I’m Not Ashamed of Periods, But…

period-500x375

Hey Hey Guys!!

So this is a little left of centre for me, but I’m going to talk about… Periods.

Not like the ones you have in schools (though if you are a high school girl, then those too!). No, I’m talking about the monthly menstrual cycle of a woman.

This is a 100% natural thing, necessary for pro-creation and there is NOTHING to be ashamed of about them. Nothing at all.

But…

I recently read an article in HelloGiggles, a site I am a big fan of for their empowering, female-centric articles. They speak to their reader like a friend, like a sister. They give a platform for women to scream HELL YEAH about woman’s issues and that’s great! BIG fan of female empowerment.

But…

This article… It’s gone viral so you might have seen it. I just can’t agree whole-heartedly with it. I am in no way saying that the writer was wrong in what she was saying, not at all. Just that I personally am just not in agreement. She basically says that she bled through her pad, which is something pretty much all women have done, but she seems pissed off that people offered to help her, or told her that she might want to hide the stain, perhaps until she got home.

And this is where I disagree with her. She seemed annoyed that it was said to her in hushed tones, that she was looked at by people who spotted the stain. But I understand. If I were in her position, I would have tried to cover the mark. I would have accepted the pad from the stranger. I wouldn’t be ashamed of being a woman, not at all it happens to almost all of us. But can you really blame people for trying to help her to cover up blood? If you saw someone with a nosebleed in the street, surely you would offer them a hankie? Is this not a similar situation? It’s a matter of personal care. I’m not exactly the finest dressed of folk, but I do try to take at least a little care, and going out covered in blood seems to be the opposite of that.

That’s not to say that we need to look like we’re off to a ball every day of the week, just that maybe being covered in blood is taking “zero fuck’s given” a little too far.

Men are infinitely immature a lot of the time and those men that were staring aren’t worth dealing with. I admire her for putting it out there, but I do find this whole thing a little aggressive. I would have accepted the help and left it at that.

I want to conclude by saying that the girl totally has my respect and admiration for broadcasting the fact that this does happen, it’s natural and if you care, you are an idiot. I’m just saying that maybe she misinterpreted the offers of a pad as shame, when they were really meant as an aid to modesty and as a kind gesture. Just saying.

SSDD

My Almost (Now Not) Apartment!

Hey Hey Guys!!

SO much has happened in the past few days!
I… moved out! BUT… I’m moving back home again in a few days. It’s so complicated, let me explain.
OK, so for the past god knows how long, I’ve been talking about moving out. It’s something I’ve just felt like I NEEDED to do, for my own well being. My parents and I have a, shall we say, complicated relationship (*ahem* we con’t get on, they suffocate me, and there are times when I genuinely fear for my sanity *ahem*).
So I found a flat in the city (Glasgow, I’m a Scottish lass, if you didn’t know), I arranged a date, I packed up all my shit and readied for off! But something just didn’t feel right. I had this feeling in my gut like nothing I’d ever experienced before that translated to my head that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I thought, it can’t be because I’m moving out, surely? I’ve done that before! I moved to Barcelona(read about my adventures!!) for godsake and that was fine! I was perfectly confident doing so! But there was something wrong.
I couldn’t sleep the night before the move.I stayed up all night crying, wondering why I felt this terrible about something I had been so excited about, had planned for for so long. I could feel it in my very bones, so strongly, everything inside me telling me I was making a massive mistake.
 
This feeling continued right up to the point where I was literally packing the car and I was still humming and hawing, back and forth, on the verge of emailing the person who owned the flat and saying I wasn’t coming. But I pressed on regardless. I moved. Got all my stuff into the new place and that was that – I was moved in.
 
I stayed up, awake again, all night almost, with that same sick feeling in my gut. And there was no logical reason for it; or so I thought. The flat is perfect. It was as if someone reached into my brain and decorated the flat of my dreams and delivered it to be in a beautiful, cozy dream house, all for me. Studenty, but not too much. Tidy, pretty, relaxing colours rather like my room at home, a short walk or bus right into the very heart of the city – AND IT HAS GUINEA PIGS!! I fecking LOVE guinea pigs!! Perfect!
 
I had an appointment back home so I traveled back the next day and spoke to mum. Together we decided that I would move back as soon as possible. The minute we decided that, I felt this great swell of utter relief, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I felt dizzy from it. I knew it was the right thing to do. I don’t know why, after all this time, all this waiting and saving and hoping for the right place to become available, it was so wrong. It just was.
 
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
  • I only have 2 classes this term.
  • I’m only in 2 mornings and 1 full day, so I really don’t need to be in Glasgow for that.
  • I have other commitments but not so many pressing ones that I need to be living in the city.
  • I would be spending a tonne of money that I could otherwise be saving for… something. Maybe a holiday this summer?
 
But the main thing, the big one, is… that I hate my University course.
I started off loving it, but now, I loathe it. So, by staying in the city, I would essentially be paying a fortune to make it easier to do something I hate. So I paid for the week and now my parents are coming to get me at the weekend and I’m moving back home.
And to add to the shit storm of emotional upheaval, my psychiatrist has put me on anti depressants. On top of my anti anxiety meds, the vitamin supplements, the gut aids, the dietary assistants, the pain killers… I’m becoming something of a toxic cloud!
 
So that has been my crazy week. How was yours? And here are some pictures to show you the place I’ve been living for… well, I suppose it’s my flat for a few days.
IMAG0269

Living room

IMAG0268

Bedroom

IMAG0265

Care package from home

IMAG0266

First coffee and candle!

IMAG0267

Best. Body spray. EVER!

IMAG0270

GUNIEA PIGS!!

SSDD

Why I am Over Comparing Myself To Myself

Hey Hey Guys!

Everyone is guilty of defining their own life’s according to the quality of the lives of those around us. What does that mean?

Basically, we spend way too much time comparing our own lives to those of the people around us. And we have to stop.

I am most guilty of comparing myself to… myself. It’s true what they say, that we are own harshest critic.

I find that I’m forever going over old ground. I’m forever critiquing my own life and comparing the me now to the me then. It’s awful! There are times when I genuinely feel like it’s ripping me apart, like the old me is desperately scraping at the new, gouging great ditches in me as I desperately pull myself away. But I have made a decision. I’m going to stop. Not stop trying to distance myself from my past. More like, stop trying to force myself to not be that person and just content myself with being the me of now.

The me from a few years ago isn’t the same person as the me now. There are vast differences to the point where I barely feel like I am the same person at all.

Be one with nature and one with your soul...

Be one with nature and one with your soul…

Over the past 4 years I’ve been dragged backward through hell by my heart strings and I’ve taken all of the people I love most with me. But I have changed. The experience has changed me. My mind has been through turmoil of a kind I never thought possible and in many ways, I still can’t believe all that has transpired.

I want to be honest. I’ve been a sufferer of a myriad of Mental Health issues since I was about 18. I am now 22. But I will never call myself a victim. Because that implies that I have done nothing about it. And as much as I also hate to admit it, it implies that I am entirely innocent in the continuation of my ordeal.

I have spent the last 4 years fighting for my life. Against myself. I’ve brought pain, anger, sadness and despair upon myself and those around me. It would be easy to blame myself, just as it would be easy to blame other people for my problems.

Mental Health is the same as any other illness. No one asks to become mentally ill, just the same way that no one asks to get cancer. I’ve described it this way to my dad, but he doesn’t really understand. No one wants to be ill, whether that be something visible or invisible.

And that is what Mental Illness is; it’s essentially an invisible illness, but with some very physical symptoms. People with mental illnesses can die, just the same way anyone with a physical illness can. Eating Disorders kill 70% of severe sufferers and I have twice, very almost, become a part of that statistic. I was “saved” with only hours to spare. Had I not gotten the help I did, then I would have certainly either died from mass organ failure or have killed myself. It wasn’t like I hadn’t already tried.

I don’t want to get into all the hairy scary details because honestly, I am trying to leave that part of my past where it is. It will always be a part of me and I will never be ashamed of what has happened to me, but I don’t want to dwell on my pain. Because doing that is no more effective than picking at a scab; it’s ugly, it hurts, it won’t make anything better and while there is a masochistic gratification in scratching at it, you are just making things worse in the long run, instant gratification isn’t everything.

So, here I go; my recovery journey: Round 2.

My new superhero mask for my new super powers of healing!

My new superhero mask for my new super powers of healing!

I hope you will join me on this journey. I would love to have you with me, be that as a sufferer of Anorexia or Depression or Anxiety, or just as someone who’s interested. I want to reduce stigma and show people that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that recovery is a journey we all must make. Join me! 🙂

See you soon!

Also, just for the banter, here’s a pic of me at Halloween! Off to the pub! I mean, to drink responsibly, of course 😄

Halloween 2015! I went as... absolutley nothing, a girl at the pub with glitter on her face, that;s who xD

Halloween 2015! I went as… absolutley nothing, a girl at the pub with glitter on her face, that;s who xD

SSDD

Letting Go… and Holding On

Hey hey guys!!

images (2)

So I have majorly let this blog slide. I really shouldn’t have, given how much I love blogging. But you know, life and all…

Actually that is what I was wanting to blog about. That’s what I’ve always wanted to blog about. Life.

It’s something I’ve been having a bit of an issue with, not just now, but for a few years. I can’t decide whether it’s the thing we should all endeavor to protect and cherish the most, or whether it’s something I wish could just be eradicated. Certainly where people are concerned.

I’m not saying all people are evil, or that there are not wonderful things out there, happening every day. Just that, in seemingly greater amounts, there are are truly horrific things happening as well. And when pain outweighs pleasure, it sits badly with me.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people who are deeply affected by the shit storm of life. I’m one of those people, the pessimists, the sceptics. Call it what you like, but I tend to disasterise before I see the silver lining. It’s a curse, but I know I’m not the only one to think like this.

See, to quote Young Guns (a British rock band, look ’em up)

The weight of the world is a burden I can’t bare

The crappy thing is, it’s a burden I tend to try my damnedest to bare, regardless of how difficult it is, no matter how impractical, no matter how insensible. I would rather take everyone I care about’s problems and add them to the pack on my back than watch them do anything other than sail through life.

Yet I’m reaching the end of my ability to do this, it seems. I’m holding on… but only just. It’s time to let go… I just don’t quite know just yet what to let go of.

Life is the sort of concept that is too big for me. I love all the existential, interesting questions hat challenge human behaviour, but as for actually dealing with it myself? Not so much something I’m really great at. As much as I love adventuring, experiencing things I’ve never seen before or done, there are days when even the thought of leaving my bed, let alone my flat or my parents house is a challenge in itself. The thought and effort that it takes to so much as visualise doing anything other than taking my next breath can be staggeringly exhausting and actually making moves to get up can be something so far outside my abilities that it’s not even worth considering!

I’m skirting around the issue here, but if you have half a brain you will understand why all this is. I want to link you to something that will explain this better than I ever will be able to. HERE you go.

“Getting better” isn’t even something I’m all that interested in, most of the time. If the idea of “life” is exhausting, simply opening my eyes and being aware that there is something outside the disembodied sounds in my head, then having an exterior that reflects wellness just doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s juxtaposition in the truest sense.

I have little motivation to eat and at present I am eating just enough to keep me round about alive, but not really living. It’s not a long term plan. I went to a family party and some sort of primal instinct kicked in and I ate more in one afternoon that I have collectively in weeks. This actually make me really annoyed. The extra vitamins are going to be reflected in my appearance tomorrow when in reality I am going to be feeling a dreadful as ever, if not more so, owing to the fact that the extra nourishment is one step back from the brink that I’m teetering, tempted, over.

Where I go from here is right now a fluid concept. I am very much in flux. Right now I don’t even have a definitive address. I get up every day because I have more than one illness of the mind. One conflicts with the other and it’s an exhaustive concept and it means I sleep very little, think a lot and worry and feel stressed and sad and hopeless and conflicted and… well, a cocktail of terrible things, most of the time. There is a cacophony of sound in my head, all the god damn time and I hate it, I hate it so so much. I’m in constant pain and i can’t concentrate. University is getting so hard when these voices and sounds get so loud.

Imagine it like this; you’re trying to read something, that is what your goal is. But you are listening to a really angry podcast in headphones in one ear, with someone yelling at you in one of those little in-ear, spy gear things in the other. There is also a conversation happening nearby that you should be paying attention to you, so you are trying really hard to listen in, but it’s hard to hear because there is a conversation between a bunch of people happening in your head as well and there are some really difficult to ignore voices in that conversation. Those voices are the worst because all of them are so angry and saying some truly horrible things. You kind of feel like your bones are being squeezed really hard and that your lungs are half the size they should be. These is also this blackness creeping over you. Even if it’s sunny, you feel cold, desolate, like you are sitting on a block of ice in a dark room.

This might not be the best description but you will have to forgive me; I can’t quite form a reasonable line of thought over all the white noise and voices… I wish they wouldn’t quiet down a little… I’m really, really tired…

Anyway, I thought I would check in. I might post a few more like this, we will see. I’m somehow simultaneously super busy and have nothing to do. Life, eh??

SSDD

The World’s Largest Ball of Wool and Getting Crafty

Hey Hey Guys!

I took a little trip this afternoon with a friend of mine, her mum, gran and pup pup (miniature schnowzer, Kiwi; I hate dogs but that little thing is a darling). We just got in the car and said, “So, where do you want to go today?”

The fact that we just took off, drove in a direction with the vague intention of locating a coffee somewhere picturesque was so… freeing.

I’m usually that super uptight cretin that has to know exactly when we are meeting and exactly who will be there and exactly how close a blood relative of yours was dying that meant that you were 6 and a half minutes late… Sorry, friends… But it was a lazy Saturday. Sure it was grey outside but we had 4 wheels and a radio. The country roads of coastal Scotland are a heaven for those with itchy feet but no intention of really going anywhere. One of the things I love about where I live is that you can simply drive to the middle of nowhere, take in the scenery and call it being somewhere.

We ended up in a little pocket of creativity known as West Kilbride; a hub of arts and crafts and apparently Scotlands’s official craft town! Who knew! We’re all knitters and chrocheters, but now we have been inspired to take up peddaling and spinning yarn on looms and… pretending to be Sleeping Beauty or something… I dunno, but it was a lovely place anyway.

GIANT BALL OF WOOL!!

GIANT BALL OF WOOL!!

There was a gorgeous wool shop in town. We were drawn to it by the MASSIVE BALL OF COLOURED WOOL hanging outside the door. It was just… interesting, and a little bizarre. It tickled my funny bone so I took a pic and inside, was greeted with some of the softest wool I’ve ever felt, made from Alpaca! Can you say luxurious!? Clothing made out of that would be like getting stroked by… well, I’ll let you fill in the blank there 😉

Georgeous Antique clock

Georgeous Antique clock

Eventually we found our coffee and cakes in a cafe in Sea Mill. It seemed to literally pop up at the side of a road with nothing for miles in any direction. It simply seemed to be there and expect people to find it. Which they did. Considering we never passed any houses, the place was a pleasantly bustling little heaven from the biting cold wind blowing off the salty Clyde. Nothing like a crisp breeze and the lure of mediocre coffee to drive you off the road.

Well, that was my Saturday. Til next week! (When I am predicting I’m going to need a serious sleep coz it will be at the end of my first week back at Uni…)

Follow me in Instagram!

SSDD

The KPOP Weight Issue: Media Pressure, Personal Choice, International Expectations or a National Obsession?

So perhaps the title is misleading – I think the answer lays within them all, and in yet more contributing factors. But we’ll get to that.

First of all, fans of the genre will know that KPOP is an acronym used for Korean Popular Music and Popular Culture, though the predominant genre within that is pop, not so closely followed by hip-hop and R&B. Predominantly the genre is saturated with the sort of overly sugary cuteness that aspires to be sexy through the lavish use of hot pants and swishy hair.

An issue almost as important as the music itself has always been the image that came with it. The mere term ‘KPOP’ walks hand-in-hand with the term “idol”, and the face of an attractive young Korean – who is, almost without fail, stick thin. That is, at least where the girls are concerned. The guys often go for the overly muscular, 6 pack and pecks of steel image, if they are not trying for the androgynous, waif-like feminine figure favoured by those boys unable to achieve the so-called “chocolate abs”.

For some time now there have been concerns about the image these girls and boys (for few of them could really be called women and men) are presenting to the public, not to mention the impact it must be having on their own bodies.

The age range of an “idol” can be anywhere between 12, as demonstrated by GP Basic, to over 30, as can be seen with After Schools Kahi and Brown Eyed Girls Narsha and Jea. They average out in their early 20s, though training for the profession can begin in their early teens. Making it into a band, recording an album and finally being shown to the general public through release of an EP and performances on variety and music shows, is known as “debuting”. It is frequently referred to in terms of, “back in their rookie days”, or, “when they first debuted”…

In this way Asia runs their music industry in a completely different fashion to the West. For sure, Asia does have a thriving underground and Indie music scene, it just isn’t really paid all that much attention to in terms of media coverage. You really have to search to find people.

This stands in total contrast to here, where the club singer is king and the underdog the champion. Take newcomer-turned-superstar Ed Sheeran. Here we see a 21-year-old man who has worked himself from the guitar strings up, travelling to America with nothing more than the clothes on his back and the lyrics on his lips, hoping to catch a break (which he did – thank you Jamie Foxx!). Less than two years on and he has millions of YouTube views, a platinum selling No. 1 album, a string of hit singles, sold out concert dates, a world record and a Brit Award!

Stories like that just aren’t really heard of in the South Pacific.

This is just one of countless examples of how the two sides of the globe handle the music industry entirely differently.

In Asia, there is an incessant pressure to maintain a certain, very specific image. One may not be blamed for sometimes thinking, especially when it comes to girls, that if you’ve seen one big eyed, contact lensed, glossy haired selca taken from a flatteringly high angle – you’ve seen them all. If you’ve seen one girl doing a puffer fish faced peace signing pose, you are just as likely to look at the girl next to her and see her doing the exact same.

And what do all these lovely ladies have in common?

They are all further homogenised by their pale complexions and severely malnourished bodies.

Asian people are a naturally smaller, fitter, thinner group of people than, for example, the deep-fried-mars-bar loving Scots, or the quadruple McCheese Burger, quadruple by-pass Americans. It all comes down to staple diet and environment. They just live healthier in terms of their eating more fish and rice and vegetables, meat being eaten only sparingly.

Yet that does not excuse nor account for their bizarre and utterly inexplicable obsession with weight loss!

They seem completely obsessed with how thin girls are. To them, a girl we would deem slim, or athletic, would be a large girl, fat. A girl we would deem skinny may be lucky enough to only be bordering on fat, but is still likely to make it in to their plus size equivalent. This is not a healthy attitude to have.

Many companies and record labels have taken to monopolising the diets of their artists so as to maintain their “milky” complexions and super skinny frames.

I am ashamed to say it, but SM Entertainment, label of SHINee, Super Junior, TVXQ, Girls Generation and F(x), amongst others, is one of the most publically guilty of this.

Following scandals involving a court case with three ex-members of TVXQ, several nasty details of the way it often treats its artists were revealed. While the boys of that ill-fated court battle seemed to suffer the worst in terms of a “slave labour” contract, the girls certainly did not escape the evil hand of the KPOP diet enforcer.

Girls Generation, or SNSD as they are often known, are thought of as being amongAsia’s most beautiful women. The nine strong supergroup was formed in 2007 by SM Entertainment and have become one of the most successful and influential bands the continent has ever seen.

But.

This fame has come at something of a price with regards to their image. Following extensive plastic surgery to enhance the already naturally beautiful girls, as well as a strict exercise and eating regime, a new look was created.

In conjunction with the popularity of their music, the national obsession with their “look” began. Specifically, it was not their clothes which captivated people, nor was it their exquisitely crafted faces (plastic surgery is so common in Asia that it caused little more of a stir than is paid to any other plasticised celebrity). Oh no, it was an obsession with their painfully skinny bodies.

Except that they do not see anything wrong with them being so tiny. In fact, they practically worship them as glamour goddesses, queens of fashion and with figures of the most perfect and highly enviable status.

When I first saw them, I just about made it through their music video for “Gee” before I had to turn away in disgust.

Every one of those poor girls’ looks like an eating disorder help add. Serene, smiling faces, photo-shopped, flawless skin, glazed, glossy eyes, all features of faces that are 50% natural bone structure, 40% plastic and 10% computer generated. All on a head attached to a pole thin, torso, thread skinny arms and skeletal legs.

Their waif-like appearances prompted extreme dieting in order to achieve SNSDs’ “perfect” legs, and yet there is not ever, ever, one single mention of them being anorexic in any magazine or web article you care to look at. The closest you will get is a comment at the bottom of a page, quickly swamped with fans claiming otherwise, drowning out any protests.

Why, you ask?

Because none of their “look” has been their personal choice. While they were obviously determined to succeed and willing to work extremely hard to get to the top of the KPOP ladder, their company sought to turn them into the greatest beauties the industry had to offer, whatever the cost.

They were rumoured to have been forced to survive in only 900 calories a day, coupled with an intense work out. For the hours of training Korean performers are usually expected to do – sometimes up to 12 or even 14 hours continuously, some claiming without a break or water – this is clearly not nearly enough.

For their music video for “Hoot” the boots they wore are said to have been custom-made. The official line is that it was to fit the style of the video and give it a haute couture finish. But it is more likely that the girls’ legs were too thin to fit a normal sized boot.

For someone to be that unhealthily thin there is clearly a real problem. Last year, one of the girls, Yuri, known as “the fat one” due to the fact that her thighs were not invisible from the side, went on an exercising binge, reportedly eating only vegetables in vast quantities. She dropped to a weight reportedly somewhat under 6 stone. With her height, that placed her in the category of “dangerously underweight/at risk of death”. No joke, that is the medical term for it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruQVIJ5ZFkY Here is a video of her performing in that condition.

The images split fans, some in favour of the drastic diet, those who had clearly not lost their minds realising that this was completely insane and that that poor girl was damn near killing herself in an effort to be the thinnest-and-therefore-prettiest girl in KPOP. Thankfully, she soon after put back on a little of the weight, though not enough to be considered “the fat one” anymore. Was she proving a point or bowing to the insensible will of a warped cultural and professional pressure?

Now, I may be sounding a little harsh here. This is not to say that the girls are not all very pretty. They are, in fact, very beautiful. I just do not like my second thought after seeing a beautiful young woman to be – but my god is that girl ever so skinny!

SM Entertainment denied they had ever mistreated their employees and artists in this way and then started the obligatory round of interviews, with the girls talking about how their calorie intake was 1600 or 1100 or whatever it was when they were on a diet and if it went under that number it was self-imposed. Yes, because when all nine of you decide to weigh in at around 6 and a half stone, we are totally going to believe you did that to yourself. Obviously.

As recently as the end of 2011/start of 2012 they issued statements and televised interviews claiming that, actually, they ate whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted and showed footage of them backstage after performances, tucking into crisps and sweets and cake. Guesses on how long they starved for after that footage was broadcast… Especially since soon after they gave details, along with two other girl groups famed for their fat-free physiques, regarding their strict, portion controlled, content planned diet. Of course, ladies, you are totally not misleading your fans or hiding anything.

And they are not even the only culprits. The guilty parties can be seen across the board. Most of the girls you look at are the kind that needs a good McDonald’s shoved down their necks, if anything to make you feel better about doing the same to yourself!

They must not have any real kind of freedom! They are being pushed into a professionally regulated black hole of anorexia and depression. As if working under those conditions was not hard enough, they are not being allowed enough nutrients to even form correct hormones to deal with the pressure!

This national obsession is a disgusting mar on the collective psyche of a wonderful country. It is like a female version of their mandatory military service for men. All women must at some point suffer from Body Dismorphia and industry fuelled peer pressure and go on an insane diet that will leave you a cocktail stick sized sliver of your former self.

It may seem that I have a hatred of KPOP. This is absolutely no the case. In fact I have a mild obsession with it – for some reason. But I do have an issue with this. The way they often treat people is horrendous, even by the standards of an industry that is tough no matter what country you’re from. I will gladly document some of the happier stories, but with young women in Seoul starving themselves for glamour and North Korean people just thirty mile away too poor to eat, I just felt that this was an important issue.