It has been a week. Sometimes this chronic illness business is depressingly predictable. Others it throws you a delightfully new problem. The past week has combined both. Lucky me.
Let’s start with the spoonie admin. Apparently because I have Pots the airline requires proof from a Dr that I am fit to fly. I am fit to fly. I flew last year with no issues. I don’t require oxygen and I can follow the safety instructions should the worst happen. None of which makes any difference to the airline people. This letter has to be signed no more than 30 days before departure. Months ago I made an appointment and explained what it was for. So, imagine my surprise when I turned up at the prearranged time only to be told that their policies have changed; my GP surgery can no longer provide this service. They suggested I contact a private clinic. Since I would dearly like to go on my long awaited holiday, I did just that. After quite a few no can dos, I found a practice who could help. Huge sigh of relief. Right up until they emailed the cost. Oh, what I would give for a body that behaves.
The week then steered into familiar territory. A night of unmanageable pain culminating in a disastrous faint. My glasses were knocked off & one lens shattered in the fall. I of course landed face first in the mess, then proceeded to repeat the passing out & smash my head. Cue a day of blood tests, butterfly stitches and feeling appalling. Oh and obviously more cancelled plans.
I tire of discovering new hurdles and stumbling over the old ones. The week ahead will be mostly conducted from the safety of home. I intend to sit still, get some writing done and try very hard not to be so much trouble. Health is wealth in more ways than one. Bronan is relying on me to keep him in the luxury he accustomed to.
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This week Sam Smith has hit the headlines for being sexy in a music video; a thing a million people have done before. Why the outrage? Simply because they don’t fit societal ‘norms’.
In the current climate they are an easy target. A non binary, queer, plus size person happily expressing themselves was bound to push right wing buttons. Their faux outrage is expected. Waging their culture war with no regard for the actual lives their damaging. It’s disgusting, but sadly, no surprise.
The really sickening part is the crappy takes from people I’d expect better from. The same folk who usually embrace expressions of sexuality, raunchy content & playing with gender roles have no problem shitting on Sam Smith.
The reason for the different reaction is simple; fat queer people aren’t allowed to be loudly accepting of themselves. If you don’t fit neatly into a traditionally beautiful box you’re supposed to be ashamed. No joyful self love. If you’re not fading into the background, you’re pushing an agenda.
What’s more Sam has committed the cardinal sin of telling the truth. They have been honest about how ill striving to be thin made them. Also, very clear about how right it feels to have their correct gender recognised. They’ve talked about the hate they have received for simply existing as their authentic self. No one is really worried about a pop star dancing in pasties. They’re furious that someone whose body & identity they don’t deem acceptable is living their best life.
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That back to reality January feeling is setting in. I don’t believe in all the New Year resolution stuff, but it is hard to fight the taking stock of the year past urge. I’m trying not to give way to January blues & those nagging feelings of not having achieved quite enough. Before I get stuck into conquering 2023 I’m sharing some joyous outfits I ended last year in.
For my sister’s birthday dinner I wore this swishy number. It’s a Christmas gift from my Mum & she got it so right. I feel instantly fancy when I slip it on. It is super comfortable and makes me look glam all at once. I love it.
More relaxed, but no less me is this leopard maxi. Another Xmas gift, this time form my sister. I love the tiered skirt, the print and how I can throw it on & still look put together. I’m loving how well my people know me.
Last, but not least we have the cutest bralette ever to exist. It’s so too pretty to be only underwear. Thus, I like to show it off with a variety of low cut items and sometimes even just some high waisted knickers. I defy anyone not to get a boost from pulling a superhero pose in lovely lingerie.
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Yup, you guessed it, it’s my obligatory ‘you’re body is ok’ post. With diet ads hounding every platform & the industry hacks espousing all the usual lies & misinformation. Just in case you don’t hear it anywhere else, I want to say it loud and clear; YOU DO NOT NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT.
You don’t have to work off any festive indulgence. Your liver & kidneys do all the detoxing your body requires. You can move your body in ways that you enjoy with no reference to size reduction. You don’t need an app, course or gym bro to monitor what you eat or how you live. You are wonderful and capable. Your body is incredible.
If the yearly onslaught is inducing a wobble or you are new to body acceptance here are a few basic, but effective tips.
Stop consuming anything that makes you feel bad. No, I do not mean food. You eat whatever your body needs. What you must cut is magazines, social media, films etc that give you the idea that you’re not enough. A little trickier, but important is to include people in this step. Create boundaries around weight loss/body critical talk. Enforce them. I cannot articulate how big a difference this made to my self esteem. When you are constantly bombarded with the message that there is something wrong with your size, it sinks in.
Replace all that negative chatter with joyful body positive content. Fill your feeds with happy fat people living their lives to the max. Educate yourself on fat politics. Learning how wrong the things we’re taught about fat bodies is a revelation. As is witnessing people with bodies like yours succeeding.
Explore your body. Look at yourself. Discover how you look in different clothes, in your undies, naked. Let yourself see what you like. Question what bothers you about the parts that you don’t. Practise being kind to yourself. Appreciate the magic of all that your body allows you to do. Touch yourself. Get comfortable with your softness. You will be amazed at how many aspects of your body you already already value.
Of course unlearning a lifetime of conditioning will take time & work, but these are tried & tested first steps. You are more than enough. Go forth & love yourself.
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I was raised Roman Catholic. I went to mass every Sunday, made confessions, took communion. I attended catholic schools. My primary school was flanked by a chapel, a missionary monastery & a convent. By virtue of attending those schools most of my friends were also catholic. We all prayed before lunchtime, sang hymns in assembly and had regular R.E. Classes. What I mean is I understand how organised religion works. I was immersed in dogma throughout my childhood.
That’s not to say I always liked it. Even early on I remember having the distinct feeling that some it was icky. I didn’t like the bullying ways of my school chaplains. Some of the things my teachers hammered home did not fit with the whole peace & love vibe. Mass was never anything other than a thing to be endured. Catholicism always felt too rigid.
It wasn’t until I hit secondary school that I really started to call bullshit. I didn’t believe much of what I was being taught. More importantly I hated the intolerance. Catholic views on sex, sexuality, gender roles, abortion and so much more simply did not align with my own. Neither did they fit with what I had learned at home. I couldn’t bite my tongue in the face of bigotry dressed up as god’s word. Nor could I bring myself to do the cherry picking that many religious folks do. The catholic faith felt like a straight jacket & I would not be restrained.
Thus, I drifted away. I stopped going to mass. I let myself question everything I had absorbed. I dug into the history of the church and its current practices. The more informed I became the less respect I had for any of it. It’s all steeped in atrocities & injustice. Organised religion it seemed was just a way to control the masses. What better way to impose your will than to tell people it was in fact, god’s will. By the time I finished school I no longer considered or described myself catholic at all. I had & have no use for any organised religion. I believe there is a higher power of some description, but not some patriarchal judge in the sky.
Most of my family still belong to the church. I have friends of various faiths & none. I’m very much a live & let live type of person. As long as no one is trying to impose their beliefs upon me or actively do harm in the name of religion; I don’t consider it my business. I do however retain a distrust & distaste for the institutions. I want no part of it.
I tell you all this in order for you to understand how I felt when I received this comment on something I wrote on the anniversary of my baby’s due date.
Anger was my main reaction. I removed the comment & blocked the (blank) account. I hated the thought of someone more vulnerable than myself receiving such a comment. I felt angry that this so called church elder was trawling for people they thought they could manipulate. However, I didn’t want to give it anymore time or energy. They were blocked; end of story.
Unfortunately not. A couple of weeks later, on my birthday, I received an email. This time from a church elder named Liam McIntosh. It was more of the same. Insulting & ignorant comments about my life, offers of ‘support’ and that suspicious claim of referral from a concerned friend. There is not a single person in my life who if concerned would ask the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to help me. This contact enraged me. I have an excellent support system, a sense of purpose and lots of joy in my life. However, I am aware that many people do not. I remember how little it took to overwhelm me when I was in the depths of mental illness & grief. I am also cognisant of how easily some people who feel desperate may be manipulated. Both messages utilised abuse tactics; belittle, claim to be doing so for the victim’s benefit and then purport to have all the answers. A church setting out to prey on vulnerable people in this manner sickens me.
This kind of behaviour is exactly why I do not like organised religion. It is predatory. This organisation is clearly seeking out people they believe to be vulnerable in order to manipulate them. I am not that person. I share my experiences in order to dispel stigma. I find the ‘concerned friend’ tactic particularly disturbing as it purposely exploits the guilt & shame that many people in difficult circumstances already feel.
After receiving that email I felt sufficiently angry & concerned to act. I tried to track down both men who contacted me. I could find no trace of either on official church websites etc nor could I find any record of professional training that would qualify them to offer such advice. The only COFLDS that I could find in Hamilton has disbanded. I called Edinburgh & Glasgow branches, but neither wanted to comment. Nor would they provide details of anyone in a senior role to discuss these communications. Some elders though are obviously reading this blog, perhaps they would like explain themselves?
I’m not finished with this. I am worried about the harm these unethical strategies could cause. As a result I am working on a more in depth piece for publication. If you or someone you know has been contacted in this way, I would like to hear from you.
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It’s the October week holidays here. Of course that means some fun adventures & more spooky nails. It’s getting chilly out there, so I’ve been getting into the cosy looks.
I went a bit horror on the nails and tried out some chuckyish stitched wounds. I didn’t want them to be too gruesome, so nothing realistic here.
On Wednesday we decided to introduce my nephew to a place my sis & I have loved since childhood. The Burrell Collection is an art gallery/museum in Glasgow that has recently reopened after a refurb and shake up of exhibits. The exhibits are presented in the most incredible building surrounded by woodlands, but in the middle of the city. It is one of my very favourite places and it was wonderful to see the boy enjoy it too.
The revamp is great. They have maintained the heart of the collection whilst adding excellent interactive aspects. The boy loved playing the games & puzzles, all of which helped him better understand the exhibits. The cafe has a great vegan & child friendly menu. The Burrell also ticks the accessibility box. Lots of space to manoeuvre, lifts to all exhibits, loads of places to sit down when you need to rest.
After The Burrell we checked out the also revamped swing park. Thus I needed to be both cosy and waterproof. I opted for this lovely jumper dress & light weight rain jacket; both presents from my Mum.
I chipped my Chucky nails, necessitating a premature change. I went for some creepy trees and sparkly bats. Let’s hope I can manage not to wreck this design right away.
My nephew has recently developed a love for golf; crazy golf in particular. Today we indulged that new found passion with a trip to Paradise Golf. He loved it, claiming two hole in ones & ultimately the game. Auntie ly struggled a little, but luckily I had my perfect little man to play for me when I needed a sit down.
We had a little sushi for lunch, picked up some shark wellies & grabbed a doughnut before heading home. It’s always too hot at Xscape and I kept that in mind when choosing my outfit. I wore a bunch of old favs today including my comfy shoes & a skirt with pockets!
It was my birthday last week. I have reached the enormous age of 42 and it was a chill affair. I spent the actual day with my wonderful bestie and her little monkeys. Then at the weekend I was whisked off for a lovely surprise. I was instructed to pack a bag and bring a swimsuit. No further information was forthcoming.
We set off early on rainy Saturday morning and four ish hours later we arrived at Thainstone House. The sun was shining up north and our destination was perfect. A beautiful country house hotel set in gorgeous grounds. Complete with swimming pool & spa; I was in heaven.
My Mum & Sister were behind the treat. Of course my nephew was along for the ride. We had a weekend of fine dining, swimming and carry on in luxury setting. It was a gorgeous birthday present.
After dinner and late swim on Saturday we introduced the boy to Monopoly. He had been dying to try it and it turns out he is a shark. He showed no mercy as he bought up streets and flung hotels on them. His absolute glee every time I landed in jail was hilarious.
On our way home we stopped in Inverurie for a little shopping and outfit photos. The boy managed to leave with a monster truck & Gran stocked up on enough expensive scarfs to last a good few winters. All in all a successful weekend.
doing not much. It’s been mostly sedentary activities and background music has been essential. These have been my most played.
Obviously Lewis Capaldi’s new song has been on repeat. Like the rest of the sane population I have been dying for him to release new music. Forget Me doesn’t disappoint. Poignant lyrics and epic remake of a wham video clearly add up to a hit. I even bought the single. The first single I have purchased since the 90’s. It must be good. Factor in the bonus of having him back of social media and the world is a better place.
Reflecting Light wormed it’s way into my play list via Gilmore Girls. I’m currently very annoyed at that stupid show. I started it in a fit of insomnia because a friend told me it was great (you know who you are!). Gilmore Girls is not amazing. It is a sort of ok sitcom with a few really annoying characters and main folk doing occasionally hideous things. I couldn’t stop watching, though because they suckered me in with Lorelai & Luke. I can resist a meant for each other but keep fucking couple. Thus, I had to press on to ensure they ended up together. Amongst my tears & frustration came Sam Phillips singing Reflecting Light.
‘ I rode the pain down, got off and looked up Looked into your eyes The lost open windows, all around My dark heart lit up the skies’
The waltzing and those lines got me. I’ve been humming it all week.
Another Love by Tom Odell is the song you hear in the videos of Iranian protests. An uprising prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22 yr old woman beaten to death by morality police for not wearing a hijab. The courage of women refusing to submit to these laws is immense. It is incredible to watch people stand up to this totalitarian regime. Their bravery is awe inspiring. I get shivers every time I get this song.
Last but not least we have Harry Styles’ Matilda. It’s just such a beautifully sad song. I can’t relate, my family are wonderful, it’s still making me cry. Something about that reassuring voice saying it’s ok to let go just gets me. Poor Matilda.
Bronan approves of both the tunes and the sitting still.
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I just lit the first pumpkin shaped candle of the season. It is rainy, windy and cold. The timing is right.
Today did not bring my favourite autumnal weather. The gloom did, however suit my mood. I had the long awaited appointment with the consultant this week & she had no good news for me. PoTs ✔️ Treatment to improve symptoms ✖️. I can’t take beta blockers & I’m already doing everything that is supposed to help. She also thinks I need to see someone else about the extreme breathlessness. So, it’s status quo with the passing out every two seconds. Oh and back to square one on referrals & tests re breathlessness. I’m very tired and exceptionally fed up. This is what happens when I pin all my hopes on one Dr.
On the bright side I live in Glasgow and it’s nearly October. I am certain I will have many opportunities to wallow in gloomy weather. I also know a very annoying man. No doubt he will frustrate me so much that I will occasionally forgot almost no part of my body works.
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I’m still not getting out much, but I did wear two cute outfits & have a little fun this week. I used my auntie time to try out some new thrift finds. I’m quite pleased with the results.
First up was some time with my littlest niblings. The babas are walking now and so much fun. I tried my new twirly skirt and it was perfect for sitting on the floor and wrangling babies. Getting back up was a bit of a challenge, but hey ho.
On Saturday I had my first big day out in quite a while. We headed to The Hot Air Balloon festival in my Mum’s village. It was wonderful. I have always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon, but watching them take off was a close second best. My nephew was crazy excited watching them launch. He also had a lot of fun on various rides & bouncy castles. He even managed to convince his Mummy to let him have green hair. For this outing I wore another of my 2nd hand finds; an amazing cat print skirt. I went full crazy auntie & teamed it with a petticoat and nirvana vest. Then finished the whole look with a deeply hippie dippie shawl. I got some looks, but I loved it!
Today I am in recovery mode. I expect it’ll be jammies for the foreseeable. Bronan approves.
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