Matfusket, it’s quite sad really

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So there is this new Facebook page, in Swedish, called Matfusket. Basically what they are all about, according to their own statement, is revealing food fraud. Food fraud, as per their ‘about text’, consists of goods that claim to be something they are not, food with fake tastes and fake colors. In sum, Mafusket, mean food that includes food additives, especially all E-additives, except fruit pectin and baking powder (sic!), should be banned.

“Varor som utger sig för eller ger skenet av att vara något de inte är. Fejkade smaker och färger. E-ämnen hör inte hemma i vår mat (med undantag för endast bakpulver och fruktpektin) och bör uteslutas, då de endast finns till för att gagna producenterna inte oss som konsumenter. Det är tyvärr fortfarande en laglig form av matfusk, men vi hoppas inspirera de som skapar vår mat till att erbjuda mer ärliga och hälsosamma alternativ.”

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Not pretty

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When a beautiful or smart or enviable famous person suffers from anorexia, depression, bi polar disease or other mental illnesses, thyroid disease or any other not so visible, not so outright ‘there’ diseases, it is interesting, fascinating even glamorous. When an ordinary person suffers from the same it is not. Then it is just a disease and it is more often than not, just ugly. Ugly and painful and sad and debilitating. It is certainly not glamorous and as far as the world is concerned, we should ‘just get it together and snap out of it’.

Reveling in the ugly

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Why is that, that men with crooked noses, huge chins, weird hairlines, pouches and other significant attributes can revel in it, make it fun, interesting and even attractive? Women on the other hand end up just…ugly. I just read a post from Stephen Fry’s lovely blog. The accompanying headshot of Mr. Fry is a straight on shot, a close up, that hides nothing. I am sure Mr. Fry chose it very much on purpose, reveling in the ugly. No offense, Mr. Fry I am not saying you are ugly, I believe quite the opposite in fact. I find you charming, cool and supremely clever. What I am saying is that the individual bits of your face, of anyone’s face, would be considered less than perfect. Your nose is in fact crooked. Very much so indeed. On you it is charming. I am sure the photo is meant to reflect your quirkiness, your wit, your intelligence. And it does. Yet, I am very hard pressed to find a single self posted photo of a woman, regardless of stature, profession (even a comic) who would purposely show such a real, head on, unashamed image as Mr. Fry’s.

And were a woman to do, it would most certainly not be considered charming, lopsided and cute, nor reflect inner strength or intelligence.. It would simply be considered…ugly.

He was ugly, himself. Weird-ugly. But ugliness in a man doesn’t matter, much. Ugliness in a woman is her life.” 
― Joyce Carol OatesFaithless

Double standards, men and women aside, I so wish I had the fortitude, the inner belief in me, to rid myself, not of vanity, but of feeling ugly. Why is it so hard to not only accept, but embrace, or at least just be the ones we are and look the way we look? Screw embrace, I would definitely settle for just acceptance, or some kind of ignorance. I flinch every time I pass a mirror. Not out of choice, not out of self deprecation, but out of innate conviction that the reflection is not good enough and I cringe when I see what I see. I see ugly.

Intellectually I know that is bull. I can reason every which way, I can supply boatloads of theory, feminist and not, as to why that is not true. I can supply magazine story after magazine story telling me, us as girls and then women, to believe we are beautiful ‘just the way we are’. But I call bull. We are told it, but we are not meant to believe it. If we were every other single instance in our lives would not rate us on our appearance, critique us on our appearance and ridicule us for our appearance. We would not change ourselves by surgical means, botox and filler-up ourselves, and paint our faces or diet like starving hyenas if we believed a single word.

I do not believe, that unless someone is extremely strong or void of self criticism or self realisation or feelings that one can go through life as we know it content, fully happy with one’s appearance. I do not believe it is possible. I am talking about girls and women, mind you. I wish I could magically change my mindset, rid myself of all negativism. I have tried but it is so ingrained in me that it simply will not go away. We are trained, regardless of by whom or why, we just are, to critique every single bit of ourselves and to pass the bits off as flawed, never to relax and say good enough. And by say, I mean mean it, not just say it.  Why can we not just look the way we look and not let it value who we are? Oh, what to do.

I am confident revelling in the crookedness, in the ugly, is not always easy for someone like Mr. Fry either, but, it an equal sort of self portrayal by women just is not done, and I believe, not welcome. It is not lustig, not attractive in its quirkiness. it would simply be considered ugly.

 

“I have an important message to deliver to all the cute people all over the world. If you’re out there and you’re cute, maybe you’re beautiful. I just want to tell you somethin’ — there’s more of us UGLY MOTHERFUCKERS than you are, hey-y, so watch out.” 
― Frank Zappa

 

What is wrong with this picture

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Only hours after a gunman kills seven young people in Santa Monica, LA, the NYTimes demotes this heartbreaking news. The Tony awards top it, with images and all. WTF is wrong with the world? Seven young people are killed, shot down, and it is not even considered especially newsworthy. Something is so seriously wrong with this picture, I can not even go on.

My deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims. I can not even begin to fathom your pain.

Starting a company is easy

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Starting a company is easy and fun. It is exciting, exhilarating. Planning a company, the product, the website, the content, logos, colors, content, messages is nothing but fun. Dreaming about will happen, the success and fame your new start up will encounter is oh so sweet.

Once that is done, and even though I say it is fun, believe me it is time consuming, draining, exhausting and expensive (even on a budget, you are not exactly making any money), that is when it gets difficult. Not quitting ahead of time, at the first failures and setbacks, that is what is hard. Getting up every single day and hoping, praying: “This is the day we will see a breakthrough. This is the day we will be proven right. This is the day we will know we are not fools.” If that day does not come sooner rather than later, it gets really hard, painfully so. To continually schlep away without rewards, sisyphean like, is mind numbingly difficult and it fucks with your mind. Should I keep going, give up, what, what….ahhhhh!.

Unfortunately this is where most startups fail. The founders can’t keep it up. No shame on them.

What to do

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when you can’t muster any energy? I just want to go to sleep, or eat a cake, or sit and stare into the wall. But I have to work and try to make money. I am so stupid bored by working. I just want to relax and forgetaboudit. Too old to party, too tired to party and just bored shitless.

On writing

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In school it seemed the more fancy words you could squeeze into any text, the better your grade. Same thing for university, teachers liked fancy words, and lost of them. In reality, word diarrhoea, as some call it, is nothing more than just that. It is useless, a waste of everyone’s time and it makes everything more complicated. The only grown ups I know who defends the overusage of words are consultants and professional writers. Why? They either get paid for time spent writing or word count. So producing a lot is good for them. It is not, however, good for the reader.

Here is the lowdown, as per Mr. William Strunk’s famous quote:

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

Or as Picasso stated: “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.”

 

 

Stop diminishing my experience

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Today I sat next to to a couple of 60 something ladies who lunched. They were attractive, well dressed and eloquent. One of the ladies, a thin, gray haired, clever looking lady was talking about her recent experiences with cancer and chemo therapy. She described how she had lost a lot of weight, she was constantly cold and, worst of all, experiencing chemo brain. She was calm about it, yet sounded sad and if not outright scared, apprehensive.

Her friend, who seemed to had gone through a similar experience years earlier, just listened, the way a friend should listen when it is needed. She sat back, nodded, seemed interested and attentive and caring.

The lady soon talked about another good friend who had disappointed her when she was needed. A friend whom, whenever the lady with cancer talked about her treatment, would nod and say she too had such feelings. If the lady with cancer said ‘I feel cold’, the friend too would describe always being cold. If the lady described feeling tired, the friend too was tired all the time. If the lady described chemo brain, the friend to would describe forgetting things, forgetting keys or shopping lists. Mundane things, mundane experiences not at all on par with the cancer lady’s experiences.

Finally, describing these experiences, the lady threw up her arms and exclaimed “Stop diminishing my experience”.

What a spot on expression. Sometimes we all need to be alone with our experiences and simply have someone listen and care, not compete or talk about themselves. Listen, understand and be empathetic. Sometimes it is 100% about one person.