Sisters in arms…

I’m tired. To the bone exhausted. It’s been a relentless year, like everyone else I’ve just kept trudging along. This weekend I hit a wall. I doubt I’m alone.

The convergence of Mother’s Day, police violence against women & the flood of abuse/harassment stories that women have been sharing was overwhelming. Especially when I realised how many similar cases of missing or dead WOC I had never even heard of. Women the mainstream media had little interest in. Women who in some cases haven’t even had their death investigated. I’m not shocked by any of this. I know this is the world we live in. The abstract knowledge doesn’t make each individual case less painful. When you combine one’s own pain with the agony of the collective it’s crushing. It never stops. It never changes.

I’m aware that I’m feeling all this from a position of privilege. I have more space & safety to process. The police would likely pay attention to my family if I disappeared. I know my exhaustion is relative, but god, it’s heavy. I wish it were possible to ease the heavier weight I know many are carrying.

I don’t have any new answers. I’ll keep writing to MP’s, protesting, amplifying marginalised voices, putting my money where my mouth is. It’s a struggle to feel hopeful at the moment. So, I’m going add to taking care of myself to that list. I don’t know what that care looks like yet, but I’m working on it. I urge you to take whatever time you can & give yourself a little TLC too.

Illustration of horse, boy,Fox & mole from Charlie Mackesy
Charlie Mackesy

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We can speak louder than ignorance…

We are living in a, frankly, terrifying world. The march to the political right, climate chaos, human rights violations, erosion of reproductive rights are just the tip of the nightmare. It is easy to feel powerless in the face of such monumental issues.

I feel especially frustrated when my health limits my participation in protest. Signing petitions, sending emails & sharing information doesn’t feel like enough. In an effort to feel like I am trying to facilitate change I put my money where my mouth is.

For a few years now I have tried to pick a different charity or organisation each month to donate to. It’s not always a huge donation, but I think every little helps. It also really helps me deal with life to feel that I am supporting action that betters the world.

It occurred to me that I often discover people doing amazing work via social media, friends raising money and the content I consume. Thus I have decided to share the groups I am supporting each month in the hope that others might also feel moved to donate.

Immigration policy on both sides of the Atlantic are alarming. The American situation is beyond compression. Facist dehumanising techniques are in full force & repugnant acts are being committed. Raices are on the ground in Texas fighting for asylum at the border. They support those who have been detained, try to reunite separated families & advocate for unaccompanied minors. This work is vital. We can do nothing whilst sickening acts are waged against desperate people seeking safety. If you can, please consider making a donation.

I can feel something inside me say… see this show

Last night I shed my jammies & dragged my sister out on a school night. We headed west to catch Kiri Pritchard McLean at The Stand.

Sisters

I’m a big fan of Kiri’s (Rachel Fairburn’s) podcast, All Killa No Filla. I’ve also seen her in various tv shows, plus bits & pieces at the Fringe. I knew she was funny & cool, but I had never seen her perform her own show. I’m so bloody glad I bagged tickets for Victim, Complex because it’s incredible. Stand up shows that make you cry are kind of my thing and Kiri may be my new queen.

The stand, woodlands rd

Everything about Victim, Complex is perfect. Kiri’s bright yellow, sequinned adorned person dominates the stage. She welcomes the audience into dark experiences with much hilarity and stunning vulnerability. It is powerful to watch someone take control of their painful truth.

Gaslighting & mental illness probably don’t seem like natural stand up material, but it works. It’s definitely an emotional hour. The laugh out loud moments far number the tears. It’s an uproariously relatable show; packed with filth, a plot twist & the wisdom of that drunk girl we’ve all met in a club toilet. It’s all underlined by an important & empowering message.

Victim, Complex flyer

My body is properly punishing me for daring to leave the house, but it was absolutely worth it. That’s pretty much the best review a show can get. If Pritchard McLean is playing anywhere near you, buy a ticket.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, there’s a free badge!

Carbonated badge

Snow is falling…

It’s been a fast year, but December has really put its foot down. We are riding swiftly towards the big day, which means it is time for more festive primping & seasonal giving.

It’s the third week of Xmas (advent, whatever), so it’s it apt that it took three attempts to get my nails right. I really wanted to be adorned in delicate sparkly snowflakes, but try as I might, I could not pull it off.

ly h Kerr nail art

Each attempt was clumsier than I wanted. In the end I abandoned my snowy vision & opted for some glittery presents. You can’t go wrong with a well wrapped gift, right?

ly h kerr nail art

This week I turned my charitable attentions to Glasgow Women’s Aid. An organisation doing wonderful work with women & children who have been affected by domestic abuse. Women’s aid provide a number of services from refuge centres to training for service users & therapy for their children. Two women a week are killed by their partner or ex partner in the UK, so it is vital that women (& their children) have access to this help. You can help in a number is ways. A donation can be made via the website or you can follow your local Women’s Aid on social media for updates on what goods, clothes etc are required. Often women have to leave everything behind and start from scratch, so please check before you throw away anything that could still be useful. Obviously at this time of year toys & treats are most welcome. Even small donations can change lives.

If Bronan can suffer the indignity of being cat Santa, you can get your purse out.

Keep your rosaries off our ovaries…

Today I joined the counter demo against catholic anti abortion group 40 days of life. Regular readers may remember that I also attended this protest last year & I am incredibly frustrated to have had to return today.

40 days of life are an international group who use their faith as an excuse to harass vulnerable people outside hospitals. They have taken American style anti abortion protests global. It both saddens & enrages me to see them operating in my city. During lent the group protest outside the maternity buildings of various Glasgow hospitals. Their claims of wanting to help people planning abortions are belied by their actions. I have seen this group standing outside my local hospital & they are helping no one. Their chosen location is outside the maternity building, but also at the main entrance to the hospital, providing maximum opportunity for intimidation. Regardless of the situation no one is happy to discover an unwanted pregnancy. To seek to cause distress to people in an already difficult situation is cruel. To add to the burdens of persons who may be traumatised or desperate is sickening. Their talk of kindness & love are incongruous with their actions. As is the fact that their hospital vigils cause unneeded stress & upset to expectant mothers, women who have miscarried, women with seriously ill & premature babies. All of whom use the building they protest outside. Their signs & prayers can be seen & heard from various wards in the building. Their presence causes untold harm.

Photo Credit : Elaine Graham

I was truly sickened today as I listened to their lies, inaccuracies & smug self congratulation. I could barely believe my ears as I heard Robert Colquhoun (40 days of life, international director) praise the group for their work. He talked of how happy he was at protests in Argentina & how he hoped they might prevent a proposed change in abortions laws. For the record Argentina currently only permits legal abortion in cases of risk to mother’s life or rape. In practise even in those cases abortion is by no means guaranteed. The influence of Catholic Church is a major factor in current abortions laws in the country. The result of which laws is huge numbers of illegal abortions. Many people die as a result of unsafe illegal abortions. Many suffering treatable complications also die because there are legal penalties for those caught undergoing ‘back street’ procedures, thus many are afraid to seek medical help. As always those living in poverty are hardest hit. The poorer the person the less likely they are to be able afford decent care, making them more likely to experience serious complications, death or be plunged further into poverty by the responsibilities of additional children. This is a situation that Coluqhoun & his cohorts are actively trying to maintain. To call such an organisation pro life is laughable.

Colquhoun went on to identify a clinic in England that performed the majority of late term abortions in England. He talked of wanting to protest that clinic in an attempt to stop those procedures. Let me remind you that late term abortions (after 24 weeks) are performed in the UK only in extreme circumstances. Namely that the physical or mental health of the mother is at extreme risk, that continuing with pregnancy would pose a threat to their life or that the fetus is found not to be viable or to have a condition or disability that would severely impair their chances of any quality of life. In plain speaking those who have late term abortions are about as vulnerable a group as it is possible to find. We are talking about abused children, raped & tortured adults, people who want to continue with their pregnany, but face death if they do so & those whose unborn child will be still born or so severely ill they are likely to live only short lives filled with pain. Is there anyone amongst that group who you would wish to see harassed? To have possibly one of the most painful periods of their life debated in public? These are the very people that 40 days of life today cheered the notion of obstructing. That they would pin point a clinic performing such essential procedures is evil. All their talk of God’s love & the sanctity of life amounts to deliberately tormenting & shaming people who have already suffered more than anyone should ever have to bear.

These are just two of the selfish speaking points. There were many more disgusting acts celebrated. Many lies told. It is crucial that we do not let this go unopposed. These American tactics are new to UK & we must not let them take hold. Religious extremists (for that is what they are) must not be allowed free reign to abuse people undergoing lawful medical treatment. We have to stand up & protect the right to choose. Access to safe abortion saves lives. Beyond that every child should be born to parents who both want to & are able to properly care & provide.

I passionately believe that everyone has a right to quality sex education, access to contraception and complete bodily autonomy. I am absolutely prepared to fight for those rights. I hope that you are too.

She’s in fashion…

I think I have that bug everyone has been getting. Or I just have the cold & my stomach is acting up. Either way I am vommy & achey & fevery. Oh & my period is trying to kill my uterus. What I’m saying is I feel shit, which means I’m up at 5am watching absolute trash on tv.

One of the show types I sometimes watch when I need something distracting, but untaxing is next top model. I don’t really care which top model franchise, they all have the same ingredients. Ridiculous tasks, a really cool outsider chick to root for, a total bitch, lots of folk getting way too upset about taking photographs, occasional freaky make up looks & even more occasional actual chubby chick doing really well (they always include a ‘plus size’ contestant these days, but they are very rarely actually plus size & they usually get bumped pronto). I don’t care about modelling, but for some reason I quite like these shows for grumpy insomnia fodder. Thus I found myself watching Britain’s next top model & having all my ‘I’m pissed off’ boxes ticked. There was a really annoying chick who had an awful tattoo of a gun, wore fur & irritated the life out of anyone in her vicinity. Abbey Clancy is getting on my wick & everyone has had a complete breakdown about having their hair dyed. It is the perfect amount of bullshit. I can project all my crankiness onto this pointless tv programme & for some reason it helps.

Then they go & ruin everything by making me rage. It’s getting close to the end, so all the contestants are really having to up their game. They’ve been flown off somewhere hot, hot, hot, stuck in insane costumes & asked to do something near impossible. Just for good measure they are also given an absolute prick of a photographer who proceeds to bully them. Let’s be clear about this set up. Some of these aspiring models are under 18 & away from home for the first time. The photographer is a professional as well as a grown ass man. When one of the girls struggles to deal with the tog & gets upset she is basically told to suck it up. The judges laugh about how this guy is renowned for being difficult & declare that part of the job. Cut to me, fuming.

Why should dealing with what amounts to abusive behaviour just be part of the job? Why are they showing female children being degraded by an adult man & then criticising the child’s professionalism for not being with ok with that?? I know modelling is an industry famous for mistreating it’s young acolytes, but actually watching it played out as entertainment enrages me. A huge portion of the audiences for these shows are young girls. Most of whom are not watching with the cynicism that I am. Lots of those viewers will long to get into modelling or similar industries. Even more will be looking up to super models, celebs & fashion folk who appear on these shows. What are they learning from this type of behaviour? Nothing good.

They’re seeing adult men behave like spoilt children & still be admired by their peers. They’re witnessing female debasement classed as the price you pay for success. They’re watching adult women schooling girls to accept abuse. Before you think I’m overreacting, I’ve spent the last several hours doing a little research. A variation of this scenario happens over & over. Girls are continually ‘tested’ with the difficult photographer, director, go see & the person pushing their buttons is invariably a well respected male industry figure. The lesson to be learned is always that these dickheads have the power & they must take the abuse with a smile. It is sickening.

This is the patriarchy captured on camera. Even though these programmes are fronted by apparently empowered women. Tyra et all are full of inspiring speeches. They purport to be about fierce women forging media careers. There’s lots of feminist lip service, but when it comes down to it, they still teach young women they’re lambs to the slaughter. And, seriously, FUCK THAT.

Fuck that

Fat Slut, you said…

So, hello, brand new year. Unfortunately it’s also hello to diet talk overload. Yup, it’s everywhere. The diet industry goes crazy in January. Over the years  I have managed to switch off from most of the weight watcher ads & gym discount flyers. I basically make it my business to mute the diet industry; I don’t buy magazines that tell me I’m not good enough, I don’t follow social media accounts that constantly talk about weight loss & I shun brands that use body shaming in their advertising. Of course, I also actively participate the body posi community. This works well for me. However, more and more I am realising that I simply cannot escape the notion that fat is just awful. The problem is that lots of the people I really like & choose to have in my life are, to be frank, fat phobic. 

I understand that everyone will not share my views on body positivity. I also accept that other people are free to do whatever the choose with their own bodies. In fact I am delighted when people find a way to love themselves. However they do it, finding genuine peace with yourself is a wonderful thing & I applaud anyone who gets there. What I don’t appreciate is having to listen to all the fat phobic crap that others believe in. I will never understand why people think it is ok to express their revulsion of fat people to me, a fat person. If you had brown hair & I repeatedly made negative comments about brown hair, you’d probably feel hurt, or pissed off. Well, surprise, surprise, fat people have feelings too. 

You can feel however you like about your own or other people’s bodies. If you want to do slimming world or Atkins or eat raw, knock yourself out. Run & lift & body pump until your heart’s content. If your internal voice mocks & degrades others based on their physical appearance that probably needs investigation, but it’s still entirely your affair. Once you voice those insults out loud, they become my business too & the truth is, I don’t want to hear it. 

I do not want to hear how terrible you think celebs looks when they gain weight. I don’t want to listen to your jibes about naked fat bodies in movies. When you talk in disgusted tones about your own fat, you are telling me what you think of me. Your talk of how your own much thinner body is not fit to carry a child or how being fat makes a person a terrible parent, you are commenting on my abilities. Every time you comment ‘I’m a fat bitch’ on picture of food you ate or tell me what is ‘bad’ about every item on a menu you are pushing your issues on me. 

And here’s the thing, I can’t stop you. You are free to say & feel whatever you please. You can hate your body & my body & Rebel Wilson’s body & Cameron Diaz’s body too. You can laugh & be rude. You can continue to say right to my face that you find people like me to be entirely undeserving of respect. I presume that often you are oblivious. I get it. Sometimes we are blinded by our own internal struggle. Everyone has moments of complete, but unintentional insensitivity. Sometimes, though, you know. You know that you are degrading fat people in front of a fat person. Mostly, we’ll let you get away with it. I know I do. I excuse & ignore. I tell myself you did not mean to be cruel. Well, no more. This is me giving notice. In the future I intend to point out that the body you’re mocking is just like mine. I will tell you that I don’t want to hear about your diet. I will mute you on social media if your timeline is toxic because I can do as I please too. I choose not to engage in anymore bullshit. I wish you well with your own self love journey, but I will no longer be party to my own debasement. You do you. I am going to do me.

A time for giving…

According to Cliff Richards, king of the xmas tune, this is a time for giving. Whilst Cliff is wrong about most things, I think he’s right about this. I love Christmas. I am fortunate enough to have wonderful people to share it with. We always have more than enough food to fill our tums & plenty presents under our tree. If like me, your festive cup runeth over, please consider making a donation to one of these excellent organisations.


Simon Community helps homeless people in Scotland. They provide a number of wonderful services. From teaching life skills to providing accommodation to help people get on their feet, they support homeless people in a multitude of ways. This year they also launched a new initiative to provide both period products & education for people experiencing homelessness. You can help Simon Community by donating your time, money and a number of essentials items. You can find more information here.

Luisa Omielan is my favourite stand up comedian. Her material is not only hilarious, but covers incredibly important issues. She talks about mental illness, body positivity & female empowerment in her hysterical routines. This year she lost her Mum suddenly & horribly to cancer. She has now not only incorporated the difficult topics of palliative care, NHS under funding & death into her routines, but has also started a foundation, in her mum’s name, to raise money to provide comfort items to hospices. My own family was also touched by cancer this year & I became aware of just how important good hospice care is. Until now I was not aware that hospices are charities that do not receive government funding. People at the end of their lives, often suffering, should have access to the best possible care. Luisa is trying to make that happen. Please give whatever you can to Helena’s Hospice Foundation.

Save the Children work around world with children in desperate need. Their mission is to keep children safe and healthy, whether that means battling poverty or exploitation. They fight to create and enforce legal rights for children as well as providing food, clothing and other essentials for those in need. There are too many frightened children in too many places tonight. If you can help give them a better tomorrow, please do.

Tribe is a Scottish animal sanctuary providing a loving home for animals who have been victims of abuse, neglect or who have been saved from slaughter. Their aim is to keep animals safe, but also to encourage compassion for animals not normally considered pets. The sanctuary was founded by John and Morag, animal advocates who wanted to truly live their beliefs. They currently house cats, dogs, cows and chickens. You can get to know their growing family & find out how to donate here.

Please dig as deep as you can and have a very Merry Christmas and a fun filled Hogmanay.

A dignified period…

Simon Community Scotland are a wonderful organisation who provide support & services for people experiencing homelessness. Every year they help over 500 women dealing with being homeless, offering gendering specfic services through their street teams. 

The traumatic histories of homeless women create a need for multiple branches of support. Often issues beginning in childhood can lead a woman to the streets. Childhood abuse or neglect can be replayed through domestic violence & exploitation, which can result in substance abuse, mental & physical health problems. All of which add up to a shocking low life expectancy of 43. The Simon Community aim to help women rebuild their lives by providing emergency accommodation & a variety of tailored services. This month they add to their excellent support portfolio with a Period Friendly programme. 

The programme will be comprised of education, communication & making sanitary itemsessily available. Simon Community have found that homeless women often lack basic knowledge about their menstrual cycle. Growing up in care or a troubled home can mean that they never had a chance to learn about periods. homeless women can feel particularly embarrassed or ashamed about their periods. As a result they may struggle to talk about their periods and lack opportunities to seek advice. On top of this the hardships of living on the street can lead to irregular cycles, infections & other problems. 

The Simon Community hope to tackle these issues with the launch of Period Friendly Points (PFP). Intially the points will be located at places specifically catering to homeless people, with they hope they may spread to include other sites. PFPs will provide free access to products required for a period; wipes, tampons, towels, pants, disposable bags along with information on how to use the sanitary products. Pregnancy & infection tests will also be available. These offer reassurance for women who experience irregular periods. They are also essential for women who have been victims of sexual violence. The Simon Community street teams will also be giving out Period Paxs comprising Period essentials, which can be refilled st PFPs


The PFPs will also give homeless women the chance the speak to staff about any queries or problems they are having. A study of homeless women undertaken by Simon Community discovered that,

78% didn’t know how long a tampon should be kept in.

61% had to go without sanitary products on multiple occasions – instead using rags or newspapers. 

70% had never spoken to anyone about their period & didn’t even know what a period is. 

These fact underline how important Period Friendly Points are. There is a desperate need for not only access to necessary products, but also a someone to listen & offer reliable advice. 

No women should ever have to make her own tampons or wear the same pants for a week. This goes beyond personal hygien, it is about dignity & respect. 

As a charitable organisation The Simon Community is always on need of donations & support. You can help grow this new intiative in a number of ways. If you have some time to volunteer you can become a Period Friendly Pal. 

P.F.Pals will :

Restock PFPs.

Collect & sort donations into Pax at SC warehouse in Glasgow.

Help raise funds & products to maintain PFPs.

Support, promote & raise awareness of issues that homeless women experience. 

Be a listening ear to the women SC reach out to. 

You can also donate by texting PFPR28 to 70070 staying your donation amount – £5 or £10.

Keeping up with the misogyny…

Last night I watched Keeping up with the Kardashians. Someone asked me to write a thing & I thought I could include the Kardashians in the piece. Full disclosure I’ve never really followed them. I’d seen the show a few times with my sis in law & obviously know snippets from the pop culture dominance. I’ve never had strong opinions about them. Their popularity confused me, but I thought them ultimately begnin. Now, I’m not so sure. 

It may sound dramatic, but I found it pretty disturbing. In the episode Kim & a bunch of people, including her sister’s ex Scott, travel to Dubai. The whole episode centres on how heartbroken the ex is as that the  sister has moved. He’s even relapsed  into drinking because he’s discovered that Kourtney is seeing someone else. It all seems fine, everyone  is sympathetic of his feelings & concerned about his wellbeing. Then it gets really weird. 

Kim & shit load of people turn up Scott’s hotel room. Someone spots a handbag & they all decide to go trawling around looking for it’s owner. Scott, looks terrified, which is bizarre. After all he’s a single adult, surely he can have whoever he wants in his hotel room? 

Anyway, the whole troupe complete their search & discover the bathroom door is locked. At which point Kim starts acting like crazy wronged wife. She screams about ‘scaring the fuck’ out the unknown woman. Then, with her whole gang watching she forces the bathroom door open & unleashes a tirade of abuse. She humiliates, bullies & slut shames another woman for the crime of spending the night with a single man. She calls her a tramp & a whore. The bit that disturbed me most is she’s loving it. You can see she is enjoying abusing this person. It’s horrible. Oh & none of the ten ish other people intervene. They all just watch this happen. 

It’s a really nasty display of someone using their power to attack someone in a weaker position. Why did she need such a big audience (& a camera crew) to confront this women? Why does she even think she has a right to say anything in the first place? 

Kim has railed against people slut shaming her for her sex tape, naked selfies etc, but relishes tearing into this stranger with the same kind of language. It’s toxic. 

The whole incident had a very sinister feel to it. Not least the scared man who allows it happen. It’s very creepy that he didn’t just ask them all to leave, right? Even weirder that her friends don’t tell her to stop. Seriously, would you watch your friend do that?

In summation they spend their trip talking about how not together Scott & Kourtney are. They celebrate her healthy decision to move on. Then they collectively lose it when the 100% single guy has a girl in his room. Kim searches someone else’s hotel room, forces her way into a locked room & viciously harasses someone for maybe having consensual sex. Let’s face it, that’s really cunty behaviour. That’s before you even figure in how intimated you’d have to be to hide/ask someone to hide in the first place. 

This is not my idea of entertainment. It’s just abuse caught on camera. For all Kim’s talk of female empowerment & body autonomy this is sheer misogyny. It worries me that hoardes of young women & girls look up to this family.   I’m watching & hoping for a backlash. This bullshit is not ok.