I can’t get no…

Sunrise is rather pretty this morning. I’m trying to revel in the beauty of nature, but I’d happily skip it for some sleep. I’ve not had more than 3 consecutive hours slumber in an age. I’m tired & sore & grumpy, damn it. I want to do the whole gratitude thing, but I think a big old moan would serve me better. Indulge me.

Pink sunrise through bedroom window

For starters, it’s Sunday. The sabbath has always been my least favourite day. I think it’s probably a remnant from childhood. That weekend’s almost over & I have to go to mass vibe was not a winner. The dreaded Sunday feeling clung on past horribly hungover Monday morning uni lectures & into the days of 9-5 grind. Even now when I can structure my week however I want, the downer remains. Sundays make me blue.

Circular mirror with blue backlighting

The next item on my pointless gripe list is scents that aren’t scents. This one has been getting on my wick this week. Probably because I have too much time on my hands & am seeing tv ads. If you’re naming a product & its smell is a selling point, pick something that actually has an aroma. Diamonds don’t smell. Bright copper kettles do not have recognised scent. Silk is not an olfactory delight and no one wants their bedsheets to smell of secrets. Please stop it.

Another whinge stemming from lack of a stimulating life is my hatred of bangs. Too much social media has resulted in over exposure. Americans are all desperate to cut their own ‘bangs’. Fringes are cool upon many a forehead, calling them bangs is not. It makes no sense. A fringe describes exactly what it is. It’s a wee fringe of hair for your face. Perfect. What the fuck does the word bang have to do with it? And why is it plural? I could almost get over the nonsensical name, but not the pluralisation. One fringe per head! What are you playing at Americans?

Black and white photo of   Jean shrimp ton with fringe

I return to you after dealing with the bane of my life; the dishes. I hate washing dishes. It is such a con. Dirty dishes are basically a microcosm of adult life. No matter how many or how quickly you wash them, there will always be more. Fuck those filthy little bastards.

All of which brings me to the biggie, sex. How the hell am I supposed do without a shag for months on end? Sex would mitigate so many of the problems corona has created. Bored, stressed lacking exercise, a vigorous shag is just the trick. An orgasm will defeat your insomnia & improve your immune system. Scared and angry distract yourself with a nice bit of cock (or whatever takes your fancy). Getting it on would take the sting right out of this isolation. Alas quarantine doesn’t permit ‘conjugal’ visits and I would most certainly throttle any man I had to be locked down with. So, in conclusion I definitely won’t be getting any for the foreseeable & I’m a whingeing nightmare as a result.

Plus size arse in black knickers with text,  no sex please, we’re quarantined

Easy ways to support your spoonie friend at Christmas…

I often share tips to help chronically ill people manage different aspects of their lives. However, sometimes the trickiest part of the spoonie life is dealing with how those around us react to our illness. This time I thought I’d give some hints to those who know & love a spoonie.

Please don’t give us a hard time when we cancel

This applies all the time, but especially during the festive season when there are so many events & parties. We know we disappoint you when we cancel. We aren’t sick on purpose. We can’t control our flares. Trust me, we really want to be there. We are sorry we’re missing your thing, particularly if it’s really important to you. It’s fine to say you’ll miss us or you’d have loved us to be there, but please don’t get angry. Try to consider all the times we do show up for you despite being in pain or dealing with other symptoms. We already feel more guilty that you can imagine & we are incredibly grateful that you stick with us.

White txt on pink background, my brains says let’s do something exciting today. My body says don’t listen to that fool.

Take our restrictions/limitations into account when planning activities

Disabled & chronically ill people can have a whole range of needs. We really don’t have a problem answering questions when they are considerate & relevant. If you take into account accessibility needs (disabled toilets, stairs, seats, dietary restrictions, crowds etc) it is much more likely that your spoonie friends can attend. More than that they’ll actually be able to stay for the whole shebang & enjoy themselves. It is actually much easier that you think these days. Many venues are happy to help you make accommodations or already have them in place. All varieties of specialised food are commonly available. Plus I for one am often happy just to know there will definitely be a seat so I can retreat if I need to.

Take no for an answer

If we say we are too ill, we mean it. It’s not an excuse nor the start of a debate. We’ve always thought out every possible variation before deciding we can’t make it. It doesn’t help when you say we’ll feel better once we’re out. We’ll feel much worse if we push ourselves too far. We know our limits & all our responsibilities; we are the best judge of what we can handle.

No comparisons

Please, I beg you, don’t do comparisons. Getting upset because we went to so & so’s birthday, but can’t come to yours is pointless. It won’t make us any more able to attend & will just make everyone feel worse. Chronic illness is a crap shoot. We never know how we will feel on any given day. We might have been the life & soul at dinner last week, had a ball with the wee ones on Tuesday & unable to move without crying on Thursday. There is no predicting how chronic illness will behave. The things we don’t attend is not linked to how much we wanted to be there.

Siamese cat on blue background with txt, no pain no gain. Chronic illness is not a competitive sport.

Bonus Tip

Don’t tell us we can do anything we put our minds to. We absolutely can’t & this is a shitty reminder. It’s not inspiring, it’s dismissive.

Your spoonie friend loves you. They are delighted that you are on their life and they are doing everything they can to be reliable & fun & supportive. Please cut us a little slack.

You can’t touch this…

It’s a rainy bank holiday Monday & I’ve decided to have a lazy day. I’m just casually scrolling through Facebook when a post gets my attention. I’m not surprised by the post, it’s nothing new. Nonetheless it makes me feel a tad ragey. 

  
   
My first thoughts run to the sheer entitlement of this man. He wants to do something & no one else’s feelings on the matter count. These thoughts are swiftly followed by exhaustion at constantly having to explain why this is not ok. His dismissal of rape culture as something made up by ‘angry women’ & his total refusal to accept women’s safety concerns are appalling. The problem of course, is that these attitudes are pervasive. Men routinely behave this way. 

  
I am aware that I am not the first woman to raise these issues, but I really think it’s important that we share our experiences. 1 in 5 women in uk have been sexually assualted at some point in their life. To be honest I’m surprised this figure isn’t much higher. Women and girls are harassed daily. It’s infuriating, frightening, humiliating, stressful & so much more. Still girls are told by teachers that ‘boys will boys’ and schools put the onus on what girls wear rather on male behaviour. We are told cat calling is a compliment and police down play our reports of sexual assualt. 

Men, it seems have no concept of the female experience. They will never understand the extent of the harassment we endure unless we speak out. Basically, we need to ram it down their throats. 

With that in mind I want to share some of the stand out moments of sexual intimidation that I have experienced. 

1/ I was approximately 10yrs old & wearing my favourite outfit. It was one of those heat sensitive t shirts that change colour & a velvet skirt. The t shirt reads hotspot, I thought this was the coolest thing ever. At a family gathering an adult, male family friend slaps my bum & says ‘that’s your hotspot’. I was 10yrs old. The incident confused & frightened me so much that I didn’t tell a soul it had happened. 

2/ I’m 11 or twelve and have just started secondary school. The boys in my class routinely try to undo girl’s bras through their blouses. I don’t wear a bra yet & so am mercilessly mocked. 

3/ That same year myself & a friend are followed off a bus & right to her house by a complete stranger. He’s a middle aged man & we are terrified.

4/ On my way home from school one day a man approaches me & warns me that there is another man playing with himself ahead. A week or so later the same man does the same thing. On speaking to the police it turns out there have been dozens of complaints. 

5/ By 15 my flat as a pancake figure has ceased to be. My breast growth has gone into over drive & my boobs are large. My life long battle begins. Boys at school grab me and make crude comments. Adult bus drivers make disgusting comments despite my wearing a school uniform. For the first time I hear the male theory that big breasts mean I am slut.

6/ At some point in my mid teens I go on holiday with a friend’s family. Throughout the holiday my friend’s mother alludes to the size of my breasts & my refusal to hide them under tent like apparel, means that I am not a nice girl. 

7/ When I begin clubbing at around 16, I am confronted with the fact that my body is not my own. Men in clubs consider the female form to be fair game. I am groped, slapped, pinched, rubbed against over & over. When I complain I am verbally abused & told I shouldn’t be wearing revealing clothes if I don’t want this. I’m a bitch, slut, frigid, a tease. 

8/ I’m 19 and my way to meet a friend for drinks. As I walk down a busy street a group of young teenage boys surround me, shout about my breasts, one boy thrusts his hand into my dress & violently grabs my nipple. None of the passers by make any attempt to help me. When I report this incident to the police, the first question I am asked is what was I wearing. No action is ever taken. I am left feeling dirty & angry. 

9/ In my mid twenties I faint at street market. When I come round a man is taking a picture of my cleavage. 

10/  I try internet dating & am bombarded with sexual comments. If I ignore these comments I get abusive messages telling me I am rude & stuck up. If I say no thanks, I receive messages telling me what an ugly, fat bitch I am & how dare I reject this prize of a man. Several times I block men only to have them create new accounts so they can continue to abuse me. 

11/ At an early post graduation job I must wear a blue shirt provided by my employer. I request the largest size, but it still gapes at the bust. I am summoned to HR to talk about how I am dressed inappropriately.

12/ I am leading a sexual health workshop with teenagers. Their teacher requests my card & then adds ‘you look like you could improve my sexual health’.

13/ By my early 30’s I am thoroughly disgusted with all this abuse. I am collecting my prescription from the chemist when an old man looks me up & down, shouts ‘nice’ & proceeds to squeeze both breasts. I automatically harshly push the man away from me. Later when reporting this to the police I am questioned about how I pushed him, how much force I used & why I hit the man. Again, no action is ever taken. 

14/ A man I dated briefly over ten years ago periodically sent pictures of his penis despite me telling him not to. When I blocked him from one way of contacting he found me somewhere else & continued. 

These are only a tiny taste of the aggravation I have endured. My experience is by no means unique. So, next time you want to complain about women being on the defensive or not appreciating your advances have a think about why she is reacting that way. Before you laugh at a friend’s unsolicitated comments to a female stranger, consider how much of these ‘compliments’ she must deal with.  Ask the women in your life about their exposure to molestation (verbal or physical). Hopefully a glimpse of the reality of the female experience will alter you view point. 

This week I have mostly been…

Feeling grumpy, if I’m honest. My bad mood has of course spilled into my listening choices. I’ve been selecting some angry, some passionate & all loud tunes. Sometimes I sing (scream) along, which I find helps immensely. 

So, this week I have mostly been listening to :

Morrissey. Let’s face it he’s a musical genius & this particular song articulates an element of my life that I have struggled with for many years. It captures my predicament exactly & listening to The more you ignore me – the closer I get gives me an enormous sense of freedom. Free from the  burden of trying to explain because darling Morrssey has done it all for me. 

I should explain that I’m not pissed off with anyone in particular, just, you know the whole world. So my next few choices are just ranty songs that vent my chagrin. Next time you are stewing turn up The Pigeon Detectives’ I’m not sorry & holler the title lyric; trust me, you’ll feel calmer. Likewise Can’t stand me now, The Libertines classic presses all the right buttons. With lyrics like ‘ the boy kicked out at the world – the world kicked back a lot fuckinv harder’ song is feeling my pain. 

  
My final earwig isn’t really an angry tune. Falling by Mcalmont & Butler is the kind of song that completely fills whatever space it occupies. So much so that I feel it pulsating through my body. It’s soaring peaks & crashing drums create actual physical sensations. It has been ringing in my ears all week.