I’ve moved. You can now find all my new posts and an ‘About Me’ section on www.iamtp.com ! I thought it was about time that I moved away from wordpress.com and indulged in a little experimentation at wordpress.org. Sadly, this means that the website doesn’t look quite so pretty, but it is a lot more functional!
I hope that if you’re a current follower, you can find the time to click onto my new blog! I hate the thought of sacrificing my few followers for a better navigated website , but it had to be done!
Join me in the jog along to the new blog!
A few weeks ago I travelled up to Edinburgh to see one of my greatest friends. Cue Soppy Story: We first me when we’d both just arrived in California to start our study years abroad. I walked up to a group of girls cackling with laughter as this thick Scottish accent rose into the air. It was from that point on that I realised that this girl was someone I wanted to be friends with. She just made everyone laugh all the time and I thought she was great. Fast forward a few years and my instant girl crush has transformed into a friendship that I cherish very much. She puts up with my constant attempts at the Scottish accent and we comfort one another when our quest to relive Pride and Prejudice doesn’t quite work out. I’d say we’re a good team and so as I boarded the train at King’s Cross I knew I was in for a fun-filled weekend.
Here’s a few photos from my weekend getaway to the burgh-rilliant highlands:
Feminism is a wonderful movement. It’s a movement that wants all women to feel like they have an equal standing in the world. Feminism is about helping women, and the rest of the world, to understand that your gender does not solely define who you are or what your role in society should be. This movement wants to empower and educate. Being female is a wonderful gift. If you’re a woman you’re allowed to be beautiful, caring, nurturing, innocent and a good listener. You’re also allowed to be strong, a leader, a speaker, athletic, sexual and angry.Who is it that is allowing you to be the person that you currently are? Taking the time to consider who we are and what we aspire to be is vital in thinking about what it is that has shaped our opinions on life? I once had a boyfriend, who told me that he couldn’t help it, he just thought men were a lot funnier than women. Not forgetting that music made by men was always going to be much better because the male species just has so much charisma. He also told me that my stubbly armpits were disgusting, I had bad breath and repulsive nose hair. (That’s a whole other kettle of fish) He turned out to be a very manipulative person. To me, my ex-boyfriend embodies everything that misogyny and sexism are. He is a broken person who has gathered his opinions about women from society. Before any readers of this post assume that I am writing from a bitter and angry place, I’m not. It’s been over two years since we broke up and my life has changed tremendously since then. Meeting someone and getting to know a person like this has taught me a lot.To me, feminism is a vitally important movement and it touches everyone. I love it because it helps me to look at experiences I go through every day and know that they are no acceptable. Since I started having an interest in the movement I’ve found that it’s making me stronger as a person. I feel empowered to say what I think and ignore the voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m not strong enough to do so. Unfortunately, I’m sure everyone is aware of the negative (and baffling) stigma associated with feminism. I can only think that this is down to a sense of fear. The fear that if you are a feminist you cannot be feminine, or if your girlfriend is a feminist she secretly hates men. Feminism is a current movement that is based around love and equality, not hate.In an attempt to spread a bit of feel good feminism, the kind that empowers everyone, I thought I would compile a few links that have educated, entertained and touched me emotionally. Below are links that I think help to show people an accurate and positive impression of what feminism really is. Enjoy:
- Gerda Lerner (1920 – 2013)
- This is from a wonderful women who has helped to change the way that women view themselves, and hopefully, also the way that men view them. Her work as the pioneer of Women’s History studies has provided women with female heroes of the past.
- Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio
- Why is it that the word Cunt, a word associated with female genitalia, is one of the worst words in the english language? Why is it that people shrink away from it like the wizarding world shrinks away from Voldemort? A cunt is not a dark wizard who is sneaking into our houses, killing our parents and trying to destroy all that we know and love. A cunt is an ‘anatomical jewel’ that over half of the world’s population possess. It is a source of greatness and happiness. That is the message that this wonderful book is putting across. It encourages self-love, and the confidence to declare that self-love.
- If you’re still worried that this book is just too ‘angry feminism’ for your taste, look at the front cover. It has a flower on it!
- Shout out to one of my closest friends, the gorgeous C, who first introduced me to this blog. Much like, Gerda Lerner, this website endeavours to show the world the greatness of women. It’s an endless archive of inspirational women from all different industries. Need a bit of a pick-me-up? Go onto the website and click onto any category that takes your interest. Thousands of women share the stories of how they became successful, their experiences of the world, and how feminism has affected their lives. Be empowered by the success of the female race and see your own potential.
- Everyday Sexism
- I remember when I first came across the Everyday Sexism blog. I scrolled down the pages for what seemed like hours; crying with devastation, laughing with triumph and smiling with relief. It is simply a blog where people can post their experiences of sexism. Like most great things, this is a simple but exceptionally powerful platform. Some of the stories are relatable examples of men belittling women, some are out-of-this-world horrendous examples of how cruel the patriarchal world is upon women. Only of course, they’re not out-of-this-world, they’re real life. I’m not a single voice praising this wonderful project, I’m just one advocate out of millions. You can now purchase the Everyday Sexism BOOK!
- Gala Darling
- Gala’s blog is based around the philosophy of Radical Self Love. I check it at least once a day just incase she’s posted something new! She loves glitter, putting together crazy outfits and empowering women. Ever struggled with the desire to be a ‘good’ feminist but also really wanted to wear that red lipstick with that dress? Gala talks about this and explains that feminism is about allowing women to be define their own rules of what it is to be female.
- Laci Green – YouTube
- I’ve learnt a lot from Laci’s videos. She’s a young woman who is highly intelligent and brilliantly articulate on all things gender equality. Found yourself trying to explain to someone why calling that girl from a netball team a slut but the boy from the football team a hero is ridiculous and damaging? By watching a few of Laci’s videos, you’ll be armed with some amazing, bullet-proof answers. Next time you find yourself in that same situation, you’ll feel ready to take on the whole world.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt
- As if you didn’t have enough of a reason to love this man already, he’s a hollywood actor who is using his platform as a celebrity to spread the message of feminism. Specifically, he is showing the world that being a feminist isn’t just for women. It is for everyone that believes in equality for all.
- If you deny spending the late hours of the night clicking from link to link on BuzzFeed, chances are you’re lying. Or you have exceptionally high levels of will power (Well done). Thankfully though, for all us truly dedicated procrastinators, BuzzFeed is harnessing the power of comedy to talk about issues that matter; feminism being just one of them.
Obviously, there are HUNDREDS of links, books, TV shows, movies and songs that encourage gender equality. Do you have any favourites that I haven’t included? (if you’ve made it to the end of this rather long post that it!)
But what’re you going to do with an English Literature Degree? It doesn’t really lead onto anything, does it? As someone with an English & American Literature degree, this is a question-come-statement that I’m often faced with. Whilst the words they use suggest intrigue, their tone insinuates that they do not see a direct or viable career path. There have been times when I’ve not known what to say, when I’ve not been able to get the words out properly and when I didn’t think explaining to them was a worthwhile use of my breath. Here is my answer which I’ve sat down and considered for a long time. The answer that I’ve not been able to coherently explain before. The study of books, novels, songs, poems and all forms of literature is extremely valuable. I think part of the reason why this question can be so annoying is because when I first started my degree I couldn’t give them an answer. I couldn’t tell them what the real value of a book was, even if it wasn’t enjoyable to read. Their questions highlighted to me that I myself didn’t have a response. When I chose to study Literature, I didn’t do so because of an undying passion for the subject. It was simply because it had been the A Level that I enjoyed the most. When people asked me questions about why it was necessary to ‘ruin a good book’ by ‘overanalysing it’ I was stumped. These doubts didn’t just affect me when I was confronted by others, they had nestled themselves in a comfortable spot in the back of my mind. During my first two years of study, these affected the way I worked. Finding the motivation to read that boring old book by Chaucer or that really long novel by Thomas Hardy was particularly difficult when I didn’t see any reason to do so apart from the fact that it was something that I had to do. Of course I wanted good marks, but without a passion to generate motivation, I couldn’t stay in my room reading away from the sambuca shots awaiting me at da club. To summarise, I was studying Literature because it allowed me to do a degree, which allowed me to be at University which was lots of fun and that’s what I was supposed to be doing. However, I hated studying something that I was disinterested in, I was constantly sat in seminars praying that I wouldn’t be asked any direct questions. Like, ‘How did you feel the ending affected your perception of the book?’ or things as simple ‘What is the name of the main character?’. If I did have to think on my feet, my answer consisted of knowledge gathered from the first ten pages of the text and trusty Wikipedia. It felt shit. It was shit. Then, by the grace of some miraculous power of the universe, I went on a year abroad to California as a part of my degree. Here, the classes were taught in a completely different manner to my seminars in England. It was a lot like going back to school as the professors taught much more structured classes. Not only this, but some of my closest friends were also on my course. With this supportive environment around me, I found an interest in the subject. In America, the importance of why the author chose to write on what they did, when they did and how they did was emphasised. Some wrote for money, forming their texts around what they thought the people wanted, what they thought would sell. Others wrote to affect a social change. Some because they felt the world had to experience what they were experiencing. I saw that by challenging the traditional structures, voicing controversial topics and employing unusual narrative voices, writers were making political, social and emotional statements. During the last two years of my study, the importance of literature and study of it struck me hard. Novels, short stories, plays, poems, song are all written by us. By People. Lots of different types of people. From different countries, centuries and upbringings. Writers possess different hair colours, emotions and opinions. They’re vast and contradicting yet they all contribute to what our world is. They are important because they represent and reflect cultures. They’re a close look at the people that lived generations before us. We can’t ever reach those lost times physically but the cultural ideas and debates can be absorbed. The more we read, the more we learn about ourselves, about the different lives different humans have experienced. Studying Literature has helped to shape how I view the world around me, and subsequently, the person that I am. Even if for the large majority of my degree the actual studying part was a hindrance to my day time television schedule and only had value in the certificate it provided, I’ve come to realise that the World and I wouldn’t be the same without it.
Yesterday was my first day off in what felt like forever! I (mostly) enjoy my job in a cafe but when I’m constantly walking back and forth within the same (pretty small) four walls I can start to lose perspective. I feel like crying over the fact that I forgot to provide that woman with the glass of tap water that she asked for, or having a tantrum because someone didn’t heat up the panini when I asked them to. This is why I try my hardest not to spend my days off sat in my pyjamas watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills all day. I need something that will help me break out of my cappuccino bubble. Something that reminds me that it is not the end of the world if we run out of piri piri chicken.
My friend and I drove down to the National Trust Woods a few minutes away from where we live. She too is working full time in hospitality and wanted to shake up her life, instead of a cocktail.
I was told by the counsellor at my university counselling service at the beginning of the last academic year that I have Anxiety Disorder. All the time that I’ve been stressing, feeling my heart pounding in my chest as I sit down to write an essay or to do my seminar reading.. that wasn’t because I wasn’t capable or because I was stupid. I didn’t spend hours procrastinating because I was being lazy, or because I didn’t care enough. It was because my anxiety was taking over the real me. My thoughts of crippling self-doubt were not because I am inadequate or incapable, it’s because my mind had developed bad habits. It was such a relief.
As I walked out of the counsellors office, I felt a massive wave of relief. I wanted to cry, but now instead of crying because of despair, I was weeping with unbelievable joy. The way I was feeling wasn’t just who I was, I wasn’t just a person who would always try and fail. There was a solution and my life could change.
I also immediately told my closest friends. This was partly because I wanted to share my happy news, but also because now I had an explanation. Now, I could explain to my friends who never suffered with essay stress or academic self-doubt that I wasn’t just stupid. The response to this was really over-whelming. I could tell that they didn’t fully understand. They understood the logistics. My mind took a few different paths from theirs, but I could tell, that no matter how much I explained it, they couldn’t understand how it actually felt to be in this mindset. Clearly, this was no fault of their own. As I was lying in bed, I was thinking about that. It was strange to me that the people closest to me, just didn’t understand. This was because… their minds worked completely differently to mine. They didn’t get that feeling of dread when it came to reading a book, they just read it. So… I thought it’d be quite a cool idea to embrace a moment of my anxiety and turn it into something helpful and productive. I thought that instead of blocking the spiralling thoughts which can be so disabling, I decided to embrace them and attempt to document them.
I decided that the best way to document my thoughts would be through my laptop. I can type so fast that most of the time it feels like an extension of myself rather than a conscious writing process. It is also a small homage to Samuel Beckett. I took a class which focused solely on the nobel prize winner whilst I was in America, and I fell in love with the obscurity of his work. Three Novels is a book that allowed me to see the power of the unconscious mind. The form of the novels are unpunctuated and often confusing. As Molloy documents his thoughts and life, I have attempted to document my thoughts as they appear from my mind. (Of course, because of the process of writing and self-writing, it isn’t unaffected by the world around me and my own writing style.) Here’s what a wrote whilst sat in Costa. I took a gulp of my cappuccino and allowed the thoughts in the back of my mind to take over:
I’m so flabbergasted. flabbergasted. These are things I care about, but they all come out in a jumble. A jumble of thoughts, which all connect too much. They can’t be defined. I want to write so many articles but I’m terrified that I’ll run out after I’ve written just a few. I’m already being too general. They won’t be distinctive. Fuck, I want to do this, I can do this…can’t I? Can I? Can I? What makes me think that I’m so good at this? Why do I have such a high opinion of myself that I think I can be one of those few successful writers? Everything that I say is just what hundreds, thousands, probably millions of people are thinking. Why do I think I’m special? I think I am, but what if I’m not? What if I’m wrong, and even if I try I’m still going to end up a massive failure? My friends are much cleverer than I am. My parents have been successful, but they aren’t top lawyers, they don’t have flats in London for me to live in. Maybe I’m just not going to be successful, because other people are naturally smarter than I am. I can feel that I sensation in my nose. I cannot cry in Costa. Stop thinking. Calm down. This is so embarrassing. I wish I could do this. I wish I could. I felt that I could do it earlier. I was really excited, and now I’ve ruined it all. F*** sake. Now I only have a few more hours and I’m going to be too tired after I finish work tomorrow. Why am I not clever enough? WHY?! I want to be successful, I want people to care about what I think. I want this, but do I want it enough? I do, but I didn’t start doing this young enough. If you want to be a writer, then you need to have written a wrote amateur novel by the age of 22.
What I wrote down was so much longer than I expected. Previously, I had been too anxious to write a word of an article I’d had planned however as soon as I let my mind lose onto the screen I produced so much in such a short amount of time. Minds work differently, and they’re so powerful. It’s really very exciting. Sometimes my thoughts lead from one doubt to another, but other times it leads to the development of a really exciting idea that I wouldn’t have been able to think of if I’d tried to force it. Trusting the paths that our minds is an incredibly refreshing process.