Monthly Archives: October 2013

Vi är bäst!

Have you ever had one of those Oh fuck moments when you realize that there is someone just as crazy/sensible as you? When you read a book or listen to a song, and it describes how you feel better than you ever could, as if someone knows all your secrets and understand, because they are just as weird. Not necessarily in a good way – some things are better kept in the dark. Although most of the time, it brings solace to know you’re not alone.

The last time this happened to me was when I saw Vi är bäst! (translates to we are (the) best!), a pretty hyped movie right now. The context is different of course – 12 year old girls who start a band in the 80’s – but many scenes are like taken straight out of my life. The conversations, the thinks they do, the people… Those girls remind me so much of myself and my friends. Bobo especially, always trying to be kind and responsible but screw up completely. Things just go wrong, something I recognize all too well…

Now that I think about it, the context isn’t so very different. Three teenagers with an inclination for punk music, searching for their place in a stupid world – sounds a lot like my life. They laugh together, because they could never find a closer friend. They make mistakes. Their parents are embarrassing  as fuck. They have arguments and they fight, sometimes taking a while to forgive.

What I love most about this movie isn’t the soundtracks or acting, even if they are great. What I love is that it captures my life, emotions, problems and relationships, in a hopeful way. Not as a worried teacher trying to tell me what to do, but as a friend.

Harassments?

I’m two-thirds in reading Joyce Carol Oates’ Two or three things I forgot to tell you, and I can’t help but notice how pushy the (high school) boys are about sex. They would text the girls, many girls, in a very threatening way, asking for “favors”.  The girls then would try to ignore it, but they are scared and humiliated, as anyone would be.

I have never been subject for such things in real life (strangers on kik is an entirely different thing, that can’t be taken seriously). I go to a small school (around 200 students, ages 6-16) where such things are unthinkable. For the boy, how humiliating wouldn’t it be to see those girls in school the next day? How afraid wouldn’t they be of the girl telling someone?

I know such things happen though, and I really can’t understand what the boys are thinking. Trying to make someone to give them what they want isn’t so weird, I guess. We all do sometimes, only not such things (I mean, have you ever asked someone to get you a glass of water, when you could very well have done it yourself?). But forcing someone to have sex? Scaring them into send nudes? That is NOT normal behavior. Especially not someone they know for real, when there would be a large risk of getting caught. Do the they actually expect to get something back? No girl would want to give them anything, at least not if they knew how many other girls the guy asked. Of course, there would be some sort of blackmailing involved. The poor girl would have to do it. She couldn’t tell anyone, because it would be too humiliating, or it would seem too mild.

Even so, granted that they actually could take advantage of the girl, that still doesn’t explain why they would want to do it in such ways. In my experience, most people don’t really like being yelled at and made fun of, to feel guilty, do something they know is wrong and cruel in every way and then see that person the next day and pretend nothing happened. It doesn’t explain why they can’t act like sane human beings and be grateful towards the girl. It doesn’t explain why harassments are allowed to go on, when everyone know it’s for real.

On a side note, it feels quite sexist of me to assume it’s only boys pressuring girls, and not the other way around, but honestly, it is.

Quote

Quote of the day

“You can be the ripest, juiciest, most delicious peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.”
– Dita von Teese

Striving for perfection

We live in a society with double moral standards. On one hand, we think that looks don’t matter. The importance of being yourself no matter what can’t seem to be too exaggerated, and loving that person even more so. We should be happy for what we got, and not envy what others have. Many claim that success is just an illusion, and successful people are all fake. Others call those people jealous. Others again tell everyone to shut up and realize that we are perfect the way we are.

Still, perfect people seem to be everywhere. Not just in the magazines; it feels like we are surrounded by people who are smarter, hotter, richer, funnier, better than we. People who seem to succeed in everything without any effort.

This is not unique to our society. All through the ages, humans have strived to reach their ideals. Whether it’s a powerful position, a certain figure or good education – every society has a picture of the perfect person. Showing off your good sides and hiding the bad ones is simply human – just look at any portrait from the 17th century. What really changes is what we consider admirable, and how we show it off. It makes people go through crazy things; poisonous makeup and crinolines were popular during the medieval times, causing early deaths and general uncomfort. Today, unhealthy ideals cause anorexia and depression. Billions are spent on plastic surgery and useless cosmetics, with varying results. Don’t even get me started on religious plagues. We also have new and efficient ways of faking it, with photoshop and social media.

We often forget what we don’t see. That football star doesn’t have much of an education. That supermodel isn’t the perfect mom. That billionaire is grey and wrinkled. Neither can we see what it took to get them there either; no pain without gain, it takes work to reach one’s goals. Supermodels have to sacrifice a lot of cake and couch-sitting to look like that. In order to get what one wants, one has to sacrifice something else.

Things get tricky  though. Some people really do succeed with very little effort. They might inherit money, actually like irregular verbs, or just get lucky. Genetics give us all different potential – unfair, but true. I know a lot of people who study like crazy, and still don’t get the grades they want. I know people who don’t study as much, and get good grades anyway. Those people don’t have the same abilities, but they all have to do something to get an A. It’s like an equation – one pleasure for another. Sometimes it’s just better to sit back and relax.

Where did the fall outs go?

I just watched (had just watched it when I started writing this) the sixth part of Fall out boy’s “young blood chronicles” and so far I’m not impressed. The video was simply disgusting, just like the previous episodes.

The first video (my songs know what you did in the dark) had a visible symbolism. All their “band stuff” – instruments, albums and objects from the MVs – was set on fire, in the dark. That seems to symbolize how people try to hide their secrets. By burning their previous life they can start over, as long as no one sees them. There seem to be many interpretations though. (just look at the comments on the video…)

The sequels were a complete disaster. The guys are tortured in various ways, by some weird chicks who might be considered hot. They manage to escape with the help of some black guy, but the women follow. Some kind of factory, a forest and an idyllic town are somewhere in the background, along with some pretty violent kids. Patrick is some kind of werewolf. Everything is covered in theatrical blood and red snakes – disgusting.

I suppose that could be a symbol for something like their personal struggle for freedom, or how badly our society treat creativeness. It doesn’t really go with the songs though, and there wouldn’t be any need for so much abuse either.

I used to love Fall Out Boy. To me, they were the kids who never really fit in. The confused and lonely ones. A lot music reflect just that – the feelings of loneliness, heartbreak and anger. The lyrics are well written, and so full of emotion. They even cram in a joke here and there! The tunes complement them well, and the result is just magical. After all the purpose of music is to make the listener feel something, and few do it better than those guys. I cried my heart out to What a catch, Donnie. After a few days I realized I had just been wasting my time on him, and I don’t care felt more like it. With the exception of My Chemical Romance and Blink-182, I don’t think any band has meant more to me.

When they reunited, I was thrilled. The new album is amazing, and I feel like they evolved in a good way. It’s emotional, the lyrics are well written. My only complaint was really that there were too many collaborations. Until the Young blood chronicles.

My view on vegetarianism

I have always been fond of animals, and I never liked the idea of eating them. However, it took me quite a while to actually do something. I knew a vegetarian lifestyle can be hard, no gettin’ round that. You have to know your nutrients, and make sure to get them all. It will be tricky for people to invite you over for dinner. Your body will freak out a little during the first weeks. Bacon is delicious, and my mom always buys organic meat. It was just easier to suppress how I felt.

Animals have brains, that’s not rocket science. They are living creatures, not so different from us.  Animals think, they feel, and they have the ability to suffer.

There is a difference between animals and animals of course. Oysters probably don’t know much about the outside world. In fact, their nervous system is so simple it’s doubted they can even feel pain. Cows on the other hand are far more intelligent, but (at least in Sweden) they are usually treated pretty well. You can see them strolling around on big grassy fields, free to do pretty much what they like. They have plenty of food and space. They live in a protected environment, and even the slaughter is relatively gentle. I seriously think these cows have a much better life than they in the wild.

Then, there are the animals that do suffer – and suffer a lot. Pigs are actually quite clever; the same level as dogs, to the extent intelligence can be measured. No one would force dogs to live in dirty factories, cramped together with a hundred more. Still pigs are, and that’s not the worst example. I won’t go further into detail here but I think we have all get what I’m talking about.

Sadly, “happy cows” only make up for a small percentage of our meat consumption. The vast majority of food producing animals (is there a word for that?) are not treated as if they are alive. We all know this, and most of us think it’s wrong. We’re just too lazy to do something about it.

Reading Life of Pi was sort of a wake-up call for me. Making it far too short, it’s about a boy who’s stuck on a life boat. In order to survive he has to catch fish, but he doesn’t know much about hunting. Reading about those fishes, how they gasped for breath while Pi figured out how to end them, was very unpleasant. I didn’t just share their pain (both fish and boy), the way one normally would, when reading about something terrible. I was disgusted. Afterwards, I couldn’t eat gravad lax – one of my most beloved foods – without thinking about that fish. In fact, I couldn’t eat anything that had been alive without thinking about that fish. Pi obviously isn’t the average slaughterer, but he made me remember where meat comes from: animals.

I think I had already made up my mind by then, but I still did plenty of research before making it final. I read books and interviewed people, I searched the forgotten corners of internet forums. My biggest source of inspiration was probably Eating animals, a great book by Jonathan Safron Foer. This not only strengthened my decision, it also made it easier to explain.

Me and my best friend.

My best friend and I.

There are shades of gray, not just black or white. I don’t think torturing animals for the sake of our pleasure should be legal at any time or place. I say pleasure, because we could all live happily ever after without meat. If there would ever be a situation where I could either torture a chicken or stop a child from starving, I would save the child. Such situations rarely if ever occur though. An animal which DIDN’T suffer would be something else entirely. In fact, I think we should make use of it’s body after it’s had a happy life. I still wouldn’t want to eat it though. Even if I could trust that it had a good life, it would still have been alive. It would still have had thoughts and feelings, and because of that I wouldn’t be able to eat it without feeling bad.

I think I’ve always been a vegetarian at the back of my head, but telling people about it – changing my life because of it – is something else entirely. It’s hard. Still, I wish it hadn’t taken me so long.

30 (more or less) random facts

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Well, this is me. I figured I should make some kind of introduction, so here you have it: 30 facts!
  1. I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian.
  2. I don’t like nutella. Yes, I’m serious.
  3. I have a big, black poodle named Chip – after the dog my dad grew up with.
  4. My favorite colors are blue and green.
  5. My first language is Swedish.
  6. I was born on Easter Sunday.
  7. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be dark chocolate.
  8. I consider Gerard Way to be one of the Great Mysteries of Life. He’s over thirty, has done drugs, smoked and partied hard – yet his voice is  just wonderful, and he has the looks of a twenty-something. How is that possible?
  9. I mostly listen to alternative rock, but nothing lifts my mood like The Beatles’ 1962-1966.
  10. I have really long toes.
  11. My house on Pottermore is Ravenclaw.
  12. My favorite actors include Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth and Maggie Smith.
  13. The perks of being a wallflower has to be one of the best books ever written. Clever observations are scattered all over the book, in both dialog and diary entries. Charlie (the protagonist) feels almost like a best friend I never met.
  14. Some day I want to write a novel, or a few.
  15. I have a guinea pig called Puff-Puff.
  16. I practise kyokushin karate.
  17. I was always a chubby kid, but now i’m struggling to gain weight
  18. French is one of my favorite subjects, or would be if it wasn’t for the grammar
  19. When I’m hungry, I get pissed off by the smallest things. It runs in the family.
  20. When I was little, I dreamt of having a big brother,
  21. The first time i listened to the lights behind your eyes I sat the kitchen floor and cried (with a half eaten apple in my mouth) until my sister came in and asked me what happened.
  22. I got my first phone when I was ten. By then, all of my friends had had one, usually far more advanced than my nokia, for two years. I couldn’t have been happier.
  23. I have a slight obsession with tea.
  24. I have read Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban eight times.
  25. I took piano lessons for seven years.
  26. I have a very strong instinct to jump aside when something comes flying towards me. It might be useful – except when playing sports.
  27. I love dancing
  28. In my garden, there is a small pond right underneath a plum tree. The plums are nice – until they ripen and fall into the pond.
  29. I’m a bit of a grammar police.
  30. I learnt everything about makeup from youtube.

Love, Elsa