Ostriches And Loose Change.

“Jasey Rae” by All Time Low.

I press play.

Music was my release. Always has been, always will be. After such a pressing day in school (which I say to myself every day), I can’t do without it.

It’s not a coping mechanism, I try to convince myself.

Inner me knows better. I shake myself out of my thoughts and concentrate on the task at hand. Which happens to be finding a bus so I can get home.

Easier said than done, as always.

I sigh and switch the song playing.

Lights out
I still hear the rain
These images that fill my head
Now keep my fingers from making mistakes
Ironic how tiny droplets of drizzle cover the pavement in front of me. I look around as is expected, and see a friend of mine coming towards me enthusiastically.
Play it cool, my anxiety whispers.
Stand up straighter, my self esteem ushers.
I do both as nonchalantly as possible, taking out one of my earphones.
We exchange the usual hellos, and talk for a bit while she waits for her Dad.
Then the expected question. She asks how I’m going back home.
“By bus,” I say, motioning to the road in front of me.
The traffic drowns out my voice.
“I couldn’t hear you, what did you say?
My demons smirked and flashbacks of when I was younger clouded my head.
Tell my voice what it takes
To speak up
Speak up
And keep my conscience clean when I wake
My teacher telling me to be a little louder in class as I told a story, as my ten year old self looked at her shoes wanting to disappear.
My parents telling me that there was no point saying anything worthwhile if I wasn’t loud enough.
My friends hesitantly telling me that me singing well didn’t matter, because they just couldn’t hear me.
Or maybe no one wanted to, whispered my mind.
I blocked that out too.
Maybe that’s why I turned to writing, I contemplated.
This took all of about five seconds before I realized I’d zoned out, so I cleared my throat and repeated myself with a smile.
I’m used to that too, but what the heck.
Don’t make this easy
I want you to mean it
Jasey. (say you’ll mean it)
We said goodbye, and I gladly put my earphones back in.
I wish I’d stop thinking about so much while talking to anyone. It’s just simple conversation, but in my head I’ve dissected every single word and what it may have meant, could have meant.
You have a bus to catch Iris. Get it together.
You’re dressed to kill
I’m calling you out (don’t waste your time on me)
I finally see a bus that takes the right route and hop into it.
…is what I wish happened.
Instead I probably resembled an ostrich running across the road, wisps of hair flying across my face, and my clumsy self clambering into the bus.

With a raised eyebrow, the conductor looks at me, and then asks me where I’m headed to. I mutter the name of my stop and dig my hands into my pockets searching for change.

I feel the eyes of the other passengers in the bus bore holes into the back of my head.

They’re probably wondering why you take so long just to get a ticket. They’re judging you, as usual…

Constantly telling myself that I’m paranoid, I take out the required amount and hand it to him.

Dropping a coin in the process.

Now there’s an aching in my back
A stabbing pain that says I lack
The common sense and confidenceTo bring an end to promises

Cursing all over again, my anxiety laughs at me.

That I make in times of desperate conversation
Hoping my night could be better than theirs in the end
Just say when

“I’m sorry.”

Two words bordering on meaning too much and yet not enough.

I grab the coin and give it to him, and he didn’t seem too pleased as he handed my ticket.

Don’t make this easy
I want you to mean it
Jasey. (say you’ll mean it)
You’re dressed to kill
I’m calling you out, (don’t waste your time on me)

I grabbed a seat right before the next speed breaker, ignoring the pain that shot through my shoulder as I hit it against the bar.

Stuffing the ticket and the damned change back in my bag, I turned up the volume.

I’ve never told a lie
And that makes me a liar
I’ve never made a bet
But we gamble with desire

This is anxiety. Welcome to the world of 25% of people everywhere.

Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to just do – you know? Act, not contemplate. Without thinking so much or let it get in the way of every single thing my body does or says.

It clings to me like a second skin, always there, subtle, but making its presence known, always.

I’ve never lit a match
With intent to start a fire

Take talking on the phone for example. To order a meal. Gosh, the irrational fear of the phone call, the person itself, them judging you- it all gets too too much. And I don’t know why.

Why is a question I’ll probably ask myself forever.
But recently the flames
Are getting out of control

It seems never ending…will I end up living my entire life scared? To ask for a napkin at a restaurant? To dial an unknown number? To just exist?

While everyone passes me by, talking animatedly, continuing with their lives because they don’t worry about every single thing that happens in their life.

Call me a name
Kill me with words
Forget about me
It’s what I deserve

Yeah, it’s exactly what you deserve. You totally deserve those stares and that constant pain of why you can never do things right.

But…I don’t. Do I?

No one deserves impatient receptions or waitresses, or to make phone calls they’re terrified of making.

But everyone deserves a chance to try and get it right.

I was your chance
To get out of this town
But I ditched the car
And left you to

Sometimes, I don’t know if I should feel sorry because so many people feel the way I do on a daily basis and like their feelings aren’t valid enough to even be spoken about.

Wait outside
I hope the air will serve to remind you
That my heart is as cold as the clouds of your breath
And my words are as timed as the beating in my chest

Meanwhile the practical part of me insists.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, and it’s totally okay. We’ll find a way. And some day we can buy ourselves a chocolate with confidence.

Until then, I got my music.

-Iris

Advertisements

Looks like I’m cookie cutter framing you.

When a guy told me,
“You’re not like most girls,”
I found myself saying thank you
And not asking what most girls are like because I’m too scared to know the answer
I’m too scared to remember that everyone’s different and by saying what he did he didn’t mean it as a compliment
He just meant
That I was doing what I’d been taught to do since the age of five
When I was made aware that being a girl isn’t quite the same as being a boy
What they taught me but didn’t tell me was that I would spend my entire life pleasing others and adjusting and making do with what I have because I’ve already been given too much.
I’ve been given a voice.
The next time my voice dies down in my throat
Like hands around my neck begging me to stop
Stop talking, stop thinking, stop existing
I can’t listen.
Because I’m not like most girls am I.
I don’t listen.
I don’t listen because I don’t want to have to look good to be taken seriously
I don’t want to have to think about being selfish all the time
I’m sick of feeling like yet another cookie cutter frame
This monotonous batch one after the other, no more than an object and being thrown into the fire if
I’m just a little too brown or god forbid, not perfect.
I’m sick of realizing that I’m not enough to change the world and probably will never be.
I’m sick of myself because my voice isn’t as loud as my conscience and the sirens in my brain shake my balance but do little to shake someone’s faith in their unrighteousness.
But I want to have faith too.
I want to have enough faith in the universe to not feel like a burden as I give my opinion with a spoonful of sugar, as important as ones morning coffee, but as ignored as stains on a coffee cup,
gathering dust because my heated argument did little to remove it.
I want to have faith in myself.
To speak up.
And start over.
And try again.
How can I.
‘When breakfast tastes like disappointment,’ I ask myself.

But for the record.

When another guy reminds that “I’m not like most girls.”
I hope I’ll have the strength to say, “but you’re exactly like most guys.”

-Iris

Standing alone.

The issue of bullying has plagued school systems for a long time. And in recent years has increased to alarming levels. Many cases leave the students with emotional scars that run deep and never fully heal, and some even have young children thinking that they have no other option but to end their lives.

This needs to stop. How can we just watch as these children get abused in every possible? How can we be idle spectators to their pain, as they distance themselves from the world for fear of running into their tormentors. Or maybe worse, plastering fake smiles and easy grins on their faces and pretending nothing is wrong. How can we ignore the bruises peeking from behind shirt collars and the colorful personalities huddled behind terrified souls? They are fellow human beings, just like us, and yet we let them fend for themselves, making them grow to hate their appearance, gender, sexuality and heritage. Making them grow to hate their very being. All just because they aren’t the definition of “cool”.  Oh, do excuse us for expressing ourselves the way we want to.

It isn’t enough to feel sympathetic and watch. There’s strength in numbers. If you’re worried about yourself getting hurt then it just shows your character more than anything else really. Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.

-Icarus

Edit by Iris.

Dang those smart Greeks.

If I said the word catharsis out loud to a person who didn’t know what it meant, they’d probably think its cannibalism or something.

I was one of those people, not gonna lie. I was convinced it had something to do with the devil or something really morbid, which awakened my curiosity even more, and led me to find out its exact meaning.

Thank goodness for the internet. That brief moment of ignorance was pretty embarrassing now that I think about it.

Anyways.

Catharsis is, to put it in a simpler way, releasing pent-up emotions inside you through some form, in an attempt to get rid of them in a purifying way. These emotions usually consist of fear, anger and pain. An example could be watching a hilarious movie or reading a particularly melancholic book, even though you know you’re gonna be bawling by the end of it. It’s an attempt to cleanse yourself and it makes you feel like you can start over, in a way. Most of do this rather unconsciously, and it genuinely is a great way to make yourself feel better.

Music. An amazing(and the most common way) to free those salty drops of H2O. Nothing like a bunch of  thirty-something dudes wearing black eyeliner screaming angst to get the mood going. Maybe Beethoven gets those tear ducts working. I wouldn’t know. Whatever your taste, music is the best therapy(in my opinion). Not only for us, but also for those who write these lyrics. Everyone has their own way of letting those feelings break through, be it writing, music, writing music. We all gotta find what works best for the mess that we are.

Now let’s talk about plays. Theater. Acting.

What exactly is the point of these plays? 

(I find myself asking this question a lot. For almost everything. To the despair of my mother. Who just wants me to peel the damn potatoes without getting too deep.)

A distraction? Totally. Entertainment? Mostly yes. Who doesn’t like a bit of drama every now and then right?

What about tragedies someone may ask. They definitely not entertaining in the same way as the theatrics of dear old Lancelot. But they could be so, if you get your kicks from seeing actors play dead, a morbid curiosity as to how exactly Romeo and Juliet killed themselves, or if you just wanna poke some fun at how silly people were and how funny they talked. In all those ways these tragic plays are just as humorous as their comical counterparts.

All those aside, our smart Greek ancestors had their objective of such plays clear in their heads, even if they didn’t have a difficult-to-pronounce word to go with it. And we made fun of the ‘thee’s’ and ‘thou’s’ like there was no tomorrow.

Their aim, their ‘point’ as I called it, was catharsis. These plays were made to be cried for. They were created with the sole purpose of getting people’s emotions out of them. All those manuscripts and clean-shaven boys to play women were all part of a healing process that very few understood.

Mind. Blown.

Call me a word nerd all you like.

Catharsis is pretty dang cool.

And the Greeks were pretty dang smart.

Dang those smart Greeks.

-Iris

(P.S – There are 555 words in this and I’m very unnecessarily proud .)

 

 

 

Press-ing the issue.

via Daily Prompt: Farce

Media is playing a huge role in our lives whether we like it or not. The news blaring in the morning while everyone gets ready to go about their day is very ordinary in most households these days. I’m not just talking about the television, no. I’m talking sources, huge sources, like newspapers, billboards, mobile phones, the internet. You’re exposed to so much, and you wonder when this change occurred.

Looking back the only news my grandparents probably got and most people cared about was whose daughter is getting married next or that so-and-so’s sister’s grandson’s seventh cat passed away. Just saying.

Right now we can say we’re at a peak. We’ve reached a point where everyone is questioning the verity of the news that reaches our ears. “If everyone’s talking about it then it must be true” stuff. Standing on precipice, what do we see? What is the future of information in general?

Wikipedia would be a prime example in this case. We’re told so often that everything on the internet isn’t true. Why not? If the internet, which is accessed by so many people, children and adults, is full of wrong data, in time everyone will be convinced that half of it is just a farce. Everyone has the right to seek the truth, don’t they?

The saying “Seeing is believing” has totally lost its meaning. The discovery of the many uses of Photoshop and the overuse of clickbait has made us ask the ‘wh’ questions more than ever. What happened to the actual content? If people making millions on YouTube by dissing other people isn’t a slight cause for worry then I don’t know what is.

Never mind the fact that its getting scarier by the day to upload a picture online or give your own opinion for that matter. Hate comments are something that public figures must deal with on a daily basis. There’s lesser platform for encouragement as the days pass. I completely agree that criticism is necessary for anyone who seeks to better herself or himself, but not by telling them to go kill themselves or that they don’t fit societal standards!

The final question would probably be. If we are on the cliff. Barely reaching the edge. Grappling at the pieces of our shattered existence not knowing what’s true and what isn’t. Then are we choosing to fall off kicking and screaming, or jump willingly?

-Iris

Being a girl shouldn’t suck as much as it does.

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”

Joseph Conrad knew what was up.

I’m so done with the pink and blue stereotypes. Why can’t we all just be purple. Then maybe people would stop asking me whose side I’m on.

I present to you.

Reasons to become a feminist.

  • We’re told to love our bodies but we exaggerate if get comments like “She’s too thin/fat” or “She’s ugly”.
  • Being pretty is the most important thing I’ll ever do.
  • Terms like fat or thin have become some of the worst insults you can receive. Somehow being ‘fat’ is way worse than being a shitty person.
  • Why are we more likely than our male counterparts to be asked about marriage and kids?
  • A man sleeping around is called a player and boasts about it to his friends. A woman doing the same is called a slut or a whore and is made to be ashamed of her sexuality.
  • Anything we like or enjoy is a joke. Come on. We’ve seen it with yoga, Starbucks, iPhones, bands. We spend our hard-earned money on music from a particular artist because they’re ‘pretty’. Look at yourself. Calling us deranged, crazy, obsessive because we enjoy it and it makes us feel good. Anything wrong with that?
  • Being a housewife is looked down upon. Being a MOTHER is looked down upon. As if labor doesn’t feel like every bone in your body breaking at once. As if raising children and taking care of a family and a home is an easy job.
  • Being ‘ladylike’ is nothing but being polite and respectful. Shouldn’t everyone be ‘ladylike’ then?
  • Men are afraid of strong women because they can’t exert their so-called masculinity upon them.
  • There is so much victim blaming when it comes to rape and sexual abuse.
  • Saying “No,” isn’t code for “Convince me.”
  • It’s funny how my clothes give more consent than my mouth.
  • People refuse to believe or acknowledge the wage gap.
  • Everyone goes pale and turn away if I say ‘period’. There’s absolutely nothing embarrassing about menstruation. I refuse to allow myself to shy away from handing out a pad or tampon in public.

You should too.

  • I was taught to take a blade to my skin every time I was to wear a dress.                     (I was talking about shaving. What else did you think?)
  • I’m asked if I have a boyfriend more than I’m asked about my mental health.

More women are deprived of their rights than ever.

“Not all men are like that.”

ENOUGH ARE.

Men can be feminists too. It ain’t a religious cult with an initiation ceremony, or something that you gotta be ashamed of.

Stereotypes do not define me.

Being feminine isn’t weak. We are stronger than they think. We are stronger than WE think.

Now its just time to do something about it.

-Iris

Do not walk away this time. Not now, not ever.

Allow me to tell you a story. I would tell you to brace yourself, but I’m angry, and my hands shake as I prepare to write this. I have no sympathy for you.

There was once an eight year old girl who lived with her parents and her sister in a nice house just off the main street. She spent a lot of her time at the windowsill, gazing at the vehicles passing by, chin propped up on her elbow and lips curved in a small smile.

Seven years later, her habit of daydreaming never left her. She does the same, with more caution than before, a seemingly permanent frown resting on her face instead.

One sunny afternoon she saw something a little different from the usual traffic. A man was walking along the road with a big brown dog trotting steadily beside him, his fur glistening in the heat. She ran up to her father’s study and asked if she could go see the doggy. Her father rose from his chair, and took her downstairs to the shop next door. The man had settled down on a chair near the shop, with the dog faithfully by his side.

Seven years later, she sinks down in her seat everytime the car she’s in passes that very road.

Her small hands glide over the dogs silky head, as her father makes small talk with the man. He says he’s a watchman for the shop, pointing towards it, and adds that he got the dog a week ago. A giggle escapes the girl as the dog tried to lick her face. Her father says it’s time to go, so she promised to come back and see the dog again soon. The next day however, her fathers too busy to take her, and tells her to go by herself.

Seven years later, she never forgave him for it.

The watchman saw the little girl bounding up to the animal by his side. After a few minutes of her playing with it, he asked her which class she was in. The girl, unsure of whether she could divulge such information to a stranger, said ”Third,” very softly. He leaned in close. Too close. “What did you say?” His hand grabbed her elbow. Too tight. “Third,” she stammered.
“Huh?” he asked, his other hand moving to the front of her denim shorts. He had heard her. She was sure of it. What she wasn’t sure of was what his hands were doing. Her instinct was repeatedly telling her to run, but the grip on her arm was too strong. She was locked in place. Her mind raced. This was wrong. WRONG. This shouldn’t be happening, was all she could think about. It seemed like a lifetime of useless struggle and dizziness due to his hands pressing painfully into her elbow and places where no one had a right to ever touch without her consent. In case you hadn’t realized yet, yes this happened. On a main road. People and vehicles racing by. In broad daylight.

Three years later, she almost reeled over in shock when she understood what had happened to her when she was eight.

The grip on her hand loosened slightly, she took the chance and she bolted home, dropping her hairband on the way.
The next day she contemplated going again. Her father walked in, snapping her out of her thoughts. “Wanna take biscuits for the dog? You can go search for your hairband also.”
She went. Alone. Again.
He molested her. Again.

I know what most of you are thinking. Why didn’t she scream? Why didn’t she say anything? Why did she go again?
If you’re even half a decent person then those aren’t the questions you should be asking. You should be wondering what kind of people walked past her that day. How someone could do something like that to a little girl?

Five years later, she’s terrified of letting people get too close. Her heart rate spikes if a boy even accidentally brushed her hand in the hallways at school.

Five years later, she told someone about it. They told her that if she didn’t remember who it was then surely she had imagined it all up.
She refused to believe there is good in the world.
Seven years later, she knows there is.
Seven years later, she writes this story.
Seven years later, she’s determined not to let it stop her.

That girl was me.

Funny thing is, I’m not just telling you my story. I’m telling the story of a startling number of girls and boys who have been scarred for life thanks to the sadistic pleasure of a certain man or woman.
For this large number of victims not only do I want to thank the actual harassers, I want to thank all the police stations who laughed and brushed away the women who bravely reported rape or sexual abuse.
I want to thank the judicial system for treating these offenses as minor and as an irritation more than anything else.
I want to thank each and every person who blames the victim for anything that has happened to him/her.

You know who I blame the most in my case though? All the people who walked past me those afternoons. There is no excuse you can give me to justify what happened. I refuse to believe that it was my fault, because it wasn’t.
Are you trying to tell me that you would have walked past your mother, sister or daughter if she was in my place? That you wouldn’t have ‘noticed’?
I hate to use this example, but I have to. How else will your selfishness prevent you from seeing my point of view. Destroy the idea that everyone must respect women because we are their daughters, mothers, and sisters. Reinforce the idea that everyone should respect everyone because we are PEOPLE.

None of this would be complete without the people telling me that I’m overreacting and blowing things out of proportion. If you’ve read/listened carefully, you will know that I haven’t exaggerated any of it. I’ve written it as it happened, and no one can tell me to keep quiet. If my voice is all I have, then I will use it, and use it well. I refuse to remain silent, not again, not this time. I have all but one fear, which is that another person will have to go through what I did, or worse. I want to stress on the fact that one can never completely forget an event like this. You can never fully move on. You cannot possibly believe that it’s easy, because it’s not.
The saddest part is, all I’m aiming for is equal rights for everyone, which should have been provided to everyone in the first place. Are you going to blame me for that too?

From the readers of this, I ask one favor. Do not walk away this time. The world has seen enough rape and molestation. It’s going to continue to happen unless people with a voice use it. Right this instant, I want you to stop your sympathy, and instead do all that is in your power to stop this madness.
Do not walk away this time.

-Iris
Continue reading