Shelter from the storm…

I’ve had a pretty blue day. There’s proper storm blowing around outside & I am incredibly tired, which definitely hasn’t helped. Mostly though, I feel shit because too many people have been horrible to me this week.

I had a very small day surgery on Monday, which went smoothly & really wasn’t a huge deal. It was on my dodgy leg & in a spot when stitches are very easy to burst, so I was told to be careful. With that in mind I got a taxi to the train station early on Tuesday morning (I watch my nephew on Tuesdays). The station has a little car park at one side, but that is not the platform I get the train from, so I need the taxi to stop on the main road. I say need because I mean need. If I get out in the car park I have to go out up a big flight of stairs to street level over the tracks & then down a smaller staircase to the platform. Getting out on the street means navigating one smaller set of stairs (which is hard & sore & slow enough). The taxi driver of course did not want to stop on the main road. He was annoyed that he’d have to go a little further down the road to turn at a roundabout & he didn’t want to pull over on a busy road. He argued that it made no sense when the station had a car park. Now, maybe I’m a bitch, but in my mind part of the convenience of paying a taxi to take me somewhere is that I don’t have to explain myself & I get to go where I want to go. I don’t relish having to explain my disabilities & why I can’t do certain things. Especially when I walk with a stick & it’s bloody obvious that stairs are not my friend. I did however tell the driver why I wanted to be dropped in that specific spot, but he still wanted to argue. Thus I had to say either drop me where I say or take me home and don’t get paid. With much muttering under his breath he did as I asked, which probably took less than 5 minutes more & was basically zero hassle to him. This, my day is off to a crap start & I’m already tired of just trying to move around in the world.

I struggle down the steps just in time to heave myself on to a packed train. The train is headed into town & it’s 7.45am, of course there are no seats left. I make my way to the seats that are reserved for the disabled, elderly etc and everyone sitting there avoids eye contact. I don’t know why people do this because not looking at me does nothing to reduce my need to sit down. All it achieves is putting me in the horrible position of having to ask for seat. This, I duly do. I politely ask the women in the closet seat if I can have her seat if she is able to stand. I am met with huffing & puffing as puts her jacket back on and a glare as she vacates the seat. I thank her anyway because I have some bloody manners & sit whilst others who previously avoided looking in my direction now recover their ability to see me. They now make full use of this rediscovered function to gawk at me for most of the journey. I’m sore & tired & anxious & very conspicuous. It isn’t even 8am. I arrive at central station & have to buy a ticket. There was no ticket inspector on the first train & I have to get a second to complete my journey. The ticket office on the platform has the barriers set up to control the queue. I have to walk around it to get into the queuing area & follow the barriers to actually reach the end of the line. I’m slow, i’m conscious of not messing with the wound on my dodgy leg & I am worried about this queue because I’m really not sure I can stand that long. Roll on more rude people. As I follow the path made by the barriers people just barge right past me. One women even does a little run just as I near the end of queue so she can get in front of me. What kind of dickhead rushes to skip a disabled person who is clearly having difficulty? I don’t know, but I can tell you there are too many of them & I don’t always have it in me to let them know that they’re a knob.

View from the train

Anyway, I get my ticket. I locate the platform of my next train. I find a seat because I can’t go any further until I’ve had a rest. I eat a lovely banana, check my messages & listen to some tunes whilst I gather myself. When it’s time to to head to the train I have recovered some equilibrium. I’m thinking today can be saved. One train journey & I can cuddle my gorgeous wee monkey. This is what I’m thinking as make my way along the platform & a large man barges right into me. He took me completely by surprise, I had nothing to steady myself on & went flying. Mr ‘catching my train is life’ didn’t even stop. No apology, no let me help you up. Kept marching right on & boarded his train. Incidentally his train was my train & it wasn’t leaving for 9 minutes. Whilst he presumably found a good seat I was lying on the platform bleeding. A nice ticket guy helped me up & onto the train. He even radioed someone the description of the guy who knocked me over, but to what end I have no idea. I’m not sure what anyone could really do other than tell him he was a prick. That surgical wound I was being oh so careful with is now bleeding furiously. I didn’t want to remove the dressing on the train, but I’m sure the stitches have burst (they had). So, I’m applying pressure & being watched by other travellers (again) as I try to put myself back together. I was pissed off, but focusing on gathering myself & getting where I needed to go.

Mr nephew was, as always, a delightful little bundle & I got through the day. I arrived home last night utterly exhausted & dropped into bed almost immediately. After a fitful night of sleep I awoke feeling just as tired. My leg is swollen & the wound can’t be restitched (it’s been open over night & restitching would be an infection risk). It will heal, but slower & messier. I had things to do today, but I didn’t do them. Partly because I was in a fair bit of pain and exhausted. Mostly, though, because there was a strong wind & yesterday shook my confidence. The accumulation of the rudeness, arguing, staring & knocking me to the ground was that today I was acutely aware of my disabilities. I didn’t feel up to dealing with the world & perhaps ending up worse for wear again. That realisation made me feel like shit.

cheeky baby
Cheeky monkey trying to steal my stick.

I don’t like to think of myself as fragile or incapable. I know my limitations & I try really hard to work around them. I have to think ahead. I do things a bit at a time & I sometimes have tackle things in ways that might not make sense to others. I know I can be awkward. I know that the accommodations I need can be a pest to others. All disabled people know this. We aren’t asking for seats or giving specific instructions for a laugh; it’s the only way we can live in the world. I already feel stressed & anxious about needing these things. I am certain I’m not alone in it that. So, when you force me(us) to explain ourselves it’s horrible. When you make a fuss about being stuck behind me as I move at glacial pace, you are making my life a nightmare. Your stares & sighs can ruin my day. Limping along with a stick at 37 is not my ideal life situation. Fainting on public transport is not a thing I relish. I did not choose to hurt all the live long day. I do not want to have to ask you for anything, but I can assure if I was in your shoes I’d offer my seat with good grace.

I’ll heal. I’ll give myself a shake & force myself back out the door again. I will hold my tongue (most of the time) as you push past me & roll your eyes. I shouldn’t have to, though. Living with my disabilities is hard enough. I don’t want to manage your arsehole tendencies too.

Just say yes…

This week I realised I haven’t done an outfit post for a while & set right to rectifying that. A quick rumble in my wardrobe uncovered this unworn gem.

ly h Kerr

Dress – Asos Curve

This dress has been languishing on a hanger for a couple of years. Partly because I forgot about it & also because I was worried about how my stomach would look in it. Turns out, pretty damn good. I have tonnes of clothes that I never get around to wearing for similar reasons. No matter how much I embrace my body there are always days when parts of it just don’t seem good enough. I suppose that’s just part of an unlearning process. I spent most of my life soaking up the message that fat is bad. Those notions aren’t going to entirely disappear. The good news is that there are also days like today. Days when I put on the scary dress look in the mirror & feel banging. Even better, the ‘loving my body just as it’ periods far outweigh the times when I’m hiding.

There’s definitely no hiding in this dress. It takes clashing prints to the next level. Who’d have thought tartan & floral would work on the same fabric? Me, I suppose. I love it.

Tartan & Floral

And yup, I did tartan nails to match.

Tartan nail art

There’s nobody else here, no one like me…

I’m about to get a bit happy clappy, so if that gets your goat (I hear you), skip this one.

I know it’s been disaster movie of a year. There are truly despicable things happening all over the globe. So, I feel quite guilty about this, but 2016 has been my personal best for a very long time. Selfish or not I want to acknowledge my successes. Queue the happy bit. 

This year I have been comparatively sane. I’m not cured and of course there are bad times, but I have felt psychologically healthier & happier than I’ve been in several years. I’m pretty confident that I’m finally taking the right medication. Meds aren’t magic beans, but the right combination has given me much more solid ground to build on. I’ve been able to push myself, expanding  my social & professional lives in the process. 

Now, here comes the big one, I have not purposely hurt myself in well over a year. Again, I’m not recovered, I suspect the urge will always be with me. The difference for me has been releasing there are things I want more than blood. I’m not going to bullshit anyone, it’s a grind; it’s a battle I decide to fight every day. This is a war that’s been raging for 17 years, but I’m stating to believe I will emerge the conquerer. 

Next up; gettting all proud of myself & shamelessly blowing my own trumpet. 2016 has been a professional triumph. My writing has featured in publications I have long admired. My blog hits have soared & more importantly I produced more work of value than ever before. I am proud to be writing about issues that need to be talked about & creating work that readers really connect with. 

This year I also took a leap of faith & extended my wee empire to include oPeration BoPo. I wanted a thing that didn’t exist locally & so, I just went ahead & made it happen. My first event was an amazing success. I believe there is a need for accessible body positive projects & I am determined to meet it. I have some exciting things in the work for 2017. Get ready to join the self love revolution. 

This year I have gained a confidence that I feared was gone for good. I took charge. I had some big scale health issues & disappointing discoveries, but I kept rolling. I let go of yearning to be the girl I was before life got fucked & embraced the woman I am because & inspite of it all. 

This has been a year of seizing what control I can & trying to accept that it will never be the unbridled authority I desire. My body & mind will continue to usurp me. I’ll just have to wrestle them into the best submission I can manage. 

I’ll be honest my life can be brutal. You know what? I can be too. I’m heading into the new year with a 5 year plan, a growing business, my first nude photo shoot under my belt, ovaries that are really trying & the very best people supporting me. 2017, I’m ready for you. 


I hope there were some bright spots for all of you too & that next year brings you all you’re hoping for. 

Operation BoPo is Go…..

I have been distracted lately. I have my taken my attention off the blogging ball, but for good reason. Much of my time has been devoted to launching what I hope will be an amazing organisation. oPeration BoPo is a body positive project designed to empower people to love the skin they’re in. 

The body positive community has changed my life. Discovering plus size bloggers & proponents of self love has allowed to enjoy my body instead of hating it. I really wanted to share that with other people. I looked for a body positive group/project locally and couldn’t found anything that fitted. So, I took a leap of faith and set up my own. oPeration BoPo’s first outing is an art event. The aim is to photograph bodies of all types & use the images for an art exhibit. The hope being that both participants & viewers will find beauty in all the photographs. 

I am a complete novice at all of this, but I have been surprised by own skills & the generosity of so many people. Our photo shoots took place last week with the help of amazing hair, make up & photographers. I have also been stunned & inspired by the models who have volunteered to take part in the project. 



It was incredible to see our models step in front of the camera & really feel themselves. You could actually see how powerful the experience was for some; confidence pouring into their stance. I have had amazing feedback from participants. It is truly beautiful to see my dream of spreading body positivity actually happening. 


Our first exhibit will be at Glad Rags, an amazing non profit thrift store. Our ethos happily met. The lovely managers, Bee & Ashley have not only styled some models with their fabulous stock, but have also modelled. The body positive art event opens on Oct 20th at 7.30pm. There will be gift bags, cakes & even some punch. All are welcome. 


My hope is to continue with oPeration BoPo. I want to create more projects that allow people to see their bodies in a positive light. I’d also really like to reach diverse groups especially those who would particularly benefit from the self love message. If you are local (I’m based in Glasgow) and would like to get involved please get in touch! 

Now for the money bit. Although professionals have very kindly donated their time there are still many costs. oPeration BoPo is not for profit and there is no cost to anyone who participates. If you would like to help me grow the body positive revolution, you can donate here:

GoFundMe – oPeration BoPo
Stay tuned because oPeration BoPo is go!

When you’re strange…

I have always walked on the weird side of the road. From a young age I decided the best option was just to embrace my quirkiness & roll with it. It’s a strategy that has served me well. Sure, I still get stares from strangers & folk making snap judgements about me, but fuck them. 

I’ve found that confidence in strangeness is the key. Don’t be apologetic or hide, boldness is the way. No matter how odd your views or look there are always like minded folks  & the Internet guarantees you can find them. However, you don’t have to section yourself into a little pocket of society. I have friends of all varieties, many don’t really get a lot of my choices, but they support them nonetheless. A frequent occutance for me is having newish friends confess that their first impression of me was ‘weird af’, but on further inspection they found they liked me. My point is eveyone is entitled to be exactly who they are; people will love you despite or because of your differences. 

So, what better way to celebrate my irregularities than celebrating some classic eccentric chicks? 

I’m going to kick off with my 11yr old hero, Blossom. Blossom was my fashion icon. I had several floppy hats that I pinned at the front with ridiculous badges. More than that, I felt a kinship with the character. She was smart & quirky & frequently teased by her ‘cooler’ older brother. I think Blossom was my first hint that being weird could be amazing. I’ll always love her for that. 

  

You can’t talk about weird characters without bowing down to Pheobe Buffay. Pheobe was me. She was the veggie, hippie, black sheep of her group. The other ‘Friends’ were continually puzzled by her, but loved her anyway. Moreover her outlandish ideas often held a needed wisdom.  Pheobe walked her own path, which was exactly my plan. As a teenager it was so affirming to see a woman like that on the biggest to show in the world. 

  

Ok, so this one might be controversial. Lena Dunham is problematic in a number of ways, which at times filters through, but I still love Hannah. I arrived at the Girls’ party very late. I have only recently delved into it & was of course sucked into a box set binge. Hannah is odd. She makes some horribly bad choices & let’s face it, she gets annoying. Even, so, I love her. I adore her body positivity. She wears whatever she wants & she gets naked whenever the notion takes her. She’s a writer, she struggles with her mental health & she loves a very kooky man. Wait, is Hannah me too? Most of all she is honest ( perhaps sometimes too honest). She’ll talk about scary feelings & taboo topics alike. Shame is not a thing to be tolerated in Hannah’s world & I am in awe of that.

  

Now it’s time for ultimate 90’s weirdo, Daria. God, I still love her. Daria is everything. She’s cynical & witty; she shuns all conformity. Fashion is irrelevant, popularity a non issue. Daria & her equally cool friend Jane live in their own world. She finds her cheerleader sister ridiculous. Her come backs are top level. She even has a romance with an older musician dude without altering herself one bit. For your supreme snark & flawless misandry, I salute you Daria. 

  

Sway me more….

Earlier this year I invested in 50’s style underskirt to go with a swing dress. Little did I know how enamoured I would ge one with it’s flouncy loveliness. It feels amazing. With every movement I swing & sway. 

Me being me I am tickled by notion of mixing things that really shouldn’t go together. Thus the ultimate floaty skirt found itself teamed with an avid yellow vest & customised nirvana tee. 

   
One look that picture tells you all you need to know about how much one enjoyed this outfit. I wish I could feel like that everyday.

 

Skirt – Inferno

Vest – Primark

T-Shirt – So old I can’t remember 

Sandals – Schuh