Archive for the 'It’s all about me' Category

Be still, my beating heart

It’s official.

I’m in love.

The signs have been there for a couple of weeks now – lack of appetite, daydreaming about my affection, sweaty palms, unexplained palpitations…

And now the object of my desire is in my possession.

I have found the perfect pair of boots and I’m in love.  You know the ones – they fit perfectly, make you feel fantastic and you know that this will be a lifelong partnership.  Well, at least until they fall apart or you become unfaithful!

(Sorry for the hype, but I do like a bit of drama occasionally!)

I saw them a couple of weeks ago.  The most perfect pair of knee high boots – all glossy with their rich chocolately brown leather and suede.  Little buckles down the side…

I’m really not doing them justice – I’ll post a photo when I can.

The only problem is that they are crying out to be worn with a skirt.

The last time I wore a skirt voluntarily was about 7 years ago, the times I’ve worn one since have been few and far between, and has only been achieved with a serious amount of bullying, bribery and blackmail.

But these boots are worth it.  Best Friend and I are going to go skirt shopping in a couple of weeks and maybe I’ll find the perfect skirt to go with the perfect boots.

When I was a teenager, I used to love skirts and dresses. In fact, my standard summer uniform was a little dress and my trusty Doc Martin boots – I loved them.

Most women have something clothes wise that they adore.  I’m really not that fussed about jewellery (though I have some pretty pieces), shoes or the current fashion.  My things are boots.  And bags.

I’ve been known to blow my wages on a bag that I have fallen in love with and have spent hours drooling over boots.  I don’t tend to wear them that often, my job requires practical shoes, so I spend much of my time in converse trainers, but that doesn’t mean that I still can’t harbour desires for my boots and gaze at them with love and affection!

When I’ve found the skirt I will let you know.  One of the times I’m planning on wearing them is for the work Christmas Party, it’ll be interesting to see how people react – I’m not convinced they even think I have legs!


Naked in the living room

I am the only one in my group of friends who lives alone. Everyone else lives with their partner and/or kids. And I have to say that I think I’ve got the better deal!

On a pretty much daily basis I am informed by my friends about the latest issue their partner or kid (in some cases they seem to be the same person!) has created. The top complaints seem to be mess, not sharing chores, preferring work or the pub to being at home and playing video games all day (this one is committed by a 40 year old bloke, not a kid!).

I’m also told on a regular basis that I am lucky that I can do what I want, when I want, without having to check in with anyone else.

And I am.

However, I also have to endure questions about when I’m going to settle down, have I found Mr Right, do I believe in soul mates and don’t I ever get lonely.

So, for the record, the answers are:

* I have no idea, it will happen when it happens.

* No. There is someone I like but it’s just not possible at the moment.

* No.

* Yes of course, but so does everybody!

For me, the benefits of being single and living alone far outweigh the disadvantages. I have no one else to answer to, can eat what I like, when I like, there’s no queue for the bathroom and no arguments about whether the toilet seat should be up or down. There are no remote control issues, moans about me being on the laptop for hours, or the fact that that’s the third time in a week I haven’t got in until 3am! I can walk around naked anytime I want (and frequently do!), I can read or watch TV in bed in the middle of the night and use all the hot water!

And no one can complain about it!

Yes, of course there are disadvantages. I can only blame mess on myself and have discovered there are no little fairies that come and clear up in the night, there’s no one else to do the washing or food shopping and I have to carry all the heavy stuff myself. But I’ve lived with friends, family and (more or less) with a partner before and also endure the daily complaints from friends; I know that these issues are there whether you live alone or not!

So, for the time being, I’m going to stand by my view that I have the better the deal. I will listen to my friend’s complaints, smile sweetly and go home to my sanctuary!

It’s still that time of year!

Obviously with trying to organise the work Christmas party, Christmas has been on my mind

However, I don’t seem to be the only one.

The shops have been trying to convince us it’s Christmas since about August and now nearly every shop has its Christmas goodies out and a nice shiny catalogue by the door.

I always get slightly confused by the shop’s decisions on Christmas gifts. I don’t really understand why they seem to think that every woman wants nothing more than a box set of gaudily packaged toiletries that they wouldn’t use at any other time of the year, or every bloke wants a body spray and shower gel set or a leather wallet and keyring! I wouldn’t buy these for friends on their birthdays, so why would I buy them at Christmas.

My usual routine for Christmas shopping is to wait for the pay day before Christmas and then go round the shops with a prepared list and very strict time limit. If I do it any other way, it becomes unmanageable and rarely ends well.

I may have to try a different tact this year, as the list of people I need to buy for appears to have grown at a very unhealthy rate since last Christmas and I’m not sure I can face the shops. I’m leaning much more towards the joys of internet shopping. Me, my credit card and a very large drink certainly seems much more enticing than me, cash and scary strangers with a very disturbing determination to get the last Terry’s Chocolate Orange on the shelf!

Some people seem to be much more organised.

Scarily so.

Best Friend is one of these. I know for a fact that a lot of her shopping has been completed and there is a plan in place for the rest! Best Friend adores Christmas and all the preparation for it. She buys the most fabulous presents (even her work Secret Santa ones hit the spot each time!) and revels in the whole thing. She works to a time scale and knows when she will write and send her cards (I randomly send them when I can be bothered and then inevitably have to send out more when I receive one from people I have forgotten!). She also knows when she needs to order things from the butcher and already knows what she’s going to cook on Christmas Day. I’m more than happy about this as I will be spending the day with her and her family and she also tells me what to buy for our mutual friends – thank you, that saves me another head ache!

Don’t get me wrong, I do like Christmas, though I prefer the actual lead up to it rather than the day itself.

I can get quite sentimental and, if I’m in a good mood, even smile when I hear the brass bands playing carols. I like the decorations, the parties and how people seem willing to talk to people they usually wouldn’t. However, I do long for the ease of Christmas when I was a kid, when all you had to do was send cards to your classmates, buy something for your parents and Santa did the rest!!

Is there a sign on my forehead?

Is there something about me?

Do I have some kind of sign on my forehead that I can’t see?

Why do I always attract the loony?

I can be anywhere and the random mad person will find me. It doesn’t matter where; on the bus, in the supermarket, in the doctor’s waiting room, it makes no difference; they will track me down and start talking.

Even when I’m walking to work I’m not safe. In the mornings there is a lady who walks through the city centre at the same time I do. On a regular basis she comes up, tells me a joke (it’s always something about dicks, socks and the cold – I’m sorry I can’t be clearer, but it just doesn’t make sense!) and then wanders off, apparently happy with our interaction.

When I am training for work I will attract the one person on the course desperate to talk about their ‘issues’ and they will spend the entire day trailing around after me and then want to walk back to the train station too. They have also been known to ask me if I want to go for a drink afterwards as I have “been so helpful and understanding”.

No, I don’t.

If we did that, then there is a distinct possibility that my responses will change from the professional ones ingrained into me, to the ones that are actually in my head. I’m really not convinced you want to be told that either; 1) you’re clearly insane or 2) need to stop acting like a moaning idiot and get off your arse and do something about it!

I know I work in mental health and should understand, but it’s no different from a doctor getting asked to diagnose people at parties or a taxi driver being a chauffeur for his kids. You just don’t want to do it. A lot of my friends also work in mental health and say the same thing. It appears that some people do have a sign saying ‘If you are mad/desperate/love to talk about yourself then feel free to come and talk non-stop to me for as long as you want’ stuck on their forehead.

The problem is, that unless I can actually avoid being engaged in conversation from the start, I don’t have it in me to stop them. I nod, smile and make appropriate noises when I’m really inventing elaborate escape plans or writing my shopping list in my head.

I can successfully manage to avoid the charity and survey clipboard people in the street, so maybe I need to employ the same tactics with the random mad people. In the meantime, maybe I should pay attention to what they say and see if there’s any blog fodder in there!

Blogging Against Abuse – Rape, it can happen to anyone.

Today is the day that (hopefully) hundreds of bloggers will unite to blog against abuse. This is my post for Blogcatalog’s Blogging Against Abuse campaign.

It’s taken me a long time to decide what to write about, but in the end I decided to talk about something that has affected me personally. I decided to write about rape.

Rape has nothing to do with sex but is all about power.

When many people think about rape, they think about a woman (or man) being attacked by a stranger. However, the majority of women are raped by someone they know, whether that is a family member, friend or partner.

When I was 17 I was raped by an ex-boyfriend. Though we had split up, we still occasionally slept together; we just didn’t work in a relationship. On the night in question, he decided that ‘No’ didn’t apply to him and that he had the right to do what he wanted anyway. He couldn’t believe that I meant it when I said no or that he was doing anything wrong by continuing.

I never reported it to the police and it took me several months to even tell a friend. I didn’t feel that I would be believed. The lifestyle I led at the time would have been held against me. Unfortunately, many women do not report they have been raped and, for those that have the courage to do so, there is no guarantee that it will even reach court. In fact, research has shown that women are more likely to report domestic violence than they are rape. For many women, the fear of not being believed, or the fear of being judged, stops them. We’ve all heard the comments of “She was asking for it, look at what she was wearing” or “She accepted drinks from him, what did she expect?”.

Over time, I began to tell a few friends. I was lucky; the majority were very supportive and believed me immediately. Only two people said it was my fault, one said that I had no right to call it rape as I had been sleeping with him anyway, and the other said I had no right to deny him sex as it was ‘expected’. Bullshit. I was also lucky that only one person didn’t believe me at all, saying that I was trying to get back at him for breaking up the relationship. Though her perception was not right, I can sort of understand why she needed to view it like that. My rapist was her brother’s best friend, he was in her house a lot and I think she was scared.

I’m not saying that I knew it was not my fault straight away. I spent months feeling that it was my fault; that I should never have put myself in that situation or that I should have never said no in the first place. At first, I didn’t even know that it was still classed as rape if it was done by someone you knew. It was only through talking to friends, reading and, eventually, getting into counselling, that I saw it for what it was. All I knew at the beginning was that I hadn’t wanted it to happen.

Rape is always rape. If one party has said no, then it is not consensual. That is rape. It does not matter what relationship you have with someone, if they force themselves on you that is wrong. I have a friend who was systematically raped by her husband for many years. She eventually worked up the courage to leave him, though still does not feel able to go to the police. Mainly, because he was her husband and she does not feel that people will consider it to be rape. It was.

I have not written this as a ‘poor me’ exercise. I am trying to show that anyone can be raped, by anyone. Rape is what it is and it is never right or the victim’s fault.

If you have been raped and need some support or information, there are lots of places out there that can help. Just speak to someone, if you can’t talk to a friend then try one of the help lines below.

Rape Crisis

What not to tell your parents

Parents and hangovers don’t mix. Especially if you already have a terrible habit of opening your mouth before engaging your brain.

I’m afraid I have traumatised my parents and I’m not entirely sure they will recover from the shock.

My parents visited me on Sunday and took me out to lunch. I’m sure you’re all thinking that sounds lovely and a nice way to spend a Sunday. And it would have been, if I hadn’t have been about to be awarded the prize for the worlds biggest hangover.

Saturday night had been spent at Best Friend’s house, celebrating another friend’s engagement. True to form, we consumed a lot of alcohol and I finally got home at stupid o’clock in the morning.

When my parents arrived, I attempted to make conversation, but was more than happy to just nod and smile whilst I was brought up to date on the village’s latest news and the developments with various people’s ailments (I don’t know these people, but apparently it is essential that I know all about their lives!).

By this stage, we were at the restaurant and I was trying to prepare my stomach for the fact that it was about to encounter solid food and convince it that it would be fine with this. My parents were asking me about what I had been up to, commenting that I seemed to be very busy. I explained that I was, but that it was ok and I had some more projects in the pipeline. As all good parents should do, they expressed an interest and asked what I was planning.

This is when it happened. I still don’t know why I said it. I can only think that my brain had gone back to sleep and had left my body to try and cope with the situation alone.

I informed my parents that I was going into business with Best Friend’s Bloke as a porn baron.

Well, more porn administrator really.

The world seemed to stop for a few moments and then reality came rushing in. All I could hear was the woosh as the entire restaurant whipped their heads round to stare at us.

Dad went an odd shade of purple, coughed slightly and then started eating as quickly as he could. I think he thought that if he carried on eating, time would reverse itself and this would never have happened.

Mum sat there with a fixed, slightly manic, smile on her face. As she reached for her drink and downed it in one, my brain made a very brief appearance, realised what was happening and fled.

The more I tried to explain, the bigger hole I dug myself. Best Friend’s Bloke works as a vision mixer on the local TV station’s porn channel. A lot of the women have asked him to develop their websites and I’ve said I’ll help him.

Of course, the more I attempted to reassure my parents, the worse I made it. Until it sounded like Best Friend’s Bloke ran a porn empire and I was his newest recruit, about to give up the day job and become Crystal Chandelier!

I gradually trailed off and we sat in silence for about a year. The silence was so great, that I could hear the man on the other side of the restaurant picking bits of food out of his teeth.

The only thing I could think to say was “So, Mum, how’s Fred and his hernia”.

Apparently Fred’s fine.

The things they say

What did you used to believe as a kid? I’m not talking about Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, but the seemingly random things that you used to believe.

I came across this website the other day. It’s a place where you can submit all those things that you used to believe; either the things your parents told you or the things that made perfect sense in your head but no one else seemed to get. You can now find out you were not alone!

My Mum and Dad were just like any other parents in that they took great pleasure in telling me things, just to be entertained by my reaction. It seems to be a perk of the job which can provide many hours (or sometimes months!) of entertainment.

There seem to be standard things that ALL parents tell their kids; crusts make your hair curly, carrots help you see in the dark, you’ll stay that way if the wind changes and if you swallow chewing gum it will take 7 years for it to digest. The ones they were probably told as a kid too.

Then there are the ones that parents make up themselves. My parents had two, both of which I believed for quite a while.

In the town where I lived as a kid, there was a huge statue of Issac Newton which stood outside the town hall. My parents used to tell me that at night he would get down of his stand and roam about the town. I was never clear about what he was doing on his nightly trips, but it all sounded very realistic to me and I used to lay awake at night, waiting for him to come down our street. Part of me would be wishing that he would come, so I could see for myself what he was doing. The other part was terrified; convinced he was some kind of relation to the more scary giants in the BFG!

I was quite a gullible kid and also believed them when they told me that the cat’s eyes in the middle of the road were actually cat’s eyes! The story was that this was how the cats made their living and if I looked very carefully at dusk, I would see all the cats walking down the road to their station, where they would then lay in bed for the night, just looking into the road, to help drivers stay on the right side of the road. I never saw the cats.

I don’t believe either of those things now. My only concern is that I can’t find anyone else on the site who believed anything even remotely similar…