Sunday, 23 November 2014

Be Less Likeable

Superlatively Rude
I know what they say about me.

She fancies herself a bit, doesn’t she?

She must get money from her parents – she doesn’t have a "proper" job, and is always travelling somewhere.

There’s no way she’s as nice as she tries to make out. She was so rude to my friend {insert name here} and she doesn’t even talk to {insert second name here} anymore.

She’s unreliable.

She changes her mind all the time.

It’s gross that she’s always posting about other people – stop brown-nosing already!

All of her friends are way more successful than her. She’s a social climber for sure.

She needs to shut up about her vagina.

For a girl with that many selfies, she’s not even hot.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fucking versus Making Love

Superlatively Rude
I didn’t know I was having bad sex.

I thought I was having very good sex, actually.

I was an unbridled, uninhibited, sexual adventuress, unconstrained by taboo and willing to experiment, to push boundaries, to go that little bit further in pursuit of liberation and revolution. My ankles were looped around my neck and I left with bruises that lasted a week, and so, I reasoned, it must be good. Samantha Jones told me so. I got off on compliments about my oral skills and flexibility, because (urgh, this is mortifying) mostly sex had been about my ego.

The thrill of the chase; the build up; the seduction.

The actual naked bit was largely incidental.

That I could do it was better that actually doing it.


Sometimes I’d orgasm and sometimes I wouldn’t. Occasionally I’d fake it. Almost always I’d keep my emotional distance, and seldom would I see him again. I’d never get attached.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

What I’ve Unlearned In My Twenties

Superlatively Rude
Here’s the deal: right now I am working with kids, and I’ve noticed something. I’ve noticed that the older the student, the more fearful they are in the classroom. Of learning. Of putting themselves out there, making mistakes, and doing it differently next time. My teenagers would rather sit in stupefied silence than risk the humiliation of forming an imperfectly pronounced sentence, but my six year-olds couldn’t give a shit that “GAME GOOD, TEACHER! GAME GOOD!” is about as far from syntax perfection as Kim Kardashian West is from her clothes* so long as they get what they want in the end (namely, a rollicking good time. Holla!).

*which I am all for, by the way.

My point: there’s a shit-ton of stuff I learned growing up that I’m spending my twenties trying to unlearn. Didn’t Picasso say something insightful about how it takes a very long time to become young? Related: WE TEACH OURSELVES OUR LIMITATIONS, YOU GUYS. I started to write the following manifesto as a notebook entry, but to hammer it home I wanted to make a public declaration of it.

Here’s what I’m unlearning:

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

One Week In

Superlatively Rude
They’re cold people, aren’t they – the Russians? Unsmiling and serious; trained killers from birth. Private, untrustworthy, capitalistic. Unsympathetic.

And that’s why I was feeling so very many things on the way home from school, strapped in next to the son of the Russian Literature teacher and speeding down the winding, bendy roads that led from the town to deep in the forest.

“It’s like driving to Father Christmas’s house,” I’d said, on my first night there, wide-eyed and jet-lagged. The town is named after the birch tree, and they stand like a Trojan army, tall and proud, packed in tightly and daring us to penetrate them. They’re stronger for the cold, for the snow, and after the vastness of never-ending Siberian land outside it’s intimidating and dark, threatening with secrets deeper within.

He said something in incomprehensible Russian and adjusted the car heaters. That was what did it. What made the lump stick in my throat. The vested interest in my comfort, in my happiness. To this man, this stranger, it was so very important to him that I be happy. It is to all of them.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

In Transit, Moscow Airport

Superlatively RudeMy heart has been beating faster this week. Sporadically. Belly somersaulting at funny, off-kilter moments. I’ve been sleeping just fine but my dreams haven’t been good. Too many faces from the past, saying out loud the worst fears I have about myself.

I used to cry when I travelled. Ten years ago I left school with not much of a plan other than to piss off my high school sweetheart. He was headed through Europe with his best friend, inter-railing, and thought I’d wait patiently behind for his return. Instead I booked a plane ticket to Colombo, only looking up where, exactly, Sri Lanka is, afterwards. We were in a train station in Paris when I told him what I’d done and I still remember the look on his face. That feeling of empowerment ended the moment I flew and couldn’t stop sobbing. I came home early. The man at passport control said, why did you extend your visa if you didn’t want to stay?

I tried, I told him.

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