54 articles Articles posted in Anger

Dear ‘Woman At The Gym’…

Dear Woman at the gym,

I’m sorry that my car was in your way when you decided to swing your own car door into it in the car park today and I’m sorry that I didn’t meet your entirely insincere apology with acceptance. I’m sorry that I flipped you the bird after you asked me “what my fucking problem was” when I just shrugged after you screeched “I DID SAY SORRY” through my car window.

I’m sorry that you felt the need to start throwing petty insults at me as you walked away and I’m sorry that I sank to your level when I got out of the car to confront you about your aggressive and abusive demeanour. I’m sorry that you decided to stoop even lower and start insulting my appearance, my weight and my apparent lack of effort at the gym. I’m sorry that you felt the need to tell me that I should “get my fat arse to a personal trainer” because you didn’t actually see me squat 45kg, deadlift 65kg and bust out my overhead press, despite fucking HATING that lift.

I’m sorry that I don’t wear make-up to the gym, like you. I’m sorry I don’t look good in lycra yet. I’m sorry that I don’t see the point in blowdrying my hair before I lug heavy weights around. I’m sorry that my car was obviously an indicator of how “poor” I am, according to your words. I’m sorry that after absorbing your nasty words I sank even lower to meet you in the gutter and hurl insults back at you.

I’m NOT sorry that I called you an old hag, because damn it felt good to give you a taste of your own medicine.

I’m sorry that I’ve spent all day stewing over your words. I’m sorry that I’ve given you space inside my head that you seriously don’t deserve. I’m sorry about whatever happened to you today to make you behave so randomly aggressive towards me for no reason. I’m sorry that your world view makes you think you’re somehow better than me because you weigh less. Your behaviour today is the biggest indicator that this isn’t true.

I’m sorry that men get SO much of the blame about being intimidating to women when it’s actually women like YOU who are a betrayal of the sisterhood, a reason that some women may not even have the courage to venture into the gym. I’m sorry that there are probably women out there who are sacrificing their health so they don’t encounter bitches like you in the a place where people should all be supporting each other. I’m sorry that your life is so shitty that you need to take it out on other people. I’m sorry that I burst into tears in Waitrose, after the adrenaline had dissipated, because your words had actually really hurt me.

I’m NOT sorry that, actually, FUCK YOU lady, I won’t let your words bother me any longer, I’m not sorry that I’ve decided to be happy and positive and carry on doing what I’m doing despite your efforts to hurt me. I’m NOT sorry that you no longer have space inside my head. I’m NOT sorry that I’m choosing the supportive words of my daughters, my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and all the female friends who’ve given me encouragement as the ones I choose to listen to, instead of a woman like you who needs to cut others down in order to lift yourself up, because that’s just sad.

What’s that old quote? I won’t always be fat, but you’ll always be a c*nt. Or something like that…

Yours Sincerely,

The Woman in the Silver Car (with a small dent in the door, which I’ll shortly be reporting to my insurance company, along with your registration plate and the CCTV from the gym…)

Help to Make The Changes You Want to See

I’ve been hovering over my keys for weeks now, wanting to write a post about my absolute disbelief at the political things happening in the world right now. I want to share my incredulity about the things, the HORRIBLE things, which are happening all over the planet, I want to shout and swear and renounce my membership of the human race, but everytime I try to get it all out in any sort of coherent fashion it doesn’t happen and I sit here feeling angry and sad. So, instead of sharing my thoughts, I figured I’d just share a bunch of things that you can do if you, like me, don’t want to sit back and watch while the world goes to hell in a handcart.

Contact Your Representatives

Whether you’re based in the USA or here in the UK, our MPs and counsillors are supposed to represent their consituents, which means you need to TELL them what you want. Opposed to Trump visiting the UK? Tell your MP. Call, write, email, do anything you can to let them know you’re not happy. MAKE A NUISANCE OF YOURSELF. (You can find some useful contact information on http://www.allhelplinenumbers.com/)

Sign Petitions

It may seem futile, adding your name to a virtual list of people, but petitions can truly make a difference. The petition which was started to register an objection about Trump visiting the UK has now received enough signatures to be debated in the House of Commons. If you have an opinion, let it be heard.

Social Media

I’m well aware that a lot of my friends are probably sick of the sight of political posts on Facebook, but with Trump himself using social media more than any other President, it’s obvious what the power of social media can do. Tweet your objections, use the hashtags, join the noise against fascism. It will be seen, even if by some lowly bureaucrat.

Join a March

I know that getting out on the streets with a placard might seem like a daunting thing, but people power can make a HUGE impact and some of the marches that have already happened have had millions of people join in. There’s no way that millions of people can be ignored, so if you really want to get your point across, take to the streets.

Don’t Back Down

There’s a really annoying attitude from a lot of people that, once something has happened (such as Trump being elected…) there’s no point objecting because there’s nothing we can do about it. There is ALWAYS something that can be done and sitting back and watching atrocities happen “because you didn’t want to make a fuss” makes you complicit.

Redefining Relationships – A Reflection on 2016

Redefining Relationships - A Reflection on 2016As most of you probably know by now, I stopped contact with my mother in 2013, when I was pregnant with Burrito Baby. Although she’s tried to control the narrative, telling people that it was because she showed concern about my weight because of my pregnancy or that it was because I was being controlled by my Husband or that I was bipolar, none of these things are true and were constructed by her in order to make her look like the victim of the situation.

The facts are these: I was systematically groomed and sexually abused by a family member for several years of my childhood. The person in question was technically still a child himself (which, by the way, is NEVER a justification), but a lot older than me and certainly old enough to know that what he was doing was wrong. I never told anyone about this but my mother read about it in my diary when I was 13 and chose to ignore it. I was then forced to tell her about it when I got engaged to Husband because my whole family decided to attempt to bully me into inviting the person who abused me to my wedding.

In the years that passed after it came out, it was kept secret from certain family members and even those in receipt of the knowledge continued to maintain a relationship with my abuser. I’ve been questioned, accused of lying, treated like was the one in the wrong, told that it was “all too stressful” for my mother and that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Being told that “I can’t congratulate you on your pregnancy because the last one was stressful for me” was the final nail in the coffin for my relationship with that woman.

I mourned the loss of our relationship for a long time, but not the loss of HER, just the loss of a mother in any form. I felt like I’d been robbed of the chance to have a decent mother/daughter relationship and I felt hugely resentful to other people who had close, nurturing relationships with their parents.

After a while, it occurred to me that my life was actually less stressful. I realised that I’d spent my ENTIRE LIFE being the butt of their jokes, being called nasty names, being taunted for being a “calamity” (which, incidentally, was as a result of meningococcal septicemia leaving me with gross motor function issues), having the mickey taken out of me for the way I walk, my weight, the way I held my bag, having my self-esteem chipped away bit by bit.

What it also made me realise is that relationships aren’t defined by blood. My husband, the one she’d accused of being controlling (seriously, can anyone who knows how much of a gobshite I am REALLY imagine me being controlled?!), has my back constantly and reacts with love and raw emotion when he thinks I’m being mistreated, something she never managed to do. I’ve forged friendships with people who GET me and who’ve been properly fucking loyal to me in a way that certain blood relatives have never been.

Let’s not forget my Dad. The man she worked SO hard to decimate in my eyes, to destroy our relationship beyond repair so that he’d never get a look in. He’s man enough to admit that he made mistakes in the past and hasn’t always been a perfect parent but he’s been there, properly been there for me when I’ve needed him. I hadn’t told him about the abuse until he read my Mother’s Day post this year and I heard his heart break when he called me to talk about it. I hate the fact that it’s hurt him but I wept when I heard how sad he was because FINALLY one of my parents had acted like they give a shit instead of trying to deflect blame and make it about them.

I’ve kept a dignified silence for SO long and not risen to the barrage of messages to both me and my friends and family, the “accidental” phone calls, the self-satisfying Facebook posts where she pretends to be the victim of MY cruelty (what a fucking joke…) and allowing her friends to call me names and question my character  but NO MORE.

This is my line in the sand.

So, this is my Happy New Year post. Happy New Year to my friends (the ones who cook me crumpets and watch girlie films with me and call my Facebook trolls a c*nt and offer me help when I need it and just generally have my back, as well as the ones who I never see but speak to on Facebook who tolerate my ramblings and political posts) and my family (the best in-laws I could ever ask for, the mums and sisters and aunts and uncles and beautiful nephews and cousins by marriage who’ve been my rocks for almost eleven years, but especially in 2016, as well as my Dad and Tracy, my baby brother who’s a foot taller than me, and Uncle and Aunt and Joe and everyone else who I love) but most of all to my Husband and our girls, my reasons for living and trying to be a better person. I love you all.

Turns out, I’ve got everyone I ever needed.

Black Friday Madness

I love a bargain as much as the next person. Probably more-so than some as I’ll never buy things without looking for a Voucheroo code first (Dominos pizza, I’m looking at you!) but I have to say, the whole Black Friday thing leaves me cold. I went into town today to pick something up from Waterstones and walked through Debenhams to get there, and it was genuinely the busiest I’ve EVER seen it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m ill at the moment or what, but being in such a busy shop made me feel a bit panicky.

The thing is, I’ve not actually seen a single bargain online OR in shops which represents anything even close to a decent saving. People are going crazy for items that they probably don’t even need at prices which aren’t even that good. It’s just not British!

I did a cursory Google of “Black Friday crimes” and found stories dating back years of shoppers punching each other for the last discounted TV and even several stories of people pulling GUNS on other shoppers to get the best bargains. I found a report that showed that, since 2006 7 people have been killed doing Black Friday shopping and a further 98 have been injured.

According to Wikipedia “During Black Friday 2010, a Madison, Wisconsin woman was arrested outside of a Toys ‘R’ Us store after cutting in line, and threatening to shoot other shoppers who tried to object. A Toys for Tots volunteer in Georgia was stabbed by a shoplifter. An Indianapolis woman was arrested after causing a disturbance by arguing with other Wal-Mart shoppers. She had been asked to leave the store, but refused. A man was arrested at a Florida Wal-Mart on drug and weapons charges after other shoppers waiting in line for the store to open noticed that he was carrying a handgun and reported the matter to police. He was discovered to also be carrying two knives and a pepper spray grenade. A man in Buffalo, New York, was trampled when doors opened at a Target store and unruly shoppers rushed in, in an episode reminiscent of the deadly 2008 Wal-Mart stampede.”

I mean…it’s surely not just me who thinks that’s insane, surely? It’s capitalism at it’s ugliest.

I will admit to not being a hugely covetous person. I was massively frivolous with money when I was younger and it’s taken a long time for me to go the other way and show a bit of frugality, but I don’t really crave the newest cars or clothes which is probably why I don’t feel the desperate need to go out and spend a load of money on one day of the year. Maybe if the bargains were better I’d be a bit more inclined to get involved, but nothing really seems THAT cheap to me.

What do you think? Are you banging down the doors of your local department stores to get a few quid off or are you like me and a little bemused by it all? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Parenting Groups: Five Reasons for Quitting

parenting groupsFor a fair while, I’ve been part of a few different parenting groups on Facebook, places where mums and dads can go to ask questions about anything from “does this rash look like chickenpox?” to “which shops have Hatchimals in stock?” and largely it’s been good. I’ve asked plenty of questions myself and try to help others where I can. But, as of yesterday, I’ve removed myself from these groups (all but The Motherload) because it’s just messing with my head. There are questions which get asked over and over and OVER again and they’re things which make me so cross that I can actually FEEL my blood pressure rising. Here’s just 5 of those questions:

1. Vaccinations

This was the one which prompted me to remove myself yesterday and it’s probably the one which makes me the MOST angry. Someone asked “Have any other parents refused vaccinations for their kids and has is caused them problems with school and nursery?”. The comments are full of people who think they know better than the World Health Organisation (despite the fact that they get their info from American websites with URLs like VacTruth.com and nothing with any basis in actual science). Just in the last month, I’ve seen people cite the inclusion of mercury and aluminium in vaccines as a reason not to give them as well as one woman who claimed that the flu vaccine contained MSG which is, WAIT FOR IT…WORSE THAN GIVING HER CHILD COCAINE. (FML)Another woman claimed that she knew all about herd immunity and it meant that her child didn’t need vaccinations, thus proving that she actually knew nothing about fucking herd immunity.  I was one step shy of spamming the group of pictures of kids with smallpox, so I decided it was best to step away.

2. Baby Names

I’m aware that what people on random parenting groups name their kids is absolutely NONE of my business, but every time there was a “can I have suggestions of names for my unborn child?” thread, I’d read through with my head in my hands, feeling really sorry for the future generation of children who were going to have names like “Aliviyah” (pronounced Olivia, just in case you were wondering) and feeling like I was living in a real life Idiocracy.

3. Nub Theory

“Oh hi everyone. Can you look at this scan picture of my baby (who is probably too young to have even properly developed reproductive organs yet) and guess what their gender might be based on a totally theoretical and unproven method of working it out?”. Nub theory is a THEORY. Asking strangers to guess the gender of your unborn child is stupid.

4. Keeping Up with The Jonses

Do you know what I found myself Googling the other day? Matching Christmas dresses for me and the girls. Thanks to the people on Facebook parenting groups who go absolutely fucking OVERBOARD every Christmas with their EXPERIENCES and their CHRISTMAS EVE BOXES and their “BOOK-A-DAY” ADVENT CALENDARS and ALLLLLLL the other overblown shit that everyone MUST do and MUST talk about at length so that they can lord it over everyone else, I am seriously considering matching outfits for myself, my eight year old and my two year old for Christmas Day. And I’m pretty sure that makes me a massive twat.

5. Nastiness

I’m aware that what I’ve written above may seem like a bit of nastiness but this is NOTHING compared with some of the vile behaviour I’ve seen from grown people in parenting groups. There’s a LOT of stuff which gets discussed that I don’t agree with but I always try to be respectful and give replies to people based on actual knowledge and not just knee-jerk reactions. Often though (I assume on days when there’s a full moon and everyone’s menstrual cycle is syncronised) things can get NASTY. Simple threads about bottle feeding can lead to struggling Mums being called c*nts and being left wishing they hadn’t asked in the first place and it’s that kind of behaviour that I just don’t want to be a part of.

Are you a member of any of these kid of online groups? Do you find that they enhance your life or do you step away from your phone or PC feeling like your head is going to explode? I’d love to hear from you!

Your Baby is an Amorphous Lump (and Other Reasons to Stop Getting Offended)

genderless-babyIf there’s one thing which really boils my piss it’s the whole ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’ thing. I’m sure there’s some sort of societal explanation for why it’s so ingrained in our minds, but it’s something which seems more prevalent than ever – I spend a fair amount of time browsing Facebook groups and the amount of times I see people asking if anyone is selling a “baby walker for a girl” or whether it’s acceptable to put a girl in a red pushchair or a boy in a purple pushchair just drives me mental.

We were in Waitrose yesterday buying glue for my cousin who was doing an art project for college and my girls noticed that there were glues which were ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’. I was pretty proud when Sausage scoffed at the idea of gendered glue, and I’ll tell you what I told them: Unless you need a penis or a vagina in order to operate something, it’s NOT exclusively for one gender. If you want blue glue, having a foof DOESN’T preclude you from buying said glue.

All of this brings me to something else I saw today in another Facebook group (STOP JUDGING ME). A lady mentioned that her and her Husband were talking about what their baby son would look like in a dress, so they bought him one in the Tesco sale for a bit of a giggle and then posted the pictures for us to see. I had to giggle at the comments below – people seemed genuinely surprised that this lovely little boy looked…LIKE A GIRL. Yep. Dressing a baby in a dress made him look like a girl. Shock. I think the woman and her Husband are pretty awesome and it made a point so succinctly.

Let me let you in on a little secret: your baby is an amorphous lump. Generally speaking, unless you know what it is, it doesn’t often look like a boy OR a girl. This is why it is absolutely ridiculous when people are offended by people mis-gendering their child. Yes, I get that dressing them in blue or pink is a handy way to indicate what they are but A) why does it matter how people interpret your baby’s gender and B) WHY DO YOU CARE IF THEY GET IT WRONG?!

Sausage was our first baby and as such was bought a whole ton of girly stuff by both us and well meaning relatives. I remember finding it infuriating that I’d have her dressed head to toe in pink but old people would still refer to her as “he” and I’d be thinking “BUT SHE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL!”. But did she? Did she REALLY? Defining features are absolutely unapparent on MOST babies and I guarantee if we’d have dressed her head to toe in boys clothes, people could just have easily identified her as a boy.

With BB, we were far less strident about plastering her in pink. BB is a really different creature to her big sister and has always been super physical, and the sad fact is that a lot of baby clothes from the girls sections just aren’t geared towards girls who run around and dig in the mud, whereas boys clothes are a lot more forgiving. Equally, last summer when we wanted to get her some shorts for running around in, the only ones we could find which weren’t pretty, lace-edged impractical things were a pair of grey jersey shorts from the boys range in H&M. She’s been called a he a fair few times and I don’t even correct people now because it simply doesn’t matter.

All I’m saying is, while you may look at your little darling and think they’re the most handsome/prettiest creature ever born, a random onlooker very likely just sees BABY. Not Baby Boy or Baby Girl. JUST BABY. Don’t be offended when they get it wrong, it’s a waste of your energy and if you think about it, it’s really not all that offensive anyway. Use your energy more wisely…like, spending it looking for clothes which are green, purple, yellow, red or white…all colours which I suspect are yet to have been pigeonholed!

The Continued Emasculation of Daddy Pig

The Continued Emasculation of Daddy Pig

Having two kids with a 5 and and half year age gap means that I’m suffering enjoying a lot of the same programmes a second time around, and BB is at that age where EVERYTHING must be Peppa Pig (save for a couple of times a week when she takes a brief foray into Topsy and Tim, her previous programme du jour). This means that, during the week, Peppa is usually on in the backgroud for much of the late morning/early afternoon period while I work and do housework and BB mills around doing what it is that toddlers do (picking her nose and sticking stickers on my furniture, mostly).

Watching the same episodes of Peppa over and over again means that you notice certain things and one of those things is what I like to call “The Emasculation of Daddy Pig”. See, there seems to be a running theme in Peppa; Daddy is a bit useless and is fair game for mockery. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of banter (HASHTAG BANTZ), but he seems to really get the rough end of the deal, and it’s got to a point where it’s verging on misandry. Jokes are made about Daddy Pig that no-one would DARE make about Mummy Pig because it would have people getting into an Everyday Sexism frenzy…so, let’s take a look at what those episodes might look like…

Mummy’s Fat Tummy

Everyone decides (after years of mockery) that Mummy Pig needs to get off of her fat arse and lose some weight, so Daddy Pig forces her to do exercise videos and go on bike rides (on a bike which is dangerously small for her). Everyone is waiting at home to take the piss out of how unfit she is.

Mummy Fucks Up The DIY

Daddy Pig has an important meeting to go to, so he asks Mummy Pig to hang a painting. Of course, Mummy is a hapless fuckwit and manages to knock a whole load of plaster off of the wall. She’s terrified that Daddy Pig will have a shit-fit at her when he gets home so she quickly re-renders the wall before he gets there. Once he gets home, he takes over because he’s obviously so much more capable than her and puts the painting up with a single flick of a hammer.

Mummy’s a Greedy Bitch

The whole family visits the supermarket to buy lots of healthy things off of their list. When they get to the checkout, they realise that Mummy Pig has put a chocolate cake on the conveyor belt and although they all agree that Mummy is a greedy, ‘naughty’ bastard, they all let her have it anyway (despite the fact that she’s clearly the main breadwinner and as such can buy whatever the fuck she wants).

Mummy Pig Doesn’t Speak French

Peppa gets a phone call from her French pen-pal and despite claiming she can speak French, Mummy Pig isn’t able to communicate with Delphine and, in fact, doesn’t even recognise that she’s speaking a foreign language in the first place, declaring it all to be “nonsense” and revealing herself to be a braggart who lacks any form of common sense or intelligence.

Now, I’m just going to put this out there; if ANY of these episodes were real and this kind of mockery, fat-shaming and stereotypical sexist bullshit was aimed at Mummy Pig, there would be OUTRAGE. But, because Daddy Pig is only a man, it’s okay to disregard his feelings and bully him on a daily basis, because don’t be silly, men don’t have feelings!

The worst part is, Peppa Pig was created and is written by TWO MEN! That leads me to one of two conclusions – either Mark Baker and Neville Astley are weird, self-hating males who think it’s okay to deride their own gender OR they think that they’re somehow appealing to the common housewife who obviously hates men. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with either conclusion, if I’m honest. I want my girls to grow up knowing A) everyone has different strengths, regardless of their gender and B) bullying people based on archaic, clichéd notions is just wrong.

I’d love to know what you think about this. Am I reading far too much into Peppa bloody Pig and need to seriously get a life? Or is this something which gets on your teats as much as it does mine? Leave me a comment below.

Are We Too Reactive? (Or: “Sometimes Jelly Shoes Rub”)

Spending as much time on Facebook as I do means that I often see storms brewing, posts which go on to become viral and occasionally end up in the MSM (mainstream media). Often, traditional news outlets will scan groups for newsworthy posts and contact the people with offers of media coverage, which is fantastic when its for something like the plight of an unwell child or raising awareness of an issue. However, some of these posts and subsequent articles are getting a little bit ridiculous.

This week, I saw a post which had been shared by quite a few parents, depicting a toddler with a bloody foot who’d apparently sustained an injury from a pair of Next jelly shoes which had caused her to bleed. The picture below was posted along with it and a rant about how other parents should be careful, leading several to comment that they planned to boycott the shop.

toddler bloody foot jelly shoesThis was then, as predicted, picked up by the MSM and printed in several newspapers, one of which being the Daily Mail. In true Fail style, the article talks about how the toddler had HORRIFIC CUTS and a BLOODIED FOOT, and goes on to talk about how she suffered DEEP INCISIONS from the evil shoes. The parents have apparently called on Next to withdraw the shoes and are warning other parents to avoid them like the plague.

I won’t lie, when I first saw this picture, I definitely took a sharp intake of breath, but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t help think that the whole thing seemed a little bit ridiculous, especially after seeing the following picture, which shows the “horrific cuts” after they were cleaned up:

superficial blisters jelly shoes

So, let me get this straight…

1. You put new shoes on your kid

2. They gave her a blister which is LITERALLY a few millimeters in size

3. Her foot bled and you didn’t notice

4. The blood smooshed around her foot (probably mixed with a little bit of sweat because, you know, RUBBER SHOES)

5. This is tantamount to a DEEP INCISION and the shoes need to be recalled.

Erm…WUT?

I’m just going to say this – this ISN’T on Next. As an adult, I have lost count of the amount of shoes I’ve worn in my life which have given me blisters the first time I’ve worn them. It’s not because of a fault in the shoes or some evil plot to create footwear which will cripple the nation. It’s because sometimes, just sometimes, NEW SHOES RUB.

Seriously, has the world gone mad? Are we so desperate for something to be outraged about that we’ve given up on reason? I’m sure that I would be shocked if I removed a shoe from BB or even Sausage and saw a blood covered foot. But once that gaping wound had been cleaned up and was discovered to be a tiny little rub, I’d take a deep breath, accept the fact that shit like this occasionally happens and move on. I certainly wouldn’t take to social media to urge other parents to boycott a store and I’d feel pretty bloody silly seeing a picture of my “oh so solemn” mug in the newspaper over it.

I won’t even go into the fact that the child apparently TOLD the parents how uncomfortable the shoes were, but was seemingly unable to alert them to the fact that the shoes were slowly sawing her foot off, while they walked along…

I get that warning other parents that the shoes might rub is an okay thing to do; I might even avoid those shoes myself if the information about them rubbing was presented to me before I bought them. That is what you call a PROPORTIONAL RESPONSE.

Taking to the media for your five minutes of fame seems seriously tacky to me…and I guarantee they’re spending the vouchers (which I would BET MONEY Next sent to them for the trouble) with absolute glee. The whole thing just cheapens times when something seriously actually happens and the next time someone has genuine reason to go to the media for something like this, there’s a good chance that people will scoff instead of believing them.

What do you think? Were these parents just doing the right thing by warning other people or was this an absolutely ludicrous reaction to something that happens a million times a day, all over the planet? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.

Being a Pedant.

I seem to have gained myself something of a reputation. I get tagged in memes on Facebook on an almost weekly basis, usually things along these lines:

grammar nazi

Now, I’d love to tell you that my reputation was totally unfounded and that I am, in fact, super easy going and rarely judgmental, but that simply isn’t the case. I am, by dictionary definition, a pedant:

Pedant

It’s not just spelling and grammar which draws my ire (although a recent post in a Facebook group I’m in which used the abbreviation “4t” in place of the word THOUGHT made me feel particularly cranky), it’s lots of things.

For example, last week Burrito Baby and I went to a baby singing class at our local library with my friend and her son for the first time, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously, we were surrounded by a whole band of your typical ‘crunchy’ mums who dress their kids entirely in shades of brown and allow them out of the house without seeing either a brush or a flannel, but we had fun nonetheless.

The problem came, however, when someone pulled out an animal book and turned to a page bearing an image of a chimpanzee. She asked the kid to identify the animal and when he couldn’t she proclaimed “It’s a MONKEY!”. It took every ounce of strength for me to not rip the book from her hands and say “IT’S NOT A MONKEY, IT’S A FUCKING APE!”, but stop myself I did, not least of all to relieve my friend of the embarrassment of being seen in public with an utter lunatic. That was almost a week ago and it still keeps playing on my mind; I’m also not ashamed to admit that I’ve sporadically been checking with BB to ensure that she knows that a chimpanzee is an ape (yes, she knows the difference!).

What also keeps popping into my head though, is the question of WHY it matters so much to me? That other kid could quite happily navigate its entire life without needing to know that monkeys and apes are different creatures but it really matters to me that BB knows what is right. I think it stems from growing up being told that I was a clever child. When you’re “clever”, there’s a lot of pressure on you to be right and KNOW THINGS because it’s  just expected that you will. I also remember being mocked fairly mercilessly whenever I got something wrong; I was literally NEVER allowed to forget the fact that I mispronounced “Che Guevara” during a game of Trivial Pursuit at the age of about 7 and it was used as something to mock me with until I was almost 30. Even now, if Husband (my most trusted ally) tells me that I’ve got something wrong, the shame burns in me even though he’s never mocked or been derisive. I HATE appearing to be wrong or misinformed and I think this is why I expect others to be the same.

In the grand scheme of things, spelling and grammar may not be super important to someone else, nor might the differences between monkeys and apes or any other spectrum of (probably useless) knowledge that I’ve got squirreled away, but try as I might I just cannot stop caring about it all. Facebook still gives me rage almost every day because of stupid errors on memes and status udates and I still have a reputation of being a total Nazi about it all. As much as I’d love to be the person who’s known for being the funniest or most caring, I think we’ve gone past that point know and I’ll forever be known as that woman who judges people for their apostrophe usage. And, I think I’m okay with that.

Tell me I’m not alone! I can’t be the only person to whom these things matter a little more than they should?! Leave me a comment below (and I PROMISE I won’t be judging your spelling!).

 

Telling a Grown Up

It doesn’t matter what age you are when you finally tell someone that you were abused as a child, the questions are always the same; where, when, how, who…but perhaps the hardest question of all to answer is “why didn’t you tell a grown-up?”. It’s very difficult, as an adult, to look back and try to process the reasoning of a child. Aside from the fact that many survivors of abuse have huge chunks of repressed memories which don’t allow them to answer the questions, even if they wanted to, sometimes the overwhelming pressure which comes from being asked the questions in the first place is enough to render them unable to answer.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about these questions and I’ve come up with a number of reasons:

Fear

When you’re a child and these awful things are happening, there’s fear in all directions. Fear that the ramifications of telling someone about the abuse will be worse than the abuse itself, fear that you’ll upset people, fear that you’ll get into trouble and fear that no-one will believe you. If you keep the abuse hidden until you’re an adult, your thought processes are different but the fear is still there. You also, as an adult, have the added fears of being dragged through the trauma all over again and potentially dragging people with you. I think I kept my childhood abuse hidden because I was scared that no-one would believe me or that I would somehow end up the villain in it all, and sadly I wasn’t wrong to suspect this.

Guilt

When you tell someone about what’s happened to you, one of the overwhelming feelings is guilt. Guilt at having to upset someone by telling them what has happened and having to put them through a horrible experience. Seeing their heartbreak, even though that heartbreak is FOR you, can be unbearable and sometimes it feels easier to internalize it all and not force anyone else to go through the horrible spectrum of emotions that they might have to go through.

Disbelief 

When you’ve been abused by a manipulative older person, you’re often left feeling as though the abuse was somehow your fault or that you’ve somehow encouraged it, or even that you’ve overblown it in your mind and that it’s not worth telling anybody. This is never usually the case but when you’re dealing with something by yourself for a matter of decades it’s really easy to let the disbelief creep in.

 I’m sure there are a million other reasons for not “telling a grown up” or even telling your peers once you’re an adult but these are just a few that spring to mind. If you’re ever in a position where you have to ask someone “WHY”, use one of these answers as your guide, rather than putting it on the person who’s been mistreated.

If you’re an adult who’s dealing with the effects of historical abuse, you can contact The Survivors Trust for support, advice and counselling. If you suspect that someone you know is a survivor of abuse, one of the most important thing you can do is treat them gently. Don’t ask questions which could trigger bad memories and allow them to take the lead. They may not talk to your right away (they simply may not be able to find the words) but if you let them know that you’re a willing pair of ears, they may open up.