‘A load of tree-hugging hippy crap’


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Hippy at Phoenix Gay Pride Parade

Hippy at Phoenix Gay Pride Parade (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

Normally ‘airy-fairy’ brands of inspiration/self help etc make me nauseous, I haven’t usually got time for all that self-love malarkey, like a typical British cynic. But lately I’m starting to think there might be something in it. I’m not going to rush out and join a cult or anything, but I might actually start taking the time to take care of myself instead of being my own harshest critic.

I am a worrier by nature, I stress myself out to the point of making myself ill and nothing is ever good enough, I am never satisfied with myself or my work. However I’ve decided this needs to stop if I’m ever going to get anywhere. Years of my parents and loved one’s support and praise has fallen on deaf ears and that’s not fair to anyone. I’ve spent a long time defining myself as an academic and little else, which is never enough and I am never good enough to be satisfied with my academic work. Because perfect still isn’t good enough, despite the fact I never achieve it anyway. But no more! I am finally going to start exploring the world of possibilities open to me, and I will begin to make time for and embrace the things that make me happy.

I have a list of mostly creative things I am going to try, and I’m not going to bully myself if I don’t maintain them for long, which I hope will make me happier. The list is as follows;

  • Keep a scrap book of things I like & dreams I have
  • Sew more
  • Start painting again
  • Write on here more (although perhaps not with self inflicted deadlines?)
  • Allow myself a treat every now and again, like a new nail varnish to try
  • Start pampering myself a bit with beauty products I like
  • Get rid of all the old crap I don’t want or use (de-clutter my life)
  • Find some books to read for pleasure
  • Perhaps look in to doing posts on beauty products
  • Watch more films
  • Take more baths
  • Plan trips to museums etc for my days off
  • Sing and dance along to music in my room more (no one needs to see that)
  • Stop putting pressure on myself to be some sort of domestic goddess
  • Look into customising some of my shoes/clothes etc
  • Start going to the gym/running again
  • Get fun hair back

So that’s quite a lengthy list and that’s just what’s come to mind now, and already I have that horribly feeling that someone will be out there taking the piss. But you know what, if you are, go fuck yourselves you miserable little shits. Also it’s about to get a lot more tree-huggy.

I’ve also decided to make the effort to change the way I think on a daily basis, in order to further my own happiness. Perhaps it’s a product of a culture of crappy magazines pointing out every flaw, or an ideal we’re all supposed to live up to, or maybe I’m just a cow but I find myself noticing flaws in people for no good reason at all. Perhaps it’s jealousy but I know I’m not alone in not being able to help notice if so-and-so’s got a big nose or shit hair, and it’s a crappy bitchy way to be. Not to mention it doesn’t do anyone any favours. But from now on I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to notice positive things about people. I always thought of myself as a nice person but I have fallen pray to this bitchy mindset for whatever reason. I know I’m nowhere near perfect or what I want to be, but it’s like I automatically hold other people to an impossibly high standard, and I don’t know why.

So instead of noticing that girl’s shit shoes I’m going to attempt to pay attention to her nice hair and wonder how she did that do, or something. I’m making myself cringe with my own cheesey-ness but I honestly think people would be a lot happier if they focused on the positive more than the negative, and I might actually start to see the positive in me more too.

Alright enough lovey dovey shit for one post, sorry to everyone who feels uncomfortable since reading this.


Freak-Show culture


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According to the internet ‘Freak show’ means;

freak show


1.a display of people or animals with unusual or grotesque physical features, as at a circus or carnival sideshow.

2.any ludicrous, bizarre, or dehumanizing occasion, function, performance, etc.; grotesque, circus-like event: endless interviews and auditions that became a ridiculous freak show.

Now think of that definition in relation to pop-culture and you’ll realise like me that these freak shows are no longer confined to circuses but have bled out into the majority of pop-culture. Of course it is in varying degrees, Big Brother for example is a programme about putting a group of people with strong characters into a house together and prompting chaos to ensue, and people love it, or at least they must do since it’s on its 14th series. And although this is a relatively harmless example, the ante must always be upped, and here lies the problem.

The latest ‘shocker’ in this culture is the girl ‘eating her own bloody tampon’ in what is clearly a desperate attempt at attention and fame. And whilst most people would not want to be famous for a disgusting and deeply questionable act, in a freak-show culture the path to fame becomes irrelevant when all you want is to be known. And so as long as fame for the sake of fame is valued these bizarre methods of attracting attention will continue, and increase in extremity.

And why wouldn’t they, pop culture is doing the same thing, and so odd behaviour and attention seeking becomes normalized. Talent shows become more and more about displaying the odd balls that turn up at auditions, and less about ‘finding a star’. Every year on X Factor there is an odd contestant that makes it to live shows and stays for a few weeks in an attempt to keep people interested in the show after auditions close.

Reality TV takes many forms, and the TOWIE/MIC/Geordie Shore variety is possibly the most identifiable of them all. Ordinary people with no extraordinary talents are  suddenly famous and wealthy/er as cameras invade their daily lives for the entertainment of the masses. But this format would not be entertaining, the daily grind is not something anyone craves seeing on TV, so they manipulate and exaggerate ‘reality’ for entertainment. Although they disclose this, people seem to disregard it and still see the TOWIE lifestyle of parties, sex and scandal as reality. So when reality show reality is compared to real life people are bound to question what makes the people in the two realities so different? Freak-show behaviour is the answer, the orange glow of fake tan is nothing more than clown make-up, the outfits costumes and the words scripted. These reality shows are not reality, and when reality is distorted and exaggerated, people start acting in distorted and exaggerated ways. Because why can’t anyone be as famous as the people on these shows? They just live in the right place and have the right look/personalities, both of which can be faked.

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is a show based on the humiliation of its stars, and pushing them to complete tasks the audience find unpleasant so they can watch them squirm. Eating eye balls and penises serves no other purpose than to shock the audience for entertainment. And with its cast of Z-list celebrities in a last ditch attempt at rekindling the light of fame, the audience is encouraged to believe that a shocking and bizarre act if publicised, will lead to this holy grail of fame and fortune. These reality shows are used by so called celebrities to propel their careers back into the spotlight, for further fame and fortune. So why can’t anyone with a camera shock the world and suddenly be a star?

I struggle to care about the girl supposedly eating her tampon, I haven’t and wont watch the video (why would I want to see that?) and frankly I don’t need to. I pity her for being weak enough to fall victim to freak-show culture like so many before her, but I am not interested in the lack of talent being hidden by ‘shocking’ acts. Even if she is talented (for all I know she is), it would all be eclipsed by that one bizarre video.

Reality TV is not the devil, it is intended for the shock factor and to entertain, but it never claims to be unscripted or designed. Reality TV should not lead to a culture of freak shows, but when there is such a high exposure to these kinds of realities the lines become blurred and people lose the ability to tell what is rational behaviour and what is not. And when the ante is always upped, and someone is always rich and famous as a result, it can be all to appealing to your average Joe on poor wages relaxing in front of the telly.

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What an evil bastard.


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Vladimir Putin - World Economic Forum Annual M...

Vladimir Putin – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

The Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a ban on US citizens adopting Russian orphans on the 1st January. The ban simply means thousands of Russian orphans will go without a home and remain in notoriously appalling conditions. It is a political move in reaction to the Magnitsky Act recently passed by the US congress preventing Russian officials accused of human rights violations from entering the US.

Since 1992 more than 60,000 Russian orphans have been adopted by US families, 46 Russian orphans have now lost all hope as they were about to join families but have now been prevented. Thousands of children are left unwanted in orphanages across Russia every year, in which beatings and abuse are commonplace. According to Unicef 1/3 end up homeless, 20% become criminals and 10% commit suicide. If that isn’t an indicator of the conditions in which they are raised I don’t know what is. A great amount of stigma is attached to adopting children in Russia, it is culturally rare, therefore many children rely on foreign saviours.

Putin is using innocent children as a pawn in his political games in an attempt to shock the world into compliance with his corrupt and cruel regime. He does not care about the fate of these children as he leaves them to rot in horrendous conditions no child should be subject to. He ought to be happy to see them go to loving families, as a way of reducing his burden, but instead tugs on the heartstrings of those wishing to help, and crushes the hopes of many. This cruel act should not be met with sadness and compliance but uprising and repulsion. I will be looking out for a petition to place pressure on the Russian government to repeal this ban, and if I find one I will be posting it and encouraging everyone to sign it, please to the same and let me know if you find anything.

Thou shalt repent and loath yourself!


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Canterbury Cathedral

Earlier this week the Anglican Church announced an attempt at progress with regards to gay Anglicans. To be fair to them it is important to mention that there are some hard line Anglicans who are against any kind of acceptance of homosexuality and therefore any reforms have to be minimal in an attempt to please everyone. But rather the new policy regarding gay bishops seems to have upset everyone, myself included.

The basic outline is they now accept gay men in civil partnerships as bishops, provided they repent of all homosexual activity and commit to being celibate for the rest of their lives.

I’m not religious so my right to complain is limited, but frankly the details of the conditions of being a homosexual bishop in the Anglican church are awful. On the one hand, yay you can be gay and a bishop, on the other they are actively encouraging self loathing and you must accept yourself as a sinner for who you are. The church at large does not exactly make a mystery of its views on homosexuality, so it is hardly surprising this new policy would be limited, but enforcing this sense of extreme fundamental wrongness on its believers is surely cruel.

The part that really sticks for me is the demand that they repent for all sexual activity, as far as I’m concerned sexual activity is a sign of love and closeness and who we do it with depends on us as people. As you’ve probably gathered I believe that your sexuality is as much a natural part of you as your need to breathe, and the idea that this is wrong simply because you fell in love with someone of the same sex seems ridiculous. I think that forced repenting encourages self loathing and despair over a part of you, and I think this is cruel and morally wrong, so you should love your neighbour but hate yourself if you’re gay?

If these men are in civil partnerships and to all intents and purposes married (see Gay Marriage – Saint or Sin? http://wp.me/p2f7rM-5j) , why should they be deprived of the right to show their love and affection for their partners, when straight bishops have no such restrictions. Surely in order to be a bishop you must be devout and prove yourself as a good spiritual leader, so why should your private love of your partner come into it?

Frankly I think all churches everywhere should live and let live, stop being so preachy! (Get it?)

The reality of disability


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English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok so if you didn’t know I have a sleeping disorder called Periodic Limb Movement Disorder/Syndrome. It boils down to a faulty connection in my brain meaning I twitch my limbs in my sleep quite violently. It’s linked to Restless Leg Syndrome which I also have and is very rare in young people. What it really means to me is that my sleep quality is very poor because my movements keep me in the light stages of sleep and I don’t get properly rested all the while I’m kicking etc. I also get bouts of insomnia with it which often leads to a period of difficulty for me. My disorder is incurable, the doctors don’t really understand it either, and the only medication that might help is for Parkinson’s disease and therefore very bad for my health and addictive. It’s also degenerative so will get worse as I age, which can be a depressing and daunting prospect. It’s considered a disability by Student Finance England because clearly it disables me from concentrating and sometimes from attending lectures. It’s like being constantly sleep deprived.

What I actually wanted to talk about was people’s perceptions of disability, particularly when it isn’t visible. Disability simply means something that reduces or hinders your ability to carry out every day tasks. However in my experience people only think of people in wheelchairs etc when they think of disability and completely ignore people like me who seem fine on the outside, but might be struggling with something unseen. Even people who know I have a sleeping disorder struggle to understand when I’m tired despite having a full night’s sleep, or the importance of my sleep not being disturbed. I also find people can be judgemental when I’m tired even when I haven’t necessarily exerted myself much that day, and see themselves as better than me because they sleep less/get up earlier.

I imagine other people can identify with these feelings, people can find it hard to get their head around why my kicking in my sleep would make any difference, just like they struggle to understand other unseen illnesses like depression. But to my mind, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it any less real for that person dealing with it. Nor does it make it ok to judge them. In my experience people who have something wrong with them don’t want pity, they need understanding, we all have our cross to bare and things to deal with, and some peoples’ crosses are heavier than others. But no one wants to be seen as different, people want to fit in, but some people require more understanding. So when someone can’t do something the same way you can, rather than thinking they’re lazy or after a pity party, try to think of their world as a little different to yours with different challenges.

I’ve had people complain to me about my being tired, say that I’m being boring or lazy and try to guilt me into doing something I’m not really physically capable of. What they neglect to understand is that complaining to me that I’m boring because I’m tired is exactly like telling someone who’s paralysed off for not being able to walk up stairs. There is no difference, it is a physical barrier and therefore disability just the same. My being tired also effects my health, just like anyone else who is sleep deprived, you’re more susceptible to colds etc. So I do get ill more often than other people which obviously hinders my activities because I need that much more rest to get over it. Which is another thing people don’t understand, and they seem to think I’m always pretending to be ill.

I can understand why it isn’t clear to people how their actions could effect someone else, and how it can be easy to forget an unseen illness, and I think other people would agree. But when you do remember, just try to take it into account and put yourself in that person’s situation, a little empathy goes a long way. The only time I get actually annoyed by other people’s lack of sensitivity is when they seem to simply not care about your situation, particularly when you genuinely care about them and their situation.

The main lesson that should be taken from this is that if you see someone struggling with something, disability or not, why don’t you just try to understand them and let them know they’re not alone? Because when you’re struggling you can feel so isolated, and no one deserves that. The world would be a much better place with a little more empathy going around.

Things people do I don’t understand


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I thought I’d put together a little list of things people do I genuinely don’t understand, because it puzzles me and maybe someone can shed some light on some of the things mentioned. Also because it’s always good to rant.

  1. When people put fake tan exclusively on their face
  2. When people find the Big Bang Theory funny
  3. When girls get upset over being called easy, when they sleep with everything that moves
  4. When people act differently around their friends to what they’re really like
  5. Why people like horror movies
  6. When people care so so much about what other people are doing with their lives, like it’s a competition
  7. When people pay a fortune to go to university, but never study and are just there for the parties. There are cheaper ways to do that.
  8. When people think the world will end because of an ancient Mayan calendar
  9. When people need constant validation from everyone else
  10. When people need you to find things as funny as they do
  11. When people physically fight over things that don’t really matter, like sport
  12. When girls can’t leave the house without make up on
  13. When people have to have a partner, heaven forbid they should have to cope alone!
  14. When people play dating games e.g. not texting back for at least 5 hours. Grow up
  15. When people can’t possibly conceive that they might be wrong
  16. When people can’t understand how other people are feeling, ever
  17. When people get really emotionally invested and interested in the lives of celebrities
  18. When people think they’re superior because they have more money, there are more important things you know
  19. Selfishness
  20. When people think they’re the shit, and expect you to think the same of them.

So that’s just a little list, if you can shed any light please do, because otherwise I will continue to be confused forever.


What a crock

Yes okay so I watch Gossip Girl, but let me have my moment.


This was a crock of shite, and had clearly not been thought through properly. Also Blair saying her and Chuck could live of the land in the final episode was hilarious, ‘lets go from spoilt rich kids in Manhattan to a deserted Island to live like poor people!’ Stop it GG.

Although when all is said and done, I will miss it, a tiny little bit.

The University Experience


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Going to university can be something that is expected of you, if your school is the type to push you in academics they probably expect you to go. There are of course other pressures such as family, friends, what you think society presumes you’ll do, and the classic fear of actually leaving education and going into the working world. I did A levels since they were the right form of higher education for me, and they basically prepare you for university a little bit more than GCSEs and are of course necessary to get in. There are other forms of further education such as the International Baccalaureate and BTECs but I know little about them and ultimately that is a choice to be made by the individual based on their area of interest. So clearly there is pressure to go, and the prospect is daunting, it can feel like you’re trapped between the fear of work and the fear of university, but it is important to make the right choice for yourself.

I was fortunate in that I always knew I wanted to go, and therefore it was a natural route for me. However I didn’t appreciate what I wanted to do and study at university until I took my gap year. I didn’t exactly chose to take a gap year, I needed an AAB to get in to my desired Sheffield University to do English and History and just missed it with an AAC. I could have gone through clearing but I didn’t want to pick a university I’d never visited, or rush the decision, so I took my gap year. It turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened for me, I went to France to be an au-pair which was such a maturing experience, I had no grip on the language and it stressed the importance of language skills in the modern world. It also made me realise I’d have been miserable studying English and History as I would’ve been stuck studying genres and periods I had no interest in, simply to get a varied degree. Instead I came up with the idea to study European Studies which would incorporate all the things I loved, based around what is for me the most fascinating continent.

I found the perfect course and university for me and got an unconditional offer, so of course I thought everything was sorted and hunky dory. I had heard that university was difficult and anticipated feeling homesick because I am such a family oriented person, but I was not prepared for how much I would struggle come second year. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that university was where I was meant to be, that this is what I wanted to do and I had a firm grasp of what I wanted for my future. I’ve never questioned any of that enough for me to drop out or change my mind, but this last term has been the most challenging yet.

It is not the work that’s the problem exactly, it’s more my health and sleeping disorder (which I’ll speak about in more detail in a later post) which has been causing me trouble. I don’t want to go into too much detail for this post but it can be one of the most frustrating things in the world to know your potential and not be physically able to achieve it, because something it holding you back. But I want to communicate how I have felt since I’ve been at university and what is best to do to deal with it.

I went through the expected homesickness in first year, I expected to struggle with freshers’ week and feel like no one else was, and I did. When I eventually admitted I’d felt horribly homesick in my freshers’ week everyone said they were too busy with everything there was to do to feel homesick, and that was hard to hear as I felt weird for having the time to get sad. But perhaps that was because I’d been away from home before, in another country, so maybe I was more aware of the reality of how difficult it can be, and therefore felt it sooner.  I found it got better with time steadily, the few weeks before the end of terms was harder as you had half an eye on when you were leaving, and I eagerly awaited Christmas as it is my favourite time of year. I also felt the post-Christmas slump as things were less new and the effort of cooking and cleaning for myself was more real, and exams loomed ever closer.

But the biggest mistake I made was underestimating how I felt, the first term I expected to feel low, and so it was easier to deal with. But the second term was in some ways harder because I felt low not simply because I was homesick, but because I was struggling to deal with life in general. Depression and sadness with little cause is still a taboo subject, and hard to admit, and I knew I was supposed to be having the time of my life, and I was. But I was also struggling and didn’t want to come to terms with it. A lot of my struggles are related to my health but that didn’t mean I couldn’t find help. I eventually decided to see the campus counsellor and it made me feel so much better I don’t know why I didn’t go sooner. Ultimately I just needed someone to talk to independently, and it worked wonders. So why is it so hard to admit? I’d urge anyone feeling that way to go for it, because if someone wants to mock or judge you for feeling low they can go fuck themselves and grow up while they’re at it. Half the point of university is the maturing experience and learning to look after yourself, and sometimes your happiness needs a little nurturing.

I’ve also struggled financially pretty consistently since I went to university, it is such an expensive experience and it took me a while to get a job. I still struggle now, maintenance loans are simply not enough to get by on, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to work in. I also make life harder on myself because I’m so determined to be self sufficient and not burden my parents. This is something I’d advise others to avoid. I know everyone’s situations are different but if you’re struggling with any aspect of university I strongly advise speaking to someone, as there is help out there. It is not worth going to Wonga.com and paying insane amounts of interest when there are other options. So speak to someone and work something more suitable out.

Ultimately don’t suffer in silence, university isn’t for everyone, but if it is for you you might still find it challenging in unexpected ways. But the more challenges you get under your belt now, the better you’ll deal with them in the future. All I can say is find the right course before you begin it, and keep communicating anything that is getting tough. University can be the best time of your life, you just need to be able to care for yourself through the rougher patches.

Yeah, yeah I know


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Okay so I know I haven’t posted in like, 2 weeks, and you’ve sent me messages wanting to know what’s going on and when the next post will be. Firstly, sorry, it’s been a pain in the arse few weeks and my workload has gone through the roof and my blogging activities have suffered. It’s shitty, I’m sorry.

Secondly, chill out because I’m going to be posting like a mad thing after next Sunday because I’ll be home and avoiding the mound of work I have to do over the holidays. Also there are a few things I’ve been meaning to post about so I’ll no doubt be hassling your inboxes constantly. However tomorrow is my university house’s Christmas so I doubt I’ll be posting tomorrow, but I might later in the week.

In the mean time, here’s a picture of a grumpy Christmassy cat to make you feel better about my crappiness. This is how I imagine your faces when you’re writing me aggravated messages.