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  • nothing has changed

    By Jyrylle Penarroyo I wrung my hands in the sun, settling in the impermanence of the evening’s promise. To surrender within the antonym of loss —there I will sit, waiting for tomorrow. Beneath the solstice, I seek for one last breath that the wind I face is one full of reverence. Do I muster up the courage to fall into April waters, knowing that I am but the same in a world swayed by torpid currents. Nothing has changed, until one brighter day where the orchids sing once more of it’s undying grace.

  • How GUTS (spilled) has helped my journey of healing and growth

    The album is a rollercoaster of emotions that continues her story of love, loss, and self-discovery By Jillian Gonzales GUTS by Olivia Rodrigo dropped in Sept. 2023 and recently dropped the deluxe version, GUTS (spilled). The original version was too good and the songs added to the deluxe elevate the album even more. At just 21 years old, the former Disney actress is now on her Guts Tour around the world in sold-out stadiums because her music strikes a chord with so many people. Rodrigo has a way of writing songs that perfectly articulate complex feelings and still sound so beautiful. What sets this new album apart from her debut album SOUR, is the genre she has found her place in. Her combination of angsty pop and ballads has listeners going from jumping up and down screaming her lyrics to sitting on the floor weeping and really, what else could you possibly ask for in an album? One of my favourite songs on the GUTS (spilled) has to be “so american” because of how she describes the feeling of being in love with someone who sees you for who you are. As the closing track of the deluxe, Rodrigo demonstrates a whirlwind of emotions, opening with “all-american bitch” which speaks to the constant feeling of wanting to fit in and trying to meet unattainable societal standards. “So american” closes the album by explaining the feeling of finding comfort with yourself and being in a relationship after building this peace with yourself. In the first verse she sings “Feet on the dashboard, he's like a poem I wish I wrote” which stands out because she is expressing a feeling of gratitude for being with someone you could not even imagine yourself with. This song is so liberating because I can relate to feeling defeated after so many failed attempts at finding love and starting to look down on myself but after finding the strength to focus on myself, love found me when I was ready. As one of Rodrigo’s few love songs, it is such a happy and exciting song which mirrors the feelings of accepting love after so many heartbreaks. “stranger,” the second last song on the deluxe is also such a great addition because coming before “so american,” she sings about the healing journey coming out of a relationship and slowly finding peace within yourself. This song strikes a chord with me because you can feel so sure that someone will be yours forever but when they are gone, it’s scary to think of them as a stranger. The folksy-sounding song is so light and airy, like the feeling of getting over someone from your past and the weight that is released. She opens the song by singing “I woke up this mornin' and I sat up straight in bed / I had the strangest feeling of this weight off of my chest / I hadn't felt that hopeful since the day that you left,” and she describes the feeling of the realization of being freed from a feeling that has kept you down for so long. In the chorus, she sings “You're just a stranger I know everything about,” which explains how even though this person is no longer in your life, you did once share parts of yourselves but now they will just be a stranger and that’s okay. These songs added to the deluxe are so refreshing describing the feelings of love and finding closure within yourself. Rodrigo does have her fair share of sad songs like “lacy” that speak on the feelings of inferiority and the comparisons one can find themselves in. As Genius describes the song, “Rodrigo embraces her inferiority complex by personifying the beauty of women she’s intimidated by in this “Lacy” character [...] Rodrigo succumbs to her habit of comparing herself to other women to an extent so extreme that it seems like a crippling romantic obsession.” What makes this song so great is that it is relatable in how she describes the obsession – the love for Lacy but also hating her for the control she has. It is such a complicated relationship with oneself and Lacy that Rodrigo sings about but also comforting as it makes us feel seen for not having these feelings alone. “teenage dream” continues to be a song that stands out from the album because of how Rodrigo describes growing up. The journey of adulthood is really hard for so many reasons and one of them is realizing that you’re going through it. The song speaks about mourning the loss of youth and taking control of your life. The chorus sings “I'll blow out the candles, happy birthday to me / Got your whole life ahead of you, you're only nineteen /  But I fear that they already got all the best parts of me / And I'm sorry that I couldn't always be your teenage dream.” These lyrics reflect on the feeling of going through another birthday, reaching a new age and chapter, and coming to terms with the fact that there are still so many years ahead yet it feels like the best years have passed but also so much you wished to achieve. For me, entering my 20s was hard and confusing – to some, I’m still a baby and have so much left to live but for me, I am facing the world on my terms. This can be liberating but it is also really scary trying to live up to my teenage expectations. “​girl i’ve always been” is an addition to the deluxe that also strikes a chord because of how it takes a different perspective on growing up. Change is inevitable and that can be a scary thought but when someone else points out a change in you, it’s even worse. When Rodrigo sings “But I am the girl I've always been / I got wrapped up in the game again,” she articulates the complexity of getting caught up in life and becoming a seemingly new person but still grounded in the person you always have been. Growing up means discovering new things and people but that does not need to be a bad thing. At first listen, this song sounds like it is related to a romantic partner but the more times it's played, it can relate to others who have an opinion on your change. It’s okay to change and as she says, “So don't say that I've been actin' different / I'm nothin' if I'm not consistent.” Overall, this album is so healing for several reasons. Rodrigo writes her songs as if she is telling a story about growing up, the trials and tribulations of various relationships, and finding peace within yourself. The additional five songs to GUTS (spilled) continue the stories she is telling in the original version of the album to close one chapter and set up a new hopeful story.

  • The Unwavering Thoughts of a Muslim in Media

    My reflection as a creative on International Muslim Women’s Day By Sania Ali Much like the difficulty of holding hot coals in your hands, the Prophet (pbuh) said that there will come a time when holding onto your faith mimics this exact struggle. Muslim Women’s Day is a day of celebration. It’s a day to put aside the political, personal, and social views society may hold of Muslim women and celebrate them for who they are. Despite the external and internal battles Muslim women fight at the hands of western society, they continue to be resilient and hold onto their faith in times of hardship. Muslim Women’s Day is a day to reflect, to share, and to find solitude in the unity our religion brings us. As a Muslim woman set to graduate with a journalism degree this semester, I knew my journey in the pursuit of media as a visible minority would not be one free of hurdles. I vividly remember sitting down with my dad months before my undergrad began to have him share his genuine concerns on whether my hijab would stunt my capability to succeed in journalism. I dismissed these concerns, hoping my love for speaking and standing on what I believe is one that would excel me in journalism and take away the focus from any preconceived notions an individual may find in me. From the weather all the way to the outfits we wear, nothing is constant and my love for being a visible Muslim often varies. The most difficult part having to beat the stereotypical persona of visible Muslims being shy and conservative, which has never been a reflection of who I am. Usually, during the third conversation I have with someone, they mention “You aren’t who I thought you’d be.” In the midst of my four years of undergrad, I heavily pursued media and broadcast and found myself in front of the camera consistently. With this, I consistently trained myself to expect comments from individuals having an opinion about my hijab and the way I wore it. Although at the beginning I would obsess over the opinion strangers online had of me, over time I felt desensitized to it. It was difficult to know that no matter how much representation Muslim women could get, there will still be people who have their own biases and preconceived notions no matter what comes out of our mouths. I found while working towards this degree that to some extent, my dad was right. I would have often noticed that I was the only hijabi in the room. This would lead to feeling the pressure to be louder and speak more, not only to be heard but simply to be seen. I always believed that I would create space for myself in areas that are not diverse, but through my time as a hijabi, I believe that space should be created for me. I should feel welcome in the areas I take space in and it shouldn’t be a consistent concern I hold for myself. As time went on, I stopped entertaining spaces and people that made me feel like I had to overcompensate just to avoid fitting a specific mold. I pursued personal projects that fulfilled me and gave me the creative freedom and comfort to create professional experiences I knew would benefit me in the industry. It brings a strange comfort to know I’m not alone in my experience of building my career as a hijabi. The concerns I hold unfortunately are shared amongst Muslim creatives who are navigating an industry that is not created with us in mind, in hopes that we will achieve something beyond performative and selective diversity, we persevere. That being said, as time goes on Muslim women are finding ways to reflect their creativity in their own versatile ways. Representation is not only reflected through mainstream media but it is found in self-started businesses, in Muslim-led podcasts, Muslim creatives and in the women who walk the streets. Representation is the breath of relief a Muslim woman feels when she sees someone like her in a room that lacks diversity. Representation is when your non-Muslim manager sets up a prayer space for you because the last intern was Muslim too. As a media community, we view representation as the end goal, when it should be a way of life. On this day, I reflect on the ways I’ve grown in the last four years of my degree. In the way I struggle to hold on to my faith but I inevitably do. In many ways, Muslim women, specifically visible, are set up for failure by society, but I refuse to write that story for myself. As the Quran taught us, “Surely with hardship comes ease” (94:5). On this day, a day that is meant only for Muslim women, we reflect on the journey it took to get there.

  • Freezing Is so Last Season: A ‘winter Fashion Lookbook’ to Combat the Chillest Time of Year

    Being warm has never looked so ‘COOL’ Words and Photo by Sarah Bauly When the bitter cold & snowy weather falls back into the forecast, the dreaded heavy coats and aged mittens come out of storage. Yet, whoever said we had to settle for less style during Canada’s chillest time of year? To bid farewell to the season, we hit the streets of Toronto to scout the most fashion-forward individuals eager to hear their cold weather attire inspiration and trends do’s and don’ts. From the sleekness of leather coats to the coziest oversized earmuffs, we got you covered–literally! Second-year journalism student Semi Wonster was spotted outside Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)’s Student Learning Centre sporting a cozy fleece sweatsuit, perfect for those winter midterm study sessions. Wonster shows us that a simple outfit can be easily enhanced and brought to new heights by adding a bit of bling. Wonster draws on her fashion inspiration from YouTuber Koleen Diaz and has a major love for all things jewellery. “I love jewellery and accessories because it can make a simple or lazy outfit look more put together,” says Wonster. In discussing winter fashion trends, Wonster shared that her favourite one is a big oversized scarf that can act as a balaclava. While her least favourite was the controversial and widely debated “cuffed pants." "It's not necessarily a winter trend but I do not like cuffed pants…. it could be cargo pants or sweatpants - if it’s cuffed I do not appreciate it,” Wonster emphasized. Strolling down Gould Street, we stumbled upon journalism student Sara Belas who was dressed to impress for a date at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Belas truly brought ‘green goodness’ to our winter blues with this bright, fun and thrifted fit. Her inspiration stems from her mother and grandmother with most of her wardrobe coming straight from their closets. Belas explains that she centres her outfits around a specific statement piece and colour. “Today I gravitated towards the colour scheme for the outfit more and wanted to do something that would complement the green tights I was wearing,” says Belas. Contrary to Wonster, Belas is not a fan of the wintry trend balaclavas but favours the beloved 80s classic leg warmers and insists her staple accessory this winter is a pair of gloves. While en route for our afternoon coffee break at Balzac’s, we met with TMU’s architecture student Melina Elefteriadis. Dressed in her mother’s  Danier vintage suede sherpa coat, oversized black earmuffs and knee-high boots Elefteriadis brings an elegant and sleek side to mid-late 90s and early 2000s fashion. “While Y2K fashion is super trendy right now I definitely gravitate towards less flashy and more subdued colour palettes and natural textures,” says Elefteriadis. Her inspiration is drawn from various shows and movies of that era, especially the iconic & Carrie Bradshaw-approved Sex in the City. Elefteriadis voiced that long denim skirts have captured her attention this snowy season. “It’s such a good way to make winter outfits more interesting while also staying warm… they are visible under a big coat so you can still show off part of your outfit,” says Elefteriadis. In terms of fashion “don’ts”, brightly coloured moon boots are at the top of Elefteriadi's least favourite list as she says they tend to go out of style quickly. Grabbing a quick caffeinated treat with friend Elefteriadi, architecture student Alexia Mere also caught up with us to share her fashion favourites. Mere gives us major “BRATZ” doll energy in the best way possible with her styling racer jacket and Y2K-aesthetic sunnies. Mere’s fashion icon consists of Swedish model Elsa Hosk who she believes effortlessly and tastefully includes statement pieces into her looks. Deep into our discussion of fashion trends, Mere shared her love for fur accessories and jackets while surprising us with her least favourite trend. “Don’t hate me but platform mini uggs,” says Mere. We could never hate you, Alexia! Ugg lovers everywhere close your eyes. On a shockingly sunshine-filled walk through Kerr Hall’s Quad,  journalism student Isabella Soares Felippe spoke with us about her clothing insights. Modelling her favourite oversized grey trench coat and keeping her fashion icon Sofia Richie Grainge in mind, Soares Felippe perfectly fuses business and casual attire. “I wore a black gym jumpsuit underneath my grey coat, and despite these two clothing items being entirely different in terms of style, they do complement each other…I learned that through Selling Sunset,” jokes Soares Felippe. She shares that a nice-looking coat is a must-have essential this season and that she will occasionally up her accessory game by adding a Parisian beret into the mix.  Magnifique! Third-year journalism student Yanika Saluja poses in a classic black blazer, white mini skirt and chilly day must-have sheer tights. Saluja shares that her goal for this outfit was to achieve a chic and professional look with her style icon being her younger cousin who is currently pursuing fashion. “She sends me her designs daily so I look at those and get inspired by them,” says Saluja. On the topic of trendsetting, Saluja revealed that her least favourite trend she’s seen this winter is leggings being worn under denim shorts. “Under a skirt, it looks amazing but wearing it under shorts completely ruins the look,” explains Saluja. She ended off by letting us know she can’t leave the house without her favourite black beanie. After hours of scouting for the best dressed on campus, there’s no question that TMU brings the heat to Canada’s bitter cold temperatures with the best outfits, accessories and style-worthy looks. New Wave Magazine’s ‘Winter Fashion Lookbook’ is a guide and collection to inspire your next outfit for future wintry days to come.

  • “I Love You Too”

    By: Emma O’Connor “I Love You Too” is for my father who ended his life in the Spring of 2018. This sonnet is written in the Shakespearean style; iambic pentameter and rhyming structure. Some of the feelings I have felt throughout the years are reflected in this sonnet. What could I have said to have made you stay? “The lawn’s not cut and I don’t know how,” or Maybe “I love you too” and not just “okay.” Would it have helped if I had just been more? Why would you go and leave me all alone? Did you think of your parents or your wife? You chose your last words; said over the phone. How are we supposed to go on with life? I think of you in Spring, and then in Fall. I see you in starlight; that haunting shine. I think as I sob at least, after all, I have your eyes, the ones which last chose mine. I hope where you are is all that you dreamed. Now I know things are not what they once seemed.

  • A Ruby Pearl

    By: Kyana Alvarez Hello you, It's been a month since your charity saved me And allowed me to live free. Your sweet kindness liberates from her and bounds to him, And I've never been happier than when I'm in the gloomy dim. A month since she turned from a drooping tulip into a raging wildfire A month since I've grown ever higher Since I descended into the dark land Since I snatched at your extended hand. Because you told me you did not know My story, to you I will show. My life before was quite bland. Idle days of drifting from petal to petal Both untamed and on a tight leash of metal Even while roaming planets of meadows, I constantly felt her stifling bellows Flexing iron fingers around my throat And hearing her suffocating gloats. I was no more than a flowering prize That, despite the sun, could only shrink in size. Her watchful eyes were iron chains enclosing my wrists Turning my verdant skin crimson with every twist They dragged and yanked me back to her Not even caring if I concurred She waterboards me with her "love" Always drowning her "precious dove" Then, the lush green gave way And I fell out of the world of day To the cool, calm world of shades With shining emeralds and glittering jades He offered me metal cutters And I eagerly threw her "love" to the gutter It clanged and echoed as I took my first true breath In the land of dark, cool, never-ending death. Again: free, untamed and open on a planet of meadows But this time, I felt brilliant, luminous, alive: truly mellow But his love, a cloud that lifts me high Permanently sealed our lives' ties. He then introduced me to you And you shone and glowed when you saw us two Glittering sweet and red like ruby rings You named me a worthy partner for your king My salvation and deliverance in a simple band And it was ultimately my choice to join our hands. I ignored you for weeks But couldn't resist those small peeks As I stilled and stalled my sentence, Terrified of my ascendance. But you called and reached for me And turned into a desperate plea Your voice flowed over fields and wrapped in ambrosial embrace And finally, the shadows became my one true place. In the dark shadows, I laughed bright Because with him and you, everything is right. Then her rich wrath pierced through the gloom And she promised him certain doom She ignored your small, unassuming state And didn't realize you were to change my fate. Her shackles reached and grabbed hold And then my new life turned cold I grabbed and clawed at the cold black ground As she dragged me back to the bright "homebound" I finally looked to you And in my glittering eyes, you knew Unfurling a hand offered to me: "Just a piece" for my eternal glee. You shed your soft armour to reveal the true charmer: A simple pearl of ruby glowed Would determine my real home abode. So now that we’ve set up everything I thank you for making the Goddess of Spring. I'll now respect your anonymity, I owe you my love, my life, my freedom. From your darling Persephone.

  • I Got Bored and Wrote An (Oxford) Essay For Fun

    By: Saskia Wodarczak Ah, Oxford… ranked the best university in the world and is without a doubt one of the most prestigious. Not to mention that it is home to some of the most exquisite architecture ever – if you haven’t seen photos, then you must really love that rock you’ve been living under. In a stereotypical English major student fashion, I aspire to attend Oxford. It doesn’t get more satisfyingly ironic than obtaining a degree in English in England, and at Oxford for that matter, and I’d accept that offer with alacrity, no questions asked. Now as a Canadian, I also look at the international fee attached to attend such a school, and wonder why Canadians have to pay international fees if we’re such a very valued member of the British Commonwealth; why aren’t we considered domestic? And before you attack me, I know why I’d have to pay the international fee and why Canada would not be considered domestic… just… let an English student dream. Every year in October, like clockwork, I get the impulse to apply to Oxford, and always get as far as looking wistfully at their “How To Apply” page. My need for academic validation makes me think I’ll get in. Who knows, I might. But if I do actually hypothetically get accepted, what would I do? I know for sure that my academic validation will be fully validated until the day I die – hey if I can get into Oxford, my brain and I are pretty much good to go. Please note that I never actually click the button to apply. Clearly, I’ve got great self-discipline. We all know that Oxford Colleges are all very, very, competitive institutions to receive an offer of admission from. However, Oxford’s All Souls College is said to have the most intense and hardest entrance examination, anywhere. For a bit of context, All Souls College is sort of like a masters programme; it’s only open to people already with an undergraduate degree, and those who wish to join must sit in on a set of exams. However, All Souls only admits two candidates a year, but the successful candidates get many benefits, including tuition and accommodation fully paid, and an annual stipend. The exam in and of itself is written over a 12 hour period, and candidates first sit through Subject Papers pertaining to seven different studies: Classics, Economics, Politics, English, Law, History, or Philosophy – you choose from a series of questions relating to what your undergrad subject was. From there comes the General Paper, targeting the rational argument skills in any area, usually being in an unfamiliar category that is open to interpretation. The last set of essays actually got removed; initially, candidates were to write “The One Word Essay” which was based on a single word given. Imagine, writing an essay about one word – even I couldn’t do that, and I have a lot to say about everything. Finally, the candidates that are successful are roped back for a viva, and are questioned about their answers by a group of no more than 50, “fellows,” – and if the answers are up to par, then you’ve aced the exam and now have a great subject for small talk. For a bit of context, I’m currently in a Co-op work term; my weekdays end at five in the evening, and my weekends are free. I have a whole lot of time and not enough activities to fill that time. So naturally, I decided to challenge myself and attempt to write an essay worthy of snatching the golden ticket of admission to All Souls College at Oxford University. I will not lie; the questions in the subject areas of interest to me were a bit off-putting, especially in the way in which they were posed. This made me question my entire education up to this point, and I immediately felt like a nonentity. Some were brilliant and others were absolutely cretinous. A few personal favourites, in no particular subject area, include: Should we colonise Mars? Defend whaling. Should we bring back woolly mammoths from the dead? Are there any unanswerable questions? ‘Blah blah blah get married’. Are English novels much more than this? Is nothing something? Is there such a thing as free will? Do adults have a right to be loved? Can a robot have a gender? How religious was the Scientific Revolution? As we can see, the questions are so simple, yet so complex. So witty, and so very direct. Take a wild guess at which question I wrote my essay on. That being said, it was a lot harder to write this essay simply because a lot of them are a yes or no – and then you’re to defend your answer. It’s good practice, improving upon syntax and structure, and by the time I’d finished writing my essay, I actually felt very accomplished; it’s well-researched and thought out, and will not be featured in this article (so if you wanted to read it, my sincerest apologies). The research aspect was strenuous, because there were a lot of opinions in regards to the question I chose, but very few were actually well-grounded and insightful. Hence, it made the research more lengthy, especially when I got so flabbergasted at the amount of idiodic opinions that I decided to stick to solely scholarly sources. Maybe in an alternate universe, I’ll attend Oxford. Maybe I already did. The dream, and my academic validation, still remain. I’m also content with just pretending I’m admitted to Oxford and tricking my brain into thinking the same. Embrace your delusions. Plus, these essays are keeping me in practice for my next study semester, and I also get to add them to my writing portfolio. Either way, it’s a win-win situation in my eyes. But if you ever need a good laugh, or even to challenge your writing capabilities, take a look at the essay topics for the All Souls College Entrance Examination – trust me, you’ll be humbled.

  • “To Luc”

    By: Emma O’Connor “To Luc” was written with my friend, who had recently lost their father, in mind. It is mostly a letter to my past self, but also a letter to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one; more specifically, lost a loved one to self-inflicted death. It briefly explains how the world will be and how life will progress as grief passes through. You’ve had your world crumble beneath your feet. For you, time stops, nothing feels real, and soon, Things you once loved will now seem incomplete. Blossoms can’t blossom, birds won’t sing in tune. To not seek help or let the sadness show, The choices made will seem to you unfair. You’ll feel you are at fault somehow but know; Life should have been worth living with you there. The pain won’t shrink, nor cease, despite the size, That space you hold your grief will grow with years. You’ll laugh, you’ll love, and you’ll learn to disguise, That gnawing ache that will bring you to tears. Tomorrows will hold exhausted clichés. So my promise is this; you’ll be okay.

  • I’m 20 Years Old and I’ve Never Had an Orgasm

    Embarrassment, insecurities, and the fear of not climaxing By: Bashair Ali I've entered my 20s and I have yet to experience the big O. That's right, an orgasm. Not only do I feel the pressure of living an extravagant, unapologetic, and roaring lifestyle, but I now get to enter the, 'best times of my life,' without knowing what an orgasm feels like. Before doubts and assumptions are made, yes, I've had sex. If you're wondering how many times and with whom, that's another story for another day. However, losing my virginity doesn't automatically include me in the statistic of heterosexual women orgasming during partnered sexual activity. According to Pleasure Better, only 65 per cent of heterosexual women orgasm during partnered sexual activity, versus 95 per cent of heterosexual men. Before suggestions of masturbation start to circulate in the reader's head, it hurts me to say that I'm afraid to test the waters. With my lack of personal outlets and the humiliation of admitting my secret until now, I’ve built a gray cloud following me. Fingers can be pointed at the sex partner(s) or me, but either way, this truth has haunted me for quite some time. I decided I had to be okay with never knowing the feeling — the feeling of your mind and body lost in a pool of irresistible sexual pleasure. The cherry on top is having a circle of experienced friends who know exactly what it takes to orgasm with a partner, or alone. It was inevitable that I would be left alone in my insecurity. Despite having had sex, I've never known the feeling of, "see[ing] stars [and] rainbows" or "a kettle with water boiling overflow," according to the Cut’s lineup of women sharing the sensation of an orgasm. After watching that video, a wave of embarrassment flooded my mind, and swallowed me whole. I grew extremely self-conscious, and constantly wondered what was wrong with me. Not a single woman could relate to me in not experiencing an orgasm. Myself, and the five to 10 per cent of women who haven’t orgasmed, would have definitely appreciated a woman in the video who responded with a, “no.” So like any other insecure, inexperienced, adolescent, I googled why I hadn't experienced an orgasm yet. I started by questioning my testosterone levels, which resulted in a mini panic attack due to Google's search results. Then, I self-diagnosed myself with anxiety and depression, soon to realize I didn't have the illnesses, thanks to Ontario's mental health-care system. I even concluded that I could potentially be asexual. Overall, I had my fair share of overzealous results. With Google being a failure, and men usually having no idea what to do with my body, I decided it was time to try something new. Masturbation. Yes, that means I googled how to masturbate, too. The idea of asking my conservative Muslim mother didn't appeal to me, so websites such as Healthline and Refinery29 would suffice for the time being, because after all, Allure did guarantee “an incredible orgasm.” Advice like purchasing a toy or setting the mood with candles, and even details about where one’s fingers should be placed, was explained in a playful manner. Yet I couldn't bring myself to do it. I feel this sense of sexual shame when thinking about masturbation — the idea that any sexuality outside of marriage is a wrongful act. That idea sadly stemmed in my brain. Sex, boys, and self-gratification, were not topics of conversation in my household growing up, and still aren’t. I don't have the privilege of going to my parents and discussing sexual problems. Instead, I was left with my confused thoughts, and wondered why some intimate experiences wouldn't meet my expectations, or how I don't feel comfortable touching myself. Since masturbation is crossed off the list, I finalized that men would be my last resort, even if there are some guaranteed bumps in the road. Since reading “Male Orgasm: Understanding the Male Climax,”I understand that orgasm experiences differ more among men than women. Women rely on the incorporation of different actions to reach a climax, which leads to a lesser result. That being said, is it too much to ask for them to understand the female body? Do they not understand how much of a requirement foreplay is? Do they even know where my clitoris is? In an interview with American men from all ages, Jimmy Kimmel proved the lack of knowledge that men have in regards to female human anatomy. Answers included the idea that women have two uteruses or one fallopian tube. If a man struggles to satisfy a woman, the solution is to ask — whether it's seeking assistance from a friend, picking up a book from your local library, searching it up online or communicating with your partner to see what they enjoy. However, one should be mindful that some women have no clue about what they are and aren't comfortable with behind closed doors. This can result in both partners learning and discovering together in unison. Unfortunately, that's not the scenario for most women, including me. I finally decided to talk about my disgustingly and mortifying secret with a partner I thought would be understanding. Having to explain that I was faking orgasms with him, along with 59 per cent of women in North America, was not the easiest thing to do. I understand the frustration and anger behind my confession, but I didn't expect our relationship to go downhill. A potential, "We'll figure it out together," or "What is it that you like?" would have been appreciated. Life is not a fairytale, and I had to accept that not all men are willing to trial and error what it takes for my body to climax, and honestly, that's okay. After that treacherous situation, I realized that the only person that could truly be understanding, patient and loving, is me. I witnessed a man that once worshiped the ground I walked on, grow sick after hearing my name, all because of not telling him he couldn't make me finish. In an embarrassing tone, I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that I am entering my 20s without knowing what an orgasm is like. Except, isn’t that the whole point of being in your 20s? Not the part about experiencing an orgasm, but the concept of trying new things, making mistakes, and being vulnerable. Whether the day is tomorrow or five years from now, it will happen when it happens, and I'll be sure to explain if it was worth the wait.

  • A Rant About Body Image

    It takes a very strong person to recognize, push through, and overcome that previous mindset By: Saskia Wodarczak ‘Body image’ is a term we hear so much these days. It’s how you feel about your body when you look in the mirror and how you picture your body in your mind. Every day, people all over the world, men and women alike, are influenced by others and society to try and better or to change their body to fit a certain standard. Let’s make one thing very clear: your body does not define your value or who you are. There are so many factors that influence body image, such as peers, family, the media, and even after school activities. Since this is a rant of sorts, we’re going to look at ballet really quickly for some more personal context. Bear with me here. I did ballet for around eleven years, and let me tell you - being a little girl in ballet takes a toll on how you see yourself. Ballerinas are swayed by society to believe that they must look a certain way. They’re shaped into an ideal, and are pressured to fit into a certain mould: slim, with a long neck, medium torso, and slender arms and legs. Many ballet dancers suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, as well as other eating disorders. All of that, just to fit into that box that we, as a society, have created. Ballerinas do what they can to fit that ideal, even if it means greatly lessening their nutritional intake to become that ideal. As a little girl in ballet, to some degree you’re striving to become a professional dancer some day. Starting in the second grade, at the age of around seven, I was being intensely moulded into an ideal that I didn't even know existed. Whenever I would come home from dance, I'd look at myself in the mirror and I’d think something along the lines of, “I’m really not the correct form to be a ballerina… I’m not skinny enough.” Right off the bat, that is not a good sign. I'd compare my body to those of the other girls in the class.They were all closer to the societal ideal, so why wasn't I? Was I doing something wrong? They were tall and willowy, with long necks, long arms, long legs, and slender figures. I, on the other hand, was, as Laura Ingalls Wilder said best: “as round and dumpy as a little French horse.” Obviously, genetics play a huge role in how one looks, but that didn’t compute to my younger self, and because of this mindset, the way I saw myself decreased dreadfully. I felt, and a lot of the time still feel, insecure in my own skin. It’s crazy that something that seems to be a harmless after-school activity for children can cause so many problems in the future. As young dancers, we were told certain things to maintain a certain standard, and Heaven forbid we broke that. Our minds were influenced at a young age, and what we were told then stuck with us, even into adulthood. Unfortunately, not all we were told is healthy, and it takes a very strong person to recognize, push through, and overcome that previous mindset. Circling back, a relevant example of a common beauty standard we see in the media includes the famous “thigh gap.” Apparently, having a thigh gap makes you more beautiful according to societal standards. The other common standard (which has also cropped up throughout history) is an hourglass figure — a small waist, wide hips, and a good sized bust. I’ve seen people try to change their figures to fit the standard. There’s workouts on YouTube literally called “hourglass workouts,” and not to say that I haven’t fallen in that trap, because I would be a hypocrite if I said I haven’t. But I did recognize that it was just another beauty standard and while it is a standard that my body fits naturally, I shouldn’t change my body to make myself fit that standard even more. Social media also plays a huge role in body image. You can argue with me and disagree with this written rant of mine, but bluntly, I think that social media is sometimes rather crass and quite possibly the most toxic thing for body image. Take from that what you will. I quit ballet just before the eighth grade, and it was a giant emotional, physical, and mental shock. Suddenly, there was no more ideal to fit, and I discovered that for the past eleven years, I'd been moulded into someone that wasn't even me. I was incredibly thin, and because I'd just started high school, I felt that I was too thin. I gained weight, then lost it, and went back to the ideal that had been pressed into me for over a decade. From there, it went up and down, and still to this day, it is incredibly difficult to find a healthy balance with exercise and a solid diet. Cut to today, almost seven years later. Going back to dance is definitely something that I have considered doing. However, I have learned that I must ensure that I recognize that it can become unhealthy quickly and that I need to look out for that. It is a fine line between being healthy in a balanced way, and tricking yourself into thinking you actually are. Now, overcoming a negative body image is a different beast altogether. I am a strong advocate for isolophilia — regrouping for myself, ensuring that there is no outside judgement, re-evaluating any obstacles or determining triggers as to why I might be feeling that foreboding sense of doom towards how I look. Truth is, there is no one way to overcome this mindset — it is very much a “to each their own” solution. If you came to this article hoping to find a solution, I’m very sorry that I can’t help more than by simply stating that you’re not alone. I get it; it’s a constant battle and a shift in mindset that might even go so far as to make you feel mutinous for a little while. However, once that hurrah dissipates, it’s still really hard to get out of a rut. With that example aside, body image in and of itself is both mental and emotional — the former being how we picture our bodies ideally, and the latter being how we feel about what we see. Naturally, what we see and how we feel about it go hand in hand. A healthy body image is being able to view yourself without wishing you could change something, and putting that wish into action for that reason and that reason alone. It is hard to determine whether you’re changing because you feel as though you have to,or because you want to for healthy reasons. At the end of the day, mindsets are hard to reset and once again, it takes a very, very, strong person to do so.

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