For the people who don’t think International Women’s Day is important.

International Women’s Day: the day in which women are supported by the people who believe in wholeheartedly in equality. The day where fantastic women throughout the ages are praised and recognised, and the day where all women across the world can feel loved and appreciated by others.
Unfortunately, the ignorant percent of the population will say how ‘unnecessary’ and ‘pointless’ this day is, and how there isn’t a day like this for men.
It is for these people that I write this post.
From a young age, most children are given one of two toys depending on their biological gender. Girls are given toy babies to look after, and boys are given toy cars. Girls are given kitchen sets, whilst boys are given a football. Now, obviously not every child has been given these exact toys, but most were. Girls are dressed in pink clothing, boys are dressed in blue. It’s been a tactic throughout history to ensure that these genders grow up to be how they are expected to be. The women are brought up to look after children and cook, whilst the men are brought up to play sports and be more independent.
200,000 years ago, when humans were first known to the world – as we know them now to be – women were treated almost fairly. Anthropologists believe that both men and women were made to hunt and look after themselves, and promiscuity was almost encouraged between the two. But as time moved on, in more dangerous environments, men’s strength would become a basis to the patriarchal society that we live in today.
Now, let’s fast-forward to the Medieval Age where women were taught to that they were to do whatever a man said, and to be the one to take care of the man and the family which they create. The man would do the work, the women would stay at home. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve heard of this type of family before?
Throughout history this has been the basis of family life, up until recent dates. Women had no rights within society, bowing down to anything and everything a man decides. Does this sound fair to you? If so, read on. Men would be allowed to fuck other women with no punishment or no judgement. If women were to do that, they would be shunned and looked down on by society.
As we lead into the 1800’s, women were no longer seen as needed for economical value – less so, anyway, than previous years. They were seen as emotional puppets. They were seen as care-givers and men wanted to love women more than they did lust them. They wanted a pure woman to love and give everything to, not a woman who desired sex or anything of that forte. God forbid a woman wanted to fuck another man. No, no! Just unacceptable.
Finally, in the 1920’s women were given the vote. How lucky were are, that men finally gave us some more rights! After this period, women were allowed to divorce their husbands on the same grounds that men were allowed beforehand. Women began to rebel against gender norms and embrace their sexuality. When the first pill was ever invented, women were finally allowed to have sex when they wanted it – not strictly for child-bearing purposes. Later this century, women were given equal pay, and equal rights and abortion became legal. Women began to enroll in universities that were typically governed by men, more so than ever before in history.
As time goes on, and we move towards the 21st century, women took control of their sexuality. They began to support each other even more so than ever before! Porn became acceptable, and there were TV shows surrounding the lives of sexy, single, successful women (Sex and the City). In 2010, women make up for the majority of the workforce throughout the world. In the years leading up to now, women have given so much to our world, and they deserve appreciation.
And I haven’t even touched upon sexism between different races and religion.
Women have been seen as the weaker sex for too many years. Even still, you will get men telling women what they can and cannot do, and what they can and cannot wear. Even still, in the government, it is almost entirely male dominated. Even still, some men see women as a gift to them to do with what they want – think of how many women are catcalled and shouted at abusively by men every single fucking day. Even still, women in the Eastern countries are being treated how the women in the Western countries were hundreds of years ago.
Women are not marionettes for the males to pluck and pull in whatever way they choose to. We are human too. We deserve equality. After years of being fucked about in a patriarchal world, women are finally beginning to get what they deserve. Only by the fact that we had to fight for these rights that we hold today.
So, on this brilliant day, support women. Support your grandmothers, mothers, sisters, cousins, girlfriends, and friends, and every other woman in your life, and support the equality in which all the beautiful women in the world strive for every day of their lives.

These are just a handful of important women throughout the ages:
Cleopatra.
Rosa Parks.
Emmeline Pankhurst.
Josephine Baker.
Malala Yousafzai.
Valentina Tereshkova.
Frida Khalo.
Elizabeth I.
Edith Cavell.
Coco Chanel.
Marie Curie.

 

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Bittersweet

July 25th, 2017

When sitting down with Sandy for dinner at Il ristorante del Luca, I didn’t expect us to be face to face all the time and have continuous conversations about bullshit upon bullshit that neither of us really cared about. We both had our new iPhones out, taking photos of each other and laughing, before the laughter began to fade and we just ended up sat scrolling through Instagram and Facebook looking at what other people were doing right in that moment while we waited for our food. I could see that she ‘liked’ the photo my friend put up of himself, I mean, I wasn’t jealous as such but it does make me feel a bit insecure about myself when I’m dressed in a suit and tried to look as handsome a possible for her, and this date, and she’s still looking at other men. I tagged her in a photo on Facebook that reminded me of her, she laughed and looked up at me and caught my eye and smiled at me.

“Thanks, Oliver.” She said, still smiling. I’m glad I can make her smile, even when we aren’t really talking. When the waitress came over with our food, we both put our phones face down on the table and began eating and giving each other bits of our food that the other one didn’t want. We made slight conversation but I knew it wouldn’t last when we left the restaurant. I’m not blaming her, we’re both to blame for getting so wrapped up in that world. I just wish we hadn’t. We got up, leaving our shared check, with a tip for the waitress, and thanked the hosts of the restaurant. I could see her hand outstretched waiting for me to place mine in hers, “Wait a minute, I’ve just got to reply to Josh.” I explained. I could see a flash of disappointment cross her face, before she quickly hid it with a slight smile of fake nonchalance. I finished my text and slipped my hand in hers, the heat of the mid-summer evening making our palms and fingers clammy.

We passed the usual bars walking back to mine, only to see people in blue high visibility vests trying to coax strangers passing by, in to a church with the words ‘Volunteers Needed for REAL LIFE SIMULATION’ that were written on a big, bright, yellow sign about the entrance. “Hey, Sandy,” Her beautiful face turned to me with wide brown eyes that practically screamed with curiosity, as they always did. “Do you want to check that simulation thing out?” she nodded to me. We went over and a man dressed in a blue vest came over and he explained to us that it was new technology which would temporarily transport us back in time to 1956 for the night. I glanced at Sandy in question as to whether she would be interested in this, but she didn’t even turn to face me, instead she immediately answered “yes” to the simulation.

Bryan (a name that I read on his badge, assuming it was his), opened the old, heavy, brown doors of the church for us. When leading us through the maze of hidden, intricate doors, I saw about ten other people in different rooms in our passing. Volunteers, I presumed. We were told to take off all of our clothes, lie down on separate doctor’s surgery-type beds, while they connected a number of colourful wires to almost every inch of our naked bodies. I don’t know about Sandy, but my heart was beating at such a rapid pace I felt it would almost certainly burst out of my chest at any moment. The door closed, and it was just Sandy and I left in silence, engulfed in the darkness that surrounded us. I knew that Sandy’s bed was about two inches to the right of mine. I lifted my arm slowly, to make sure that I didn’t interrupt or complicate the wires that were attached to it, and felt for her body to give her some reassurance that she wasn’t alone. I was stroking her thigh when I heard a soft, female voice from the speakers that encircled us. “When I count up to five, both of your bodies will be in a deep sleep, whilst we connect your mind to the simulation we have made specifically for the two of you. Say ‘yes’ if you understand what I have said and are ready for me to begin.” I squeezed Sandy’s thigh, and in unison we replied that we were ready. I kept my hand on Sandy’s body, as I heard the woman’s voice slowly count up from one.

“Oliver!” I heard a woman’s voice call me, from what felt like a distance away. “Oliver! Wake up.” I opened my eyes and the first thing I could see was Sandy’s big, brown eyes looking down into mine with concern written on every inch of her face. I was lying down with my head positioned on her lap. “You’ve been out for about fifteen minutes.” I sat up, in a daze. I felt my thigh for my phone, only to remember that such technology wouldn’t exist in this day and age. I was nervous to be spending the next couple of hours with Sandy without one, but I hid my anxiety and smiled weakly at her. Looking around me I saw that we were in the garden of the church that we stepped into just one hour before, except that was 61 years later in the future. I stood up and after helping Sandy up, I looked properly at her. Instead of wearing her usual black skirt and colourful blouse with her long blonde hair falling over her shoulders, she stood in front of me completely changed. Not in a bad way – she could never look bad. She wore a blue and white polka dot halter neck dress, with laced white gloves and wedged red heels. Her hair shorter, fashioned similar to Marilyn Monroe’s, still blonde. She looked mesmerising. “Stop staring at me, Oli.” She said in an irritated tone, but the smile across her face told me she liked it, really, so did her charming giggle. “Look at yourself. You’re almost as average as you were before.” She liked to jokingly bully me (I liked it too). I looked down at myself and saw that I was dressed in a smart white shirt, a bootlace tie around my neck, with a brown drape jacket covering me, matching the narrow trousers that met the black crepe soled shoes at the ankle. I was a fucking Teddy Boy. Why couldn’t they have made me a greaser?

I looked around the street and spotted a record store that was open opposite us. I grabbed Sandy’s hand and pulled her in the direction of it. I opened the door and we were greeted by Eddie Cochran’s classic Rock and Roll voice. I looked at Sandy who was standing behind me, and we grinned at each other. We went over to the record player and put on some Elvis, and since there wasn’t anybody in the record shop except for the shopkeeper, Sandy and I, I took her hand and began dancing with her. I sang into her ear whilst we danced, too. I wasn’t a good dancer or singer, which is probably why she was laughing the whole time, but intimate moments like this were rare. If we had our phones we would taking photos of the records and the aesthetics of the shop for our Instagram followers, but in this moment we can just live it and enjoy it. I felt a tap on my shoulder. “It’s time to go, I’m closing up now.” The shopkeeper told us. He apologised and stated that we were a good couple, and that we should never stop courting. We thanked him, and apologised for staying such a long time. I took her hand in mine as we walked down the street and saw her smile, the most genuine smile I had seen in a long time. For once, I wasn’t too busy texting somebody else to initiate such a gesture, and that was the moment that I realised – after all these months with her, I had overlooked the intimacy that holding hands could create because I was too busy thinking about other things.

We took a walk down the pier and sat down on the wooden floor, with our legs dangling over the almost black sea. When she spoke, I felt like I was really hearing her this time without wondering at the back of my mind if people had messaged me back on Facebook. I found myself asking her questions that I had asked months ago, only to not have properly listened because I was too distracted. We lay back on the floor and looked at the stars, laughing about how stupid it can be to see images in them. We faced each other, discussing our complicated lives and got to know each other again. I had never felt so close with a person in my life.

November 6th 2017

So. Much. Pain. My head was pounding and my mouth was parched. I should not have gotten that drunk on Bonfire Night. I lay on the side of my bed and automatically picked up my phone and began to scroll through my unread messages, and through what I had missed on all social media apps. I felt a hand on my back. It took me a moment to remember that Sandy was in bed with me too. I rolled over to look at her and saw that even though she had her hand on my back, she was on her phone too. She put her phone down and reached out for my hand, only to see I had my phone in it so couldn’t. I saw that same disappointed reaction I always did. She got out of bed and went for a shower, and I continued to sit on my phone. Every so often I would remember that one night in summer where we had just a couple of hours of pure intimacy and connection together, but the pressures of the 21st century immerses us and it’d be just stupidity to imagine that such a relationship could exist without the bittersweet constrictions of social media. But I would never forget her laugh when she heard my terrible singing in the record store, or when her face was lit by the moonlight on the pier, and how no amount of Facebook ‘likes’ would be worth taking those memories away.

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Everybody needs somebody

My heart goes out to those who are heartbroken this Christmas. The people who cry themselves to sleep at night over the malicious killing of a loved one, fueled by greed and the dissatisfaction of life. The people who fall asleep hungry and dirty in the streets all around the world, while the rich sit on their thrones made of gold bars of money – choosing to be ignorant to the dying thousands around them.
When did this world become so cruel and difficult to live in? It became this way when people chose money and power over the lives of others. Even in our daily life, people may not die for our selfish desires, but sometimes people do get hurt. These terrorist attacks which are happening worldwide, with no sign of ending, should be a lesson to the world to what NOT to become and to show that compassion is the better option.
Too much innocent blood is spilled minute by minute, day by day, month by month, and year by year. Whether that be to incurable diseases, terrorist attacks, accidents, ruthless murders or wrongdoings, or mental health, and somehow people just don’t learn that what we, as a race, are doing are is not helping. We put so much power into celebrities and into social media and into material possessions, that the majority of us just have our backs turned to the injustices of the world. People are scared of sharing opinionated posts about these injustices because they may feel that they might be belittled by their friends. That in itself is ignorance to these problems.
My heart goes out to the people who feel like committing suicide is the only answer – too overwhelmed with the hurt they feel, or perhaps maybe because of the lack of feelings, that they feel like they just can’t carry on. People laugh or make fun of these people, yeah, I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it, and I just find it unfathomable and insensitive. These people need help and to turn your eye blindly makes you a part of the problem.

Turn to the people in your life who mean something to you and tell them how much they do. It doesn’t have to be every single hour of the day, but at least to show them some kind of gratification. Tomorrow they may be gone because of those who are too high and mighty to bat an eyelid to those who are different or to those who they deem not good enough, or just to sad and unfortunate circumstances. Everybody is good enough. Don’t be one of those people. Don’t put something off out of pride or out of embarrassment, because one day it could be too late and turn into a regret.
Smile at those who look like they need some kindness in their life, to show them they aren’t alone. Send a message to those who you care about, or even better – tell them in person. And try and be that sunshine that the world needs in these dull and dark days.

 

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You do you, boo

I originally started this post about relationships and feelings. Then I realised that instead of concentrating on the negativity of shit relationships, to look instead at the positives. Within the past two months I have had so many people come to me with problems relating to their love lives, and family and friendship breakups. Friends have cried in front of me, told me how worthless and that they feel they’re not good enough, and how they somehow deserve to feel this way. It’s heartbreaking to see people close to you feel so broken down over one person, over temporary feelings that seem so permanent at the time.
This post is about self-love. A love that most people, including myself, haven’t fully got the hang of feeling.
Seeing people every day on social media and looking at your figure and thinking “Why can’t my body curve in that way?” or “Why can’t I be skinny enough like him/her?”, comparing every part of yourself because you don’t look the same as another person, ending up hating the shell of a body in which you inhabit. If you looked like them you wouldn’t be special anymore (cheesy, corny, but still true), and everybody wants to feel special. Look at the part of your body you don’t particularly like or wish that you could swap for the photo-shopped model in a magazine, and tell yourself that you are different and different is great.
Don’t shave your legs because you feel like that guy you like won’t find you attractive if you don’t. Don’t laugh at something if you don’t think it’s funny. Don’t feel like you have to be anything that you aren’t.
A friend of mine told me how you wouldn’t say to your best friend that they aren’t good enough or that they’re ugly or worthless, so why do we feel like it’s OK to say it to ourselves? And that rang so true, to me. What few people understand is that we need to be our own best friends. We are going to be fucked over by so many people throughout life – may it be love interests, family, friends, or work colleagues. It’s about the way you deal with those fucking overs that reflects on yourself, and inevitably decides how your life is going to turn out. It’s about picking yourself up when life starts spiraling, and it’s about making your life the way you want it to be because you, and only you, are the person who is going to have to live with it.
If something is causing you to feel shit, you need to try and turn that problem into a positive, and failing that cut the problem out altogether. Nothing is worth making your day turn upside down. Don’t ever feel guilty for being the person you are, or making the decisions that are right for you, or for being upset or angry over situations because in turn they may lead to happiness and that’s something few people have. Be who you are, and try and be the very best version, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty for it.

 

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Be a good samaritan

Dealing with mental health issues and complications can be extremely hard just on its own, and what can make dealing with it even harder is the way people react to these issues, and to the person suffering. Over 100 years ago, health professionals used to believe that these sufferers were insane and that they would be treated easily by the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or lobotomy, and the stigma of a mental health patient is that they are a ‘lunatic’ or ‘insane’. These days, health professionals use less dangerous treatments on these sufferers – prescription drugs and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, unfortunately, the stigma revolving around psychological disorders still is significant in our modern world.
It may be easier to go to a doctors surgery and speak to an understanding health professional about it, but stepping out of the doctors surgery is a different story. Social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, were created to connect with friends and people from the past, but they were also created to express how you are feeling or what you have done that day. Though, I have often seen people be put down on these sites saying that they ‘shouldn’t post this sort of thing online’, when they talk about feeling sad or anxious or just that they need somebody to talk to. When in reality, a lot of the time, these people don’t want attention – they just want somewhere to express their emotions. A lot of people don’t want to hear negativity coming from others, and will shy away from the chance to help or support the people that are going through a bad time – some even bully or make fun of others for it, making their situation even worse. But, is this how we want people to feel? That they have no place to vent or to convey their emotions? To let it all build up inside?
In reading this, you may think that you know no-one with any mental heath issues. You may think that you do not even know what falls under the category of psychological disorders. As one in four people have at least one disorder, it is important to keep yourself educated, and be able to support others and look out for people who may have them. These are just two websites which may help in understanding:

Symptoms & Treatments of Mental Disorders

http://www.mind.org.uk/

If you do see a person feeling down online, give them a message to show that you care. Or if you see a person in ‘real life’ then just go up to them and have a conversation. Give them a hug, plan something special and personal with them, even going for a coffee or to the cinema could help! If they don’t feel able to go out, then take a movie round to theirs and spend time with them just watching it. To make a person feel less alone, it doesn’t cost a fortune – it only costs your time.
Having dealt with mental health disorders myself, from my own personal experience all I can say is thank you to those people who were there for me and listened to me when nobody else would be there or listen. At the bottom I have linked an artist who’s music helps me whenever I feel low, anxious, or just overwhelmed.
To those suffering, remember that you are not alone and that there will always be somebody there to help or to listen to you, and these people can be those that you least expect. Never feel like it’s your fault that you feel like this or are in this particular situation because of something that you’ve done. You don’t deserve this, no matter what may have happened in the past. You are beautiful, no matter the size of your waste or the shape of your body. Also, remember that it is perfectly ok to cry or to break down every once in a while. We are all human and we all need to express our emotions, and sometimes letting the tears flow is for the best! Don’t ever feel ashamed for that, for any of it! If you do feel that maybe your feelings are becoming too much, it may be best to call a doctor for an appointment, or to call a close friend or family member, or even the Samaritans 116 123. Just don’t go through this on your own!
Even if you can’t empathise, you can still sympathise. So, thank you to those who DO help others! You are the best kind of people, your hearts are kind, and you are appreciated!

 

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When our bodies decay we will have only our souls to show

I have written this post to enlighten people on what it feels like to have poor physical health and the impact that it can have, at least for me anyway. I touch upon what affects me, and speak from only my personal experiences.
To many people, to have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is to just be tired when in reality the effects of this illness are far more stressing for the person suffering. CFS causes problems for me on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – making it too exhausting for my arms to move and brush my hair or to hold a toothbrush and brush my teeth sometimes. Actually leaving the house sometimes or going to clubs and raves are two of my biggest mountains to climb. I awake up some days with all my body aching or in pain, making it impossible for me to even contemplate leaving my room. I don’t go a day without a headache, nausea or getting bouts of vertigo. When I tell people that I cannot continue with the plan we had made they act as if it is just an excuse to cancel, or get annoyed. I used to do this with a close friend of mine until I also got this illness. Or that they had seen me out one day and couldn’t the next with them – understandable from their perspective, but unfortunately with CFS it means that I do not know each day how I will be.
Not only does it affect the body physically but it also affects my brain and the process of my thoughts, often giving me brain fog. For those unaware of what brain fog is, it means that my memory is impacted in a negative way, that I find it difficult to concentrate on things (especially being involved in/listening to conversations and reading), being confused by things happening around me or just in general, forgetting words or names, and sometimes even finding it difficult to string together an appropriate sentence. This causes people to give me odd looks, laugh or even act like I am just an idiot sometimes.
This illness has taken me a year to get used to. The effects have not just been a disability to my physical health, and my mild cognitive impairment, but had also affected my mental health. Within the first year I started to struggle with depression due to the fact that I was not as able as my friends or my family and the fact that nobody could not understand how my body feels on a daily basis because there is no physical sign of illness. Now I can say that I have accepted it a lot better.
Another illness which has only recently began to upset me is the diagnosis of alopecia by my doctor last week. This is an illness I find unable to go into great detail about because it makes me uncomfortable to talk of, but what I was told is that it is likely a lot more than the current spots of hair loss will also come out. It’s not certain. but it is likely. I have been told by friends and family that it’s just hair but it is much more than that to me and it is something that I find extremely difficult to come to terms with. It does not affect the body in any way other than just the loss of hair, but it affects my mental health and my self esteem, making me ask the question “who would love a girl who had lost her hair?” on a regular basis – comparing myself to other girls. I also often question “why me?” but hopefully in time I will learn to accept all of this.
I didn’t write this post for the sole reason of highlighting the issues that I’m going through, when I know that others are going through stuff too and not posting it on social media, or to be ‘attention-seeking’, but to help others hopefully understand what it is like to go through these issues, for others to think about what they say before they speak about the illnesses in a way that could seem insensitive to the sufferer, to help myself by sharing it with others, and for others who have them too and are able to know that they are not alone.

 

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Be kind

Love one another.

The world around is dying and we don’t have time to bother with the little things like how you found out your new bestie at university supports the opposing football team (for some reason that means you can’t be friends??) and how that girl in your class called Rachel wears the same dress as you in Maths (how dare she like the same colour and style dress as you? You’re the only one allowed to be unique and edgy!!).

When you look at a person, it’s natural to take in their appearance. Appreciate their appearance. So, they’re of a different skin colour and wearing a hijab. What do you do? Do you discriminate against them and act aggressively, or talk to their soul like you do with every other person that you come across? So, he’s wearing a cross and priest vestments. Do you swear loudly and curse at him for his beliefs, or do you talk to him anyway? So, her and her girlfriend walk past and smile at you. Do you laugh in their faces maliciously at their chosen relationship, or do you smile back in a kind manner? There’s two ways to react around people who aren’t like you. Only one of those ways is acceptable.

There is a disaster created by human hands every DAY of the year. Yes, even on Christmas Day blood is shed (shock-horror!). Why do we need to create even more unhappiness, in this already unhappy world, by picking on someone for such trivial things? Diversity is beautiful and we should all celebrate how different we all are!

Smile at the postman. Smile at the bus driver. Smile at the shop assistant. Stop to converse with them. They could be having a terrible morning and just a short, friendly conversation could change their perspective around. Appreciate the world around you the way it naturally is. The way the leaves fall off in Autumn and new leaves and plants are grown in Spring. New life. The sound of silence when you sit down just to admire the way Mother Nature has created such a perfect haven for us to live in. Looking at the animals fighting their own daily battle, not disturbing them or hurting them, but instead helping them. Treating the world and it’s living children equally.

“As the cloud breaks in the immeasurable sky,

A light shines down on to the earth

Giving the world a glimpse of hope through the darkness.

Some people are snug in their beds with their children, lovers or friends.

Others are still awake; stressed, depressed and alone.

Even more people are lying in the streets – cold, and even more lonesome.

Animals roam around trying to find a place of comfort

To soothe their daily wounds,

Or to find some leftover food to feed their kin.

Packs of wolves digging in to what is their new dinner

  • Fresh blood-filled thick meat.

Sad green eyes of theirs, sparkling in the moonlight.

Claws and canines covered in blood from their meal.

Lovers romp around, endlessly.

As if the moon and they were just one being.

The moonlight looking down on them like an adoring parent,

Proud of their offspring.

It seems to be that the events of the previous nights do not continue on to day.

A secret on one’s lips – seen by only the surrounding nature and the stars of the night’s sky.’