World Suicide Prevention Day

Taking a mental break (or at least telling myself that I am) from the Swedish election chaos, to discuss something else that’s important, too.

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If I’m being honest, this is a topic that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, I’ve written draft upon draft, but I’ve always ended up scrapping them. Considering that today is World Suicide Prevention Day, however, I’ve decided to give it another try.

When it comes to suicide, I’ve always gotten the impression that it’s something that you’re not supposed to talk about. Firstly, it makes people super uncomfortable. Secondly, it’s considered a selfish act and thirdly, it’s talked about it terms of weakness. These aspects really bother me. You don’t have suicidal thoughts because you’re selfish, the act in itself is not selfish either. Of course, if someone commits suicide, it has an enormous impact on people close to them. However, the person committing the suicide is the victim, they were suffering and for whatever reason living didn’t seem like a viable option anymore. We can never truly understand what goes on in the mind of someone else, hence it’s not something we can or should judge.

Be kind,
for everyone you meet
is fighting a battle you know
nothing about.

When you’re struggling with these thoughts it’s not about ”hey, I just don’t wanna live anymore, and I don’t care about those surrounding me.”
→→The society we live in is supposed to offer us support when it comes to things like these. Which is why we need to be open about it and work on it. There should be a much bigger focus on prevention! We need to catch the signs early and when we see them we need to act and be able to rely on a functioning health care system. For that to be possible though, we also need to change the perception and rhetoric concerning suicide and suicidal thoughts. If people feel ashamed to talk about these feelings, they won’t be able to get the help that they need, simply because they’re too reach out to anybody about them.

To be able to catch the signs early we need to educate people. Not only to see the signs, but to be able to adequately handle and deal with such a situation. People, like myself, who work with people, need to have more knowledge and tools. We need to know how to act and how to respond to a person with suicidal thoughts. In my opinion, these people need to be met with respect and it’s important to never diminish or judge their thoughts. It’s important to validate, be present and to listen! Routines and protocols should be discussed and developed, in schools and in work places where you connect and work with people, so that there’s never any doubt about what do do.
→→When it comes to the rhetoric I’m sick and tired of hearing the words ”selfish” and ”weak”. We need to STOP talking about suicide and suicidal thoughts in terms of those two words. Especially the word ”weak”. If anything these people have often struggled with depression and/or different traumas; you don’t go from feeling perfectly fine one day, to committing suicide the next. These people are often super strong, people who have been battling with others, but often themselves too, for such a long time that, ultimately (and sadly), they couldn’t take it anymore. Furthermore, these people, I believe, are often those who have very high expectations on themselves. They wish to please everyone and be perfect in the eyes of many if not all. How is that weak? Haven’t we created (and keep maintaining) a society that puts a lot of pressure on how we act, how we dress, how we look, what schools we go to, what education level we have, to name a few — no, these people aren’t weak! When we belittle these people—because yes, that’s what this particular rhetoric does—the only thing it does is damage! It makes it even harder for people to take that first, and often crucial step, to talk to someone. How many lives might have been saved, had we only talked about this differently? We’re taught to be strong and I believe many struggle with keeping up this facade. We can’t even admit that we’re depressed, or even sad, which furthers a stigma about mental health and illnesses. We fight adamantly to never be put into that box, so much so that we overlook the warning signs and then suddenly we’re there. We all struggle from time to time, after all we’re only human. Not even celebrities are immune, which we’ve seen lately, a lot of famous people have sadly passed due to suicide: Avicii, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, to name a few.

I’ll be honest, in the spirit of sharing and being more open about these things, I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts, too. It started around the age of 15 and those thoughts came and went. It wasn’t until around the age of 25 that I felt that they stopped. That’s not to say that it has never crossed my mind after that, in fact, after my dad died those thoughts did resurface for a while (though not at all in the same way that they did when I was a teenager). What changed around the age 25? I don’t know, I think I started to find myself and feel slightly more comfortable with myself. My body, my skin and myself in general. I know, that probably sounds so cliche, but it’s true. Most people don’t know this, but it chose my placement of my first tattoo strategically. On my left wrist. The wrist where I used to cut myself. It was both a statement and somewhat of a challenge to myself, I could do this! And you know what? I could. It wasn’t like I regularly self-harmed at the age of 25, that was mostly during the ages 15 to 18, but it happened. Like a panicked ‘go-to’ when things felt really bad and I was overwhelmed, when I didn’t feel good enough for different reasons. I’m happy to say that with the help of close friends, my ex-boyfriend, my current fiancé and with a lot of help from myself; I’m better now. It was super hard to talk about at first though, I felt like a failure and people referred to me as ”sensitive”, which made me feel like I was weak and a failure. That’s not what you need to hear. Which is why I’m urging you to be respectful and mindful in the interactions with people who struggle with these thoughts. If it’s difficult and uncomfortable, because you don’t know what to say, I promise you that listening goes a long way!
→→Be kind, look out for each other! Whoever you are, you who are struggling, never apologize for the way that you feel! To shove those feelings deep inside of you, burying them, pretending that they don’t exist, it won’t do you any good. I promise. Try to find someone that you can talk to, whether it’s a friend, a colleague, a classmate. Whatever you do, just remember: you’re NOT alone and it WILL get better!

If you’re in Sweden, here are some links that might be helpful!
Mind.se
Vårdguiden – hur kan du hjälpa?
Självmordstankar

Annonser
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Wondering what you think of me, when you look at me.

* First of all, I want to apologize for not updating in so long! Since making that social media poll (about what language I should blog in), I’ve been feeling some self-doubt when it comes to my writing. Anyway, here I go.

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For those of you following me on social media, you might have seen a post I did concerning a rather unnerving experience I had on the commuter train about two weeks ago. I was on my way home, listening to music, minding my own business. I looked up and I locked eyes with a man’s. He was 35-40 and white. When our eyes met, he suddenly simulated a ”blow job” gesture where he put the tongue against the inside of his cheek and did a movement with his hand (I’m sure you all, despite my poor description, know that what I’m talking about). Then he laughed in a very cocky way.
→→I was surprised. At first I thought he was just another obnoxious douchebag. Trying to imitate something sexual, just for the fun of it. Don’t get me wrong, that behavior isn’t okay by any means, but somehow, had it just been that, I wouldn’t have cared. It wasn’t until he, a few minutes later, went off the train that things got clearer. I suddenly heard yelling and I saw the obnoxious guy being chased by a man of color on the platform. The MOC [man of color] had yelled ”fucking rasist” after the white man. It was then that I realized the white man had said something offensive to the MOC as he’d been about to step on the train. I can add too that the MOC, seemingly geared in work clothes (probably a working in construction or something), drew a knife from his belt. Which made the white man step back, however him yelling racist slurs were heard until the doors closed.  →→That’s when I got it. His behavior toward me, it hadn’t been about being obnoxious, alluding to sex, he did it because he saw a woman of color and wanted to make me…well, I don’t know, uneasy? As though that was the only things I might be good for? Please, don’t diminish this by saying that ‘oh, he could’ve done it to anyone.’ No. I really don’t think he would’ve. What are the odds he behaved like this toward the two people of color he happened to lock eyes with and run into? No, he did it because he felt he had that right. As though people of color were, after all, lesser than him. It became painfully clear by the slurs he shouted too. It was really horrible and it’s behavior like this, opinions like his, that scares me.

On September 9th elections will be held here in Sweden and the political climate, or should I say social climate, has changed. There’s lots of talk about ”keeping Sweden Swedish,” which is just another way of saying that Sweden should be kept primarily white. I won’t go into a political discussion about this, mainly because it’ll take me time to draft something like that; since the topic gets me so worked up. Things like my run-in with this man the other week, is bound to happen again, I think it’s even bound to increase (unfortunately!) It feels as though, somehow, we’ve gone back in time and all of a sudden both hatred and fear of POC [people of color]/”the other” has returned with a vengeance. People who experienced WWII, Hitler, and even the holocaust, are saying that they can see patterns repeating themselves right now. If that isn’t a warning, I don’t know what is. Much like when after Trump’s win in the US, POC were walked up to on the street by random white people who told them things like ”guess you’re going home.”
It makes me scared. I’ve had my shares of experiences when it comes to racism, but most of them haven’t been this malicious(?), mostly it’s been comments by uneducated people. You know, the types of comments that most people just diminishes by saying ”oh, they just don’t know any better,” or ”I’m sure they didn’t mean anything by it.” Well, regardless of their intent, racism is racism and that should never be swept under the rug!

Since my experience on the commuter train, I’ve been thinking and reflecting even more than I did before about what other people might think when they see me. During my childhood I experienced negative comments about immigrants, people who weren’t born in Sweden, by peers and grown ups alike. Whenever I was around however, a lot made sure to look at me and add ”oh, but not you. I mean, I’ve never even thought about you as anything other than Swedish”. Well, fun for you! Because I did. For the longest time I had so much trouble and anxiety over identifying as a Swede. My peers at school didn’t help in this process. Last week, I was in Cyprus (might write about it in another post) and I had a lovely time. It felt so good to be back, I was there with my grandmother when I was 12-13 or so and being there, I felt more connected to her somehow. Anyway, when I was in Cyprus with my grandmother, all we did for seven straight days, were tanning at the beach. Granted we had our heads in the shade and we applied lots of sunscreen, but man was a tanned when I got back (and yes! I do tan. Gosh, I hate it when people ask me if I tan). The first thing people said to be when I went back to school were comments along the lines of ”man, you look black!”. I like to be tanned, who doesn’t. Now however, I don’t know. After my recent trip, I got a very good tan but there’s a slight edge to my happiness about it; I can’t help but wonder what some people might think about me now.
→→Normally I’ve got colored/tinted skin, but I think I’ve kind of skated by some of those racists comments and disapproving stares by dressing in typically ”western” clothes. I’ve shied away from anything Indian, anything too ”ethnic” (for a lack of a better word). In this climate though, with my deep tan, what will happen? I know for a fact that a lot of people in my town have allied themselves with a political party that want to—among other things—diminish international adoptions. I agree that international adoptions, as they’ve been conducted throughout the years, are problematic; but they don’t want it because they’d rather keep Sweden ”Swedish”.
When they see me now, undoubtedly a WOC [woman of color], will they:
Shy away?
Find me disgusting?
Rather have me not be here?
Actually hate me, mainly due to the way that I look and what I might represent?

I know, you shouldn’t care about what others might think of you, but this is on a whole other level and it’s not a fun thing to think about. I realize that I’ve been privileged in the sense that I’ve only now started to feel unsettled and slightly…I guess you could say scared, or at the very least, worried, about it. I know there are a lot of POC who have had to face these feelings (and worse) their whole lives.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I might still have a lot of insecurities about myself and my body. That said, I am proud of being a woman of color and I embrace it. As shown by the picture (still a bit nervous to add it on here, no filters either), in the beginning of this post, where I’m wearing a hoodie with the word ”Tinted” (it also says #livetinted, as in live tinted on the sleeve). The Indian beauty blogger/influencer, Deepica Mutyala, started this community to reach out to POC. Her mission might have started out as wanting to change beauty standards, like highlighting the fact that makeup brands are majorly excluding toward POC. In my opinion she’s done so much more with this community, creating a social media platform for ”all the shades in between”, I feel like I belong there. So yeah, while it irks me and worries me, that people have a problem with my skin color in 2018 — I’m still going to keep embracing my tint!

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The IG vote has spoken

A while back, I made a poll on my IG account. Lately, I’ve been feeling the itch to write again (hopefully I’ll be able to overcome some of the anxieties I’ve felt in relation to writing). So, considering that I have a small following on Instagram and hopefully some of the same as readers here; I made I poll asking what language you guys wanted me to write in.

I asked whether to write in Swedish or English. I know I have quite a few international followers and since English became a big part of my writing during my years at university, I figured why not write in English? I didn’t want to assume anything though, hence the poll. English got the most votes, don’t fret however, my lovely Swedes. If you’re using Google Chrome to read my blog, you should get the option to have my site translated into Swedish. It might not be the best translation, but maybe it’ll help.

That said, I’m not an expert when it comes to English. I’m bound to make mistakes, I apologize in advance and ask you to please bear with me.

Happy reading and thanks to those of you who voted. If you have any content you’d like to see here, or any topics you’d like me to cover — please, let me know! ❤

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Representation matters

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As Whoopi Goldberg so eloquently puts it in the quote above, representation matters! It helps inspire. It can help underrepresented minorities and groups feel like they belong, like they’re worth just as much as anyone else.

Growing up as an adopted kid just outside Stockholm, Sweden in the early 90’s, I didn’t look like anyone else. Most of the kids in my school were white, there was one other kid in my class who was darker skinned. However, that kid’s father was black, so while a bit lighter − maybe he felt as though he could relate to someone. When you’re a kid, you usually look up to someone (or someones); be it a parent, a sibling, a family member or even a character on TV.
→→As a grown up, the people you look up to are usually ones with great personalities or with other good, non-superficial, qualities. As a kid though, those feelings of admiration are usually based on more basic aspects. Cool hair color, accessories or gadgets. For example, maybe you had a favorite superhero? While kids might focus their admiration on their favorite superhero’s cape − white kids have the, dare I say luxury, to not have to go beyond that. My childhood friends never cared whether or not their superhero was a spitting image of themselves, rather they could fantasize about the fact that when they grew up they’d have muscles and look (more or less) just like their heroes. They didn’t have to reflect on the fact that none of their favorite heroes shared the color of your skin. Being adopted, I didn’t look like either of my parents who were both fair skinned (even though my mother, with her Italian roots, has a slight more olive-toned complex and dark brown hair).

Can you see how this becomes problematic?
It was when I started first grade, that I first realized that my skin tone was different from basically everyone else’s. That’s a weird thing to realize let me tell you, not to mention quite mind boggling for a six year old. Who was I supposed to relate to? While my peers at that age focused a lot on which parent they looked alike the most, I failed to find anyone that I really shared the majority of my traits with. I can only speak for myself, but it led to a feeling of disconnect and like I wasn’t at home anywhere − being adopted made it even more difficult.

TV-series and movies have changed since I grew up and I’m not saying that there are not people of color shown on TV today − we’re getting there. Growing up though, it was quite disheartening to constantly be reminded of my ”otherness”. Take the Disney princesses for example, in a sea of mostly white ones, there were only three that stood out: Pocahontas, Mulan and Jasmine (Tiana didn’t appear until I was older). These three female characters were all portrayed with a strong focus and connection to their respective cultures − none of which I could relate to. Plus, they all grew up surrounded by people with the same skin tone as them. As for skin tones, Pocahontas was probably the one I was closest to; as such, for the longest time, she was my favorite. To be honest, I think a big factor was the fact that she actually looked a little bit like me.
→→When I’ve discussed this topic with [white] friends, some have said ”but I didn’t feel like I looked like I Disney princess either, what’s the big deal?” I’m not saying that Disney, in their representation of ‘the female’ as a whole, is good and that the only thing they haven’t captured is the representation of skin color. Still, I posit that it is a big deal and growing up I barely saw anyone like me, even in my actual life. Hopefully, for most underrepresented minorities or groups, they have felt a belonging to something or someone in their actual life, even if their lives or situations weren’t visible in the media or pop culture. As a kid, not even seeing something as basic as your own skin color around was weird.

It has led, not only to feeling like an outsider virtually everywhere from a very young age, but also to the fact that I failed to enjoy certain things that most kids seemed to enjoy. Take masquerade or Halloween parties for example, I’ve always struggled (and still do at times) with it. Most of my friend’s struggles are related to not feeling creative and having a hard time deciding what to dress up as (character wise). Mine have been about skin color, literally, I can’t stop thinking about it! It might sound silly, but as a kid I never would’ve dared to dress up like a white character or famous person. I’ve felt limited to dressing up as a ”brown mermaid” or ”brown anything” − as in a general type of character, rather than an actual one. I’d never feel comfortable saying ”I’ve dressed up as Ariel”, even if I wear my hair red nowadays and I found a mermaid costume for next Halloween; I’d probably say ”I’m a mermaid” and leave it at that.
→→What’s interesting (for the lack of a better word) is that I haven’t gotten too many explicit comments on my ”brownness”, but it’s become so internalized because I’ve constantly felt reminded of the fact that I don’t look like most people around me. BECAUSE THERE WERE VERY FEW REPRESENTATIONS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR AS I GREW UP! Ultimately, as a kid, it became an internalization of feeling ”less than”, too.

Internalization of this type, devaluing ones self worth, is particularly destructive. Norms are a powerful thing in societies, they’re so internalized they usually become ”common sense”. This is why representation matters, if people of color (all variations) would be more readily seen in different type of media and contexts (i.e. not just the ”genius Asian/Indian person”) − then we might help overcome those notions of ”otherness” and feelings of being ”less than”. Much like Whoopi Goldberg states, it’s then that people of color (or other underrepresented minorities or groups) might realize that they can do anything − that they have just as much right to claim their space in society and in whatever areas they’re interested in! Things that many white people have the luxury to take for granted.
→→A few days ago I saw this published in my social media feed:

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I’ve followed Misty Copeland for quite a while (left picture, on the far right) and she’s so fascinating, beautiful, strong and talented. As a white person you have no idea how liberating it’s been for me to see women like her ”popping up” in my social media feed. When I was a little girl, the only ballerinas I saw were white − the conclusion I drew? Maybe ballet wasn’t for me. This comes from someone who’s only danced very briefly and at a much later age. Who knows, maybe I would’ve tried it earlier if I’d seen more young girls who looked like me, dance ballet as a kid! This is why representation matters! It sets the bar, it changes norms, it fosters unity and equality! As the caption above states − it’s about role models! We need them.

Even now, as a (too) soon 30 year old woman, I need them! It’s not just for kids. This last year or so, I’ve gotten more interested in make-up. For a much better reason than why I originally wanted to use make-up. As a young teen, make-up for me was about trying to look like everyone else. ”Even if I might not share their skin color, or body types (not tall and blonde), maybe I can at least get a liiittle closer if I have that IT lipstick”. Now, finally, I’m beginning to enjoy make-up as a more creative way to express myself and beginning to embrace what I look like (even if others, of course, inspire me). This is much due, and thanks to, women like Deepica Mutyala. She has helped highlight, for me anyways, that make-up is and can be used by ”brown chicks” as she usually refers to herself and those who are close to her skin tone. It’s seriously a STRUGGLE to find make-up for people with my skin tone! Usually, the color ranges are severely limited and not until very recently, have larger make-up brands started to get the gist; there are more skin tones out here! It’s has seriously been such a pleasure to find women like Deepica! It’s made me feel more comfortable and dare I say, a little more beautiful?
→→For those of you who know me, you know that I’ve struggled a lot with my body image (not explicitly skin color wise) and I honestly think seeing these representations out there, among all, the more commonly, white influences, has started to help! I still struggle, some days a lot, but hopefully this−seeing other ”brown chicks”−online, and bodies that are similar to mine, is helping!

I got the idea to write this when I realized, as I searched for tattoo inspirations, that virtually no Instagram accounts (of quite famous tattooers), have photos of tattoos made on people of color. WHY? I can’t be the only brown-skinned person who has one, so, really, what’s up with that? Is it more aesthetically pleasing to post the pictures of people with white, alabaster skin because the black lines seem more prominent in contrast to their skin? Tattoo’s are not only for white people, just sayin’.

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The #MeToo Revolution

 

Trigger warning – Rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault*

 

Most conduct is guided by norms rather than by laws. Norms are voluntary and are effective because they are enforced by peer pressure.  — Paul Collier

I don’t think anyone has failed to notice the traction that the #MeToo hashtag recently gained as women around the world rallied behind it; to say that they, too, have been sexually harassed our assaulted. The hashtag went viral as Alyssa Milano, in the wake of the articles about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assults, posted this on her Twitter account:

”Suggested by a friend: if all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Following her Tweet, the hashtag #MeToo was trending No 1 the next morning. Notable however is the fact that, Tarana Burke was the hashtag’s original creator, a woman and activist who has worked for years trying to create a space for rape survivors.

The ‘me too’ status spread like wildfire and here in Sweden I watched my Facebook and Twitter feed alike fill with these two words. While heartbreaking, I wasn’t all that surprised. What surprised me more was the unwillingness from certain men to believe this reality. The reality almost, if not every woman is living, myself included. What started as a rally behind the #MeToo hashtag, the words ‘me too’ flourished in Sweden far beyond that. What might have started as a campaign, or a movement has now reached the proportions of a revolution. Soon different subgroups for different professions emerged, where the actors, journalists, doctors, teachers, students (just to mention a few) rallied behind their respective hashtags to show how sexual harassment and assaults are happening in their respective professions and fields. This proved, among other things that, sadly, this phenomenon isn’t excluded to the industry in Hollywood where men and the likes of Harvey Weinstein has ruled. If anything it has shown that sexual harassment and assaults are a structural, wide-spread problem. There IS such a thing as ‘Rape Culture’!

I’ve been wanting to write about this ever since the hashtag gained the traction that it did. It’s a topic that I feel has been readily discussed and analyzed by far more prominent and talented writers than I however, so how can I do it justice? It’s also a very vast topic and reading all of these stories along with articles, I fear I might be in over my head, it’s honestly difficult just to gather my thoughts on the subject. Where do I even start? — I guess what I really want to say is that we NEED to talk about this and when I say we, I mean women AND men. In my experience men tend to shy away from discussing sex when the focus isn’t about conquest and/or pleasure. Yes, I know I’m generalizing, but it’s what I’ve seen. When the focus is rape or unwanted advances, suddenly sex and the ”way to get there” becomes a difficult topic to talk about. A friend of mine said that men are sexual beings and if you happen to be a little ”clumsy” or ”awkward” in the interaction with a woman nowadays (post ‘me too’) , you’re suddenly labeled as an harasser. No. Just no! It really irks me, the way that some men are now seemingly upset and hurt about the fact that ”all of a sudden you can’t even harmlessly flirt with a woman without the fear of being called out for sexually harassing them.” Honestly, if you’re really having such a hard time distinguishing between harmless flirting and untoward advances — don’t ”flirt!” Sure, I get that awkward moments happen, especially if there’s alcohol involved. That’s not the same thing though. Everyone can say clumsy things, but you don’t just ”happen” to grab a woman’s ass (no, you don’t!). Seriously, if men’s biggest problems right now is about thinking once or even twice before they act when they’re around women, I say good. Do it. It’s obviously needed.

I want to circle back to what I mentioned earlier, rape culture. As friends of mine shared their #MeToo stories, it became evident that a lot of them were quite surprised when they realized that, yes, they too, had been victims even of sexual harassment even though they had not been raped. To most of these women rape in itself seemed to be the sole epitome of sexual harassment and assault. It’s not. These same friends, me and women all over (if you’ve followed the discussions on social media), seemed to realize how much we, as women have put up with. How much we’ve been told and fed with lines like ”boys will be boys”, which in many respects have excused these untoward behaviors. As a girls we are taught that if a boy is mean to you, or even hits you, it’s only because he likes you. Some even add that these boys just don’t know how to express it, so what, that makes it fine?! No. As we get older we’re told that we must have, surely, sent these men signals that they must have misinterpreted. The blame is on us. That’s part of the rape culture. It’s so prevalent in our everyday life that we sometimes don’t even notice it until someone else points it out. Even when we do know, it’s sometimes easier to just let it slide. Why? Because somewhere along the way we’ve taught boys that it’s okay to act demeaning toward girls. We’ve taught them that females are the lesser sex, ‘lesser than’ and so on. We’ve let these kind of behaviors, starting when we had our pig-tails pulled as a pre-schooler to when we had our asses grabbed in bars, to slide over and over again. It’s sick! 

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It’s both sad and tiring to always, and basically only, see accounts of how women should dress and behave in order to not risk falling victims to harassers and rapists (which is utter crap). Again, this is about victim blaming and slut shaming even. As women we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be too drunk, because somehow the responsibility has fallen on us to protect ourselves against these monsters. Why is it that the focus is mainly on women and what we can do? Why isn’t it about teaching young boys what’s right and wrong and teach them about the consequences of their actions to the same extent? Why are there countless of articles about how new gadgets and strategies are going to help save women in situations where they are scared or might fall victims to rapists? Such as a razor contraption you insert into your vagina (ouch!) or what drink to order in a bar to signal to the bartender that you might be scared and/or in need of help. We need to shift the focus. Please. I’m not saying these gadgets or strategies are stupid, they’re not. If they help, good. It’s just tragic that they’re needed and that time and energy seem more readily spent on these aspects, rather than  on educating boys and men on how they should act (appropriately, that is). Again, evidently it’s needed.

A few men that I’ve spoken to about this has claimed that they don’t want to step into the discussion (regarding ‘me too’) as they want to leave room for the countless of women who are bravely baring their souls and sharing their stories. In a way, yes I get it. However, offering support, listening and raising awareness about rape culture and what can be done to help obliterate it; is, in my eyes, not encroaching on our space. I feel like I could write more about rape culture, however, I think I might have gone on for too long already.

Just to add, yes I know that there are female sexual harassers and even rapists. I know there are male survivors too. As a female myself however, this was the focus I chose for this text. I also felt like I wanted to highlight that our societal norms are excusing a lot of this ”typical male” behavior, allowing a lot of these men to escape any consequences regardless of the degree of sexual harassment or assault.

Until next time.

Publicerat i Åsikter, In English, Internet, Media, my opinion, Twitter | Märkt , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lämna en kommentar

”De är nog bara nyfikna”

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Att vår värld, inte allra minst vårt västerländska samhälle, är utseendefixerat vet nog alla om. Vi har nog alla tänkt på hur vi ser ut, vad andra kan tänka sig tycka om oss och många har nog även jämfört sig med andra. Jag gör det, absolut.

Men oftast handlar utseendefixerandet om kläder, smink och kroppstorlek. I media matas vi av vilka stilar som just nu är inne, vilka färg- och mösterkombinationer som fungerar just nu, samt hur vi ska göra för att gå ned de där extrakilona. Men för vissa av oss så finns det också ett fokus på våra hudfärger och etniciteter. Vissa får rentav stå ut med rasistiska påhopp, andra har det mer i en ”flytande form”, som en del av vardagen och då i mer vardagsrasistisk tappning.

Jag får ofta bemöta, enligt mig, väldigt klumpiga frågor och kommentarer som handlar om mitt ursprung, min etnicitet och hudfärg. När jag beklagar mig, vilket jag gör ibland–fast ibland orkar jag inte ens det (för även det blir en diskussion)–så får jag ofta höra hur jag bara borde rycka på axlarna och glömma de dumma, klumpiga kommentarerna. Ja, i mångt och mycket gör jag det. För nej, jag tar inte illa vid mig i den mån att jag mår dåligt av kommentarerna. Däremot kan jag reta mig på det, känna mig trött och uppgiven kring dem. Än fler menar att utomstående, vita, bara är nyfikna. Må så vara, men ändå vill jag mena på att det dels finns bättre, mindre klumpiga sätt att fråga och vara nyfiken på. Vidare vill jag också påpeka att det är väldigt personligt att helt plötsligt börja fråga om en persons ursprung och huruvida en har rötter någon annanstans ifrån. Om det är någon jag känner, eller någon jag ändå umgås med, som en kollega, absolut då kan jag tänka mig att man är nyfiken och kanske vill veta något. Återigen tycker jag ändå att man kan försöka vara försiktigt, kanske kan man vänta tills personen själv tar upp det. Man kan också vänta tills man har etablerat lite mer av en relation innan man börjar fråga. Jag säger inte att det finns något rätt sätt att fråga på egentligen, för det är individuellt. Vissa kanske inte har något emot att få höra ”var kommer du från egentligen?”, när du redan har svarat Sverige. Men jag tycker ändå att man kan tänka en vända innan man slänger fram frågan. I dagens Sverige finns det folk med otroligt många bakgrunder, historier och det tåls att tänka på att vissa frågor kan vara känsliga.

En isolerad händelse kanske inte verkar jobbig, det är ju bara en liten, oskyldig, och nyfiken fråga.

Men tänk dig själv…
Tänk att du under hela grundskoleperioden inte känt dig svensk. När du började skolan fick du höra att du inte såg svensk ut. Du fick frågor om varför du kom till Sverige, innan du ens reflekterat över faktumet själv. På grund av de kommentarerna, såväl klumpiga som nyfikna, börjar du inse att du inte passar in. Att du inte ser ut som alla andra, för de flesta på skolan är vita och har de en annan hudfärg är det för att någon av dennes föräldrar har det också. Men inte du. Hemma och inom familjen får du höra att du är precis som alla andra. Fast du vet ju att det inte är helt sant, inte helt. Klä sig i gult och blått, nej det går ju inte an alls. Du är ju inte svensk på riktigt! Var kommer du från egentligen?

Från andra utlänningar som kommer från trakterna du gör möter du kommentarer som: Kommer du från den trakten? Pratar du språket? Varför pratar du inte språket? Vill du inte det? Varför då? Från kompisar, men oftast från helt främmande människor får du höra: Men vill du inte tillbaka till ditt land? Vill du inte hitta dina riktiga föräldrar? Du kanske inte vill det nu, men du kommer att vilja det i framtiden. Det är jag helt säker på! Varför lämnade de bort dig? Blev du köpt? Vad kostade du? Eftersom du är adopterad själv, är det viktigt för dig att få egna barn? Under 9 av 10 läkarbesök får du frågor om: Du kommer från typ Indien, eller Pakistan, va? Har du sånt där kast man har i pannan? Jaha, du har ont i huvudet, är du gift kanske? Hur länge har du varit i Sverige då? Kan du indiska?

Dessa frågor kommer oftast innan du ens känner personerna ifråga, ja, oftast kommer de från vilt främmande människor.

Om du under lång tid har känt att du behöver kämpa, försvara och argumentera för varför du är här i Sverige. Är det då konstigt att du känner att det är känsligt när folk, oftast främmande folk som man precis har mött, börjar tvivla på att man är svensk? Just det där, var kommer du från egentligen. Egentligen. Eller, du ser ju inte svensk ut. Eller, vad bra svenska du talar. Eller, åh, vad snälla dina föräldrar var som adopterade dig.

Därför känns de nyfikna frågorna helt plötsligt tröttsamma. Varför ska jag vara den snälla och hela tiden ställa upp på andras nyfikenhet? Ja, så kan jag känna ibland. Beroende på vad för dag jag har så kan det kännas väldigt jobbigt och än mer om dessa frågor uppstår i situationer där jag knappt varit bekväm i från första början. Att fråga mig huruvida jag vill träffa min biologiska mamma är en personlig fråga. Att ifrågasätta mig när jag säger att jag är svensk, det är fräckt.

Jag skulle aldrig fråga en person som kanske ser tjock ut, huruvida den personen funderat på att banta. Jag skulle inte fråga en vän som är i en den typiska åldern när man skaffar barn, varför hen inte har gjort det ännu. Jag skulle inte fråga en person som jag får höra har blivit omhändertagen och placerad i fosterfamilj ifall personen fortfarande har kontakt med sina biologiska föräldrar. Förstår ni nivån på det hela? Det är privat. Kan ni förstå att det är jobbigt att möta dessa kommentarer, speciellt om de kommer från vilt främmande människor. För ja, det kommer fram främmande folk till mig på tunnelbanan till exempel som frågar var jag kommer ifrån, eller om jag inte är superglad att jag fått chansen att komma till Sverige. Eller vill jag inte tillbaka till Indien? Där kommer jag ju nog att se ut som alla andra! Det måste ju rimligtvis vara roligt.

 Ibland, oftast, skakar jag av mig det. Men inte alltid. Varför måste jag behöva det? Varför måste jag hela tiden vara okej med att bemöta dessa frågor? Tänk om jag inte orkar. Tänk om jag inte vill just då. Jag säger inte att man inte kan ställa mig frågor, men tänk lite på kontexten och situationen. Ifrågasätt inte mina svar när det gäller min egen adoption, eller mitt eget ursprung. Nej, ni förstår inte mig bara för att ni har en kompis som också är adopterad, eller har adopterat ett barn. Framförallt, respektera om jag inte vill prata om det heller.

 

 

 

 

 

Publicerat i Adoption, Åsikter, Privat | Märkt , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lämna en kommentar

Remember; a few words to those who are currently searching for jobs.

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Alright, let’s get one thing straight.

You are worth it. You are wonderful. You are strong. But more importantly, You. Are. GOOD. ENOUGH! And you can do this!

As an unemployed person, you’ll be put in situations where you will feel inferior to other people. Like you’re somehow lesser than they are. A position that—regardless of duration—is exhausting and often it’ll feel like crap! It’s like, suddenly, you should be grateful for everything and anything thrown your way. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes you might need to lower your expectations, and sometimes you might simply need to suck it up. I can take that. I can live with that.

What I don’t like is the attitude some people (and even places of employment) have toward you; because they know you can’t afford to say no. Furthermore, what I’ve noticed too is what unemployment can do to your sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Everyday, another tiny piece gets hacked away. Granted, I haven’t even been unemployed for that long and I do have a university degree, so hopefully, a job will turn up. Still, it does things to you. You suddenly you start to question things about yourself that you might not have questioned before.

When I started looking for jobs, I knew it wouldn’t be easy, I’d been warned. Not only is the outlook for finding a job not the best, but my university degree in social anthropology isn’t exactly the degree you want to have; at least not here in Sweden. Here, a lot of people (unfortunately) raise their eyebrows in confusion when you mention anthropology. In a world of online courses and super tailored ones; the road to your dream job might not be the standard university course anymore. Of course, often those online courses do not come cheap and it all hinges on knowing exactly what you want to do in the early stages and to be frank, who does? These last few months have been a constant ”what the hell am I good at”-race, and trying to avoid situations with people who knows that you’ve graduated and who jumps on any and all opportunities to ask you ”have you gotten a job yet?” Not to sound like a total b*tch, I mean I do get that people are just being curious and to a lot of people, the thought of someone having a university degree but not getting a job is incomprehensible. It sort of is to me too, but then again, I’d been warned.

Now, things are finally looking up though (I don’t want to write too much about it just yet, but I promise you that when I can, I will shout it from the roof tops!). What I can say though, is that I had the best interview situation I could’ve ever asked for a week ago. And you know what it made me realize? I know stuff. Yes, exactly, it came as a sort of epiphany-like-situation to me too as I sat there. So, this is what I wanted to remind you all of: don’t lose yourself, in this whole ‘getting a job process’ (yes, it’s a whole process of explaining what you’re good at, why you’re good at it etc.). Regardless of your background, degree, or whatever, you matter and we all have things that we’re good at, we all have strengths. When I sat there, I just felt such a huge relief (granted, I was still super nervous), but for the first time since graduating I felt like: I know how to do this. I’ve been taught how to do that. What made it even better was that the interviewer seemed to recognize that too, and I felt respected. Respected as a person, and respected for my competence; I can’t even describe that feeling. I mean, I haven’t even started working, but that feeling was still worth so much. Not even during my degree, not even when I got an A on an exam, did I feel like I really knew things.

Try to keep your head up high and surround yourself with people who’ll lift your spirits and support you. I know I wouldn’t have made it this far without those in my life who have done exactly that. I believe in you, go get ‘em.

Publicerat i Åsikter, In English, Internet, Jobb, my opinion, Privat, social anthropology | Märkt , , , , , , , , , , | Lämna en kommentar