When grown-ups have feelings

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The older I get, the more I wonder whether there even is such a thing as a grown-up. Most of the time I think we’re all just flailing about and none of us really know what the fuck we’re doing anyway.

I don’t know if I qualify as a grown-up. I mean, I may be financially independent now and I’ve learned the four P’s of marketing, but I still don’t know anything about stocks and I still don’t have a driver’s license.

One way in which I do notice time passing, though, is that I don’t seem to feel things quite as intensely as I used to. It’s like someone set the transparency higher on my life, like I still see the colors but what used to be a flaming red has become an orange-tinted kind of coral and the deep blue that used to feel like I would drown in it and never resurface suddenly seems a less insurmountable shade of petrol.

This Book Helped Me Figure Out My Life Purpose

Friday, September 16, 2016

Do you know what you're alive for?

I don't think everyone looks for a life purpose. If you were born in poverty, or if you're ill, you can't afford to wonder why you get out of bed in the mornings. You get out of bed because if you don't show up to work, you stand to lose your entire existence, and maybe that of your family too. You get out of bed because you don't know if you'll still be alive to do it tomorrow.

So my search for meaning is, to some extent, a luxury problem. 

Wir sind nicht eure Frauen.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Schweden, Deutschland, neuerdings auch Österreich. Die Berichte über sexuelle Übergriffe an Frauen durch Migranten aus dem islamisch-arabischen Raum häufen sich. Die populistischen Reaktionen lassen nicht lange auf sich warten. „Finger weg von unseren Frauen!“ lautet der Leitsatz in rechten Kreisen, die in Europa immer größer und einflussreicher werden. Und mit jedem Einzelfall, den die Boulevardmedien breit treten, werden die Forderungen der plötzlich zum Feminismus konvertierten Wutbürger eindringlicher.
Die Stimmen, die da laut werden, die sich jetzt als tapfere Verfechter von Frauenrechten positionieren, sind dieselben Stimmen, die sich noch vor einem Jahr, kurz vor Beginn der Flüchtlingskrise, über die Verschärfung des § 218 StGB in Österreich empörten. Was für ein Unsinn, dieser „Po-Grabsch-Paragraph“, hieß es aus der rechten Ecke herablassend, als ungewollte Berührungen im Intimbereich kriminalisiert wurden. Wer brauche denn so etwas, da könne ja sogar schon enges Tanzen in der Diskothek strafbar werden.
Es sind dieselben Stimmen, die sich mit Vorliebe über Transgender-Frauen mokieren, das Gendern der deutschen Sprache kategorisch ablehnen und nicht einsehen, warum die Leistungen von Frauen in der österreichischen Bundeshymne gewürdigt werden sollten.
Woher also das plötzliche brennende Interesse für Frauenrechte und sexualisierte Gewalt? Es empören sich nun Scharen von Männern über eine Form von Übergriffen, die sie noch vor einem Jahr nicht einmal als Straftat im Gesetz festgehalten wissen wollten. Vielleicht gab es ja tatsächlich einen flächendeckenden Sinneswandel. Viel wahrscheinlicher ist aber, dass die Übergriffe einer Gruppe an rassistischen, hasserfüllten Menschen einfach nur sehr gelegen kamen, um ihre Fremdenfeindlichkeit und ihren Isolationismus zu rechtfertigen. Ein solch heuchlerischer Opportunismus und eine derartige Instrumentalisierung des Feminismus sind auf das Schärfste zu verurteilen.
Ob Menschen aus bestimmten Kulturkreisen tatsächlich vermehrt sexuelle Gewalt verüben, ist die eine Frage. Der Staat sollte dieser Thematik auch sorgfältig nachgehen und, falls nötig, Konsequenzen ziehen. Es steht außer Frage, dass manche unserer neuen Mitbürger ein höchst problematisches Frauenbild mit sich bringen, welches thematisiert werden muss. Ebenso außer Frage steht, dass jegliche Verstöße gegen die körperliche Selbstbestimmung eines Menschen mit der vollen Härte des Gesetzes zu bestrafen sind. Aber jene Männer, die den schleichenden, tückisch latenten Sexismus der westlichen Welt eigentlich so gut wie verkörpern, und sich nun auf die Wahrung von Frauenrechten berufen, um ihre fragwürdigen politischen Ziele zu verfolgen, mögen sich aus der Debatte bitte heraushalten. Denn zur Gleichstellung von Frauen werden sie bestimmt nichts beitragen.


Monday, June 13, 2016

“What do you do to relax?”

“So you don’t really have any hobbies, per se?”

“Should I be worried about how ambitious you are?”

“Does that leave time for a boyfriend?”

“Do you ever read for pleasure? Like murder mysteries?”

These are all questions I was asked over the course of the last few days, during several interviews for various post-graduate degrees, summer schools and courses.

I don’t read murder mysteries, and much like horror movies, I have never understood how people enjoy them. Maybe that’s because watching your father beat your mother unconscious scares you enough to last you a lifetime.

But more to the point, I feel cheated. For 15 years, I was pushed by my parents, my teachers, the education system as a whole, to do more, achieve more, aim higher. I was told that if I got perfect grades and took part in suitable extracurriculars, like piano and Spanish class, I would make it into a good university, and if I then maintained straight A’s while completing internships and gaining work experience, I would have a bright future. Job applications and interviews would be easy. Anyone would want me in their company or their classroom. I would never have to worry about money.

To a child who often had to miss birthday parties because we couldn’t afford to buy a present, all of that sounded pretty good. So I upheld my part of the deal. I got the grades. I showed up to the piano lessons, and the Latin classes, and the Spanish classes. I got into a good university, and then a better one. I won the awards, I did the internships and the summer school programs.

Of course, because I’m a woman, I was expected to do all of this while conforming to established beauty standards. So I starved myself, and tried to make myself throw up but couldn’t, and ate my feelings and then went back to starving myself. I forced myself to exercise even though I hated it and I learned how to do make-up so I could make my nose look smaller and my lips look fuller and I read fashion magazines so I would know how to dress.

And now, after years and decades of trying, my applications come across as too dry, too academic, not well-rounded enough. Why don’t I have any interesting hobbies? Don’t I enjoy running labyrinth half-marathons or collecting interwar period cutlery? This extends to my personal life, too – I’m “too stressed”, or I “worry too much”, or I’m “too intimidating” for people to want to be with me. I’m “too hard to keep up with”.

I still get accepted to most things I apply to, so it seems my efforts weren’t wasted entirely. But instead of being congratulated for them like I was led to believe I would be, I’m having to justify myself for not finding the time to shoot clay pigeons, and it’s infuriating. So, for future reference, here’s the honest-to-God truth, on the Internet, for everyone to see, never to be forgotten: in my few precious moments of spare time, I like to lie in bed, eat pizza, watch Gossip Girl or some equally shallow and insubstantial TV show, and daydream about marrying Chuck Bass. I do this about once a week for a couple of hours before going back to being a hopeless overachiever. So sue me.   

7 Questions I Have About Tinder

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hi lovelies 

Do you guys use Tinder? I have a bit of a love-hate-relationship with it, much like with online shopping. On the one hand, they rarely ever run out of stock. On the other hand, free returns are a lot more awkward.

But in the end, it’s a fast way to meet lots of people, and being the sucker for efficiency that I am, I’ve gotten used to it. Well, almost. There are a few things that still confuse me.

Statistics 101 or What I Wish People Understood About Gender

Sunday, April 3, 2016

In December of last year, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a study by researchers at Tel Aviv University, catchily entitled “The human brain mosaic”.

The great thing about it is that in one single piece of research, it sums up everything that I have ever wanted to scream at people.

To quote the abstract, “Brains with features that are consistently at one end of the “maleness-femaleness” continuum are rare. Rather, most brains are comprised of unique “mosaics” of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males. (…) These findings are corroborated by a similar analysis of personality traits, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of more than 5,500 individuals, which reveals that internal consistency is extremely rare.“

In other words, we are all individuals with unique brains and personalities.

So why is this so difficult for us to wrap our heads around? Why do we believe books that tell us “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” and raise our children differently because “boys will be boys”? 

I went without solid food for 72h and here’s what it was like

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hey lovelies,

After two 14-hour workdays and six days of being stuck in bed with a cold and a massive headache, I’m finally going to tell you about how I ACTUALLY COMPLETED the fasting challenge that I wrote about in my last post (and I really need to work on blogging more consistently).

Being that the original idea of World Vision Austria was to go without food and donate the saved money, I set myself two simple rules at the beginning:

1.  No solid food.
2. No spending money.
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