Silence is Violence

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Jeepers: Corset Training

Yes. They’re back. And have been for a while.

And yes, this is what they can do:

corset

After giving birth to her second child, Jessica Alba decided to “get back in shape” by using the corset training method. Does that sounds as scary as it is? Personally, yes.

In a nutshell, ladies are training their waists with steel ribbed cages i.e. corsets, as a means of shedding pounds and achieving that perfect, womanly, hour-glass figure 8. It’s becoming very popular and more girls and women are jumping on the corset train today. I first came across it on Instagram – a former classmate of mine is a huge believer.

Curious. I thought we were done with the terror of corsets back in the 1800s. Also, wasn’t this a horrible imposition on women of that time? I mean, can you imagine how awful it would have been to have restricted movements and internal damage caused by the squishing and smooshing of your organs? Let’s not forget the worst of it: corsets caused women’s abdominal muscles to atrophy. What does that mean? Weelll let’s just say that when women took it off when they got pregnant, a lot of them died in childbirth because they had no abdominal muscles left to push out the baby.

Considering that, I personally believe that some things should stay in the past. I would much rather corsets remain in the pages of our history books under the section of unusual pursuits of beauty, with other terrors like foot-binding and lead face makeup.

Anyway, does this actually work? I guess it did for Jessica Alba.

But what does it say about our cultural obsession for thinness? What does it say about the pressure on new moms to lose their baby weight immediately so they can look hot again? And what does it say about our equating of thinness with health? Everyday we are force-fed idealized concepts of health and beauty, so much so that both women and men do terrible things to their bodies on their quest for thinness, including women whose bodies have just been through the toughest challenge of all – giving birth.

Anyway, these are concepts I want to expand on so stay tuned for more in-depth examinations. For this post, I’ll end it with the opinion that waist training, diet fads and other trends in attaining body perfection are mostly smoke and mirrors. They’re illusions and harmful ones at that. The only magic bullet out there is doing real physical work and accepting your body and finding it beautiful no matter what size it is. Re-learn what it means to be healthy and teach women and men, as well as new mothers, that strength, ability, stamina, and health are far more valuable investments than spending three months locked into a steel cage. Corsets should stay in the past. Like the word “jeepers”.

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Are You Though?

“I’m just being honest”

How many people do we know say that right before they say something pretty hurtful? I can think of a few. I’m pretty sure I’m a culprit of doing this myself.

While being honest is an excellent quality to have as part of your repertoire, we can’t neglect that it can sometimes stem from a desire to cause someone pain, thus cloaking its true nature under the intent of being truthful. Of course, the truth does hurt sometimes, and often times the truth needs to be heard. But we can control how that truth is packaged. Words can cut like knives and you can very easily bury your relationship with the verbal cuts of a “truthful” tongue.

So are you being honest or are you using it as a platform to gleefully throw knives at someone from behind the force-field of “honesty”? Here’s how to distinguish between the two: If you want to be an asshole the wrong kind of honest, then go ahead and stomp on that person you’re trying to hurt while pretending you’re doing them a favor by being honest. But if you want to be the right kind of honest, then evaluate the situation and balance your desire to be direct with the other person’s right to be treated with respect.

There is no need for the truth to be delivered in an overly harsh manner and certainly not at the expense of someone’s feelings. Whether you are masking your own insecurity by putting someone else down or lashing out in anger, the way in which you choose to package and deliver your words in the heat of a storm says more about you than your claims of taking the moral high ground. Sure, it feels good to expunge your negative energy under the veil of honesty, but know that you’re not inherently trying to benefit the other person and that you may very well pay a terrible price for this temporary satisfaction.

Ask yourself the three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything:
1) “Does this need to be said?”
2) “Does this need to be said by me?
3) “Does this need to be said by me now?

Consider whether what you intend to say or do will be helpful and constructive to the other person and your relationship or not. If you’re speaking out of a place of anger, then you’re single-handedly tearing out the roots of that relationship. But if you’re speaking from the most vulnerable part of your emotional core that isn’t tainted by hurt, anger or sadness, then you’re turning conflict into connection, and fostering a relationship based on the right kind of honesty.

honesty


“Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.”

— Richard Bach

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Moving again!

Holy shit. I haven’t updated this blog in a whole year.

In my defense though, it has been a very busy year. I was in my final year of my BSW, I was applying to grad schools, my practicum was a long commute away and by the time I got back from work and finished my school work and tried to squeeze in what little social life I could afford myself, I just wanted to lay down and die from exhaustion.

A tad dramatic yes and maybe an ever so slight exaggeration but I was tired I tell you! Anyway, it’s all over and done with now. That chapter of my life has come to a close and now I’m moving yet again – to Toronto!

YAAAASSSSSSSS. Finally! I’m not looking forward to the move itself but I am looking forward to city life: bumping into people on crowded streets, getting pushed and shoved in the subway, throwing rude gestures at assholes, waiting in traffic, getting lost and freaking out, complaining about air pollution etc. etc. etc. And no, there’s isn’t an ounce of sarcasm in anything I’ve said so far – I’m genuinely looking forward to doing that shit. Also, Indian food. Pav bhaji, pani puri, thali, vada sambar, dosa – get at me!

So long Halifax! It’s been a slice.

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“The fact that over 50 per cent of the residents of Toronto are not from Canada, that is always a good thing, creatively, and for food especially. That is easily a city’s biggest strength, and it is Toronto’s unique strength”

– Anthony Bourdain

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NYC Day 4

We didn’t have much planned out for today’s itinerary since we kinda wanted to take it slow. We also realized that there was absolutely no point in waking up early and getting an early start to the day because the blistering heat would only tire us out and make us snappy. So we decided to stay in until lunch time and wait for the weather to cool down enough for us to venture out. We were trying to think of where to go to eat, so of course we went with Indian food.

I have found that whenever I go out to eat Indian food, I always overdo it. And then I feel bloated and lethargic and I swear to myself that I’ll never repeat this again but somehow or the other, I always find myself doing the exact same thing over and over again. Nevertheless, this food was soo good. Salty lassi, sweet lassi, pani puri, butter chicken, garlic naan, palak paneer, rumali roti, lamb curry….. LAAWWWDD! This is why I love being Indian.

The next stop was to go up the Empire State Building and see NYC’s gorgeous skyline. And was it ever gorgeous:

I didn’t join Shona and Arun for this part of the tour since I had already been up Rockefeller Center and yees, before I get lectured on how different the views are from these respective roof tops, I am fully aware of it already and I didn’t join in because I wanted to conserve whatever money I could. Instead, I headed back to the apartment with Anu where I has a blissful nap with her two dogs cuddled close.

At around 8ish, we decided to head down to The Village to grab drinks and then see if we could grab a show at the Comedy Cellar for 9pm.

It seemed like we were too late to get tickets to the show but they put us down on the wait-list and amazingly, (I say amazingly because there were five of us that needed in and that wait-list was hella long) we were able to score seats and amazingly still, they were able to seat us so close to the stage!

The show was fantastic! I wish I could recall who the comedians were but oh well. We assumed the comedy show would be about two hours long, but nope, it went on until 2 in the am. I was wondering why at some point during the night, my cheeks hurt from laughing and then when I checked my phone it all made sense. Longest comedy show ever, holy shit.

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“A hundred times have I thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: It is a beautiful catastrophe.”

– Le Corbusier

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NYC Day 3

We had a nice long agenda of events planned for today but things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Arun went to park the car at a spot that wouldn’t earn us a ticket, but surprise, the car was no where to be found! So of course we jumped to conclusions and thought the car had been stolen owing to the fact that we had parked it in a bit of a sketchy location. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. After some poking around, Anu found out from a clerk at the grocery store opposite to where our car was parked last that it had been towed away earlier in the morning. So our next course of action was to make our way to the station where our car was being held. Yay!

The journey there was long, tedious and hot. It would have been fine if we were going to see something touristy-like but the tow station is not something particularly exciting. But the three of us find ways to entertain ourselves you see.

This photo gives me the giggles. Most people wouldn’t find this entire affair hilarious but of course Shona and I did. Kudos to the cop who was kind enough to oblige us. After this little adventure, we went back to Anu and Suyog’s place, found a safe parking area to leave the car at and then headed over to see the United Nations building. Unfortunately we didn’t make it in time to see the flags raised but the pictures are nice nonetheless:

After this, we met up with Anu and Suyog at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There was such a looooooong line and I remember thinking that the food isn’t going to taste as good to me because of how long I’ve had to wait, but ermahgerrdd  I was so wrong. Maybe I was super hungry, but that burger and fries were absolutely DELICIOUS. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs right now; salivating at the mere thought of it.

We walked around for quite a bit after this to shake off how full we felt, and along the way we came across these two iconic buildings: The Empire State Building and the Flat Iron Building

Our next stop was to head back to Grand Central Station a second time, and this time around Shona was of sound mind to be fully aware of actually being here.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I can’t get over how immense this place is.

So let me explain the picture on the right. This is Shona and Arun testing out the Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Station. So basically, the acoustics of the low ceramic arches can cause a whisper to sound like a shout. It sounds impossible but we tested it out by standing in opposite corners of the arched entryway. Then we faced the corner and whispered. It took a while for us to grasp how the concept worked but eventually we were able to hear each others voices as if we were right next to the person, not whispering into a far-away corner. It was pretty cool!

After this, the five of us headed home. Sure it wasn’t an entirely eventful day, but after the events that transpired in the morning, we were more than happy to call it a day.

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“One of the big things I miss about New York is not my friends so much; it’s Shake Shack, the burger place. I miss Shake Shack.”

– Aziz Ansari

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NYC Day 2

You gotta love my luck. The one week we decide to go to NYC is the one week there’s a crazy heat wave. And y’know, you’d think I’d be alrite, be in my zone and all considering how I’ve lived in Dubai for 17 years and all, but nope! It was HOT man. And not just hot, but disgustingly humid too. One step outside Anu and Suyog’s cooly air conditioned apartment and you feel like you’re going to melt and become nothing but a frothy puddle on the sidewalk.

And no, I am not exaggerating.

Anyway! We woke up early and decided to walk a few blocks down to get ourselves bagels from a restaurant that boasted a variety of unique and unusual spreads. This would have been delicious if we were able to sit inside the restaurant but unfortunately we had to be sit outside on a bench in the heat. Nonetheless, it was pretty good minus the fact that we had to strategically hold it in a way that avoided the dripping beads of sweat off our faces. Hah, deeelicious.

Today’s itinerary included Rockerfellar Center, the Lego store, the Museum of Sex and Times Square.

L to R: Me, Anu, Shona and Suyog

Rockefeller center is always nice to see. It’s not as breathtaking as it might be during Christmas time but it’s still pretty to look at.  There were so many people here though so we had to squirm our way in so that we could take this picture.

We stopped by the Lego Store after this. My younger self might have greatly enjoyed being here but my 24-year old self was not exactly thrilled. I did enjoy being out of the heat though, lol. Anyway, I was able to snag the above picture and if you can’t make it out, that’s the entire Rockerfeller Center recreated in lego’s. It must have been a painstakingly long task but look how cool!

After this we went to the Museum of Sex

… and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Ok, so I don’t know what exactly I envisioned this museum to be but somehow I expected more than what I saw. It was mostly just a bunch of information, graphics and nudies pasted on the walls with the occasional video depicting some sexy times. I suppose I was expecting a bit more on the history of sex and more art stuff and less cut and paste y’know? It wasn’t a complete disappointment but it’s not going to be on my list of NYC recommendations for sure.

Anyway, while on our way to Times Square, we stopped by St Bart’s Church (what a change from our previous destination, hah)

So the church wasn’t particularly magnificent to see but the mural was pretty impressive. There was so much detail and intricate work done on it; the picture doesn’t half capture how beautiful it was.

Next stop, Times Square!

Times Square is always amazing to see. It is more eyecatching at night though and pictures are always better when the streets are lit with the lights from so many screens. This place definitely attracts all kinds of people and you couldn’t possibly get bored here what with all the things happening all at once. We also saw our first celebrity sighting here too – Heidi Klum! The last time we were in NYC, we saw Diane Keaton at Grand Central Station. Let’s see who I can check off next while I’m in the city :D

That was it for the touristy-part of the day. Before we went to get some food though, we (ok, just me) found ourselves goading Arun to get his first ever tarot card reading. 20 minutes later and there was no particular grand unveiling of  “the things to come” in Arun’s life but what the hell right?

Our next stop was at an Irish bar, the name of which I forget, possibly due to my serious hunger craze or because this is where the five of us got extremely buzzed and delirious. Shona was soo out of it that she had no recollection of taking the below picture or of stepping into Grand Central Station itself. Check out the guys behind them. So not impressed, hah.

Grand Central Station is always amazing to see. It’s so BIG. We had to come back here again though because most of it was a blur. To wrap up the events of the day (and to sober us up), Anu and Suyog took us to an Ethiopian restaurant since I said I had never eaten Ethipoian food before. They’re huge fans of Awash so that’s where we stumbled off to.

The food had a very desi-style about it. I loved that you could pick it right off the platter and eat it just as you would rice and chicken curry. We stayed here until they practically had to kick us out, lol. Anyway, we headed straight home after this. It had been a looong day, and it was the first time in a long time when I fell right asleep after hitting the sack. I can’t remember the last time that happened!

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“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.”

– Angela Carter

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NYC: Day 1

The journey to NYC was actually nice and painless. I mean, besides being cramped and having to sit in a car for several hours, it was a pretty relaxing drive to the city. Shona and I didn’t even have to drive since Arun was more than willing to take the wheel all the way there. By the time we reached Brooklyn, it was around 4:30ish and even though Shona and I did zilch, the three of us were pretty bushed. So what do tired-from-the-long-road people do once they reach their destination? Eat. Eat like they’ve never seen food before. And then catch up with their gracious hosts and talk into the wee hours of the night before falling asleep from absolute exhaustion.

To cool us off, Anu and Suyog concocted this frikkin delicious drink made from Pimms, strawberries, oranges and cucumbers. I usually don’t like sweet drinks but this was SO incredibly refreshing. And what made it even more better was the fact that the alcohol was barely noticeable. That’s always good news to me since I usually find the taste of alcohol revolting,

So I wasn’t able to get a collective picture of all the food (probably because I was too busy foaming at the mouth from frenzied hunger) but all I can say is that Anu and Suyog most certainly know how to work a grill. My stomach was very satisfied.

We took it easy today so as to prep ourselves for the madness of touring starting bright and early tomorrow morning. I just hope my feet will cooperate with me and that I don’t get too many blisters :D

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“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

Tom Wolfe

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NYC Round 2

I’m leaving for New York City today!!

This summer I was supposed to make a trip to some place I haven’t been before (I’m dying to go to Greece) with my two besties from Dubai but shit happened and our grand schemes never panned out. Oh well. Here’s hoping next summer will bring a different story.

Anyway, my sister and her hubby are going to visit their friends in Brooklyn so I decided to be the fifth wheel and make something out of my summer this year besides the usual crap I’ve been doing… which has so far been playing PS3 and watching Netflix. Can someone makeover my life please?

Moving on; the last time I made a trip to NYC we were there for a measly 3 days but this time around, we’re going for a week! :D

So what’s on the agenda? Have a looksie:

– Rockerfellar center
– The New York Public Library
– Grand Central Station
– Empire State Building
– Chrysler Building
– The UN Building
– Flat Iron Building
– Times Square
– The Charging Bull
– Freedom Tower
– China Town
– SoHo
– Little Italy
– Central Park
– National Museum of the American Indian
– Museum of Modern Art
– Metropolitan Museum  of Art
– Museum of Sex
– Water taxi to see the Statue of Liberty
–  Go for a Drag Show
–  See the NYC Gay Pride March

That’s it for now! If we have more time and our able to get up off our asses early every morning then we should be able to squeeze in less touristy things and more New Yorky things. I’m still amazed that NYC is only 10 hours away from Saint John! How crazy is that?

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“Reverse Racism”

There is no such thing.

When discussing racial slurs or anything race-related, the question of whether you can be racist towards white people is often raised. After all, terms like  “honky” or “cracker,” are frequently used to degrade whites so why don’t more people get as upset over it as they would when white people use words like “nigger.”

Ok so slurs against white people are quite obviously inappropriate and offensive, and people really should refrain from being assholes as much as possible but really, these words are so just so damn silly, so utterly pathetic that they hardly qualify as racial slurs at all, let alone slurs on a par with those that have been historically deployed against people of color. POC have little or no power over white people institutionally; we haven’t ever defined the terms of their existence, we haven’t ever limited their opportunities, and so white folks don’t need to worry much about the use of a slur to describe them since, in all likelihood, the slur is as far as it’s going to go.

So whereas “nigger” was and is a term used by whites to dehumanize blacks, to imply their inferiority, to “put them in their place” if you will, the same cannot be said of honky: after all, you can’t put white people in their place when they own the place to begin with. People argue this point by saying that racism is discriminating against someone because of their race, but this is where they’re fundamentally wrong. Prejudice is one person discriminating against another person because of their race (and or other factors). Racism is the systemic discrimination against and oppression of people of color by white people. No such systemic oppression of white people by people of color exists. So ‘racism’ against white people cannot logically be a thing.

The day that someone produces a newspaper ad that reads: “Twenty honkies for sale today: good condition, best offer accepted,” or “Cracker to be lynched tonight: whistled at black woman,” maybe then I’ll consider the concept of “reverse racism”. When white churches start getting burned down by militant blacks and browns who spray paint “kill the honkies” on the sidewalks outside, then maybe I’ll take seriously these concerns over “reverse racism.” Until then, that shit don’t exist.

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