Mangoes World

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Valentine’s Day is not about a picture upload.

A few years ago I wrote a post about the commericalisation of the Christmas and how the fundamental context has evolved significantly over the past decade to a marketing scheme targeted at the hip pockets of believers. I argued that primarily most of us have forgotten entirely the pure meaning of Christmas and paid into the thriving economical force of retail. (See more)

Last night as I scrolled through my Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feeds I came to a conclusion – Valentine’s Day has also fallen into this niche. Update after update, post after post, all I was viewing were pictures of Valentine’s Day gifts and dates.

The central problem that I have with this is based around the intercontextual meaning of the posts. If I were to deconstruct these posts into meaning then I would arrive at something like this: #MyBoyfriendIsBetterThanYours #LuckyGirl #Haha. And I actually do not like it.

Further analysis of Valentine’s Day inspired posts reveal that they are almost entirely created by women. Because the 21st Century purpose of Valentine’s Day is for your partner or secret admirer to send you a gift or roses as a symbol of their admiration. 

What exactly is the message here? I believe that it is really summed up by my own Facebook post:

valentines

Moreover,

Is my relationship still going well if I don’t upload my picture of the flowers that I got for Valentine’s Day? [Tweet this!]

The worst part about these jealously provoking posts is what they do consequentially to those outside of the initial couple. Not surprisingly single women would be the most affected by the continual uploads of #ImSpoilt posts. As these uploads do nothing else but help to create insecurity for women about still being single. #NaNaNaNA!

On the other hand, men in relationships now feel the pressure to compete with their mates in showing their appreciation for their partner. If they don’t buy flowers and gifts, they look like they don’t love their partner as much as ‘her friend’s boyfriends do.’ 

Whatever happened to just calling your girlfriend to tell them that you love them? [Tweet this!]

Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar. The commercial world makes it a marketable event where bookings for restaurants and cost of flowers significantly increase. So much so that you could almost mistake it for Christmas.

Do not get me wrong I am not the Valentine’s Day Grinch. I actually enjoy the day myself and as my birthday is two days prior, I like to use it as an opportunity to take my Valentine out. As a result, I end up being the gift giver thus taking in the traditional role of the 21st Century Valentine’s male.

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As yesterdays posting of Valentine’s Day gifts and flowers were increasing online, I was left thinking about my girlfriends who were feeling quite deflated by the enormous exhibitionists on Social Media. This resulted in me sending 23 text messages to Telstra’s Billboard of Love to receive a picture, so my friends without Valentines wouldn’t feel unloved.

I believe that the increase in broadcasted Valentine’s Day is in part due to the development of useable Social Media and the response of the Millennials. Millennials are supporters of foreign celebrations and fear of being left out far outweighs the traditional meaning of the events. We want to be involved, at any cost.

When I was a teenager, the thought of getting a secret Valentine was some of the happiest memories of the high school year. I would argue that at this point in life, it was the girls that are much more involved in the creation and production of Valentine gifts. Teenage boys tend not to care either way.

So how did it all change from the cute cards with hearts and bubble writing to the over commericalised Social Media postings of the current day?

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I believe we create the world in which we exist. And Valentine’s Day is just another example of the competitive nature of man. And without this competition the world would become laxidasical. But then again, this is a direct conflict with the objective behind handing out participation medals in school. 

~Mango
“Develop yourself by your own set of morals, not by comparison of those around you.” [Tweet this!]

 


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Different folks, different strokes – a comparatively good assessment.

I enjoy nothing more than the development of a good comparison. To compare one thing with another, assess is relationship and decide to which side is in fact the better of the two comparatives, structures most of the context of the world.

More recently I have been evolving in my life. Things are on the move and definitely changing. In the words of an old counterpart ‘about time’. It is exactly how I feel.

Yolo

To this effect, I have been taking the acronym ‘YOLO’ literately. You Only Live Once – and it is so true. In practice this means that I am doing the things I wouldn’t normally do. Mixing it up. Shaken and stirred.

More recent blog posts have be dedicated to the evolution of life and of friendships. I have looked into those around me and have assessed in their entirety the benefit of such people in my life. I understand that likes, tastes, beliefs, associations and knowledge categorize people. That some people are who they are because of their environment and there are others that seek disassociation from the world around them. There are leaders and there are followers, just as there are achievers and laxidasicals. There are girls and there are boys.

When I have a problem, just alike in management processes, I have a metaphorical flow chart of people that I will seek for their advice and knowledge. Some are heartfelt, and some are cold. I know who is going to give me the truth and who is going to tell me what I want to hear.

angel vs devilI am learning that you cannot always have the philosophical conversation with the uneducated, and the educated are less likely to fix your front gate. In a laymen’s comparison you wouldn’t go to your English teacher for help with a Math equation. To this effect, I have begun to accept people for who they are. The good, for the bad. And to some extent our emotions often get in the way of being able to make an accurate assessment of the individual.

Conversing of late has led me to comparative notion of the sexes. How the relationships that you form with both are intricately complex and based on a variety of different factors. As a girl who has a majority of male friends, and one who is ‘not just saying it’, I understand that these relationships, although historic are in fact limited by the fact that many of these men are single. I believe that once they find ‘the woman of their dreams’ that essentially our relationship will fade. This can be contributed to a variety of different factors, most notably that the new girlfriend may not want her boyfriend to have a female ‘bestie’.

law of attraction

Consequentially, I must understand that although these relationships are precious at this stage of my life that few, if any will last. So it is from here that I look find friendships with females who are on a similar path as me. I have been able to establish many over the last couple of months. But what is it that draws you to a person?

The female world is competitive and cutthroat. Expectations and emotions are high. Saying the wrong thing one night might wind you up in a worse situation than before. It’s hard to pick the real from the fake. And appearances often don’t give you many clues.

What is fundamentally different between the women and the men in my life, is that with women I am talking about broken relationships and heart breaks. Where as with men I am talking about life and careers. Men want to know about thought processes and theories of success, and women want to discuss in detail the events of these failed relationships.

womanvsmanI have come to the conclusion that I can fit easily in either conversation. However I like to think that I see the world in black and white, it is or it isn’t. And that is that.

Alike high school, moving towards 30 has begun to unravel the psychological stability of those around me. In your early 20s, everyone is out to change the world and experience as many things as humanly possible. Moving out of my 20s, I am seeing emotional baggage and the effects of poor parenting. But no one is perfect. Everyone has a little wound.

Being that I have made so many monstrous changes over the last six months, I decided that it was time for the third installment of my life as told by a Psychic. What needs to be outlined here is that I am not entirely a believer of the power of Psychics, but I am also not a non-believer either. I took a variety of photos in with me, and they were strategically placed in the pile so I did not give away any precious details. I removed babies from photos, and took away photos with relationships. I was not about to give away any free information.

psychic-lit1When questioned in follow up, did I ask about whom I was going to spend the rest of my life with? I declined. I believe that we are in control of our destiny, that the words of a medium can only be used in guidance and not to be taken as fact.

So why did I go if I didn’t want any insight into the future? The Psychic asked “do you have any questions to ask me?” And all I wanted to know was ‘am I making the right decisions in my life?’ Which in reality, the answer was always going to be yes. I can’t imagine a Psychic telling me I am making bad decisions. It defeats the purpose.

Walking out the door of the Psychic, I had made no advancements in my life, that what I had had walking in. I was not clearer than the hour previously. However I had faith that I was connecting with the right people and assessing situations appropriately. Sometimes we wish that we had a ‘Life Teacher’ that would sit there and give you an A, when you are making the right decisions.

decisions decisions wordcloud 2In comparison to this time last year, I am really happy with the progress that I have made thus far. I am happy with the friends that I have and I am happy with the place that I am living in. More importantly, I am working in a job that finally addresses my interests. And with or without the divine intervention of a psychic, I am making the right choices. I believe I am on the right path.

~Mango
“Be in control of your own destiny.”


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The value of a First World life – Familial Gamete Donation

On the fundamental level gamete donation seems to be a wonderful thing. Giving children to those who are unable to conceive naturally. However the more thought I devote to the reality of sperm and egg donation, the more complex ethical issues arise in my head.

As a human, we want to be able to pass our on genetic traits onto our offspring. Parents want to see a ‘little me’ running around the backyard. They want to create copies of themselves that they can relate to. Basically, I want to see my eyes and nose passed onto my daughter.

Twins_280909It is for this reason that the consideration of using familial gametes has surfaced. In layman’s terms, using your brother as sperm donor for your wife, in order to ensure that your offspring will share the closest genetic resemblance with yourself. (Provided the donation is brother to brother.)

In recent weeks, I have taken this topic to discussion with my friends. I have found thus far that most women would donate an egg to their sister, with many more likely to provide donation if the donor had already bore children themselves. Men on the other hand tend to view their sperm as their property and donating to their brother is simply unacceptable. Both the men and women interviewed here express concern for how ‘they’ would feel as the biological parent. Only one male considered the impact of giving your brother the most important gift of his life.

What concerns me here is that suddenly we put a value on sperm/eggs if they are used for a reason other than going in a bin. How many men have given women sperm ‘free of charge’ without further thought?

envyIn the case of women donating to their sisters, many felt that they would feel a sense of missing out on the child, if in fact they never had their own. A selfish/jealous relationship would ensue if in fact a child were brought into this environment. (It is important to note here, I am not judging the responses from my friends, I am merely assessing them critically and primarily.)

The males see themselves proud and worthy owners of their sperm. That they could not give a part of themselves to their brother, but they are happy to give a part of themselves to the next female who walks in the door. More interestingly a gay male was happy to donate to his female best friend so that she could rear a child but not to his said brother. The common link here was that many men felt proud and define themselves by their ability to ejaculate. Moreover the concept of asking their brother for sperm to start their family is an insult to their own penis.

sistersIt is worth noting that in the complexity of the fertilization lies the intricacy of prior family relationships. A woman who tried unsuccessfully to donate eggs to her sister stated that she would be prepared to donate for this particular sister, as it meant the world to her and that they are close. But on the other hand, she would not be so accommodating to her other sister.

Both men and women interviewed feel that they would have some sort of biological responsibility to that child and would be unsure how they would react to adverse parenting decisions by their siblings.  All parties except one reflected on their feelings as the donor and not the desperate couple trying to conceive. Is this because I spoke primarily to a generation of people who are deemed self-centered?

But what represents a parent? Is it because we have a biological association or is it because we rear the child?

father-daughterSperm donation by a genetic father or an unspecified party does not constitute a ‘father’. We view a father as a person who has a responsibility for a child; to protect, to provide and to care. Many times in my teaching career, I hear about so-called fathers who have made no real effort to be a ‘real father’. The same goes for the mothers of these lost children.

In the case of adoption, parents are not genetically related to the child, however the child is still the legal responsibility of the parents who adopt them. That adoptive parenangelina-jolie-and-brad-pitt-family-in-new-orleansts can love a child as much as if it was biologically theirs, although physically they might be races apart. In the case of Brad and Angelia Jolie, they have three adopted children and three biological children. As the adopted children spawning from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam bare no resemblance to their parents or even each other, do you think they would feel any less apart of the Jolie-Pitt family?

I pose the question, would you feel less attached to your nieces or nephews if for a horrible reason they found there way into your custody? I would argue that these children would become just as a part of your family as your own biological children. And that over the years you would see no boundaries between these children and your own. So why is it so intrinsically different to providing gametes to a sibling?

What about the potential effect on the children? Do you tell them or not?  “Knowledge of the actual genetic relationships among the participants could contribute to a profoundly altered view of identity and family relationships.”(1) Again, how is this so different from an outside gamete fertilization or an adoption? In all three cases, the child would produce symptoms of a non-traditional identity establishment. Many argue that informing your children of their adoption early on helps the child to adjust to the situation whilst their emotional development is still being formulated. This saves the emotional turmoil that a child might undergo if they stumble upon adoption papers in the future. But how to you explain to a five year old that their daddy isn’t their real daddy, that their uncle is their real daddy, but the uncle is not married to mummy, and mummy and daddy love each other? I am finding it hard to explain myself.

mod-famOne further expansion of the issue, is in the case of gay couples. If a lesbian couple used the brother of one of the female partners to produce a child with a genetic relationship to both of the females, is that wrong?

The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine argues that
“Familial gamete donation ensures that some portion of the infertile person’s genes will be passed to the offspring, thus maintaining a kinship tie that would be lost if an unrelated donor were used. In one of the few reports about known sperm donors, family involvement was chosen so that the infertile male could feel a ‘‘genetic closeness’’ to his child.” (2)

sb10065029ba-002So in the case of the gay couples, if the gamete was not a familial gamete that one partner would feel a disassociation to the offspring, if in fact the other was the genetic parent. Furthermore, if the genetic parent became deceased, then the partner of the genetic parent may not have legal guardianship of the child and the child might be removed from the homosexual parenthood and placed elsewhere.  As we begin evolve in the rights of homosexual unions, we have still not directly addressed the issue of step-parenthood/parenthood of homosexual couples. It could also be likely that the genetic donor could request for guardianship of the child. Ultimately leaving the non-genetic homosexual partner with no legal rights or responsibilities over the child they have reared.

In the TV Drama Brothers and Sisters, it addresses a similar scenario, where a gay brother and the second brother donated their sperm to a third brother and their wife. The idea being that neither brother would know who fathered the child. However, as dramas are dramatized and worst case scenarios are always played out, it turned out that they found out that it was the gay brother’s sperm which fertilized his sister in law’s egg. Thus proving only that the concept of familial gamete donation is a very real scenario within the medical world.

Of course there are a variety of different familial gamete donations that can be explored, such as father to son, mother to daughter etc. However for the purpose of this piece I have only focused on sibling-to-sibling donations. The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine also addresses in part sister to brother donation and the consequence of incest in particular cases.

evolution-1hzzvneThe entire argument can not be fully justified without mentioning the Social Darwinist theory of Evolution. Survival of the fittest in this context would point to the assumption that people who can not biologically bear children should not. If it was meant to be it would. Should people have the power to overrule nature?

IVF egg pickIVF practices seem to deny the foundations of this theory and provide those who are not meant to conceive naturally, fertilized embryos to be placed within their uterus. Thus allowing infertile couples the ability to foster life. It is also important to address that IVF is not always successful and many couples are left with holes in their pocket and gaps in their hearts. The argument here is that technology has allowed us on occasion to defy nature and create a population of IVF babies. Do people have the right to play god?

throwing out the trashIn conclusion, I cannot move forward of the point that we give to value to gametes only when they create a fetus, yet we throw thousands in the trash each day. It’s no different to wanting the toy your brother is playing with only because he is playing with it.

I would like to think that on the basis of wanting to give my sister the best present one could ever give, I would donate my eggs, before or after children. After all, if I don’t use them they will most likely end up in a sanitary bin.

~Mango
“Bear the gift of life.”

References:

(1) & (2) The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine:
www.asrm.org/EthicsReports/ or view the document below –
Using family members as gameteopl donors or surrogates

(3) http://www.theafa.org/article/using-a-known-sperm-donor-understanding-the-legal-risks-and-challenges/


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‘How to train your Dragon’

Dragon’s come in all shapes and sizes, colours and smells. They are sometimes born in the wild, or grow up domestically. They have a variety of predispositions and moods to accompany them. But one thing is for sure, they all need a little training….

What type of Dragon do you have?

No one Dragon comes packaged the same as the other. Some are ridiculously messy, and others are completely obsessively compulsively clean. Which is better?

Messy Dragon’s live in a world of their own filth. Cleaning is not a priority and there is a big chance that they have never had to do it for themselves. They live amongst the daily grind and the dust bunnies hide in the darkness. You can follow them with a duster and never absolve them of their mess. They are content little piglets who believe in traditional family roles or they just don’t care to care. Living with these Dragon’s is like becoming a mother to a child. You will become the cooker and cleaner without much persuasion, and commit total incompletion.

Clean Dragon’s live on the other side of the world. They stress about positioning and placement of objects. Directions of labels and colours of clothes in their wardrobes. To Clean Dragon’s the world is never clean enough. There is always something that can be cleaner, sharper and more reflective. Living amongst these Dragon’s can be the most difficult of tasks. Coming home after a long day and finding your clothes in the bin because they weren’t put away is a stress in itself. They have an intricate organisation of lengths, widths, heights, colours and shapes. They can not handle disorder. Clean Dragon’s enforce into you the role of the child.

Is there a fence? With all extremes there always is a middle ground. The Middle Dragon is compulsive in one direction and relaxed in the other. They are hard to navigate but are probably the most easy to train. Acceptant of lack and happy to accommodate. They live their lives adaptable to their surroundings. Middle Dragon’s have a sense of cleanliness but are not obsessive. Cleaning is not their mission but they like to live neatly. In most cases as their name suggests they will meet you in the middle. Everyone wants a Middle Dragon.

How do you train your Dragon?

In each relationship there will always be a Messy Dragon. So can they be trained? I believe they can. Although training Dragon’s is difficult. As many Messy Dragon’s would prefer the world cleaned for them. And in most cases they have spent years refining their craft and ultimately developing their unusual ways. So much so, that with a little persuasion and they will have you working for them.

It is evident that at a certain age they could be deemed untrainable. Which leads me to conclude – however did they get to there in the first place? Is it because their mothers did everything for them as children and therefore they expect the same traditional roles in their later life? I would agree partially. In support of this argument, I believe that independent mothers, grow independent Dragons. Mothers who mother their Dragons only set them up for dependant future.

Messy Dragon’s need you to explain that you are not their slave and therefore co-existance is dependant on the sharing of roles. So do you need rules? I believe so. Clear expectations based on equality is to be promoted from both parties. Perhaps even the setting of solid tasks will help to elevate cloudiness.

The biggest fear for the partners of these Dragon’s is that once the little Dragon’s come along who will be chasing them around cleaning? Will it become the stress of the Clean Dragon or the add to the clutter of the Messy Dragon?

Traditionally once the little Dragon’s arrive the clan would evolve from one Messy Dragon to two. As modernity revolves and more liberal approaches to gender specific roles have disappeared, the likelihood of having more than one Dragon is lessened. In the case of the Clean Dragon, these little additions will create chaos in their seemingly perfect world.

So how to grow your Dragon?

Growing Dragons is the most difficult part. Are you the promoter of independence? Or do you want your Dragon’s to depend on you so that you do not lose your sense of value? Or is it not about value, it is just because you care too much?

I aim to have my Dragon’s to grow up independently. I want them to fit in to the Middle Dragon category. I do not want another picking up after them. However much consideration into nature VS nurturewhich will win out? Or ultimately is it the partner of these Dragon’s that inevitably teaches them how to behave?

What is clear, that a Dragon in any category can be trained. After all this world is about equality. For Dragon’s, it is about planting seeds and setting expectations; providing rationality, reinforcing your roles, and above all outlining that you are not a keeper of a Dragon.

~Mango
“All men are created equal, but some are more EQUAL than others.” George Orwell, Animal Farm


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The Master Gamer

More recently I have been extremely lucky to side step my role as a classroom teacher into something a little more charismatic. A role in which I design myself and control the output of the content in which I devise.

I have partly wished that I had completed a Degree in Psychology, in order to study the behavioral patterns of the mind. For the most part I enjoy watching and listening. Observing the interactions and trying to understand ‘why people do the things they do?’

The motivations or reactions to situations is what I enjoy the most. How to mould those reactions to be influenced by persuasion, is yet something I have been entirely able to master.

What is clear is the differentiation between men and women. Moreover how men communicate with men and how they work with women. Men speak on a less professional, more friendly level, but when talking to females, they move to professionalism. So, how does the woman break into the man’s world? Do we need to slip in a few swear words to break the ice? But be careful that you don’t slip too many or you won’t be taken seriously.

A midst massive redevelopment of my workplace, a variety of consultation based processes have taken place. It is always hard to manage when a democracy allows for total transparency. Thus leaving the development of conspiracy theories evident.

To this notion, I have had the chance to watch a mind of great operation. I also wonder how much of the world I see with rose coloured glasses. Or is it that I am clearer on the motivations?

Being exposed to a variety of administrative based roles has thrust me into a new dimension. One I have not encountered before. One that four years ago, I would have not been mature enough to handle. It is in this role, I pseudo sit. Not sure if I’m left or right.

My modus operandi has always been to sit back and listen. And to ultimately trust in my own judgement. It’s not what’s being said, rather it’s what’s not. Reading between the lines is the most important aspect to effective business.

The Master Gamer has an intricate web of constructive thinking. His presentations begin with personal anecdotes and end with choices. He places several anecdotal distractions, posed quickly and head on a different tangents. Held humorous by those who understand his thought process.

He stands confidentially and persuasively and never loses track of the big picture. He heads forward like a bull at a gate with the ability to recognize he might not break the gate.

A mastermind of his own game, his history shows the ability to execute concisely constructed plans. He knows his game. He is trusted by peers.

Who knows where this role will take me? One thing is for sure. I am enjoying it and I wish to stay.

~Mango
“The depth of one’s mind is only one level deeper than his forehead.”

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