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The F Word

No, not that one. The other one. Although that one is fun to say. Especially when you live in Italy and Italians seem to find it funny, nay, almost charming when they hear a Brit drop the F word. But today I want to talk about the other F word. You guessed it? Today I want to talk about feminism.

Coinkidink that I should choose to talk about this on International Women’s Day? Naaa, course not. And before some of you raise a suspicious eyebrow and think – well why don’t men have a day then? Or turn off at the thought of feisty femmes shouting about their V’s, let’s stop for a minute and think – what’s the F word actually about?

To be honest I actually avoid using the word feminism despite being a passionate feminist. But why? Because fundamentally it is a fight for gender equality. And having the word ‘female’ in ‘feminist’ (along with those who seem to think its a battle to show the world which gender is ‘better’) doesn’t actually help get across what it is we are fighting for.

Let’s rewind a little and imagine we’ve placed ourselves in a parallel universe where Venus rules and has done since the dawn of womenkind…

Since the dawn of time, women have been writing history. Women give life after all, they provide men with sons and daughters, they ‘raise’ children and therefore write history from their point of view. Because, let’s face it, in this world, that makes perfect sense. In writing history from their female point of view, women overtly laugh at the uselessness of a man, who is unable to bear a child, unable to provide milk for their newborn and is ‘unable’ to raise a child. Women, as a result, write history, lead villages which eventually grow into towns, cities and go on to become world leaders because, let’s face it, all them darn men seem to be good at is chopping down trees, hunting for food and keeping the bed warm at night (ding dong). We’ll allow them to do that. Let’s let them do that. Their manly things. Plus the sex thing.

Fast forward to the modern day this manly imagine has prevailed and men are gawped at by successful women, who, of course, earn more than the lower achieving gender, grope them as and when they please whilst going to their high earning power jobs and merely use them as sexual entertainment. And of course, as advertising is mainly a women dominant industry, men are portrayed exactly in this manner. Be it in films, the music industry or billboards. Make sure their butt cheeks and abs are on display ‘cos that’s all women wanna see. And if his body ain’t the perfect sculpture chiseled by Michelangelo, then simply airbrush it. These men can’t even ‘just stay at home’ to raise and mother a child, because of course, these women manage to do both whilst ruling the world. These men just stick to the manly things, the manly jobs and leave the women to sort out the rest. Wow. Kinda got lost in that world for a minute there.

Ok, so what’s your point?

While I do kinda like the sound of this ‘Women’s World’, had history occurred in this way, would we still be dropping the F word? Well no, it would be the M word. Wuddnit? ‘Masculism’. Or something of the sort. Which brings me to my point. So many people get turned off by this idea of having a women’s day when there isn’t a men’s day. Turned off by hearing another feisty femme ranting about feminism. We’re using the wrong bloody word guys. What we’re actually fighting for is equality.

So I say, we should be using the word equalist or equalitist. And for me, that’s what we celebrate on International Women’s Day (or International Gender Equality Day as it could be called).

And this is exactly why men can be feminists too. Gender equality is what (the majority of) men and women want. We want to live in a world where men and women are equally paid. In a world where a man can choose to stay at home allowing the woman in his life to pursue her career and achieve her ambitions. And linking this back to the theme of this blog ‘Key Flow’, how great would it be to see more more women doing martial arts and more men doing yoga?! We didn’t make these ridiculous gender-biased rules. And if rules aren’t made for breaking, then I don’t know what they’re for.

So how are you celebrating International Women’s Day and what part are you playing in breaking the gender biased rules?

Can I Hygge it? (Yes you can)

Ok guys, it’s close. I mean, it’s actually nearly here. Even when you live in Bella Italia, winter can drag on and leave you counting down the days ‘til when you can feel the warmth of the glorious sun on your skin. Ok, well, spring might not be that hot, but at least it’s one step closer to the summer. And now that we are in the month of March, the hope of spring seems that little bit closer. But, let’s not wish our lives away I hear you say. And I agree. ‘Cos those nearly spring nights are so darn cold and there’s still time to enjoy wrapping yourself up in a cosy blanket and reading a good book (or at least having the intention of reading a good book, even if you never actually got round to it because you haven’t turned off autoplay on Netflix and accidentally finished a season in one evening, but you know what I’m getting at). Even though the sun and clear blue skies like to tantalize us with a sneak peek of what’s to come, we gotta keep it real guys. And we gotta be honest. As soon as we walk in the shady part of the street we feel that shudder and chill of the truth. It’s only March.

So I say, embrace the hygge. Say what now? You heard me. Embrace the hygge. No, really, I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about. Can you Hygge it? What? (Yes you can). Oh you’re not talking about that Danish buzzword from last year, are you? Actually, yes. I am.

So what the hygge is it all about anyway? Well, just in case you didn’t get round to reading last years must-read book ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ (for Netflix reasons mentioned above), it’s the Danish word for ‘homeliness’, ‘koselig’, ‘gezelligheid’ and many more words many languages have attempted to describe, but apparently the Danish just do it better.

It’s more than a word, it’s an art form. The art of creating the perfect amount of cosy-ness; the joy of staying in with friends on a cold night rather than going out; it’s the feeling you get when you snuggle up next to an open fire, the warmth of eating a home-baked cake freshly out the oven, the comfortable snug-ness you feel in your favourite pair of thick winter socks that make your day that much more bearable. It’s the dim lighting in your favourite bar and the imperfect sound of an old favourite playing on the record player. It’s quite simply. The hygge.

*At this point I should probably confess that this beautiful word is not pronounced ‘hig’ as I like to imagine it, but ‘hooga’ (which ruins the whole ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ reference to the song ‘Can I kick It?’). Dunnit? But I digress.

While March is exciting because it’s one step closer to spring, we know that deep down we do embrace nature, we do accept mother nature’s ways (even if we really would like to totally unwind on some gorgeous beach soaking up the heavenly rays of sun) and with a little help of hygge we can manage to plough on, enjoying each moment until the sun does eventually come out and stay out.

So, can we Hygge it? Yes we can.

The Perks of Having a Gym Buddy

Here’s the thing. In January we set ourselves the ridonculous challenge of ‘Dry January’ (ya, I live in Italy, it lasted until Friday evening), depriving ourselves of that little treat that could have actually made us feel better during the most depressing month of the year. On top of that, we told ourselves that it was the perfect time to join a gym and start working out. But after paying a bucket-load we haven’t quite got round to it yet? I know, so annoying, right?

So here’s what I suggest. Grab a mate, a colleague, a lover, whoever really. Just someone who actually wants to get a little bit healthy after the binge session we know as ‘the holidays’ and head to the gym. You know, like take a step outside and just head in the direction of the gym (and try not to get distracted by cool looking bars or new pop up shops on the way). Focus now, you can do this. Now, if you have already done this, but have still failed to actually work out at the gym, pay attention to the next few steps, we’re gonna make this seemingly impossible task seem easy. So, first you simply need to set out a workout plan; figure out which areas you want to work on and strengthen, and start putting a few gym sessions in the diary. But actually put it in the diary, not just talk about it. You can definitely do this. You’ve got this.

If you’re prone to making excuses, how about trying to shift your focus. Instead of thinking – Oh God! Today I’ve got to wake up early, commute, then work, and then go to the gym, then come home and cook and then eat and then, and then and then- how about thinking – What day is it today? Monday. Ok, gym tonight – we know we’ve got to go to work anyway, we know commuting and cooking dinner is also a part of our day, shifting our focus to one thing – gym tonight- makes it seem like a bitesize-able chunk we’re able to digest. Playing little tricks on ourselves can help overcome that obstacle we create.

Next – the fun part. Get your gym buddy to take a few pics of you whilst working on those weights. Come on, who doesn’t want to look good in a work out photo complete with cute gym outfit and lotsa sweat? An Instagram boomerang is always a fav. Have some fun with it. Keep it light-hearted. Why not track your progress? I don’t mean sharing how many steps you’ve done on your Fitbit on Facebook, ‘cos no one actually cares (ouch – sorry), but add it to your Instagram. Or, create a new Instagram page with you and your gym buddy following your progress. Hey, you might even inspire others. Sounds pretty cool huh?

So you see the options are endless. And, from personal experience, there is definitely a lot of fun to be had. I never thought I’d be one who’d end up liking the gym as I’ve always preferred martial arts, but if you don’t give it a try you’ll never know.

So hurry up because there’s only one week left of this fantastic month I decided to call Feel-good February. Why Feel-good February when’s it’s just as depressing as the January Blues I hear you say. Well, I don’t know really. Guess I was just using one of those little tricks to shift my focus onto the positive things like – the most depressing month of the year is over, so surely this one must be better!

It kinda worked. Ok, no judging. Staying motivated is always harder when it’s cold. But more about that in my next blog. In the meantime, you’ve got one more week to hit the gym before March comes! Like I said, you’ve got this.

Why I Write

In his book ‘Why I Write’ George Orwell claims that all writers are ‘vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.’ Ah ha! The enticing mystery. Now where would we be without a bit of mystery in our lives… and while I wouldn’t exactly call myself a writer simply for deciding to start a blog, I would say that behind this mystery lies a sporty and motivated 30 something-year-old who wants to talk about Yoga, Martial Arts, and general well-being.

If you’re interested in movement, healthy and sustainable living and somehow in your busy -got-no-time-for-anything life have time to read a blog, then this is the place for you. As for the name ‘Key Flow’… well, the meaning of the name will be revealed over time my friends…. Ahhh… so I guess there is a bit of mystery after all… (’tis all part of ze genius plan).

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