It’s My baby and I’ll have One if I want to!

I get scared to ask for ketchup sometimes in restaurants. It’s some kind of social awkwardness , I get all hot and bothered and psyche myself up then just  smile when the waiter comes over.

I’m getting better but my poor husband and best friend have really bore the brunt of this little issue over the past 20 years (sorry guys)

Let’s imagine that ketchup is one end of the scale, then in the middle we can have people who comment on your lunch whilst your eating it, with phrases such as ‘ew what is that!’ ‘Omg I could never eat that!’ and, my personal  favourite ‘I’m sorry but that looks foul’ Then right at the other end  of our scale reside the people who have no problems in asking all about why you haven’t had another baby yet.

I have been keeping tally for two weeks, and do you know how many times I have been asked, 11, 11 times!

I don’t think it’s the question so much, but the guff that comes after it ‘Won’t your daughter be lonely’ ‘She will end up spoilt’ ‘I think you’ll regret it’ ‘I felt like that till I had my 12th’ ‘But they need a brother and sister’ .

My response to all this is simple. Piss off.

I am not a sensitive flower, I am an open person and it takes a lot to offend me. But the suggestion that my daughter will end up some pampered , damaged, lonely, un-supported brat if I don’t have another child makes me fume.

We have no right to question one of the most intimate and private decisions that a couple have to make. It is absolutely none of our business.  We do not need to  know why any one has zero children, one child, three children or ten.

There are people in my life who dying to become parents. People who are having the most horrendous time. There are people in my life who can’t imagine having any children,  it isn’t for them. There are people in my life who just can’t and every time they are asked it is like the knife is twisted a bit deeper. There are people who are un-decided. There are people who are on their fourth and may only stop when the eggs run out.

And you know what it never was and it never will be any of our business.

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You don’t speak for me

You don’t speak for me

My womb is my own

My breasts are my own

My body is my own

My eggs are my own

You don’t speak for me

My vote is my own

My voice is my own

My opinion is my own

My decisions are my own

My life is my own

You don’t speak for me

My strength is my own

My determination is my own

My courage is my own

My enteral right to decide is my own

And you do not speak for me

Not in my Village….

When I was younger, I had a habit of being banned from libraries ! How rock and roll!

Mainly because I would forget to take books back, forget about the fine and end up owing about £25 and thus deciding that said £25 was better spent in Topshop. It’s not something I’m proud of and I would like to offer a public apology to the library services in Peterborough and Lincoln.

What I won’t be apologising for however, is getting banned from a Facebook group, albeit temporally,for calling out blatant racism and challenging the thinking of small minded morons who are still living in the 50s.

Now, you know me I don’t mind people having a rant online; I do it and I think it’s good for the soul to have an outlet. I love how social media can connect us with like minded people, make our voices heard and help us make connections for the good.

So on my villages local “community” site we had a post that read a bit like this

“Walking along street saw people at bus stop drinking beer, and talking on phone in foreign accents. When I walked by ten mins later pavement was converted in spit, dirty foreigners go back to where you came from”

Now this isn’t a direct quote to protect the small minded racist; but the language is the same.

Do I condone spitting? No

Do I think it’s cool to be drinking alcohol on a street where children are? No

Are these people just ill mannered and inconsiderate regardless where they come from? Yes

This is about PEOPLE. PEOPLE spitting on the floor and being ill mannered.

PEOPLE who have no respect for their environment and surroundings.

Telling people to go back to where they come from is a pointless insult- yeah let’s send everyone back to Peterborough maternity unit shall we.

We live in a multicultural society , and yes that means that your quaint English village may not just house middle class white people who drive BMWs and don’t indicate.

Get over it 💋

Be Your Own Biggest Fan!

When you write I think your ears become sensitive to things around you. You listen for interesting conversations that create a spark in you and make you want to write or express your own opinions.  Lately I have been listening for positives. Mainly for people being positive about themselves or others. I heard plenty of people being nice to others (or at least pretending to be in any case!) What I didn’t hear was anyone being nice about themselves.

I know , I know , at the moment I am on some sort of crusade about people being nice to each other , I haven’t gone soft, don’t worry I will be ranting again soon! but I can’t get away from the fact that whilst we seem to be ok being (mainly!) nice to each other our biggest struggle is being nice to ourselves.  We just can’t do it can we!

So I decided to ask people. I put a post up on my Facebook – audience over 100 and a post on my Instagram page  – audience of over 500. I asked family and friends and looked out for people posting positives about themselves on social media etc.

These are the responses:

‘I am actually a lot cooler than I think I am’

‘I am the glue that brings my friends together’

‘I am a really good mother’

‘I am caring and good with animals’.

That is it. Honestly . That is it.

I have to say I am not surprised. Our everyday vocabulary seems to focus on negative,failings and running a flipping mile when anybody dares to compliment us!

Have a listen in your staff rooms and women’s toilets (in a mindful way obvs, no one wants to be that weird girl in the bogs!) I bet you can hear plenty of people saying things like ‘I can’t believe I came out looking like this today’ or I can’t do this or I am rubbish at that. My make up is awful! Look at my hair blah blah blah.

Time to change it up ladies and start switching the vocab! I have never been one to hide my light under a bushel and I’m damn sure that I am going to teach my daughter to say thank you to a compliment rather than play it down or rubbish it completely.

In case you need reminding, it is not vain to say ‘yes it does’ when someone says your hair is looking fabulous. It is not self -absorbed to say ‘yes I am’ when some one says your good at something and it is more than bloody ok to tell people you have a skill or strength when they are asking for it!

Example ‘ Oh I really need some advice about pairing stripes and leopard print’

You could reply with ‘ I wore that at the weekend, probably looked like a total tosser so don’t ask me!’

Or you could try

‘actually I wore a banging outfit that mixed the two together at the weekend, I think it’s about having the right tone of leopard print and a slightly larger stripe, I can help you if you like’

Boom.

Because Let’s face it putting ourselves down for so long hasn’t worked has it………… x

 

 

 

 

 

Breast is best ?

Lately I have seen many posts on social media about breast milk v formula, memes , opinions, facts, horror stories blah blah blah

And I would like to give you all my opinion. Please bear with me as I feel really strongly about this and want to share my inner most thoughts ………

Piss off twats , it’s my baby, my body, my choice.

Thank you 💋

The Salute – A Women’s Day Poem.

To you,  for carrying on even when your heart was being ripped from your soul

To you, for being the best mother to a child that needs you more than we can ever imagine

To you, for fighting a battle that is unfair and cruel and that I know has torn the sparkle from your eyes

To you, who turned a horrendous negative into a beautiful positive

To you, who stayed for all those years . I understand now

To you, who anxiety tried to drown,

To you, who is waking and facing the dark beast everyday through red stained lips

To you, whose knowledge and need to help others inspires me

To you, who blames yourself for something that can never, ever, be your fault

To you, who came out the other side and got your fairytale

And to you, who made me realise what ‘I’d die for you’ really means

I salute you

The Heroines of my world xxx

#me too

To the girl in the corner,

It always amazed me that you had taken my performing arts class. You would always sit in the back, in your prison issue, pale blue slightly dirty, sweatshirt. You never really said much. I look back now and I really hope you were listening.

We were putting on a play. The main parts had been given out to the ones who wanted them. You were in the stage hand team if I remember. We rehearsed in a dump of a workshop. It was next to a loud and bustling recycling workshop and that is what he was in charge of.

I am going to call him Mr B. I don’t want to write his name. Not because I am scared to, not because I don’t want to upset him, but mainly because I just don’t want to. You will know who I mean, I am guessing as will every other woman who was there that day.

Prison is a funny place, I can’t imagine what is was like for you as a prisoner but as a teacher it was surreal. You women were inmates, but you were people too and I will admit it was really hard to not build friendships with some of you. Because that’s what I think we do as women we come together. We look for allies and confidantes. Mainly because are all the same or because we carried children, or we share the same experiences. Good and bad.

Prison is filled with banter, Jesus I hate that word it is just a get out clause isn’t it, an excuse, a mask and an open invitation to say what you like,then back track when you realise you might have taken it a bit far. Like the day you were sat in the corner and I asked you to pop next door and ask if we could borrow a broom. One of the loudest and most confident women in the group took it upon herself to go with you.

Mr B decided to reply ‘ tell her she can have it if she sucks my cock’

I am so fucking sorry that you all had to hear that.

You didn’t have to tell me, the other woman told me loud and clear and made sure everyone else knew too. You just stood there.

Everything seemed to happen so quickly then. One minute I was telling you all to get in line as you had to go back to your cells, fielding off questions and comments like ‘ miss are you gonna take that?’ ‘Miss, I would slap him if I was you’ ‘Miss, bet he was joking’ ‘Miss, can you believe it’ ‘Miss. it is because he is an officer and your just a teacher’

We put on our performance, the drama course ended and you all changed activity. But you all kept on asking me ‘ What are you going to do about it’ ‘Have you spoken to Mr B’ ‘Don’t let him get away with it’

So I want to let you know, the girl in the corner, and all the other girls there. I didn’t let him get away with it. Because what he said that day was sexual harassment. It wasn’t banter, it wasn’t just how he is, and it wasn’t ok. I felt sick and vulnerable and he made me think that I was someone who wasn’t respected. But do you know what he made me feel more than anything else. Anger, pure and gut twisting to the bone anger. Because I had read your files, I knew that some of you had been in situations that I can’t even bring myself to type because they are so horrendous.  I had listened to you all taking about the domestic abuse you had suffered when we got to a part of the play that made some of you remember things you hoped you had forgotten. Anger because here you were in a prison for what ever reason and you were still witnessing a man think it is ok to say and imply anything he wants to a woman because he didn’t mean it.

I fought for you all. I took it to my union. An investigation was launched. I had to see him everyday,  telling people ‘ It was just banter’ ‘You all know what I am like’

I watched as people whispered about me ‘ How can she do this to him ‘ Mr B is such a nice bloke’ ‘What a stuck up cow she is, she flaunts all around here but can’t take a bit of banter’. And probably the most hurtful of all from a group of female officers’ She is such a twat, its not like he touched her tits!’

I had to have meetings were I was repeatedly asked why it bothered me so much, did I realise this could have serious consequences for him. Did I know what I was doing?

I knew exactly what I was doing. I was setting you all an example. We as women do not have to put up with this bull shit. We do not have to be touched to be abused. We do not have to have physical contact for it to be harassment and we most certainly do not have to accept it as banter. I won’t lie to you. The whole situation very nearly brought me to my knees. I lost people who I thought were not only my colleagues but my friends. People looked at me differently. Or they didn’t even look at me at all.

I was signed off with stress and in the end I gave up a career I loved because I could not give one more minute of my time to a place that didn’t show some of the most vulnerable women in our society that we all deserve respect and we all have a right to demand respect. About five people came to my leaving lunch and my bosses didn’t even sign my leaving card.

As the media fills with stories about how women are being brave and coming forward about their situations I often think of you in that corner. You were supposed to be in a place that protected you from that behavior. In a place that was staffed by people who were to help you, rehabilitate you and most importantly show you that there are decent people out there.

You women were the reason I acted, for you and for me and although it was a dark time in my life I want you and my daughter and my sister and my mother and all my female pupils to know I would do it all again in a heartbeat. And I will do it all over again if the situation arises.

I want you to know that there are women out there who are willing to make a stand and willing to fight for the respect and safety that we are entitled to.

Maybe a new day is on the horizon. x