Feminism

I am a feminist.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism and what it is, it’s quite a powerful word with a lot of negative connotations. Essentially, you are a feminist if you believe that women should be treated as equals to men in all areas of life… it’s not about hating men, or thinking that we’re better than them. It’s about equality.

Women are bombarded with ideas of how we should look and behave. I am so sick of having to put out box after box of women’s magazines every Tuesday morning at work and seeing the ridiculous articles and insipid lifestyles promoted by them.

We are more than our weight and the number of people we have had sex with. We are more than ensnaring a man, pumping out children and looking pretty. We’re supposed to live in the twenty first century; a modern society, yet we’re still stuck in the past when it comes to how we view women.

Don’t get me wrong, men face pressure from society too; they’re supposed to sleep with lots of women, be flippant about relationships, be physically strong and not show sadness. However, I want to focus on women for the moment- I’ll get around to men sometime soon.

I recently read a list on the internet where a group of men criticised women’s ‘fashion mistakes’. I was fucking appalled. It’s not often that I really throw the f-word about on here (or maybe it is… I don’t remember) but I’m so angry about it that I might actually say it again… I was absolutely, fucking appalled.

I was appalled that in this day and age a bunch of ignorant, self obsessed, narrow minded, chauvinist pigs could sit down and have the gall to say what they said.

Now, there are probably a lot of articles on the internet where men express their opinions on what they do and don’t like to see in a woman (physically), however this one used disgusting language, insulting every common fashion or make-up choice and even going as far as to say that women who are over-weight should put their time and effort into losing weight and not dressing nicely. The author said that he found it ‘disgusting’ when he saw an over-weight woman spend a lot of time on her appearance.

This article stirred up a lot of things that I have been thinking about recently; I can’t even form an educated response to it.

All I want to say is that I am disgusted and disappointed… and, you know something, misogynist morons of the internet? If a woman wants to get a piercing, she can. If she wants to wear red lipstick, she can. If she wants to spend her entire life in a tracksuit, she can. If she wants to spend an hour putting her make-up on, she can. If you feel that it’s ‘such a loss’ to see a woman with short hair then why don’t you grow your hair long and put in the hours of maintenance that it takes to keep it looking so nice?

There is a fundamental thing that you don’t seem to understand; if a woman does a particular thing with her appearance then she’s doing it for her (or at least, if we lived in a perfect world then she would be), she’s not asking for your opinion, or permission or approval.

I’m not trying to say that you can’t have an opinion of what does and does not attract you, physically, to a woman. That’s fine and normal- but when it’s worded and presented in a negative, offensive way using vile language (example: ‘women who wear red lipstick look like fucking clowns.’) it is NOT OKAY.

So crawl back into your darkened bedrooms, shut your mouths, learn some manners and respect and get the hell off the internet.

’til next time,

Wren x

Suicide Prevention

I want to talk about suicide.

When I was sixteen I tried to kill myself, I didn’t succeed and ended up taking some time off school to try and recover; physically I was pretty much unharmed but mentally it was like my mind had been wiped clean.

I’ve tried to end my life a handful of times, some of them came closer to actually causing my death than others. Each time it was like I died and was born again; this probably sounds a little dramatic but I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe how it felt.

The attempt that happened when I was sixteen was the one that inspired me to create this blog, and the one that inspired me to live.

As I said before, after the attempt I had some time off to recover- then I went back to school. I didn’t feel any better than I had done, I still felt desperate and suicidal, I planned to take my life- this time for good. I’d tried to get better, to recover, but it wasn’t working. I realised that I’d truly reached the end of the road and I wanted to die.

I can’t describe what it’s like to get to that point, if you’ve never been there then you won’t understand, and that’s a good thing- you don’t want to. Even now, three and a half years later, I’m at the point of tears when I think about that time in my life. To think about committing suicide is to think about saying goodbye to your Mum, your brother, your best friends- even just your belongings. It’s to imagine the world turning and turning without you. It’s to imagine how your parents will live after their worst nightmare has come to life.

I sat through a physics lesson; I was completely brain-dead at this point, my mind was just going through the formalities of how I was going to end my life. It got to near the end of the lesson, I was starting to pack my bag when my physics teacher came over and lingered in front of me.

He asked me if I was okay.

I just sort of stared at him for a while and didn’t answer.

He said that he’d noticed that I hadn’t been in school for a while and wanted to check that I was alright. That he’d help me if I needed anything.

I told him that I was fine.

I didn’t kill myself that night, in fact, I haven’t tried to end my life since then.

I don’t know exactly what it was about those thirty seconds that changed my life; but whatever it was it worked.

It’s tiny little things like these that save lives; my physics teacher will probably never know the massive impact that he’s had on my life, but it just goes to show that we can all help to prevent suicide. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do for a living- you never know what’s going through the heads of the people around you.

We can all make a difference.

’til next time,

Wren x

 

Sacrifice

Despite rumours to the contrary I am still alive, well, and posting on Fridays. To illustrate the point I’m actually typing this about ten minutes after getting out of bed. Having Fridays off is proving to be lethal… but highly relaxing…

The view of a lot of ancient Pagan religions is that they involved sacrifices to the Gods of all kinds, from jewellery to animals to humans. These facts are disputed a little (especially when it comes to human sacrifice.) I’ve only studied the Ancient Celts in great detail so I really can’t say anything about other cultures.

Personally I think that the Celts did perform sacrifice of all types- though probably not anywhere close to the extent that the Romans suggested (that’s what happens when your enemies write your history.)

I do, however, think that it did happen- that sacrifices of all natures happened across ancient societies and that we shouldn’t shy away from this. I think that we should embrace our past and learn about it rather than pretending that it didn’t happen.

Had we been alive in those days I’m sure we would have found sacrifice to be perfectly normal. There are many customs that died out over the years that to our ‘modern’ eyes would seem barbaric.

Paganism fit the times that our ancestors lived in; these were times full of blood and desperation. Death was much more commonplace, war happened in your back garden- not hundreds of miles away.

The Gods will always demand sacrifices; just maybe not in the form of goats… and they don’t really ‘demand’ them.

I think that my relationship with them is better when I spend more of my time meditating or doing rituals. Now that my life belongs to me again I’m trying to do both of those more.

In our ‘busy modern lives’ it can be hard to carve out time for our Gods. I’ve realised that I hate this, I hate that my job and other commitments refuse to see that I have a faith. We have to make sacrifices to assure that we have time to spend with the ones that we love and appreciate most of all.

Blessings,

Wren x

Slut-Shaming

There’s someone new at my work. We all knew who she was before she started.

I had to stop myself, to correct my thinking before joining in with the judgement of her. I’ll admit that at first I had a kind of morbid curiosity as to what she would be like. As of yet I haven’t experienced enough of her to make a fair and honest judgement.

I have to say that it surprised me why someone who enjoys fake tan/nails/eyelashes on a daily basis would want this job. It’s not glamorous at all. I have to keep my nails short, my hands are always covered in scratches, hair is best kept tied back, the uniform is unflattering and the customers can treat you like shit. My perception of her and my perception of this job do not mesh.

The point of what I’m writing here is this: I view myself as a feminist. Yet I still judged this girl based solely on her sexual reputation with the men in my home town.

That’s really sad; I’m kind of ashamed at myself for that. There is more to her than her reputation, I want to be able to put that aside and get to know her as a co-worker. I like the people that I work with. 90% of them are blokes, before I met my partner I was very wary about getting to know them. Now things are a lot more relaxed.

We talk about ‘slut-shaming’ a lot, but I think that a lot of the time we talk about it as if it were something far away and distant. It’s not, the knee-jerk reaction that I had, mentally, when I heard that girl’s name and the way that my co-workers (and shamefully, myself) reacted to it was slut-shaming.

I am interested to get to know her, to get to understand why she chose this job. We all have our reasons, myself included. I hate the uniform, the customers and not being able to paint my nails. There are, however, things that I like about this job. I like working in a male-dominated environment. I find guys easier to work with. I like the highly physical aspect to the job, I may be small but I’m strong and lifting, carrying and dragging things that weigh a lot makes me feel good about myself and my body. I feel physically useful. Dealing with shitty customers reminds me that I’m good at communicating and de-escalating situations. It also keeps me humble and teaches me when to stick up for myself.

It’s sad that everyone knows who this girl is, based purely on what she’s done in private. From an evolutionary stand-point you can understand why we view ‘sluts’ so negatively… but we’re not primates any more. We’re supposed to have evolved. So why is this reaction so deeply ingrained in us?

’til next time,

Wren x

 

You’ve Changed

I have a friend who likes to fling around the phrase “you’ve changed!” as an insult.

I don’t really understand this, it’s something that upsets and annoys me. We’re all supposed to grow and change- who would want to be the person that they were when they were seventeen? Or thirteen? Or six???

We’re supposed to change. Change is good and needed; whether it happens suddenly or slowly, change should be welcomed and accepted.

Sometimes change is hard, sometimes it just feels right.

It really annoys me when my friend does this, he usually does it because he feels insecure that things have changed and left him behind. Unlike the majority of my friends I’ve chosen to stay in my home town to pursue my studies. I made this decision for a number of reason, mainly to save money.

I think that the people who go away expect the things and people that they leave behind to stay the same, so that when they comes back they can slip back into nostalgia. But that’s not the way things work. Everything moves and changes, things don’t just stay the same.

It can be frightening to see something that you’ve always viewed as stable change, it can take a while to understand that it’s necessary.

I’m glad that I’ve changed. I want to grow up, mature and get on with my life. I don’t want to be stuck in the past, clinging desperately on to it. It won’t help anyone- least of all me. People move on and change; sometimes they won’t want to be my friends anymore.

And that’s okay- yes, it hurts, and it’s allowed to hurt. But I’m filling my life with other people, people who I want to be friends with. I put effort into the relationships that are important to me and end those that aren’t.

We’re entering that time of the year when hundreds of thousands of young people are heading off into new chapters of their lives, and I think it’s important to remind everyone to relax, let go off the past for a little while and embrace the future.

Change is good; frightening- yes, but good.

’til next time,

Wren x

Sunset in Yorkshire

So I hope you’ve all been keeping well, I allowed myself a little holiday and put my feet up with a long weekend- back to the normal three day posting schedule now though.

 

Sadly the riveting things that have been happening to me recently generally include a massive clear-out and wardrobe overhaul plus sending lots of emails.

On the plus side I’ve been storing and sorting out ideas for posts, so I can tell you that there’s a few beefy articles coming your way. Thanks for reading.

’til next time,

Wren x

Blogging About Blogging

Today I’m doing a blog post about blogging… yeah, that’s right. I’m blogging about blogging… blogception anyone??

I’ve been blogging for three years now (well, nearly three and a half… that went fast) in that time I think I’ve accrued some small bits of wisdom that I can pass on.

Here’s a quick run down of what I think you should know if you’re starting a blog:

  • Write for you. No, seriously, write because you care about what you have to say. Don’t write for anything or anyone other than you- if you don’t then you will get bored very quickly. And you will stop.
  • The first comment will take your breath away.
  • You will meet some wonderful people.
  • Time will pass very quickly; I’m slightly scared that I’ve been blogging for so long- it is, however, a great way to record things that happen in your life and gives you a pretty detailed idea of who you were and what you were doing at certain points in the past.
  • If you are starting an anonymous blog it will be hard to get readers. All of the common wisdom is to share your new blog posts on social media to gain followers… if you’re writing anonymously you can’t do this. It’ll be pretty lonely out there for a while.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people. I’ve been at this for three and a half years, in that amount of time a lot of people have created blogs that are so successful that they can live off them; they have huge cult followings and are minor celebrities in their own rights…. so… good for them! As with most things it’s part luck, part hard work. If you start getting caught up in what other people are doing then you lose motivation for what you do.
  • Celebrate your achievements. Gaining ten or twenty followers, one hundred likes, thirty comments; they’re all big things. Even bigger is writing your tenth, fiftieth or one hundredth post. Go you!
  • It’s a learning experience. I hope that my writing, spelling and grammar has all gotten a lot better since I’ve started this blog. Part of that will be age, the other part will be experience.
  • The typos will always be there. But proof-reading helps a lot.
  • Some days you won’t want to post. It’s the same as with anything, some days you just can’t be bothered to spend that time tapping away at the keyboard. I get that, I seriously do… but every time I miss a post I feel rubbish, and every time I put up a post I feel great. Nowadays I only miss a post if I have no internet access or physically don’t have the time to write. For the most of the last year about half of my posts were pre-written and then scheduled to go up at certain times on certain days.
  • You will draw a blank. That’s okay, when I don’t know what to write about I either stick up some photos, scroll through the news to find something or just work out what’s been occupying my mind lately and put that into word form.

When I first started I think that the internet wasn’t quite what it is now, a lot of the YouTube stuff was only just beginning and things like tumblr weren’t quite as massive as they are right now. The blogosphere wasn’t by any means quiet, but it was different.

I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to get an amazingly successful blog, I knew that I wasn’t going to be drowning in comments every time that I opened up my dashboard. I started this blog for me, it was something that I needed and it helped me to put my thoughts into order. I’ve always kept a diary but it got to a point with my mental health that I needed something more.

When I sit here, on my bed with my laptop in front of me and music playing through my earphones, and stare out of the window at the dreary grey skies of Yorkshire I feel like I’m talking to myself- not in a bad way- but I just do.

I feel very much like I’m doing this for me. It almost surprises me when people comment on things; it’s a brilliant surprise of course, and as time’s gone on people have been commenting more and more which is amazing!

I love getting a good comment, it really makes my day. Now that my crazy training schedule has let up I actually have the chance to start a conversation instead of just churning out content. That’s a really nice feeling.

When you first start up a blog the silence can seem daunting, I think there comes a stage when everyone falls behind on their blogs- I think I’ve had that stage about three times. I don’t know if I’ll have it again, I might- but I might not. I’m very settled into who I am as a person, I know that I can keep up a good blog schedule even when I’m really busy and I also know that I have people who care about what I write.

As an interesting side-note; I don’t really post anything on my Facebook page, I post way more stuff on here. I care about this blog so much more than I care about Facebook… that probably tells you something interesting about me psychologically…

’til next time,

Wren x