thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

Dear Food…

“Do you want fries with that?” is a phrase that can strike fear into my heart. Do I want fries? Why are you offering me fries? Do you think that I’m fat and obviously want more calories dunked in yummy hydrogenated goodness? Is that it? I was having a thin day until the McDonalds guy pointed out my jiggly bits to the entire restaurant. And where do you get off calling yourself a restaurant anyway? I digress… Well since you already seem to think that I’m morbidly obese with bells on, I’ll take those fries Mr. and I’m blaming you!

Ok, this may or may not have ever actually happened to me in real life, but the fact that people are offering me more food wherever I go freaks. Me. OUT! I’m pretty sure it’s not just me, it’s not like I have a huge sign that says ‘Feed me’ waving from my back as I waddle down the street, it’s everyone. Ask Morgan Spurlock if you don’t believe me, (though I read that he’s, rather bizarrely, doing a One Direction documentary atm, so he may be a tad occupied.) The point is that everywhere I go, I see Buy One Get One Frees, complementary chocolate bars with magazines and share size everything, which, btw, no-one ever, EVER shares.  Trust me, I’ve had my hand slapped enough times to have learnt my lesson.

Food isn’t just something we need to live, served at meal times, by our mothers at the table. Was it ever? Like really? Food is everywhere, food is everything. It’s the most available hobby in the world. It’s the answer to hunger, boredom, anger, sadness and periods. It’s always there to give our bellies a big hug whenever we need it, or want it, or just have nothing better to do. As a generation, we are not coping very well with life. Then, all of a sudden food shows up and is all like ‘Hi! I’ll make everything better!’ whilst secretly just making you fat and bloated instead.

Food is your frenemy, or mine at least. I love it, but I want to toss it in the trash and dowse it with bleach because we’re just not speaking right now, ok?! Cupcakes are that cool girl that everyone wants to hang out with, who just ends up making you feel ugly and stupid and not good enough, especially when you try to decorate them so that they look like some fancy Instagram shot, but end up with a fuzzy fuchsia turd. Chocolate is that boy that you keep running back to, even though he constantly tells you that you’re fat whilst force-feeding you carbs so you never leave him.

I think that our diets are reflections of our headspace. Sure, when I’m having a good day and life is bobbing along nicely, I may as well be Gwyneth Paltrow, with a smug look on my face and a belly full of berries. I’ve got my shiz together, I’ve got my five a day and I don’t eat after 7 because someone told me not to once. On a bad day however, when life is jabbing me in the back with a nail gun every five seconds, I’m every contestant The Biggest Loser has ever seen. I could quite miserably survive on fries and bread, trailing crumbs all over my bed, because I sure as Hell am not getting out of it today.

So what I am saying, delicious evil on my plate, is that we need to slow down. I am not ready for such an overbearing, intense, fattening relationship right now. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s for the best, no really, it is. You are an important part of my life, but I’m not appreciating you. By seeing you all of the time and being so full-on, it’s as if I’m becoming numb to you, I can’t enjoy you the way that I once did because you’re always available. You should read The Rules, like seriously. Treat me mean to keep me keen. I know that you will always be there for me, and I appreciate that, but I just need some space right now. And who knows, I might just get my period tomorrow and come crawling back to you.

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Just Say No

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Should you date a bad boy, I hear you ask. Well, my short answer is no. The long, profanity laced and from the bottom of my heart answer is: NO! HELL NO! Step away from the rugged yet dashing, slighty smelly, potential serial killer right now young lady, before I drag you home! In one episode of HBO’s Girls, Hannah says of Adam,  “I know I always said he was murdery in a sexy way, but maybe he’s murdery in a murder way.” Here’s the thing – murder is not sexy; it’s just not. Murder is an actual real thing that happens, and I’m not saying that all bad boys are murderers, but murderers are more likely to be grubby and dishevelled and have those eyes that pierce right through you, you know, like actual knives might. I’m just saying…

Ok, I’ve been there. I’ve fallen for the creepy charm, I’ve completely ignored my friends’ concerns and I’ve holed myself up in my bedroom with said bad boy, whilst letting the world slip by outside my window. That’s what bad boys do, they make your world revolve around them and their (completely unfixable, FYI) issues. They steal your soul, they chew it up like those gross old men in Westerns and they spit it out into a bucket, because they Do. Not. Care. And you know what the scary thing is? If you haven’t seen it all before, you won’t see them coming. They don’t wear a sign, they may not be plastered in tattoos and they’re completely perfect until they’re not, and then you’re in quicksand.

I’m telling you all of this and I know, I just know that if you have a bad boy loitering on the edge of your life, begging with those beautiful eyes to be let in, you’re not gonna listen to me. Why should you? You don’t know me. I could be anyone. I could be that barista in Starbucks who insists on spelling your name wrong, Every. Single. Time. I could be the teacher that aways gave you a D for everything, because they hate you and why is geography even a subject anyway? I’m not those people, I’ve got your back on this. There are nice, non-murdery boys out there; probably reading Austen in a library or stroking a litter of kittens or building a treehouse/ballpit/bouncy castle just for you. All you need is to chillax and step away from the bad boy. Nobody needs to get hurt.

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I’m Not a Feminist But…

I am not a feminist. Or am I? The truth is that I have no idea.  Do I agree that women should earn the same as men? Yes. Do I think that a woman in a short skirt is begging to be raped? No. Do I think that small children should be exposed to sexed-up images of women? No. Do I think that those women have a right to strip for money? Of course. It’s a minefield. The idea of feminism is a loaded gun. Taylor Swift said a while ago that she wasn’t a feminist and the world imploded. Oh wait, it didn’t  but it got pretty darn close. If you say that you are not a feminist, you’re lumped in with the racists, homophobes and paedophiles, or so it seems. But I don’t think we’re on the same page here.

To me, feminism has an us against them feeling about it. I know it shouldn’t and to a lot of women it doesn’t, but that’s just the taste it leaves in my mouth. I don’t think women should smash through the glass ceiling sending the men hurtling down to earth. I believe in equality. It makes me cringe when I see women only competitions, campaigns to get women into male-dominated professions, blah, blah, blah. I’m the same with the MOBOs. Black people are allowed awards now people, Beyoncé does it all the time. It seems really patronising to me. It’s like throwing us a bone and saying ‘We’ll let you have your own awards, since you’re not good enough to compete against men. Happy now?’ No I’m not happy. I don’t want to be patted on the head and given a special vagina-themed trophy because I have boobs. I want to be equal. Can you imagine parliament canvassing for male MPs? What about a special man only book prize? Sorry Hilary Mantel, you’re too good, so let’s let someone else win something, ok? No. It would never happen.

Don’t get me wrong. When I say I want equality, I’m not saying that we’re the same. We have very different add-ons, I know this; I’m not in denial. Women and men have gender-related strengths, weaknesses, ailments, etc. This is a fact. Science hasn’t come close to closing that gap, I’m sure it will one day, when we live on a planet ruled by cockroach alien things that drag us around on leads and feed us treats if we make babies, but right now we’re rocking two different planets. So why don’t we play to our strengths? It’s a cliché, but maps make my eyes go funny and I’ve never met a man that reads instructions, so let’s team up, go Power Ranger on life’s arse and save the world. Of course there are superwomen and supermen, so if you are one, pat yourself on the back and move on with your life. No vagina trophy for you Glen Coco.

It just doesn’t seem fair to me to be whining about my period pain and demanding chocolate one minute, and berating my male friends for their man flu the next, (not fair, but still so, sooo enjoyable.) I want the opportunity to race against the boys and win, and I want to be allowed to like pretty things caked in glitter and covered in sequins. I want to at least try to beat my male friends at arm wrestling, (how are they so strong with such skinny arms?!) but still ask for help to reach things on the top shelf. I want it all, but I want men to have it all too. If they want to wear a dress and swoon over Ryan Gosling, the more the merrier. But no-one should get an award for being an awesome woman/man/cockroach alien thing; they should get an award for being the best of everyone. No patronising please. So am I a feminist? I suppose. But I’m also a masculist. Everyone is awesome. Go go Power Rangers!

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Angelina’s Boobs

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So let’s talk about Angelina Jolie’s boobs. It’s emerged that she’s recently chosen to undergo a double mastectomy, since her doctors told her that her risk of developing breast cancer was 87%. Brave move right? To a woman, boobs are a huge signifier of femininity, and alongside our hair, they help us feel womanly and gosh-darned sexy to boot, so the fact that Angelina came right out and told the world is super cool. And just look at how people are taking it, she’s being hailed as a hero for speaking out about her experience, and for empowering women in similar situations to do the same and to talk about it. But do we need to know? Do we need Angelina to tell us that it happens and it’s alright? Do we need a prompt to educate ourselves on important issues like cancer, or is it another big media furor over something humdrum?

Once upon a time, celebrities were mysterious creatures, existing only on the big screen or in the minds of the public, sipping champagne at glitzy soirees, with their scarlet-clad smiles turned up to ten. Who would ever have guessed that the stars of the past had problems, thoughts, feelings and fears? They were moving images, not people, and once they disappeared from the screen, they were gone. There was no paparazzi, no E! News and no Perez Hilton to give people the fix of drama that they were craving. It’s well-known now that in her heyday, Marilyn Monroe suffered from depression, but no-one knew it back then; she was a sparkling beauty who smiled at the right times, came out with clever one liners and looked perfectly preened for as long as the camera needed her to.

Now all we need to do is fire up our computers, flick open our phones, glance at our tablets, and we have everything we don’t need to know, screaming at us from the screen. The internet was created so that we know what celebrities look like without make-up. Fact. Ok, it’s not a fact, but it’s one of the net’s proven uses. We can find out a celebrity’s whole life story with just a few clicks; we even know who they went home with last night and what they ate for breakfast. Let’s take Rihanna; swimming around online are the now-famous, tragic photos of the night that Chris Brown became a household name, all of her oddly-spelled tweets and more pictures of her naked body than are necessary for a non-porn star. We are let into celebrity houses on Cribs, we follow Ke$ha around on her reality show and we’ve studied so many celeb mug shots that we could give Tyra Banks some smizing competition.

But TMI on the celeb front isn’t necessarily a bad thing. By letting us see into their lives, they’re allowing and willing us to identify with them, to see ourselves in their mistakes and trials, and to say ‘Hey! She’s just like me.’ Celebrities are people too, no matter how bizarre or shiny they seem, and they can have the same issues as us. Being in the public eye forces them to reveal their shortcomings or risk being outed, and in doing so, they’re hoping for respect and empathy, rather than outrage and humiliation.  Remember when Britney’s baldness and umbrella-gate happened? That was pretty crazy stuff, but the awesome thing to come out of it was some serious discussions on the subject of mental health, and the realization that anyone can have problems; anyone can crack, despite being blonde, super-hot and rich as.

Kate Middleton’s pregnancy was revealed to the public in a storm of sickness and worrying hospital visits. For a while, the nation of Great Britain was on the edge of its seat, hoping that all would be fine and dandy with our royal baby. All was well eventually, but in the panic, we learned a few things about Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the hardcore morning sickness that Kate was afflicted with. Sufferers came out of the woodwork and told their stories, and, I’m sure, a lot of ladies suffering in hospital were comforted by the fact that a princess was going through exactly the same thing. Recently, Kate has been criticized as being too thin for her stage of pregnancy, once again opening up dialogue about important issues that non-famous women go through every day. It turns out that Kate isn’t too thin, it’s all relative.

Kim Kardashian has also taken some flack about her pregnant body. Bloggers, journalists, fashion critics and pretty much everyone in the entire world, it seems, are calling her fat. On the other side of the fence, some people have taken a stand about this pre-mummy slander and have pointed out that she is not fat, but, in fact, pregnant. The amount of criticism that Kim is facing right now must be pretty hard to take if you’re a pregnant lady who’s not blessed with the delicate bump that Kate is rocking. By calling Kim K fat, what they seem to be saying is, ‘Hey you! Yes you, pregnant lady. You’re carrying far too many pounds. Why can’t you look like Kate Moss with a beach ball under your top? You’re doing it wrong.’ And that, I can imagine, can’t feel too great.

Celebrities are not perfect; we know that, we see them make mistakes every day. Yet some celebrities seem to make it their prime objective to screw up and still smile like butter wouldn’t melt. How many celebs can you name with a DUI? Sometimes I feel I could write a Wikipedia page on the subject. It seems as if the entire population of La La land has one, it’s the cool thing to do. Only it isn’t. Drinking and driving is just as dangerous whether you’re Amanda Bynes or a nobody. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it is popular. And the more it’s happening, the more it’s being watered down, it doesn’t seem that bad, everyone’s doing it, no-one’s dying, so it’s ok right? Wrong. Suddenly it’s cool to be dumb, it’s fun to be reckless and both kids and adults are taking in this message and drinking it down.

Not only do the bad boys and girls screw us up, we also have to worry about so-called perfect celebrities killing our mojo. You know the ones I mean. Juice-fasting, yoga-positioning, size zero celebrities can make us feel terrible about ourselves. They show up on our screens, raving about their latest diet and instead of doing the right thing and switching off, we get masochistic about it. Rather than seeing the celebrity as a photoshopped human being, we see our own failures staring back at us. If only we had more self-control, if only we didn’t eat that ice-cream, if only we could do the splits upside down whilst writing a novel in Arabic… Newsflash people, we’re not perfect, but neither are they, they’re just better at hiding it. What you see is a blurred out, sucked in, poofed up version of a person, showing their best side.

We can’t compare ourselves to celebrities; we aren’t them, and we aren’t living their lives. Can you imagine doing your day to day job whilst having paparazzi chasing you down the street, making jibes about your mother and snapping pics as you fall over? Ok, it would be great to have a personal trainer, a home gym and a modeling contract, but it would not be great to have the world thinking you’re too fat or too thin, to have magazines highlighting your cellulite or to have internet debates on the subject of your suspected eating disorder. Yes, they have millions in the bank, but how much is the going rate for privacy nowadays? Because they ain’t getting any. You may feel jealous when you see pictures of their latest sunny getaway, but just remember they had a paparazzo chasing them down for that snap.

We are the ones driving this media circus. We are the ones buying the magazines, clicking the links, commenting on the articles, and we do it because we are interested, because we care, because we want to know that we are normal, or at least more normal than Lindsay Lohan. In between their partying and shopping and Instagramming, celebrities do us a service. They tell us that it’s ok to be ill and talk about it, or to be anally healthy and share your couscous a la carrot recipes. It’s ok to be fat or thin or good or bad. These are all the things that make us human. In the end we’re all just people trying to do our best in life, making mistakes along the way, only we’re lucky enough to not be filmed while doing it. So thank you Angelina, we needed that.

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Stargazing

The day the letter came I was away,
And because I was away I didn’t see,
The sort of man that visited that day,
The man who had delivered it to me.
He wrote of places I could better be,
If only I would look up at the sky,
And read a line of shining poetry,
And see the love go swimming softly by.
If only from the corner of my eye,
I’d glimpse an inch of aching, breaking love,
Then he would feel it, he would know that I
Had looked upon his heart and seen enough.
But because I didn’t know that man, I didn’t trust the stars,
And because I didn’t look that day, my heart still wears the scars.

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Mean Girls

I like Taylor Swift. There. I said it. I also like Anne Hathaway; what of it? No, I’m not trying to be subversive; I’m not a weirdo either, I just like them, ok? And I really don’t get why I’m in the minority on this one. Let’s start with Miss Swift. She’s had boyfriends, quite a few of them, though not an insane amount; she’s had her heart broken a few times and she’s glued it back together with cool tunes. What’s the big deal? I’ve had boyfriends, I’ve been screwed over, and I’ve written terrible poetry to deal with it. The only difference is that she’s talented and people sing along to her versions of my shit poetry.

And Anne. Heaven forbid someone with class steps on the celebrity scene. Now I don’t wanna sound like someone’s mother or anything, but I honestly think that everyone’s jealous. Anne got the best role in cinema this year, she’s eloquent, refined and she can pull off baldness like her highness, Natalie Portman. So what if her speeches sound rehearsed? What if, shock, horror, lets all take a seat because we might faint, what if she actually rehearses her speeches? Does that make her a terrible person? No. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe getting an award is freaking scary and instead of risking a total screw up of a speech, she spends hours agonising over the right words because, just like ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE IN THE WORLD EVER, she wants people to like her?

These are nice, sweet girls that have managed to make successes out of themselves without writhing around in their underwear, (*cough* Beyonce *cough*), Instagramming their drug use, (I’m talking to you Rihanna,) or going so far off the rails they’ve ended up in Australia, (I swear to God Lindsay Lohan, I will get a time machine, go back to Mean Girls and never let you out of my sight, young lady!) Why can’t we appreciate them for the real girls that they are? They’re just like you and me, they make mistakes; so do we, only ours aren’t splashed over magazine covers or printed on Perezhilton.com, and followed up by comments laced with profanity and hate. So maybe next time they do something so normal and boring that it inspires a tornado of animosity, you’ll stick up for those girls. Stick up for yourself.

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Relax, Don’t Do It

I am not good at angry. I say I’m not good at angry like I say I’m not good at interpretive dance or shot-put. I don’t want to be good at it. I see a lot of people around me that are very talented and practiced at getting angry and it confuses me. Like why? And how? How can you lift such a heavy ball and toss it so far? Why do you want to make all these weird movements that most sane people can’t understand anyway, instead of just saying ‘you know what sucks? War.’ Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you is just a teensy bit crazier than you are?

I don’t know. I’ve never been very good at understanding people, not even myself, but when I see people getting so angry that they look like they’re about to explode, I just want to say ‘Calm down, relax, have a cup of tea and a sit,’ which we all know is exactly the wrong thing to say to an angry person. Saying ‘calm down’ is like saying ‘please get even more angry, and focus it on the one person that cares about your wellbeing and blood pressure.’ Angry people don’t want to be calm, they want to hit things and yell. A lot.

When the world is mean to me, I don’t get angry, I get upset. I descend into Emoville and sulk and cry and ‘why me?’ for a bit. Then I’m absolutely hunky dory without any criminal damage or physical assault having taken place. This is great for me, because I feel bad every time I SEE a police officer. I start to think maybe I’ve done something illegal that I didn’t know about, and now I’m going to prison forever, great. So even though I have to put up with the ugly, puffy, crying face that doesn’t exist in movies, I’m glad that I’m not good at angry. I just wish the people around me were better at sad, despite their movie girl crying skills. Bitches.

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Clutching at Straws

Sometimes I feel as if clouds carry meaning,

And we’re just not looking, or maybe not seeing,

And what if I miss one more message from you?

What if my wishes will never come true?

I blew dandelions until they were bare,

And I still didn’t see you or know you were there,

And I wished with my eyes closed, I breathed every word

Then I let it all fly like the beat of a bird.

And I promise the earth but you’re just a dream

That never comes true though they’re words that I mean

And I carried the luckiest stone I could find,

But I guess it’s not lucky, because you’re not mine.

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