Body Positive · depression · mental health · ramble · self care · self love · twenties

Self employed and unmotivated

Let me just say the back end of this week has been a struuuugggllleeeeee!
I think i used up all of my happy.

So my business, Critter Care Sheffield, is on the go. I’m insured, registered as self employed and my fiance’s brother-in-law has kindly agreed to create a logo for me.
It’s amazing what you can do in a week when you put your mind to it and you’re having an up mood swing!

Right now i’m exhausted but wide awake from the gingerbread latte i had 2 hours ago, sat at home by myself watching Nothing to Declare repeats and considering attacking the mint ice cream i have stashed in the freezer.

As far as moods go, this certainly isn’t the worst. Plus i know a big factor for me being slightly depressed is due to money stresses (which are now resolved) and several nights of poor sleep (thanks to working Code last night and nonstop sciatica).
All i’ve wanted to do is write, but despite technically having plenty to write about, i haven’t known where to begin!
Unfortunately what tends to happen when i have writers block for a while is that when i eventually do sit down to put my thoughts on paper (or laptop in this case), it just comes out in one big fast ramble like this. Not the helpful, educational or inspirational content i’d prefer to have on my blog, but it’s realistic and true to my style of writing. As much as i’d love (and hate) to have a post go viral for it’s moving message or stimulating story, the plain truth of it is that i still rely on thesauruses to stop my posts sounding like the memoirs of a 12 year old girl.

I digress, so i suppose i’m facing one of the biggest challenges i’m going to come across, and an old nemesis – lack of motivation (also known as “cba syndrome” or “idle-itis”).
This is sadly something i seem to suffer with a lot, and i’m sure a psychiatrist would just love to delve into the dark chasms of my mind and blame it all on being ridiculed infront of my Year 11 English class by Mrs Ceurstemont (old bint). HOWEVER, i’ve come to accept it as part of my personality – whether that be my “healthy” personality or my suspected Borderline Personality Disorder “crazy” personality. It affects most facets of my life; it’s probably the reason why i’m always late, part of the reason why i start projects and then quit them halfway through (the other reason is my ever changing mood and self image) and generally just causes me a lot of trouble. For example, if i’d put effort into everything i’ve tried, i probably could’ve been a straight A student in both school and college, definitely would’ve written a book or two by now and my flat wouldn’t currently need hoovering.

This is the part where, if this were a Buzzfeed post, i would now endow you (yep, used thesaurus.com for that one) with the epiphany or discovery i’d had that suddenly allows me to bypass my lazy, crazy ass and enables me to run at 100% productivity!!!!!…….

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Yeah…. right….

So no. I don’t have a magic answer for y’all. I’m still a demotivated couch potato who is TERRIBLE for ‘putting things off’.
But i can offer you the rules that i try to follow. I mean, you read this far so it’s not really fair of me to just end it on that note. I don’t do clickbait, i’m not a Youtuber.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up for longer than is necessary. Now i won’t turn around and say never beat yourself up over things, because sometimes what everybody needs is a good self pity session. It creates morality and just proves that you’re human and you care about the thing you didn’t complete. Give yourself a set amount of time (mine is usually a couple of days) to feel like shit, and once that time limit is up, plan what you’re going to do to resolve it.
  2. Choose someone to kick you up the backside. For me this is Tom (fiance). He’s not someone who suffers with a lack of motivation so he comes in handy for giving me that extra support. This doesn’t always go in the right direction as he is a pessimist, so we can sometimes both end up in a pit of despair. Fortunately he bounces back quickly and is generally ready and willing to help me wherever he can.
  3. Don’t give up. Blah blah yeah i know, vom at that overused and cringey line. “Never give up, keep calm and carry on” BLEUUUURRRGGGGHHHHH. I don’t mean it in that airy meaningless way. Genuinely, don’t give up. Keep persevering. I don’t care if you had a 3 year break from it, if it’s something you want to achieve, go back to it, try again, keep trying your absolute best. Everyone fails sometimes, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Hell, i think i’ve failed at 99% of the things i wanted to do in life so far! Sure you might say i’m still young, but that doesn’t matter. It is irrelevant whether you’re reading this at 15 or 50, there will ALWAYS be somebody who started their “thing” later than you and were successful with it. I’m purposefully being vague about what this “thing” is because i want these tips to apply to as many people as possible, so don’t be reading this thinking “oh it doesn’t apply to me, she’s only talking about starting a business”… i’m not! If your “thing” or “it” is making your mental health better, so be it. It could be making a phone call or leaving the house or cleaning or a university essay or absolutely anything you want it to be.

    That brings me onto my last tip..

  4. Make your mental and physical health a priority. The most important thing to you about yourself should be your health. I say ‘about yourself’ because i know many of you will have loved ones that you hold in higher regard than yourself, which is totally fine, but just realise that your health should come first in anything involving you as an individual. Sometimes it’s important to take a break from projects or dreams to give ourselves time to rest. Personally, i need a few days every so often where i literally just fester. I binge eat or don’t eat at all, i just stay on the sofa most of the time, i stay up late and i don’t both showering. For whatever reason, that helps. I feel more alive when i get clean again and it’s almost like a purge – getting all of the nasty brain-sickness out in one concentrated go. Find something that works for you and allow yourself that chance to escape.

 

Keep on going, and if in doubt, watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race. It’s a surefire way to feel better.

L x

20s · depression · ramble · twenties

Work and crazy don’t mix

So i always try to be as honest and open about my life as possible with you guys. This is made harder because i actually know a lot of you. Around half of you reading come from my Facebook, and i have no idea who, so for all i know you could be my Year 7 science teacher who i cried over for weeks when they left, or even the ex best friend who got with my ex-ex-ex-ex-ex (etc) boyfriend two days after we split up. I don’t pretend to count all my Facebook friends as real friends. I had a clear out about a month ago and got rid of like 300 people, but even now there’s people on there i haven’t seen for 10+ years or who i keep on my “friends” list simply for the joy of bitching to my fiance every time they post something so mind numbingly stupid (and hilarious). I won’t name any names because they might delete me and then where would i get my sadistic joy?
I digress…

My life has been full of ups and downs recently. I say recently…it’s been like this for as long as i can remember.
I’ve got a self destructive personality and i’m crazy, what do you expect?
Recently all i’ve heard is “wow things are going great for you at the minute!” and “it looks like things are going your way”. I replied to every single person in the same manner, “yep! It means something is going to royally fuck up soon!”
Of course everyone shouted this down and tried to convince me not to be so pessimistic and that it probably just means that it’s time for a bit of respite in my ever fluctuating world…and so obviously they were wrong. Something did go wrong. I no longer have a job. I don’t want to go into it but the general jist is that my issues are too severe to continue ignoring, especially my anxiety, and that i need to seek medical help before i try to attempt full time work again. Clearly i need some kind of income, so i’m now on the lookout for something part time but i’m hoping that sticking to 3 or 4 days per week will allow me time to harass my GP, as well as lessening the anxiety about going into work. Forcing myself to go for 3 days is a lot easier than 5.

The biggest downside to this is that it pushes our plans back again. We had planned to talk to a mortgage adviser in September to see if we’d be able to get a house. Obviously that won’t be happening now and i think it’s unlikely we’ll get to that point until at least next year.
I also mentioned we’re looking at getting married in 2019. Well the good news is we haven’t spoken about pushing that back any further yet! It’s still 2 years away and our only concrete plan is to look at venue’s in the next 6 months – hopefully by which time i’ll be on the road to…i nearly typed recovery then. I don’t think recovery is a possibility, after all i’ve felt like this for as long as i can remember, probably 10-15 years. Hopefully by then i’ll be getting the help i need, be that in medicinal or therapy form.
So the biggest thing it affects is probably the house! This is probably freaking Tom out more than myself because i never really expected to get a house anytime soon, plus my credit rating ain’t great! He did comment on some houses to rent the other day so i assume we’ll go back to one of our old plans of finding somewhere bigger to rent before we save up a deposit to buy maybe this time next year.

Anyway, it’s going to continue to be tough money wise for a bit. Especially for me because i’m already at the limit on my credit cards. I just need to keep telling myself that this is temporary, and that i will eventually find a job i can keep and that doesn’t make me anxious, then hopefully the Doctor will stick me on meds that will actually work and life will finally mellow out. I honestly can’t wait for the day when i’m sat at the computer, praying that the kids have gone to sleep after putting them down for the 3rd time and considering sharing a bottle of wine and watching Deadpool with my husband before bed while we discuss what to pack on our trip to Disney World later that year.

I haven’t told anyone besides Tom and my Mum yet so if you’re reading this and you’re somebody i’m close to, i’m sorry for not telling you personally, i’ve been avoiding it all weekend. I also knew i’d have to make a post about it, if only to get it off my chest. At least i’ve finally emerged into semi-public (aka the internet) and have had a productive day (i cleaned the rats out and filled the dishwasher)! Yay me!!

And as a treat to myself (because i’m a millennial and we’re all incapable of doing anything without the promise of a reward after every minuscule task), i’m going to bed to watch Drag Race!

L x

 

20s · ramble · twenties

Driving test

This morning i woke up nearly chundering from the nerves of it all.
Alas, my driving test was only several hours and i had visions of crashing or just losing it completely!

Laura (my instructor/friend/soon to be sister-in-law) picked me up and we had 30-40 minutes driving around the block, in which i slightly ballsed up every manoeuvre we practised. I topped this off by completely messing up my reverse bay park by being too far left and failing to get it into reverse properly – cue a loud crunch.
Shook this off and refused to make eye contact with the 5 or so people watching, and headed inside.
A quick pre-drive pee and my examiner came in to get me! He was nicer than i expected, explained everything fully with details and chatted to me briefly while we walked. He also asked me the easiest ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions (fault with ABS and demisting the windscreens) and chose one of the easiest manoeuvres (turn in the road).

The actual driving was pretty normal! There were a few moments where i was unsure of the speed, especially as the roads felt like they should’ve been slower or faster than 30, but i didn’t get marked down for speeding so my assumptions were correct!
I received 4 minors. One for failing to signal at the correct time coming up to a roundabout (i moved over to the right fairly late and it just completely slipped my mind until i had already pulled out), one for positioning (i chose to pull up next to someone’s drive, but in my defence the entire road was full of drives!), one for mirrors (i expected a lot more for this so i’m chuffed with that) and one for forward planning (failed to pull into the right lane to turn off because there were loads of cars in that lane and i didn’t think anyone would let me in, so i didn’t even try).

So yeah, the good news is – i passed!!!! Laura and i jumped and squealed and hugged each other when he told us and then celebrated with lunch!

For someone who said they would never drive, i’m chuffed i managed to do it within 10 months of starting driving lessons, especially as i haven’t had regular weekly lessons since April!
Unfortunately it’s unlikely i’ll be able to insure my car until i get paid at the end of the month, but that’s only just over 2 weeks away!

Here’s my serious “nice” photo, and the silly one we took first when i thought Laura was taking the picture from the back of the car (okay, i’m a div sometimes).

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L x

ramble · twenties · wedding

I’m engaged!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or have me as a friend on Facebook then you’ll already know the big news.
But for those of you who don’t – and haven’t guessed from the very subtle title of this post – i’m engaged!!!!

Tom and i were in Majorca and had been for dinner in a restaurant near to Magaluf’s strip when we decided to go for a few drinks at a bar we’d found the previous night before we headed to the strip. On our way, Tom kept stopping to look at the lights around the bay and i kept trying to pull him along, insisting that the bar was definitely towards the right, not the left. I eventually realised he wanted to stop so i told him we could stop and have “a moment”, which he laughed at.
He continued pointing out how pretty the lights were, and i was getting a bit frustrated at this point because i couldn’t actually see them very well thanks to the beach umbrellas, so i suggested we walk down to the water itself to get a better view.
I got my phone out to take a panoramic photo but was disappointed that my iPhone’s camera couldn’t pick out the lights as well as i’d like, so i apologised to Tom and put it away and said again “okay, let’s have a moment then”.
We chatted about the views and he asked me “what do you want to do for our one year anniversary tomorrow?”
I said i wasn’t sure, and when he suggested a nice restaurant, i agreed.
Tom then turned towards me and said “well what if i don’t want to celebrate our one year tomorrow?”, to which i replied “are you dumping me?”
He laughed, crouched down a little to fiddle with his pocket, got down on one knee and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him.
In my true dorky fashion i said “are you asking me for real??” hahaha!
And then obviously i said yes!
We both had a little cry and a big hug and kiss and headed to the bar to celebrate with a bottle of prosecco and to let our family and friends know (plus it meant i could get a better look at the ring!).

That’s pretty much it for the engagement story! We couldn’t stop grinning all night and were chuffed with the amount of congrat’s we received on Facebook and Instagram.

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Soooo…onto the ring!
It’s a round cut, solitaire, VS2 0.25ct diamond ring on 18k white gold. It’s from a store in Mayfair, London called Vashi. It’s also the most expensive thing i’ve ever owned and i’m a tiny bit terrified i’ll lose it (i think Tom would actually murder me)!
I’ve also realised that i seem unable to take selfies without somehow sneaking my ring in the photo….

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As for anyone interested in when we’re getting married – we’re not sure! We can definitely say it won’t be next year, partly we need longer than that to save up but also because my cousin is getting married next year anyway. We’ve briefly spoken about aiming for 2019 but nothing’s definite yet (apart from the fact that it will happen…eventually..).
I’ll keep everyone updated and there’s definitely going to be some wedding-themed blog posts for you to look forward to so watch this space!

L x

depression · ramble · twenties

My new job and recent events

Before i jump into talking about the good things that have happened to me recently, i’d like to start off with a sincere apology to anyone who enjoys following this blog. I realise i haven’t posted since the 21st of May, aaaand it’s now nearly a month later….

Honestly? I’ve had very little to write about until quite recently and have since been too busy to write! The good news for anyone who wanted a good read is that this post is going to be looooong!

Anyway, as i’m sure you’ve guessed from the highly mysterious title, i have a new job! In a way i wish i’d written about this earlier in the week because right now i’m in a pretty bad mood (i’ll get to that later in this post) so excuse me if i’m lacking in enthusiasm for it – i promise i was more excited earlier this week!

Basically i applied for a Trainee Pharmacy Advisor/Dispenser job last month and had an interview a few weeks ago. I thought the interview went fairly well, i managed to answer all the questions but i couldn’t tell if the interviewer really liked me or not. I guess i’ve got a bit of a chip on my shoulder (or just that i’ve got crippling mental health problems that mean i’m bad at understanding other people), but she obviously did like me and phoned last week to offer me the job! I started last Monday and it’s been really good. There’s another new girl too so i’m glad i’m not the only newbie, and the company has been wonderful with supporting me so far. There’s SO much to learn and some of the other colleagues said it’ll probably take me around a year to feel like i fully know what i’m doing.

So i guess i’m a legal drug dealer?…
I might change my Facebook to that instead.

Good news numbero dos – Tom and i are going on holiday to Palma Nova in Majorca next week! Infact at this time next week, we’ll probably either be drunk in a bar somewhere or passed out in bed because our flight is next Friday at friggin’ 6.30am. Fortunately we’re travelling to the airport (Newcastle) Thursday late afternoon and staying at the Hilton on site so we’ll only have to get out of bed at say, 4am? The likelihood of me sleeping is slim to none.
We’re only staying 4 nights but i’m excited to get away from reality for a bit! It’s our 1st anniversary on the 26th and i’m struggling to think of a better way to spend it than in another country, far away from work and with time to relax and just spend time together.

Good things that have happened recently (in no particular order):

  1. Tom and i went back to Reds True BBQ on Ecclesall Road because i had a £10 off voucher and we had the huge sharer plate! It was AWESOME. Photo below.18835820_10154684533924537_7538499008029925638_n
  2. Laura invited me to Sundown Adventureland with her and Ashleigh. I remember going as a child with Kirst’ and it honestly hasn’t changed much! Turns out animatronics freak me out as much as i thought they would. Honestly that place is quite creepy? The soft play was great fun though! Nothing quite like having the excuse of a child to work up a sweat and nearly wet yourself laughing at both myself and Laura getting stuck in areas clearly not made for grown women. I also took about 500 photos of Ash so i’ll only include a couple on here.18697984_10154669297894537_3496493595727502094_n18698254_10154669311854537_7583407322371673101_n
  3. Bibbs visited!! It’s been around 2 years since i last saw her and before that it was around 4 years! Bibbs was my best friend at school and i used to go to her house every morning before school (and usually wait ages for her to get ready and watch her eat porridge). We went for food at Chiquitos and she ended up staying until gone 1am.18813370_10154687248434537_1461968135275652467_n
  4. Kirsty also visited! We went to a slightly less boujee McDonalds for our dinner and just had a good catch up. I’m actually staying round hers tomorrow night too. And obviously we took photos.18765785_10154696261069537_5152340084599712933_n
  5. Mum took me to Harrogate for a couple of days. We stayed over at the White Hart – which i can definitely recommend! Reception had a bit of a brain fart and gave us a room that had already been taken, causing us to walk in on a couple chilling on the bed! Fortunately they weren’t doing anything but we were all pretty shocked. The hotel was great about it though and bumped us up to a premium room in a different building next door, which was lovely and spacious. Mum also treated me to my first ever massage and although it only lasted 30 minutes, it did my knackered shoulders some good. The masseuse even said “you’re rock solid like your Mum!” The next day Mum dragged me around about a million charity shops (not quite as exciting) and i was getting all hot and flustered and moody – just for a change – so we eventually gave up and came home.18740353_10154683828394537_4783629198400342340_n
  6. I voted for the first time in a general election! Yes yes terrible i know seeing as i was 21 last time but i was working in Sheffield and technically living in Mansfield so there had been no way of me getting to vote. As i’m a liberal hippy, i voted Labour. We might not have won but i’m proud of Corbae for such a great campaign and getting over 70% of young people to vote!
  7. Laura and Chris had a BBQ last weekend that everyone attended, including some of their family from Canada. We made s’mores on the fire pit and i ate so much meat i ended up with stomach ache and had to take an indigestion tablet. Also took some amusing snapchat photos with Laura.

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Aaaaaand the bad stuff:

  • Tom found out what was wrong with his knee. Basically, it’s not something that can be cured and means he has to take pretty killer meds for an unknown amount of time (possibly several years). These meds mean he can’t drink, his hair might thin and he might have nausea, could cause liver damage and also mean we shouldn’t try for a baby due to the risk of birth defects. I know it hasn’t fully sunk in for him yet what this condition means and i guess it hasn’t for me either. I’m staying pretty positive about the whole thing though. As i said to him, it doesn’t have to be debilitating – the whole reason he’s going on meds is so his body can heal without attacking itself, so his knee should eventually mend. It feels very unfair on him to get something classed as an older person’s health problem, he’s only 33 after all. He said my mental health and subsequent unemployment would be the hardest thing we’ve ever faced together. Now i’m positive this condition will be. It breaks my heart because i wish i could help. I even wish i could have it instead of him – i’m already messed up, what’s a little more pain? Most people would say this will either make or break us. I know for a fact that getting through this will only make us stronger in the long run, despite all the short term effects it’s having on our relationship, and i don’t doubt for a second that we’ll be okay.

 

  • Today hasn’t been a good day. A bad mood came over me like a punch in the face this evening and i haven’t managed to pick it up since. I’ve spent just over an hour writing this post which has successfully distracted me but it’s midnight and i’m up at 6.30am and i just know i won’t sleep until probably 2am now. I’m struggling to shake the internal voices that i’m a piece of shit who should just give up on life right now because i’ll just continue causing the people who love me pain and anguish. I’m feeling quite isolated, antisocial and as though i’m trapped in that horrible bubble i spent years inside. The bubble thing is a drawing i used to do, pretty self explanatory but i’d basically draw me in a circle and write all the things/people that i felt connected to inside and all the things/people i felt disconnected to on the outside. This evening it’s just me in there alone.

 

I guess i should go to bed now in the hope that i fall asleep in the next hour. I’ve been listening to a lot of my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audiobook so i’ll stick that on. Stephen Fry does all the voices of the characters, it’s great.

I promise i’ll write again soon. I won’t leave it nearly a month this time!

L x

depression · obsessive compulsive disorder · ocd · ramble · rats · reflecting · self harm · twenties

Things i’m most afraid of

All of my life i’ve been afraid of something.
Mostly irrational fears, like being scared of the dark until i was around 19 and still feeling claustrophobic about it even now.
When i was between 10 and 12 my cousin played an online video game that i believe was in a room escape style while i watched out of the corner of my eye. I remember feeling anxious even though i wasn’t playing or watching properly. In the game, he passed an open door with a mirror angled slightly towards the character’s POV. A dark hooded figure swept past the mirror’s reflection and thus began my fear of mirrors for around 8-10 years.
My OCD happily latched onto this image, which is probably the reason it became such an intense phobia for me, and i used to have rituals if i needed to interact with a mirror in any way.

I’ve sort of grown out of some of my fears as i’ve gotten older. I say ‘sort of’ because i still feel some level of anxiety around them but nowhere near the extreme they used to be.
My fears and worries nowadays tend to be just as irrational for being unfounded but more appropriate for my life, desires and happiness.

A fear of being infertile/having fertility problems 

This one has plagued me for approx 3 years now. I guess it started with myself and a past partner being stupid with contraception. It certainly wasn’t ever a plan to have a baby that early in our relationship but my period still hadn’t returned since stopping the Depo-Provera injection a year previous, so i made an assumption that “it would all be okay”. I know that tends to be the famous last words for a large amount of people but oddly it wasn’t for us. Even after my period returned and we were still sloppy and irresponsible, we never had so much of a scare and my periods kept coming like clockwork. Fast forward to now and i’ve had one scare when it came a day late. I’m hoping i’m just really good at my method of natural birth control by closely tracking my fertile periods, but i’m stuck between not wanting a baby right now and being happy that i’ve not accidentally gotten pregnant, and being terrified that i can’t get pregnant in the first place.

A fear of my partner dying

I suppose this is one that most people have, although my fears easily turn into obsessions that take over my brain. Tom works away a lot and he always drives, so my main worry is that he gets in an accident. This is probably fueled by my experiences of being in 3 car accidents before i turned 16. Logically i know he’s a great driver and has a ton of experience but that does very little to soothe me. I can’t imagine how parents must feel about their children if this is the level of anxiety i can achieve from my healthy, grown up, highly-capable-of-surviving partner dying.

A fear of my mental health deteriorating or never improving

It’s becoming clear that i’ve reached the end of my ability to deal with my mental health alone. I haven’t visited a Dr about it since 2011 and my dealings with them were less than useful. Those close to me keep telling me to speak to a professional about things and it is something i know i need to do, but i’m still a little hesitant. It scares me to think that i might always be this way or worse. It has an effect on every aspect of my life including work and relationships with others. It already stops me from doing certain things and causes other people pain. I can’t remember how long exactly i’ve felt this way but i know it’s a really long time, at least 4 years. Obviously i’m not a Dr or any kind of healthcare professional, but i have my suspicions on what the diagnosis could be. That’s part of the reason i’m still debating whether to seek help or not – i don’t want to be diagnosed and immediately put on medication. Sadly the only way i’m able to get the treatment i want (DBT) is by going through the motions, starting with my GP…

A fear of being emotionally unavailable to my future children

This one is related to the above paragraph. When i have strong emotions or reactions to events, i enter a “zombie state” where i am unavailable, uncooperative and generally a bit of a bitch. I can also deteriorate into this state by either accidentally or purposefully isolating myself from others for a prolonged period of time (aka having a day off work with no plans when Tom is working or away). I feel very sorry that Tom has to deal with this version of me and he’s said before that it’s heartbreaking. It can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 hours and i find it nearly impossible to ‘snap out of it’ without external help (aka someone intervening).
We aren’t planning on starting a family just yet, as Tom keeps saying: “house first!”, but as it’s something in the not so distant future, it’s a creeping worry for me that i will still be emotionally unavailable. I’m sure lots of parents will tell me not to fret and that nothing could crush your love for your children etc. I wish i could fully believe them but you hear horrible stories of neglectful mothers and i know how horrible my brain can be sometimes. Take the rats for example: i love those sweet little puddings so much. They’re fantastic and playing with them always makes me feel better, especially when they give me kisses and run up to the cage to greet me. But i can’t always get that far. Some days i can’t even bear to look at them because having something that loves me try to get affection from me feels like glass through my heart. Then comes the guilt of not getting them out to play and the disgust at myself and self pity and it can easily spiral from there. I guess i can’t really compare my pet rats to a child, but it’s the only similar relationship i have to work from.

All in all, it’s fucking terrifying being an adult.

L x

20s · babies · Body Positive · childhood · ramble · reflection · twenties

Boys shouldn’t wear makeup

I got home from work today and decided to spend a couple of hours watching The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds and play Sims 4.
It’s a great show and i always find it interesting to see what children talk about with others their own age.

Today’s episode was a little different though. There was an experiment in which they were paired off and had to dress up like a married couple, and at the end they were told about a twist in which they would have to swap outfits and essentially dress up as the opposite sex.
A scary percentage of the children (mainly the girls surprisingly!) were making fun of the boys and saying that ‘boys shouldn’t wear dresses or makeup’ and it got me thinking.
The programme has little segments introducing a few of the kids’ families and most are in or around my age range, or at least around Tom’s (21-35). This is essentially my generation that are still teaching our children gender stereotypes and that inanimate objects can be only for a certain group of people. I find this really unhealthy and quite worrying!

I suppose it’s impossible for me to understand how you could be so closed minded about what toys and clothes your children can have because i’m someone who will give pretty much anything a go once and i’m a huge hippie (without the cultural appropriation/dreads).
But what benefit can you see from putting a child in a box and forcing it to act a certain way? As a kid i loved Barbie and horses and Polly Pocket, but i also enjoyed catching spiders and keeping them as a pet in a tissue box and playing make believe games because i was ALWAYS the boy/husband and learning how to play football with my Dad on Colwick Park. Haven’t we learnt anything? Repressing feelings only leads to resentment, unhappiness and an extreme pressure to act a certain way.

I find it painful to see 5 year olds already dictating to others about what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do and although society will play some part in that, i can’t help but look at the parents and wonder why. It’s inevitably something passed down through generations and i understand that traditional families still exist but it just doesn’t feel like we’ve learnt anything. Surely there’s enough hate and stress in the world already without adding in this expectation, this list of rules that you have to stick to for the rest of your life and if you don’t then you’re abnormal and weird and will be taunted and bullied…

I have quite a clear vision of the type of parent i want to be someday. It’s a mix of picking out the really good ideas my own parents have, learning from the mistakes they made and refusing to make them myself and things i have seen other parents do on Instagram/YouTube/blogs. Nothing would make me happier than seeing my future son having the time of his life in an Elsa dress and no strangers feel the need to make comments, or a daughter that follows her dream and becomes an expert mechanic (quite likely with her genetics to be honest!). Fortunately this is something i know Tom and i will agree on. I don’t know whether that’s upbringing or simply that we’re quite weird ourselves, but i’m completely determined that whatever humans we create will be self confident and free to be whoever they want to be.

L x