Category Archives: General

Guest Post – Lady Anon – On abuse, forgiveness and a need for change.

Now this is really moving…

Rule of Stupid

The primitive part of our brain is hard wired for simple decisions: flight or flight, survive or die. The need to belong is a powerful drive, and so we humans have an almost primordial fear of swimming against the consensus. Our newer monkey mind is more playful: it can throw up moments of inspiration and genius, but it can also invent phantoms and fears out of nothing. It allows us to escape conformity, but leaves us vulnerable to error. Therefor while it is difficult, it is also essential that we come to see the difference between what really is, and what we have fooled ourselves into thinking.

This might seem a strange way to begin a blog post about sex offenders, but I was inspired to write by a paragraph in Jamie Catto’s brilliant book ‘Insanely Gifted’, in which he dares to write briefly about this subject, describing them as

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Playing trust games with life

This little gem blew me away. Hope you like it too.x

Lucy Rose White

You may be familiar with trust games, from school or team building or some other facilitated group experience. A common version is where you stand on a chair and fall backwards and trust the group to catch you, and they do, and each time they do, something inside you melts and opens.

I have been playing this game with life itself for about three years now,and I finally feel I’m getting to the point where we don’t need to keep playing the game any more. I get it, I get that life will catch me and I can stop throwing myself of chairs for no reason!

What do I mean by life? I’m talking about everything that is, inside and out, existence itself. You might call it the universe, you might call it other people, you might call it Gaia,  you might call it the Dao, you might call it…

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Healing

Focus on the inner divine

You have the answers

Go inside

Pull up the drawbridge

Without unkindness

Dignity and self love

Does not require the denial

Of experience

Compassionate and graceful

Bear with what arises

In a spirit of curiosity and acceptance

Forgive others as you forgive yourself

As the divine is endlessly patient

And forgiving

The condition of the heart

Is what matters most

Every moment holds an opportunity

For difference

The past dictates the future

No more than the present

Created yesterday

 

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Dear potential boyfriend…

Dear [insert name]

You are just a normal guy in a world where we are constantly exposed to casual nudity and sex…where women’s bodies are used to sell everything from email providers to oranges…where nobody has to try anymore because marriage isn’t sacred, divorce is cheap, unfaithfulness is common…where we are constantly encouraged to look for the bigger, better deal…

And here I am, in the midst of this world, trying to carve out a comfortable place for myself as a woman, where I can look pretty without being objectified; feel sexy without being called a slut; love a man wholeheartedly without feeling that I need to be perfect, like the airbrushed bodies on the internet, or he will look elsewhere: for me, gender is political and I’m angry that I am part of a race so relentlessly associated with the body, when the truth is that what matters most to me, and I hope to those that love me, is my brain and my heart…

I think it’s sad, the world we live in, because it glorifies sex and makes so little of love…but the truth is that to be fully human, we need both, together, because in the absence of emotion, sex is just two animals, scratching an itch…

As a little girl growing up, I was in no doubt that the most important thing for a girl to be was pretty. I can remember being 6 or 7 and looking at myself in the mirror, examining my face from every angle to try and work out if I was going to be attractive. I didn’t think so. And then the first boy that told me I was pretty, who was some years my senior, did some scary, horrible stuff to my body which I really wasn’t ready for, and I guess that was the beginning of this tension in me, between wanting to be pretty and sensing that being pretty might be dangerous. At the same time, he taught me that my body didn’t belong to me, that it was there for the taking and that to get male attention, I had better be prepared to share it. Refer back to paragraph 1, and you’ll see that the world has done nothing to disabuse me of this notion, quite the contrary. My political anger intersects with my personal experiences, which is why when we talk about feminism and gender politics I will get so agitated. It’s not just opinions which will burst out of me, it’s my lived experience of being a girl and a woman and it has been, and continues to be hard…

The truth is I am soft as butter, like my alter ego, Softy Butterpants!  I am a romantic. I am a born monogamist. I want to live in a world where love means more than sex. I want to live in a world where people get married and stay together forever. We’ve lost something, cheapened something really beautiful, and central to our happiness, by creating a world where you can watch strangers screwing anytime you like, 24/7…where you can go to your email client and see someone else’s wife gyrating in her knickers…and for me, to go with it, to watch that stuff, to engage with it, is a betrayal of my values because, titillating as it is, it’s not healthy for us on a personal level, or as a society. Maybe you feel, that in the moment, it doesn’t hurt anyone, but it’s more complicated than that, because if everyone stopped clicking on that stuff, maybe our world would change. (I won’t even get into the shocking statistics about the amount of females in the sex industry who have been abused as children). Where has it got us, as people, as societies, this impersonal, sexually driven world and our quest for female perfection and readily available bodies? – We have higher divorce rates than ever, a higher instance of mental health issues than ever…it’s just one of the factors in an increasingly unhappy society…because we are meant to pair for life…we live longer, we smile more, we hug more, we are healthier, we live better, and more meaningfully when we do.

You’re not me. You might not feel this way and you are entitled to your opinion: you share these opinions with millions of other people, who think ‘what’s the harm?’ and that because the people they look at are on a screen, it doesn’t constitute unfaithfulness and that because women’s bodies are everywhere, we might as well take a peek now and again. But, these are my core values, old fashioned as they are and I want you to share them.

I know we are animals. I know there are prettier women in the world than me. I know you will want to look when you see a pretty face. I know you will fancy other people. I know how easy it is to find female nudity and porn: you don’t even have to look for it, it’s right there when you go to sign in to your email client. I’m not naive and it’s no different for me; although, I am less visually driven than any man I have ever met and most women I know. But, you don’t have to entertain it. You don’t have to look twice. You don’t have to click on it just because it’s there. For me there is a relationship between cyberspace and the real world: if you met a gorgeous woman in a bar and she offered to strip down to her knickers for you, I hope you’d walk away, so why should it be any different because she’s on a screen? I know that in the real world, she’d constitute more of a threat to our relationship, but it’s not really about that. It’s about choices. It’s about values. It’s about respect for me and for what we could have together and the distance offered by the internet does not mean that what we do does not have consequences. Following the same logic, would it be OK to watch animals being tortured, or children abused on the internet, because they are not in the same room with you?

If I see that you have casually clicked on videos of other naked women, it will make me feel inadequate because I will never achieve that level of airbrushed perfection: she probably doesn’t even look like that in real life; it will make me feel betrayed because you actively chose to see another woman in a sexual way; it will cheapen what we have because it will make me feel like when I offer you my body, it’s nothing special, it’s just something you can get anywhere, anytime and it will threaten me for the same reason. If you can’t resist a click now, can you blame me for worrying about what it is you might not be able to resist in five years, ten years?

Do you want the kind of girlfriend who can laugh it off? If so, walk away now. I am an old fashioned girl, and in return for your total faithfulness I will give you mine, my heart and my body, with 100% commitment and I am a deeply passionate woman. I will never do more than look once. But I can’t be with you unless you want that too: there are no half measures, it’s all or nothing. I will never make you feel bad for finding other people attractive (and yes, I will probably know when you do!): that’s just being human. But acting on that, in any context, will always be a a step too far for me and that’s just the way I am. Life has made me that way, experience has made me that way and I don’t think I can ever change.

I hope you can understand me; I hope that you think I am worth it, but if you can’t, if you don’t, then please leave me be.

Love, Face x

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Softy Butter Pants or I am sorry I am always so serious

Who invented non-butter spreads, or margarine as we Brits call it, and why?

Butter is a delicious gift from cows, to say thank you for hundreds of years of slaughter and mistreatment. It makes everything taste better, literally everything: you could spread it on 3 day old monkey turd and eat it and it would still taste better than any low fat spread on the market. Anything with the word ‘butter’ in it is good: butterscotch, apple butter, toffee butter, butternut cups, and whipped butter, brandy butter!!! The only exception to this rule are things masquerading as butter, taking the name of butter in vain; such as, ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ and ‘tastes like butter’ and ‘Wow, I totally thought it was butter.’ These products are the devils polyunsaturates and should be burned at the stake: do not be fooled! If I ever win the lottery, I will buy the factories that produce this tasteless, oxymoronic paste and rename these products ‘I bet you wish I was butter’, ‘Jesus, I’m so depressed I’m not butter’, and ‘If you think this tastes like butter you have a phantom taste disorder.’

 

I have an alter ego called Softy Butter-pants: it’s the name I call myself when I am being loving and sweet. Sometimes I use it when the kids are trying to fool me about something: ‘Pull the other one, who do you think I am- Softy Butter-pants?’

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Letting Go…

There is a beautiful song by Nitin Sawney which kind of sums up how I’m feeling today…

Ok, ok, I know I said I’d post once a week but I’m still on holiday right now so it’s allowed!

One of the first ever posts I left on here, about a year ago, was about coping with traumatic life events, and when I talked about about my experience of doing this, I put a little message in brackets which said (more on this later)- well, this is the later, which I didn’t know at the time but there we are. I had a HUGE epiphany today. I’ve been dabbling in mindfulness, not for the first time, but the first time in a long time. I’ve had a bit of a miserable Christmas if I’m honest, and been fighting feeling all those resentful, why me feelings about it- ‘It’s my first holiday since August and the last until I don’t know when, why wasn’t it happier?’ I think mindfulness practitioners call this ‘rumination’, the process by which you feel an emotion which you find negative, and your brain jumps in and puts a further negative spin on it: following this road takes you to some pretty dark places, I know it. Well, I decided not to ruminate- my Christmas present to myself- and instead, every time I felt desperate, and sad, I put my ruminative negativity (you are a misery, your life will always be rubbish, blah blah) into a cloud and floated it off into the sky, then, I sat down and tuned in to the sadness, breathed into it and said ‘welcome.’ (I guess that last sentence is a bit trite: it’s not as simple as it sounds to say welcome to a pounding heart and churning guts, but it gets easier with practise.)What happened when I did this today, is that instead of being caught up in my ruminating intellect, my senses opened and sent messages to my brain about where these feelings originated, what they are about and what I can do to move my life forward. Over the period of the last few days, slowly, a new clarity has appeared: I know where I need to go, I know what I need to do, I have a had a taste of serenity, of the feeling that, what happened over the last week needed to happen, that life is unfolding as it should, that it will continue to be difficult at times, and joyous at times but that I can and will always cope with it, whatever it is. I happened to be driving in my car at the time and the song Letting Go was playing, so hence its mention here. It felt serendipitous, as there are some people in my life whom I need to let go of and hanging on to them has been hurting me, and them. It’s a bit more complicated than I can explain here, but I need to let them go, so that they can return in a healthier form, or not at all: I guess that bit is beyond my control and I wish them love and light in their journey too.

The human psyche is so complicated: right in the middle of the moment of serenity I started to panic that it wouldn’t last and of course, it disappeared! I reminded myself that everything is transient, I just have to accept whatever comes: serenity or lack of serenity and of course, it returned. Happy New Year WordPress lovelies…may your ‘it should be’ become ‘it is’ and your “I want’ become ‘I have’.

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December 31, 2013 · 6:36 pm

On being OK with being OK…

I had a long and lovely lunch today with a true and trusted friend whom I love. (How pleasingly alliterative that sentence was!) I wasn’t my usual, fizzy self: I often find, that once the truly joyous bit of Christmas is over -giving to my little ones and making sure they have a wonderful day- and the new year draws closer, I become somewhat brooding and retrospective. I ask myself where I am going, what I want from the coming year and dwell perhaps a little too much on what I don’t have and would like. For me, this isn’t about material possessions: I am not lusting after new cars, or bigger houses, but rather examining the quality and quantity of my relationships with others. Having been through an incredibly heart wrenching break-up/make-up scenario with my partner over the last few years, a drama which continues to play out, wreaking havoc with my emotions, I found myself crying into my wine on Christmas night, having seen on Facebook that a guy I once dated has just got engaged. He, and his intended, looked so happy that I fell into a well of self-pity that I just couldn’t seem to clamber out of. Why, I asked myself, is my happy ever after taking so long to arrive?

I poured all of this out to my beautiful friend, who after a few rough years, finally got her happy ever after when she married her partner, and father of her equally beautiful son, last year. Her response surprised me: she told me that she had been grumpy and touchy over Christmas too, which had impacted on her partner and was now making her feel a bit guilty. Oddly, this grumpiness was also bound up with a Facebook induced disgruntlement: she noticed that an old school friend of hers had posted a picture of her and her husband on the impressive veranda of their new home, in Africa. When her husband, a steady and pragmatic man known as Bear, who is not prone to flights of fancy, returned from work, she greeted him with, ‘I think we should move to Africa, or France, or get a place out in the country, miles from anywhere.’ His reply? – a simple but effective ‘No’. It sounds like a rather terse response, but he knows her so well, and loves her better. He is her ballast in the stormy sea of life, and while she wanders around looking for the next challenge, the next achievement, and the next celebration and paints all her experiences with high visibility gloss, he is understated and hard-working: for him, things don’t have to be amazing, they just have to be good enough.

When we had finished laughing, we explored our disgruntlements together over a glass of vino, and came to some rather enlightening conclusions: Facebook can be depressing ( so different from the wonderful warts and all human warmth I have encountered on WordPress), it doesn’t represent reality (tsetse fly, malaria, droughts, snakes- beautiful friend is NOT an intrepid girl), it can bring out the worst in human nature- jealously and feelings of inadequacy and finally and perhaps most importantly, that my beautiful friend has to stop believing that life should turn out like an 80s movie, that she is addicted, as am I, to overachieving and being seen to be doing well, and making everything amazing, instead of just, well, nice or good enough and that this doesn’t lead to happiness or contentment. Perhaps, Mr Bear has it right? I think that is, unconsciously, part of the reason she married him.

My New Year resolutions: to start my new job as I mean to go on, by being good enough, and not spectacular; (another down side of expecting so much from life, is the way in which you punish yourself, and others when it doesn’t live up to expectation: my friend is a teacher, and if she takes one less than enthralling class, she feels utterly inadequate and useless); to count my blessings every day, and narrativise my life, and the lives of others, in ways which do not leave me feeling inadequate and depressed. Is my happy ever after already here? – But, because I am convinced other people are having a better one, or it doesn’t match the one in my head, I can’t see it. Maybe I had it and it didn’t last because there is no such thing. But I have two beautiful kids, a wonderful family, a new job, a nice home and a friend like beautiful friend, whom I can pour my heart out to and who understands. In 2014, I am resolved to count my blessings.

Her New Year resolutions: to stop painting everything with high visibility gloss (she started this one straight away by admitting that the spa we went to before lunch was, not amazing if it had been a bit hotter, but shit because it was cold and that the lunch was not amazing, but just really nice and then squealed about liberating it felt to tell the truth!) We decided that from now on, amazing will be reserved for weddings, births and the like and coined a phrase, deciding that we need to learn to be OK with being OK. Not amazing, not brilliant, but…well, OK.

I love beautiful friend: she called me later and thanked me for an ‘amazing day’.  Oops.

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