Time to say goodbye…

This week I said goodbye to my Uncle Gerry. He died before his time, but faced death with courage & humour. He lived his life with warmth & generosity; never forgetting a birthday & always offering whatever he could of himself to his loved ones & community. The packed chapel at his funeral reflected how much he was appreciated.

In his honour I wanted to pause to share the beauty I am still lucky enough experience. So often I (we) get bogged down by the stresses & strains of daily life that I forget how lovely the world can be. Sometimes it takes a loss to remind us what we still have.

Fireworks, swans, GlasgowSunset paws

Blue sky, Glasgow, lilies

In the spirit of his giving nature I also wanted to share some organisations doing incredible work. I hope you will support them if you can.

Crookston Community Group aims to develop a sense of community whilst helping those in need. The fund a number of services ranging from a food bank to children’s activities and community cohesion workshops.

Street League works with unemployed youth using sport as means to provide training & gain skills needed to find employment. They have fabulous success rates in getting young people into work. They focus on areas of high youth unemployment.

Peek want to increase the opportunities for children to reach their potential. They offer free play and creative learning services that allow children to thrive. They remove barriers by offering support & education for both parents & children.

Chin Chin, Uncle Gerry. You will be greatly missed.

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Things I can’t believe I have to say again… Part 2

I’m not sure if everyone got the same extensive instruction on manners, but my parents, grandparents etc were very clear that being polite was important. School further instilled in me the concept that there are things that are rude to comment or enquire upon. I feel like even if no one took the time to teach you social etiquette (for want of a better phrase) as a child, there are more than enough opportunities to pick up the basics as you go through life. It seems as though this is in fact an incorrect assumption on my part because tonnes of folk still have zero clue about what is appropriate.

So, let’s try & clear up another area of life on which you really should not broach. Babies. Specifically, when, if, how someone may have them. Unless someone opens this conversation with you, zip it. Wether or not someone wants to procreate is a private matter. When they might do so is none of your business. Why they haven’t already done so is not a topic that’s up for public consumption. Seriously, don’t ask.

Mainly don’t ask because that is private information & prying into other people’s lives is rude. I’ll say that one more time for anyone in doubt,

IT IS RUDE TO ASK ANYONE INTRUSIVE QUESTIONS.

Further to that don’t ask because this a sensitive subject. Regardless of a person’s circumstances there isn’t really a way to reply that isn’t awkward. People (especially women) who do not want children are sick of being judged & interrogated on that decision. If people do want children & don’t have them, there’s a reason. Trust me, they don’t want to discuss whatever that reason is with a random person. For someone people the topic of having children is so emotionally charged that talking about it can be distressing. It’s not ok to hijack a person’s privacy.

I want to have children. I love little ones, but I don’t want to explain that I’ve had multiple miscarriages. Thus far haven’t been able to get pregnant & stay that way. Hence, I don’t feel able to simply say yes I plan to have kids. Part of me dreads occasions centred around children because as much as I love celebrating little people & the wonderful people who made them, I know someone will ask that question. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way. No matter how inconspicuously I shrug off the question, inside, I want to cry. Do you hear that? Your nosey questions are spoiling otherwise joyous occasions for people. I (we) don’t want your pity, we want you to exercise good manners.

Next time you consider asking someone if they’re broody or winking and saying you’re next.

STOP

No one likes that rude bitch who makes things awkward. Please try not be that person.

Trigger bang bang…

Anyone who spends any time on social media will have become familiar with the term triggered. Over the last few years it has entered the public lexicon. Unfortunately, it’s meaning has been incorrectly implanted in the public consciousness.

Triggered is actually a psychological term usually related to PTSD. A trigger is an external stimuli that produces a very uncomfortable emotional response; most often panic attacks or flashbacks. However, varied symptoms can result from the triggering of a traumatic memory. It absolutely does not mean offended or hurt. I’m sure most people will have come across the correct explanation of the term. I have certainly witnessed many try to explain why using the term as an insult or a vehicle for mockery is not ok. Yet, the misuse continues. It occurred to me that perhaps what is needed is an accurate representation of what happens when a person with PTSD is triggered. Maybe if people understood the reality they wouldn’t throw the word around so carelessly. So, I thought I would share what triggered means to me.

Whenever I have been pregnant I have been unable to wear my regular perfume. I wear the same scent everyday in life, but some weird olfactory sensitivity means during pregnancy it makes me nauseous. Thus, I change it & the scent I wore I during my first pregnancy is a major trigger for me. Triggers can be anything & no one has any control over what might become one. I experienced a million sights, sounds & sensations during that time, most of them hold little power over me. That scent, though, is potent.

Snow patrol, blue sky

Formidable enough to render me a sobbing wreck. Being taken off guard by that scent whilst shopping forced me to run shaking from a book shop to vomit in the street. All the while struggling to breath & bring myself to the present. A nurse who had too liberally applied the fragrance sent me shuddering back 15 years. Leaving me so panicked I crawled behind a chair & hid. I stayed crouched on the floor desperately trying to claw my way out of the worst day of my life. Completely trapped in my own personal horror film until some kind soul got me some diazepam & did me the kindness of handing it over without questions. That heady aroma has caused nightmares so vivid that I’ve woken myself with my own screams. Dreams so painfully real that I’ve had to keep myself awake for days. Sitting in the company of someone wearing that perfume once contaminated me. On returning home I could not rid myself of the smell. Real or imaginary it lingered until I smashed my hand with a marble pestle. So tortured was I by the memories the scent brought to life that I ploughed that pestle into my hand until I broke two fingers. The cracking of bones a welcome jolt back to the here now.

Diazepam 10mg

Triggers are uncontrollable. It is not within the power of a traumatised person to select what reactivates their trauma. Nor can they choose not respond. Our minds shelter dark territories & they’re all one way roads. Once you’ve slipped in, you have to press on through. Being triggered isn’t a foolish over reaction. Nor is it the hurt feelings of the overly sensitive. It is the raw & brutal reality of those who have dealt with the unimaginable. It’s a battle scar on the brain.

I can’t stop anyone from misappropriating a word. Ignorance abounds. The only tool I have to fight with is honesty. The truth is that trivialising a serious symptom of illness hurts. It stifles the conversation & prevents people seeking help. It makes vulnerable people feel weak & ashamed & stupid.

So, no, I’m not triggered by your cheap dig. I’m just tired of the stigma. Very, very tired.

Things I can’t believe I have to say again… Part 1

It may be a little over optimistic to say that summer is in the way, but I think I can at least say that winter is over. Whilst I can’t wait to enjoy more lazy days in the sun, hot days always give me a moments pause.

The reason for my second guessing is our old friend shame. As much as strive I to love my body there are still so many people who’d rather I didn’t. My body does not fit societal standards of beauty. Scrap that, I don’t even fit societal standards of normal. The fact that I refuse to hide my fat, scarred flesh rocks the normality boat even more vigorously.

It has taken me years to be able to celebrate my form. My ability to wear whatever I please & shed layers in the heat is a hard win victory. I won’t lie I often still have to steel myself to step outside in a vest. Not because I feel ashamed of my a scars or my past or flab or peely wally complexion, but because there are tonnes of folk who really, really want me to.

Staring is a given. Staring combined with nudging a mate & directing them to also have a gawk is also fairly frequent. Less common, but still occuring more than you would think is the person who thinks they should actually comment on my body. Oh & I give them so much to work with. Strangers just love to get angry, sad, concerned and curious about my body. Sometimes I can just shrug that off. Often I will snark back & think these strangers pathetic. However, there are times when for whatever reason, I’m just not up for the judgement of unknown members of the general public. Their stares, nudges & comments ruin my day. I do momentarily feel ashamed and scared and like I should never leave the house again. And, my friends, is not ok.

So, here’s a little advice.

OTHER PEOPLE’S BODIES ARE NOT YOUR BUSINESS.

Your thoughts on other people’s appearance are not important. Strangers do not want to hear them. Your moral judgements are your problem, don’t make them anyone else’s. Likewise your hang ups.

STARING IS RUDE.

Always. There are no excuses. If you find yourself accidentally staring, stop. If you see someone you think looks weird, bad, crazy just remember plenty of people find your visuals unappetising too. Oh & don’t oggle them.

In short, don’t be that person. Don’t be the one who spoils someone’s lovely summer day. You do you & let the rest of world do them.

Baby it’s you…

I had a baby shower to attend yesterday & no idea what to wear. Luckily the sun finally put his hat on allowing me to peruse the summery side of wardrobe & find something suitable.

I opted for this cute skirt I got at the end of last summer & only got to wear once. I’m not really a ruffle fan, but I love the asymmetric placement on this skirt. I also love the stripes. It feels so fresh & perfect for a sunny day.

Skirt – Asos Curve

Sandals – Hotter Shoes

I struggled to find the perfect present for the shower too. So, I decided to just buy a cute basket & fill it with lovely baby things. M&S are killing it on the cute baby clothes this season. I have so many little ones in my life that I’ll end up penniless if I don’t stop checking out the kid’s department. The shower was lovely. The Toyboy’s sister looked beautiful & I think everyone appreciated the sun coming out. Oh & if anyone needs a nappy changed in the dark, I’m your girl; I managed to do it perfectly whilst blindfolded.

I didn’t want to waste a minute of glorious sunshine, so after the shower the Toyboy & I hit a local pub. Beer garden, fruity cider & yummy dinner as we watched the sunset was the perfect close to the day. My instinct to soak up those rays was correct, it’s raining today. Scottish weather is nothing if not varied.

You are home…

They say you should never meet your heroes, but increasingly it seems like you probably shouldn’t even read the interviews they give. If Jessica Fletcher isn’t giving sexual harassment the ok, then Stephen fry is telling abuse victims to get over it. I’m running out of favourites. Then there’s the ultimate let down king, Morrissey. That racist old bastard just will not keep his mouth shut.

Let’s face it, it would probably have been better if he’d just had the grace to die young. Then at least we could still enjoy the old tunes. I’m gutted that Morrissey has ended up an ignorant, xenophobic knobber. I have long adored his music & of course his veganism. Now he’s just an embarrassment to the cause & a generally revolting person. What’s worse is what his latest outburst is part of. Namely a pervasive anti immigrant sentiment that has grown in strength since the brexit referendum. An atmosphere of hostility that has emboldened racists throughout the uk. Who can be surprised when our actual government is engaged in it’s own vile immigrant purge.

The Windrush scandal has been increasing my nausea this week. If you’re not familiar with the details, the jist is that our government is deporting people who have lived in the UK for most of their lives ( in many cases over 50yrs) despite the fact that they have a legal right to continue here. The Windrush generation came to the UK in the aftermath of WW2 to fill labour shortages & help rebuild the country. Anyone who arrived before 1973 from a commonwealth country was granted indefinite leave to remain. These are people who have lived in the UK longer than they resided in their countries of birth. They have built lives & families here. Paid taxes & contributed to society. Disregarding all of this our government is demanding they provide extensive & often impossible to find evidence of their arrival date, plus continued residence in the uk. A task made even more difficult by the home office destroying landing cards even though they were warned by staff that it may be the only recorded evidence of some people’s arrival date.

It is despicable that the conservative government’s anti immigration agenda has caused the deportation (or threat of it ) to people who have a right to live in the place they call home. It is unconscionable that elderly people should be separated from their families & sent to countries they no longer know. If you are as disgusted as I am please sign this petition calling for the government to stop all deportations, change the burden of proof & establish an amnesty for anyone who was a minor at time of entry.

The Windrush generation were invited to UK because we needed their help to rebuild our country. Similarly many immigrants today hold positions that keep the UK running. We cannot do without them. Immigrants are not a burden, they contribute far more to our economy than they take. Beyond that they have given the UK a rich multi cultural society that we should cherish. I recently overheard someone say that an immigrant is just a person who used to be somewhere else. When put like that you cannot help but see how ridiculous all this hate is.

** this amazing tote is currently sold out, but you can order here.

The bigger, the better…

I’ve had a busy week. My days have been shared between being sick as a dog and being blissfully happy. Ideally I’d have forgone the first few days of stomach misbehaviour, but a few days glorious days with my tiniest nephew definitely made up for it. Anyway, both kept me busy & left me short on blogging time. Thus, I give you, another quickie.

This week I’m shouting about statement earrings. I have a bunch of ear piercings and vacillate between loving & neglecting my earring collection. I am very much on an oversized kick at the moment. If it’s dangly, chunky or brightly coloured I’m into to it. I feel so much more dressed up when I hook a giant decoration on my ear.

The only trouble I’m having is finding designs that everyone doesn’t have. As much as I love those big tassel earrings, they are just everywhere. Regular readers may have noticed that I like to put my own twist on things. Luckily for me I managed to find these beauties without breaking the bank.

Oh & yes that is another sneaky Nyx purchase. I can’t resist their liquid suede range, especially when the shade perfectly matches my nails.

Earrings – Primark

Lipstick shade – Orange County