Please visit her blog athttp://nonsmokingladybug.wordpress.com, where she writes about her addiction to smoking and how she eventually quit.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven facts about me:

As a prerequisite to accepting the award, I should give seven facts about me, so here goes:

I’m a sporty person and at the moment inline skating is my favourite sport.

I love attending mass because for me going to church is not just part of a routine but a major source of strength.

It saddens me when I see someone in need and can’t do anything to help them, especially when what they desire is beyond me.

I love many animal products, but everytime I see an animal being mistreated I contemplate going vegan. Sometimes I feel some people forget animals have feelings too and therefore need to be treated with care.

I like to think of myself as a nocturnal because I am more active at night than I am during the day.

I looked up the definition of an introvert on Google, and it turns out I fit the description perfectly.

Watching movies is one of my favourite pastimes, but horror movies are my worst.

 

My list of inspiring nominees:

http://ashiakira.wordpress.com

http://panicyesterday.wordpress.com/

http://livingwithshadows.wordpress.com

http://knowmyworth.com

http://dietrying999.wordpress.com/

http://lookingforthelight.me/

http://threekidsandi.wordpress.com

http://live2laugh4love.wordpress.com

http://doctorly.wordpress.com

http://wildaboutegypt.wordpress.com

http://mytruthmyclarity.wordpress.com

http://findingjoyindarkness.wordpress.com/

http://thebottomofabottle.wordpress.com

http://newcreationsministries.wordpress.com

http://april4june6.wordpress.com

Since this post is all about acknowledging inspirational blogs/bloggers, I would love to give a special thanks toSusan Irene Fox, a lady who inspires me immensely. She would have been first on my list but her blog is an award free site. Thank you Susan, I really appreciate your constant encouragement.

There are many bloggers I would love to nominate for the award, but the requirement is only fifteen. I apologize to anyone who feels I left out their blog. I visit many blogs and I find some inspiration from each one of them.

I also want to thank all those who spare time to read my ramblings. You are my greatest inspiration because the desire to make my blog posts worth your while gives me the strength to sit down and write, even when I feel so down. Thank you all.

HAPPY BLOGGING

 

 

 

Demeaning cultures: Chinese foot binding

chinese foot binding 2

When I look at the world we live in today, of the things I appreciate most is the fact that women are more independent and empowered; unlike in past eras where a woman’s worth was solely determined by the type of man she could attract.

Sometimes when I look at some cultural practices I totally fail to see their relevance, because if one was to look at the reasons why such practices are carried out, it’s mainly to please men; foot binding for instance.

It’s a Chinese practice that was outlawed around 1912. According to Wikipedia, foot binding, also known as ‘Lotus feet’ is the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls between ages 4 and 9 to prevent further growth. I wasn’t aware of such a practice until yesterday, when on CNN I saw this elderly woman, who’s one of the few remaining survivors of the out-dated practice.

Her toes were folded in what appeared to be a deformity and as she talked to CNN correspondent, Kristie Lu Stout, she told her it was an ancient tradition practiced by Chinese women and one of the reasons it was encouraged was because it ensured women would always be dependent on their husbands.

Curious, I went online to find out more about foot binding, and I must admit, I cringed as I read in-depth accounts of how the practice was carried out: first each foot would be soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood; this was intended to soften the foot and aid the binding. Then the toenails were cut back as far as possible to prevent in-growth and subsequent infections, since the toes were to be pressed tightly into the sole of the foot.

Cotton bandages were prepared by soaking them into the blood and herb mixture. To enable the size of the feet to be reduced, the toes on each foot were curled under then pressed with great force downwards and squeezed into the sole of the foot until the toes broke.

The broken toes were held tightly against the sole of the foot while the foot was then drawn down straight with the leg and the arch forcibly broken down. The bandages were repeatedly wound in a figure-eight movement, starting at the inside of the foot at the inside of the foot, and around the heel, the freshly broken toes being pressed tightly into the sole of the foot.

At each pass around the foot, the binding cloth was tightened, pulling the ball of the foot and the heel together, causing the broken foot to fold at the arch, and pressing the toes underneath. The girl’s broken feet required a great deal of regular care and attention.

The most common problem with bound feet was infection. Despite the regular care, toenails would in-grow becoming infected and causing injuries to the toes. Sometimes, for this reason, the girl’s toenails would be peeled back and removed altogether.

The tightness of the binding meant that the circulation was cut off, and as a result injuries to the toes were unlikely to heal and were likely to worsen gradually leading to infected toes and rotting flesh. If the infection got to the bones, they would soften and eventually some toes would fall off. This, however, was seen as a benefit because the feet could be bound even more tightly. Girls whose toes were fleshier would have shards of glass or sharp tiles inserted to deliberately cause injury.

Disease inevitably followed infection, meaning that death from septic shock could result from foot-binding, and a surviving girl was more at risk of health problems as she grew older. Older women on the other hand were more likely to break hips and other bones in falls since they could not balance securely on their feet and were unable to rise from sitting positions.

In Chinese culture, bound feet were considered erotic and a woman with perfect lotus feet was likely to make a more prestigious marriage. Qing Dynasty sex manuals listed 48 different ways of playing with women’s bound feet.

pair of red lotus

Sadly, men preferred never to see a woman’s unbound feet, so they were always concealed within tiny three-inch ‘lotus shoes’ and wrappings. They understood that the symbolic erotic fantasy of bound feet didn’t correspond to its unpleasant physical reality. The fact that the bound feet were concealed from men’s eyes was considered sexually appealing, because an uncovered foot would also give foul odour as various microorganisms would colonize the unwashable folds.

A feature of a woman with bound feet was the limitation of her mobility, and therefore her inability to take part in politics and an active social life. Bound feet rendered women dependent on men and became an alluring symbol of chastity and male ownership, since a woman was largely restricted to her home and couldn’t venture far without an escort.

chinese foot binding

As I read this all I saw was excruciating pain, and I kept asking, was it really worth it? The Chinese women went through intense pain and sometimes succumbing to the resulting diseases just to fulfil some male fantasy. What did they gain from having their feet bound? In my opinion, nothing really! In any case, it robbed them off their freedom, making them just property, that men could lay claim to.

They were left taking care of self-inflicted deformities, and all for what? Just to impress men, who didn’t even want to see their bound feet, because they knew behind the beautiful lotus façades lay smelly wounds and deformed feet. Honestly, I’m so glad the practice was outlawed, because women shouldn’t live at the mercy of men.

When I think of such practices, I feel girls/women should be educated; because I have a feeling such demeaning practices would be mainly attributed to illiteracy on their part. It’s the only sound reason why loving mothers would put their daughters through such agonizing pain just so they could be eligible for marriage.