I`ve heard boys and men asking the same old question: why do we have a “Women`s Day” or day for girls?
10 % of the world`s population today got married while they still were kids. Many girls don`t go to school, pretty much because the family`s too poor or they don`t prioritize her education. In many countries women unfortunately are blamed, if they get raped. “Why were you out so late?” “Maybe you shouldn`t have worn a short skirt!” The words, the accusations are many. Most child brides are women, many girls/woman are sexually assulted and many are taught that the kitchen is their home. In several industries, woman are underestimated, underevalued. In many socities, the case is that a girl exists so that she can take care of her family and the house. Her thoughts and feelings are irrelevant. Read history, and you`ll understand how men have been ruling in so many cases. Men have been “above”. Did you know women didn`t have the vote to right till 1913, in Norway? Did you know that in England or Wales alone, two women are killed each week by a current or former partner? Did you know every third girl in developing countries get married before turning 18? In Bangladesh, 66 % of girls are married before they turn 18.
I`m not telling you all this, to make you feel sorry for “us”, even though I hope you feel some sort of sympathy for all these girls (and women) out there, who`re living a life they haven`t dreamt of. I`m glad we have a day like this where we can focus on girls` rights, BUT it won`t help if we don`t make a change the other 364 days. Also, this doesn`t mean there aren`t boys and men struggling out there. Of course there are and we absolutely need to help them too. Nevertheless, girls and women belong to the gender that have been oppressed the most during history and we still see bits of that happening all over the world.
And to the boys and men, who ask why they don`t have their very own day? Well, you do. It`s on 19th November and is celebrated in 60 countries. So don`t worry. But like I said – we need to fight every day. Not only today. This isn`t only about the rights of girls and boys – this is about fundamental human rights.
Today`s World Mental Health Day, so I thought I`d share some advices which should be helpful when life gets tough and your head gets too much. I know very well that sometimes, your own mind can be “overwhelming”. It`s not always easy to “control” your own head and neither can you control life, but it`s possible, especially if you learn how to deal with your own emotions and obstacles coming your way, in a positive and prosperous way.
💘 Talk about what you`re facing, about the difficult thoughts and feelings you`re dealing with, with someone you trust. It could be a friend, someone in your family or your doctor. For some people it`s easier to rely on a stranger, who know nothing about you and might not judge you. In most cases you necessarily don`t have to meet that person ever again.
💘 Plan positive activites and accomplish them. Do something nice every day, it doesn`t have to be anything huge. Go out for a walk, read the book you`ve been so excited about, bake a cake or some lovely croissants, have a coffee with a friend, paint or write something, visit a library, have a pamper evening – be creative!
💘 Divide the problems into smaller bits, if they start getting too heavy to carry. Focus on one thing at a time and try to find a way to deal with them.
💘 Think of everything you`re good at and everything you can do, instead of everything you`re not good at or everything you`re not able to accomplish. Be positive!
💘You`re most likely the only person in the park who`s thinking of how your hair looks like or how your jacket`s not matching your shoes. WHO CARES? Other people barely notice these things and what so if they find you weird? You can`t please everyone. No, but really – other people don`t really care if your hair`s not exactly on point (I bet it is, it`s just your mind). Most people don`t even notice the flaws and mistakes we notice when it comes to ourselves. Go out with your head high and be proud of who you are. Don`t overthink. We tend to criticize and judge ourselves too much. I remember reading about this girl once, who thought her nose was too big. It was only after pointing that out to her friends, that they realised her nose was “big”, but even then they told her she looks completely fine. Whenever you start criticizing or judging yourself, ask yourself: would I say the same to someone else? To my best friend? To my mum, or my brother?
💘 Always remember you`re never alone, the lady sitting next to you on the bus is most likely facing some obstacles too. Someone before you has been through pretty much the same as you, and they did okay.
💘 Healthy eating habits, enough sleep and physical activity are important elements, when it comes to mental health.
💘Be your own best friend. Treat yourself the way you`d treat a friend.
💘 Everything will be alright.
What do you do, to take care of yourself and your own mind? Do you believe having a day like this, is important?
There`s something about autumn nights. The orange lights. The cold, fresh air. There`s something different about the atmosphere, maybe I like it more because people aren`t so busy when the city is surrounded by darkness. They`re not everywhere. Less people on the train, less people inside the bus. Less people in the shops.
It`s as if I can keep the city more for myself. I wish I could keep it for myself.
I like the nights. I wish I could spend more time in the cities, during nights. I want to enjoy late night walks with someone I love. I want to see the city nights.
On Friday I went to Bjørndal. Bjørndal? It`s where I grew up. It`s where I met the first people I considered my friends. Bjørndal is where I`ve spent most of my time on this earth. I can imagine little me, jumping on the trampoline in the garden. I remember the little plastic house we had, which suddenly blew away one day. I remember the day I was scared, I remember the days I came home furious because the bullies had made fun of me once again. I remember the day when I and my brother woke up about fifteen minutes before school started and we managed to reach school on time. Pretty much everything started there. Bjørndal. The place is so quiet, it looks so good in the sun. I moved away about 5 years ago, and yet? Yet not much has changed, but people have.
The clock was ten, when I was on my way home. For some seconds, I felt so calm. Late evening, city nights and not that many people were walking around.
But weren`t people in Las Vegas, enjoying another city night? There I was, in Oslo, not scared at all. While people in Las Vegas? Many went out to enjoy a concert, to celebrate music, and some never came back.
The contrasts in the world scare me.
The past days have been okay, but not so okay at the same time. Did anyone hear about Sonny Melton? That man wasn`t selfish at all, when he gave up his own life, to rescue his wife, Heather. Between all the mess, the blood and the bullets, there was love. What a good man Sonny was. He was trying to shield his wife. I feel like way too few people would do that, I feel like we`ve lost the meaning of pure and true love in this mad world, but that?
That is pure love that I hope I`ll find one day, along with some great autumn nights.
As I`ve been writing this, I`ve realised more and more that this post might not make that much of sense. Let`s just say I this season, especially at night.
Last weekend I got to know Salvador Sobral is admitted at the hospital. Several newspapers have been reporting that he was rushed to intensive care. He awaits an emergency heart transplantion.
All I want to say (or scream) now to the all the people who accused him for “advertising” his bad health condition to win Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is: are you happy now? I want to ask everyone who said he`s mentally sick, he`s a joke and called him bad names: would you say the same to him if you went to visit him at the hospital? Does everyone who said he bribed his place, still believe so?
Some of the things people wrote:
I felt so bad when I read the news. He posted a video on Youtube, saying he`s saying bye to his career for now and needs to focus on his health. That made me so sad and I hope he gets well very soon. I hope all the haters stop and realise whatever they said about his health condition was wrong. Why would someone, who`s waiting for someone to donate their heart, fake it?
On Wednesday I went to an event about mental heath and eating disorders. Ingeborg Senneset was the speaker, and I was excited. I`ve been following Ingeborg`s journey as a participant in the public debate, as a journalist and as a writer. She`s such an amazing and inspiring woman – she thought she was going to die some years ago, and look where she`s now? Damn, her “story” is so inspirational and it`s wonderful to see how far she`s come.
A lot of what she said, means a lot to me. One thing she talked about, was how we should see human beings for what they are – human beings. We need to ask the difficult questions, we need to pay attention to the kids who`re a little too fussy or noisy, instead of telling them to be quiet. We need to ask them why they`re behaving that way.
This reminds me of something I encountered several years ago. I was in 7th grade, had just finished cleaning up the classroom and was on my way out. After the break it was time for sports. I wasn`t able to find my gym bag, so I looked for it everywhere. In the classroom, in the toilet. I couldn`t find it. I went to the hall and told the teacher about this, whereas she told me to go and look for it once more. I went to the Music room, I went to the library, but I didn`t find it. I went back to the gym hall, watched the other kids running around. After the lessons, I let the girls know that I thought they knew where my bag is. Of course they denied it, and the teacher looked at me and told me to calm down. We were in the wardrobe. Why was it always me? She didn`t understand why I was reacting that way – hadn`t these people bullied me for a long time? It was as if those girls could never do such of a thing, it was as if being bullied for a long time was nothing.
Instead of trying to understand me, she told me to calm down and not accuse them. Instead of trying to get closer to me, she told me all the things she should`ve told the other students. Instead of experiencing that others might try to understand you and approach you in one way or another, one meets everything else and this way too often makes the situation worse. It`s important to ask both kids and grown-ups how they`re doing, why they`re doing what they`re doing. Don`t judge others. Try to be the person people can rely on, dare to be yourself and be kind. Always.
Because if there`s one thing I know, it`s that you might not know it there and then, but words can save lives. They can save us, and leave deep scars. So be careful about what you say and what you leave.
OKAY, so I`ve been thinking about this for a while and I think it`s about time I write this.
I`m a buddy this week. For those who don`t know what a buddy is, it`s an experienced students, who help new students. I`m a buddy for some of the international students. We have a schedule pretty much every day this week and I LOVE meeting and getting to know new people. It`s even more fun when they`re from different countries and have been living their lives there.
At evenings there are parties and I`m not saying that`s necessarily a bad thing. I`m not a party-person at all – I prefer a “cleaner” party, if that makes any sense? Alcohol-free parties. Therefore I feel like many people expect you to have a drink or two, whenever there`s a party. I don`t know about other countries, but here in Norway it`s so normal to grab a beer or two from the shops and bring them with you to the party and even to the park, if that`s where it`s all happening. Of course I`m going to let other people drink (even though I`m not any fond of alcohol), but why these expectations? I don`t feel pressurized, it`s just these expectations that are annoying. I`ve also encountered that some think of people who prefer to socialize without alcohol, as silly and weird. Or if you say no to a party, you`re a “party-bumper”. You`re not a fun person to hang out with. WHY`S THAT? Why these social norms and rules? I might be wrong and to be honest, I hope I am, but I experienced the same last year. I just wish these norms and expectations didn`t exist, and that it was completely okay to not be a party-person and to not drink alcohol. So many believe that we have to expect questions about why we choose to stay away from alcohol – why isn`t it the opposite?
Thank God there`s not going to be a party tonight – as far as I know, at least. We`re actually going on a Norwegian hike today, which I`m excited about. Norwegian nature is so beautiful and does me so good. I know today`s going to be a better day.