mars | atlas

credit: nasa / nasa.gov

atlas is a series based on the planet songs off of sleeping at last’s atlas: year one.
this is mars.

War is glory. War is a hazy place of death and death, and for what? For your country, to make someone – anyone –  proud, or to prove a point via the power borne from crushing skulls underfoot? War is never fought by those seeking the latter – what’s the point of fighting for power if one could die doing it?

Instead, they rally a group onto a precipice, and push.  War opens her mouth and swallows the bodies of young people whole. She swallows those who were just old enough to sign the dotted line, those who needed a way out from something, those who believed that it was worth it, and those who did nothing but exist at the wrong place at the wrong time.

She takes strangers to suffering bursting with life and rips them apart. She breaks their bodies, their brains, their sense of self, until all that remains is her pervading reminder that they are in her hands. She reminds them that she is all they can count on, all they know, and all they will know. Bodies laid down and names forgotten, she becomes mother and savior and enemy and everything. Constant. Everything.

When those fighting see it time to inform their fighters that someone has won, that enough skulls have been trampled on, war does not receive the message. Instead, she leaves with every person who is lucky enough to. She takes up prime real estate in their brains and continues her work.

Those who come back continue fighting. Their war rages on, and time does too.  There is hope for quiet, for resolution. The hope that now…

Now we’re young enough to try to build a better life.

earth | atlas

credit: nasa / nasa.gov

atlas is a series based on the planet songs off of sleeping at last’s atlas: year one.
this is earth: an account of necessary and inevitable destruction.

I have a knack for destruction. It’s in my name, my veins, and  every movement I have ever made. This time, I am weary.

This time, I am not destroying a safe house I had made for myself. I am not undoing the world of work done in relationships, nor am I crushing the tower of support that I have stood on for as long as I needed to. This time, I am not destroying. This time, I am being broken, and it has been a long time coming.

I saw the sky change and saw myself create a courage based on a cheap attempt at self deceit. I saw the water rise, and I locked the door. I saw the fires grow and readied my bucket. I saw myself, and I saw futility. For what is a bolted door against an unending ocean, or a pail of water against a forest fire? No lie I tell myself can convince me that I have enough time to collect myself enough to survive this.

This time, I am not destroying. I am watching disaster after disaster wreck me magnificently. I am watching earthquake after avalanche after flood after fire, and I tremble and crash along with all it destroys. My family has since left, finding refuge in a place safe from disaster and destruction. Despite this, I greet the mess. I greet destruction as my old friend, my constant, my ever steady companion.  I allow the old self to drown and to burn, and wait for the change.

These wildfires grow and grow until a brand new world takes shape.

dear men | honest letters #3

Oh boy.

Hello, men. Male human men. I have a lot to say to you, and less patience than I once thought. So, I’m going to tell you some things and I’d like you to bear in mind that this isn’t even half of what I’d say to you if I could address you all as a collective group. I know this letter comes across as though I am, but having this space on the internet allows me to do things I would never be able to do.

So, without further ado, let’s begin. TW: assault, sexual harassment

Men, you exist. You are real. Every. Single. One of you. You are real, and when a man is abusive, a rapist, a murderer, I see far too many things saying that “real men” would never do such. I’d like to pull your head out from under your “I know I would never do that”-shaped thought hole, and remind you that real men did that. Real men who exist are the biggest threat to women’s safety and life expectancy. Real men. Not the imaginary ones that you seem to never relate to, those evil guys! Real men. Like you. Your masculinity doesn’t give you a pass on decency. When you absolve men of any responsibility, you are standing by and letting it happen.When you create a defensive movement in response to a movement that was never about you (see #YesAllWomen & #MenAreTrash and vs #NotAllMen & #NotAllMenAreTrash), you are doing it for real.

Why are you offended by #MenAreTrash? Are you offended because you are not a trash man? Because you’ve never, and would never disrespect women? Because your ego is taking a knock? Because the statement makes you question whether or not you’re the nice guy that you claim to be? Look, #MenAreTrash isn’t about one man. It’s not about two or seven or a million. It’s a movement about the treatment of women in greater society.

We know that there are “good men”, we understand that not ALL men are trashy bigots. That’s not the point of the movement. In fact, “Not all men” misses the point every time. It [quiets] us [and] it’s an attempt to shut us up. It has to stop.

The “not all [insert problem]” argument is not constructive, it doesn’t bring forth any substance to the debate and it certainly doesn’t bring forth any solutions to the problems *womxn are systematically faced with.

Is it not relevant that the majority of [men] are raping, abusing, killing, disenfranchising, undermining, patronising, policing, pirating, mansplaining to and widely victimising *womxn?

Must we just pack up and go home, forget this is happening because “not all men”? So what are *womxn to do? Nurse our wounds, overcome your systematic oppression and also have enough energy to try to figure out who’s trash and who’s not?

-Thabi Myeni, News24

You are dismissing real life problems that women face every day because your ego is bruised. You are dismissing the fact that I have never, in my entire life, met one woman or girl who has not been sexually harassed or assaulted. You are dismissing the fact that no matter how many times you are told that catcalling is not a compliment, you do it anyway. Or you watch your friends do it. Men, you are real. You are a real threat to my safety, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

Men, stop using “she’s someone’s sister/mother/blah blah blah” as your basis for respecting women. I don’t know if it’s crossed your mind, but there is not a single person on the planet that does not have some familial relationship with a woman. Not one, buddy. Every person deserves respect, regardless of who they’re related to. Stop placing women’s worth in their relationships with men. Honestly.

Men, stop calling us females! What the hell is with that, you guys? Did you forget how to say women? I just…I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you do it, or why “females” is near always used in a demeaning or disrespectful way when talking about women.  First off, female is an adjective. Your grammar is bad. Female as a noun works when it’s derogatory, and why the heck are you so rude? Secondly, have you ever heard anyone refer to men as “males”? Eugh. It’s gross. Stop it. JUST STOP IT.

Men, you’re privileged. Shhhh. Don’t debate me on this. It’s not up for questioning. It is a fact, and you need to accept that it is and then use your privilege to make things better for those who are not. The patriarchy hurts everyone – women, men, gender-nonconforming folk – and the manifestation of this is often used as anti-feminist reasoning. When men are raped, assaulted, and suffer domestic abuse, there is a misconception that feminists don’t care about those instances because we’re too busy smashing the patriarchy. We do care. The patriarchy is the reason most men do not report assault because of the conceptions they have of masculinity. When we fight the patriarchy, we fight because of how it hurts everyone.

Men, stop piping up with unconstructive arguments for the sake of it. Stop saying you’re a good guy while you creepily ask that girl,”Where’s my hug?”. Stop being transphobic douchebags, saying you’re here for women but only ones you deem acceptable. Stop being complicit, watching your friends catcall and harass women. Stop making this about you when you don’t calculate how fast you’ll have to run if some guy decided today’s his day every time you walk past a group of men. Stop killing us because you think you can, stop raping us because you think you can, stop disregarding our “no”s because you think you can. Stop because not giving a man a phone number has cost several women their lives, because a woman not responding to a man on the street resulted in her being punched unconscious, because women die when men decide that they should. Stop because women are people, and gender based violence is real. Stop it.

Be better. You have to be better.

love and light,
shalom xo

mother’s day blues

Today’s a hard day for a bunch of people. These family-oriented days are a tricky one because of how families work, and I always feel particularly strange when it comes to them.

Mother’s day can be difficult, but all I’ve got to say is that whatever your feelings are today, they are right. They are valid.

If you’ve lost your mother, or if you’ve never had a relationship with yours, today can be difficult. If your mother is toxic, abusive, unaccepting, or has thrown you out for being who you are, today can be difficult. However you feel, your feelings are valid. Despite the card you will not write or the phone call you will not make, your feelings are valid. To mothers who have lost their children, mothers who have strained relationships with their children, people who long to be mothers — your feelings are valid. My thoughts go out to you.

Be mindful of those going through the most today. Be kind. Be aware, be compassionate, be understanding.

Happy mother’s day. Happy Sunday.

love and light,
shalom xo

we were on a break!!1!1!

Damn, Shalom – back at it again with the being unable to follow a single schedule you create for yourself! (Hello, dated reference weekly? She’s doing it again.)

So I took…a week…ish? off of BEDIM. I think it’s time to call BEDIM something more Shalom-oriented like…As Many Blogs As Possible In May. AMBAPIM. Welcome back to AMBAPIM!

I’d like to tell you all that I spent this last week doing some heavy introspection, and that I’ve come back refreshed and feeling great and glam and wonderful! However, I didn’t and I haven’t, and this is probably my most honest space on the internet so I’ll keep it that way. (Huh. Maybe second most honest.) (Stop reading my blog, parents.)

Anyway, what I have done in the couple of days that I’ve been away is buy too much chocolate (there are three slabs in my bedside drawer, please help), scream and yell in frustration about being a joke with a pal I’ll miss more than I’m ready to comprehend, and learn a lot about the Habsburgs.

I’m ready for this week. This week, I’ll do BEDIM. Blog every day this week in May? Yo, I don’t know. I have a plan and I’m *really* trying to get my life. How many times have I announced my trying to get my life here? I’m not sure, but if we count back to 2014 when scooton.wordpress.com was a THING, we’re probably on 30 or something.

This week has been a lot, and I have been doing mostly nothing. I am ready to not do nothing. Have an incredible video about the history of the world, I guess. (Love you Bill Wurtz)

love and light,
shalom xo

SEE YOU TOMORROW. AND THE DAY AFTER AND THE DAY AFTER THAT ETC. FOR REAL.

 

 

the creator/consumer divide

Okay, so I missed day 5.

I don’t know what to blame it on, I don’t know what I wanted to say, but I do know that you probably don’t care about BEDIM. I don’t blame you – it’s a personal project, and all you get from it is more emails from WordPress notifying you of – sigh – another post from that girl on the internet who has far too many feelings for her own good.

Well. Thanks for being here! I appreciate it, and I appreciate you.

See how I said “you” and not “you guys”? I think that comes from my newfound notice of the difference between the two. Today, as the title probably told you, I want to talk about the creator/consumer divide in terms of internet content creators and consumers regarding the way consumers are addressed.

Essentially, we’re all creators and consumers. You create a photo for Instagram, and the 200 people that like it consume it. A YouTuber creates a video with a clickbaity title, like “I WAS SHOT BY MY UBER DRIVER UNDERWATER IN PARIS???” and the 500 000 people that watch it and end up disappointed (because really, her Uber driver was her friend who took her to a Parisian themed theme park and they shot water guns at each other) are the consumers.

Because of the way the internet has evolved, every moment you spend consuming content is individual and deeply personal. You like the photo on Instagram because you feel obligated to, or because they always like your photos, or because you actually like the photo. Either way, your motivations are singular, as are the experiences you have when you read a blog, or watch a video.

It’s a silly little thing, but Tessa Violet spoke about it shortly in this video: when Youtubers address their audience as “you guys”, the security is gone. The moment is no longer an individual experience, like the internet promises us we’ll have. I don’t know, I think it’s interesting, if anything, how the tone of an apology video on YouTube can change depending on whether the creator apologises to “you” or to “you guys”.

It’s interesting. A thought.

Bit of a filler, this post.

love and light
shalom xo

Blinding

I was listening to Blinding by Florence and the Machine song earlier today, and while some of my favourite lyrics in the world are from that song (No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone / No more calling like a crow, for a boy, for a body in the garden), this post isn’t about that.

This post is about glasses, and wearing glasses, and the annoying things that people who don’t wear glasses do.

The thing that most people without glasses don’t seem to understand is that people with glasses wear glasses for a reason. This seems like base knowledge and yet, 7/10 times when I meet someone new, they’ll take my glasses, try them on and exclaim something along the lines of “Woah! You’re so blind!” or “I can’t see anything through these!” or my personal favourite, “You look so much better without them!”

Man, oh man.

First off, of course my eyes are bad, ya dingus! That’s why they should have stayed on my face, and not have gotten near yours. As a person who is embarrassingly close to being legally blind – for real, I can see maybe a foot in front of me at best without m glasses – I know. I know my eyes are bad. Your observation…what did you really think would come of it? A medal? A tattoo voucher? If ever you find such offers available, please inform me. I would love to tell people obvious facts about their eyes for rewards!

Next, I’d like you to think carefully about why you can’t see through them. Through my prescription spectacles. Here’s a clue: my glasses. My glasses. Did you expect a sudden history of bad eyes from your father’s side to descend upon you for the three seconds that you had them on? I don’t understand. Help me to understand. Why do you do this?

Lastly, regarding your ever so helpful opinion about my appearance without my seeing device. You know what else looks better without my glasses? You do. Because I can’t see any of you if you stand at least two paces from me. Please, stand two paces from me.

This has been a 2014 scooton.wordpress.com style rant, because I am feeling sad and bad. I failed the same part of my driver’s test for the second time today, and I feel like a class A idiot. I also have a discount for sushi courtesy of my pal Tash, and I am going to use it and mope. Thank you kindly. Happy Bedim.

love and light,
shalom xo

what i’m watching – series edition

Hello hello hello and welcome to day 3 of BEDIM! This post has been in my drafts for a bit, and I had a little bit of a creative block this morning so reviving this helped. Also, my first piece for HelloGiggles was published today! It is a very exciting time.

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite series at the moment.

PITCH

Pitch_keyart_web.png

  • Seasons: 1 (not renewed by FOX, but I hope Netflix or someone else picks it up!)
  • How far am I?: Finished!
  • Network: FOX
  • What’s the deal? : Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to play major league baseball for the San Diego Padres (and also, ever). She’s a pitcher, and finds herself creating a space in a world that wasn’t created for her. Lots of team moments, lots of team drama, LOTS OF HILARIOUS JUXTAPOSITION SCENES LIKE THE ONE BELOW. The theme song is amazing and the season finale is heartbreaking, but I hope there’s more Pitch sometime soon. Kylie Bunbury is BRILLIANT.
  • Fave Characters: Ginny Baker, Mike Lawson, Eliot
  • Stars & /10?: Four stars. Nine out of ten, only because there’s just one season.

RIVERDALE

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  • Seasons: 1 (Almost definitely going to be renewed – star studded cast, extremely well received)
  • How far am I?: Episode 6/13
  • Network: CW
  • What’s the deal: With characters based off the Archie comics characters, Riverdale tells the story of what happens in a quiet town after the murder of Jason Blossom. The arrival of Hermoine and Veronica Lodge points to even more drama. The gang of sophomores (lol as IF!) – Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Kevin – must deal with high school, the fact that they may know the murderer, and the craziness of the Blossoms.
  • Fave Characters: Veronica Lodge, Jughead “It’s called necrophilia, Reggie. Can you spell it?” Jones, Joaquin (South side serpent that Kevin gets friendly with at the movies – also please can I see more of this story arc! PLEASE!)
  • Stars & Rating / 10? : Three and a half stars, 7/10. I like Jughead, and I love him as the narrator, but I could not stand his “I’m so weird” soliloquy. Also, Archie & Ms Grundy should NEVER have happened. Why weren’t more people yelling about the fact that Ms Grundy is a predator, like Mrs Cooper did? YIKES.

NEW GIRL

NG_S6_GROUP_PUB_Fin3_hires1_FULL [www.imagesplitter.net].jpeg

(come on. you knew this was coming.) HERE BE SPOILERS FOR SEASON 5

  • Seasons: 6! SIX!
  • How far am I?: I’m actually on my way to a New Girl marathon with a friend, so I’ll let you know. We’re probably going to watch all of season 5 and 6.
  • Network: FOX
  • What’s the deal? : Jess can’t stop thinking about Nick, CECE AND SCHMIDT ARE MARRIED AND HAVE A HOUSE LIKE PICTURE PERFECT THIRTY YEAR OLDS, Nick is finally publishing The Pepperwood Chronicles, Ali and Winston and GORDON RAMSAY make magic — everything is wonderful. Wonderful wonderful. America, America, uh uh, yeah.
  • Fave Characters: Y’all. Winnie the Bish, Nick Miller Nick Miller, (Who’s that girl, it’s) Jess and SCHMIDT WHO HAS A FIRST NAME.
  • Stars & Rating / 10? : FIVE STARS. 10/10. INCREDIBLE.

I’m running late for a New Girl marathon, and I cannot be running late for a New Girl marathon!

love and light,
shalom xo

 

 

a note to black boys

jordan edwards was killed by a police officer in texas two days ago. he was 15. innocent. eric garner was strangled by a police officer almost three years ago. mike brown was murdered by a police officer two years ago. tamir rice was gunned down by the police two and a half years ago. he was 14, and brilliant.

you probably knew all of that, because you have to watch your back. i know that with every step you take, you have to protect your neck, and i know that you are tired. i know that checking your words and tone so carefully to avoid death is tiring. i know that fearing for your life every time you put on a hoodie in cold weather is tiring. i know that no matter how small, your mistakes don’t grant you the privilege of being taken into custody alive, like dylann roof.  i know that you know that this is wrong, and i know that you know we’re trying to fix it.  baby boy, we are trying. it is a fight, and we are fighting.

first, i’m sorry. i am sorry that you live in fear because of prejudiced notions of those sworn to protect. i’m sorry that your existence is treated like a crime worthy of capital punishment. i’m sorry that you have to have living down to an exact science to be successful. i’m sorry that you grow and live in a world where #rip(insert black boy’s name) pops up every three weeks. i am sorry.

next, i want you to know that despite those who seem to devalue your life, you are worth everything. black boy, you are magic and melanin. black boy, the resilience of your mother, the fight of your sister, the adaptability of your father – you have it in you. you carry worlds within you. hold fast to the fire in your stomach, and live. live as activism. live because it is not promised. live because you want to. live because terrible people seem to yearn to take the chance from you. live and learn and love and be, because black boy, i don’t know how long you or i have. i don’t know if you’ll go for a walk tomorrow and be killed for walking while black. i don’t know if you will be the next hashtag. i know that jordan edwards should have woken up today. i know that you should tomorrow.

with this in mind, flex your black boy joy. remember your dreams, and chase them with abandon. remember your struggle, and acknowledge it. remember what makes you happy, and do it. live. live. live. put flowers in your beard if you want to. cut your hair how you want to. wear the sneakers that you want to. win three grammys without selling a record if you want to. create a film that explores racism like no other if you want to. live, because you are worthy. chase, because you can. be, because your life matters.

black lives matter. god help us, they matter. you matter, and i will never stop screaming it. not when i graduate from college, not when i run for office — never. i will never stop fighting for our lives to matter. i will never stop.

black boy, you matter. you matter. you matter.

live.

love,
shalom


 

monthly me | april ’17

Well, let it pass, he thought; April is over, April is over. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Sensible Thing

I’ll probably start every post near the end of April or the beginning of May with this quote. I love it a whole lot, and every time I read it I’m reminded of the same things and a million things I hadn’t thought of in a while. Anyway, April is over! April is over, and I have had a better month than I thought I would.

from the camera roll

 

tunes + vids

this is one of the funniest videos i have seen in a really long time, and i can’t tell you why. i love it a ridiculous amount. thank you hank green.

april has been…

April has been better. I came out of March feeling very hazy, and I’m feeling a little better coming out of April. To be honest, I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve settled into a groove of being more okay with being as alone as I am. I’ve found that isolation means saving money, and I’m ending off the month with a positive bank balance for the first time since…ever? I like the church I’m at now. I like the focus of love, I like the sincerity of the people, I like the way it’s not commercialised, and I like that there are no isolating judgements. People are people, and loving them is what I do and it’s all good.

I’m feeling very okay – not phenomenally excellent, or particularly horrid. Just okay. Very okay. April has been too much and enough – the precarious balance that I long and live for. My brain is easing into itsng in love with every person I meet is the biggest strength and weakness that I have, but I’m easing into that too.

obsessions

  • Holiday Club 2017! Holiday club was the most fun & exhausting & rewarding week I’ve had in a long time. Spending a week with 150 kids and getting to watch them just be was incredible. There was so much love going around, and so much ice cream on Friday.  Too much ice cream.
  • Re-watching seasons 1-3 of New Girl. Oh my GOD. I mentioned how I’ve spent a lot of time noticing where my mannerisms come from, and the answer for the majority of them is season 1 & 2 Nick Miller. I didn’t realise how much I picked up from New Girl until I did this rewatch. It is madness – from the way Schmidt shortens words to the way Nick moonwalks away from situations and says things are the opposite of what he wants, there is a fundamental part of 2012 Shalom that owes herself to New Girl on Fox.
  • Nerdwriter episodes are quickly becoming some of my favourite things on the internet. I adore the video essay format, I adore the thinking behind each episode, I adore the content… I love it. I recommend watching a couple of them. (Also, watch The Prestige.)

Today there is a Harry Potter quiz with spaces that are near impossible to get, and I snagged a table for six. I am EXCITED. Today also marks the start of BEDIM, my newest project. BEDIM stands for a blog every day in May, and I’m ready to be creatively juiced by the end of it. The end of April also marks the two and a half month mark until I leave South Africa, and I’m hoping that anxiety can override the birthday anxiety. Issa lot.

Say it in your mind until you know that the words are right. This is how we fight.

Thanks, April. It is well.

love and light,
shalom xo