Does It Feel Good To Be Bad?

The other day, I saw a meme that said “I wonder if today will be the day I tell someone to shut the f*** up out loud instead of just in my head.” I thought about it a bit- having grown up with really cool parents for my entire life, against whom I’ve never really felt the urge to rebel, the thought was interesting to me. What would it be like to just get up and do something I’m not supposed to do?

The last time I got in trouble, it was for something I didn’t do, but I cried anyway. That’s the kind of person I am. I cross the road at the traffic lights, and follow even the rules I do not like [although I’m pretty apt at finding creative ways to bend them]. The other day, though, my friend was chatting to me about a girl she did not like, and it turns out I did not like that girl either- I also knew a few things about her that I really, really wanted to share. A part of me, though, said that I shouldn’t. It would be gossiping, so I didn’t. Not surprisingly, it didn’t feel like a rush of fresh air or a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I wondered what it would feel like to have told those secrets, and laughed at someone else’s expense.

Similarly, when I get angry, I do not shout. I have been taught to control myself against my best instincts. Those instincts, I’m reminded, are the ones that tell us to bite and scratch and claw and fight for “survival”- to backstab and play the game, the way “everyone else” does. [They’re both surrounded by air bunnies because I’m blindly stereotyping-this is just the way I see the world, I guess.] I find myself wondering, though, what it would feel like to just give in one day, though, and scream at someone at the top of my lungs.

I’d like to point out here that I’m not a quiet person, and I don’t really think I’ve lead a sheltered life. I just know that I’ve been given advice and told to learn from other people’s mistakes. Should I be making those mistakes myself, though, and learn from them, or would that be foolish? Surely “bad things” have been proven to not have the best consequences, yet I still feel like doing them. I’m sure we all do.

 

And that leads me to my question- does it feel good to be bad? Because sometimes it can feel bad to be good.

 

“I feel something so right doing the wrong thing.
I feel something so wrong, doing the right thing.”

One Republic, Counting Stars.

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Why On Earth Would You Watch Something Like That?

www.imfdb.com

I found out the other day that the actor who played one of my favourite characters on Criminal Minds [after Spencer Reid, of course] quit his job because he didn’t like the reaction it was getting from the general public. Far from the polls going down, Mandy Pantinkin quit the show [and so, Jason Gideon left too] because he was surprised [and disgusted] by how many people were watching the show despite- or because of- its violent content. Apparently he just stopped attending meetings and stuff, because filming the show as a method actor [someone who really tries to get in touch with every aspect of the character] was making him feel really depressed. I gained a lot of respect for him for making this decision.

It made me think about why people watch these things- indeed, why I do. I guess, if I were to explain it, I watch Criminal Minds, as well as Game of Thrones, True Blood and SVU [Special Victims Unit] not because of the graphics but because of the storyline. Sounds like such a cliché excuse, but it’s true. These shows, for me, aren’t about the graphic scenes [which we have to remember are actors, paint and computer generated images] but about the psychology, the humour and who is ultimately going to rule the Iron Throne. I guess it’s not that way with everybody, but Criminal Minds has so many compelling cases, cliff hangers and explorations into the human mind. Game of Thrones has so many interesting storylines, many of which don’t include sex or violence- you always have the option to skip or fast forward. True Blood was funny and interesting… at least for a while…

Anyway, in conclusion, I think it must be gruelling for all of the actors who have to play these roles every day- while we can shut our eyes, they cannot. I found out that Matthew Grey Gubler [who plays Doctor Spencer Reid] paints art in his spare time- to escape, I guess.

www.buzzfeed.com< A painting by Matthew Grey Gubler of himself as Doctor Spencer Reid.

Next time you grab your remote, though, ask yourself why you’re watching what you’re watching. To turn your brain off or grab a laugh is fine- to puzzle out the murder mystery, to find out whether A and B are going to finally get together. If you find that you don’t actually know why you’re watching something, though, or are not watching it for reasons that you’re okay with, there’s a big red button in the corner- go for a walk.

Uniform in Australia

Every morning for five days a week, for the past twelve years or so, I’ve put on the same outfit. For seven years, it was a blue polo shirt and navy blue shorts. I also had a sloppy joe, and in year six, I got a cool shirt with all of my year’s names on the back. It was an awesome shirt. For the past few years, it’s been an itchy, see through white shirt [which gets really gross when it gets too hot] and a skirt with two pleats in it. Used to be black, now it’s green. Uniforms.

The thought process behind making kids wear uniform has been explained to me as such: to make the community of school life as egalitarian as possible, and make it near impossible to distinguish class. Also so that kids don’t have to plan what they’re going to wear to school every morning. I have to admit, that’s quite helpful. On the flip side, if I did it every day, it mayn’t be so much of a big deal. I think that the idea of uniform is pretty interesting, and we’ve been doing it for years- it works. But something I’d like to point out is that it’s not always egalitarian. Our uniform costs a lot. $70 a jumper, $50 a skirt. People who cannot afford that, either wear something else [like canvas shoes instead of the pure leather we’re required to wear], and get in trouble, or have to humble themselves enough to ask for help, maybe wear second hand uniforms. That leads to people immediately knowing, therefore, who is poor and who isn’t. I was given a sports shirt by a family friend, and so even though my mum bought me a new sports shirt, I used to wear it sometimes without a second thought. Then a kid asked me why my logo was grey instead of black [we all knew she knew the answer]. I stopped wearing that shirt. Some kids can’t. These shirts need to be ironed or at the very least hung up. It’s Friday, I’m in a rush, I grab a school shirt instead of one of the ones readily waiting in my drawers. Another girl asks me that day, who irons my shirts. Ouch.

If we go deeper into it, you can buy a blazer. It’s something like $170. If you get into the SRC, or become a captain, you get one for free- you’re above the rest of the school. Maybe you earned it. If you don’t, and want something nice for photos, you’ve got to buy it. Class.

Furthermore, uniform is to not be individual, but to be part of a unit. Uni= one. I think that all looking the same can make a great statement- we are all one, and hey- it shows pride in our school. The logo embroidered in gold above our heart. Lovely. But we are not allowed to deviate from it by doing little things like dying our hair, wearing too many bracelets, wearing different coloured socks, wearing long earrings- when does the word “uniform” go too far? When does it go from being a unit that works together, to being a blob of sheep?

I don’t think we should change the uniform policy, but we should admit that there are problems with it. Maybe we could make them a little cheaper, maybe we could make them of a different material- sure, our current material gives off the impression of being swanky, but it’s a pain. I miss the polo shirts.

p.s. we’re a public/government school

Food for thought.

The Feminine Pixie Cut

A pixie cut is when a girl gets her hair cut short, usually in a feminine style for instance, with a fringe. Trawling the internet, though, I have found that there is still not the amount of support I expected for it. “Pixie cuts are ugly”, “horrible, manly pixie cuts”, “the ups and downs of pixie cuts” were some of the suggested searches. To put this into perspective, I haven’t found anything [as an example] putting down buzz cuts. In a similar Google search, the results are “how to pull off the buzz cut”, “a ranking of the hottest buzz cuts in Hollywood” and “F*** yeah buzz cuts!” [I’m not pulling your leg].

This interested me and so I Googled men with long hair [I don’t really know if it has a catchy name]. “Make ‘em swoon: the 12 sexiest men’s long hairstyles”, “Long hairstyles for men- men’s hairstyle trends” and, by a website named Fashionbeans [make of that what you will], “men’s long hair styles gallery”.

Why is it that women with short hair are at the wrath of society? Why are women who decide to have short hair immediately classed as unfeminine, masculine, maybe even… lesbians? Men have enjoyed – and yes, I use the word enjoyed purposely- short hair for centuries. The freedom, the practicality and the style. It’s not just a fashion thing and even if it were, how is it somehow unfashionable to have short hair?

 

I don’t think it’s fair, I don’t think it’s worth judgement and I have no idea why it’s such a big issue. There are all of these articles dedicated to making them feminine [as in “yes, we know you made that mistake of cutting off your lovely locks, but you can fix it until it grows back…”].

Some of the most beautiful women in today’s society have got short hair- why not just redefine beauty like we have done countless times before? The mini skirt, the hotpants, the kitten heel- all have gotten shorter and are even sometimes referred to as feminist advances- why not the same with shorter hair?

Food for thought.

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The Jews Did Not Kill Jesus

 

Racism, in my opinion, is one of the most ignorant beliefs on the planet. Harsh language, but that’s my honest opinion [you’re going to get a lot of that on here]. It has no scientific basis, and has caused so many deaths throughout history- sadly, I know that there are a lot of people who have said this about one of my beliefs- Christianity- but while Christianity preaches love and congregation [“whosoever to the Lord may come…”], racism is, at its basis, an ideal that promotes segregation, many times at any cost.

Google defines it as: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

 

Prejudice- judging someone before you know them. Discrimination- separating someone from everyone else because they’re different in some way you don’t like. Antagonism- active hostility or opposition. None of them are positive words. None of them have positive consequences.

 

Take one of the perhaps lesser recognised strains of racism: racism against the Jews from Christians. Once already in this article I have identified with one of those groups.

Some Christians hold the view that Jesus died because the Jewish people killed him; others, because the “Romans” killed him. Let’s get something clear- no human being had the power to kill him, and so no human being did- God did.      1 John 4:10- “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Jesus was a sacrifice from God, who loved us. If Jesus had been born today, the same thing would have happened- in America, in Australia, in South Africa, in the Carribean, in Japan. The same thing would have happened because it was what God willed would happen, and Jesus himself was resigned to that. “Not my will but yours.” (Luke 22:42). The Jews did not kill Jesus. God did, for all of his people. People, in all of their sin and anger against God helped. And we would do it again.

 

One of the reasons I am so opposed to racism is because it separates “us” from “them”. I’m identified as a white female Christian living in Australia, part of “the West”. Wildcard: I have an Indonesian mother and a white father from an Irish/English heritage. Wildcard: My grandmother is half Indonesian and half Chinese. Wildcard: I do not care what the colour of my husband’s skin will be. There doesn’t need to be an us and them- things continue working.

 

If we take a racist point of view- segregate ourselves from each other, like fruit and vegetables in a supermarket- then it becomes easy to hate, and to shift the blame. Look at the people who blamed the death of Christ on others- it makes them seem more righteous. But who was it who abandoned Christ? His friends, the very first Christians. Who was it who watched him? The Roman soldiers. One of those became a Christian watching what happened to Christ on the cross. God did not discriminate with the skin colours he gave us, and our race does not stop him from loving us, reaching out to us. God sees us as the human race.

“We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” John 3:16 God doesn’t discriminate, and God isn’t racist. He made the human race in his image- if we were all made in his image, then he can’t be black or white. He is not swayed, and he is just. None of us are superior or inferior, especially not in the face of the God who is above all (Isaiah 55:9). All of these facts go towards God being a righteous one, and not a racist one. Racism isn’t righteous- racism isn’t right.

 

Food for thought.

Associations

Recently my school banned [and this is a direct quote from our school newsletter] “carnival style hair and outlandish piercings”. I know, I wondered too. At first it was kind of laughable- I was imagining this chick turning up to school with a green Mohawk and several facial rings- but then I started to really think about what it meant. What if I were a straight A student who was a really nice person but just decided that I wanted a different hair colour- would I be suspended, or just forcibly held over a sink while the office ladies dyed my hair back to brown? For the record, I’ve got dyed red hair and a cartilage piercing [the top bit of your ear] and I still haven’t been caught. Either I’m a ninja or I just blend into the crowd well (kind of like a ninja). Actually, being nondescript is kind of why I dyed my hair in the first place…

Then I started to think about scenes out of an American movie where the “soccer moms” are standing around waiting for their children wearing strings of pearls and pastel coloured cardigans when her mother comes along with purple hair. They all snigger and point perfectly manicured fingernails. It’s kind of just another type of bullying if you think about it- discrimination and assumptions made by stereotyping a person based on their outward appearance. It doesn’t matter to those mums whether she’s nice or smart or funny or whatever, and it leads me to question that, at the end of the day, are we still being judged for our looks? And, for the record, what does dying your hair have to do with anything anyway? Who sat in their room with a colour palate and wrote down which ones are socially acceptable?

Now we reach the part of the post where I make my point- what if, instead of conforming to these social norms, we just changed what having ‘carnival style hair and outlandish piercings’ meant? What if our generation was the one to show that we can still be Sunday school teachers [check], help little old ladies with their shopping [check] and be great students [check, check and check]. What if we were the ones that set a new style- where conforming to society’s current standards was the weird thing, and in twenty, fifty, a hundred years, our children looked at us and said “red? That is so yesterday. The trend at my school is rainbow, in the style of a unicorn horn! [(Aside to friend) (who has two eyebrow piercings and a tongue stud): Gawsh, my mum was such a geek!]” before teleporting to school.

Let’s change things up a bit.
WARNING: for the meantime, protests against imagination and creativity oppressing school rules should be kept to the holidays because you can still get suspended.

Note: I am not the chick in the photo.

When Religion Became Hipster

In my Sunday magazine, religion was classified twice- not once, but twice, in two different articles written by two different people- as hipster. The long bearded, surfing, cool pastor, with tatts and a “hot wife” is now in. Move aside, Buddha- Zen is out and funky church beats are droppin’. Wait, what?

Religion has always been something that the majority of society thinks is “o.k.” As in, “yea, soy milk is o.k. I prefer to keep living in my cow-milk ways, but you know, whatever floats your boat.” Looking back through the ages, it usually seems to be somewhere near the top of fashion [like our watery bean substitute]- for the Romans, it came second to togas [and conquering stuff], for the English, suits [and colonising stuff] and now, for the Aussies, it’s the most popular religion. That’s pretty cool. But I guess when we think of the people that tick the “yep” box on their census, we think of the old people stuck in their ways, born and raised in the church they’ll die in, drinking tea and wearing… suits. This magazine, though- a secular, newspaper glossy- says that religion is hipster! Maybe we’re not just the “hats and gloves wearin’, church goin’ folk” kind of people any more, but the awesome, stylish, cool, hipsters!

BTW: If you don’t like hipsters, you can just replace all of the times I say hipsters in this article with “cool” because that’s kind of what I’m getting at.

If we look at Hillsong, or C3, or [the one that was mentioned in the article] the Sydney Canvas Church, they’re growing pretty damn fast, and they’re majorly made up of the young and young at heart- they also feature joking young pastors, loud cool music and videos that look pretty pro for a church creative team [at least Hillsong does- I don’t know about the other guys]. Maybe church has stepped up a level- maybe, one day, it’ll be near the top of modern society’s fashion- near the top of WESTERN FASHION [that is, next to Kimye and distressed Converses].

I think that’s pretty cool.

As a bearded, twenty something, South African youth pastor with a tattoo sleeve once said [I’m being legitimate], “why should we let them have all the fun?”

In my Sunday magazine, religion was classified twice- not once, but twice, in two different articles written by two different people- as hipster. The long bearded, surfing, cool pastor, with tatts and a “hot wife” is now in. Move aside, Buddha- Zen is out and funky church beats are droppin’. Wait, what?

Religion has always been something that the majority of society thinks is “o.k.” As in, “yea, soy milk is o.k. I prefer to keep living in my cow-milk ways, but you know, whatever floats your boat.” Looking back through the ages, it usually seems to be somewhere near the top of fashion [like our watery bean substitute]- for the Romans, it came second to togas [and conquering stuff], for the English, suits [and colonising stuff] and now, for the Aussies, it’s the most popular religion. That’s pretty cool. But I guess when we think of the people that tick the “yep” box on their census, we think of the old people stuck in their ways, born and raised in the church they’ll die in, drinking tea and wearing… suits. This magazine, though- a secular, newspaper glossy- says that religion is hipster! Maybe we’re not just the “hats and gloves wearin’, church goin’ folk” kind of people any more, but the awesome, stylish, cool, hipsters!

BTW: If you don’t like hipsters, you can just replace all of the times I say hipsters in this article with “cool” because that’s kind of what I’m getting at.

If we look at Hillsong, or C3, or [the one that was mentioned in the article] the Sydney Canvas Church, they’re growing pretty damn fast, and they’re majorly made up of the young and young at heart- they also feature joking young pastors, loud cool music and videos that look pretty pro for a church creative team [at least Hillsong does- I don’t know about the other guys]. Maybe church has stepped up a level- maybe, one day, it’ll be near the top of modern society’s fashion- near the top of WESTERN FASHION [that is, next to Kimye and distressed Converses].

I think that’s pretty cool.

As a bearded, twenty something, South African youth pastor with a tattoo sleeve once said [I’m being legitimate], “why should we let them have all the fun?”

Your Moby Dick

Sometimes, on a Saturday night, I watch this show with my parents. It’s an old people’s crime show- no literally, they solve crimes from ages ago, and they’re all retired cops, over the age of say, fifty- and sometimes they bring up the idea of your Moby Dick. In their context, it’s the case that you follow, the one that gets you motivated, and the one that’s driven your whole career. Once you solve it, you don’t have that enthusiasm anymore, because that was it- your goal. What you really, really wanted.

A few years ago, Australia made it compulsory for students to continue their high school education until at least the age of seventeen [unless they leave to do a TAFE course, or start an apprenticeship]. Now, I’m sure there were many good reasons for this, but all of the students who were thinking of leaving school in year ten and not having to suffer what many people see as [and keep assuring me is] the hardest two years of your entire school life were then faced with the two big fat words- “Too Bad”. Yes, capital TB. It was that bad.

I personally don’t think this is a great idea. I mean, the HSC- that slip of paper that can help you get into university and have a “great career”, yea it’s nice. It’s what I’d like, and what I know a lot of people would like. A great career is the satisfaction a lot of people look for in life; it’s one the boxes they want to tick- it’s their Moby Dick. I wouldn’t say it’s mine [I don’t really know if I’ve found mine yet], but I do know quite a large group of people who don’t think that way. They have other aspirations, and ones that meant they didn’t want to- didn’t need to- finish school. One of my good friends, for instance, is a brilliant artist. She can draw like the lines flow from her imagination to her pen like a river- but she doesn’t get school. Can’t concentrate, and doesn’t get the marks she wants or the marks other people want her to get. I reckon that’s pretty tough.

What I’m trying to say is, that the HSC isn’t everyone’s Moby Dick and, in fact, this pressure on us to get awesome jobs [which is why people are pushing us to get awesome HSC marks] may be hindering us from finding our drive. I know that a lot of people would rather just not be in school, and that the pressure is both too demanding and unfair because, if they were born a few years earlier, they wouldn’t be facing it. The expectations, and the meaning that this test carries for the future is the gas pedal to the end of the tunnel for a lot of people, and I know that finishing and doing this is what I want, but I don’t think it’s fair that the government forced it to be what everyone needs.

My mate doesn’t need a HSC to do art- she’s already a great artist. But she has to go through these two years, and deal with whatever the results are, and my heart goes out to her and all the others.

It shouldn’t be Too Bad.

It should be OK.

Food for thought.