Monthly Archives: March 2014

Badass Ballet

I was once told that dance isn’t really a sport because it’s far too ‘dainty’.

Let me tell you a thing about dancing; it is the most hard-core sport in existence.

I have a pretty good comparative view point on this, because as well as being a dancer, I’m a black belt and have spent years training in boxing. Unlike the typical contact sports, the pain experienced during dancing is entirely our own fault. It’s not like hoping that you won’t get tackled, or not being quick enough to avoid a punch. Dancers know exactly what kind of pain they’re putting themselves through, and we do it glady. Why? Because we’re all freaking masochists, that’s why.

Without a doubt, the most painful form of dance is ballet, a style renowned for being sweet and elegant. There’s a reason that when you watch a professional ballet the ballerinas rarely smile. It’s because their feet are screaming at them to stop.

Ballet is also the style of dance where women can endure a great deal more pain than their male counterparts can. In ballet, the men tend to use a great deal of upper body strength in order to lift the women and you rarely come across men who are willing to wear pointe shows. And there’s a very obvious reason for this; pointe shoes are secretly torture devices. You cram your foot into what is essentially just a block of wood with very minimum padding, then rise up to carry your entire body weight on the tips of your toes.

That, my dear readers, is a whole new level of badass. And anyone who claims that dancing isn’t a sport should be strapped into a pair of point shoes and made to dance until their feet fall off, a punishment befitting of the Grimm Brothers.

Deaf Awareness

I’m sure that most of you have seen you tube videos about 8 month of babies being able to hear for the first time using cochlear implants. And tons of comments about how brilliant it is, and how happy it makes people.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I really hate it when children have cochlear implants. But we’ll get to why in a bit. First I want to show you one of the comments I came across on tumblr:

I am crying ))) this is so important! I often sit and think what it is to have some serious diseases, like being deaf and have a little child. Or have a child like that, and that’s the answer! Every solved problem is just a huge victory for both of you, such a happiness!)

Can you spot the mistake? Let me help you: “what it is to have some serious diseases, like being deaf”

I just wanted to point out how incredibly fucked up this is.

I have quite a few contacts in the Deaf community who would find that ridiculously offensive. Being Deaf is by no definition of the term a “disease”, nor is it disability.

And in regards to cochlear implants, most hearing people aren’t very education on the matter, so let me explain why they suck:

That child could have lived a very happy life as a member of the Deaf community. But because his parents assumed he was disabled, he wont get the opportunity to learn sign language. Meaning he’ll grow up isolated from the Deaf community, and will instead have to struggle to learn orally.

Cochlear implants work better at a young age, because the brain is still learning to interpret sound, this means that children are implanted before they have a chance to decide for themselves.

People assume that cochlear implants are some magic cure that automatically restores hearing, but its not. The quality of sound if vastly different from natural hearing. This link gives an example of what sounds like through a cochlear implant, and you’ll be able to hear the difference.

There are also a ton of risks involved in the surgery, including:

  •  Shaving off the hair cells in the cochlear could damage residual hearing, making their hearing worse.
  • There’s a chance that the surgery won’t work and won’t restore any hearing.
  • There’s a high risk of meningitis for cochlear implant recipients
  • There’s the risk of dying during the operations

And that’s not the end of the surgeries for this child. As he grows, the cochlear will have to be replaced to accommodate the changes in the size of his skull. As well as repairs, replacements, and having to adapt to newer technology. In some earlier cases, the holes in their skull are too big to accommodate for the newer, smaller implants.

Also, in case you’re wondering, in the US, this surgery will cost anywhere from $45,000 to $125,000. Which includes evaluation, surgery, hardware, hospitality and intense rehabilitation. (In the UK, all of these costs are covered by the NHS).

Basically, this is an incredibly expensive and painful process which is inflicted on young children simply because there parents can’t figure out how to adapt to a Deaf child.

Now I know this is a pretty controversial subject, so feel free to let me know what you think about cochlear implants in the comments.

Why I will never be too old for Disney

My cousin told me something heartbreaking the other day. She informed that that at the grand old age of ten years old, she is now “too old” for Disney. I’m clearly not doing my job as a role model well because at the age of twenty one, I still freaking love Disney and have never, at any point in my life, felt like I’ve outgrown it.

I think part of the problem is that kids view animated films ad being aimed purely at children. Therefore, if they reject the medium, they in turn seem more grown up. But of course, this just isn’t the case. Disney knows its audience. They’ve known for years that their viewing population is one art child, one part parent. And because of that, Disney strives to make its content interesting and relevant for adults as well.

In recent years, I’ve re watched classics that I haven’t seen since I was a child, and I find that I now understand jokes that I never would have gotten as a child. As you age, so does your understanding of the films. You go from empathizing with the little mermaid to thinking; “Hang on, you’re sixteen years old and you haven’t even met the guy properly yet. Calm the hell down.” This means that Disney is relevant at every point in your life. Because as you get older, your perspective changes, and it’s like watching an entirely new movie.

Of course, as I get older, I’m slowly moving out of princess territory.

Turning sixteen was okay, because that’s the same age as Ariel.

Turning eighteen was okay, because that’s how old Rapunzel is.

My twenty-first was saved by the arrival of Elsa.

But where are the princesses older than twenty-one? After this age, it seems like I’m slipping dangerously into villain territory.

The only saving grace is Kida from Atlantis who claims to be around 8,500. I don’t care if you argue that the Atlantians count the years differently, therefore she’s younger. I need an older princess so I know that I’m not past the age where I can have a happily ever after.

So if I was ever to complain about an aspect of Disney, this would be it. If Disney wants to keep its older audiences, then our protagonists need to be more mature as well.

The Dangers of Wearing a Skirt

An (not so) academic study by me;

Times harassed on the street whilst wearing my usual clothes (jeans and a jumper): Zero.

Times harassed on the street whilst wearing a skirt and thin black tights: Five.

Dear obnoxious men of the world, contrary to popular opinion, a woman wearing revealing clothing is not an open invitation for harassment. There are a number of reasons why a woman would want to wear revealing clothing, including (but not limited to):

  • It’s more practical. (This was the case for me, as I was on my way to a dress rehearsal and it was easier to just wear half of my costume)
  • It’s a warm day. (Which was also the case)
  • They just want to.

Very rarely does a woman wear revealing clothing to be yelled at and wolf-whistled to by obnoxious men.

We seem to live in a society which has sexualised the female body to such an extent that just the suggestion of skin means than men feel to right to degrade complete strangers.

Interestingly, all of the men who jeered at me today were in cars, so were able to make a swift getaway. Which is convenient for them, as it prevented me from retorting in a calm manner (aka break the cowards noses) like I wanted to.

Plenty of Fish?

I honestly didn’t mean for this blog to start out so girly. But here’s another post about my love life. Or, to be specific, my lack of one.

It’s a running joke in my family that I’m going to become a ‘spinster’. I use the word ‘joke’ in the loosest sense because, of course, I don’t find it funny at all. The most annoying version of this apparently hilarious joke came when someone asked me what I get once I graduate. I replied “a bachelors degree” and a family member (who shall remain nameless despite how annoying this was) helpfully amended my answer to “you mean a spinster degree”. Because clearly, my lack of love life is far more relevant than my academic successes.

Thanks to my family’s near constant nagging on the subject, I was finally convinced to join a dating website a few months ago. And to be honest, the only thing it’s good for is reminding me of why I’m single. Genuine highlights from my inbox include:

  • I’d love you to hold my pole like you do in that picture 😉  (The picture is me on a swing-set. This kind of come-on is not what you want your first impression to be guys.)
  • begning to freak me out that every women i intend on messaging seems to do karate 😀 lol thought id say hi anyway. (1. Dear god that’s terrible writing. 2. Girls who can fight? The horror!)
  • your cute (That it. That’s all of the message. *You’re)
  • Hey bbe xxxx (Just….ew.)
  • Please talk to me, Im rubbish on pof hah x (Yay desperation)

I’ve also seen one guy who’s written on his profile Some women spend so much time looking for their ‘Superman’ that they ignore Clark Kent. Because God forbid that women have a preference in the kind of men that they’re attracted to.

There’s plenty of fish in the sea is a fine claim. Its the shame the fish I manage to catch act like they emerged from Mariana’s Trench.

A Demon Tells Me To Not Have Sex

A few days ago, a woman came up to me and asked if I could help her pass on a message.

Now, naturally, the answer here should have been a “no”. I don’t know this woman. I don’t owe her anything. For all I know, this ‘message’ could be some organized crime thing or something. Best to stay out of it really.

I could have just walked away, but I seem to have inherited that ridiculous British politeness. So before I had the chance to process her bizarre request, I blurted out a “sure” and took my headphones out to hear her better. Rookie mistake.

The woman had a very thick accent and started speaking ridiculously quickly, so I had no idea what she was actually saying. All I knew was that she seemed to be telling me to read the bible. She then ended with “And you shouldn’t lose your virginity. Stay single. And don’t have sex before marriage. Okay?”

To which I stared wide eyed at her before realizing that she was expecting a response. So I gave her a quick nod and she walked away smiling.

Now, despite her manner of speaking reminding me of demonic possessions, there was one thing that really stuck in my mind about what she had said;

I am twenty one years old. Do I really look that much like a single virgin that she was so sure of her assumption?

It almost made me feel like I have a big neon sign over my head that reads “Virgin over here!”

It was a weird assumption for demon-lady to make, because the normal assumption is that everyone my age has had sex. Hell, the cultural assumption is that most fourteen year olds have lost their virginity. Never mind twenty-one year olds.

So why haven’t I?

Because my faith tells me not to? No. I’ve never really been one for religion.

Because I’ve made a pledge of chastity? Oh god no. The idea of chastity balls and pledging your virginity to your father is just too creepy for me.

Really, the simple reason is that I’m yet to find someone who interests me like that. So I’ve never really felt the need. I’ve never even kissed a guy before (which is pretty depressing to admit, but the truth none-the-less. Also, one of the reasons why I love the movie Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore so much).

And as I get older, I find myself more and more reluctant to take that kind of risk.

Of course, some of my friends try to spin it in a positive light. One told me rather cheerfully that she could get a fortune for me if she sold me on the black market since virgins are such a rarity these days.

But the fact of the matter remains that my disinterest in experimenting with men who don’t interest me means that the likelihood of me dying alone is pretty high.

I’d become a crazy cat lady if I wasn’t so allergic.