Who’s your Superhero?

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My kids play video games.  Not just my boys, but Annalise too.  I think it is interesting that most games are targeted for boys or girls.  I’d like to know the research that occurs for these creative decisions to take place.

Yes, some kids prefer games that allow creativity, some prefer strategy, some like the achievement of defeating the bad guy, but others can find competition too confronting…Anyway I digress.

Having brothers Anna is exposed to what might be traditionally seen as “boys” games.  Recently her and her brothers have been playing a Lego game that has super heroes in it.  Tonight we were chatting and she said she wanted a spidergirl costume.  She then described spidergirl’s attributes in detail.  She sounds very cool. Throwing firey spiderwebs and all that, but she wasn’t too keen on any of the other girl super hero characters.  She left it at that.

I then had a discussion with Ryan, 11.  Who is his favourite superhero? He doesn’t have one, he uses them all in the game, depending on the strength needed for the challenges (a strategist).  I asked how many girl heroes there were.  He said “Not many”.  I asked him why he thought that might be the case – he said that maybe people thought boys might be more “capable”.  I asked him what he thought of that.  He said “I don’t think it’s right”. No, me either.

Is it fair that males are seen as more “capable” and “stronger” even in the innocent world of imagination?  As an adult I am bombarded with images, music, advertising and stories of women that are less “capable” than men.  Selena Gomez on the radio, telling me about looking good for her man, to make him happy!

What message are we sending our girls? And our boys?

Even in this seemingly innocent game, my girl gets the message that to have the best superpowers you need to be a boy.

I was pleased with her choice of hero, (although as a sidekick to a male I have questions there too!) so I went on line to look at costumes.  Most choices revolved around tutus or skin tight latex- neither of which is fitting for my crime fighting nearly eight year old.

So now we are making our own superhero – one with the super powers of persuasion – I wonder whether she’ll use this for good or evil.  Perhaps she’ll use it to change some minds about what girls “should” like and what girls are “capable” of.

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Fate?

Do you believe in fate?

Tonight I watched “Sliding doors” for the first time since I saw it back in the nineties.  I had liked it then.  Now I see the faults.  The poor acting, the poor editing, the dated music… However the concept of parallel lives that end in the same fate through different paths, interests me. 

Do I think it possible?  I don’t think so.


Think about the people around you that mean the most.  Those that aren’t tied to you by blood.  If events had occurred differently do you think you would have met them anyway?

I can only look at my own circumstance. 


If I had taken the first teaching job that was offered to me, I would never have gone to country Victoria and met Stuart.  

If I had not applied for that job, or won that job, how would I have met him?

If he had left to go back to his family in Warrnambool. 

If he had not been coerced into doing that musical.

If I had not agreed to help out with that musical.

If I didn’t call him.

If he hadn’t answered

If I had thrown him out 

If he had left.

There are so many factors involved in our every day lives, who is to know when one action may change the entire direction of it.  


The question still stands though.  If all of it had never happened, would something else have drawn us together anyway?

Believing such a thing sounds incredibly egotistical.  Believing that you are so important that the world will turn a certain way in order for you to meet the right people?


Fate is lazy.  Fate is believing you don’t have to try.  Fate is accepting that what happens to you was meant to be.  


Meant to be.  


What does that mean?  

Again it is so egotistical to think that what happens to one person is so significant in the scheme of everything, that it was actually “Meant to be”.

I am not saying I don’t value myself, or my contribution to the world.  I do.  It is the fact that I make what happens to me “happen”.


When we consider how much in our lives we have control over, there is much that we can decide, that we can change, that we determine.  Of course there are exceptions of people born into situations where the control and the choices they have are more limited.

However my choice has been limited mainly by my own decisions.  I don’t believe my fate is pre-determined.  I don’t believe there is a path mapped out just for me.  I have the ability to change the course of my life at any point.  


There are however factors I do not have control over, and these factors can change everything at any time.  It is then that the idea of fate becomes a comforting thought.  The idea that “this change was not in my plans, but let’s run with it, because there is some force that is pushing us in this direction for a reason”.  That is it isn’t it.  That we all want to believe there is a reason for our existence.  That is why fate is such a tempting comfort.


Perhaps I would have met him.  Our paths would cross somewhere.  It is a romantic notion to think that our union was written in the stars.  


Hollywood has a lot to answer for…

Gwyneth eat something.

Can’t wait to get there…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All Grown Up.”

Behind the solid wooden door she could hear the laughter of her parents, their friends, the clinking of glasses as they accidentally knocked each other on the small round card table. She had vowed to stay awake, although with her eyes feeling heavy, she could hardly remember why.
They had been shuffled down to this end of the house much earlier in the night. She had tucked her little brother into bed, read him a story (or rather told him a story as she was tired of reading the same books), and pretended to sleep. When she was sure her brother and sister were sleeping, she had clutched her blanket around her and snuck into her parents bedroom. The wall of their room was shared with the living area, the area that was so full of life right now. The area that was full of the mysteries of being all grown up.

That was something she had dreamt of being. A grown up. At only eleven she was tall for her age. Often mistaken for fifteen. She was proud to be seen, and sometimes not seen as she turned invisible during adult conversations. She was trusted with grown up duties. She felt superior among her siblings.
As she sat there with her ear pressed up against the wall, she could not wait to be just like her parents. She could not wait to be “All Grown up”.

On the other side of the wall her parents made eye contact as the last drop was squeezed from the last bottle. Through the laughter, they silently shared a look. A look that hung for a moment.
This would be the last drink that they could afford for the month. The bills were due, their youngest needed shoes, the car was in a desperate need of new tyres and a service. She would take extra shifts, two more nights. He would work longer hours. They would get past this. It was only temporary. Things would improve.
He shuffled the cards while she let out a hearty laugh at something her friend had said.

Her eyes got heavier as she pulled her blanket closer and dreamt of being older…

the daily post – Weekly writing Challenge- My funny Valentines? – not so funny

Valentines day

The sun beat down on me opening every pore to possibility. I smiled. Even through the cloud of dread I could feel myself anticipate the sweetness of tomorrow. I stood another moment at the door.

The day had been fairly typical. Uni, public transport, inane chatter with students in my class I often try to avoid eye contact with. Today I looked at them. Today we discussed theatre and politics. Not very well, but we were young. I arrived at the beach front just before five. The crystal blue tempting me, I swam and floated. I tilted my head in mild flirtation at the boys that called me over, praising the shape of my behind, but I kept moving, I had a job to do.

I had made the decision a while ago, but today I was going to execute it. He would help me do it.

I stood at the front door, hand poised to knock. I could hear the TV choking out a repeat of the Simpsons. Like a lolloping puppy he answered the door wearing boxer shorts and a telling grin.

When a girl says she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s day, don’t believe her. If she says it’s just a contrite holiday created to make money, don’t believe her. Every girl wants to be appreciated. More than that, every girl wants to tell her girlfriends how much she is appreciated.

I’m not sure what I expected. In hindsight I am glad it wasn’t much.

I entered the darkened room, TV on, chip packets scattered haphazardly on the floor next to a used ashtray. I thought he had given up again. He was excited to see me. Probably the only real person he had spoken to all day. The spark of the afternoon drained out of me. The bounce in my step sank. We shared niceties, what we did today etc. He had written a song, or part of one and it was going to be just brilliant as soon as he learnt to play the guitar.

Two and a half years ago I was caught up in his enthusiasm. I believed his dreams. I still believe he has them, but whether he will ever try to reach them is questionable.

I said it first, “Happy Valentines day”.
“Oh yeah, you too”, and from somewhere he produced a bunch of sorry flowers that looked like they had come from the servo.

“We need to talk”, my words hung in the air like his smoke.
I went on, finding courage in his silence. I told him I couldn’t keep doing this, that I had to go. He was lost, confused, totally unaware of what had hit him.
“Today? Valentines day?”

Leaving through the front door I could see the last whispers of the day. I breathed in the morsels of tomorrow, knowing that love should be celebrated, not kept in a smoky darkened room. Truth was the gift I gave myself and the one I gave him, and it didn’t cost me a cent.

Daily Post writing challenge1000-words

Contemplation

He closed his eyes and let the sound of the ocean wash over him. The salt air tickled his nose and threatened to make him sneeze. It was the cool breeze that made his eyes melt as they were doing. Turning away from the living water he gazed down the length of the beach. There he could see a boy.

The boy was fifteen, almost a man. He strode with an air of cockiness, a girl following coquettishly behind. Weaving between his legs was a honey coloured border collie. The boy pulled off his shirt, baring his pubescent muscles and ran into the water. An obvious attempt to impress the girl he was with.
The puppy yapped, interfering with the constancy of the pulsing waves.

The man sat, ignoring the damp rocks, a smile twitching on his lips.

The boy swam. The puppy yapped. The young girl shifted from foot to foot in the shallows. The puppy leapt over the shore break and swam towards his owner.

The boy saw the puppy approaching and appeared to panic and swim towards the shore. A rip tugged at him.
Through his stinging eyes he could see the girl walking, scooping up shells, not even glancing his way. He began to swim across, as to avoid the pull of the rip, but he could see the puppy splashing towards him, struggling to keep his little head up.
He should have listened to his mother. The puppy was too young to go out for long walks. He had wanted to impress her; the girl now ignoring him. It had worked too. She thought the puppy was “so cute” and eagerly agreed to walk the deserted beach with him.
Against his better judgement he again swam towards the shore, towards the small creature. His small creature. The current was unkind to his attempts. He was tiring and could feel his body getting heavy. He floated on his back, salt water lapping at his eyes and mouth. He could no longer hear the yapping. His heart beat fast, pounding in his ears. He found enough energy to move his head around. The puppy still came, determination fixed on his little bedraggled face. The boy broke out from his hopelessness and found the strength to swim towards the puppy, knowing that he needed him. Knowing that they needed each other.
Barely keeping his head above the water the puppy reached the boy, clawing at him for help. There in the calm of the deep, the boys cockiness evaporated as he nuzzled the panting face of his newest best friend.

The man closed his eyes. He did not remember the girls name, but the puppy’s name whistled through the air. He stroked the sandy tennis ball that he had been holding, stood up and with an almost unearthly groan, threw the ball into the sea.
Shoving his shaking hands into the depths of his pockets, the man strode away.