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.

Why I am going without food for 72 hours

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Do you know what real hunger feels like?

We’ve all said things like “I can’t wait for lunch, I’m starving!” before. But in the west where food is pretty much always available and many of us struggle with not overeating, very few people, if any, know what it means to be truly, gut-wrenchingly hungry. Even the hunger you feel when you skip lunch on a busy workday is really uncomfortable. What would it feel like not to eat for days?

Body Positivity is So Goddamn Important

Sunday, February 28, 2016

When I started this blog, I thought I’d just write about whatever seemed interesting to me, and I didn’t really plan much further. Now, I am realizing that apparently, what interests me is mostly smashing the patriarchy. I really don’t want to come across as the stereotypical angry feminist who doesn’t shave her underarms (not that there’s anything wrong with that, either). But some things just piss me off, you know?

Like the other day when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. A German magazine had posted an article about the #DropTheTowel campaign encouraging women of all body shapes to enjoy the summer, the sun and the beach without obsessing over who might judge them or hiding inside their towels. It was accompanied by a beautiful picture of women of all shapes and sizes showing off their bodies in bathing suits.

Awesome, I thought, maybe I can manage to do that this summer, too. And I would have kept scrolling, but then the comments caught my eye. Basically, it was a bunch of women, mostly, pointing out that obesity is unhealthy and shouldn’t be glorified, and the idea that overweight or obese bodies could be beautiful is just ludicrous.

And then I thought, that is SUCH bullshit.

My Six Steps To A Perfect Sunday

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hi lovelies 

Do you like Sundays??

When I was younger, I used to hate Sundays. It was the day that everyone had to spend with their families, so I couldn’t hang with my friends, and Sunday was also last-minute homework day. Ten years later and Sunday is absolutely, hands down my very favorite day of the week. I think every day should be Sunday. In fact, I love Sunday so much, I have my Sunday routine down to a T. There are a few things that I NEVER do on Sundays: wear jeans or otherwise constrictive clothing, spend more time outdoors than strictly necessary unless it is warmer than 20°C, or see people I don't really want to see (I make it a point to meet my mother on Saturdays). And then there are a few things that I wouldn’t miss for the world on Sundays. So, should you ever run out of ideas or get bored, here’s my recipe for the perfect Sunday.

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