Friday, February 13, 2015

50 things to do this weekend instead of seeing 50 Shades of Grey

Here we are, folks. The long awaited weekend of the year, where the biggest movie of the year is set to be released. Over the past few months we’ve been targeted with advertisements and ads about a film depicting a misogynist billionaire and the pornography which depicts his 'romantic life'. A storyline which says that a domineering and controlling relationship is cool and exciting and passionate. And I find myself asking the question, is anyone else bothered by this?

I’m sad to live in a world where women are paying to watch a film about a man literally tying a girl up for sex. And fact that everyone seems to be unfazed with this violent and controlling take on an physical relationship is downright scary. When did this become something we watched for entertainment? When did this become fun? And when exactly did it become okay with people?

I’m here to tell you that we as consumers have the power to end it. We have the power to not pay money to fill our minds with the garbage they’re trying to pedal as romance. We have the power to say it’s unacceptable and downright degrading to portray women in this role. We have the power to say it’s unhealthy for young people to think this is what a loving relationship looks like. We have the power to go against the grain by simply not seeing the movie.

Is it crazy, that on Valentine’s day weekend I don’t want to watch something described as abusive, controlling and twisted erotica? Wouldn't it make much more sense to do something good for yourself and for those around you? Here are some things I’d encourage you to do this weekend instead of watching 50 Shades of Grey. I think doing a few things on this list would be a better way of loving yourself and others this weekend.

1. Spend the weekend with loved ones (it is Valentines day)
2. Go through your closet and donate unused clothing to a shelter
3. Go to a farmers market
4. Send a letter to a friend
5. Call up a Grandparent
6. Read a short story by a female author
7. Watch your favorite childhood movie
8. Go for a hike
9. Test your trivia knowledge on this website
10. Print some of your favorite pictures from the past year and put them in a photo album
11. Go to see literally any other movie currently playing
12. Make a list of all the countries, states, and cities you’ve been to
13. Make a list of all the countries, states, and cities you’d like to visit
14. Read a newspaper
15. Download new music
16. Make a recipe off your Pinterest food board
17. Buy something for yourself online
18. Look through your old yearbooks
19. Unsubscribe from junk emails
20. Watch this video of Ellen scaring people
21. Buy chocolates to give to family and friends on Valentines day
22. Start watching a new show on Netflix
23. Subscribe to Netflix if you don’t have it
24. Try a hair mask
25. Go to the library
26. Share a bottle of wine with your significant other
27. Do at home yoga
28. Clean out your friend list on Facebook
29. Send your mom flowers
30. Go out for brunch
31. Reconnect with an old friend you’ve lost touch with
32. Watch a movie that empowers women
33. Go antiquing
34. Play a board game
35. Visit a used book store, and donate some of your old books
36. Brush up on your Spanish (or French, or German, or Swahili..)
37. Go window shopping
38. Or actual shopping
39. Try one of these smoothie recipes
40. Do that thing you’ve been procrastinating
41. Write to your local government about the importance of female equality in the work place
43. Rearrange your furniture
44. Create a new work out playlist and hit the gym
45. Go out for ice cream (only after the gym)
46. Write a letter to your significant other for them to open next Valentines Day
47. Get a pumice stone and give yourself an at-home pedicure
48. Meet a friend for coffee
49.Watch Emma Watson’s UN heforshe speech
50. Tell a female in your life that she is loved and appreciated

Spread the love! Happy Valentines Day

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Busy (the 4 letter B word)

My mind comes up blank 100% of the time when people ask me the typical conversation starter question, "So what have you been up to?" Why why why is that the hardest question to come up with a good answer for? I mean, obviously there is stuff I've been up to. I'm up to all kinds of stuff. But what, exactly? Couldn't tell ya.

When we first arrived in New Zealand I started looking for a full-time job in childcare. But just a few days in I found a great family who only needed part-time nanny work. I took it because it's something I'd never done before and since the pay is good, I actually don't have to work full time hours. It's a win/win. The kicker to only working part time however, is that I have so much free time!

I get that most people don't understand what it's like to have loads of free time. To be honest, in the beginning I didn't either. It took some getting used to, having open gaps of time each day. I tried to fill those gaps with some kind of activity or outing or duty before I had to head into work in the afternoon. But I soon realised that doing unnecessary tasks just to fill up time is pointless and to put it bluntly, pretty stupid.

To be honest, I've struggled with this over the past year and a half. There's a fine line between having a relaxed, go with the flow schedule and laziness. I never wanted to fall on the side of lazy and unproductive. But it is really easy to feel that way, when you're sitting at home scrolling through Facebook at 11:00am on a Tuesday. Our feeds are full of people running marathons and travelling Europe, or getting a promotion at work, or delivering baby number 2 in a kiddy pool in their living room. And suddenly it's like why am I not doing all of these things?!

But if there are two things I've learned on this journey it's that Facebook is a dirty liar who convinces us that everyone else's lives are 100x better than our own, and that we as humans need to end the glorification of busy.

I could write for days on the evils of Facebook, (which I still have and use and don't delete because it is how the majority of you came to be reading this piece, no?) but that's another post entirely. This busyness stuff, however, that's one I've been thinking a lot about recently. Everyone in our western first world nations are just expected to be busy. And if you're not? Well, whats wrong with you? Don't you have friends and obligations and parties to go to and meetings to attend and isn't it just driving you mad?!

I know people go through different phases of life and our busyness levels will vary. I know some people work 20 hours a week, some work 50 a week, and some are stay at home parents and work 24hrs a day 7 days a week. Busy busy busy. But what I wish would end is the sentiment of 'if you're not busy doing things, whats wrong with you?' I will not feel inferior because I don't have a filled-to-the-brim schedule. I will not feel juvenile because I can go to the beach for an hour or 2 on a weekday just because it's nice outside. I refuse to be labelled as 'lazy' because I'm a 20-something who's not working myself into the ground.

Our Pastor touched on busyness last week and brought up the story of Mary and Martha. A quick run down; Jesus visits these sisters, Mary sits at his feet and listens to him, while Martha runs around preparing food and whatnot. Martha complains to Jesus that her sister should get off her behind and help do stuff. Jesus shuts Martha down real quick and says that Mary is actually doing the better thing. He summed up Jesus' response with; "Martha, stop making sandwiches I never asked for."

It sounds kind of silly in those terms, but thats the gist of it. And it made me wonder, how many sandwiches have I made that God (or anyone, for that matter) never asked for? Why do stuff just to do it? Because if no one is eating those sandwiches its all just a big waste of time (and bread).

With full discloser I'll admit, over the past few months I've have added a few things to my plate. I started another part time job, enrolled in an online literature class, and have volunteered for events at my church. But each of these are things I value, and feel strongly I should be doing in this season. They're not things to just fill up space. And guess what? I'm still not busy.

So if you have open spaces in your life right now, enjoy it. Don't say yes to things just for the sake of saying yes. Enjoy free time! Enjoy hard work (!). Enjoy this one and only life we've all been given. Quit makin' sandwiches nobody asked for.