• my piece of sky

    If you follow me on Instagram, you will perhaps know that I am currently in the uncomfortable/enlightening process of reading an incredible book called My Piece of Sky. Compiled and written by journalist Mariella Furrer, My Piece of Sky is a collection of stories, statements, diary entries and photographs of a number of victims and(…)

  • it is very exhausting all this living

    Beep beep. 24/7 availability. Read this. Eat that. You must try this drink. Play, laugh, live, love. Let’s meet for coffee. Lunch date on Friday? Have you been to that new place on the corner of Smith and Fifth? No, we can’t go there – the service is awful. Nine hours of sleep a day.(…)

  • a perfect day

    My perfect day would consist of the following: Being humbled. Learning something new. Breathing deep. A stretch and a raised heart rate. Appreciating a loved one and telling them so. Recognising my ego and putting it back where it belongs: far away from my mouth. Apologising for my mistakes. Writing down my thoughts. Acknowledging my(…)

  • news 24 interview

    Makeup? Check. Hair. Check. Google Hangout download? Check. Sitting in a quiet spot (very hard on a busy farm with noisy dogs)? Check. Nerves? CHECK. So on Friday last week I was interviewed by the lovely Jen over at News24 Live. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so she sent me links to two(…)

  • winter hibernation

    I’m in a funny place at the moment. I went to see my earth angel, Colleen at Midlands House of Healing yesterday and, as always, a session with her brings on some introspection. As an Aquarian, a child of water and air, winter does not always sit too well with me. I miss early sunrises(…)

  • a very special wedding: nix and andy tie the knot in ponta malongane

    I can’t look at this wedding album without tearing up. And I’ve looked at it a lot. Andy and Nicole are very dear friends of ours. I met Nicole back in 2010 – Andrew and I had just started seeing each other and he held a housewarming party where he invited all of his old(…)

  • all about the bikini body guide by kayla itsines: weeks 1 – 4

    So, as I mentioned last week, I have been doing the 12 week Bikini Body Guide by Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines. As I’m entering Week 5, I thought it an appropriate time to start chatting about my first month on the programme and the amazing results I have seen so far. I first came across Kayla(…)

  • reply from a guy

    So last week, I wrote this post, which was originally intended to be about victims of rape and abuse (both boys and girls) speaking out against the perpetrators of these awful crimes – an encouragement, if you will, for all to engage in conversation about the things we all face today as humans, and especially(…)

  • the lost boys and girls

    There has been a lot of anger directed towards men at the moment, especially after the California student killings and the subsequent #YesAllWomen campaign on Twitter which spread around the globe like wildfire. I wanted to write something about it then, but couldn’t quite get it out. This will be short(ish) and sweet(isn) though. The(…)

  • newsy nancy

    Hello lovely readers of this here little blog. I’m in the best mood today, which could be annoying/uplifting to you depending on which side of the bed you fell out of this morning. I’m not quite sure why… perhaps it’s because I’m happy to be home on the farm (despite the icy cold); perhaps it’s(…)

my piece of sky

If you follow me on Instagram, you will perhaps know that I am currently in the uncomfortable/enlightening process of reading an incredible book called My Piece of Sky. Compiled and written by journalist Mariella Furrer, My Piece of Sky is a collection of stories, statements, diary entries and photographs of a number of victims and perpetrators of child sexual abuse in South Africa.

The sexual abuse and molestation of children in this country is complicated, scary and confusing. Life in South Africa adds factors such as race, poverty, violence and HIV/AIDS to the already frighteningly common occurrence of the rape and sexual molestation of young boys and girls. You will recognise familiar street names, towns, and even some people in the stories in My Piece of Sky. It literally hits home and makes these stories all the more real and very, very chilling.

Paedophilia and child sexual abuse is something that I am hugely concerned with for a number of different reasons. I think I can say without contention that many members of my generation, and to a much larger extent, my parent’s generation, as well as those generations before that, were subjected to childhood sexual abuse in an era where there was no safe space to confide in either peers or adults. Child abuse was not spoken about – paedophilia was a taboo subject and because of this, children (and indeed, perpetrators) were more likely to hide their abuse under layers upon layers of tormented carpets for years and years rather than open about it or seek help for it. It was easier to forget about it than to talk about it, which unfortunately results in massive emotional upheaval later on in life and often serves to destroy lives and relationships, as well as to perpetuate the cycle of sexual abuse.

The problem with sexual abuse is that sex and sexual stimulation is pleasurable.

This makes it awkward for victims to report or open up about abuse because how are you supposed to say you actually didn’t want a certain something to happen to you if you received pleasure out of it, as unwanted as it may have been? Many victims report that they felt betrayed by their bodies. Perpetrators of sexual abuse know this and use the basic biology of human parts to their advantage. For a lot of perpetrators, the abuse and rape has more to do with power and attention than pleasure. It truly is heartbreaking to see how deep the scars of childhood sexual abuse run and how this is largely a direct result of the massive guilt young victims take on. Reading this book has also made me understand how and why so many (read: not all) victims of sexual abuse grow up to become perpetrators themselves. From a young age, victims of sexual abuse are forcefully and deceitfully inducted into an adult world of pleasure and pain which they are unable to process, but to which they may become reliant on, and sometimes even addicted to.

Listen, this is not a pretty topic to chat about. No one wants to imagine grown men and women getting it off by giving or receiving sexual pleasure with and from children barely old enough to comprehend their own existence, never mind grow pubic hair. But we need to. We need to read these stories, we need to talk about child sexual abuse at social gatherings, we need to open up the conversation and blow to pieces the taboo in order to prevent it happening over and over and over again for generations to come. We are so lucky in this day and age because there are now such things as recovery groups for paedophiles and there are active support programmes for both victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. There are places to go for help. The longer we don’t talk about this, the further we push people into a silent darkness, where they will either continue the cycle of abuse or attempt to lose themselves in alcohol, drugs, violence, crime and rather frequently, suicide.

I’ve cried in almost every single story in this book. I’ve found myself sympathising with the perpetrators. Yes, that’s right. I felt sorry for paedophiles. (I also wanted to reach into the book and strangle a few of them.) And that’s why this book is so important for every human being in South Africa, if not on this planet, to read. This abuse has happened since the beginning of time and for the first time in history, we can talk about this. We can fix this. We can recognise patterns and traits in children and adults and help them help themselves before it’s too late and further damage is done. We can acknowledge the humanness in a paedophile. But this is only possible if you open up your heart and mind to these stories and to this daily truth. IT IS HAPPENING. ALL THE TIME. Open up to understanding and empathy. Relate. Engage. Talk to your friends, your children, your therapists. Get rid of the carpets. Tell your stories, no matter how big or small… I’m sure almost everyone in this country has witnessed or heard of or been a part of something not very savoury. It’s time to shine a light on these dark places. Get over your fears and prejudices, get over the feeling of discomfort and get in touch with the world and what’s really happening, right here on your doorstep…. and in your parks and on your beaches and in your schools. Our kids will thank us for it. And so will theirs.

To order My Piece of Sky, please visit the website by clicking here. Please also take the time to read up on Mariella Furrer and her very important project while you’re there.

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The excerpts above are all taken from My Piece of Sky by Mariella Furrer.

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it is very exhausting all this living

Beep beep. 24/7 availability. Read this. Eat that. You must try this drink. Play, laugh, live, love. Let’s meet for coffee. Lunch date on Friday? Have you been to that new place on the corner of Smith and Fifth? No, we can’t go there – the service is awful. Nine hours of sleep a day. Eight glasses of water. Breathe deep. Be nice. Smile. Ask questions. Nod your head. Don’t speak to your father like that. Remember the lippy. You should really wear more colour. Meditate. Low Carb. High Carb. Low Fat. High Fat. High Protein. Chicken or beef? Skip to the loo, my darling. Make love at least twice a week. Talk, talk, talk. Be hopeful. Be alive. Be entertaining. Dance. Listen to your spirit, but don’t show your pain. Where is this thing called spirit? Be grateful. Change the world. Help others. Buy this, buy that. Drive that car. Covet that couch, that marriage, that body. Save, save, save. Cut out sugar. Drink full-cream milk. Reproduce yourself, twice over. Three is a little too much? Perhaps a little too selfish.

I watched a missing persons report on the television yesterday. There were reports of mothers and fathers and young adults who had simply run away from home, never to return. A mother gone for five years, leaving behind two children and a heartbroken husband. Fell off the face of the planet. Too little too late. A nineteen year boy missing since 1995. His parents miss him every day. Gone gone baby. Off on a new adventure.

I envied them.

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a perfect day

My perfect day would consist of the following:

Being humbled.

Learning something new.

Breathing deep.

A stretch and a raised heart rate.

Appreciating a loved one and telling them so.

Recognising my ego and putting it back where it belongs: far away from my mouth.

Apologising for my mistakes.

Writing down my thoughts.

Acknowledging my pain and anger. Digging deep to see where it is coming from.

Napping a little.

Having a bubble bath.

Cuddling a furry friend.

Watching a good movie or reading a good book. Listening to a happy song and shaking my tail feather to its own rhythm.

Kissing my partner properly, long and hard.

Eating well – for my mind and body, not my emotions.

Sleeping like a baby, deep and true, restoring every cell in my being.

Praying and giving thanks to my maker, whomever she may be.

camelkezAbby Cat Napping

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news 24 interview

Makeup? Check.

Hair. Check.

Google Hangout download? Check.

Sitting in a quiet spot (very hard on a busy farm with noisy dogs)? Check.

Nerves? CHECK.

So on Friday last week I was interviewed by the lovely Jen over at News24 Live. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so she sent me links to two of her previous interviews – one was with a mommy and DIY blogger and the other one was with a shoe blogger. Both very, very different to me! I decided then and there that I was going to talk about the topics I love writing about and which so many of my readers love talking/discussing/arguing about. Important topics. Stuff that makes the world go round (or repeatedly bash its head into a wall). And so we did. We spoke about feminism and #YesAllWomen, we spoke about Roscoe and how nice it was to get a man engaging with me (and other women) on a blog which is primarily read by women. We spoke about this very popular post and how race is still such a huge issue in South Africa and how badly we need to open up to each other and chat honestly about our pain histories in an attempt to heal. We spoke about mean comments and internet trolls and how to deal with them. It was awesome. I was sweating profusely by the end of it, but I really did enjoy the process!

This morning I received both links to the interview – Jen and I chatted so much that they had to make two clips. The first is an introduction to the blog and the second is one where we talk about my most popular posts – take a peek! In closing, I think I can safely say that I am definitely a writer, not a speaker! Ha. But without further ado, here they are:

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Thanks again to Jen and the team at News24 Live for the great opportunity.

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winter hibernation

I’m in a funny place at the moment. I went to see my earth angel, Colleen at Midlands House of Healing yesterday and, as always, a session with her brings on some introspection. As an Aquarian, a child of water and air, winter does not always sit too well with me. I miss early sunrises and warm runs at 5am. I miss late evening chats on the verandah. I even miss the rain and the Midlands summer mist (well, if I’m indoors, that is). I miss skinny dips in the pool at sunset and I miss sleeping naked under a thin sheet. I miss skin, man. I miss the buzz of being alive in a warm, active body and I miss a mind crazy-full of ideas and dreams.

You see, right now, I’m in limbo, or hibernation if you will… for a number of reasons, some of which I may be able to share with you soon. I’m 67 days away from an overseas holiday which we have been planning since last year and which I can honestly say I day dream about at least seventy-eleven times a day. I’m halfway through a 12 week fitness programme with Kayla Itsines (PS: well done to all you ladies who’ve started the journey over the past two weeks – you’re going to love it!), and while I have seen so much change and progress, I’m eager to get to the end where I’m hoping to be strong enough to be able to start boxing… or at least do a proper pull-up. I’m chugging along with my freelance work and although I know I need a few more clients, at the same time I don’t want to sign any up and then be like, “oh hey, I’m going travelling for a month – hope that’s cool”. Freelance may “free” up when you choose to work in the day, but it’s not too kind on entire holidays away. One needs to prepare rather carefully for those, especially when you’re a one-man team. And as for the other unmentionable, well that could change the course of everything.

Patience, little one, patience.

So what do we do when we are feeling the winter limbo?

We breathe.

We take stock and we give thanks.

We keep at it.

We are kind on ourselves.

We nurture our bodies.

We take it slow.

We rest.

We write. We paint. We draw. We play. We laugh.

We prepare for tomorrow while appreciating today.

We shave and moisturise our legs. And paint our toenails. Even if no one is going to be seeing them.

I hope you all have a good week and that you are looking after yourselves in every way. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your constant support. You all mean the world to me. Really, really, pinkie promises. xxx

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All images copyright of Keri Bainborough, taken at Aldora Stud in South Africa.

To book an appointment with Colleen, email midlandshouseofhealing@gmail.com.

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a very special wedding: nix and andy tie the knot in ponta malongane

I can’t look at this wedding album without tearing up. And I’ve looked at it a lot. Andy and Nicole are very dear friends of ours. I met Nicole back in 2010 – Andrew and I had just started seeing each other and he held a housewarming party where he invited all of his old mates from Empangeni to join us up at the farm. Nicole and I clicked straight away – she is just one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. It may just be impossible not to click with Nicole. We’ve been tight friends ever since, bonding over a mutual love of red wine, running, solving the world’s problems… and more red wine. Nicole is also one of the most beautiful creatures you’ll ever lay your eyes on. And Andy ain’t half bad either – being of the surfing, spear-fishing, kite-boarding variety – he comes standard with a six pack and dreamy blue eyes. The two really are made for each other and when Nicole called me after our own wedding last year (where her and Andy caught the bouquet and garter, of course) to tell me she was pregnant with the chubby little pumpkin we now all call “Critter”, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic – until she told me they were to be married in June 2014 in Mozambique! Then I really hit the roof. I knew it was going to be an amazing wedding in every way. How could it not be with two such amazing individuals who are so loved by the family and friends?

The wedding was nothing short of what I expected – it was even better. It was a very emotional wedding for everyone, but was fuelled by the deepest love and tons of belly-aching laughter – a small wedding of family and close friends, which made it all the more special. And Nicole also brought their newest member of the family along – she found out she was pregnant with the “baby bump” two months before the big day! Old friends and new hung out from start to end and it really was such a great relaxed and happy vibe. The actual wedding was held at a beautiful private beach house in Ponta Malongane, which was nothing short of spectacular – the gorgeous decor and sweet details just added to the gloriousness of probably the best beach wedding ever. After the ceremony, we all made our way to a local Mozambican restaurant down the drag for dinner and speeches, and then headed back to the house for dancing shenanigans and the most delicious wedding cake. I ate a lot of those chocolate shells. The tequila came out, people jumped into the swimming pool and stumbled around the dance floor and it was just lovely. It really, really was. I said to Nicole afterwards that it was the best wedding I’d ever been to, and she very kindly said, “after yours, of course.” And I was like…. “Oh ya, mine was pretty cool too!” Haha, sweet thing.

I couldn’t wait to see the photographs from this wedding! Not only because of all the beauty I knew they’d hold, but because Wes and Stace from The Shank Tank were behind the lens, as well as the styling and decor. Remember the Vintage Vineyard styled shoot Chè and I did a couple of months ago? Remember that video that made you tear up? Yep, that was the clever work of Wes and his pint-sized wife, Stacey. I was so chuffed when I heard they were doing Nix and Andy’s wedding and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! These photographs were up on their blog yesterday and I immediately asked Nix permission to post them (thanks my poppet for saying yes – I know how you are about your privacy xxx). So enjoy. Feel the love. Soak up the beauty. And let your heart be broken by the cutest little Critter and the pure, deep love of a beautiful young family. Oh goodness, I’m welling up again… Cheers you all! Enjoy :) Nix and Andy – shmaak you stukkend. X

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If you’d like to see more of this stunning Mozam wedding, visit The Shank Tank by clicking here.

Decor & Styling by Stacey Cruickshanks. Hair & Make-up by Donna Pronk. Music by DJ Dyl.

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all about the bikini body guide by kayla itsines: weeks 1 – 4

So, as I mentioned last week, I have been doing the 12 week Bikini Body Guide by Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines. As I’m entering Week 5, I thought it an appropriate time to start chatting about my first month on the programme and the amazing results I have seen so far.

I first came across Kayla last year on Instagram. I started following her and was continually amazed and inspired at the amazing client progress images she’d post. In March this year, I bought the guide to firm up for the styled shoot I was doing with Che. I was still working weddings at that stage, and to be honest, I was a little lazy. I did the first workout (The infamous WEEK 1 – LEGS & CARDIO) and was so stiff that I couldn’t move for the next five days. Instead of pushing through the pain and attempting Arms & Abs on the Wednesday, I gave up and put the guide away.

About six weeks ago, a whole lot of shit went down on our farm (I’m sure you remember this post and then this post) and I came to the realisation that although I’d love to live in a utopia where everyone is nice to one another and no one hurts one another… I simply don’t. I live in Africa. I live in South Africa. I live in a rural part of KwaZulu Natal. On a farm. Sadly, the threat of crime, rape, violence and murder is a real one. I decided then that I was no longer going to moan about it all, because, quite frankly, I ain’t going nowhere and the only thing worse than a moaning ex-pat is a moaning resident. I’m a firm believer in fit in or fuck off and I’m not fucking off anywhere soon, so I decided I’d better start fitting in. TIA, baby, TIA. I made the conscious decision then to get strong and fit. I want to be able to protect myself physically and I want to be able to run away from any potential danger without dying of breathlessness first. I want to go to self-defence classes and I want to learn how to fight. Properly. Like boxing-fighting. But first I needed to get fit.

So out came the Kayla Itsines Training Guide. And this time I pushed through through the pain. I was just as stiff as the first time I had tried. I walked like a penguin. Sitting down to pee made my eyes well up. Getting into the car made me wince. It wasn’t pretty. But I carried on. At the end of Week 2, I started to see the light as I realised I was at that magical stage between pain and glory: I could see the end and it was looking beautiful. The muscle ache was almost over and my mind and body were about to start working together. Since Week 3, it’s been awesome. Yes, I still feel the stiffness and the muscle ache, but I love it. You could almost say that I’m addicted to it. I look forward to my workouts and I seriously miss them over the weekend.

So, in 4 weeks I have:

  • Lost 2kgs (more than happy with that as I wasn’t looking to lose any weight anyway. This is about strength, not skinniness. I was skinny-ish before, but more skinny-fat than skinny-toned).
  • Said goodbye to my love handles. I am no longer hanging over the top of my skinny jeans!
  • Said hello to my new bubble butt! Squats are the way forward. Increased strength in my thighs and bum has meant that my running time has improved too. I love that my jeans are feeling tighter on my legs and looser around my waist – it used to be the other way around! Cheerio apple shape!
  • Lost centimetres – I’m not sure how many, and I wish I had taken measurements when I first started, but I know I have because my underwear is getting too loose for me! Not complaining about the need for new lingerie though…
  • Speaking of lingerie… my boobs are firm and perkier! Yay – no need for surgery.
  • Improved my sleeping patterns and am feeling full of energy. I wake up excited about the day and ready to go.
  • Guys… the sex life. Am all into it. Any time of the day. (TMI – sorry mom.)
  • Built strength and muscle. I think I can safely say that by the end of this programme, I will feel confident enough to join boxing classes and maybe, maaaaybe…. even sign up for a half marathon.

So here’s the evidence: Kayla strongly advises taking weekly photographs of yourself to track your progress and the change in your body. This has helped motivate me a lot, especially as it’s not weight loss I’m aiming for , but a toned and strong shape. You will mostly see the change in my arms and tummy. Please note, that I am not following the Kayla Itsines eating plan – I am simply trying to eat as healthily as possible (cutting out carbs and alcohol as much as I can). These first four weeks occurred during a spate of weddings and hen parties, which means I wasn’t being particularly good on the nutrition and no-alcohol front at all – and still I achieved these results!

photo 5Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetphoto98photo 4photo676skinnyjensProcessed with VSCOcam with h5 presetTo use The Bikini Body Guide, you need to go to Kayla’s website and purchase it online. There is also a special on the bundle – meaning you get both the workout and nutrition plans. Once you have paid for the guide/s, she will email you with a link to the download. Easy peasy! The only equipment you’ll need is:

  • a skipping rope
  • a medicine ball
  • dumbbells (I’m using 3kgs at the moment – I started off with 1,5l tonic water bottles!)
  • a step (you can use any step in your house)
  • a bench (I used a desk chair on my yoga mat to begin)

Stay posted for my eight week progress report. I’m thinking more muscle tone! Maybe even an ab or two?

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reply from a guy

So last week, I wrote this post, which was originally intended to be about victims of rape and abuse (both boys and girls) speaking out against the perpetrators of these awful crimes – an encouragement, if you will, for all to engage in conversation about the things we all face today as humans, and especially as girls and women (because I am a woman, and so I can really only express a women’s point of view). The post was read and shared a lot, and unfortunately, some people mistakenly took it as a man-hating post, which is not at all what I intended. I fully appreciate that women also play a big role in the way society is – women also abuse and molest children and put each other, and sadly, their daughters, down. What I really wanted and still want to do, is open up a dialogue about all these “sensitive” things - gender, sexuality, feminism, rape, abuse and inequality

Of course, I got a few replies. Mostly all awesome. And all from women. I’m not sure if men just don’t read this blog, or if they are embarrassed/couldn’t be bothered to get involved in a discussion about sensitive topics which are affecting half the world’s population. Topics which may be bothering their mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. It seriously worries me this silence from the male camp. How are we supposed to solve anything if we can’t enter into dialogue about it? There is quite obviously, judging by all this women’s anger around the world, a need for this dialogue to happen and for men need to come to the party and be honest about their feelings. Even if it angers us. Even if we don’t agree with each other, we all need to start speaking to each other – honestly and respectfully

This morning I woke up to a comment on that post written by my friend, Roscoe – a family friend I’ve spent a lot of time with and whom I could almost think of as a brother… or at least a cousin. Roscoe was brought up by a strong, intelligent mom whom I hugely admire and has three equally strong and intelligent sisters – he’s a “modern man” by all accounts, with a wicked sense of humour. You may recognise him as the guy who made the boerewors cannelloni from Come Dine With Me South Africa, Season 1. Don’t let that deceive you though, the guy is kind, super smart AND he can write. 

Anyway, I loved Roscoe’s reply to my post and to the other comments on the post. I might not agree with everything he says, but all of what he says makes sense – especially from a male perspective. I loved his honesty. You can’t fault anyone on raw honesty. Also, thank you for engaging with us ladies, my man! I think, really, what all women want, is to be able to feel safe and confident in all male presence, and as cliched as it sounds, to be equal. Truly equal. A great point Roscoe makes and which I totally agree with 100 000 % is how gossip channels and magazines enforce a “female gaze”, where women are compelled to compete with and judge each other. Hooray! Let’s listen to our men on this point (I know Andrew hates it when I read anything gossip-related, purely because it “dumbs” one down) – DON’T GIVE INTO THAT RUBBISH. Put that Heat magazine down NOW. Take the E! Entertainment Channel off your favourites list. It’s making your brain mush and it’s reinforcing the crap that restricts and controls us. 

Without further ado, here is Roscoe’s reply. Enjoy. Engage. I know myself (and Roscoe) will be keen to see what you have to say.

“Good day Ladies.

I am a man. I have had a few discussions about this topic and I see here not many of the readers are men. In fact the debaters of this article are all women. So I thought about contributing to this issue by starting off:

I will never understand.

I will never know what it feels like to carry a rape whistle. I will never know what it is like to ‘fear’ the approach of every man*. I will never know the inequality that I have been subjected to in a job position due to my gender. What I do know is this: We live in the modern era where Cass said it perfectly, about various human races, across the globe, striving towards the ideology of an equal society for all. We are known as the ‘Millennials’, constructing a new future for ourselves and generations to come. We live in a time that is positive for so many reasons but it is always marred by the negatives such as this topic. We can all acknowledge that women in the past have been disparaged due to their gender. But I want to shed light upon the Modern Woman. This can even include our mothers as they are the ones currently experiencing our outlooks and actions we put out into the world, after having moulded who we are today.

The Modern Woman is anything other than simple minded, unquestioning and last of all, weak. She is driven to better herself for herself. She does not need a man to coax her into benefitting herself with what deems as sexual favours (From what I have heard women know how to do it better themselves anyway *turns into pillow and cries*. Jokes aside, I have to say that the Modern Women has achieved so much today that every single one of you who are lucky enough to contribute to this blog post, can be rest assured, you have accomplished a great feat: being Yourself.

Being Yourself, your true self, is everything that every person wants in this world. So if you feel the need to be a part of a movement such as feminism, that is your prerogative. Yes, feminism has been tainted with a negative image that women hate men. Many naive people will even categorise hippies to be apart of this movement. The sad thing is that the essence of feminism is lost due to this tainted image: equality for all.

If you use the movement to support an argument about women being objectified by the opposite sex, I am afraid you are your own worst enemy. Feminism does not call upon this aspect of society’s degradation as this is, in my own opinion, a cultural problem. As noted before, the Modern Woman does not have to succumb to any of these harassments as you have earned the right to let it affect you or not. You may stir up thinking “what about the rape whistle then, you even mentioned it earlier”. This is a crime that men, if caught, should have their dicks chopped off for. I will be the first to say that. But the word to highlight is that it is a crime. I have been forced to the floor by other men as they robbed and assaulted me. Should I now become an advocate for Social Elitism? Segregative States? No. I can’t say that I should do that, as I believe in social integration and that the improvement of education is fundamental in solving many problems.

Which leads me to this very point as to why there has been this outburst about feminism over all the social media platforms: lack of education. The reason why there are these men whom have caused these social rants and debates, #YesALLWomen #NotAllMen, is that they have not been educated on social code of conducts. They are your age old construction workers who give the pretty lady, walking by in a dress, a wolf whistle; they are your mind trapped men of yesteryear who think woman belong only in the kitchen and can not do things for themselves. These are all men who have not been educated to understand and to appreciate that, in fact, women are able to do a lot for themselves without the help of a man, if not more. It is these men that have taught their sons, who soak everything up as they grow old, how to behave and to project their impression/views about women. So in this regard I agree with Keri on her point about teaching young boys the correct manner in which to regard women.

A women being objectified should not have men being scrutinised by feminists as the objectification comes from the horse’s mouth: Women. “WHAT?!” I can hear it now in your minds. One letter: E. That dreadful channel, home to the Kardashians and the just as dreadful Fashion Police (YES! YES! YES!). Coming from the white elephants of tabloid magazines such as Hello, Heat Magazine and others, these mediums of portraying the rich and famous and their daily lives, bearing witness to what they do and wear is a prime source of the objectification of women. Sadly I have been witness to many dear female friends who lap up these sources of information and themselves join in on the teasing of “Ewww, what is she wearing or wow she is HAUTE”. I believe very strongly that women, when they dress, do not dress for men at all, but instead do so for the fellow female gazers who will remark on the latest trend that they are going for or what top she is wearing (apparently Zara is the winner these days).

Objectifying women is also misunderstood for appreciation. Yes, we know that groping is not your favourite way of flattery. But when a man does look you up and down, if not even to turn his head as you walk by, this should not be a reason for you to cry “pig”. In fact you should own it as many women I know do. You have made an impression on said man, the way you have put together your outfit, your matching of colours and how it fits to accentuate what you deem to be your assets, then don’t hate on the man. Rather give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing what you set out for: being Yourself. Just to note – those guys who then proceed to wolf whistle you and give you jeering remarks goes back to my opinion of lack of education.

I can assure you all on this blog, I am no saint. I have been a part of that group of guys who have made a jokes about women (why are womens feet so small? to get closer to the sink). And yes, I have had one or two women upset with me due to the way I have handled a sexual relation with them. But does this make me a man whom a feminist wants to behead and put on a spike like Ned Stark? I sure hope not, because I believe in both those cases it has nothing to discourage women: stereotypical jokes are easy and a quick way to enjoy humour (men being useless with directions) and relationships have got nothing to do with the projection of how women should be integrated in society as they are personal with three sides to a story.

To conclude my point of view about this topic, feminism could do with a makeover, a rebranding of sorts, so as to get away from the tainted “All men must die” note. We, as a society, should consciously appreciate women for who they are and what they are worth. This does not mean that women have to go all barbaric like men and not shave or go without make up, as it is these feminine aspects which embody women as women and it is what differs you from us men. Just because you do these things does not make you weaker – it empowers your self confidence which in turn embodies your true self. I hope you all take something away reading this from a perspective of a man and if you feel like I am someone terrible, just remember that I am a man:

I will never understand what it is to be like a woman.

* I put fear in single inverted commas as I believe that yes, a lot of men have got the intentions of only gaining a sexual purpose with you and this is basic primal instinct. Yet women have the same urges and the same instinct when it comes to being ‘attracted’ to men instantly. BUT how should a man conduct himself in order to gain your number? To ask you on a date? To make you feel special? To what many hope to lead to, to be loved? This ‘fear’ of being approached by men is a debate all on its own in my opinion.”

You can follow Roscoe on Instagram here (@roscoeheat). Also, Roscoe will be starting his own blog soon. I’ll post a link when he does.

Happy Monday everyone!

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the lost boys and girls

There has been a lot of anger directed towards men at the moment, especially after the California student killings and the subsequent #YesAllWomen campaign on Twitter which spread around the globe like wildfire. I wanted to write something about it then, but couldn’t quite get it out. This will be short(ish) and sweet(isn) though. The simple fact of the matter is that women are angry. We are tired of being objectified. We are tired of earning less than our male counterparts. We are tired of being looked up and down like pieces of meat. We are tired of being whistled at. We are tired of pretending to be weak in order to make men feel better about themselves.

It hasn’t yet been a century since women were first allowed to vote – to be considered equal to men. I can’t imagine a time when I was not allowed to have an opinion, and I’m so glad I don’t have to. I will say though, that there is a still a long way to go and I am at all not ashamed to shout out loud that I am a feminist. I am a full-on feminist! I freaking hate shaving my armpits and wearing bra’s. And yes, you can punch me in the face if you feel that that will make us equal. I will take it like a woman. As long as you’re not checking out my legs when I wear shorts or blatantly staring at me as you drive past or hitting on me at the club with your wedding band on. I really can take not having doors opened for me. I can take splitting the bill and I can take changing lightbulbs. Just stop objectifying me. Patriarchy, and his evil brother, Misogyny, is still deeply embedded in our society and in our everyday life and it is still maiming the hearts and souls of men and women, both straight and gay. But I truly believe we can get over this. Let’s talk, let’s change. Let’s take full responsibility for the way in which we conduct ourselves and the way in which we raise our boys and girls. Let’s get talking and let’s also think long and hard about what we have said in the past and let’s promise to not say it again.

Straight Men: stop expecting sexual favours from us. We are not the women in your video games or porn films. We are real. We are real and we pump blood and we give birth and we breathe and we menstruate and we shit (yes, the horror) and we hurt. We are not mythical creatures or playthings. Please. Take us off that pedestal, or out of the gutter, and just hold our hands. And just because we refuse your advances, does not make us “wicked” or “stuck-up.” Be our lovers, but most importantly, be our buddies. Stand by us, instead of excluding us. Stop making those jokes about us – you know the ones I’m talking about. Stop teaching your sons to be “real men” – teach them to be real humans, kind and true. Let them wear pink and play with dolls. Let your daughters play ball and wear blue. Let them decide on their future.

And, just so that we can all acknowledge that it is definitely NOT only men to blame here,

Mothers: stop fawning over your sons. Stop encouraging your sons to be players and your daughters to be ladies. Stop excusing bad behaviour and bullying with my worst phrase in the world, “boys will be boys”. No. Boys will be what you teach them to be. Stop sending your sons off to university with a bag full of condoms and then think it’s perfectly okay to call the girls they’re sleeping with “sluts”. Stop teaching your sons that girls who wear short skirts are “asking for it”. Just stop it with the double standards. There is enough confusion in this world… and the sad thing is that it is our boys who are the most confused of all. Our girls are beginning to understand what it is that they can do and the ancient power they hold deep within. It’s our boys right now who are trapped between the old and the new, the right and the wrong. Don’t make it worse. Help them to find their way in this changing world.

And lastly, to the victims – to both the girls and the boys: the more we talk about this – our hurt, our abuse, our molestation, our rape… the more power we can take away from it’s perpetrators. Do not allow them to hide in the dark shadows of your shame. Do not allow them to hurt others whilst cloaked in your deafening silence. Speak out. There is no shame in taking back your power and creating a safe space for healing. If not for yourself, then for the future victims. Would you want your son or daughter to hide from these crimes and suffer alone? No? So then why are you doing it to yourself?

Let’s step into the light. Let’s speak the truth. Let’s heal the pain. And let’s stop creating lost boys and girls.

Below are some of the most poignant #YesAllWomen posts I came across.  Give them a read. Think about it. And please, don’t raise your boy to be “that guy”.

photo 1-4 photo 2-4 photo 3-4 photo 4-3

 

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newsy nancy

Hello lovely readers of this here little blog. I’m in the best mood today, which could be annoying/uplifting to you depending on which side of the bed you fell out of this morning. I’m not quite sure why… perhaps it’s because I’m happy to be home on the farm (despite the icy cold); perhaps it’s because I just had the most amaaaazing five days in Mozambique and Zululand; perhaps it’s because I had a little epiphany about this place we call home/Africa (but that’s for another post when I manage to sort all my jumbling thoughts into coherent sentences); perhaps it’s because there is change in the air – BIG CHANGE; perhaps it’s because we’re going on our Euro Trip in exactly eighty days; perhaps it’s because I have all this energy at the moment or perhaps it’s because I’M PREGNANT.

Jokes. I would be a little inconsolable if I was pregnant right now. Italy without red wine would be like married sex with a condom – just not right. Sorry, that sentence was a little un-PC. At least I put the “married” in there. I know what you naughty minxes were all really thinking.

But on a more serious note, life is good right now. I’m feeling fit, strong and happy. I’m finding the humour and beauty in everything I see and I have zero-zilch-NO space for negativity or craziness in my life. I’m focused on health and work and loving and learning and writing. The pressure to not pump a blog post out a day has done wonders for my creativity, not to mention my posture. I was chatting to my lovely Natasha who has a South African family travel blog called Raising Men the other day about how I’ve kind of fallen out of love with blogging. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel a little too over-exposed at the moment or if I would like to carve out a little more privacy in both my life and my mind or if it just seems like everyone and their hipster cat writes a blog these days, or if it’s because everything feels so competitive, but… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a phase. All I know is that Instagram is where it’s at and if you miss me blogging over here every day, you should totally join Instagram and follow me (@midlandsmusings) over there. It’s like my mini blog with image snippets of my daily life so expect dogs, cats (and other assorted farm animals), a ginger husband-lover-man, travel, food and a touch of health and fitness (I’m currently on week 4 of the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide by the way, and I have already posted some progress pictures over on my IG – stay tuned for my blog review on my first month of BBG next week).

Anyway, that’s about all the blabbing I have time for today. I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and are remembering to laugh and appreciate the beauty in small things. Here are some pretty pics I snapped in Mozam and Zululand over the past week. Muchos love xxx

12Processed with VSCOcam with h3 presetphoto 3-1Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presettartarugaphoto 1-3Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetphoto 2-3Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with n1 preset** Whilst in Mozambique we stayed in a lovely luxury tented camp called Tartaruga Maritana in Ponta Malongane – pretty out-of-Africa mosquito nets for days. In St Lucia we stayed at a hip little boutique guest lodge called Serene Estate - they serve the best breakfasts I have ever had. Ever.**

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Unless otherwise stated, all words and images are copyright to Keri Bainborough and the Midlands Musings blog. Please contact me if you’d like to use any of the text and graphics featured on this blog. Disclaimer