If I Could Be a Character From a Book, I’d Be…

Atticus Finch.

He represented to me such strength of character that is something to aspire to. He knew he was fighting a losing battle but that did not deter him from fighting it. It was on principle, to be an example to his children, that he risked his reputation and his life to defend the wrongly accused. He not only defended Tom Robinson but he did it well, to the best of his ability, never slacking even with the knowledge of the odds that were against him. He painted a portrait of himself that Scout and Jem would be forever proud of and made sure that his legacy would remain in that town.

He took a stand against prejudice when it was not popular to do, showing a calm and collected exterior even though on the inside must have been turmoil. When his kids were acting out their stories about Boo Radley, he tried to show them the importance of not judging others but looking at life through their perspective.

I read this book when I was 10, then again at 12 and yet again in High School at 14 and once more after that. Initially I was endlessly fascinated by Scout who was so interesting and intriguing but as I got older my focus switched to Atticus and the amazing character that he portrayed.

It is an inspiration to me to not only stand for something when it is popular or because everyone else is, but to do so even when I’m outnumbered, as long as I do it with conviction, with respect. I hope that I can one day be an example to my future children, leaving behind something that they can be proud of, teaching them lessons and experiences that they can learn and grow from. I hope to instill a love for humanity that is not dimmed by the injustices that oftentimes occur.

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The World Would Be a Better Place If…

We could just accept each other. If we could all just embrace the idea that we are the same in that we have differences, that we are unique individuals, each with something to share, then the world would be much better for it.

Lack of acceptance and a refusal to embrace beliefs and lifestyles that are different than our own cause unnecessary pain and hurt in our society. Those that are different are ridiculed, sometimes causing them to hide their true selves, trying to be something they are not in order to please the people around them. They deny themselves their true nature, repressing their desires in order to please other people that will probably never be satisfied.

I have lived in a society where homosexuality is not just frowned upon, it is considered down right evil. There I saw people struggle, battle with their natures in order to remain a part of that society, in order to fit in. Those kinds of attitudes at their worst lead to hate crimes and if nothing else, serve to make others feel as if there is something fundamentally wrong with them, that they are not right and that is one of the most painful things to deal with. Homosexuals may try their hardest to fit in by taking up heterosexual lifestyles, allowing their lives to be consumed by guilt, deception and lies, for being who they are, by pretending to be something different and causing their partners to live a lie. All stemming from a refusal to understand their point of view, their struggle, their nature.

If we all accepted each other than maybe people who practice a religion different to the dominant one of any particular society would be respected. Every human being will not believe the same things, we will never all want the same things or desire the same things. We experience this life differently than those around us and we should be able to freely express that. It should be okay and understood that there will always be different religions and if we can realise this than we might become more open minded and learn more about other people and their cultures which I always believe is an enriching experience. If one does not believe in religion at all then that too should be respected.

Acceptance of culture as well, is another way in which this world would be so much better, so much richer. Realising that race, gender, ethnicity are things to be celebrated not hated. The vast variations in our skin colour are fascinating and beautiful. Males and females each have equally important contributions to make to our world and our ethnicities help us to have different perspectives and experiences that we can all learn from.

There are so many differences between us that people try to stamp down and remove but I think that largely this not the way to go. Sometimes acceptance can prevent years of bitterness, hurt, anger, even death. The world would be undoubtedly better, more beautiful for it.

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Timeless Words Of Wisdom

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. We are faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late…. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: Too Late.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s a lengthy quote and not one I know by heart but every time I read it I am inspired to play a role–no matter how small or insignificant it may seem–in moving us forward. I try to do this through keeping an open-mind about new ideas and possibilities, by respecting other human beings and not discriminating or stereotyping as those are things that definitely hold us back as a society. I try to be a part of movements to bring awareness to important and timely social issues such as human rights. MLK also said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Those words are another favourite of mine and show the importance of every effort that is made in our world both great and small to bring us all collectively closer to equality in all aspects, showing us that everyone in this world deserves justice, it is not just for the few.

Flirting with Darkness

I am prone to depression. Ever since adolescence it has lurked beneath the surface. The darkest times are punctuated not only with lethargy, lack of interest or unhappiness. I’ve lost chunks of time, being unable to recall days, events, anything. Times punctuated with inability to feel any emotion, just absolute nothingness. I’ve missed weeks of my undergrad studies because I could not get out of bed. I’ve been sick because I could not care to eat. I’ve stared at knives wondering what it would feel like, stared at bottles of pain medication for hours wondering what it would really be like to die–the furthest I ever got was four pills before I realised what I was doing–I’ve craved alcohol just so that I would feel something, anything resembling emotion.

On the way out of a spell of depression I am hit by a creative energy that I love. My mind is filled with ideas, words and thoughts come pouring out. it is there I find my words, my words that are so important to me. Because of this, my depression can be quite seductive. Each spell that I survive gives me more strength, more control. With each passing I have more to say, more to feel. Every scream that I emit during my apathetic phase become lines filled with emotion, desire, feeling.

I can usually feel a spell trying to push itself to the surface. I feel it brewing, rolling in like a storm. It doesn’t always win and when it does, it comes with vastly varying degrees of potency and duration. Sometimes I can smile and be myself while I battle the darkness and sometimes it completely consumes and there is no pretending. There are times when I can stave it off and it’s satisfying when I feel it ebbing  away and I know that I have won. There are other times when there is nothing I can do to prevent its presence and then there are other times when I flirt with the darkness, when I beckon it to come and do its worst because I know I will be coming out the other side. The power, the relief it brings when the spell is broken is almost addictive.

To many of those who know me, these words would seem very much out-of-place. My friends would not describe me as depressed, as sad or unhappy and honestly neither would I. I smile easily, I make my friends laugh and I have healthy self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. This darkness is just one facet of me. It ebbs and flows with no consistency, it just is. But it does not define me, at least not all of me and not completely.

My blog address has the word mystique for a reason. There are many sides to me that I keep quite close to the chest. There are so few who know it all. My contradictions, my convictions, my highs, my lows, my dreams, my fears. Sometimes I am a mystery to myself. I share these words here because I was brought up inadvertently to feel that depression was not a legitimate issue, that it was laziness or some other negative attribute, but now I know better and I believe that I can say what I struggle with, caring not about being judged, but just being sure that the people who matter to me, know the real me. So many things make me who I am and my struggle with depression is one of those things and it is something that will never beat me because I will never allow it to.

To my faithful few….

The people who I love most in this world are Christians, every single one of them. The people who I confide in, the ones that I trust with my life, the ones whose advice I take into account. This blog is not one where I try to focus on disrespecting a religion that many people focus their lives around. All I want is for people to take a serious look at their religion, whatever that religion may be. I speak about Christianity because it is there that I have experience. Over the years I have changed and yet in many ways I have remained the same. When asked if I am a Christian I have to admit sometimes grudgingly that, yes I am. It is something that I cannot completely escape. May be I don’t want to gamble and lose, I am not confident that God does not exist. Maybe its my upbringing that has so firmly implanted this idea that I can never be rid of it. Christian peers would say this is a good thing and others would say not so much.

One thing I know is that I no longer look at my religion in the same way as in time past. I am no longer nearly as reverent about it as I once was in thought, and in practice. Those closest to me who read this blog know this without a doubt. They are also the few in my life who would engage me with an open mind about the issues that I bring forth while most others would dismiss me as having deficient faith or respect for the Almighty.

To those few I say you are the ones that allow me to keep what little bit of hope that not everyone that subscribes to this faith are afraid of their own religion. Your willingness to think, question and listen to alternatives to what you are told to believe show me that there are others like me who practice their faith with rationality and attempts at logic. The fact that you are not quick to judge but understand my point of view and my right to express it inspire me to continue. As long as you indulge me I will contiue being irreverent.

Each of you know who you are and you know the role you each have in my life and I love you all.

Lies and Deceit

Sadly, honesty is rapidly depleting in our world today. More and more people are choosing to be dishonest. Lies and deceit have taken over the lives of many. Lies and deceit have destroyed the lives of many.

When people lie they cause other to live a lie. Living and believing something that is false can be a dangerous thing. Deceiving people and using them is cruel but yet people do it every day as if it is their right to do so.

People lie at work. They deceive their co-workers, employees, their employers. People lie to their families, to their wives, husbands, their children, their friends.

Lies and deceit destroy lives–both that of the liar and the lied to–both the deceiver and the deceived. What must it feel like to live your life believing one thing to then learn that it is false? It devastates, it hurts, it can even kill.

Those who lie and deceive will sometimes end up paying for their decisions. They lose the people they love and care about. They lose their possessions and the life that they built for themselves. They lose the very things they were lying to achieve, that they were lying to keep.

There are those who strive to live honestly, to be truthful in all they do. They provide a great example for others and help to make the world more bearable. However, despite these honest people, many will continue being deceptive.

No matter how many families, friendships and lives that lying and deceiving has destroyed, people will continue to do it … Always continue to do it…. But why?

Gaza flotilla … May we never forget….

The unfortunate and tragic events that took place in our world recently have been hard to stomach. Of course I’m talking about the flotilla that was making its way to Gaza with 10,000 tonnes of aid. The civilians deaths in my opinion–and in the opinion of many others–should never have happened. They were taking supplies that people desperately needed and bringing attention to the Israeli blockade and the harmful effects it has on the Palestinians in Gaza. They succeeded in shedding light on this part of the world as the outcry and response has been passionate and unmistakable since the shootings. Continue reading