Don’t leave me this way…

Since we seem to be heading full steam into SUCK IT territory for the disabled & chronically ill I wanted to talk about my experience of covid. There has been an overarching theme of those with existing health conditions being dispensable from the start, but now it’s pretty much being explicitly stated by our leaders. I want everyone to know how frightening this is for those of us that so many are happy to sacrifice.

As a person with chronic health issues (arthritis, fibromyalgia, stomach disease, anaemia, PCOS) I took covid seriously from the beginning. Lockdown was a complete lockdown for me. I stayed at home. I had no visitors. All my essentials were delivered. The only contact I had with anyone was the occasional driveway visit. My sister or bestie would stand in my drive and I’d sit in my open from door. I didn’t touch another human being or leave my house for months. I had hospital stays without visitors, didn’t celebrate my 40th birthday and spent Xmas 2020 at home on my own. My lockdown stretched on further than the official stay at home orders. Since early 2020 I have spent the majority of my time at home and I have been scared since the beginning. I had no idea what covid might do to me. I’ve experienced catching bugs or viruses that were no biggie for others, but sent me to the hospital. Every time I heard of someone dying being caveated with they had existing health problems, I knew that could be me. This pandemic has always been an emergency situation for me & those like me.

I now regularly see family & one close friend. I wear a mask, sanitise, stay outside as much possible. If I must be inside I go to places that follow all covid precautions and I exercise extreme caution. Doctor appointments aside I leave my home about once a week. I still have everything delivered and avoid contact with those outside my immediate circle. I do home tests before and after I go anywhere. With a couple of exceptions a restricted life has become my normality.

I contracted covid 19 in oct 2020. At that point I was spending 99% of my time alone at home. I was seeing only my sister, mum & nephew and wasn’t visiting anyone indoors. I still managed to catch the virus despite none of the family I was in contact becoming infected. The acute illness was not severe. It lasted about ten days & felt like having a stomach flu. I had more gastric than cold/flu like symptoms. My cough was very mild. I lost my sense of smell & taste. I felt terrible, but I didn’t require any medical attention. In the following weeks I really struggled with breathlessness & racing heart but assumed this would pass. It did not.

15 months later I am still dealing with long covid. My already limited mobility has been massively impacted. I become breathless even moving around my own home. I have to sit even to brush my teeth, make a cup of tea etc. I have overwhelming fatigue, brain fog and widespread pain have markedly intensified since having covid. I experience palpitations and chest pains on the slightest exertion. My heart rate regularly climbs to heights whilst trying to complete the most basic of tasks. I have been hospitalised on 4 occasions because my heart rate would not slow down to an acceptable level. Drs can monitor and treat symptoms, but they know almost nothing about long covid. They can’t tell my why these symptoms persist or if they will ever go away. My chest x rays are clear, my heart is not damaged. The tachycardia & breathlessness are a covid mystery.

A frightening and very real mystery. It is scary to feel as though your heart is going to burst out of your body. Or to be so out of breath that your head spins and chest burns. It’s a million times more terrifying to be told that the experts have no idea why it is happening or how they can make it better. Fear has been common thread. 2021 has been a really hard year for my health. All of my existing symptoms have worsened. The added problems have caused me serious problems and I think I have picked up every cold, stomach bug & infection going. All of which has been alarming. I’m worried that the next illness or flare might be the big one. I’m stressed about all the work I can’t do and the financial repercussions of that. I am chilled at just how little I am now able to do before becoming too exhausted/sore/dizzy/breathless to continue. Most of all I am terrified of what could happen if I get another variant of covid.

I am fully vaccinated (& boosted). I have masks galore, anti bac in every bag & pocket. I still leave parcels & deliveries by the door for an hour before I touch them. I bought a device to sanitise my phone. I’m never in crowds. I rarely go out. I’m acutely aware that I was being even more careful when I caught covid the first time. Every single aspect of my life has been affected by this pandemic. I know I am not alone. Most people have sacrificed. Many are in the same boat as me & others in far more treacherous vessels. I understand that this has been a collective trauma that everyone is eager to put behind them. I just wish more people would understand that this isn’t over yet.

When you justify the need to ‘live with covid’ by saying that most healthy people only experience mild symptoms I am the exception in that sentence. People like me will die or be permanently disabled if we ignore how dangerous covid still is. I understand that you want your life back. You want to stop worrying and missing out. I do too, but if we throw caution to wind now it’s not without consequence. If we pretend that covid is just another part of life we are throwing the sick, disabled, old & vulnerable to the wolves. I believe that those lives are worth as much as any other. Our needs are already ignored in so many ways, please don’t abandon us altogether.

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I am anything I want…

I’ve had another sleepless night and I used the extra hours to clean up outstanding admin. One of the tasks I enjoy the least is dealing with the angry dms/emails etc I get from random followers who hate fat, single woman being happy & online. Recently there has been a sharp upturn in the number of messages telling me I should be ashamed, i’m a bad influence, should have more self respect… To those I say, SUCK IT,

close up of red haired woman with retro glasses &  septum piercing sipping straw in iced drink

You’re not a slut (unless you like that term) if you enjoy lots of sex. Nudity is not inherently sexual and even when it is, it is not dirty. No one has to justify their sexual agency. I’m a grown ass woman with a healthy sex drive & I give zero fucks about what anyone thinks of that.

I have a sex life. Fat women are desired. I’ve had various partners. Some were great ideas others not so much. I’ve shed some tears, discovered things about myself, been frustrated & had a fucking ball. I’m am sick & tired of the contempt for female sexuality. I’ve regretted some of my sexcapades, but I’ve never been ashamed. In fact, I’m delighted to offer some high(& low)lights in service of the sex positive feminist agenda.

There was the Brazilian bus driver turned surgeon who was fun and precipitated an embarrassing incident.

The night club bouncer I fell arse over elbow for only to have him wreck my life.

The university professor who was kind, smart, committed & gorgeous, but just not the one.

The stunning aspiring stage actor who had the sexiest curves I’ve ever seen. She soothed my broken heart, boosted my self esteem and invited me to her wedding years later.

The film critic who gave great date and turned out to be full shit.

The part time novelist who was a talented writer (& lover), but wanted me much more once he couldn’t have me.

The librarian union rep who presented as the ultimate lefty. Unless it related to feminism, then he was the laziest of ‘not all men’ misogynists.

The post man who was just a terrible rebound mistake and had to get up way too early.

The student who’s very catholic Mum popped in when were having sex on the sofa. The 3 minutes it took me to find anything to hide behind were probably the most awkward of my life.

The bar manager who got clingy two dates in despite telling me she didn’t want anything serious.

The biologist who was fine really, but always thought he knew best. Good time in bed. Frustrating conversations.

The IT analyst who wanted to move way too fast. Very romantic, but scared the shit out of me with detailed future plans.

The tax man who started out a lot of fun. Settled into something comfortable. Ended up a huge cowardly disappointment.

The electrician who was a whirlwind. Crazy night outs. Cuddly weekends watching old movies. Fizzled out fast.

The newly divorced Mum who was actually pretty incredible, but really wanted to live the party girl life. I was just too old & tired for clubbing on a Wednesday.

The rugby player who was an entirely different person in front is his friends. I met a cool, sensitive guy. Every time we went to the pub I was with a rugby boy cliche. Big nope.

The lottery fund allocator who could have been perfect if i wasn’t so ridiculously bad at recognising the nice guys.

The mental health worker who was all erudite and kind. Big social conscious. Fostered rescue cats. Was also way too interested in my scars in bedroom. Creepy & ugh.

The photographer who was exciting & hilarious, but only because he took copious amount of cocaine. Pro tip ladies coke is no friend to the old erection.

And more.

I have a favourite who blew my mind. There were crazy hot folk, guys that others thought weren’t attractive at all, relationship, flings & the odd one nighter. It’s all fine. Every (consensual) sexual encounter was ok for me. Sex is fun. It’s natural. It can be as big or as little a deal as you feel it is.

ly is posing in black underwear with red faux suspenders tights . She has her arms above her head

Safe sex between consenting adults is A OK. Have as much or as little as you want. Talk about it or don’t. Your body is yours to do with as you please. Enjoy.

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This week I have been mostly…

admiring my hair. Yup, that’s right, I’ve been loving myself again. I’m a proud ginger & this week I have been enjoying some tunes that celebrate my flame haired sisters. 

  
I’m obviously not a big fan of stereotypes, but in the case of my hair colour, most of them fit. I am your classic cliche of a redhead and I love it. 

I came to Bruce Springsteen late. I was too young & in any case my tastes diverged from his most famous stuff. The Ghost of Tom Joad was his first work that caught my attention. From there I listened to random pieces & found myself agreeing with some of his politics. In short, Bruce grew on me, but he didn’t win my heart until I heard Redheaded Woman. I love the down & dirty lyrics. His theory that red heads are more sexually charged is actually backed by science. It’s a rollicking tune and Bruce’s delivery is so believable. I can personally attest to the fact that redheads get the job (dirty or otherwise) done & I’m certainSpringsteen can too. 

For my next pick I’m going all hipster & demanding you listen to the original.  Valerie by The Zutons was an immediate favourite for me. I actually adored their entire debut album. My affection for this song has grown as numerous people have told me that it reminds them of me. I think the lyrics 

‘I miss your ginger hair & the way you like to dress’

are the culprits. I am well known for my sometimes unusual style. It pleases me that friends appreciate both my weird clothes & my ginger mane. I know Amy WInehouse’s version has become the standard of this song, but I’ll always love The Zutons best. 

Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl is probably the original manic pixie dream girl, but without the negative connotations. He claims to have just seen a girl in the street, adored how she looked & wrote this gorgeous fantasy. The lyrics don’t specifically say that she has red hair, but I like to think that cinnamon refers to her spicy locks. I’ve always been a hippie chick, so Neil Young is so up my street. I’m a complete sucker for this hazy, lazy trip of a song. Wouldn’t it be perfect to inspire a dream like this. 

Caroline England is new to me. I stumbled upon Ginger & knew I was going to like this artist. The song is another celebration of scarlett ladies, but this one has edge. England hints at some of the crap gingers sometimes have to put up with. However, she doesn’t wallow, her message is I’m awesome & you can suck it. Which, I can relate to. The unusual texture in her voice adds a unique sound to the track. It’s an instant classic.