Another Blog About The EU Referendum

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WARNING: This is an opinion piece about the result of the EU Referendum. I repeat: an OPINION piece. If you voted ‘Leave’ at the polls this week, I recommend you stop reading now. You’ll save yourself a rise in blood pressure.

I wish the ‘Leave’ posts on my social media feeds had come with a similar warning throughout this referendum. I am guilty of taking the clickbait, and calling out posts where I thought the information being shared was misleading or unnecessary. This didn’t make me feel good, but I stand by my words. I wouldn’t have published them on the web if I didn’t have faith in them.

I saw friends and family members determined to vote ‘Leave’, cite both rational and irrational reasons for doing so. I saw similar behaviour from  those voting ‘Remain’. The ‘Leave’ campaign had Brexit The Movie a chronically one sided ‘documentary’ designed to incite mistrust towards the EU, whilst the ‘In Crowd’ who supported the ‘Remain’ campaign used cute puppies to convince people to stay, which was patronising and weak.

When your personal aspirations and beliefs are affected by a political outcome; it’s hard to avoid being an angry, judgemental fuckwit. That’s why my newsfeed is full of riled up voices on both sides – we’re all guilty of losing our temper with someone in the last few weeks. I believe so-and-so is wrong, they believe so-and-so is right.

Perhaps that’s the issue; it’s all belief when it should be statistics and facts. But no-one has faith in the numbers because both sides have lied, though I would argue the ‘Leave’ campaign led the way here. Their promise to invest the millions of pounds we send to the EU each week back in to the NHS was a blatant lie (something which Nigel Farage casually revealed on breakfast television, shortly after the result had been announced).

In 2014, I attended a debate which acknowledged the importance of the then upcoming EU Referendum. Along with Belle Jar founders Louisa & Juliette, I was invited to the NAWO (National Alliance of Women’s Organisations) debate about ‘Young Women, Media Representation and Europe’. I listened to Paula Buonadonna (journalist, broadcaster, and Media Director at British Influence) talk about how important it was for young women to vote to remain in the EU if they wanted to see the changes they’d discussed put in to policies. I felt intensely hopeful when I left this debate, but two years later things feel quite different.

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend another EU debate this year, which was co-hosted by The Telegraph and The Huffington Post, and broadcast live by Youtube. I listened to Boris Johnson and Priti Patel debate their reasons for leaving the EU, and Liz Kendall and Alex Salmond debate why we should remain. Liz Kendall directly answered the majority of her questions, whereas Boris Johnson spent a lot of time dithering – there is no other word which accurately describes it – whilst trying to outwit Alex Salmond. Salmond also indulged in bids to outwit Johnson, but generally, Boris led the way in avoiding questions. I left the debate feeling confused by the statistics, but certain I would be voting ‘Remain’.

As we all know, my vote was not the winning vote.

Shortly after the result was announced, I saw a plethora of social media statuses which I had no patience for. The result had upset and angered a lot of my friends, and some thought this was an appropriate time to police people’s reactions, and tell them they shouldn’t complain. A few even suggested people didn’t understand or favour democracy because the vote “didn’t go their way”.

I didn’t post anything which suggested I felt this way, but what made my blood boil was that before this, many of us were chanting  “unless you vote, you don’t have a right to complain!”. Fast forward a few weeks; we’ve exercised our right to vote, the results are announced, we’re complaining, and suddenly that’s not okay? COME ON GUYS. Not only is it our right to moan if we’ve voted, we’re also British; so by nature we bloody love a bloody good moan! ‘kin ‘ell. Let a girl vent once in a while, eh?

To all those who’ve still got the arse ache; I salute you. Keep on moaning (unless you’re being offensive or a bully, then you should reel it in).

The “democracy is democracy, duh!” people telling others “not to over-react” were also guilty of simultaneously posting statuses joking about the result of the EU Referendum, which is the equivalent of waving a red flag in front  of a bull on social media. Well done! You’ve successfully added further hypocrisy to this shit-show of a referendum.

It’s easy to dismiss all of this, however, when we remember that MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered in her constituency days before the polling stations opened. Like many people, I didn’t know who Jo Cox was until her death was reported on national news. Britain First supporter Thomas Mair shot and stabbed her, multiple times, in broad daylight. He killed her because he was a right-wing extremist who didn’t agree with Jo’s liberal politics of growth and acceptance. I haven’t got the words to explain how cripplingly unfair it is that Jo’s killer was not treated with the same severity as any other extremist murderer, by the national press. We can moan and joke all we like, but a woman was killed for her political beliefs during this referendum. That’s more truthful and shocking than any statistic.

Nigel Farage told the papers he won the vote “without a shot being fired”, which is at best a stupid remark, and at worst; a callous disregard for the feelings of Jo Cox’s family. Farage, like most MPs, knows the power and influence of language. He should know better, but alas; this is the man who frightened a nation by using a campaign poster which resembles Nazi propaganda. I’d laugh, but it’s beyond a joke now.

But actually, I can laugh – because I am a privileged individual (and because I read Peep Show’s take on the Referendum). I’m not working class, but I’m not middle class. I have a full-time income, and I still live at home with my parents (#missindependent). Over the next few days, months, and years I imagine I will weather the potential changes that Brexit brings more comfortably than others who will be directly affected by the policy changes. I’ve always believed compassion works well when it comes to voting; and I voted ‘Remain’ because in my view, it was the compassionate thing to do. Laugh, undermine, attack that view all you like; we’ve all been wrong in some way during this debate. I don’t regret my decision.

Like everyone, I’m tired of all the hate and all the rage and all I want to do is sit down and have a cup of tea, and wait for all this to end. The problem is, it’s only just begun; so it’s going to be a while before anyone feels like sitting down with each other and talking calmly, instead of scalding each other with their opinions (and possibly their very hot cup of tea).

SUNDAY #14 – VOTE

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‘What’s the point? They’re all as bad as each other’

‘I can’t vote for Cameron/Milliband/Farage – the man looks like a moron’

‘It doesn’t make any difference’

I wish I could be as apathetic as the people who say these things about our government, but I nearly expired with rage typing out the quotes above this sentence. Fortunately, I come from a family that is unlikely to feel the brutal impact of a change in government, but I’m not naive enough to pretend that my circumstances could change at any moment. When you get to the polling station on 7th May this week, remember that you need empathy, not apathy when it comes to politics.

This post will divide and anger people, but I’m tired of hearing/seeing people pretend not voting in this election is a) right, b) cool, c) anarchic. Here are three reasons why I think you should vote in the General Elections on May 7th:

  1. Regardless of how much you know about politics, you can still make an informed decision about who to vote for.

I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of politics, I never have. I vote, I’ve written to my MP about feminist issues and I’ve signed online petitions.When I do decide to take an interest, it’s not difficult to find the policies of each party; they are currently everywhere. They’re arriving in leaflets through the letterbox, they’re being discussed on the news, and they’re being parodied on the internet. My research has been limited (and I’ve used this brilliant survey tool to see which policies I agree with), but you can easily make a decision about who to vote for without inducing a mind-numbing headache.

  1. Choosing not to vote ‘because it won’t make a difference’ is a) mad and b) stupid.

Bold words there, but hear me out.

I’m a fan of Russell Brand, I’ve seen his stand-up and applaud his attempts to re-form his sexist ways; but I don’t applaud the way he promotes apathy when it comes to voting. Brand says it’s ‘frustration’ not apathy, that leads to people not voting, but the only way to vent frustration is to act on it (which in this case means VOTE). It’s dangerous to become apathetic to something as important and influential as government. Every vote matters. You’re mad to think differently.

  1. As a young woman, it is important to remember how hard other women fought to give me the right to vote.

Men have been having their say for centuries, unlike women who were only granted the right to vote 87 years ago in 1928 (before this in 1918, only women householders over the age of 30 could vote). That’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Remember all the women who were abused, beaten, starved, and killed because they wanted their opinions to matter. Together, men and women can change our government; and it all starts with a vote on May 7th.

*Also, if you’re lacking motivation to get to the polling station, just cram this in your ears on the journey there:

(Image Courtesy of: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Global/get-involved/campaigns/vote_1563949c.jpg)

Fifty Shades of Disappointment – Revisited

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To mark the release of the infamous film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, I have re-posted a blog I wrote about my experience of reading E.L James’ novel. I’ve updated the post to include the extra paragraph that featured in the version of the blog I submitted to Belle Jar (and because for a literature student, my grammar is sometimes appalling.)

I will probably crack and go and see the film, because: JAMIE DORNAN. I just want it on record that I really wish everything about Fifty Shades was fifty times better. Here’s my updated rant:

I would like to begin this post by stating that naturally, I admire anyone who has taken the time and energy to produce a novel. I appreciate that it takes an immense amount of courage and bravery to write and publish your own work. It’s something I hope to achieve in the future and the idea of someone picking up my work and ripping it to shreds, breaks my tiny walnut heart. I am about to criticise E.L James erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. I now sound like a complete hypocrite (especially as I didn’t finish the book, I only read 178 pages) but rather than just shouting ‘I HATE IT! I HATE IT! I HATE IT!’ I thought I’d explain why I couldn’t finish reading it.

You might be thinking ‘Ugh, Bob is clearly just over-sensitive/easily offended and should get over this mildly pornographic novel’. If you think that, then you clearly don’t know me very well. I am not offended by graphic descriptions of sex in literature – it’s 50% of the reason I love books so much. You can be as filthy as you like in the most intelligent of ways! The library scene in Ian McEwan’s Atonement gives me tingles, Emilé Zola’s Germinal makes me do a sexy shudder, and Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber is still rocking my world. I was hoping Fifty Shades would provoke a similar reaction.

I’d spoken about the book with friends, and my old school teachers. They had all come to a similar conclusion: that it was terribly written soft porn. Some of them liked it, some of them dismissed it. I wanted to read it out of curiosity, but didn’t want to actually pay for it (just in case it really was complete trash.) Fortunately, I was in a charity shop one day and I saw it on the shelf at the tempting price of 75p. I handed over my pennies to the smirking, yet sympathetic cashier, and hastily left the shop as if I’d just committed a terrible crime. I started reading the next day, and I was generally impressed with the way E.L James established the characters of the young literature student Anastasia Steele, and the intimidating businessman Christian Grey. (Obviously, with the turn of every page I was waiting for some sexy bits, but that didn’t happen until about page 100.) I continued reading and started to become aggravated with James’ persistent repetition of specific phrases. The words ‘holy hell’ appeared before, during, and after every awkward, sex-free encounter Anastasia had with Christian. She also reused the phrase ‘damn my clumsiness!’ too many times to count. I wanted to scream in to the page: ‘I GET IT! SHE’S CLUMSY!’ If James cut half of these phrases the novel would flow smoothly. However, this isn’t what disappointed me the most…

Before they engage in sexual activities, Christian Grey busts out a hefty, sexy contract for Anastasia’s consideration. It states that Christian wants to be ‘the dominant’ and control all aspects of Anastasia’s sex life, therefore making her ‘the submissive’. There’s a very important bit about consent, discretion, physical well-being, and personal limits, but you get the gist, right? Well, the amount of pages James dedicates to the explanation of this ‘contract’ is one of the most excessive, boring things I‘ve ever had to read (and I’ve read Middlemarch.) Her repetition of ‘the dominant’ and the ‘submissive’, nearly caused me to rip the book to shreds. I don’t ever want to see those words in print again (…oops.) However, this still isn’t what disappointed me the most…

The character of Christian Grey is cringe-worthy. From the reviews I’d read and the facebook statuses I’d seen, I assumed he was a Demi-God. Quite frankly, I’m not turned on by his helicopter (the one he physically flies, not the penis trick), his entrepreneurial success, or fundamentally anything he does or says. I don’t like the way he keeps talking to Anastasia’s vagina about its ‘intoxicating smell’, and I especially hate the way he calls her ‘baby’. Don’t even get me started on his ‘sexy’ Red Room (weird/inappropriate allusion to Bluebeard and Jane Eyre there? Another reason why the book infuriates me!) I’m surprised Anastasia didn’t out-right laugh in his face when Christian showed it to her, gave her a sexy contract and said ‘think about it, yeah babe?’ (THAT’S BASICALLY WHAT HE DOES!) However, this still isn’t what disappointed me the most…

I cannot handle the way Anastasia Steele does not call her vagina what it is: A VAGINA! She refers to it as ‘my sex’. James will write graphically about oral and penetrative sex, but she refuses to use the word ‘vagina’? She doesn’t even use a playful word like ‘p***y’, or something blunt like ‘c**t’, she constantly refers to it as ‘my sex’. Perhaps she thinks this displays Anastasia’s consent and ownership over her body? Perhaps it is, actually sexy? Over 70 million copies of the book have been sold, which means other people seem to really enjoy this kind of thing. I appear to be alone in my loathing of this newly coined, vaginal terminology. However, this still isn’t what disappointed me the most…

Finally, I am about to reveal the real reason that I had to stop reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The first time E.L James referenced Thomas Hardy’s tragic nineteenth-century novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, I knew I was destined not to reach the finish line. It is Anastasia Steele’s favourite book, it also happens to be one of mine. James uses the novel’s title as a motif; a classic reference that could potentially give her novel a sturdy, credible backbone. I am about to smash that backbone right up. For those who haven’t read Hardy’s novel, seventeen year old Tess Derbyfield is raped by her ‘cousin’ Alec D’Urberville. There are many literary critics who have tried to dismiss this rape by arguing that Tess is a passive, but consenting sexual partner. To summarise: their argument is BULLS**T. It is horrifically clear that Tess does NOT consent to Alec’s advances. She is a seventeen year old girl, completely unaware of how to defend herself in a society where she is deemed a sinner, even though she is the victim of horrific sexual harassment. Tess’s appeal to her Mother after she has been raped surely proves that she was not an active, consensual partner in her encounter with Alec D’Urberville:

‘How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why didn’t you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn’t you warn me?’

I feel that James uses references to Hardy’s novel incorrectly, and as poor justification for male dominance and female submission. How does Tess’ story compare to Anastasia’s story? Anastasia is ‘warned’ by Christian’s ‘contract’ about what he would like to do to her. She wholeheartedly admits that she desires him in every way. Not once does Tess admit desire or consent to sex with Alec. Tess is raped, Anastasia is not. I find it baffling that E.L James thought this would be a valid reference for her novel. Even in terms of ‘the dominant’ and ‘the submissive’, it is still a completely misused reference. This is why I had to stop reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

I am open to the idea that James’ novel isn’t supposed to be taken seriously (it is fan fiction based on the characters of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from the super successful Twilight series.) I like to think that readers are potentially more interested in the emotional relationship between Anna and Christian, than the sexual relationship, but I find it disappointing that such a badly written novel with such inappropriate references, has gained such popularity. If like Oscar Wilde famously said, all art is ‘useless’, then Fifty Shades is harmless, but if all art is ‘propaganda’ like George Orwell suggested; what kind of message is James trying to convey? She is exploring elements of female sexuality, which is commendable, but her characters are so unsatisfying (and highly unrealistic – I don’t know any women who managed to climax whilst losing their virginity), I could only read 5-10 pages at a time before the disappointment turned to despair. I’m genuinely confused as to what kind of message this novel sends to women and men, about the role of sex in a relationship? The only thing I can praise is the discussion about consent, but even that was portrayed in the unrealistic medium of a ‘contract’.

I fully accept that it’s not the best idea to judge a book by its first 100 pages (178 to be precise). However, I have researched the plot online and can happily say that I would‘ve gained nothing but another rage-induced headache from continued reading. I also fully accept that I have repeated the phrase ‘However, this still isn’t what disappointed me the most…’ four times, thus committing the same literary sin as E.L. James. Oh well, I doubt she will take offence at this blog post for the following reasons:

  1. I only have about 5 regular readers
  2. She’s one of the best-selling authors in the world, why would she care what one disgruntled reader thinks?
  3. Jamie Dornan is going to make even haters like me sort of want to see the film (DAMN YOU DORNAN, YOU CHARASMATIC BASTARD!)

‘Anger is a Gift’

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Sylvia Plath, Self-Portrait

I can feel the deepest emotional injury over the smallest of things. If you’ve watched David Attenborough’s Life Story recently, you’ll understand the sheer despair I felt watching a tiny gosling, fall hundreds of feet down a cliff face, only to get mauled by a fox. It was horrific. I’m still getting over it. However, I don’t want to talk about Attenborough-based emotion; I want to talk about anger. I want to talk about why I would rather feel angry than sad.

If you know me in person, you probably wouldn’t associate me with being angry. I suffer from the very British ‘stiff-upper-lip’ syndrome and am therefore emotionally stunted in all social situations. I manage to ‘keep a lid on it’ most of the time. Anger comes in different forms, and manifests itself both internally and externally. Through studying English Literature, I have learnt that female anger in particular, is naturally repressed; it is unfeminine to be angry. I’ve just finished reading Little Women, and have been studying a variety of critical essays that discuss the role of female anger in the novel. Louisa May Alcott’s novel, subtly instructs girls to internalise their rage as they grow in to women, because angry women will not be eligible for marriage *dramatic sigh*. Internalising rage is also a key aspect of the classic novels written by the Bronté sisters. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels, purely because Jane has a restless and irrepressible anger, equal to any man’s:

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel”

Internalising anger seems to be a dangerous, but necessary thing for women in the nineteenth-century, but I feel like the fourth wave of feminism is allowing modern women to be openly angry again.

So, I am here as an advocate for anger. I want to say that I think it’s okay to be angry, regardless of your gender. I’m not encouraging physical violence, and I’m definitely not suggesting you go out and head butt someone. That’s not okay; that makes you a bit of a bastard. What I’m saying is that anger can be a really useful, and important emotion.

When I become angry, it is usually because I have been humiliated or ignored. I still remember the time in year 9 when a girl who was trying to intimidate me, kneed me in the back of the leg in the P.E changing rooms, which consequently led me to nearly drop my P.E bag, and fall down in front of the other girls in my class. I snapped, turned around, and swore my head off at her. She was stunned in to silence. The humiliation, and the force of my reaction, made me angry, not sad. Now I’ve seen the back of secondary education (thank God), if something or someone has provoked anger in me, I take a few moments to compose myself, rather than just ‘eff and blind away. I’ve realised anger is much more useful when it is captured, and channelled in to something that benefits you in the long term.

I was angry about ‘lad culture’, and the misunderstanding of the word ‘feminism’; so I started writing for Belle Jar. I was angry about feeling creatively inadequate; so I started attending improvised comedy classes, and writing this blog. I was angry about getting the bus to work, and always being late; so I spent a year learning to drive. I was unbearably angry about being unexpectedly pushed aside; so I took up running and it’s helped take my mind off things. If I had felt sad about any of the above, I would not have achieved any of the above. Sadness paralyses me, but anger propels me in to action.

I realise that ‘sad’ is a blanket term, but I mean anything from marginally tearful to utterly distraught. If I find myself feeling anything like sadness, I achieve absolutely nothing. Sadness immobilises me; I don’t want to go anywhere, see anyone, I can barely talk without crying if I feel truly sad about something. I’m not denying that I often feel like this, I’m simply stating that like most people, naturally, I hate to feel sad. I’m sure the amateur psychologists amongst you will be able to judge me as passive aggressive or in dire need of some kind of counselling. Perhaps you are correct. I’m learning to laugh off the rage and sadness though, so I worry about it less than I used to.

Passive aggressive? Probably. Am I going to cry about it? No, I’m going to go for a run, write a story, drive my car, and imagine round-house kicking someone’s face off instead. This wouldn’t be a proper blog-post without a good lyric, So, courtesy of the immensely angry/talented Rage against the Machine, remember:

‘Don’t turn away, get in front of it; anger is a gift’.

Tackling the Big Stuff: Clothes and Outfit-Repeating

“Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.”

Virginia Woolf – Orlando

As Woolf points out in the above quotation; clothes are more than just protective, insulating barriers between us and the world; they serve aesthetic and occasional purposes. Some people couldn’t care less what they’re wearing and some people make it their life’s work to influence what everyone else is wearing.

As a young woman, I am acutely aware of the impact clothing can have on my own confidence and the way other people react to me. Here are a few moments in my life when I’ve realised how important – and with the gift of hindsight – how unimportant what I’m wearing is:

When I was eleven years old, my Mum accidentally ordered me a boy’s blazer for the start of my first year at secondary school. She didn’t realise the error and I didn’t either, until one of my friends pointed it out to me in the school playground. The fundamental difference was the ‘butt-flap’ on my blazer and the lack of ‘butt-flap’ on the girls’ blazer my friend was wearing. She found my blazer mishap quite hilarious; and as an eleven year old girl, with great big Dad-style eyebrows and a tiny sense of self-esteem; I was internally mortified.

I spent the first two years of senior school covering my ‘butt-flap’ with my extra-large school bag, praying no-one would notice I’d accidentally come to school dressed as a boy. I feel this incident inspired my later attempt at an androgynous look in my early twenties.

Fast-forward a few years, and my awareness of fashion trends had increased. It was a crime to not wear Nike trainers in P.E, and if your blazer sleeves were not rolled up and your tie wasn’t longer than a millimetre; you were obviously a complete dork. On non-uniform day, If your clothes didn’t have labels; you were likely to fall under the label of ‘nobody’. I bought in to it as much as the next kid. My parents insisted I would grow out of these new clothes within six months, or change my mind about them within three. They were wrong about one thing; I didn’t grow until I hit the age of fifteen, but they were definitely right about the mind-changing (Damn my wise, patient, caring parents).

I remember one particular non-uniform day when I wore my brand new fluffy body-warmer, with matching fur boots, and an older boy walking behind me on the way to class kindly remarked; ‘f*****g hell, did she kill a bear before school or something?’. In hindsight I applaud his creative insult, but at the time I was highly embarrassed. Fur was on trend that season and I thought I looked the bees knees. Perhaps that was the problem – bumble bees are excessively furry.

Another time, I wore a pair of bright pink converse-style shoes during my first week of sixth form, only to have a random year 9 girl exclaim ‘what the f**k is she wearing on her feet?’ as she walked past me in a corridor. At the time, I’d just grown in to a size 8 shoe and was struggling to find footwear to fit my awkward goat feet. This girl’s comment bothered me so much that I stopped wearing the shoes to school. If I could go back; I’d wear the shoes every day and politely remind her I HAVE SIZE 8 FEET THAT CAN AND WILL DO YOU SERIOUS DAMAGE IF YOU INSULT ME AGAIN. (That’s a lie; I’m a lover not a fighter; but sometimes passive aggressive imaginings make me feel better).

More recently, where I work; I was serving a Mother and daughter who were discussing what the daughter’s plans were for that evening. When the Mother suggested the daughter wear her favourite dress, the daughter insisted she couldn’t wear that outfit because on her Facebook profile it would look like she’d worn the same dress two nights in a row. This was a crime she was convinced she could not commit, so she spent an extra £30 on a dress she wasn’t all that crazy about, in order to avoid outfit-repeating.

As a budget queen, student, and owner of a ‘make do and move on’ attitude; I found it difficult to understand why this young girl wouldn’t want to re-wear her favourite dress. I consistently repeat the same outfits, because I know they look good, and more importantly; they make me feel good. Then I remembered how closely people had monitored my clothing choices in the past; and the embarrassing comments they had made about what I was wearing. Perhaps this young girl hadn’t found a way of saying ‘I’ll wear what I like, regardless of what you think’ to anyone yet.

All of these experiences proved to me that the clothes you’re wearing are apparently, the most important thing about you. What you’re wearing is up for public scrutiny at all times; whether it’s your friends at school, a random boy/girl, or your friends on social media; your clothes or your ‘outfit-repeating’ suggests that you’re not dressed in the correct way (whatever that is?).

As I’ve grown, I’ve tried and mostly succeeded in ignoring these kinds of pressures, and slowly found my own style (with the help of some truly excellent clothing outlets like Missguided, Asos & TopShop, as well as raiding charity shops). It wasn’t until recently, however, when I thought about these accumulated experiences; that I suddenly felt the need to justify to myself that it’s okay to resist the pressure to look absolutely-bloody-fabulous every time you walk out of the door to buy some bin-bags. For some, the pressure is external, and for others it’s internal, but it can be overcome.

Ultimately, I take comfort from Virginia Woolf’s words. Yes, clothes do tell us a lot about a person; but they are not the only way to identify with someone. Sometimes they’re a complete enigma, or a disguise; and we should endeavour to live and let live, whatever we’re wearing.

DOCS ON THE ROCKS

Dr. Martens and socks, on the Rocks

“It’s just a plant, fam” – Why cannabis isn’t the drug you think it is

Insightful and interesting read here. “Sometimes being safe is just as cool, man”

We Talk About Drugs

One in three of us have tried cannabis. If you’re in that one in three, like I am, you were probably told this right before you tried it the first time:

‘It’s a plant, fam – it’s like eating a vegetable – stop being a little pussy, it’s good for you, yeah?’ or something thereabouts.

You agreed without giving it much thought, took a pull, nodded along with everyone else whose eyes looked as though they were recovering from a hit of pepper spray, and listened to Bob Marley’s back catalogue.

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More often than not, I’d experience the worst of its effects: the acute psychotic episodes – the paranoia, the anxiety and the rest of the nasties that comes with THC. I did try playing my guitar once whilst high to tap into its ‘creativity enhancing properties’ (and because it looked good when Hendrix did it) but came off sounding like I’d just picked…

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