I’ve wanted to write You this letter for years, but only now have I the words to articulate myself authentically. Only now, at the age of twenty-nine, have I the understanding of what has been wrong all these years. The right term for why You found me odd that first day in the playground. When I talked too much and You laughed at me and called me names. I told You too much about myself, naively thinking that You would understand. …
Are you familiar with the Black Mirror episode Men Against Fire? Season three, episode five. For those of you who aren’t, it depicts a dystopian future in which soldiers are fighting and killing ‘zombies’. Only it turns out they aren’t zombies, but human beings. The soldiers have been fitted with implants that remove their empathy — some might call it humanity — by showing the targeted human beings as roaches (or zombies). A therapist tells the soldier who’s implant seems to be faltering, that most soldiers don’t shoot to kill, but rather aim for the space above their enemies’ heads.
So, evidently, to make a person ‘shoot to kill’, we must first remove the target’s humanity. Thus removing any empathy the shooter might feel toward the human. Which is essentially what is happening right now in the real world. …
The issue of refugees seems to be quite the nation divider. People appear vehemently for or vehemently against those seeking asylum in our country.
It’s something I find painfully impossible to get my head around. The fact that those fleeing war-torn countries might be turned away. I can’t understand how anyone could look at the picture of a man clutching his child and crying, and make the decision not to help. …
What would you say if I asked you whether your life contains anything appropriated from another culture? If you think that everything in your life is authentic then you might be unaware of how many foreign traditions could be present in your life, due to cultural appropriation. Each time you go to a yoga class, you’re exercising a once sacred practise. Tramp stamps? A tribal tradition long before it became a symbol of the stereotypical ‘loose’ woman. And the shisha you love to smoke in that crowded bar on a Saturday night, is a tradition taken from the Middle East. These are all fun and harmless — minus the toxins in the smoke — but the problem is, we’re losing the fundamental roots of the original sacred traditions. We live in a society that conveniently enjoys all the exciting things other cultures have to offer, whilst disregarding the difficult parts of their history. …
At Christmas, I met up with the man who raped me eight years ago. I’ve sat on the conversation I had with him for seven months, telling few people about it, and never writing it down. It has felt too personal a tale to send out into the world. But now I have had time to process it, I feel I ought to get it penned on paper.
I learned a lot that day, as I nervously sipped my steaming mug of black coffee, sitting opposite a man I hadn’t seen in years. A stranger, he seemed, despite the fact that I had once loved him. Now a shagged man sat before me, stretched, like an old cotton gown, forced too many times over an ever-growing expanse of flesh. When last I saw him, he seemed young, with still a bounce in his step and a glean in his eye. Now his hair greyed, and his eyes shone with nothing, drooping and reminiscent of a weathered blood hound. …
I have always been thin. Thin enough, at least. Sometimes I’ve been chunky. Like when I was travelling in Australia and drank heavy, red wine whilst battling a binge eating problem. I was depressed and my weight seemed to be the devil on my shoulder telling me I was worthless and ugly. How much I weighed became an insidious obsession. It kept me up at night and had me dressing in baggy clothes. I’d stare at myself in the mirror, willing something else to look back at me. I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin.
My entire life revolved around food. I had a love/hate relationship with it and would restrict myself so much that I’d end up binging on entire chocolate cakes and huge bags of sweets until I felt sick. I’d feel hopeless, teary, and immensely depressed for the rest of the day. I’d exercise to try and get the calories out and considered sticking two chocolate stained fingers down my throat. The only thing that stopped me was knowing the frightening cycle of bulimia and vowing I’d never get myself lost in an eating disorder. Little did I know my relationship to food was entirely unhealthy and that I was suffering greatly with body dysmorphia. I teetered dangerously on the cusp between diet and eating disorder. …
All lives matter
While Muslims cower in fear
Abused, segregated, lynched
All lives matter
As Yemenites scream for sanctuary
And you refuse refugees
All lives matter
Yet you sexualise women
And the patriarchy thrives
All lives matter
Inside the safety
That white skin grants
Where were your shouts
When a man begged for breath?
Where were your declarations
When a woman was raped?
Where are your donations
When war steals the screams of a child?
If all lives matter