Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Feeling Unfelt

This coated tension,

And heated desire,

Will be finally set free

As we'll surrender fear and nerves,

That have tainted actions and words unspoken,

Desperate to crawl out.

You'll throw me down

And I'll stretch out

On this ground of challenged motives

Undress me,

And confidently I'll slip between the sheets

Of passion easily,

Knowing that it's me you see.

Let me wind around your body

Trace my lips across your skin,

I'll let you in;

Pressed against my hips and placing fingertips

On every inch we've wanted to explore.

Let me be endlessly sexy to you;

Oozing words of sensuality,

Draped in honesty I'm sure is too naive,

But I'm growing as I'm learning,

Leaving innocence behind,

Temptation unraveling clearly in my mind.

You've broken in;

And seen more of me I'm sure,

Regardless of the sight limited

We've shared.

It'll be damaging

But I'll want you all the more,

Thankful for this outburst of desire,

Fuelled by expression,

Of the art we hold within.

These crafted words will only

Scrape the basis

Of this tangled, challenged

Depth of beauty this beholds;

The comfort of being known to you,

The ideal of knowing you.

And endlessly I crave you,

And arrogantly perhaps,

I crave you craving me,

As I lay in bed and imagine you

Laying in my company,

Entwined in a moment,

Suspended in a feeling unfelt.

Madness Through The Ages in Literature

*First published in Grok, February 2012. 

 Literature often reflects the spirit of the times – the common discussions of topics within cultures at that particular time. Insanity, or colloquially, madness has been a recurring topic amongst all cultures and timeframes across the world since civilization. From medieval surgeons drilling holes into insane victims in an attempt to release the inner demons, to chaining victims to the deplorable walls of Bedlam (the world’s first mental institution), and to strait jackets, sedatives and everything in between – madness; its symptoms, and the terror it inflicts into all cultures is a compelling, and the act of perceiving insanity within a person manifests into a mad craze to control or destroy it. Below are some works of literature that show are changing attitudes towards madness through the ages.  

1594 (approximately) The Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, The Comedy of Errors places two identical brothers (Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus) and two identical servants(Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus) unbeknown to each other in the same city, Ephesus. The sets of twins collide with their friends and family but not each other and spend their time in Ephesus thinking they have gone mad, and are being possessed by the devil. Spanning over the two acts, the twins’ mistaken identities and confusion over the situations they’re placed within amounts to a resolution and reuniting of the sets of twins, and a realization that neither sets are mad, but rather, learn of each other’s existence.

While on the surface, The Comedy of Errors is a lighthearted play that relies heavily on farce and slapstick, the themes of madness and questioning oneself against the backdrop of a Catholic dominated society throw us back into a time where devil possession and witch hunting were a recurring discourse and genuine threat within society. *The scenes in which Antipholus is sent to the church to exorcise the demons within was and still is a comedic scene at the time of performance, but held a clear social comment on the attitude towards mental illness and how to destroy it in a country where religion was tied to the law.  

1955 - Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

Written from a mental hospital recounting what landed him there, Humbert Humbert’s avid infatuation with his “step-daughter” Dolores (Lolita) Haze is a disturbing derail of madness at first, but unfurls into a heartbreaking story of irrational love that traps the reader into its web and leaves you questioning if Humbert’s self declared perversion is really that, or a man incapable of rational thought due to his obsession with his “nymphet.” Lolita soon learns the extent of Humbert’s burning passion for her, and once tiring from being lusted after, she soon realizes how she can use her power over him to gain whatever she wants, and as she grows older and her teenage tantrums grow worse, her brat like temper and vindictiveness ultimately leads to her rebellion, and Humbert’s demise. Humbert’s European background against Lolita’s American upbringing reflect Europe and America themselves; pre-modern customs and romantic ideals against modern morals and feminine power. Is Humbert a man gone mad, or a man in love – and how the reader consistently questions how different are those two things? Nabokov’s triumph is not in the plot’s disturbing twists but how it somehow manages to sit comfortably with the reader, enveloped by the lustrous language and Humbert’s prevailing mix of passion and pleading for his lifelong obsession, the reader just as gripped and enthralled in Lolita’s web as Humbert himself. Was it his madness that led Humbert to his love for Lolita, or was it his love for Lolita that drove him to his madness?

 *Successful Russian author Nabokov was refused publication for Lolita, his first English written novel intended for an American audience – so had it published in Paris in 1955. American publishers finally published his novel in 1958, though it still sparked controversy. Now, after two film adaptations (1962 and 1997), and being considered one of the best pieces of literature in the 20th century, Lolita’s charm lies in its age-old tale of forbidden love, regardless of the legal and moral implications that condemn it. Pacing back a few centuries, relations with such a young girl were much more common – was Lolita merely a story of madness for its time?  

1962 – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

 One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest places the reader in the reality of a mental institution (“Cuckoo’s Nest”) and the terror patients had to endure from the control of psychiatric staff. The Narrator, “Chief” tells the reader of rebellious patient Randle Patrick McMurphy (who feigned insanity to get a lesser conviction for rape) and his disturbance of Nurse Ratched’s routines. Ratched evokes the abuse of power in a vulnerable and controlling situation. The novel is written around the time of the distrust of authorities and rebellious free spirit of the sixties and represents a much bigger idea of freedom of speech and questioning authority. Psychiatric drugs, electroshock therapy and a McMurphy’s lobotomy feature in the novel, showing the literal practices of mental health in the 20th century. Nurse Ratched’s sociopathic nature asks the reader to question – does a mental institution make one mad, or are we locking up the wrong people? *Author Kesey used to work at a mental institution as an orderly and found himself having empathy for the mentally ill and how they are treated in hospital. The film’s adaptation in 1975 earned 5 Oscars.

1996 - Fight Club – Chuck Palahnuik

“1. You don’t talk about fight club. 2. You don’t talk about fight club.” This cult contemporary classic epitomizes a modern man’s internal wrestle between masculinity and femininity – between sane and insane, and real and fantasy. The unnamed Narrator who suffers from insomnia meets Tyler Durden, a macho and cool ideal, and the two create a secret “Fight Club.” The balance between the conscious and unconscious as the Narrator battles with his insomnia, his work, and the all consuming Tyler (and Tyler’s lover Marla), is a modern twist on madness, men’s anger over the shift between gender roles and power roles in a modern world, and the presence of mental illness within society. In its last few places the heartbreaking truth is uncovered and Tyler Durden is killed along with the Narrator – the culprit, the Narrator’s schizophrenia. Fight Club’s power is in its possessive nature of transfixing the reader amongst the chaos and hallucinations of the Narrator while perceiving it as real as he does, giving us insight into the mind of a schizophrenic person and its torment.

*Fight Club’s edgy contemporary fiction and 1999 film adaptation has achieved a cult following, sparking much discussion over the metro modern man, and the demise of masculinity in a modern world. Perhaps madness consumes all of us at times; whether it be nestled within dreams, confusion, love, family, illness or other; but here’s to hoping that through the stories that outlay the customs of the time, we are not only acknowledging our perceptions of madness at the time, but embracing the much needed empathy, knowledge and promise to help heal those who are mentally ill, and learn from the mistakes of mistreatment in the past.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolutions and Realisations

Perhaps the attempt of creating New Year's resolutions is as important as having a brilliant New Year's Eve - and their similarities is that it nearly always disappoints us and for most, they're too difficult to retain. It's too easy to give up on dieting or exercise, or saving money, the usual kind of New Year's resolutions we strive to put in place with each year that creeps along, but by February/March or maybe even sooner we are give into temptations to break them.

Last year was difficult for my family, many of my friends and people around the world. We were gripped to the television when floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters damaged the land and lives of so many; watching on helpless and in awe.

Myself and my family shared our times of torment, my friends endured tragic times that were too much to handle. We lost Kaine Bell, forever 19 and forever remembered for his bright smile and gentle nature. Through it, however, our support for each other only strengthened our bonds.

I think we invest too much in resolutions shaping the New Year and therefore, improving the last. While to an extent we can seize control of our lives, fate sweeps in and dominates the future.

Last year I wrote that adulthood brings tragedy closer to the surface of our perception; we are no longer sheltered from the world by our parents and instead are learning to protect younger generations from sadness. In its bittersweet nature, that was my biggest lesson last year. Stripped from my plans and at times, struggling to cope with the challenges my family and friends were confronted with, we fought back.

I've decided against New Year's resolutions this year. The only one I have in mind, despite my knowledge that I have little impact on life's decisions, is that I'm going to try to make this year better than last, and with the friends and family that have continually given me their love and support, I'm sure it will be better.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bookcase Biogprahy

It’s a popular belief that you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their bookshelf. Here’s a collection of my most loved and most influential…

1. Harry Potter Series

These books, quintessentially – are my childhood. Introduced to me when I was nine in my Year Five class in Portugal, I soon became fixated on the tales of Harry, Ron & Hermione. With only three books released at that time, the release of the next four brought great anticipation around the world that only the best of writers can muster. My own copies are tattered and have been reread umpteen times, and still hold fragments of beach sand from Portugal, America & Australia. I can remember the joys of staying up late into the night reading the books with such excitement to relive the adventures at Hogwarts.

Harry has been with me through my years of growing up, and rereading the countless adventures of the magical trio is a sense of comfort, joy and a constant reminder of my childhood. Plus, you can’t beat a bit of British banter. Jo Rowling’s imaginary world is so rich in detail, characters and magic that escaping to Hogwarts, whether as a ten year old or a twenty-one year old, will always be my favourite place to go.

2. Bill Bryson Books

Bill Bryson always finds a way to make me laugh. One of his first books opens with: “I come from Des Moines, Iowa. Somebody had to.” Whether he’s depicting the charms and quirks of the British, American and everything inbetween, or explaining science in a way that is comprehensible to even me, his books are filled with humour, facts and enough of himself that brings his tales to life. Bryson knows that to be funny, you have to poke fun of yourself, and he’s an expert.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird

“But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal- there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.”

I was introduced to Harper Lee’s sole novel when I was 15 by my favourite English teacher, and have adored Scout Finch’s recount of racial injustice ever since. The story unravels the racism of the Deep South during the 1930’s; parallel against Scout and brother Jem’s incomprehension of Tom Robinson’s trial – depicting how children can be much more intelligent than adults. Atticus defends a man contrary to social pressure and despite taboo, and although Tom is still found guilty; it represents the stand Americans needed to overcome racial injustice. This novel, wrapped in the most basic of morals – to fight for what is right despite all social pressures not to, is a notion that will forever stay with me.

4. Poem Anthologies – (William Shakespeare’s Sonnets)

It seems I’m on of the only people left who loves to read poems. Poetry expresses a moment, harnesses a feeling and captures a fragment of somebody. Nobody writes poetry quite like Shakespeare; and his sonnets are a constant source of pleasure. No one has ever been able to piece together the English language so beautifully and memorably as Shakespeare, and four and a half centuries on, his work is still finding new ways to be told and influence newer generations of poetry lovers. Sonnet 18 is my favourite; “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day….?”

5. Crime Books – various

So many of us are eternally intrigued by the psyche of a criminal. Crimes of passion, hatred, money and jealousy are often violent and unimaginable. Fear laced with insanity is something we collectively try to understand; and the ruthlessness of killers is gripping. Perhaps it’s an interest that stems from a disturbing place or perhaps it’s an attempt to sympathise with evil; but crime seldom is committed without outside fascination, and reliving atrocities from the safety of your own bed with a titillating fear is always worthwhile.

6.Marquis de Sade – La Philosophie dans le Boudoir

The opening script reads: “Dialogues aimed at the education of young ladies; may every mother get her daughter to read this book.”
The Marquis de Sade was placed in an institution for his writings that were full of descriptions of illicit and “evil” acts of his time. His dialogues are filled with filthy frivolity and language that is corrupt and far beyond its age for appropriateness. This book is the tamest and least violent of them all, and is an interesting piece written amidst the Cultural Enlightenment. From the original sadist, to the audience of secret sadists and masochists he anticipated to excite and fill with pleasure; this certainly makes an interesting read, and is a colourful addition to my bookcase.

7. The Lovely Bones

“Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, "Don't worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He's trapped in a perfect world.”

Alice Sebold’s tale of Susie Salmon (like the fish) is a heartbreaking ‘out of this world’ account of a girl who is raped and murdered, and watches in limbo between life and heaven as her family struggle with her disappearance and ultimately, death. Susie’s desperate attempt to out her murderer sees her struggling with accepting her fate, and accepting that life isn’t always good and magic as childhood leads you to believe. The poetic language juxtaposed with the horrific nature of her murder, and her parent’s demise is heartbreaking and poignant.

8. The Bride Stripped Bare

Nikki Gemmel first published this anonymously (to freely express the secret sexuality of a contemporary woman), and this contemporary piece detailing the “Good Wife”, who scratches an itch and retains her loving and good wife stature, all the while allowing her lifelong fantasies to break free and cause havoc. The book’s chapters are broken into “lessons”, and the second person narrative provides a contemporary tone and reader inclusion. A gripping and delicious derail of demeanor.

9. The Twilight Saga

It was a toss up between Jane Austen and Twilight – but then I realized Twilight is exactly that. Stephanie Meyer’s tween erotic fiction romanticises monsters of the night, and places them in a high school with a seventeen-year-old girlfriend. Bella and Edward’s unlikely love is an age old tale, with a modern, masochistic twist – propelled within a zeitgeist of post apocalyptic fascination and zombies, Twilight is the perfect dark romance that captures first love and pitches it perfectly to its target audience – teenage girls. Garbage writing and basic storylines aside, we all have guilty pleasures, and you may as well make a pleasure as tantalizingly guilty as can be.

10. Shantaram

Gregory David Robert’s “novel based on my life”, is a part autobiography, part story, and a fully fleshed poetic recount of the rebirth of a man who lost everything – his home, wife, daughter, respect, money, and even freedom – and gained it all back in the same way. “Shantaram”, meaning “man of God’s peace” is a Hindi word given to the protagonist. Robert’s character flees to Mumbai, and falls in love with India, its people and its heart. A novel that teaches you can turn your life around in the most unconventional ways.

“Prisons are the temples where the devils learn to pray. Every time you turn the key, you twist the knife of fate, because every time you cage a man you close him in with hate.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

If You Can't Do It Well - Don't Do It At All! On American Remakes of Britsh/Aussie Icon Shows.

One of the first nights I had the house to myself, I did what most people would do. Got naked in the spa. Rid of parents for the weekend and glimpsing to my future of my own house and lifestyle, I was having a fabulous Saturday evening. That was until I went to go back into the house. The latch on the door had somehow snapped across and locked, and I was stranded, naked and alone, with only a towel to shield any further embarrassment.

A quick dash across the road to my neighbour’s house to retrieve the spare key (I had to await her explosion of laughter to cease first) got me back into my house, relieved. Though my cheeks flushed with embarrassment, I could still see the funny side of the story. My friends thought it funny too; as did my mum, who announced it to the table of police she was dining with when she called me with her nightly “how are you coping?” check-ups. Let’s not even delve into my catastrophic cooking disasters, but I did, amazingly, pull off a Stroganoff one night.

Taking the piss out of yourself seems to be an English/Australian form of comedy. While Americans have pulled off parodying others, self-parody seems to be a foreign form of comedy to them. While British humour is dependent on mockery of oneself or satirising typical British life, Aussie humour seems to be a mix of British and American comedy traits. And with the ever-demanding market for new TV shows and hopes of television success, as well as American networks cutting the corners and adapting shows, books and films rather than creating them from other countries, can their essences ever really translate?

At a party (ironically, a pimps and whores one), I found myself immersed in a discussion over similar things. I was chatting to a guy who had recently spent some time in London, and was a die hard comedy fan. He was startled that for ten pounds he could watch a class act comedy gig that would cost triple or even more in Australia, and for less laughs. Noting these London acts would have you in stitches over silly anecdotes of their lives; it goes to show that the funniest things in life are those that can happen to anyone. He also mentioned American sit-coms, and how Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men never makes fun of himself to make jokes, but always at the expense at others. The show is funny, but it’s the kind of comedy I call “funny ha ha.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the likes of Friends and Will and Grace, but all these sit-coms share similar “funny ha ha” traits. Good for some giggles, but it doesn’t particularly stay with you. I can’t often recall or quote the jokes that made me laugh at the time I watched the show.

Basil Fawlty's slapstick charm or "don't mention the war!" quirks are funny nearly forty years on, Monty Python's "dead parrot" sketch leaves me crying with laughter every time. Good humour is that which lasts forever. We know as a culture that to be funny, your appearance, your sexual appeal and your composure are redundant. If you have to look ridiculous to be funny then it's done, it's all part of the charm. Many American shows seem too concerned with their characters being "cool" and attractive to really allow themselves to be funny.

I’ve sat watching Peter Kay (a particularly funny English comedian, in my opinion, who makes jokes of everyday British life) with people who aren’t English, and they’ve sat beside me (by this point, I have tears streaming down my face) looking bewildered. “How is it funny?” They have asked. My answer is always “maybe you have to be English to understand.” It seems British and Aussie comedy seems to go over Americans heads. They simply just don’t get it.

We’ve grown to love books like Belle de Jour, Bridget Jones’ Diary and anything by Nick Hornby, where the characters are placed in situations that are crying with laughter funny, and often downright embarrassing. Poor Bridget and her blue soup or granny knickers, or Belle’s frank and hilarious attitude to sex; and sneaky narrative-only jokes to the audience while she’s with one of her clients. These books have been adapted to the screen, whether in film or television, but the difference is they are created again for the same markets and written by British people. The humour remains on the same wavelength, and the adaptations have managed to retain the essence of the original piece.

UK made favourites that have fallen into Australian cult followings like The Inbetweeners are doomed to be made into American versions. UK website Digital Spy reported that the American television channel ABC has secured the rights to create a pilot episode. To anyone who is a fan of the sixth formers who aren’t quite cool, and aren’t total prats, but fittingly “Inbetweeners”, you will be as upset as I am. It just won’t work. These boys are iconically British; whether Will is being a pompous twat, Simon is confessing his love for Carli, Jay is doing things that should never be done in an old people’s home or Neil is simply plodding along. The American market will want the glitz and glamour of the likes of Gossip Girl and the OC, and watching rich Manhattan socialites punching fishes, getting drunk off gin or swapping shoes with a homeless man simply won’t be as funny to watch. Plus, it wouldn’t be half as believable.

Skins too. Beloved, Skins, that has definitely set the benchmark of what teenagers look for in a television show. Partly because it’s written by people our age, and partly because it doesn’t cover up nor over-dramatise the stuff teenagers get up to. This creative satire on British teenagers doesn’t make excuses for anyone, and Rosemary Newell, Channel 4’s head of scheduling says the show is popular with audiences because it doesn’t preach. “Oh, if only American shows had half its guts.” – Entertainment Weekly reviewed the British version. The show’s brutal portrayal of teenage lives is what captures the show’s authenticity, and it’s ever-daring with their storylines that still remain believable. Much of the part of this is that these characters are British people, speaking to a British audience, who are going through similar situations in their own day to day lives.

Channel 4, the UK channel that aired Skin’s head of acquisitions Jeff Ford says that NBC is planning to make an adaptation of Father Ted, and if they can do that, he couldn't see why Skins wouldn't have been successful in the States. I don’t even want to contemplate how terrible an American Father Ted would be. Perhaps luckily for us, Skins US did flop, the characters were jazzed up with terrible names and thrown into the arena of American high school politics. The token "gay" kid, the outsiders and the weirdos had lost the charm that the British version captured, and instead it felt as though they were merely placed there for merit, not reason.

Perhaps a reason Skins US did flop was that the story lines were much less confronting or “watered down” to appeal to a broadcast network. This immediately changed how audiences connected with the show and its characters - it's ability to be real; with story lines that projected the British version to its iconic status. Strip away the confronting scenes, add in a few over the top unrealistic characters, and a hell of a lot of bad writing, and you’ve got an American version, but I’m sure, a much smaller audience.

While adaptations may be successful in their own countries it can’t be denied that the essence of the original show is always lost. Consider The Office, and what happened to that. I cringed when I watched the American pilot, probably because it was a complete rip off of the British pilot and done not nearly as well. I was relieved to find out they quickly dropped the idea of mimicking the exact scripts in future episodes but still can’t enjoy it in the way I can cringe at Ricky Gervais’ heartbreakingly funny portrayal of David Brent. While the show has been wildly successful in the States, and has won Emmy awards, and has found an audience in Australia, it still doesn’t seem to quite capture the tone and the humour that was intended by Gervais’ and Merchant’s original. To me, it seems this show’s success is merely a fluke, considering the amount of adaptations that swiftly flop.

The American adaptation of Australia’s iconic Kath and Kim flopped. The show couldn’t capture the ocker attitudes of the women that Australians love to watch so much. And why should it? It’s an Aussie show, with Aussie characters, written for an Aussie audience. Selma Blair and Molly Shannon may be extremely talented comediennes but this stream of humour was inevitably, never going to translate to an American adaptation. Tim Goodman, a reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle agreed and said Americans had to apologise to Australia, and the NBC version was “jaw-droppingly” awful.

It’s all down to context. These shows are designed to appeal to a particular culture, with similar sense of humours and characters that are common to these places. Taking a clearly British or Australian show and throwing it into an American setting is beyond difficult to do. The characters, jokes and situations just won’t translate – and in my opinion, when you strip away all of that, the soul of the show has gone. If you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all.

Perhaps it’s because there’s something less glamorous about British and Australian comedy and something much more genuine, but I don’t believe that kind of humour can ever properly translate to America. Their parodies are often of celebrities and particular stereotypes, where our favourite TV shows, films and books showcase everyday people and lives.

The only way I know to be funny is to give up myself, and to be vulnerable for a few laughs on the account of myself and my friends. It’s how I was brought up, and it’s the extreme vulnerability and sillyness that makes British people British, and funny, according to travel writer Bill Bryson (who, ironically is American, but has spent most of his adult life living in and loving the UK) .

It’s not making a fool of yourself, but simply embracing who you are and being proud of that. And parodying someone else is just as acceptable if you can do it well.
Maybe it’s best that Americans leave our favourites for us to have, rather than ruining them with their remakes and ultimately leaving distaste in our mouths of the American entertainment spectacle.

Whether it’s when the first time I shaved my legs I concentrated my efforts only to the front of my shins, leaving the backs natural as ever, or my police officer father spotted me (on duty) in my car parked at a secluded part of the beach with my then boyfriend, or my damn luck with pens at work resulted in a completely saturated ink stained thigh for over a week, it’s all part of life, and living, and really, laughing.

Life is too short to not take the piss out of yourself, and perhaps while we’ll cringe at the American half arsed attempts to do so, we can cherish our Brit and Aussie shows that are so close to our hearts, and so close to the real people in our lives.

Ya bellends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Look At All The Lonely People..."

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice
in the church where the wedding has been,
Lives in a dream.
Waits by the window, wearing a face that
she keeps in a jar by the door,
Who is it for?

Just finished watching an interesting documentary detailing the lives of working girls in an American brothel. Most of the girls are comfortable with their jobs there, or find it better than working in the streets. Money is also often a huge factor for choosing to work in a brothel, with husbands and partners sometimes encouraging their wives to take the job.

Literary tales such as Belle du Jour romanticise and paint the picture of a sophisticated and elegant lifestyle, where clients are dashing and intimate moments are warmed with a touch of British banter and intellectual wit. The acts of sex aren't awkward but acceptable and charming in their quirky requests. The glamourous outfits, lacy lingerie and high class hotel rooms divide the line between "working girl" and "whore."

It's the oldest profession in the world, but it's easy to detach feelings to prostitutes and people who pay for their services. It's easy to separate yourself from completely understanding what possesses their reasons for their professions; simple to wrap them up in social taboos and place them under the label of people we will never know or be associated with. In reality, we've all probably met someone who has paid for sex or took money for sex. Ins some ways, one night stands and some forms of dating are surely that. Perhaps fine dining someone is an implication of what they expect later in the evening. Perhaps we should value those who are upfront about their requests; what they are willing to do in order to get a service.

These documentaries make prostitutes seem lonely and women who have left dangerous marriages and broken homes. None of these women are depicted as glamorous girls like Belle. After running from their lives and using all they have left - their bodies, they are held captive in a world where men still have the upper hand, and the dollars dictate the days.

I think we want to believe we're more complex to perceive sex as purely a physical act, and those that dare to detach feelings are destroying the complexity of it. Who are we to say what sex can mean to each and every individual?

Often I think loneliness, not sex, is the prime factor for wanting to visit a call girl, or wanting to romanticise your time with a client. We all need to be loved and to love; we all need to have faith someone will be there with us.

Perhaps we all show ourselves the way we want to be shown; imagine our alter ego's in forms we act out on a daily basis, or need that to survive in our lives. Perhaps we detach our conscience and moral obligations when we believe we're doing something wrong, as our way to cope with our actions. Perhaps we all have smiled when we didn't want to, put on our game face and thought it is better to have company than to be alone.

Perhaps we've all sold a part of ourselves to someone; whether it be our bodies, our minds, or our lies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"So You Went To School To Relearn How To Smile..."

I've now finished all of my classes this semester, and had the relief of dropping off my last assignment today. It's been a tough twelve weeks, and I've still got five weeks of prac to go but I'm really excited. From what I've been told, you don't learn anything until you go onto prac, but I still feel like I've come a long way since the beginning of semester.

I truly adore university and I'm really happy I went back to study. While there are moments where you quite literally want to cry, or you're up into the early hours of the morning trying to piece together an essay that seems an impossible mountain to climb, it is worth it in the end.

It was my best friend's birthday on the weekend. We had the most beautiful day, starting off with an amazing three course meal at a restaurant on the river, followed on with a great night at her house. It was lovely to be with some of our uni friends again and to have a party.

These last few months have given me exactly what I've needed to get back on my feet and move forward. Without a doubt I know becoming a teacher is the right decision for me, and although it has been an unfortunate twist of fate that has gotten me to this, at least something good has come of it. I've met some amazing people,

I once wrote that becoming an adult brings sadness closer to the surface and our ability to bounce back from it seems harder than when we were children. I still believe that, but I think that being an adult also provides choices. We have the power to change our course and steer our lives in the right direction for us; we have the ability to create our own happiness. Going back to uni has given this to me. Every assignment handed in, coffee shared with some friends, good grades back far outweigh the pressure of assignments and stress. Every day I am paving my future, sealing my happiness and ridding myself from the past.