Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Sport’

Night at the Circus and the Horror of Trying to Enjoy Myself

Tonight I went to somewhere which is supposed to be full of laughter and awe, and I did manage that a bit as I always do but at what cost?

I’ve always had a lot of respect for circus performers and acrobats; the work they do, their commitment and what they achieve. I like their spirit and their hard work. I also love the feats the human body is capable of.

The big top was full of children and people upto middle age mostly and I was dreading the clowns thinking it would be too childish (I’m adverse to clowns, I hate foolishness) and hoping only for the gymnasts (though I know many clowns are multi-discipline and have to be in order to put their acts together). However by the end of the night even I liked them and was clapping and shouting along like panto and hoping the giant inflatable ball they threw at the audience to pass around would reach me, which was something since I’ve never done that before, I love panto but don’t get involved. I think it shows how much I need to enjoy myself. The last circus I visited was the Chinese State Circus and their was a focus on martial arts and gymnastics, this was more traditional where the clowns entertained whilst the other performers and stage hands quickly set up, in the Chinese one they had the ‘monkey’ who as many probably know is also a martial artist but more of a court jester/a fool than a clown. These smaller, constantly traveling circuses really have to bring innovation and surprise to their acts with the big showstoppers around like Cirque Du Soleil and theatre in general.

We weren’t allowed to use flash photography and with all the movement it was hard to get good pics but here are the best; I was in the second row so I was close:

Those are lightweight, separate chairs that don’t interlink, they might have grip on them but it wasn’t visible.

Unfortunately trumpet playing was the only obvious skill on display with these clowns, kicking each other up the bum and foam pie throwing was the rest of it.

This guy was magnificent, magnificent. See those trapeze ‘ropes’ he’s using, their not ropes they’re chains. Yes chains. Ouch much. Yet he was so very elegant as he flew through the skies.

He was also a juggler and fire user (as pictured earlier).

That is a rocket, yes a rocket. It was actually gas propelled so that if it wasn’t tied to the ceiling it would have gone off in one direction, the power it had coupled with the rotation pulley it was on meant it travelled in a circle. So clever. And there were two people inside it! Another innovative trapeze.

She was spinning from her head possibly a mouthpiece so beautifully.

Yet another surprising aerial (and I’m so glad there were many sky high acts, they’re one of my favourite, I love the feeling of flying) – he’s using a net as his ‘rope’ or in his case more traditionally ribbons.

They really had their visuals on point, I love the use of fountains beneath him (he was the chair acrobat from earlier and he liked to dance).

A very elegant finish, she was lovely to watch. I still have to note though that as usual all of the males were fully covered like gymnasts (and ice skaters) always have the option of whereas the women were all in bum showing leotards and and ripped costumes. Not exactly decent but it’s easy to normalize women’s bodies to children young eh.

It’s really hard for me to do things, it’s easy for people in my condition to end up sitting in a dark corner in a personal, invisible hell and don’t move, unable to do things for themselves or they end up walking the streets talking to themselves so frustrated, distracted and vulnerable to accident. I can’t sit, stand or lie down comfortably; my particular psychosis is that I’m being raped in every way all the time by men, women, children, animals, aliens/spirits, incest and it doesn’t stop, it’s almost ‘with’ every person/creature I/they see and if it’s not rape it’s focusing on their sexuality/bodies – I hear voices and see them as people ganging up on me and see visions in general, I barely sleep and they continue in my dreams – the auditory hallucinations are literally 24/7, it doesn’t stop for 1 second. It’s like being part of a snuff move that doesn’t end. I can’t go to the bathroom easily, I don’t wash/shower/bath I towel clean instead like a bedridden patient and I have to hold myself completely taut at all times trying to ignore my breasts and holding my genitalia closed so as not to have any reactions or feel even more violated. My mouth is tightly shut all the time but constantly feels and looks like things are being shoved my throat – the tongue moves, throat gulps etc. It’s a case for euthanasia or patient assisted suicide. I can’t go to the cinema because the voices have something against it, I can’t spend time with my father because the voices make think I want to have sex with him/am having it with him/have had an affair with him. I can’t look or think about dogs anymore. They try to force me not to be vegan. I’m forced to watch and re-go through real trauma that’s happened and new ones, like watching the death of loved ones over and over in ever different ways, re-live real deaths, it reminds me of a series called Tinman (2007) a spin-off from The Wizard of Oz in which the evil Queen murders his family and then traps him in a tiny box just big enough for his body where he’s forced to watch it over and over again until he dies unable to do anything about it. Most of the time I feel like a woman dragged off the street by a gang and kept alive just enough tied up and beaten for them to keep her as a rape toy for as long as they can. The list goes on – some of which is HERE and added to the list of chronic pains I already developed over life such as problems with my bones, legs/hip and back. The discomfort of this puts so much stress on my body and medication makes that even worse including increased cardiovascular risk. There’s a lot of pressure on my bladder and egestion, the way I have to move constantly and hold myself doesn’t help, add to that the anxiety and constant indigestion means that I’m constantly needing to go to the bathroom which makes the whole situation worse, as soon as I feel the need the voices get even worse and want to rape more viciously and unlike anyone else who can get on with things until they have to go, the second I know that I’ll need to go soon I have to go because they get so rabid so quickly. Tonight I did my best to enjoy myself but the degrading commentary, feeling, visions are a constant battle, I’m constantly in a war within myself and I almost felt like I was going to soil myself on the walk home. The last time that happened another character ‘William’ showed up after a long time and mocked me. Humiliation, shame and ‘punishment’ figure a lot and then they tell you that they love you.

Despite all this I do my absolute best to keep trying to do normal things when I can afford them. I try to laugh which I’ve managed again because I couldn’t for a long time after my face froze three times since last August, I still can’t cry but to be honest I don’t want to work on that.

This happened recently when the voices got rabid and I was on a potholed ridden street; I fell, skidded and landed badly:

Even with all of this happening to me all of the time and tonight I still knew exactly how each act would play out and when, I knew when they would do what and how long each would last though I’d never seen them before. I’ve always been able to do this but the ‘voices’ didn’t believe me and now they do but obviously I can’t estimate anywhere near as well as I used to before they came along. I have a lot of memory loss and lost the knack/developed instincts of many things/subjects. It’s nice to know I still have something of myself left but that’s little comfort when you have to be forever vigilant and as soon as the second you calm/get tired comes along it gets worse; the walk home in the dark, empty streets in the pouring rain on those rough pavements was particularly trying with them shouting at me, thankfully I managed not to let them drown out all the other sounds and not get run over (almost got hit by a bus some months back).

Watching these amazing people reminds me that many successful athletes and performers and overpaid and pampered in comparison; these people are on the road constantly, sometimes live on it and take part in almost every aspect from ticket taking, meeting/greeting, selling merchandise/food to putting the tent and equipment together. There’s no airs and graces, autographs nor paying to see them individually; they will at one moment perform and the next be selling knick knacks and hotdogs throughout the crowd. These are real workers.

Burkinis – Attitudes towards them are extreme like wearing a niqab, burka or chador…

Or having to cover your head as many people and mostly females of many cultures do worldwide.

From one extreme to another:

I don’t actually mind burkinis, I really like them. I’m not religious or faithful to one culture but I have always had an issue with ‘modesty’ or ‘dressing appropriately for the situation’ (so that doesn’t always mean ‘modest’ because I ‘dress up’ too) and the weather. I personally don’t like revealing all or being too revealing. It’s usually two body parts (face and hands, and I often wear a hat and sometimes gloves even lace Summer gloves anyway) – I’m strange, I both like and dislike the sun, I think I’m partly Goth. My point is that I’ve always had a problem with swimwear; to me it’s just like going out in your underwear especially bikinis and they just get skimpier and skimpier. Waterproof underwear but still underwear, tankinis and two-pieces with shorts i.e. hot pants, or a tiny frill on a one-piece don’t help – they’re just like tokenism to ‘modesty’ and are more like ‘being girly’. It’s not my thing and I hate the hair removal process that goes with baring any skin for a female as well which if you don’t do you’re subject to additional public shame and humiliation. Somehow body hair on a female = dirty and an inability to be clean unlike men who can supposedly stay cleaner than us.

So over the years I’ve researched burkinis and found I like them as an alternative to normal Western swimwear. They do remind me a little of Victorian swimwear but they’re waterproof and a bit like wetsuits without being as heavy, however attitudes towards them are very Victorian. For example:


Brit tourists in burkinis made to do humiliating walk of shame out of Algarve pool as swimwear deemed ‘not acceptable for pool’

[Written by] Danya Bazaraa

Maryya Dean and her sister-in-law Hina claim they were told they could not wear their burkinis in the swimming pool while on holiday in Albufeira, Portugal.

They say they were told they ‘must wear a bikini to follow Portuguese culture’, during the incident on July 21 that left them horrified.

The family members were also outraged after a maintenance worker at the pool allegedly made Maryya’s nine-year-old daughter stand up to provide an example of what they should be wearing – a regular swimming costume.

Marrya, who suffers with bipolar disorder, says the week-long trip was supposed to be a getaway for her – but they were all affected by what happened.

They had booked a private apartment which had a pool shared with other flats in the complex.

Maryya, who was on holiday with her four children plus her sister-in-law and other relatives, told the Mirror Online: “Given my cultural background I was wearing a burkini.

“I was approached by the building security manager as someone made a complaint that I was not wearing a bikini and therefore not appropriate to be in the pool.

“I was compared to my nine-year-old daughter who was told to stand up out of the pool to see what she was wearing which I found completely rude – I was told I should wear that to swim.

“I was not allowed to wear swimming gear that I am comfortable in and that was actually made for women like me to wear.”

She said she asked the worker to point to a sign which said only bikinis could be worn, but there were no signs in sight. Maryya, 36, from Chessington, added: “The man then started making cultural references and said that Portuguese people wear bikinis and so should we.

“We were embarrassed as we came out of the pool with with four children and people were watching us like we’d committed a crime.”

Marrya’s sister in law, Hina, 31, was also in the pool wearing a ‘covered swim suit’.

The pair of them were not wearing full burkinis.

Hina described her swim suit as three quarter length leggings with a top which had sleeves down to her elbows, but it was water proof and designed for use in a pool.

She said Marrya’s was a regular swimming suit that also came with three quarter length ‘leggings,’ made for the water.

The kids were all in regular swim wear.

Hina said she spotted a gentleman speaking to Maryya’s younger sister, who was sat on a sun lounger at the time.

She claims he was pointing and said it was apparent there was an issue.

Hina went over to see hear what the problem was, as she said it was intimidating being pointed at.

She heard from the member of the maintenance team that they had received a complaint from a resident about them using the pool.

Hina said: “He said it wasn’t possible for me to be in the pool with clothes on, and said I must wear a bikini.

“We told him it was swimwear but he said ‘you have to wear a bikini or shorts. In Portuguese culture, it’s not acceptable.’ He said we had to abide by Portuguese culture if we were in the country.

“We told him we didn’t wear bikinis because we weren’t comfortable in them. It was a confidence thing.

“But he kept repeating ‘you have to wear a bikini’. We were feeling really humiliated.”

Hina said they wore more modest swimsuits for a mix of reasons – religious, cultural, confidence and comfort.

The sisters-in-law said they were the only family using the pool at the time but that people watched the incident from their balconies and they said it was “embarrassing”.

Maryya said they didn’t feel they could use the pool for the rest of their holiday after what happened, despite it being “baking hot”.

She said: “I keep thinking about it. We had to do a ‘walk of shame’ back to the apartment, it was disgusting.”

Firstly it’s just some man not even a lifeguard complaining about them, secondly he’s telling them they have to wear a bikini or shorts like he tells women what to wear, and thirdly he acts like he doesn’t even know what a one-piece if – why a bikini? Men wear t-shirts and/or proper shorts all the time on the beach or a proper shorts and/or a vest in pools. They have the choice to wear more risqué pieces but they have the choice.

I’d wear a burkini and I don’t give a damn, but then I usually wear a leotard with full sleeves and proper shorts in pools anyway (not that I like public pools and chlorine) or full lycra leggings (or shorts with a sarong) on a beach and people have not harassed me yet. That said I’ve not bothered with hair removal at times either. I still get compliments like “little mermaid” even though I’m more obviously dressed for aerobics than swimming but lycra is waterproof and people better not start with me.

Note – not all burkinis have a head covering and I’d think many Western women would find them cute too:

Either way, they look like and are sportswear and if women who wear them don’t mind or at least don’t ban or put down women who wear practically nothing as normal then why should we mind them being ‘decent’ as normal?

We’re finally used to seeing pregnant women on beaches (Madonna being the first obvious public example which sparked a trend years ago, though she has always been an extreme trailblazer in sexuality and gender politics – and I’m not a fan) and in clothing that isn’t too different in style from what they’d normally wear, we’re getting used to breastfeeding women (gawd we do sound backwards as a species don’t we) so why do we have to fight so much about what women wear to swim? As long as they’re not likely to drown (t-shirts banned in some places because of the way they swell in water) what’s the problem? We still see barely any clothing on women in tennis, figure skating or gymnastics for example and I remember judges looking down on me for wearing shorts in gym competitions because everyone else would wear leotards only including low cut, high leg ones even though we were children whilst the boys were allowed shorts and leggings – what is the bloody problem in dressing comfortably? I’ve seen volleyball playing with sticky tape on their arses (kinesiology) for crying out loud – just wear shorts they’ll give you support and don’t act like women’s volleyball and much of women’s televised and most popular sports aren’t about ‘the babes’.

Also remember that not all religious or very culturally minded women wear these and probably never will, many wear regular Western style swimwear and are fine with that and that’s their business but for some of these women if it wasn’t for swimwear like burkinis they wouldn’t be able to go in the water or to a beach at all.