Sunday, 21 October 2018

Drawing the short straw; born a woman

From the very moment I entered this world I had drawn the short straw. Despite growing up in a rapidly changing society where ideologies have flipped, the short straw is still in my hand and the hands of every other women on this planet because no matter how much men scream that we are now equal and “enough is enough”, we have vaginas and that alone will always mean that we will be a mile behind men.

My education as a child differed greatly from that of my brother, and that education has shaped a woman today, who frankly, is fearful.  I was told it wasn’t lady like to sit certain ways, to behave certain ways and god forbid a burp or a fart escape me. (Even writing those words doesn’t feel natural) I was taught that it is important to be a good girl, and trust me you learn quickly with a father who will slap you so hard if you don’t follow those rules. I was taught that you have to be careful not to walk alone at night, don’t wear your headphones at night, be careful of your drink when you are out; I was taught to be scared of men and the power they hold. Throughout my life I have been a witness and a victim of domestic violence, an attempt to put a woman back in her place, to show her who is boss and to reduce a woman to such a small size where she would rather not exist.

We can scream until we are blue in the face that there are still changes that need making but men compare a woman today to a woman 60 years ago and that progression in their eyes equates to equality. But a woman today is still payed less than a man, a man today is still more likely to get a job because employers know he won’t need a year off for maternity leave, a man won’t walk the streets tonight after dark looking over his shoulder from time to time just to be sure someone isn’t behind him and a man today can get away with sexually abusing another woman because he will install such a fear in her that she will stay mute for the rest of her days and even a court would give him a slap on the wrist if he is well known enough in society.

We, women, are the ones taught to avoid these situations, and society is still quick to ask what someone was wearing if they were raped. Why isn’t society teaching men the very core values of respecting a woman? A woman who would have carried them for nine months, who nursed and raised them to hopefully be a change in this world but then masculinity caught up and they fell into the place of thinking the world owes them because of their genitals, like 90% of the male population.

Men seem to think that being a male is a right of passage, last year in Italy I was sat on a train whilst a guy thought it would be ok to rub my leg, and then stroke my arm and no matter how far I tried to move away he carried on. Even getting up to leave the train wasn’t enough as he followed me, and waited for me on the platform and then followed me through the station. This wasn’t the first time I have been made to feel uncomfortable by a male and nor will it be the last, this is the everyday stuff for most women. My body is not a free for all but the short straw that has been placed on women since time began means that men believe that they have a right to a woman’s body. A bribe men use as a means to allow a woman to climb a career ladder, a bribe some teachers use to give students higher grades but the majority of the time men just think they have a right to a woman’s body because they have a need to satisfy and think they are owed that satisfaction by a woman.

From birth we drew the short straw, beginning a life where we would have to work harder to prove ourselves, where we would be taught to avoid dangerous situations, where in a work setting we would always be slightly behind a man, where despite now being a woman in a society where we can freely use our voice we will have to fight to be heard.

We drew the short straw all because we were born women.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Student mental health - falling through the net

Student mental health is hot in the press. In 2015, 15,000 students disclosed a mental health condition, but despite the fact that students are encouraged to talk about their mental health, accessing help whilst a student is made incredibly difficult. With waiting lists incredibly long and only living on campus for 7 months of the year, accessing help is almost impossible, that's if you are even accepted. Here is my story.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

You are what you eat, a rant about social media

It has been a while now since I lost my spark. My motivation for everything dwindled until even my passion for blogging, my proudest achievement, slipped out of existence and I was left staring at a blank screen with nothing to say. Nothing to say, and it felt, no one to listen.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The start of a new adventure - Time to change

Its been a while since you've read a blog post from me but after the weekend I've had, I've found myself with a spark of motivation. If you have been following my blog or my social media for a while you will be well aware that 2018 hasn't been the smoothest of rides for my family and on top of it all I have been stuck in the worst mental health patch I think I've ever had. It's for sure been one of the hardest years of my life and the fact that there are still 4 months left of 2018 and then more years kind of makes me sad because will it actually get better? Will I ever feel better? But this weekend I had that little spark of hope as I attended the Time to Change young champion training weekend in London and I wanted to tell you all about it.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Being 21

Being 21, which I have been for the past 8 months is a very strange age. Since birth everyone has been aiming for around about the same milestones; walking, talking, getting into their preferred secondary school, GCSE's, A levels, Uni and then suddenly you arrive at 21 and there aren't any more guidelines to live by. My whole life up to this point has been mapped out by little goals and now there aren't any. We are in this weird dimension between being a child and being a proper adult, this weird dimension between the family home and our own lives. 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Having a parent with a disability

Recently my family reached a big milestone. The 3rd of August 2018 marked 5 years since my mum underwent surgery to remove a large brain tumour and it is on this day that she began life with a disability. So I wanted to take the time to talk about having a parent with a disability and also to talk about what it was like being a carer for some of my teenage years. 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Little Moments

Trigger warning: suicidal thoughts

I am writing this on my 3 and a half hour journey home from Portsmouth after the #MHBlogAwards. Recently I have found myself lost in a fog of anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. A scary place to be when it feels like the force of those thoughts get stronger and you may be fighting a losing battle. The majority of my days, whilst I function normally, are filled with constant worry and a brain that seems to constantly whisper that suicide is the answer. It is draining fighting the thoughts and pretending that everything is ok. Sometimes, however, I get little moments of rest bite. Days where talking isn't too difficult, where my brain has the space to think of other things, where I don't feel constantly on the edge of a panic attack and where my cheeks actually ache from smiling.