Testing Intentions

“You’re testing me, aren’t you?” he said, to my surprise. I was. I was under the assumption that my attempts to provoke him were rather sophisticated. Indeed, I even know how to make men believe that it was their decision to leave me rather than mine (it minimises the risk of revenge). There we were, alone at a restaurant. I had spent the last few weeks with him, but there was always a lingering doubt, a distrust of his intentions and I wanted to find a way to offend him and expose the true depths of his personality, now, rather than later. I just called him a liar.

“No,” I said with my eyes, but I never actually said no. I just stared back at him in pity as rage began to overwhelm him. He was lying. He was being superficial to me, presenting himself inauthentically as an archetypal ‘nice guy’ masked under his real personality. I wanted to know his thoughts, his intentions, who he actually was and to see whether he was willing to converse, to talk things through, to use his mind. I see it all the time, in both men and women, women who have cheated on their oblivious boyfriends and yet delight in complimenting them knowing it will fool them from ever learning about their intentions, or conversely men who intentionally keep people in their lives who only compliment and nourish their egos, avoiding anyone who criticises them to mask their inherent narcissism. People are so good at lying that they actually believe their own lies, so why would I trust them?

After a past encountered with the worst sort of men, I made the decision to create barriers to those permitted into my private life, a gauntlet to test whether they could survive my moral onslaught and prove the integrity of their intentions, to see if they would turn and walk the other way, to see how angry they would get, if they would lie about me, if they would get others involved, whether their ego is more important than reason.

They all fail miserably.

So what is the morality behind testing the intentions of others? Is it an honest practice, or a psychological one that mirrors my own intentions and sets people to fail by default through impossible standards? Is it a form of lying? Would observational analysis suffice, where I simply wait over a period of time before obtaining enough experiences to catalogue justifications that would hold others accountable? Or does the swift testing mechanism early in the relationship enable one to protect themselves from forming emotional attachments to bad friends?

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Powerful Change In Me

Something is happening to me and I cannot fully grasp what I am feeling, a combination of exhilaration and depression, of intellectual maturity and madness all at the same time. I am at the very beginning stage of what I feel must be a transformation. A seed has been planted. I have decided that I will remove myself for the entire month of December, to patiently assess this change in solitude and silence, to fast and abstain and deeply re-think the course of my own trajectory and the meaning of my own existence.

After being caught for so long in my own subjective landscape, trapped by powerful emotions, self-pity and indulgence, I feel as though I am ready to courageously seek my ‘purpose’ and it was through my travels to Syria/Turkey that this was awakened. I was so overwhelmed by what I saw, the profound violence and hardship, people with cancer from chemical bombings, men without limbs, women and children burned, so much death, horror and misery. It was abysmal and I underestimated the impact seeing what I saw of the Syrian war would have on me.

In my anxiety, I gave away all my money, could not sleep, felt emotionally hopeless and despairing and that shows to me a short, sharp failure at doing what I should have been doing. It mirrored, for the first time, the meaning of my life because I realised I was not doing what I should have been for a very long time. The question is, what was it that I should be doing? I need time and self-reflection to answer that.

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Qatar, The Man Who Wears Too Much Cologne

Damnation. I have a Birkenstock tan on my feet. I self-consciously run into the swimming pool the moment I notice, pretending the floor is hot as I ooo-ahh my way into the cool water and give a pretend sigh of relief to the family staring at me. As usual, I am too busy being concerned about what other people think that I found myself making the same mistakes, and it was later that afternoon I realised I was once again negligent with the sunscreen. I cursed at myself as I visually toured my body in the bathroom mirror, peering over the tan lines that were all over me from my midriff to the sides of my neck. I look like a harpsichord!

Apart from the self-effacing critique worthy of any thespian tragedy, I will admit spending the incredibly hot day on Banana Island after a ridiculous fifteen hour flight from Melbourne to Doha was exactly what I needed. If it weren’t for the gruesome exhaustion, however, I would likely hate this place. The superficiality, the plastic plants, the buffet of cheesecakes made from artificial powder all of which I avoided. Resorts are not my thing, but maybe it is the type of place for families with children who can enjoy the recreational activities available, or the pretentious who want to relish in their wealth. It can cost a hefty amount to stay there, but luckily they offer day tickets for outsiders like me to visit and for 350 riyal, you can get a ferry to the island and some food and recreational vouchers.

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Fly Away

Blood-stained feather underneath her arm,

Bitter lick.

Above her tongue.

Smooth, red drink. Thickened barbs.

“Why?” she cries.

Telescopic eyes pierce the vaults of heaven.

Stiffened vanes, clipped wings stretched out to dry.

She tries to fly.

Scissor paws, growling teeth clentched beside her.

Imprisoned. Raped from her destiny.

I pray, drained, embalmed from hope

But I pray, still,

That she flies one day.

Feminism and the False Prophetess

There is an assault on the rights of women, a very selective and hidden form of sexism where men who now call themselves feminists are tolerating and approving that women have the right to perform plastic surgery, wear expensive clothing, and have an appetite for social vanity. The rights of a specific type of woman. While freedom is indeed a human right that permits the individual the right to expression without discrimination, can there be permissible limitations when both men and women are undermining the authenticity of the purpose behind the movement?

Contemporary western culture is completely immersed in capitalism, where the acquisition and exchange of commodities has shaped our identity and even our perceptions of reality. When a person acquires commodities that are desirable as regulated by the market, they appear to be a certain type of person and by attaining this image they are happy. This image that we are motivated to reach towards is engineered to appear as desirable by capitalism and thus it regulates social relations and how we understand and define the qualities and characteristics of people. Read More

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

I am troubled with one dilemma: should I be hating all the bad men, or should I be hating the women who support the bad men? When I parallel the core moral of The Handmaid’s Tale to reality today, I find myself realising that evil is in fact plural. Like the paradox of the Beast in the Book of Revelations, a monster who is both controlled by the whore of Babylon while at the same time giving her the power, are people evil only when they are together?

The Handmaid’s Tale is disturbing, disturbingly real and made me, as a woman, feel incredibly uncomfortable. It reminded me of my own experiences and that of so many women, encountering those men who threaten and insult, who made me feel the need to defend or question myself, men who saw me as a sexual object to use for one or two weeks until satisfied, men who made assumptions about me that they turned into fact, men who lie and such men defended by foolish women.

The series is more real than meets the eye.

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