It has, as ever, been a busy old week. I’ve stepped a little bit closer to my dream writer’s routine by negotiating a part-time contract at work so that I get more time to write and to start building up my freelance projects too. Very exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’ve spent the last few years building up my marketing and communications experience, so hey – if you want to get your products/services/crazy ideas out there, I’m your woman, get in touch.
So I spent the other night at The Watford Colosseum, where Kayo-MMA hosted an epic event with a fight card made up of amateurs, semi-pros and pro fighters that ended with a dramatic, blood-soaked title fight that had me on the edge of my seat shouting for more. I’ve been training in kickboxing at Premier MMA in Middlesex for a few months now, and I was looking forward to watching how a real fight plays out – live and in the cage, with skilled fighters who, over time, have turned the techniques we learn in class into some ass-kicking magic.
Our own instructor Mr. Rick Selverajah was fighting in a semi-pro bout against a seriously tough opponent. He wasn’t in peak condition – just a few weeks before, he’d injured his shoulder, his arm and his knee. He was told he needed to 6 to 8 weeks’ rest, so he took off a week and a half, got back in training and took care of business against all the odds in what proved to be the best fight of the evening. Well done Sir!
Without realising it as I danced and sang along to Lil’ Kim’s lyrics at the age of thirteen, I had found my first feminist role model. An unlikely candidate perhaps for a Scottish Pakistani teenager, but at the time Lil’ Kim’s music perfectly encapsulated my feelings of gender-imprisoned rage, as well as delightfully shocking me with its audacity.
At that time, I had not long been dramatically freed from the terrifying misery experienced by all too many young girls and women living under strict regimes of Islamic domestic dictatorship. If I were asked to imagine the polar opposite of feminine propriety as imposed by my parents, I couldn’t have dreamt Lil’ Kim up. She got naked a lot. She rapped in graphic detail about sex, once to the background sound of a woman having a looooong, loud orgasm. And she did it all in public. In short, she didn’t give a fuck.
Today is an important day. How we feel about this day as individuals and as a global community will dictate our tomorrows. There has never been a more urgent need to reflect upon, challenge and discuss the way we deal with human suffering. It is no longer enough to simply debate about its cause and consequence, or to react immediately with strategy or defiance. All too often we push down and block out the feelings that rise when we see another human being in pain, sometimes for fear that the emotions will overwhelm us, and sometimes because our feelings of powerlessness render us numb. Perhaps our own lives are too challenging to bear the acute suffering of another. But there are times, like September 11th, when it can’t be escaped. The following documentary revolves around one photograph that was taken on that day in 2001. It was of a man, representative of many, who was faced with immediate and certain death and the only choice he had left to make was whether he was going to burn alive or jump out of a window to die instantly on impact with the ground.
There are some days when I would like nothing more than to hide my face from the world and be free of the incredible pressures most women face in their relationship with their own body. In recent weeks, I’ve felt more weary than usual of being seen simply as a style of woman rather than a person. You ladies know what I mean, right? Are you the fun, leggy blond? Ice cool designer diva? Crazy punk princess? I could, of course, go on. And most of you who dare convey personality traits that don’t adhere to the image portrayed by your clothes, accessories and make-up (unless of course you are of the equally carefully constructed yet apparently au naturel variety) have come across that ignoramous who gasps, “You’re so different to how I expected you to be!” Well, duh, what makes you think you know a person when you’ve shown zero curiosity about my experience of the world?!