Day 7: Physical Discomfort

Yesterday was day 7 and my final challenge. I chose to do physical discomfort. I am someone who likes to be seen as fashionable. I want people to thing that I have a good fashion sense and always dress well. For this challenge I chose to go against that and wear my clothing backwards. This would make me feel uncomfortable due to my previous statement, as well as the actual physical feelings which are caused from wearing clothes the wrong way around.

On Oxford University Press, Rebecca Arnold speaks about why people follow fashion trends. One of these reasons was that people want to be a part of something which is recognisable, to have an identity. This is a similar reason to why I like fashion so much. I want to be seen in a way that depicts the person that I am and the way that I dress should give an indication to who I am and what types of people I situate myself with.

When I first put on my clothes for the day, I felt extremely uncomfortable. My underpants felt tight, as they have been made to be worn in a specific way, and the tag on my shirt wast tickling my neck. My belt was really hard to put on because I could not see exactly what I was doing when fastening it at the back.

When separate family members saw me they automatically told me that my shirt was on backwards. They hadn’t realised that everything was on backwards, until I turned around and they saw my belt. At this point they either laughed or asked me what I was doing.

Going to the bathroom was really unusual and time-consuming because I am not used to undoing my belt from behind or putting it on. I didn’t enjoy that at all, especially when I was desperate and needed to undo my belt quickly. I also didn’t like sitting down on the couch because I could feel my belt buckle digging into my back.

I almost dropped my phone quite a few times because putting things into my pockets was different. I had to angle my hand backwards instead of comfortably forwards to put things in my pockets. By late afternoon I had gotten used to it though and I wasn’t almost dropping things.

Overall the day was frustrating and put me in a bad mood because I was always uncomfortable doing things that I would usually do comfortably. I am glad that it is over and I can wear my clothes normally again.

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Day 6: The Other and the Unfamiliar

The challenge topic that I chose for day 6 was the other and the unfamiliar. In my family and just in general, I have observed and realised that many men are selfish. I am not someone who would like to be seen in this way because it is a negative aspect to have. Well I see it as a negative aspect. I am brutally honest and people often mistake that for being selfish due to some things coming across as rude, but I am not selfish.

On Know Myself, M. Radwan talks about the reasons which cause people to be selfish. One of these reasons is that the people are afraid of losing control of their lives. This, I realised, is one of the reasons why my cousin is selfish. He doesn’t have complete control with his career and wanted to be somewhere else. Being selfish is his way of taking control of something.

During the day I did things which I would not usually do. This included walking through a doorway first, when someone was clearly supposed to be before me, and doing whatever I wanted to do no matter how disrespectful. I wore a sign which said “ME FIRST”, but not everyone understood it, which made the reactions more realistic than if I clearly said “I am being selfish today”.

For my first lecture, I stayed on my phone and did not take part in anything properly because I didn’t feel like doing those activities. Then, at another point in the lecture, the lecturer said: “If you want to take part and listen in the lecture that’s good. If not then you can leave.” Since I did not particularly want to be in the lecture at that moment, I left. This was out of character for me because I would not usually be so disrespectful.

For the next lecture I spoke mostly about myself and only wanted people to help with my work, when I wouldn’t help them with theirs.

As for the way I felt when I was being selfish, it was not a positive feeling. I became angry over unnecessary things because I wanted them to be done my way, or I wanted to do something else and was not always able to. When I tried, the conflict which was caused with others, such as someone walking through a door and getting upset when I pushed through first, made me feel angry too because they got upset with me.

Now that I am back to myself I am going to have to explain to people why I was acting the way I was, and apologise if I offended them. The day was fun while it lasted but I wouldn’t do it again because it ultimately put me in a bad mood. I am glad to be back to the way I usually am.

Day 5: Gender, sexuality and body politics

So yesterday was day 5 and I chose “gender” as my challenge topic. I have grown up with mostly girls in my family. This has caused me to understand them more, although I have not achieved a full understanding with regards to how it feels performing some of the rituals which they perform, such as putting makeup on. This is because I have never worn makeup for an entire day for purposes other than school plays or performances. To achieve this physical feeling I decided to wear makeup for an entire day, as well as apply it myself. This was to discover how girls managed their time in the mornings before doing daily activities as well.

On The GuardianRhiannon Lucy Cosslett speaks about the different reasons why girls wear makeup. This is something, although living with girls, I have always wondered. I have often thought about how there really is no need, apart from the odd occasion or a small amount to be applied, for the use of makeup. Although some may see it as attractive, I have always liked to see people’s faces as they are naturally. Cosslett’s one point is that girls often wear makeup only because they like to, and not to impress anyone. After this challenge I do understand why women would want to wear some makeup but still stand by my previous opinion that only a small amount should be used.

The day was not bad. I got up in the morning and did what I usually do. I then applied the makeup quickly and efficiently (quite well I must admit) and left for university. On the way to Vega was unusual because I was not sure what the reaction from others would be and was nervous that I would not like those reactions. They were normal at first. No one really noticed me. But further along into my drive when I had gotten used to the makeup a bit more and was sitting in traffic, a taxi started hooting for my attention from next to me. The one man in the taxi started blowing kisses and there were people laughing and looking in confusion. I didn’t take it badly, I just laughed and waved and thought of it as amusing.

At university, most people stopped when they saw me, realised it was obviously for the project, and then laughed. This was the most common reaction. Others said I looked fabulous or beautiful. The girls were the most shocked when I told them that I applied the makeup myself and some even said that they would be jealous if I was a girl and that I do my makeup better than they can. I even tied my hair up at one point but then released it a few hours later because I had to give the elastic band back.

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The drive home wasn’t bad nothing interesting happened and no one really looked at me in confusion or blew kisses at me.

The experience was enjoyable and, after the whole thing, I do understand why girls wear makeup. Were it not seen as unusual, I probably would wear a bit of mascara and maybe eyeliner to make my eyes stand out more. But that is where my makeup use would end. I had fun and I enjoyed this challenge the most so far.

Day 4: Routines and Rituals

Yesterday was day 4 of my challenges. For this challenge I chose to do routines and rituals. I am someone who likes to stay organised when it comes to my work, and so I decided to take nothing to university, which I was able to work on or in (books or laptop).

In Writing and Remembering, D. Wax explains that, by writing something down, we are able to “trick” the brain into actually thinking that it is doing that thing, through visualization. Writing things down strengthens the process by which important information is stored in our memories.

The day which I did this was not difficult. I didn’t have much to worry about and didn’t have to stress about writing everything down. What was difficult, was trying to concentrate in lectures; since there was nothing that I was trying to record. This didn’t frustrate me at all at the time but when I thought about the information which was being delivered to us, I became stressed about whether I would be able to get the information at a later stage.

The consequences to my lack of action have proceeded into today and will proceed into following days until I receive all the recorded information which was delivered to the students. This is due to not having the information and, now, having to get it in my own time, from other students who actually did write it down.

The overall feeling during the challenge was not a problem because I did not think about what I wasn’t doing. The frustration has, as I mentioned before, come post-challenge. I have discovered that I do rely on writing things down, more than I expected.