A Joke at My Expense

Blurb: A short story that exploits my current situation and transforms me into a caricature.

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I want to moan, I want to whine and I want to vent. That’s all I want to do.

I have this horrible insatiable craving to wallow in self-pity.

I don’t have a job, and I all I can do about it, is complain. Conversations are on repeat with me, I have nothing new to say, mostly because, I haven’t anything new to talk about. I can’t do anything. I have no money.

Oh woe is me, I can’t do a thing.

All discussions with my friends drift back to the shame topic.

‘Oh Loser, pity you couldn’t join us… it was amazing!’

As all ‘it’s are.

‘I know, but I don’t have any money I’m afraid.’

‘So, how is the job hunt going?’

If it was going well, need I brag about how little money I have and how little society I see?

Why yes it is splendid, I am hunting all the time, shooting out CV’s and covering letter’s as if a whole flock of pheasants had burst forth from a single bush.

‘How impressive.’

Yes, I’m the best hunter and shooter in the world… I’m just not the best catcher.

‘You’ll get one soon, I’m sure of it.’

And so they have said, for the last three years.

Soon has a strange ability to span over decades, tricky devil; soon.

Such luxury. Such leisure these last three years have been, what with that delightful affair at Sainsbury’s that lasted two of those splendiferous years.

I ended up with Raynaud’s Disease thanks to that place. I had several freak collisions with their large metal rollers which resulted in my poor middle finger being rather badly squashed, several times I repeat.

Not sure how they knew to target the same finger, but they did, aaaaand now it goes ghostly white whenever it’s a bit chilly.

Cheers Sainsbury’s.

That’s my lasting impression from you.

And then I got this Internship, which has tallied over the past year. I spend my days reading and editing over three hundred stories a week.

Without pay.

Oh the joys of unpaid labour. You can’t tell me reading stories with my slippers on and a hot cup of tea isn’t gruelling work.

Oh wait it isn’t.

But the endless reading and editing and commenting is, especially when you’re not getting paid.

Honestly it is.

My eyes have gone completely square; they see only a muddle of pixels and words now. I have daily headaches and sore eyes, all because I’ve had to stare at a computer screen for far too long.

I leave my desk blindly wide eyed and zombified.

Like an owl forced to fly in an unnatural day.

‘So what are you looking for now? What are you going to aim for?’

The echoing questions chime in my ears. Each conversation is just a recording to me know, they all go the same way and I certainly don’t stray from the script. I read off my dialogue diligently and with the same enthusiasm as the scene before.

‘Anything Dear Sir or Madam. Anything but retail.’

‘Oh?’

I’m holding out for something that won’t turn me into a mindless drone. I actually enjoy using my brain.

So the job hunt goes on and I have no one to blame but myself, my pride and, of course, all those idiots who have chosen to not hire me.

I’m great.

It’s just hard turning ‘I’m great’ into a whole covering letter.

***

My cravings have been getting worse lately.

My pity pot keeps getting deeper every time I return to it and with each visit it’s getting harder for me to crawl back out.

The sides are becoming smooth underneath my frequent footing. I’m making it slippy with my tears and snot. With each hulk like punch to the floor I drive myself closer to the earth’s core.

Even though the release is only ever momentarily cathartic.

***

‘She whines all the time.’

‘God I know, it’s getting so annoying.’

‘All she ever bleats on about is her job hunt.’

‘She’s such an ear sore, every time I see her now I feel like I’m her bloody therapist. I have problems too, you know? It’s as if mine aren’t equal to hers!’

‘So condescending and it’s her own fault she’s unemployed. Goes around acting as if she’s a bloody victim, so pathetic, I’m like, please… just get a job like the rest of us.’

‘Miss high and mighty.’

‘Miss oh woe is me.’

‘So bored of her.’

‘So bored.’

‘Doubt she’s even really trying.’

***

I sigh as I watch another mascara-laden tear slide down my face.

‘Well I really needed to hear that.’

I look away from the mirror and go downstairs.

***

My Supporters

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Like an audience
they raised
their Luminous faces
Uniform yellows
In various places
On Hedgerows they lined up
Cheering me on
During the gruelling early months
Of spring
I ran
I progressed
Slowly
They were a constant
A crowd
They marked my road
Either side I huffed past
Blooming banks
Blowing Trumpets
They watched
They grew
Just as I was
To a fighter
I was going further
They were turning to yellow
Flashes

Till spring passed

A graveyard of flowers
Now line the streets
I run past
A stronger
Version of my self
But they wither
And I remember the gruelling months
When they would
Stand
A proud not cowardly yellow
A reminder of how
Quick
These seasons can fade
I look back on the
Beginner
When the daff’s were my only
Supporters
They glowed as I struggled
My standing ovation
Gone now.

With only the chaotic cheers of
Summer
To look forward to.
I miss
The regimented hedges
The whisperings of sunshine
The lines of beaming faces
I’m now on my own
An intermediate
With a newfound
self confidence
That can only carry me further.

Cheers now wait at the finish line.
Birds can’t fill the hedgerows
Daisy’s never stay in line
Except when chained
But I’m not that kind of procession
Butterfly’s are intermittent
And so
The relying relay had lost its
Baton
I’m alone.
Till next spring.

I’ll show them daffodils what a
Fighter I am then
And perhaps my ovation
Will be standing once again.

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My Thoughts On Feminism: Part 1

Firstly, I feel some context is needed here. I don’t know why, but this wave of feminism has come upon me very suddenly and to most of my friends this has been a recent and random transformation of self.

 

During University when I was studying feminism I hated it.

To me it was a movement that was being dominated by man haters and artists who liked to write about cunts just to cause controversy and seem original. It all seemed so fake and hypocritical to me back then. I naively thought we had equality because I hadn’t ever really experienced anything on a personal level to say otherwise.

 

But, it’s as if I have woken up. I now see the cause in a whole new light and feel overwhelmingly helpless. I can’t pin point where this new-found respect for feminism dawned on me but I can say for certain that the ‘Everyday Sexism Project’ played a huge part in shaking me up. It made me aware of all the flaws in our society and how much work there is still left to do for the world of women on the whole.

 

Its depressing really, this movement has lost steam because people think the problem has been fixed, that its finished and we’ve won.

 

Wrong, oh so wrong.

 

The fight for equal pay is still on and girls in other countries are still being treated like sex objects and second citizens. It’s not done, so though people in the West may be fed up of hearing about it, we can’t stop and we shouldn’t. It is still relevant and something worth fighting for.

 

So my reason for putting my own pennies worth in — my friends have recently noticed my sudden shift and have made a few comments about it. ‘Why are you suddenly into this stuff? What’s the point?’ Since waking up I have never felt more helpless or lost and the only thing that I can really do is talk about it and get others talking about it. They are probably bored and annoyed with it now but I don’t care. I’m doing something and to me that’s all that matters, I’m not on this earth to please everyone and say things they want to hear, they don’t have to read what I write or comment on it, I don’t mind if they ignore me but putting me down for speaking up about this is not ok in my book.

 

So, what I really want to focus on in is article is what I think Feminism is now. What it represents. What people mistake it for. And to pick out the ‘hypocrisies’ that I have been abused with and want to straighten out.

 

The views imbedded in society affect men and women alike, just because men aren’t mentioned in an article about some sort of sexism a woman is experiencing doesn’t mean they are excluded. An article can’t include everything and just because it may have missed out something doesn’t mean it should instantly become invalid. Feminism is broad and affects everyone so it’s going to be difficult to fit everything in. I can’t stand people who think they have won an argument with such a come back because I just think ‘that is part of it yes, well done, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t too’ Grrr it infuriates me.

 

I am impossibly fed up with the argument that people throw into debates — ‘but what about men? What about their oppression?’ They think that saying this unravels the argument and makes feminism invalid. Wrong! This is all part of feminism, they deserve help too, well done for raising it and adding to the point that feminism IS STILL RELEVANT because it’s the sexist views in society that affect both genders.

Men are part of feminism. The point is that everyone is part of feminism. It is about equal rights for all. But please forgive us if we accidentally forget to mention men in articles like this. Yes of course men are affected too and we aren’t saying they aren’t but in the grand scheme of things, when you look at what is happening in the rest of the world, they aren’t suffering as much as women are. So of course, naturally, we will end up focusing on women more.

 

The more work we do for women the more advantages will fall on the men too, because it all goes hand in hand.

 

Just because we don’t say it, doesn’t mean we think this — ‘Oh ok, so wait, you think it’s ok for men to be raped but women aren’t?’ Which is what someone literally said when I was having this similar discussion. Did I say that? NO I FUCKING DIDN’T. No one should be ‘allowed to be raped’ how does me saying women need equal rights instantly mean I think men should be raped? Comments like that really really really piss me off (as you can tell). If we change the mindset that society has about women then of course it will change for men too. We both deserve to be equal, and we both deserve not to be raped (thank you arsehole who said that).

 

So to continue, a man and a woman can choose whatever they want to be. They can choose whatever career and lifestyle they want without the fear of being penalized. If a woman wants to be career driven and work in an office she should not be made fun of, nor should she be made fun of for wanting to be a stay-at-home-mum or a model or a firefighter or stripper. Her choice her rules.

Now replace all the her’s and woman’s with his and men’s. It should make sense either way, if a man wants to be a stay-at-home-father, nurse, footballer or in the office he should not be made fun of either. His choice his rules.

 

Now that’s not to say that we go round pretending that men and women aren’t different. We aren’t A-sexual beings and we shouldn’t ignore the biological differences between us. We should celebrate them! Of course there are physical and mental differences. E.g. how else would a transgendered man know that he is a woman trapped in a mans body? I wholly accept that with my gender comes a huge bag of hormones and emotions and men have a ton of testosterone that makes them rather aggressive. Is that a bad thing? Am I suddenly a disgrace to the female race? No. We can have a lot of things similar, we are all capable of doing whatever we want and if some girls are girly and some men are manly how is that a bad thing? There is a spectrum, and we should celebrate the variety. Not put each other down and say, you aren’t a feminist because you want to have babies and don’t want to be in an office and likewise you can’t turn round to a man and say you aren’t a feminist because you want to go to the gym and don’t want to be a dressmaker. Feminist’s come in all forms, it’s inclusive, it’s everyone.

 

And of course there will always be attraction between us. I know I perv on men quite a lot, I can’t help looking and appreciating the male form. I don’t see anything wrong with looking, a man can look at me if he wants. What we can’t do is instantly think we can touch. I wouldn’t grab a stranger’s arse and I’d hope for the same courtesy in return. Just because I am showing off some flesh doesn’t mean I want sex. Come on. I am not asking for it by wearing a short skirt. I even hate women who I don’t know touching me. My body has rights and no one should think themselves allowed to touch without asking or without an invitation. Its just a matter of personal space.

 

Now this area is a bit hazy; the advertising industry uses sex to sell. Of course it does. Its part of our lives and we shouldn’t act as if sex is disgusting because we are all at it. Don’t deny it. What I can’t stand is the unnecessary use of sex. Car adverts shouldn’t need a half naked model to sell a car. A naked woman doesn’t make a car work better or look cool. I don’t get a half naked model when I buy a car, do I? It’s just so excessive and tacky. How does a half naked man make yogurt taste good? To be honest if I see a sexy man the last thing I am going to be thinking about is that yogurt.

 

BUT, those models shouldn’t be made into victims, if they felt comfortable getting naked and enjoy stripping off. What’s wrong with that? It’s their right to prance around in bikinis if they want to. If they were pressured into it and feel that the only way to get work is to strip off then that isn’t right, but how can we tell? How can we make sure that the choice was there?

 

Sex is empowering. The Miley Cyrus debate was a bit of a crossroad. Yes I admit I found her video disgusting and over the top, but loads of other female artists have done this. I judge a singer by their music not by how they look and if they are sexy. But this is what the music industry plays up to. So again it’s down to choice. Personally I think using your body and your looks to sell music is the wrong way to go, but if that’s what they wanted to do then fine. I just won’t watch. I just think people need to think about their reasons and how these acts are interpreted by others. Sinead O’Conner felt objectified by the music industry and if the industry only values you because they can pimp you out and sell your body surely that is sexism right there? It’s not about the music. But, like I said this part is a bit hazy, how can we tell what’s going on in the dressing room? But that’s what life is about.

 

Sometimes there isn’t a black and white answer, of course there will be some grey area’s. Especially in such a broad subject such as this, but that doesn’t mean you can brush this movement aside and say ‘this isn’t perfect or straightforward therefore it means nothing’. Is anything ever perfect?

 

Oh wait it can be with photoshop… Sorry I thought that a great way to drop it in here. I’m just going to come out and say it – I HATE PHOTOSHOP. I hate this warped image of beauty they are feeding to us and our kids. According to the beauty industry we women are worth nothing if we aren’t beautiful and thin. Now this really needs to stop. Yes, I like make up, I like dressing up and dolling myself up for nights out but I shouldn’t be expected to do it, I shouldn’t be judged for not wearing any lippy. And I am fed up of adverts only using skinny models. As a species we are all varying sizes, shapes and colours. CELEBRATE IT. Adverts have a great deal of influence and therefore have a huge responsibility whether they like it or not. I want them to promote a healthy image, use different sizes as long as they are happy and healthy. I don’t really want to see an obese or anorexic person, as both extremes are damaging, but I am happy to see whatever size in between. I know this is a hazy area too but personally I’d like to just see healthy people in adverts that haven’t been touched up and mutilated by photoshop. Men as well, of course. Attraction is different things to different people, I know my taste in men is very different to all of my friends, so why is there a uniform to beauty. Just, no.

 

Also what I can’t stand is how quickly people associate women who are like ‘men are beneath us, women are better than them’ to feminism. Women who say this are obviously not feminists and do not believe in equality. They should not be considered as feminists in any way shape or form and people who instantly jump to this stereotype — shame on you. You are devaluing the work real feminists are doing for both genders. MAN-HATERS ARE NOT FEMINISTS OK? WE CLEAR?

 

And you ‘feminists’ that put men down and shout at them for opening the door to you, stop it. I open doors for people. Surely if men and women both take on this courtesy that instantly makes it equal? It’s a polite gesture and as long as I am doing it for other people too surely means that it isn’t something a man can use to show dominance over a woman. Having manners should be universal and if we teach men and women to be chivalrous then what’s wrong with that? Don’t you hold doors open for other women? Don’t you give up your seat for a pregnant lady or a disabled person? Surely its just a nice and kind thing for both men and women to do? Men have been taught that this is how you should ‘treat’ a lady, so if we embrace it too surely it just becomes a ‘treat’ for everyone?

 

I feel like feminism had been overshadowed by stereotypes that the real meaning behind the movement has been forgotten and lost. I think it needs refreshed. Maybe a new name so people don’t instantly associate the movement with ‘just women’, we need to shake off the old stereotypes and the misunderstandings and start afresh and make people realize this is still relevant and worth talking about and acting upon.

 

And if there are any other holes I’ve miss or any other branches I haven’t covered that come under this giant broad tree that is feminism let me know. I’m sure I’ve got other pennies somewhere. I know I am opening myself up to criticism here but this is just my opinion, so take from it what you want, I know it won’t please everyone.

 

Here are some links if you want to get involved/ informed:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2014/apr/10/sexual-harassment-flirting-six-differences

 

 

Review Number Ten

10) DIY Cream Tea – Loose Valley

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Boom!

Hot off the press!

Yet another Cream Tea review!

Amazing!

I think it’s the sun, as soon as I feel warmth on my skin, my body goes into autopilot.

‘Must eat Cream Tea! Must eat in sun! Must make picnic!’

In a drooly creepy zombified kind of way, of course…

I have to be outside!

If the sun is shining, that’s it, I can’t stay indoors, it just feels unnatural and a complete waste if I don’t; especially as I’m in the UK. The weather here can be so unpredictable and frustratingly flighty. You never know when you’ll see Mr Blue Sky again, so outside I am drawn and outside I will stay.

Now on this particular occasion, this being the 16th of March and a SUNDAY, Ash and I decided to stick as close to his home as possible.

We had options; Sissinghurst Castle (the only local National Trust Property that was actually open), Headcorn and, our usual back up option, Leeds Castle.

But redoing those places just sounded a bore and unnecessarily far off… SO… as it was so lovely and we were feeling rather ‘picnicky’ we stuck to Loose Valley. We just walked out of Ash’s front door and found the closest and most scenic field available…

BUT THE PREP?!

Oh yes!

The prep!

The DIY job!

Right well, before we set off on our epically short venture we had to get the GOODS!

Ash drove us to Morrison’s to retrieve our supplies!

Roddas clotted cream: CHECK!

Cheap ass Raspberry Jam: CHECK!

Actual Raspberries: CHECK!

Scones: Errm…

DA ACTUAL HELL??? YOU ONLY HAVE FRUIT, CHEESE AND CHERRY SCONES?! WHERE DA PLAIN SCONES AT? DA HELL AM I GONNA EAT?

‘MORRISON SLAVE WHERE ARE YOU HIDING YOUR PLAIN SCONES? I SEE NONE ON THE SHELF! I DEMAND YOU FIND ME SOME OR I AM GOING TO FLIP OUT!’

‘Hang on let me check…’

*WHILST HYPERVETALATING* ‘ASH WHY IS GOD DOING THIS TO ME?’

The Morrison Drone returned with the worst news imaginable.

‘There are none.’

WHAT????!!!!!!

As you can imagine, I was dreadfully unhappy.

Ash held me as I fake sobbed dramatically.

Tightly, I might add, I think he was scared that I would beat the shit out of the Morrison employee, but my sorrow was stronger than my wrath.

I vowed never to shop at Morrison’s again.  

So after Bandicoot unruffled my feathers we went on a little adventure.

MATHMATICAL!!!

(Sorry, recently got into Adventure Time and I’ve taken to using their quirky exclamations… Amazing show… Really!)

Anyway… Spar and a Co-op were a major disappointment. I was almost losing hope, I thought for sure that none would be found, I was almost fake sobbing again… I was fit to burst as we pulled into to our last available option….

Who knew Tesco’s would be our salvation?!

I certainly didn’t, but there you go. TESCO SAVED THE DAY! YAY!

So, with a pack of four of Tesco’s finest we finally got on with our picnic. We made up some wraps, packed some samosa’s, brewed up a flask of tea, nicked the dog’s blanket and went to the valley of choice.

The sun was smiling, a river nearby trickled musically, ants invaded Ketchum’s juice cup, a soft breeze kept lifting up my dress, revealing my knickers to the world and a haze of wood smoke gave the scene a rustic smell.

Ah, it was glorious.

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And for a DIY Cream Tea, we did an excellent job. Though the scones weren’t exactly that big, there was certainly a gluttonous amount of them, quantity meant more to us that day it seems. But my finest plain scones were delicious, they were much better than the cherry ones Ash had settled with.

Oh and the jam! Like Bandicoot and I always say; raspberries are finitely better than strawberries, they just taste ‘redder’ (as Ash put it), I find strawberries are always such a disappointment. Who chose them anyway? Who decided strawberries were traditionally English? I’d like a word!

Also! Who needs to splash out for good jam? The cheap version was excellent and worked really well with our fresh raspberries.

I don’t think I need to sell Roddas Clotted Cream to anyone, it’s damned good and the sun made it gloriously spreadable!

The only downside to our DIY Cream Tea was that the tea itself tasted a little plasticky… can only blame Ash’s stupid flask…

Stupid flask.

But oh well, I didn’t allow such little trifle’s to dampen my mood. Basking in the sun, gorging on Cream Teas and lying on Bandicoots belly was utter bliss.

I treasure little moments like this.

They are truly priceless.

I definitely think I was a cat in my past life… I can’t get enough of lying on people’s bellies, warming myself in the sunshine and lapping up cream…

I can purr and I even like people stroking my nose!

I know… pretty weird…

Ah well, I’m looking forward to more sunny days and, of course, more Cream Teas.

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Review Number Nine

9) Fields – Sidmouth

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Fields of Sidmouth is a department store.

One of the few select, family owned and managed independent department stores remaining in the Uk.’

It’s a charming, old fashioned place with a luncheon room and a bustling clientele of 60+; an advantage I assure you, they make the place cosy and clean.

You won’t find any riff raff or youths here.

Except me of course… ahem but, ‘I’m with them!’

I often go there with my grandparents for a spot of breakfast and a chat, a great and refreshing way to start your day; you get a generous helping of sea air as its right by the coast.

It’s unique.

It’s like stepping back in time a few decades. I have recently become addicted to a show called Mr Selfridge, a programme about how the department store opened in Oxford Street back in 1909, and I was astounded at the similarities. Fields of Sidmouth have been around since the 1800’s and, I swear, their uniforms look as if they haven’t changed since they opened. Their staff are so well mannered and they treat all their customers exactly the same.

Everyone is a regular.

You feel as if they have always known you, it’s so personal, you can joke and laugh with them as if you have always been there. They make an effort to remember your ‘usual’ and seem to know exactly what you are going to order before you’ve even sat down.

They know exactly how you like your coffee, which is important, of course.

‘Muddy?’

‘Why, yes, thank you!’

I know why my grandparents love the place so much. It’s like a little trip into their past, a tipple down nostalgia lane. And I love it because it offers a sort of calm you can’t really find nowadays, it imbues more than just the look of the bygone days, it has the mentality too.

So the location and the staff?

Tick, tick, win win.

Now, the food.

I have more than one usual at this particular establishment. It all depends on my mood, appetite and, of course, the time of day.

If it’s really early and I’m not too peckish I have two slices of cinnamon toast with a pot of tea.

If it’s early and I feel like treating myself I’ll gobble up a caramel slice and yes, with a pot of tea.

If it’s nearing lunch and I’m starving, include a Panini or a bowl of soup with that caramel slice and you’ve got a party starting! Oh and don’t forget that pot of tea!

Nom nom nom.  

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So on the 1st of March I decided it was time I abandoned my usual’s and gave their scones a go.

I hoped the staff would gasp in unison, but they didn’t… they just took my order, with a smile, and got on with it. I guess that reaction is as good as any.

So the scone…

Needless to say, like all of their goods, it was damn tasty and served with style.

With little bowls for the jam and cream, a proper cake fork for the scone and an abundance of napkins for the potential mess… I tucked in feeling somewhat first class.

The scone was BIG, warm, obviously fresh out of the oven and they made sure everyone’s food arrived at the same time. The only negative comment I would make is that I wish they kept the scone in the oven just a little bit longer.

It was rather doughy.

Its consistency was so pliable and moist I’m sure I could’ve reshaped it into a ball and played around with it. It still tasted gorgeous but I fear the service came before the food.

The jam was very good though. Even I, the cream enthusiast, was overly generous. It was many different ‘s’s; strawberry, slippery and sweet.

I got it everywhere!

It kept sliding off my knife and landing on everything but my scone. I believe I managed to dirty every utensil on the table… it was infuriating but worth it. I’m just not sure where the jam was sourced from, may have to ask next time I visit.

The cream was proper clotted too! You could tell it was the genuine stuff because it had that crusty layer you find on the top to prove it. Again, I’m not sure if it was locally sourced but you could tell it was of decent quality. You also got the perfect amount, even had plenty to spare!

What has happened to me?!

They gave me plenty of hot water to top up my pot of tea; it endured and fuelled the whole conversation while retaining its strong colour.

They also gave me a GIANT strawberry to accompany my already indulgent breakfast treat. A lovely garnish I must say, it was sweet and juicy! No other cafe or restaurant I have been to has done this.

Pity…

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It’s the service though that really sells this place; you can guarantee there’ll be fresh flowers on every the table each morning and a vibrant smile for every customer as soon as you walk through the door.

It’s a place that really cares.

A place I can’t get enough of.

I’m going to give their cream tea a second try next time I go and see if the malleable scone problem was just a hiccup on that particular day.  I certainly recommend their cinnamon toasts and their caramel slices, I’ll be sorry to forego them next time…

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Safety Nets

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Having a boyfriend makes me feel safe.

My relationship status makes me feel secure.

I can talk to guys, and sometimes flirt with guys, without any fear of repercussions or pursuits.

I am taken.

I am off the market and men responded in kind. They feel they can talk to me, the pressure to impress isn’t there and I make sure of it.

So they open up.

I can be their friend, their compatriot, they can test their stuff on me and not worry.

I love being part of their lives without worrying about messy breakups or awkward dates.

My genitalia doesn’t define me.

They treat me like an actual person, a standard human being.

I’m just one of the lads, one of the group, they can feel comfortable around me.

Don’t get me wrong though.

I believe men and women can be single and friends without worrying about underlying sexual tensions.

The different body parts shouldn’t be a factor when building friendships.

Its jealous boyfriends and girlfriends that say otherwise.

They just don’t trust their partners… or anyone for that matter, idiots.

I digress.

It’s just, being in a relationship gives you that added factor, that added wiggle room.

You can push the boundaries a bit more and still feel secure.

Now, what I do, what I really enjoy, is observing my friends new partners.

I guess it stems from a fear.

From a past of broken friendships.

I worry about whether or not they will fit in, what they will do to our group, how they will affect us.

So I like to see how they respond, to me and the other girls in our group.

If they don’t overreact and don’t go ape-shit they are keepers.

Simple.

I respect them.

I befriend them.

If not, well… the decision is usually made for us.

My friend will either see the light and ditch their new squeeze or I, and any other lady friend, will never see them again.

I hate the latter.

It hurts.

They’ve devalued the friendship and discarded it.

It’s a stab in the back.

But some girlfriends just can’t handle my lady goods.

That’s how it goes.

I’m able to see the distinction because I am in a trusting relationship.

I don’t mind my man having lady friends and, likewise.

That’s why we are so compatible.

Guess you could call me a tomboy, but I find the phrase insulting.

I’m just normal, I have many interests.

Nothing is gender specific anymore.

The term Tomboy, is outdated.

So please refrain from using it around me.

Anyway, back to what I was saying.

I have never felt more able to be myself.

I’m not out to snag a lover.

I don’t need to.

I’m out there to find people who will accept my ridiculous personality, to be as real as possible and see what comes back.

When I was single I was a nervous wreck.

Zero confidence.

Now I can approach and engage with ease.

Flirting isn’t a clumsy tongue-tied affair.

It’s just a spot of fun.

I can also dance like a normal person.

No sexy boring dancing for me, no thank you.

I jump and mosh with the boys without worrying about getting sweaty, just bruised.

Clubbing has lost its sheen though.

I no longer find it enjoyable having men press themselves against me to gyrate and hump like a dog on heat.

Wait, when was that ever enjoyable?

Clubbing is a frenzy of singletons.

You can liken it to any mating season in the animal kingdom, every species has one.

When you’re there just to dance and have fun, little things you were able to brush over before become colossal irritations.

People bumping into you all the time, people walking through your group and people drunkenly leaning on you, it all adds up.

You begin to wonder, is it worth it?

The deafening music, the expensive drinks and the inability to really get your groove on begins to gripe you.

I have a living room, an IPod and a kitchen that can provide better entertainment.

So that’s one downside to being in a relationship, you grow up, and only go clubbing if you really, really must.

Is that a huge loss though really? No, more a relief.

Having a boyfriend has saved me from many unwanted suitors and it has also helped me to make some interesting friendships.

I must have been a very incapable singleton, a gawky novice.

I’m sure if I was single now, I’d be able to cope, but I’m thankful for my safety net.

I’m thankful I have a man that trusts me.

A man that lets me bat my eyelids every once in a while and doesn’t mind me being silly with somebody else, even if it is a man.

It works both ways though and I’m pretty sure his feelings are identical.

I can be rebellious and safe all at the same time.

It’s not a bad way to live I think.

A Confession at 23:58

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My ability to procrastinate truly does astound me sometimes, I promised a post quite a while ago and I’ve only just found the time, please forgive the delay.

The new year has ushered in a whole host of new problems – unemployment, two unfinished stories, a 10K run I need to train vigorously for and well, unemployment – it’s a major one.

But I don’t want to focus on them in this post, I want to focus on the past, I want to focus on 2013, I want to focus on what I WAS able to do last year. I achieved much and I never gave myself the chance to pat myself on the back.

Do you really need to? Yes, yes I believe I do.

You see, I think it right that everyone should look back on their past year. They should pick out all the events they felt proud of, the moments that made them grow in some way, or just the instances that made them smile. This will armor them for the next year, they can face the new digits with a positive attitude.

And that’s exactly what I want to do, so what was worth cheering about? What did I do that was worthy of note? Let’s list, shall we?

1) I passed my driving test.

And at 24 it really was about time. I got fed up of seeing youths driving around as young as 17 or 18 years old in vehicles of their own while I, a mere pedestrian, had to resort to public services. My own personal taxi service thought so too. And by taxi service I obviously mean my Dad. He wishes I paid him.

2) I Went on holiday to Canada with my Boyfriend.

This was our first proper holiday together, ABROAD! So it meant a great deal that we managed to survive the whole two weeks without any mishaps.

Well… there was one tiny argument… nothing to cause alarm… Well… it was a bit worrying when Bandicoot decided to storm off and abandon me in Toronto… But don’t worry, I found him sulking on a wall a little way ahead of me… he remembered that I had the train tickets back to our apartment.

I also had his sunglasses – it’s good to take hostages, remember that.

But, as always with us, we were laughing within minutes of the incident and we used it as a good excuse to… umm… well I think you get the picture.

I would definitely recommend a trip to Canada, Niagara Falls and the CN tower are wonders worth seeing. (As is the Steamwhistle Brewery!)

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3) I QUIT SAINSBURYS!!! Enough said on that point.

4) I GOT MYSELF AN EDITORIAL INTERNSHIP AND IT ACTUALLY TURNED INTO A PAID POSITION!!! I got to work from home, wear slippers all day and drink tea whenever I wanted! (It was only temporary though… hence… unemployment… but it was GREAT while it lasted.)

5) I discovered I love falafel after an interview which began with a ping pong match. (Yes that really did happen, can you imagine a girl racked with nerves, dressed in a sexy secretary outfit, playing ping pong with her interviewer? That was me. Oh and yes obviously I didn’t get it hence… unemployment… Arrrg, I said I wasn’t going to focus on my present problems! Let’s move on!)

6) I started and maintained a BLOG! For a girl who thought she was all out of ideas this was the one thing that stunned me the most. I can’t believe the amount of work I have written, the amount of inspiration I have found. It’s more than I was able to do at University! I shared two of my short stories on ReadWave and both have hit over 500 views, all the comments I received were so positive, I never expected such a wonderful reaction. It has definitely spurred me on!

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7) I rediscovered my love of Sailor Moon with my beast of a sister, complete with the purchases of series 1 to 4, all the films and a Sailor Jupiter Costume. (My sister is Sporting Serena’s red and blue number in this picture.) This programme from my childhood helped me through some the tougher times of 2013… it was an escape for both my sister and I. The ‘negaverse’ was always defeated thank’s to Sailor Moon and it was amazing how much I could relate to the show and the comfort I found from it.

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8) I started running. OUTSIDE! This was a massive achievement for me because for years I believed this was something I would never be able to do. My self-worth and self-esteem were among the bottom-feeders, I had virtually nothing. This was my Everest. I am not what you call fat or obese, but I certainly wasn’t fit or happy. All the exercise I had ever done before was indoors, to venture outside and RUN was unfathomable until this past year. I’m still what you would call a beginner, but the fact that I am outside at all is a miracle.

And the fact that I managed to do a 10k run in 55mins for an event called ‘The Croome Olympics’ is AMAZING! The chubby girl inside me still can’t believe it. (I also won Golden Lady, my first sporting medal, EVER!)

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YAY ME!

So yeah, this post is basically just a massive pat on the back to myself, everyone needs one occasionally and mine has been long overdue. It’s about time we all looked at ourselves in a more positive light and I invite you all to give this particular exercise a go, it’s a great ego boost!

(Although, I’m pretty sure this will only sustain mine for a couple of days, the negative thoughts will, inevitably, creep back. I can’t change myself overnight, as much as I’d like to.)

I am looking forward to 2014!!!