So straight men…

So straight men can hit on women in public all the time but as soon as I comment on a photo on a page that a guy looks nice, straight men try to make it out I’m abusing my gay rights, and trying to make everyone know I’m shouting out I’m gay for attention.

I’m so sick of these double standards. But I’ll keep fighting them until I get my equal rights.

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So You Want to Start Learning a Language?

Hello, I am sorry for not being online lately to post on my blog. I have been busy with my exams, a couple of them being essays, so I’ve had a lot of reading to do (and have had a lot of procrastinating to do, too). ‘

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Whilst studying for my Japanese exam, I have come to think, what kind of learning methods are involved in learning a language?

I started to get the language learning bug when I graduated from high school at 17 and moved to Melbourne, and consequently, I have been learning Japanese at university for a little over a year now, and I have been learning Mandarin outside of university for around a month.

Starting to learn a language independently, and having not learned a language before that, it has taken a while for me to actually get used to knowing what is involved to learn a language effectively. It’s not to say that I am an A grade student at learning languages, I just know and have myself experienced a lot of mistakes that can be made whilst learning a language. So therefore, I hope this guide will be able to help you learn measures to take when learning to speak and write in a different language.

Starting Out:

If you are learning a language to some degree of independence then I strongly recommend that you get a textbook. There are a lot of textbooks out there, some better than others, so I recommend you look at some forum boards or websites online to find out which textbooks are good, and which textbook will be good for you kind of language learning. For learning Japanese, I am currently using these books.

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I am currently up to the green Genki II textbook, but if you are starting from scratch, get the orange Genki I. At university you go through one of those textbooks in a year. I’ve found the Grammar Dictionary quite handy, as it gives more depth to the grammar explanations found in the textbook, and also has more grammar definitions. It is definitely convenient if you want to extend you learning. Also, the vocabulary is book is convenient as it explains when to and when not to use certain words, has common words, and you will start finding these words and phrases all the time in anime.
For Mandarin, I have these books:

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The New Practical Chinese Reader textbook and workbook are quite handy for an overall learning of the language, and people on forumboards have said that it is probably one of the best Mandarin learning textbooks on the market at the moment, BUT my complaints, and other people’s, have been the grammar explanations and the vocabulary is not that appropriate. So I ended up getting another textbook, the blue one, which has good vocabulary lists and puts the grammar into nice rules.

But at the end of the day, the books you get should be oriented towards the way that you learn. So if you find any books that you think will also be quite convenient and beneficial, then get them.

Phonetics, then Morphology/Syntax, and then Semantics/Pragmatics:

As a linguistics student, these words make sense, but you may have not studied Linguistics before, so I will explain the heading for you. Often, you will find when you are learning a language and the concepts within a language, you first learn how to pronounce and say something, such as a consonant sound. This is called phonetics. When you first learn a language, even though this may sound redundant, and it will become tedious for a while, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get the phonetics down. Because, how are you going to be able to read grammar and sentences in the language if you don’t know how to say it, and if you don’t know what it sounds like in your head?

So for the first month or so, I just recommend spending half an hour of time out of your day just to practice the new unfamiliar sounds of a language. It may be the ‘retroflex’ sounds of Mandarin, where the tip of the tongue is curled slightly backwards, which in pinyin are zh, ch, sh and r. Also, languages may also contrast sounds that you may not be able to pick up on without practicing.

Then, once you have got that down good, and whilst you are learning those sounds, it is important to start learning the grammar of the language; the morphology and syntax. The morphology of the language is the modification that happens in words which serves a grammatical purpose, like in English, happen becomes happened, establish to disestablishment. This includes what you’ve probably heard as inflection (inflectional morphology). English doesn’t have much of this compared to some languages, and in languages like Japanese, morphology plays a heavy grammatical role. Then, there are also grammatical functions which involve the syntax of the language, such as how words are ordered in a sentence. (For example in English, it is a subject-verb-object language – I-eat-McDonalds).

Lastly, you then learn the semantics or pragmatics in the use of language. Semantics being the meaning of a sentence not concerning context, and pragmatics, the meaning of the sentence relating to the context. So, you’ve probably learned how to say a grammatical function, where it goes in a sentence, and then you will usually learn what it means in a sentence (semantics), and then in which situations it is appropriate to use it (pragmatics).

You will find a lot of language textbooks use this method anyway. So you don’t really have to focus on this too much, but it is nice to be aware of this.

Language is a Skill, not an Academic Discipline:

Even if you learn a language in an educational institution, using a language is a skill. Therefore, your best chance of learning a language is to view it as one, and not to see it as a subject that you read a book on and suddenly you can bullshit an essay and get a high score (Most of my university course has been that, woopsies). So therefore, to improve a skill, you practice a skill, right? Yes. You are not going to master a language by spending an hour on it every month or so. You have to study for a language, bit by bit, every, damn, freaking, DAY.

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You’re going to have to spend that half hour in the morning learning vocabulary, and an hour at night answering questions and trying to use the language, as a skill.

Exposure is Important:

Sorry sluts, I don’t mean summer skin exposure to put on Instagram. What I am actually referring to is situations where your senses are having to react to the language, and then your brain is having to process it and try and make sense of it.

In the sense of Japanese, I usually watch anime (Yaoi specifically *licks lips*),

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I also read manga in Japanese from time and time, and I also read websites that are in Japanese. In Mandarin, I listen to music (EXO-M anybody) in the language (I also listen to K-Pop too, so I should start learning Korean x.x). This is a good methods in the respect that it makes your senses used to what the language sounds like, and if you are wanting to remember things like vocabulary, it gives those words meaning. They aren’t just a bunch of sounds that you are trying to remember; they have context. It is easier to remember things when there is a context given to them. I cannot stress this enough when you start to learn a language; make it a part of your life.


Think in the Culture and Language:

As language is a way for someone to express their thoughts and ideas, it is important to know the way that the language functions and how it affects the way people think. For example, a society more focused on hierarchy may have levels of politeness which you have to take note of when speaking to someone.

Don’t Neglect Vocabulary:

Possibly the biggest hurdle for those who are learning a language is the vocabulary. Especially for those who can’t properly put the context into the words to remember it. And the annoying thing is, vocabulary is key in speaking a language. You may know how to say the grammar and the morphological changes that take place to a verb or adjective, but it means nothing and the sentence you are constructing in your head falls to pieces if you don’t know how to say all the words.

So don’t neglect your vocabulary. What I do is I make palm cards with the Japanese/Mandarin reading on one side, and the English reading on the other side, making a story based on what the word sounds like. So for the word ‘train’ in Japanese, which is pronounced ‘Densha’, I just imagine an old lady on a train having her dentures fall out (Yes, I’m quite diabolical indeed).

I also have a cute Anki (memory sentences) books with cats on the cover, which helps me to remember words! ❤

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 And also placing post-it notes on household objects with their different names in the language you are learning is a good way to learn new words, too.

Find a Native Speaker! Use Your Skills!!!

If you can find a native speaker for the language that you are learning, then that is amazing. It is very helpful to have someone who is a native speaker of the language to practice with, as they can intuitively know when you are making an error, and then correct you on it, and you are using your skills in an interactive environment. Plus, it also allows you to connect to someone on a deeper level if you are speaking to them in their own language.

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It may be hard for people who don’t live in a diverse setting to actually find a native speaker of the language that they are learning. That’s why there are websites like SharedTalk. Just sign up there, and there are always people willing to add you to skype or to have conversations with you whilst you both learn each other’s language. And it’s definitely a rewarding experience.

Mistakes I Have Made:
Not studying a language for a couple of weeks.

Thinking “OH, I will just remember this vocabulary if I do nothing.”

Thinking that I could cram for a language.

Not putting myself in a situation where I am using my skills

Not being interactive with my language learning

In Conclusion:

Everyone learns differently, but I hope what I have outlined helps to give you a better standing in the first part of learning a language. I will probably make another advice post on how to learn Kanji and Chinese Characters, and what happens when you hit a more intermediate level. But for now, if you just use your language learning every day and practice a bit more every day and are not afraid to challenge yourself, then you should be fine! Good luck!

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The ‘Friend Zone’: Why We Still Need Feminism

When the term ‘Friend zone’ first came out online, all these memes started to appear on facebook, and I didn’t really think much of it. Then the term started to come into popular culture and people had started to use the term in everyday life and use it as an actual social convention. After over a year of that, I have come to loathe men who use the term friend zone.

So, for those who don’t know, the word friend zone is typically used by males (heterosexual) to refer to the state where this guy really likes this girl but this girl does not like the guy back, saying he is “a really good friend”, and thus the guy is stuck in the friend zone. Examples of memes created on the internet which are about this term are the following:Image

And this:

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From the two images shown above, the second image is the one I really can’t stand. Anyone who regularly uses social media will most likely have seen a picture alike to this. “A moment of silence for our brothers in the friendzone.” Blegh! I don’t like that kind of picture at all. It asks us to be sad that the man hasn’t got the girl he wants, and through creating sympathy for the male, it then antagonises the female for not submitting herself and becoming his girlfriend, irrespective of how good or bad the male is.

This brings me to my point of why I hate the term (I’m not the kind of person who often hates things): It is used by heterosexual males to validate their egos that females should and have to date them, and that it is absurd and unreasonable for that said guy to be refused by a woman. And for the men who still think that this term is an appropriate term, well here’s a new flash: Maybe you’re actually single because you’re an arrogant asshole with a sense of gender entitlement.

And, it is for this reason, I am actually quite glad for the new trend of #yesallwomen that is emerging. An example here is one that I quite liked:

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Even if you’re still shaking your head at this article (which I hope to god you’re not), take a time to look at this page that one of my friends posted on facebook last night, which I then looked up. It just reaffirmed for me how harder life can be for women, and also opened my eyes more to the state society is still in.

We say we have reached gender equality. WE HAVEN’T.

This takes me back to last year, when I still straightened my hair, and I also wore makeup too. But my makeup, alongside my hair, made me look a lot more feminine. People even said that it looked androgynous. I got mistaken as a female a lot in public (I would just laugh warmly to myself and reply “Oh, sorry, I’m actually a male.”

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(A picture of me in August 2013)

During this time, where through the eyes of a a number of people, I was seen to be a female (even though you can see chest hair, why dear god why?), I did experience a heightened amount of sexual objectification from heterosexual males. I remember on a couple of occasions I was wolf whistled from men who would pass in their cars. Then sometimes cars would slow down to drive past me. On another occasion, though, in September last year I remember it was, I was feeling peckish, it was late, so I went out to get some McDonalds, was walking back at night when I passed an ATM. There was a line with a few guys. As I was walking past, eating my fries out of my McDonalds bag, there was this 20 something year old male (who looked for the most part to be heterosexual, from what I could tell), he said “Mmm you babe, you look so fucking sexy eating those fries.”
My eyes widened, I thought “What the fuck”, and then I rushed off home at twice the speed I was already travelling at.
This kind of crap continued until I changed my look to a more male-like look around the start of this year.

From experiencing these few months, I have so much respect for the strength women have to put up with this as soon as they start to go through puberty.
BUT, THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS TO BEGIN WITH

We say things like “You shouldn’t show so much skin, slut.” or, “you whore”. All these derogative terms being prerogative to females, and usually having the implication that a woman is being sexually provocative because she is wearing a certain cut of clothing, or acting in a certain way. And through that, she is asking for your arousal.
NO.

All you’re doing from the side of the female is perceiving what she is wearing. Visual input. Nothing else. What you’re doing yourself is then thinking, from your views and values linked in your brain, to think “Slut. Whore.” Which is then you objectifying. We don’t say “Oh, that guy is wearing short shorts that make his ass look so tight. He is such a slut who is thirsty for vagina.”, which just proves this. It’s a construction in our brain. It’s not them offending our eyes: it’s our brain offending their freedom.

And from the perspective of a linguistics student here. We can immediately label many different terms to degrade a woman based on her sexual activities. But for men? We have to think for a while, and then  even then we come up with manwhore, most likely: a word which has stemmed from a word originally used on females, but had ‘man’ added to it. So it shows that from even a semantic perspective, language is set up to degrade women and objectify them.

And at this point, I also want to give heterosexual men advice: it is not attractive when you hit on women in public. From my experience of my females friends confiding in me and having discussions, they often say that they feel uncomfortable when a guy approaches the in public and tries to make an advance on them, and have used the saying “Oh sorry, I’m already taken”, instead of saying “Sorry, you’re making me feel uncomfortable.” – and it makes me feel disgusted that we live in a society where a lot of men respect another man’s ‘possession’ (disgusting word in this context) over a woman rather than a woman’s rights to not be invalidated.

A question to the straight men reading this: How would you feel if I hit on you? A gay man like me, hitting on you? Saying that your ass looks nice.. Yeah, pretty damn sure you’d feel uncomfortable. So have the common sense to look on it on both sides.
Maybe this is why I enjoy hitting on straight men, especially the ones who objectify women. It makes you feel uncomfortable in the way that they feel; but you, in your egocentric state, cannot take it.

Learn to take your own medicine.

The media can be blamed for this, too. A picture below can show what I mean:
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So, in our brains, it probably looks normal for the female to pose that way, and to present herself in a way that is provocative and awakens sexual arousal for those who are attracted to women. But the men? No. In our brain, it does not look right. This is a construction in our society that needs to be broken down. As long as advertising like this looks irregular and you can notice a distinct difference in normality between the two, I will not be happy.

This is why we need feminism. Women are still in a disadvantaged position in society,
Of course, there are the femi-nazis. But a lot of feminists out there are females who are aware of the inequality and trying to make a difference about it. And can I just say, from the perspective of one male. I have a lot of respect for you.

I am just going to finish this off with a video I watched the other night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UWxlVvT1A&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DV4UWxlVvT1A&has_verified=1

Go to university, they said. It’s the best time of your life, they said.

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Whilst I sit here, in the midst of studying for my exams (and also learning words and sentence structures in Mandarin, which I study outside of university – 我要喝什么?), I just cannot help but think of the past year and a half which has comprised my experience at university. I remember my first day of classes, spend half an hour trying to find the rooms where each of my lectures were held. Everything seemed so fresh, and new, and invigorating, and I was too shy to talk to anyone in any of my classes, but yet dying to say hello to the person next to me in any of my lectures to make new friends (I had shit friends in year 12 who forgot I even breathed as soon as I graduated – and my friends from my other high school in years 7-11 go to different universities or are in high school still).

*sigh* I wish now that I could still have that optimism. In the past 15 months of having a university education, my hope for humanity, my look on the world, and my enjoyment of tertiary education has slowly been spiraling downhill.
No, it is not what I am studying. I LOVE what I am studying. Linguistics is amazing. I love learning Japanese at university and Mandarin outside of university, and my subjects in my Asian Studies major are amazing too. So it is not that at all, as I am always in fascination and inspiration about what I learn. But, so then, what it is?

Part of the reason is the people. At this point I will proceed to outline some of the problems I have faced with the community and culture at university and how it has not made me feel very welcome or happy when I go onto campus and begin to think about people.


University: High School 2.0?

At university, the students are quite adamant on making people think that they have moved on from the bitch dramas and immaturity of high school. But I don’t know if it’s the fact that a lot of university students are still a bunch of entitled overgrown teenagers still living with their parents; but anyway. I’ve noticed that this “passed high school” mentality results in an inflated ego and a sense of elitism that spreads across a lot of students who go to university. But alongside that, I’ve noticed from the way a lot of students at university behave,

They still behave like teenagers, not young adults. 

You still get the students in university who are like “Oh my god, _____ is such a bitch. Did you know what she did at that party over the weekend? [Insert overstressed voiceless velar fricative here]”
Half of my god-damn psychology lectures, I was surrounded by this banter.

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But I dropped out of Psychology after first year for Asian Studies and Linguistics, so it’s all good :3

Then you have the university students who are gym-obsessed and who only stay around other people like that. You also get the university students who judge others for how skinny they are, and then you get the university students who judge others on their grades, their IQ (which isn’t even a measure of intelligence that’s as great as everyone thinks), their socio-economic status (I will get into this soon), or even their ethnicity.

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I’ve even had people judge me for the way I’ve conducted myself in some of my tutorials. If you’ve read in my previous blog post, I have not exactly had the best mental health this semester. In one tutorial, I was asked a question, I couldn’t answer it, and I didn’t want the attention on me because I felt genuinely shit that day. Then an hour after that class, I was walking around campus when I overheard two girls murmuring to each other “Ahaha, it’s that weird idiot in class who was asked that question.”
I’m not sure about you, but to me that sounds like the way a bunch of ‘popular’ fifteen year old girls behave. Get the fuck over yourself.

Subtle Discrimination

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been avoided on the basis on my social class or my ethnicity. I’m going to sound like an elitist by saying this happens when I’m a Caucasian. But it DOES. I go out of my effort to make friends with the internationals and make them feel welcome. I love learning about new cultures, coming across new people, and making friends with them. But half of the time, I’m received with weird looks, and then slowly pushed out of the conversation, and then ignored. Also, in my tutorials, when it comes to group projects (especially in Japanese), or group exercises in class, the international students avoid having me in their groups. I don’t know if it’s because as a white Australian, I’m just going to be innately bad at learning an Asian language. I don’t know. But it makes me feel like shit. I’m sick of it. I even had one international from southern China in one of my tutorials speak to me loudly and slowly because he thought I had a mental condition. Thanks.
Oh, and the time last year in Japanese I was laughed at when I suggested to the class that I was going to start a study group. That was amazing. Thanks for that, too.

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Then you get it on the other side too, sometimes. And it makes internationals feel like they don’t belong.

It even happens in one of my subjects from the faculty, I suspect, but I’m not going to go into that.


Elitism

I’m sure it isn’t that common in other universities, but I go to a university that continually boasts itself to be the best university in the country from ranking surveys and the like. Therefore, you get a lot of people who want to validate their egos by pointing out of the fact that they go to a university of this calibre. On facebook pages about the university, like confession pages and meme pages, that are operated by students (most likely), you often find confessions, memes or comments that are insulting other universities, or degrading the traits and intelligence of those who go to other universities. It makes me really angry. It’s made me quite bitter towards a lot of the people who go to the university I do and like to make a scene of it.
Get the fuck over yourselves.


Tutorials

It’s not the tutorials as a whole that I hate. But there’s three things I hate about the tutorials I attend. The first is the fact all the students remain silent and are not interactive. The second is that in every tutorial there is that one entitled annoying person who never shuts up, and thinks that everything he/she says is honours material and liquid gold oozing out into the air around them.

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Thirdly is the fact that all the students are latently judging everything you say. If you say something wrong or not up to their mental standards, then chances are you will be avoided and deemed as the ‘class idiot’. Even if you ask questions. Which leads back to the first point of everyone remaining quiet in a tutorial. This could be solved if we all grew up.


University is FUN if you’re poor!!!!!! Ahahaha NOT

University students have the stereotype of being poor. But then, there are balls that come up that cost money, there’s events that cost money, then a good half of the events on campus that are social basically cost money. So it means that if you are to have a social life on campus, you have to have money. If you don’t; well then you’re like me sitting at home writing angry spiteful envious blog posts about university.

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I would like to attend some of the events, but it simply can’t happen because I’m not in the financial situation, and I haven’t been for a while, to be able to afford to go to events like that. Even if it’s club events that are $20. For that, my social life has probably suffered and I’m seen as some pathetic person who cannot get his life together.

And a lot of the people I go to university with are people who are in stable upper-middle class families, or people who are from rich families overseas. So they can easily afford to go to dinners and watch movies, and travel to places with their friends. When it comes to me, I’m never invited for the reason I’m too poor. So I’m never really invited to things. And a lot of them lack the understanding to know what it’s like for a university student from a lower class/working class family who got kicked out of home and is trying to make it on his own.

Sometimes it does seriously feel like I’m being discriminated by some omnipotent educational force for being the person of the social class that I am.

“Sorry, I’m busy with studying.”
I am aware that lot of people are usually busy with studying. But more than actually studying, people have been saying it as a reason to not have me speak to them. To all those people. FUCK YOU!  (yes I am swearing a lot in this article, delicious). When you say that, and then TWO HOURS LATER YOU POST UP PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK OF A WHOLE GROUP OF PEOPLE I TALK TO WITHOUT ME THERE.

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Then, you have the fucking nerve to say “hello” to me as you pass me on campus. The only thing stopping me from spitting on your face are the mints inside my mouth, which I paid for, falling out and I’d have wasted some of my few dollars on you. You’re not worth that.

You have no idea how bad and excluded that has actually made me feel. I’m not sure if it happens to many people at university. But it happens to me so many fucking times. It’s gone to the point I’m not going to continue visiting one of the clubs I’ve been visiting for two semesters because I’ve just made to feel excluded and as if I’m not going to make any friends there.

Also, the excuse of timetables clashing and between classes and outside of classes not being able to see each other is bullshit. It basically translates to “I can’t be fucked being your friend but I’ll pull you along anyway.”

It’s for these reasons that part of me has just given up on making connections with other people.

IN CONCLUSION
So, in essence. I am fed up with the culture at university. I’m sick of trying to put effort into friendships with people who aren’t interested or who aren’t even going to try. I’m sick of walking around campus and going to classes and feeling judged and disadvantaged because I haven’t had an as fortunate life as most students up until then. The only friends I have on campus a lot of the time are my textbooks. I’m sick of people telling me that “University are the best years of your life.”

Well, no, sometimes it seriously feels like they aren’t.

tl;dr – The people and culture at uni can be a manwhores.

Have Hope: Don’t Think That Harming Yourself Is A Solution

I am writing this piece today, and it is an issue that has been quite close to me for the past month or so, and I have not really been extremely open about it to people.

If you’re reading this, and you feel down about yourself, you feel like your situation is hopeless. You have thought of all the options, and there is not a solution in sight, and then you start to blame yourself, and think that the only way out of a situation is to take your own life or to hurt/hit yourself because your life is falling around you, and then you feel confused, lost and distressed and you just want to scream also because nobody else seems to be able to relate to what you’re going through: please, I implore you to read on, atleast consider what I have to say.

Have hope.
Don’t think that harming yourself is a solution.

I have had history of self-harm as an early to mid teenager and I almost commited suicide when I was 12. I know.

But lately, my life has been a completely obliterated train on a heat melted track, colliding into the brick wall that life can usually feel like. So, to start explaining things; I am late on my rent and my internet bill, my lease is renewing soon and my intentions aren’t clear so I face the threat of being thrown out on the streets, and it’s a mess. If you’re in my financial situation where you barely survive alone on the money that you’re given, something like this happening compounds quite a lot of stress to begin with.

I’m not the kind of nineteen year old university student who has the option of going home to their parents. I got kicked out of home from my mum (who soon moved to a different state) when I was 16 and in the last year of high school (Early 2012), and for the next 18 months after that, moved around a few locations (boarding school, grandparents place, sisters, finally the place I am living on my own in now), living out of a suitcase and a couple of bags, with most of my possessions in a storage unit halfway across the state. It wasn’t until late last year that I now have around 80% of my possessions back.

The start of this financial situation was when I got fined for returning a library book a couple of days late, and then needing to add more money to my university account to be able to print out my readings and assignments. THEN, I needed to add more money onto my public transport so for the next month, I could get to university at all.  So, there’s already around $120 out of my bank account.

I would just like to add, I had already started to feel like crap a couple of weeks before then. I had met this guy, he seemed so amazing. He seemed to care about what I had to say. The way he looked into my eyes, I could feel that he did care about me. I went out in public a couple of times with him (café, out to dinner), then he spent the night in my apartment, and I spent the night and next day at his place. But then, he suddenly said he couldn’t like someone who presented himself the way I do. Then after I called him a few times in the next week of the mid-semester break where I could barely get out of bed I felt that broken, he said I was fucked up in the head, and since then has blocked me from everything. Then after two week, when I felt confident enough to interact with guys again, three guys in that week emphasised that something was wrong with me because I wear foundation+concealer, and necklaces and bracelets. So to begin with, when this financial shit started, I was already in a bad frame of mind.

In early May now, I started to accept in my brain that my rent will most likely be unable to be paid. Going over my internet bill by $100 because I watched some of my lectures online, it was a certainty. Then it came to my rent being drawn from my account, and it said that the transaction had failed. I was a few hundred dollars short.

From there, in my head, I had already told myself that . I had known for a few months that I would inevitably come to this kind of situation. I already only eat one meal a day or starve myself for a couple of days every so often just to be able to save money on food to be able to pay my rent. I can’t have a social life because I can’t afford to go out anywhere. Feeling this deprived part in my brain, saying “I’m sick of being like this. I just cannot anymore.”, and having the feeling inside of me that my life was already going to end soon anyway, because I started to have the thoughts in my head to kill myself

I felt overwhelmed. I just felt in this constant state of stress. I couldn’t even think straight. All actions that happened around me were a blur. Passion turned into disinterest. Getting out of bed was a chore, because all I could think was how each day was suffering, it was a curse, I was just putting myself in more pain, more worry, more self-hatred.

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As horrible as it sounds, the part that also killed me inside was seeing people going on with their lives, being happy and blissfully and ignorantly unaware of what I felt on the inside. As if I had been born or had been foisted this curse where I was suffering, asking “Why me? Why do they get to be happy. Why do they have what they want, and not me. What have I done wrong with my life? Why me?”

This was where I’d go home, I’d feel frustrated. Being outside in the world with my negativity seeping through all aspects of perception, and then rebounding into my thoughts, and feeling overwhelmed about the state of my life and thinking that there was no way out; out on streets, watching everything I had fought for since being kicked out of home crumble before my eyes; namely my university degree and what felt like the first semi-stable roof over my head in atleast two years. In this frustration, where I’d start to breathe irrationally, I’d punch myself in the head and claw at my arms, and at one point it had got to the point where I’d dig one of the knives into my kitchen into the skin of my arm. Then, on other occasions, I’d just sit in a dark room for a couple of hours at a time, devoured by the silence on the outside, the chaos on the inside.

In the last two weeks of the university semester, this is where it got the worst; this is where I considered taking my life an actual thing to do in a way where I’d think of plans to integrate it into my everyday life. Only two weeks ago was I looking online at articles on how much bleach you would have to drink to kill you, or how much salt you would eat, what height off a building to jump, and what painless options of killing yourself are. I would message my friends on facebook, I would spend nights calling them. I would text them. Whether it was just a ‘hi’, or a ‘I feel like crap’. Even though I felt like I wanted to die, deep deep down I really just wanted to be saved. Tears are dropping onto my keyboard at the moment as I write this paragraph. It cut into me like a dagger that a lot of the time, they wouldn’t reply. Yes, there is the reason they were busy with university. But even a hello back. Deep down all I wanted was interaction. Just someone to talk to. Ultimately, someone to just know from the look on my face that something was wrong with me. I was upset. I was lost. I was in a chaotic spiral of debris, being blown back of forth in my mind between the last breaths of my sanity and the overwhelming monster that was eating away at me. And my stability. No responses. Why should I have expected any less? I would eat fast food every day, just sit down and space out for extended periods of time, buy little things that made me smile for a second, thinking in my mind when I woke up each morning “This is your last day on the planet. Tonight you are killing yourself. Enjoy yourself, then die. After the suffering, you will be in an eternal sleep of bliss.”

This had a domino effect. Academically, I’d been suffering too. I’d not attended lectures for any of my classes (except for the compulsory ones in Japanese) for the past month. I also had become sick with some kind of flu two weeks ago, too. So I had to postpone one of my spoken assignments. I had only mustered a few hours of practice, so when I walked into the room finally to have my oral assignment. I hyperventilated, felt overwhelmed, defeatist thoughts came in, and I had to leave the room.

Friday of last week, in the evening, I went to the supermarket. My mind had got to the point where it was adamant that I would buy bleach, drink it, and just be dead. Cold, stone, fucking, dead. I had read about the feeling of being burnt on the inside. But at this point. I did not care. I cried each time I got an email about my late rent, and my intentions for renewing my lease. Thinking that I would be tossed out on the street with a legal mess to clean up. Being too poor with my financial support to get me out of this. The people in my life who I care about, those who I call my friends; keeping me out from their life when I need them most. Going out to dinners without me and posting photos on facebook. Smiling. Happy with my horrible fucking presence out of their life. I had got the money out to be able to afford it. I was standing in the supermarket, looking at it for a few minutes. One of my friends messaged me. I felt a mess, I couldn’t keep the lie of “I’m fucking marvellous, thank you very much.” – I told her what I was in the supermarket for. We then proceeded to have a conversation. I felt happier.

Now. Since this weekend, I am not feeling like this anymore. I still have fear and worry in me. But ultimately. I have HOPE. Even last week, the hope inside of me, remembering what I am fighting for in this life, my goals and aspirations, the desire to take care of those I care about. That’s what was kicking inside of me. Saying “NO.” I’ve sat down and rationalised about it. Which when you’re in an emotional state, is the last thing you want to do. Finding a couple of friends now to vent to, it’s a good outlet. And this blog I have started, too. I’m in the process of sorting out my life again. Sending emails back and forth and just keeping hope and fingers crossing that what I’m doing at the moment is working.

Never underestimate the power of hope. It is never an option to take your life. Please don’t think it is. If you do, you will use it as an excuse for so many things and your life will start to topple down. Think of what gets you out of bed in the morning, what you want to fight for in your life, what you want to achieve.

And sometimes, plucking up the courage to ask a favour from someone may seem hard and demeaning. But don’t be afraid. Also, never be afraid to stand up. If you have to build up the courage, then do so. Nobody expects you to go from trainwreck to superstar overnight, but taking small steps helps.

And please, take from this, also, that if you feel alone, like I did; then please just know that even though I may not know you. I am thinking about you. Those times you ask yourself “Why.” and those times you feel lost. Every day I think of those who think that taking their life is an option. It is not. Please just don’t think so. I love you all, even if I have not met you. Just remember that you are not alone and there are those who have felt the way that you do. If it is really that bad and you need someone anonymous, who doesn’t have influence over your life, to message or vent to. Please just do so to me.

And those who are not upset, please also just remember if someone talks to you and they seem upset. Don’t get tired and frustrated. They are probably going to you because they trust you. Please don’t break that trust for them, and please just listen. Never underestimate the power of listening. Empathy and compassion breaks down a lot of barriers.

And to those who say suicide or self-harm is a selfish act; you probably haven’t been in the situation before to have the empathy to know that in that situation, you don’t think it is. You can think it is, by all means. Everyone is free to their opinions, but please don’t force it onto others.

Why I Love My Magic Bullet: Pesto

I am just going to say it outright, that I am not someone who cooks that often – and as a university student I am quite broke. SO, therefore, I cook to be economic rather than gourmet. NOT TO MENTION that this is usually what half of my kitchen endeavours turn out to be like:
ImageAnyway. I got a magic bullet a couple of months ago when I actually had money, and I use it in most of the cooking I do that isn’t toast, two minute noodles or microwave lasagna. So; if you are lazy like me, then this Pesto sauce is probably a recipe for you.

I first wanted to make my own pesto when I realised how much I was paying for ordering pesto online, and realised I could make my own for about 1/10th of the price (and mine tastes better than the one I’d usually order online). So I went on google, looked up the recipe, it is very simple. And now I just make it intuitively.

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So these are basically the ingredients you are going to be using. That is all. And yes, behind the food is a TARDIS cookie jar but I apologise for the lighting as I made this last night at like 9-10pm. So basically – all you need to make a decent portion size of pesto is
2 Handfuls of Basil from the supermarket
~75-100g of Pine Nuts (I would recommend you search around. The brand I got was a more expensive one as the supermarket I went to doesn’t supply cheap brands. But you can get pine nuts for a cheap price if you are willing to look around 2-3 places).
Olive Oil – One bottle of olive oil like that will last you a lot of pesto makings.
Salt & Pep (Always handy for all of my cooking. Or if you’re 75 years old and your tastebuds are basically dead)
2 Cloves of Garlic – When I first made the pesto I thought “ONLY 2 CLOVES I WON’T BE ABLE TO TASTE IT!!” so I put in like 6 cloves, and I had garlic breath for the next couple of days.

Aaaand if you want to make it with Gnocchi, then I recommend the Gnocchi too. But otherwise, anything else is fine.

So, calculating the cost of it
Basil – $5
75g of Pine Nuts – $2.30
Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper – I’m going to guess about 70 cents, if that.
So you get $8 of cost. But, then you factor in you can get like 4-5 servings from this sauce. SO.

TOTAL: $1.60-$2 per seving

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So, the first thing I do is I pull the leaves off of the basil, (after rinsing them with water, just to be safe!) and then I crush the garlic cloves, I add some salt and pepper, and some olive oil! All into the magic bullet container. Easy!

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Now, pesto recipes ask for roasted pine nuts. But, I don’t have an oven in my kitchen *shakes fist*.
BUT, what I do is I just put the pine nuts in a pan, on a stovetop, and then I put on a high heat until they start to brown on the outsides. It’s an alternative that I use. I’ve found it works.

And you will notice on the bottom right of the picture that a basil leaf fell off of my hand and onto the kitchen counter. Basil leaves (especially when moistened) are quite evil and have attachment issues and will tend to do this. Then the appearance of them in your kitchen just keeps coming back, like herpes.

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(Sorry for making you lose your appetite with this picture)

SO, ANYWAY! Now you have roasted your pine nuts. You place them into your magic bullet container with the other ingredients. Being the fat leviathan I am, I add a bit more olive oil (and salt, because what’s the point of cooking food if your arteries aren’t clogged and you’re not dehydrated). Then, you screw on your blade, and you blend it all together!

For the full effect, I recommend you play this soothing elevator music for 10 seconds.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj0ChLVTpaA&feature=kp

Ok, so now your pesto should look something like this:
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(Feel free to taste it. If you don’t do that, then you won’t know what to add to it, or what it is lacking)

So there you have it, so far you have made your pesto sauce. The one I made last night wasn’t as green as I normally end up having it. In the past, I have made pesto sauces that look more green.

So, now you cook your gnocchi (or whatever else you’re using to put your pesto on). With gnocchi, you basically just bring water to the boil, then you add the gnocchi, and then you will notice the gnocchi rises from the bottom of the water, to the top, and then the water boils again, like this:
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And that’s when you know it is time to strain your gnocchi, then mix your pesto sauce through it!!!

As with most cooking shows, I will not actually show you the finished product and show you a better looking one I made beforehand.
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(That was from the other week. It turned out a lot more green than the other one)

But no, just kidding! This is what it turned out like this time!
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But, in all seriousness, it is quite a simple recipe, and not too expensive (A little pesto sauce spreads a long way). To enhance the flavour, drizzle some oil (and if you’re me, place a bit more salt onto it).

I hope your enjoyed reading it. And this is just one reason why I love my magic bullet.