Category Archives: Inspiration

knowledge + ability = action

mata tu idolo

Raising awareness only goes so far. I once had a very long rant about my hatred of that phrase. ‘Raising awareness’. Knowledge is important but it is only the beginning. Climate discussions around the dinner table are important. Information is valuable. Sharing information, spreading facts & not being afraid to TALK is incredibly important. Words are thoughs, words define policies, philosophies & theories. WORDS are POWERFUL.

But once knowledge has been spread, once awareness has been raised, what then? We need to talk about rape, child abuse, homosexuality, racism, climate change, whaling, torture & our superpowers. & after dinner? I’m a member of one of Facebook’s causes, Free Tibet…or something. I read the updates, occasionally. I know a little bit. My awareness that something is going down in Tibet has been raised. How does my knowledge of these facts aid them in any way?

At a recent(ish) dinner table climate change discussion I became increasingly frustrated with, uh, an attendee, as she argued that it was positive how people were talking more about environmental matters & ‘things were getting better’. I asked her what evidence she had for this positive viewpoint. I was honestly interested, since I like to hear good things about the state of the world & she might have been able to cotton me onto some resources as yet unknown to myself. However, she couldn’t tell me anything she knew of, only that people were talking about climate change, cap & trade, eating less meat…

There is a lot of talk about the environment at the moment. Climate Change is a BIG DEAL & Cop 15 was a bit of a milestone for politics & the environment in terms of the talking (not so much the action). Ironically, all this talk about climate change seems to be inferring to people that Something Is Being Done & that they can go on living as before, but with a greater awareness.

At this specific meal, everyone was aware of environmental damage at some level but did not seem to grasp that they could do more than turn lights off when they left the room & taps off between teeth brushing. (Both important things to do, yes.)

Having a greater awareness of the world, the environment, all of the above is important since without having the knowledge in the first place, how do you know there’s something out there to do something about? But once you have acquired this knowledge, there is rarely nothing that can be done.

I’m not suggesting that everyone should be supporting every cause that comes their way but that we could all definitely be doing more for the ones we are aware of and do want to take part in. So once you feel passionately about something, don’t just retweet the viral video then hope somebody else picks up the slack; check out what else you can do.

This is one of the reasons I’m vegan, actually. It’s incredibly simple to do & yet not eating meat & dairy, & eschewing all animal products means not supporting the devastation of the rainforest (soy production, cattle ranching, unsustainable palm oil manufacture), water pollution, animal testing & suffering of all kinds. You can be vegan & work for Amnesty International, donate to GreenPeace, volunteer at a local DayCare centre, stage protests & sign petitions but it definitely makes me feel like I’m making some kind of difference every day and, of course, I chat to my friends about being vegan & why I’m vegan to raise awareness…but also prove that changes can be made & actions taken to contravene, or at least remove personal support from, the actions of certain companies.

It frustrates me that I feel as though I don’t do half enough as I could & I want to work harder to get involve with direct action & so forth, but it frustrates me more when people have an ‘awareness’ of issues, but believe that a) one person can’t change anything or b) there’s nothing they can do anyway.

Anyone reading this? You certainly have the ability to take action. Just pick something to take action on.

Amelia

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You are…

dual hearts

You are always and already worthy of love and respect, merely by dint of existing.

Rights of Man

libres comme l'art

The “rights of man & of the citizen” are the rights of those who make them a reality.”

-Ranciere, Hatred of Democracy

Don`t just wait around for someone to offer you `rights`. Take them. Remember that chick who wouldn`t get off that bus? Some people said she didn`t have the right to be sat there. A hundred years ago and some, I wouldn`t have had the right to vote. A few decades ago, homsexuals didn`t have the right to get married. What changed? Those groups, and people who believed in statements like the one above, said “HEY, hang on a minute. We want these rights. We HAVE these rights already. It`s just time for you to recognise that.” If you want freedom, act as though you are free.

The paragraph leading up to this statement is pretty long & political but I`m going to type it up anyhow.

We do not live in democracies. Neither, as certain authors assert – because they think we are all subjected to a biopolitical government law of exception – do we live in camps. We live in States of oligarchic law, in other words, in States where the power of the oligarchy is limited by dual recognition of popular sovereignty & individual liberties. We know the advantages of these sorts of States as well as their limitations. They hold free elections. These elections essentially ensure the same dominant personnel is reproduced, albeit under interchangeable labels, but the ballot boxes are generally not riged & one can verify it without risking one`s life. The administration is not corrupt, except in maters of public contracts where administration is confounded with the interests of the dominant parties. Individual liberties are respected, although there are notable exceptions here to do with whatever relates to the protection of borders & territorial security. There is freedom of the press: whoever wants to start up a newspaper or television station without the assistance of the financial powers will experience serious difficulties, but he or she will not be thrown into prison. The rights of association, assembly & demonstration permit the organisation of democratic life, that is, a life which is independant of the State sphere. `Permit` is obviously an ambiguous word. These freedoms were not the gifts of oligarchs. They were won through democratic action & are only ever guaranteed through such action. The `rights of man & of the citizen` are the rights of those who make them a reality.

Opinion & validation; what to do with personal criticism

daisy kisses

Recently, a friend of mine went through a break-up where, as in many break-ups, criticisms were levelled and accusing statements were bandied about; accusations which he very much took to heart, stating that they were ‘probably true’ because this girl ‘knew him best’. To this I said ‘Bollocks’. I also said some more constructive words but to take anything anybody says about you ever as the actual truth is bollocks (particularly if you’re breaking up with that person!)

The More Constructive Part

Our actions affect other people; according to Sartre we are only ourselves due to other people’s presence because it’s jolly difficult to be generous with no-one to give to. Other people see you as arrogant/pompous/generous/caring/kind/selfish because they are traits which have to involve other people. Outside people feel the repercussions of your actions (that little temper tantrum caused more pain than you thought) & they can tell you how you appear. APPEAR being an important word here.

So someone has watched you, interacted with you, chatted with you and has levelled a criticism at you…what happens now? Maybe they do know you better than you think you know yourself…maybe they are right…maybe you should take yourself off somewhere you can’t hurt people anymore…OR

You can take the criticism and lay it out to review. (If you can, get examples & pinpoint events which caused the problem). This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do; looking at yourself ‘flaws’ & all and analysing them, but it’s better than deciding someone else is just right about what you’re like and living according to that.

So.

Why did you act that way at that time? What were your intentions? What did you expect the outcome to be? Did you realise you were acting like a douche/asshole/child/saint? Did you realise that you’d hurt somebody? Do YOU think the criticism is fair?

Get a second opinion, if you like, then analyse that too.

The Conclusions

1) The Criticism is off the mark. – You might want to have a sit down chat with your friend there. Let them know your intentions & opinions and ask them why they perceived the situation so differently. Often, people’s judgement’s have more to do with them than you.

2) Yeah, they’re pretty much right. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE. This doesn’t mean you have to sew ‘selfish bitch’ in where your name tag would be. This means decision time. Does it bother you to be thought of that way? Do you want to be less arrogant/altruistic/sanctimonious/cranky? Or do you want to stop hanging out with such judgemental people? If you want to not be seen that way any more it’s time to sit down and look at the triggers and reasons for your actions and figure out a way to change that.

And the rest…

IF the criticisms are negative and YOU do decide they’re true, then KNOW that nothing which is true of you has to be true forever. I have been a depressed person and I have been a self-pitying person and I have been an angry person. And for a long time, these were ways I defined myself, to me, and how other people knew me. (Getting called self-pitying was just the start of a mad wake up call.)

Nobody’s opinion is the complete truth of you. (They would have to live in your brain to know exactly why you acted like a pompous ass. I like to think of Oh, Mr. Darcy. Acted like an ass, but really, best man in the world.)

Most people have their own agenda for judging others, or viewing behaviour in a certain way; often fear/jealousy/anger. If you think they’re wrong, don’t fret it. If you think they’re right, sort it out.

Ultimately…

Living via how you think somebody else thinks of you…it’s crippling, emotionally and mentally. It’s your life to live, your body to love, and you can do and act how you like, even if that person is perceived as an arrogant bastard. Are you happy? Fulfilled? Rock it. There’s no reason in the world to think badly of yourself, since once you think it, you can change it. IF YOU WANT.

Amelia

Trashion: Cordoba Style

there's nothing to it

I got to wear sunglasses! This, the 24th, was the first, and only, day of proper nice sun last week.

grinz

& this is Lia, who I am staying with, ranting with, eating with, partying with & who reads this blog. See how she’s pretty? (Also, she took the photos of me.)

strike a pose

Yeah, just casually chillin’ out beneath an orange tree in Spain, y’know how it is.

Sunglasses – free from my friend the barman, from the lost property box, but technically Accessorize.
Pashmina – found it in the street. INDISPENSABLE for travelling. Can be used as a scarf, beach towel, shawl (particularly when going into churches), hood, skirt &c&c
Dress – Lollipop…got it at a stall in Bristol, love the pockets and giant buttons.
T-shirt – topshop. Button sleeves!
Jacket – random hippie shop in Brighton

feets

Leg parts…Socks are from h&m, I think, maybe…Shoes from Rocket Dog. They’re like trainers but flats – very good sole on these. Rocket Dog shoes are generally pretty durable and good for walking in.

eh?

Lia face. I have no idea where her clothes come from, except for her dress which I gave her, which I bought at a market stall in Broadstairs, Kent, during Folk Week.

Other outfits, other days;

stolen layeringstolen clothes

Skirts – stolen from Lia. Click through for provenance of other clothes, but you’ll be disappointed. I have no idea where half my clothes are from. They’re either gifts, market buys or brandless, or I find them.

Where do you buy/source your clothes from?

That’s the last of the outfit photos for a while. I may well write a How To Pack post soon, but I’m not sure. Meanwhile, this week I’ll be in Barcelona and the next couple of posts are going to be very text heavy and hopefully discussion inducing. Don’t be shy to give me your opinion on anything here. At the end of March I should hopefully have a surprise for y’all as well…

Amelia

Trashion; Madrid Edition

d-r-a-g-o-n mm, classy

ribbons & boots

In Madrid, I actually changed outfits! It was wet and cold, annoyingly, so I tried to layer as much as possible again. I took with me three dresses, one skirt, outer and under jacket, two t-shirts, one long sleeved t-shirt and a jumper, as well as innumerable tights, pants, socks and the trusted leg-warmers and boots.

1st outfit: Zombies Recycle (Brains) longsleeved tee – Emily Strange
Dragon tee – given to me by Emma from somewhere in New York
Skirt – Saltwater

2nd Outfit: Dress: a market stall in Bristol
(Photo taken in the toilets of the Botanical Gardens, of which I will upload the photos when I get home.)

Amelia

Travelling + fashion = trashion’? (Paris Edition)

COLD Here Lies the Greatest Man Who Ever Live les fleurs

This is what I wore for the five or so days I was in Paris. My Vegetarian boots are the best. ever. I can walk through ice and snow and slush and mud and rivers in these babies. Well, rivers that aren’t more than two inches deep that is. Total life savers and incredibly comfortable. Also, zero animal ingredients. ┬áThis, in case you didn’t know, is Oscar Wilde’s grave; totally covered in lipstick kisses and flowers and ‘Oscar, je t’aime!’ and that is me lookin’ shifty.

Hat – h&m, Flower in hat – camden market

Overjacket – Topshop

Underjaket (& the cosiest thing in the world) – some little shop in Brighton

Grey dress – Version Sud (given to me by Bex)

Skirt – Saltwater

Legwarmers (& second cosiest things ever) – topshop

Instead of doing ‘think-y’ posts this week, I’ll be doing outfits, but scheduling thoughtful posts for next week, and maybe some travelogue as well, although twitter does well enough to keep y’all scheduled on where I am now stuck!

Amelia