Girl Power and Beyond

2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Spice Girl’s breakthrough single ‘Wannabe’, when Girl Power was shouted from the rooftops to the masses. Third-wave feminists continued to highlight the need for progression, from the legal and institutional rights that were extended to women previously, to further changes in stereotypes, media portrayals, and language to define women.

Personally, I am not one for labels however I acknowledge that they exist for a reason. I would much prefer to think in terms of gender equality rather than feminism. Is that not the common cause we should all be standing up for?

I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. ~ Emma Watson 

Exactly how empowered do we feel today?

Companies run by women performed almost three times as well than those run by men, according to a new study. It found that Fortune 1000 companies with female CEOs produced returns of 348 per cent from 2002 to 2014. Do ‘typical’ female personality traits make for better corporate leaders, or do we just feel pressure more than male counterparts? I have no idea but one thing is clear, the benefits of gender equality in the workplace really do ripple across the world. Governments now recognise that women’s inclusion drives development, and acknowledge that achieving the Millennium Development Goals and national economic and development plans requires rapidly moving towards gender equality.

In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, utilizing all social and economic assets is crucial for success. Yet, despite progress, women continue to confront discrimination, marginalization and exclusion, even though equality between men and women stands as a universal international precept – a fundamental and inviolable human right.  ~ Women’s Empowerment Principles

Sadly, to this day women’s rights vary dramatically country by country from domestic violence to property and work, inequality is alive and kicking across the globe. Do we all not have a part to play in this change? And, surely true gender equality can only be achieved if women and men work together, a point raised so eloquently by raised by Emma Watson at the launch of the HeforShe campaign.

As I write this I am admiring my successfully painted nails (they are very pretty). Tomorrow I hope to squat with 50kg. I embrace my femininity while striving for strength and empowerment. I don’t want to be discriminated against, nor do I wish to have preferential treatment. My opinions should not be perceived as aggressive or bossy but valued and respected on their on worth. My gender does not define me, my actions do.

What do your actions say about you?

Let’s spice up life and empower others. Gender equality starts with you.

 

Coming Soon: International Day of Happiness

What REALLY makes us happy?

Advertisers tell us that happiness comes from buying and consuming their products. Celebrities and the media pretend it comes with beauty & fame. Politicians claim that nothing matters more than growing the economy. But what does the latest happiness research show?

INT HAPPY

The Ten Keys to Happier Living are based on an extensive review of the latest findings from the science of wellbeing. They are all areas which research shows tend to make a big difference to our happiness and are within our control.

#InternationalDayOfHappiness 

20 March 2015 

This AWESOME campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations. Cool, huh.

As we know (and love), a profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. Hooray!

We live in a time where we are unable to escape the worst in the world, as it is thrown in our faces every single day, and that is on top of our own individual problems. Finally, people are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.

The Story so far…

2013

For the very first International Day of Happiness in 2013, events took place all over the world and we celebrated hundreds of “Happy Heroes” – those people in our communities who do so much to bring happiness to others.

2014

The 2014 Day of Happiness campaign asked people to share authentic images of what makes them happy to “Reclaim Happiness” back from the fake commercial images of happiness that we are so often bombarded with. Many tens of thousands of people shared images and the social reach was estimated to be over 13 million people globally. WOW!

#InternationalDayOfHappiness 

20 March 2015 

After years of happiness research, one thing has proved fundamental the importance of our connections with other people. Yet modern societies are built as if the opposite was true. We are surrounded by people, yet we feel genuinely connected to almost none of them. The effects are devastating.

For this year’s International Day of Happiness let’s reach out and make new connections with others.

What can you do?

  1. Taken Action Yourself ~  Boost the connections in your life, from spotting other’s strengths and needs, to volunteering your time and energy.
  2. Share Something Positive with Others ~ The internet is a fantastic tool for helping good ideas spread. get involved online
  3. Join Happiness Activists in Action ~ Happiness Activists all over the world are planning great things to more create positive connections – join them, or be inspired to start your own

Do you want to create more happiness in the world around you?

Click here to get involved and help make the world a happier place!

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will  never forget how you made them feel ~ Maya Angelou 

 

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Online Dating: The Anti-Profile

Online dating is exhausting. My best friend isn’t far off when describing it like a full time job. Return on investment is questionable.

One could definitely categorise the profile summaries. Boring. And, the message types. Boring. People are superficial, hypocritical and somewhat predictable. Quite frankly there are easier ways to end up disappointed, hurt and befuddled.

As I said, exhausting!

That said, there are awesome folk out there. The question is, is there someone for you?

Sorry, I haven’t got a clue.

After meeting someone I like and doing the classic too-full-on-and-instigating-every-communication-because- I’m-over-excited approach (fail), I suspect I may never hear from him again (understandably). So, I now have two ways forward (1) message EVERY single guy on there or (2) run an experiment in the name of research for the good of all singletons.

Okay, at the moment I’ve played it safe and slightly crazy with (1), with a little help from a trusted sidekick. However, (2) is hugely appealing. The hypothesis:

The power of the anti-profile will actually attract more men.

There is a small question of irony here but we shall park that for now. The fun part is what does the anti-profile look like. Ready. Sitting comfortably.

Hi my name is Helene and I am bipolar, II to be precise. (in recovery)

I have herpes (never going to recover from that bad boy)

I forget birthdays, even for those I have known for years.

I dance like a tit.

I say inappropriate things at inappropriate times.

I will really embarrass you.

I snore really loudly when drunk. (like earplugs needed kinda snoring)

I am a grammar nazi.

Sometimes when I am thinking really hard my eyes go crosseyed.

I am a bit of a dick.

I believe in God. (apparently that isn’t acceptable these days, although genocide is fine I hear.)

I always go arse over tit when trying to be sexy and do a strip tease. (not cool)

I am about to be made homeless and move back in with my mum.

I don’t own a car. (mainly as I don’t drive nor am I fond of partaking in illegal activities)

The correlation between my IQ and dippiness is one of life’s many mysteries.

My top lip is so thin that if you look really closely it’s like it’s missing.

I have stretch marks on my hips, thighs and boobs.

My loud laugh can be heard across a shopping mall.

I’m an outrageous flirt.

I am super lazy when it comes to cooking.

Sometimes I really annoy myself.

I randomly burst into song.

I can’t sing.

So, yes, I am perfectly imperfect. For each of those there are a zillion awesome things about me. The question is, are you still reading?

Maybe I will give it a few more weeks. But, it is tempting. Right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you know when you’re not f**ked up anymore?

Answers on a postcard please.

The most difficult thing about being asked such a profound question whilst intoxicated is that the fucker swirls around you for days. It continuously raises its ugly little head when you least expect it and throws you off course at any given moment.

Am I still fucked up?

If I had to isolate my greatest fear, of all the little fear fuckers I try to conquer, it would be losing myself to my illness again. That is some scary shit. No matter what life throws at you, if you haven’t got clarity of thought you don’t stand a chance. You are royally screwed with no get out of asylum free card in sight.

I am hugely unsettled at present. I soon have to leave the home I love. My job isn’t what it once was. Things feel slightly out of control and I’m jumping emotionally into things I shouldn’t be.

I work hard everyday to be Me. Maybe it makes me an open book, slightly kooky and easy target for getting hurt, but if you’re not authentically you then who are you?

I know I see things differently to many people. My eccentricities are as much a part of me as my head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Many people will never know the highs or lows that people like me feel. But, equally I will never know what it means to be you and all that you have experienced.

Grief, heartbreak and loss affects us all in one way or another. That is inevitable. But, does it make us fucked up?

If you consider yourself a failure in work, what do you do. Work harder or run for the hills?

If you lose someone you love, what do you do. Move on or build a wall?

Sometimes I still have days when it is hard to see clearly. I beat myself up for one thing or another. I question my actions and my beliefs. I cry. But there is one thing I never, ever do and that is give up.

This is life. This is my life. There are good days and there are bad days for us all. Sometimes I get it right, and other times I make really fucking bad/stupid decisions. I understand I can only do the best I can and that sometimes I can’t do it by myself. Sometimes I have to ask for help.

Live it, learn it. This is how I know. I am not fucked up. It’s because I choose not to be, every single day.

So, how do you know if you’re not fucked up anymore? Maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the question that should be asked. Rewind. Reframe.

Who do you choose to be today?

Wake-Up-quote-300x300

Let’s Play A Love Game?

Around every corner recently I keep bumping into the research of psychologist Arthur Aron.

Aron’s research was an exploration of whether intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated through series of personal questions. The study used the premise that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.  Okay so that may be but, while closeness may be a necessity of love, closeness is not always romantic, right? I have felt close to people for fleeting moments but I didn’t necessarily want to pounce on them or hear wedding bells.

Questions kept nagging at me.

How the fuck can 36 questions lead to love?

Was alcohol consumption a variable?

Who on earth wants to feel even more vulnerable on a first date by divulging such details?

Where can I find a willing victim to play this game with?

The other week I was sat on the loo (power source of many a genius idea) and it hit me, I was ready to date again. Boom. So, I signed up and hopped to it. Then the reality of the situation hit me in a parade of sexual propositions. Sweet Jesus, beam me up. So far:

Percentage of smutty morons: 80%

(Obviously I was honored that onenightstand69me wanted to meet me)

Number of messages I actually replied to: 4

Percentage of messages from time wasters: 75%

My friends weren’t kidding when they said it was a numbers game. I am no mathematician but…

That said I am talking to someone I would like to meet. He is seemingly literate, employed, cultured, intelligent and really fucking funny. He has kind eyes and an awesome smile. The bonus is that I googled and he is a real person. So far so good right, but will I ever hear from him again?

I went back on Tinder too, it makes me laugh. It’s great for an ego boost when you get matched with lots of hot guys, who probably are neither (a) real or (b) literate. Most of all it’s like a fun five minute game of snap you can play on your own to fill time.

All in all it has been a productive period of my life so far.

I have no idea what happens next, I trust what will be will be. However, I do know with absolute certainty I do not want to play any such games. I may choose to have one basket but I accept that others have a whole cupboard of baskets. Aron’s game sounds appealing but surely falling in love gradually over time is more of an adventure? Let’s face it, if it works you have (in romantic theory) a lifetime to stare into each others eyes and question each other.

heart3

 

Okay, I know you’re curious.

Set I

  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
  2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
  4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
  5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
  6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
  7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
  8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
  9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
  11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
  12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

  1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
  2. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  3. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
  4. What do you value most in a friendship?
  5. What is your most treasured memory?
  6. What is your most terrible memory?
  7. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
  8. What does friendship mean to you?
  9. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
  10. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
  11. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
  12. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

  1. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
  2. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
  3. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
  4. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
  5. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
  6. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
  7. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
  8. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  9. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
  10. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
  11. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
  12. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.