Rage Against the Machine

I’m white and I’m scared.

You might read that statement and jump to the conclusion that I’m nervous about my whiteness getting “discriminated” against or some such bullshit. I understand the assumption – there’s a lot of that about – but it’s just that: bullshit.

I’m not scared of black people fighting for their rights, I’m scared for them. So many lives are being lost and it’s all because fucking white people don’t like skin coming in any other fucking colour?! Is that any reason to murder people? What the fuck is wrong with the cops? THEY are who I’m scared of. The government is who I fear.

I’m white and I’m angry.

This should not be happening. Solidarity with my black and brown brothers and sisters. I’m so sorry you’re being hunted.


If you’re reading this and are as scared and angry and sorry as I am about the injustice that’s going on right now, and has been going on for decades centuries already, here’s three things you can do:

  1. Listen: Watch this video of a poem by Anesu Mtowa, to get a black perspective on what’s happening.
  2. Educate Yourself: Check out this Twitter thread containing videos of protests that the media aren’t showing. Black and brown people not looting, or destroying anything, but peacefully! standing their ground. In a lot of cases, fires are being started and windows are being smashed by racists so that the black protesters are blamed.
  3. Make Your Mark: Here is a Twitter thread of relevant petitions you can sign, demanding justice for a number of black people killed/threatened/abused and/or wrongly jailed by police.

NO Thank You to Toxic People

Fairly recently I introduced my husband to the song ‘I’m the one that’s cool‘ by Felicia Day/The Guild. I bought the single in iTunes years ago, and obviously still like it, otherwise I wouldn’t still be playing/sharing it, but it does contain one thing that drives me absolutely mad.

The song is about always being picked on – verbally and physically assaulted – for not fitting in while at school, and the tables having turned now both parties are adults. That’s fine. I like that things have changed, but the fact that Felicia is writing a song about it all these years later tells me that, despite those changes, the scars haven’t completely gone away. She still thinks about it.

This fits with my own experience. It makes me feel seen. But then comes the line:

I appreciate you for being cruel
I’m burning bright thanks to your rejection fuel

Which, quite frankly, boils my fucking blood. Because no, I do not and will not appreciate anyone for being cruel. No one ever burns bright because of ‘rejection fuel’, they sometimes survive and thrive despite it. And that’s only sometimes, because so many other people never make it that far. To say otherwise is doing a disservice to those people, and the people who do make it through the other side, as well as the bullies themselves. Because who the hell would ever feel the need to change and stop hurting people if they’re being told by the very people they damaged that, actually, no, it’s okay, you did me a favour?!

Sadly, this phenomena of giving thanks to abusers isn’t exclusive to The Guild. The two other songs that spring to mind are ‘Fighter‘ by Christina Aguilera, which includes the lines:

After all of the stealing and cheating you probably think that
I hold resentment for you
But uh uh, oh no, you’re wrong
‘Cause if it wasn’t for all that you tried to do, I wouldn’t know
Just how capable I am to pull through
So I want to say thank you

And ‘Thank You‘ by Jamelia, which puts it:

For every last bruise you gave me
For every time I sat in tears
For the million ways you hurt me
I just want to tell you this:
You broke my world, made me strong
Thank you

But I’m sure there are many more examples than that. I find it’s one of those things where, once you’re aware of it, you start seeing it everywhere. And okay, listen, I get it. I understand wanting to turn the narrative on its head – to make a positive out of a negative – but this is not the way to do it. Don’t thank your abusers, thank yourself. You got through their torment, whether on your own or with the help of others. If it feels too weird to be grateful to yourself, then thank the people who held your hand, let you cry on your shoulder, or offered you bandaids, not the people who made you need all those things!

Life Advice from a Thirty Year Old

Sylvia Plath was thirty-years-old when she died. This is a sobering fact I have only just learned, having googled her to directly reference her fig tree analogy.

When I lie awake at night, I often think of the fig tree she described in the Bell Jar. Of all of the opportunities and the paralysing fear over picking one of them.

Somewhat fittingly, I have started to write this post several times, each with a different slant, only to scrap my words and start again. I almost scrapped the idea in its entirety, worried that not being able to select and follow a narrative was a sign that the whole thing wasn’t going to work.

Here’s a fun fact: life has many narratives. That’s the whole point!

I always felt like the fig tree analogy spoke to a deeper truth but from my perspective now, as a thirty-year-old myself, I actually feel there’s a lie at the core of it: “Choosing one meant losing all the rest.”

NO!

Choosing means choosing and nothing more. You can change direction down the road.

Changing direction is normal.

Changing direction can be the best thing ever.

Turning down one opportunity might mean it is gone and will never be open to you again but for every turn-off you miss, there is a literal infinite number of others and THAT’S OKAY. In many cases, that’s actually fantastic. Revel in the freedom of this knowledge.

Missed opportunities are not the end of the world, friend. I wish to god someone had sat me down ten years ago and told me that. Continue reading

On Believing Abuse Victims

I have just finished listening to the audiobook of Educated by Tara Westover. Once I started, I found myself taken over; not able to do anything else until I got to the end. It’s twelve hours long and I finished it in a day.

For those who aren’t familiar with the book, it’s a memoir: a personal account of an unconventional and abusive childhood alongside the story of how, as an adult, Tara came to terms with what happened and escaped the life of her family via going to college and getting an education.

This blog post isn’t about the book, as such. I gave it five stars on Goodreads and wrote a sentence-long review in which I said I had a hard time summing up my thoughts and feelings about the book, but that I knew it was important. The reasons I can’t sum up my thoughts and feelings is partially because I have so many of them and partially because those thoughts and feelings are tied to my own experiences of childhood. While my experiences and Tara’s differ in circumstances and severity, so much of it is similar. Someday, I plan to write a book about my own set of circumstances growing up. I have a title picked out, and an epigraph. I have started certain sections, but I am by no means ready or able to unpack much of it even yet.

This post isn’t about the book or my experiences, or a comparison of the two. That’s just a preface to what I want to say about some of the negative reviews Educated has on its Goodreads page.

Now, for the most part, the book has had an extremely positive reception. The negative reviews are few and far between. I probably shouldn’t focus on them, but it physically hurt me to read them and I need to talk about why. Continue reading

On Accessing (and not accessing) Healthcare

I’m gonna start this post, right off the bat, by saying I am in full support of the UK’s National Health Service and all they do. It’s a crime (or at least it bloody well should be) the way it’s been systematically underfunded for years, leaving waiting lists ridiculously high and people, quite frankly, fucked.

Today’s post is a personal one, because today, I am one of the people being fucked over.

I need to rant and vent, but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. The problem isn’t truly the NHS, it’s those bastards in parliament trying (and in many cases succeeding) to gut it.

Disclaimer made, let me now rewind to explain why I’m upset.

I’m just off the phone with Occupational Therapy, who have told me – in essence – that they can’t help me. I had gone to my GP about a long-standing issue I had, seeking her advice for the best way to go about getting officially diagnosed and accessing help.

She told me I needed to self-refer to O.T.

Now that I’ve tried that and gotten nowhere, I am – precisely – nowhere with zero clue of what to do next. Continue reading

10 Ways to Deal with Being Doxed!

Dealing with DoxingIf you find out you’ve been doxed (had your private information acquired and shared online), you have my genuine sympathies. I’m not suggesting you follow all of the steps below (beyond numbers six, seven, and nine), this is just how I reacted…

  1. Be Shocked
  2. Be Scared
  3. Panic a Bit
  4. Wonder if You’re Over-Reacting
  5. Go Through a Few More Cycles of Shock and Fear
  6. Take Screenshots of the Harassment (as evidence, in case the person deletes and denies it)
  7. Find out How People Got Your Details, and Just What Information is Actually Online About You (HINT: It’s probably a lot)
  8. Despair at Humanity
  9. Block and Report the Trolls
  10. Write an Angry Blog Post

There are a few ways I could start this blog post – this is not the blog post I had planned to be writing; I was actually feeling really productive and had planned to get shit done when someone ruined my night; I’ve recently been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I don’t need any of this stress right now – but all of that boils down to this: last night, some guy I have never met, decided it was appropriate to share part of my address on Twitter because I’m taking part in an event and his partner isn’t.

Yup. For real.

I’ve considered naming and shaming, but have ultimately decided not to give any more details about the situation – at least not right now – beyond saying the person did it to more than just myself, and that he’s been reported to Twitter for it.

Tomorrow, I will be promoting the event as I had originally planned, in a separate post not connected to this negative crap. I don’t want to risk bringing a really positive movement down any further. I just really needed to vent.

This is so far from okay, but I will not be scared into silence. Not over something so stupid.

Having that anxiety disorder I mentioned, and after watching my friend go through a much worse case of doxing just before Christmas, I’d been worried something like this might happen to me, and I recently bought extra security for this site – insuring that my personal details aren’t on who.is, as a result.

The take-away message is that people can still get your details easily enough. I recommend doing some searches to see what’s floating around online about you (start with Google, but also look at pipl.com), and adjusting your privacy settings accordingly.

Writing is a Real Job!

Writing is a real job and, more specifically, it’s my full time job. Yes, full time! I may well be preaching (/ranting) to the converted here, but I need to get this off my chest.

For some, writing is a hobby. They don’t put all their time into it, and they don’t get money back out of it. But, for others, it can be and often is a legitimate job.

I am sick of people talking about my career in terms of ‘that thing you do until you grow up and choose a proper profession.’ These comments are often meant well, but that only makes them more infuriating. People are worried that I’m wasting my time, or fearful about my financial stability. Which is nice, in a way, but also rather patronizing.

I am an adult, and whether I have money to pay my bills is – shockingly – none of my friend or family’s business. The older I get, the more I realize that there is no such thing as a “safe” career path. No job is completely secure.

Sure, some are more secure than others, but if there’s going to be risk no matter what, why not aim for what you really want?

This may come across as bitter, but that’s not how I mean it. I’m simply frustrated by the attitude that my life has to fit a very narrow specification in order to constitute being acceptable.

No, I don’t work nine-to-five, Monday to Friday; and yes, I do mostly work from my bedroom, but I put in a hell of a lot of effort, and I’m not being particularly risky or ridiculous in doing so, I’m bravely living the dream.

This has been a public service announcement. Thank you and goodnight.