On confidence

“I wouldn’t wear that if I were you. Your shoulders are too broad.”

“Has Simran gained weight?”

“Has Simran lost weight? She needs to eat more.”

“Maybe you need to invest in a contouring kit to slim your nose and give yourself some definition”

“Skipping the bread is the best way to go in my opinion”

 

Body confidence is something that has plagued me since I was thirteen. And I know right now I must sound like every other teenage/young adult girl out there, talking about body confidence and how she learnt to love her body blah blah blah.

But if I’m being completely honest, I’ve never accepted my body. I’ve never truly been happy with what I have. And I know the mantra of if you aren’t happy, change yourself. But somehow, no amount of self control so I don’t eat foods my body doesn’t require, exercise, meditation and attempts at positive reinforcement has truly satisfied me. I’ve always seen my body more as a machine that helps me strive for success and achieve my goals.

I have days where I hate my reflection. I don’t want to leave the house because people will see the trouble spots on my body. I don’t want to make my hair and do my makeup and see friends. I have days where nothing looks right. I’m never satisfied with how I look and feel.

And I know it’s irrelevant. I have nothing to be ashamed of with my body. Physical exercise and a proper diet has always been a part of me. I’m a vegetarian with the exception that I eat eggs. I exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, doing intense cardio and yoga to stretch and relax my limbs and muscles. I love to cook and pride myself on eating healthy and having the mentality that on a day to day basis while I’m working or studying, my diet should be wholesome but simple; so when I do go out, I can fully enjoy myself and treat myself. I’ve been blessed with an Indian heritage. I have naturally tanned but still fair skin with the luxury of not being privy to lines and freckles.

But even still, the slightest comment about my appearance does so much damage to the self esteem I’ve mustered.

They say we are our worst critic, and it’s true.

I take comments about my skin and weight to heart. I have little tolerance when it comes to people commenting that my eyebrows aren’t done or that I have a mole on my face. It’s like there’s a burning sense of shame that emanates from comments like that. I feel ashamed of myself when people point out the little imperfections which is quite frankly, stupid, because no one is perfect. No one has perfect skin, no moles, no trouble spots, no battles with acne, no skin discolouration. No little bits of fat that refuse to leave your body.

It’s gotten to a point where I crave autumn and winter, because I know I can hide behind sweaters and full sleeve clothing and not have to worry about showing myself. Summer frankly terrifies me, and I use the fact that I’m allergic to sunscreen to cover up all the time because I’m terrified of wearing sleeveless shirts in public, lest someone see me and judge.

I can’t take compliments about my ensembles and shy away fitted clothing.

But the irony is that I love fashion. I love clothes and shoes. I have a whole section of my wardrobe dedicated to jewellery and nail polish. There’s nothing more exciting then finishing a look with a new piece of jewellery I’ve bought. Makeup excites and fascinates me. I love seeing what I can do with makeup. My shoe collection is continuously growing. It’s like I have a boot fetish with the amount of ankle boots I’ve bought this year alone (7 and counting). Leather and suede statement jackets bring me so much happiness. I love the way gold compliments my complexion and Prussian blue brings out the copper and gold in my eyes.

I can easily spend hours combing through fashion magazines and websites and put together ensembles I know I’ll love and look good in.

So you might be asking, why the lack of confidence if you love and know all this about yourself?

Like any perfectionist, striving to attain perfection doesn’t just stop in our work. I strive to perfect everything I do. From ironing my shirts to making a dish, I want everything done perfectly. And this mentality has transferred into my self confidence. I rarely see perfection because there’s always something wrong.

I could have had my brows freshly threaded, have a non bloated day, look cute AF in the ensemble I’ve chosen and have my hair actually cooperating with me. But I’ll always find a fault.

And that’s the root cause of my issue.

So, my question is, how do I stop finding the faults in myself and learn to accept what I have at the present moment so I can live a more happy and fulfilled life?

I know it isn’t an easy process. But somehow, I think I’ve put myself through enough trials with the unhappiness I feel sometimes. I work for my happiness, but somehow, I need to learn to feed self love and appreciation into that work ethic as well.

I’m allowed to not be perfect. Because perfection simply doesn’t exist. Perfection is a figment of our imaginations that torments and impassions us. And maybe throwing caution to the wind and not striving for perfection will do me good. 

xx Simran

 

on the election

Firstly, sorry i’ve been MIA. My finals took so much out of me and I’ve been a zombie for the past three weeks.

Also, this post is controversial. If you don’t want to read about the US election, my view of Trump and his campaign and things surrounding America, then I suggest you don’t read this.

Since the result of the presidential election was announced last Wednesday (for all of us in Australia), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. A LOT of thinking.

At first, it was disappointment and anger at the outcome. I was stunned. All around me, global stock markets were plummeting like my trust and faith in the world and in humanity. To think that one of the most important nations in the world could elect a businessman who’s gone bankrupt, who has no prior experience in politics and who was handed all his opportunities on a golden platter as their president was confounding. I had never found the American population more naïve.

But, I must confess. Hillary Clinton was not my first choice. I admire Hillary Clinton. Her eloquence, her prowess and her undebatable power and grace is something I believe all women should possess. But she wasn’t my first choice as candidate for the democrats. And not because I’m a woman hater and all that. I just preferred Bernie Sanders’ ideas and policies more. They resonated more with me. But I knew it came down to experience and the people. And Hillary Clinton had that edge because of her expansive political career. And at the outcome of the primaries, although I was more inclined to Bernie Sanders’ policies, Hillary Clinton had my support.

Hillary Clinton, whether one hates or loves her, commands the presence of her audiences. She is tactical and graceful and gets down to business. And for that, I wholeheartedly believed she had the expertise to become president.

And then the fate of America was sealed after Ohio, North Carolina and Florida gave their support to Mr Trump. America’s fate was in the hands of the GOP. The Republicans. After an eight year stretch under potentially the world’s most loved president, the tides have once against changed and America is now under the governance of the Republicans.

I think now, my emotions are more fear and curiousity. I still vehemently stand by the fact that I hope America is ready to deal with the ramifications of its actions. Isolationism doesn’t work anymore, and industries can’t just be brought back into a country because as much as one can hope and pray, globalisation has evolved too much. And I still stand by my judgement of Australia in this whole political saga. I hope we choose the right side to stay on in the imminent trade war looming. We have more at stake than the acceptance of one nation. And after Brexit, we need to be more careful then ever when choosing who we side with.

But fear still resonates with me. I live in Australia. But I’m still terrified. And I can only imagine how American people who are “different to the norm” to generalise a large group of people, must be feeling. In a nation like America, racism and bigotry has always been rampant. You can choose any period in America’s history and you will find racism and/or bigotry. It’s entwined into America’s discourse as a nation.

To give a comparison, the thing that terrifies me, is that people in America act out on what they believe in, no matter how controversial or misaligned with the rest of the world. With Mr Trump’s election as the next US president, individuals who are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted and narrow minded, have an outlet to act out upon their thoughts and beliefs, because they have a leader, who for the last twelve months, repeated the same rhetoric these individuals needed as a confirmation to start acting on their beliefs.

Women have been assaulted in public spaces because men “grabbed them by the pussy”. Latino and Hispanic individuals have been singled out and bullied, being told that they’re going to be deported home. And this sort of behaviour, this bullying, has been in kindergarten children. Children who are five or six, have been heard repeating this sort of horrific rhetoric.

Women who believe in the Muslim faith have been assaulted, verbally and physically abused. They’ve been ambushed and men shouting profanities and pro – Trump slogans have tried and sometimes succeeded in ripping their hijabs off. African Americans have been told to go sit at the back of the bus where they belong. Gays and those who identify with the LGBTIQA community live in constant fear because amongst the highest ranks of the Republican party is a belief that LGBTIQA individuals can be subjected to shock therapy to turn them straight again.

I am constantly afraid that something will happen to my family in America. It’s scary enough to know someone who was targeted by this sort of racist outcry. But I fear for my cousins and uncles and aunts who are still in America. And even as legal citizens there, they said themselves, they’ve never felt more displaced from society.

And Mr Trump isn’t even president yet.

At the heart of his rise to power is a call to nationalism. The rise of nationalist views and nationalism as a whole has been witnessed throughout 2016. With a slew of terrorist attacks and perhaps more significant, Brexit, the global community is becoming more united and more polarised under the guise of a nationalist mindset.

During his election campaign, Trump utilised the one thing he knew would get him votes – a call to nationalist pride. More specifically, white nationalism.

White nationalism, defined generally, is an ideology attached to the dreams and outlooks of a wholly white nation. White nationalism is an ideology that promotes the racial definition of a nation. And the support for white nationalism and as an extension, white supremacy, leads to violence and social insecurity or instability.

While Trump couldn’t come outright and proclaim he wanted a white America, his whole election rhetoric supported white nationalism. We’ll get rid of immigrants. Build a wall between us and Mexico. Deport the Muslims. Stop Muslims from entering and settling into America. Get our jobs back from India and China. Our president is actually from Kenya. Send the blacks back to where they came from.

Within these highly blasé statements is that poignant banner of white nationalism. Everything Trump advocated for hit home with white nationalists in America – the percentage of the American population that is Christian, primarily lives in the Bible Belt, and is above the age of 40.

Trump was quick to define his prototype American. Like many leaders in history, he too has a view of how the average American should be. And in that prototype, there are three key features – white, of a Judo-Christian faith and born in the US.

And the scary thing is, that Trump isn’t the first leader to display nationalistic outlooks in his campaign. It’s a terrifying reality, because the repetition of his belief that Muslims, Mexicans, Hispanics, Latinos, African Americans, Indians, Chinese and all other races and ethnicities that fit into the immigrant/job stealing category are these dangerous invaders who have to be feared.

And his rhetoric resonated with so many Americans who want the good old days – the days where the whites overpowered and the others listened in submission.

Trump and Brexit used very similar ways of appealing to their audiences. They tapped into the hyperbolised fear of POC individuals. They tapped planted fears in the minds of voters. And Americans listened.

To side track a little, while I was in South Africa, we befriended an American couple while travelling through the Eastern Cape. And one night, while we sat and enjoyed the sunset with incredible cheese platters and glasses of South Africa’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon (it was as magical as it sounds), we got onto the topic of media discretion and global knowledge. As an Australian, I have been brought up to be aware of what goes on in the world. I was taught about global and national history from the age of eight. Our media coverage expands to all corners of the world. We’re entwined what goes on internationally. But the American couple told us that it’s a very different story in America. Everything is so America-centric. Their media covers home base and rarely anything else unless it impacts America as well. Schools aren’t taught about the world at large.

And looking back on that intriguing conversation, I think that’s one of the root causes of why Trump won the election. Maybe I could be exaggerating. But Americans are so caught up with themselves that sometimes they fail to see what really goes on. Trump used Brexit’s rhetoric and people blindly followed. But if you really look at what happened post Brexit and what has happened in the world since Brexit, you can see that it was a campaign with all talk and no action. In fact, Brexit has been detrimental for Britain.

America from the outside is so wrapped up in this White, Christian, US born fantasy and it’s terrifying.

What’s also terrifying is the fact that America just elected a sexist, racist, homophobic bigot who has come outright and denounced the rights of women. What’s even more terrifying is that women (who are white) are so keen on holding onto their nationalist power, that they voted for a man who doesn’t believe in their equal rights.

So what now?

I think it comes as a relief to many that although the Republicans do hold all houses in power, Trump actually going through with even half of his ludicrous promises will spell the end of America as we know it.

I hope Americans can deal with the ramifications of their actions. Protesting won’t do shit. Complaining won’t do much either. If you are unhappy with the results of the election and you didn’t vote, it’s on you. If you’re unhappy with the results and you did vote, get out there and throw yourself behind causes and societies and campaigns that you believe will better a nation with no stable healthcare that’s on a steady path of decline.

Yes, the result is unfavourable. And 2016 will go down in history as one of the darkest and wackiest years, but what can you do?

Lets hope that Australia sides with the right teams in the imminent disasters that are going to occur globally. Lets hope society doesn’t collapse. And honestly, empower yourself if you aren’t happy with the result.

Yes looking into America, the situation seems scary. And for people who don’t fit the prototype American, it’s a time where you will have to be cautious. But you can get through it. You aren’t alone in this battle. The rational world is also behind you.

xx Simran

 

 

I can’t

We’re all fucked.

Thanks America. Once again at the hands of your stupidity, the whole world is fucked.

I have no words. I’m too emotionally strung up and stressed to write an election analysis post. That’ll come after my exams probably. But I hope America is ready to deal with the ramifications of what they’ve done.

And sitting here in Sydney, I can’t be more blessed to be Australian. I am so blessed that I have never had the chance to interact with the shitstorm of bullshit that is American society, nor will I ever. Because I don’t ever plan on going to that shithole country that has singlehandedly displayed how corruption, bigotry, sexism and racism still prevail.

I can’t. I’m sorry for my language. I’m just too emotional and stressed right now.

xx Simran

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m emerging out of my cavern of paper for this. What a miracle.

I have 4 ish days left until my four months of summer begin and I think my paper cut count is at 56 right now.

ANYWAY, I’m in this state of confusion because a part of me wants to watch the season finale of the Netflix original, live, unfiltered show that is the US presidential election. But I also don’t like inducing heart attacks and I feel like a three hour law exam and the impending doom of accounting and economics will already do that.

But that being said, when I am not under lockdown with no internet connection, willing my hand to work fast and my brain to recall legal cases like it’s second nature; I probably will be tracking the US election.

And as someone cringing all the way from Sydney, I URGE all Americans to use their votes. Unfortunately you guys don’t have a fining system like we do here in Australia, and that still baffles me to this day. As much as our parliamentary options are abysmal at best, the fact that voting is compulsory is such a great thing. BUT PLEASE get out and cast your votes if you haven’t already. Let’s all just join together in a prayer circle and hope our world doesn’t come crashing down politically, socially and economically in around 24 hours.

I’ll probably do an election breakdown after my finals finish. But until then, I’ll see you on the other side.

xx Simran

SHAWN MENDES 02.11.2016

FIRSTLY EXCUSE THE HIATUS. My summer starts on the 1:th of November and I need to just pass and survive my finals. 

BUT THAT BEING SAID, tonight I got to experience one of two of my 18th birthday presents – concert tickets to Shawn Mendes. 

And I am in awe. 

Tonight was so surreal. 

Listening to Shawn and singing along with him was otherworldly. It was such a special gig and I can’t even. I have no words. 

Shawn Mendes is hella cute. I’m not even gonna sugarcoat anything. He’s cute AF. And his voice. His voice is flawless. He’s so humble and wonderful to listen to. It’s just him and his guitar and his band and it’s so different to the gigs I’ve been to. It’s so refreshing to see a raw voice on stage with nothing but the instruments to accompany. 

I don’t have the words right now because I’m emotional AF and so in awe of the past 3 hours. 

I’m so in love and I can’t deal. 

And now, I can’t wait until Coldplay in December. I’m so excited to experience the second part of my 18th birthday present. 

Xx Simran