Build it your way

There is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ of doing anything.  There is only the  way it feels right or wrong to you.  There is no higher power saying you must get all A*’s on your school exams or you will be a failure.  There is no higher power saying you must eat with your fork in your left hand or you have no manners and there is no higher power saying you must work for someone else all your life, get married and have children before you are able to relax for 20 years.

There is also no higher power saying that any of the above are wrong.  See where I am going?  Everything we see in society has been created by other humans and we then try to fit in to that way to feel established.  But that isn’t a way of establishing yourself, that is a way of establishing someone else’s influence or idea of ‘right’.

Now I am going to give you some advice but please, feel free to dismiss it, because again, it might not be right for you:

DO WHATEVER YOU FEEL TO DO

Follow your heart, follow your dreams.  Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done.  Anything can be done.  There is no rule book.  There is no set way of doing things.  The only real thing we do know is that:

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Apply yourself freely to what you love and you shall reap reward.

Be kind to others and you will create a kinder world.

Love conquers all.

There is no such thing as failure, only a chance to learn.

All of these things need to be remembered.  You do not have to be earning a certain amount by a certain age to be deemed successful.

You do not have to have a 9-5 job to be taken seriously.

You do not have to meet someone and settle down to be considered loveable

You do not have to love women, or men, or both or for that matter, neither.  You should love who you  love (I must question the woman who fell in love with a tree though, but hey, each to their own).

You can create any life you want and by never forgetting that you are a living example to others and you will help them live a free life true to themselves.  Fear is the only thing stopping us so let’s be brave and be everything we want to be.  We are all headed out of this life the same way, don’t spend it following the herd!

Here’s to living Pride!

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Take responsibility!

So often us women tear down men for the way we are treated:

“He doesn’t make enough effort with me”.

“He doesn’t message me enough”.

“He never calls me on the phone”.

“Why hasn’t he asked me out yet”.

“Why does he always put his friends first”.

“Why doesn’t he dress smart when we go out”.

“If he just changed a little bit he would be perfect”.

And so on…..

But the thing is girls, you are the ones accepting this behaviour and by doing so deeming it acceptable. You hold these high standards but yet you are not making anyone actually meet them. Instead you accept this shoddy behaviour and expect the man to raise the ‘standard’ bar himself. Well, he is not going to do that.

If you don’t like how you are being treated then DON’T PUT UP WITH IT. Address the issue with him perhaps once and if it continues – walk away. You will soon see if he is willing to meet your standards and treat you the way you deserve to be treated. If he isn’t willing to do that then why on earth would you even want him around? Stop digging your claws into deadweight guys and start living your life the way you want it to be and do it for you. You deserve it. It’s not about being demanding or high maintenance, it’s about only accepting the best in life which I am sure is what you are offering a partner in return.

You don’t need the wrong man you need the right one and the only way you will ever meet him is if you cut away all the men who are far from good enough for you. have some self-respect and treat yourself by the same standards you want someone else to treat you. You can survive a little bit of heartbreak, disappointment and insecurity whilst you forget about the latest deadbeat. To live a life being treated like you are not a Queen just so you don’t run the risk of living alone for a small while IS NOT living. It is clinging.

Demand more for yourself through your actions. You don’t need to give someone a list of rules or tell them off for what they aren’t doing. Just know that you will not stay for something that isn’t worth it and prove it – by leaving situations that are bad for you.

Stronger than ever before Pride!

Using pain…

So many of us live in fear of being hurt. We push people away and we close ourselves off to so much joy in fear that we will feel pain, humiliation or heartbreak. We attach ourselves to people who do not deserve our time because we are scared of being alone, scared that no one else will want us. This is my topic today.

When we tolerate behaviour from others that is less than we are worthy of, we might as well hold up a big sign saying ‘I am not worthy of being loved’. You have to first truly understand your worth before you can expect others to see it, and even then, if others do not value themselves to the same degree, they may still be incapable of treating you to the standard you deserve.

It’s so easy to say isn’t it? If someone isn’t treating you right then get rid of them! When our emotions are involved logic seems to go out of the window and our heart wants to hold on to a person we care about now matter what. So what can we do?

Well first of all you have to set your standards. You have to ask yourself what you are worth and how you should be treated. If you struggle with answering this then answer this question:

How would you treat someone you were in love with?

Do you shower them with kisses? Tell them how gorgeous they are? Cook for them? Dress up for them? Send them nice little messages during the day? prioritize them? Want what is best for them?  All of these?

Well now make sure you demand at least the same for yourself and do these same things for yourself too. If you don’t put yourself first then why should anybody else? Most importantly you probably won’t feel worthy of this behaviour even if it is shown to you, if you don’t believe it is the minimum you deserve.

If someone shows you anything less than this you cannot be afraid to demand it or walk away from this person.

Every single time I have let someone disrespect me or undervalue me I have been worse off for it. I have been left feeling unimportant and neglected. I have had my heartbroken and not felt good enough. Scared that nobody will love me. All because I have put that person higher than myself. However, every time I have demanded more or walked away from someone who didn’t treat me as good as I deserved to be treated, I have received someone better in my life. I still had to go through a period of hurt. I have still missed that person for a while. Cried a little on my own or to my friends, checked my phone in case they tried to contact me and felt lonely and miserable. But after that time passes – which it always does – I have met someone better than the last.

I have come to look at pain as a good thing. When any type of relationship ends there is a sort of ‘mourning period’. We have to say goodbye to someone and accept that they won’t be in our lives anymore. But I believe this time should also be spent saying goodbye to the mouse inside of us. That time spent feeling sad can be redirected to feeling sad that we have ever tolerated anything other than the best.  Spend the time feeling sad for that person who will lose us. Feeling sad that they will forever remember they lost something beautiful whilst we gain self-respect and self-love. I often end up feeling so sad for the person who wronged me that I wish for them to find happiness in hopes that they can understand how to properly treat someone and really accept happiness into their lives. I hope that for them so that maybe it will also spare the next girl feeling even remotely how I was made to feel.

Once you accept that pain is inevitable in life and doesn’t last forever you can use it much more effectively. Allow the pain to wash through you, feel it and use it. Be gentle and patient with yourself. The more you try to fight pain or fight for someone who doesn’t deserve you the longer you are punishing yourself.

Let me ask you a question….

If you are holding a diamond the size of your fist, are you willing to put it down and walk away from it  in the middle of a crowded place, in hopes that it will still be there when you return?

I didn’t think so. You are that diamond. If someone is willing to risk losing you by walking away, don’t be there when they come back. Someone else will see your value and never risk letting you go. Just have faith.

Let’s use our pain, be honest about it, cry through it and perhaps eat a little extra chocolate during it. Be true to your feelings and authentic in feeling them. Fight for your worth and understand always that – you are as good as the next and better than most! That, fellow pride, is the truth.

Kisses to you all x

The traditional feminist.

So I have decided to get a better idea of what it means to people to be a ‘feminist’. This was sparked by a friend of mine who went on a date on Saturday night. It was a first date and the man she went out with arranged a place to meet for some drinks. He bought two rounds of drinks and they were getting on very well. He then said to her ‘aren’t you going to get the third round in? I gave you a chance to get the second round and then gave you the benefit of the doubt by getting them myself’. My friend is a very ‘traditional’ girl – partly to do with culture and partly to do with her own views on men and women. She laughed and explained it was a first date and she believed that if a man asks you out he should pay. It sparked a debate between them and he explained that he was a real feminist. He put it down to the fact he was ‘artsy’ and people in ‘that world believe in feminism’. (Thanks for believing you speak for the whole of the Arts world). It got me thinking, does being a feminist mean that the roles for courting are now the same? Should a woman be just as willing to carry her groom through the threshold? Should he wear a fake breast and feed his newborn baby? Should she court him? Should she open the door and let him through first? Does feminism mean that men and women do not have differences?

The definition of the word feminism is different to different people. I have taken some time to ask men and women from all different backgrounds and cultures what it means to them and what being a feminist means in a relationship between a man and woman.

The dictionary definition of a feminist (dictionary.com):

Advocating social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

The world, in my opinion, owes a lot of thanks to feminism and there are still a lot of issues that are being fought or highlighted in regards to women’s rights that, without feminism would go unnoticed. I have listed just some of the changes made below by people who have fought for women’s rights:

  • Women were once largely absent from standard history texts.
  • Women did not used to be allowed to vote
  • Women could not have credit cards in their own name
  • Women could not legally terminate a pregnancy
  • Women could not attend certain Ivy League colleges
  • Women could not become an Astronaut
  • Women could not join the Army
  • Marital rape was ok
  • Sexual harassment at work was not illegal

In the Western world a lot has changed for women and we now have many equal rights to men. There are now lots of issues being highlighted across the rest of the world and feminists, are fighting hard to stand up for women.

Often I hear people using the term ‘feminist’ to make a woman feel like less of a woman. It will be used to try to put down her independence, her career or her relationship. It is a way of defeminizing a woman.

I asked the people around me what they thought. I asked men and women, some older, some younger, some gay, some straight, some single, some married. I asked two questions, the first was what feminism meant in everyday life, the second about what feminism meant in a relationship.

The general feedback about feminism in everyday life seems to always come down to the workplace. They believed that a woman should be paid the same as a man in the same role and that they should be able to apply for any job a man can.

One friend of mine is doing a college course in plastering and she has had a lot of negative response about doing so, particularly by males. Not in the sense that they are ridiculing her but in the sense that they can’t understand why she would do that being a woman. She has even had comments about doing a nice easy job instead, one where she can look nice instead of learning this trade. For her feminism is about being able to do whatever she wants to do regardless of gender and not being judged or believed to be unfeminine.

Nothing was really highlighted about political rights, medical rights or even really social rights – i.e credit cards. I like the idea that we have come so far as to not even recognise there was ever a difference in these now, although they should not be forgotten. It shows that everyone involved in fighting for these rights really accomplished something, so much so, that they are a natural way of life now in certain parts of the world.

The feedback I had about being a feminist in a relationship was a little more varied. However, it has been quite common that people view a feminist as typically a woman who will be challenging, difficult or stubborn. She will expect to be regarded the same as a man but with the man still paying on dates and pulling out a chair or opening doors. Perhaps it would be fair to say that there is a feeling of hypocrisy. She is also seen as somebody fighting against the entire male race and she is typically not feminine, I even had a friend describe it as unfortunate that a feminist is often thought of as ‘a woman with short hair, tom-boyish with unladylike mannerisms’. This is so true and often joked about socially. The stereotype is quite ironic – A feminist, is not feminine.

Some of my friend’s view feminism as being able to be respected and seen as strong and succesful in their careers, as much as a man would in the same role, and even though that is what THEY are, they don’t view themselves as feminists because they are a stay at home mum cooking dinner for their husband. I found this interesting.

I had one response that I found so important and so right that I was almost sad to see that it was neglected to be highlighted in every other response I received, it was in regards to feminism in a relationship – I quote:

‘It would also be about respecting each other’s bodies and not forcing the other person to do what they don’t feel comfortable doing. ‘

This is a great point because like I mentioned earlier, at one time marital rape was not considered a crime. Without feminism this would still continue to be acceptable. By regarding a woman as equal it means that she is equal sexually too and her body has to be respected. Something still not adhered to in many countries today. Sexual abuse and domestic violence are very serious and very damaging to a person. Can you imagine living in a world where this is deemed acceptable? Many people do and even those that don’t and still suffer it often don’t feel supported enough to come forward. This was just such an important point that is actually very much to do with feminism (whether or not you are for or against it) and yet it is forgotten far too easily, by myself included.

I started to question people a little bit more to find out whether or not you could be a feminist but still have a traditional relationship.

Once asked this question and given time to think, many of the people I spoke to actually agreed you could be a feminist and still have a traditional relationship. That there are in fact differences between men and women that need to be respected. That these differences don’t make one gender more important than the other.

I talk a lot about the roles of men and women and you hear me always support the idea of being a strong and independent woman. I do not believe men are better than women or vice versa (maybe I do take my own side occasionally, but come on, girl power and all)!

I was thinking about a young woman I met in Bali who was telling me that her husband forbid her to work so she couldn’t work. We knew each other well and I leant to her and said ‘Where I come from, I do what I want to do, no man can tell me what I can and can’t do’. She laughed because she knew I was telling the truth, but she also laughed because she didn’t believe she could ever get away with having the same attitude. It angered me that people could feel so controlled. That women believed they were lower than men. If I could teach every woman on this planet to stand together and unite and empower each other to understand their worth, I would. I would teach them that no man has the right to take from you, no man should be paid higher than you simply for being a man, no man can control your life.

I believe that a woman should be ambitious and not be defined by a man. She should be educated and follow her dreams. She should be self-sufficient. She should make her own money and have her own career. She should take herself out and spoil herself. She should love herself. She should have choice and control over her own life.

Doesn’t this make me a feminist?

Yet I believe that a man should be the head of the household. The protector, the provider (to a certain extent), the one to take out the rubbish, he should be respected by his kids and they should fear crossing him. I believe a woman should raise the children (however she so pleases of course – she can work or not work that is none of my business). I believe a woman should nurture and care for her man, she should take care of him by being a woman. The love of a woman is different to the love of a man. We both provide different things. Being equal does not mean we are the same. I believe a man should impress and court a woman and she should allow him to do so. I believe anything else emasculates or defeminizes either gender. This is not healthy and not in line with our animal instincts. For me I do not find the idea of carrying my groom over the threshold attractive, I expect him to open a door or pull out a chair. I expect him to be as much of a man to me as I will be a woman to him. That is still equal.

I believe that a traditional and feminist relationship is healthy. Feminism is not about attacking the entire male race. It is not about proving our physical strength to be the same. It is not about becoming a man, but knowing that by being a woman we are as strong and magnificent and powerful as any man could be, but in our own way. The way of a woman. Most men I know and have spoken to, agree with this.

How has the word feminist been changed to this stereotype that most people today believe it means? I myself have pictured this stereotype when hearing the word feminist. I do not now.

What do you think?

RUNNING MAN PART 2

I know right – him again. Well no story would ever be fun without some tales of lowering your standards so much so, that you actually prune the path that lets idiots walk back into your life. So at least I can provide some entertainment.

So I had been out with our banker guy and that had ended pretty badly. I had just gotten home after an extremely long bus journey. I was tired and had been missing The Running Man a little bit. I wasn’t upset though, I had actually found the evening funny. I knew it would always be a good story at the very least and I felt a sense of independence that I was proud of.  I had escaped an arsehole and his underground car park and then I had found my way home through the nighttime jungle of drunken party goers.

 

I had just tucked myself into bed when my work phone went off – It was the Running Man – I had blocked him from contacting me on my personal phone and had forgotten he had my work number too. He sent me several messages trying to get me to talk to him. He saw me go online, read them and then go offline. He didn’t stop messaging so I asked him what he wanted. He tried to apologise and say he missed me. I wasn’t having any of it though and eventually he called me. He was telling me how he had freaked out majorly and hadn’t felt this way about anybody before and he didn’t think he was good enough so he just ran and he felt so awful about it all. He said he opened up to his brother and even he had a go at him for the way he had treated me. He told me how he would be at work miserable, trying to think of things wrong with me so he wouldn’t think about me as much but he couldn’t find anything real enough. Now pride, he might be a schmuck but he isn’t doing too badly with these lines is he? He went on and on for about an hour telling me he just wanted one more chance. So I said to him ‘Running Man, you are giving me a whole bunch of reasons as to how amazing you think I am, however, I am not going to commend you for seeing what is in front of you, I want to know why on earth I should even consider giving you another chance. He went on to tell me he wanted to prove to me that he was good for me and that he could be the man I deserved. I blamed him for my bad date, I told him I had a date lined up on the Sunday too. I told him that I was so angry.

The annoying thing was that I could feel I was going to forgive him. I knew it. I should have not replied to any of those first messages but I had and here I was entertaining this conversation. There was no point in pretending otherwise. Besides, people deserve second chances right?

So we were back to seeing each other. He asked me if I was still planning to go on my Sunday date and I told him if he wanted me to cancel he better arrange something for us to do instead. He did. We had a nice day together and things were good again. I still panicked every time I didn’t hear back from him for a few hours, I was still waiting for things to go wrong and him to disappear, but he didn’t and things were good.

A couple of weeks passed and me and my little sister had decided to get away for a night. A real girly night away just the two of us and then the next night I was going to spend with the man in question. It had turned out to be a pretty bad day, he had to go into work for a pretty stressful meeting and was really worried and my cousin had phoned me to tell me my Uncle was in hospital and wasn’t going to be with us for much longer. The two of us had a nice conversation trying to lift each other’s spirits. I decided to still go away and make the most of our plans.

About an hour after we arrived at the hotel my cousin phoned and told me the sad news that my Uncle had passed away. It was a sad moment. Still I was glad to be with my sister and thankful for the support from our Running Man. I decided to see how his meeting was going and if he was out tell him what had happened.

I couldn’t see him on Whatsapp. I tried calling him, straight to voicemail. I picked up my sister’s phone and called him – ringing. He has done it again. What the hell?? WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL????? IS HE SERIOUS? It was all a bit much to take in the space of 20 minutes so I took a moment to breathe and compose myself. I blocked him on everything. Sent him a very angry message off of my sister’s phone and opened a bottle of wine. He was then spotted later on that evening back on POF, his photo, his details except with a different age and star-sign. Where do these crazies crawl out from? All I knew was that I was done giving him chances. He would never have a space in my head!

That is the thing with second chances. They shouldn’t be given out too easily. Do you think if you cross a Lioness you will get away with it even once? Most certainly not, there wouldn’t even be a second time. Bare this in mind when you are hearing the desperate plea of an undeserving male suitor!

A few more crazies to work through yet pride don’t worry…..!

The first, first date!

Being in a relationship for such a long time meant that I knew nothing about single life as an adult. I had been with one person for a very long time and I thought that is how all relationships were. The problem with this was that I believed that men didn’t prioritize women, found them a nuisance or a nag, didn’t really care about them, didn’t want to be seen out with them once they had gotten them and didn’t listen or support them, among MANY other damaging beliefs that we will save for later. It is very safe to say I was in a very unhealthy relationship and it had left its mark. I found myself as a 25-year-old woman feeling like a teenager, completely clueless.

So after finishing a long-term prison sentence – also known as the 9-year relationship I was in and my best friend declaring he had feelings for me and me running for the hills in fear, my friend suggested I join an online dating site. I was very unsure, I wasn’t up for meeting crazies that were going to try to lure me back to weird sex caves and wear my face as a mask thanks. She assured me that it was quite common for people to meet through online dating and that she herself had used one and it was a good way of talking to people. She suggested I use it purely as an ego boost ‘put up a pretty picture and just watch the messages come flooding in, it will make you feel good about yourself’. Well I do like being adored I guess…..so I decided it couldn’t hurt, and besides, I didn’t have to actually meet anybody.

I put up a nice picture and barely wrote anything about myself. The messages came flooding in. I mean tons of them. Most were boring messages such as ‘hi’ or ‘hey babe how are you’ (you will hear plenty more on why I dismiss these kinds of messages on online dating sites later). Some messages were more inventive and would have a funny joke or a cheesy chat up line. Some were just vile. I think the most shocking message I received was (if you are particular sensitive to crude or vulgar suggestions please look away for the next sentence, also if you are under the age of 18 perhaps it’s best you too skip the next sentence) ‘fancy a rim job from an experienced tongue?’. Well, just in case for any reason you are wondering whether or not I replied….I am happy to tell you I did not. I wonder if he gets many responses ‘yes please that would be great’.  Anyway, the site was working wonderfully as an ego boost. One guy sent me a message and I had a peek at his profile, my jaw dropped – wow, he had a great modelling picture as his main photo and the other couple of pictures were not too shabby. I probably should have considered that any of the men messaging me had only seen one very flattering picture of mine from a photo shoot and they had not read one bit of information about me so therefore could only be interested in a complete fantasy in their head, but no, I forgot to consider that and decided to message back in hopes that I had found Prince Charming straight away. We talked for a bit via message and he rang me a couple of times. He seemed nice enough, I was working in a gym at the time and he was big into fitness and martial arts so we had things in common. He asked me out for a drink and we arranged to meet not too far away from where I lived.

This was going to be my first real date. My first date! I put on a face full of make up and did my hair and dressed up – smart, sexy but casual – I think I must have looked more like a very good-looking drag queen because at the time make up was my very close intimate friend so I was well acquainted with it. I was so nervous and excited. I was more excited to be able to say I was going on a date than actually meeting this guy.

I arrived and he was there, he was ok looking. He bought us both a drink and we sat down. I had no idea what you were supposed to do or talk about on a date so I went into my ‘I’m nervous so I am just going to talk talk talk’ mode and the conversation was flowing. Most of the time I was so happy that I was on a real date I forgot to listen to what he was actually saying and the rest of the time what he was saying was giving me a secret roll of the eyes because he said eevvveerrryytthiinnng iiiinnn thiiiiiisss slooowww ‘I’mmmm juuusssttt sooooo atttt onnneee wiiitth thhheee wooorrrlllddd’ voice. This guy frickin loved himself. Too much. Everything he said sounded structured, planned, not authentic! At one point I noticed he was wearing a very smart watch so I complimented him on it, he came out with this story about buying and selling watches before arrogantly smiling and saying ‘yeeessss, I liiiiikkee toooo thiiiinkkk offff iiiiiit aaaaaassss a tiiiimmeeelleeeesss piiiieeeecccceeee’ and then he laughed at the irony of what he had just said. Oh god just shut up, just say thanks for the compliment, it is taking you forever to say anything. Why don’t you just sit on a throne and arrogantly smile at all your minions below who live to serve you!  He then went on to tell me how he is moving to Israel in a couple of months – hang on, you didn’t mention this the entire time we have been speaking….it started to register, he is on a hook up.  Well, I am not interested one little bit. I painfully listened to him talk on for a while longer, slumped into the couch we were sitting on as if he was sitting at home – probably because everything on this earth is his right to own as King. When we left – finally – I very politely thanked him for a nice evening and kissed him on the cheek, I could tell he had just registered I was heading straight to my car and he didn’t look at all happy, I didn’t care, I had been on a date – a real date! I didn’t hear from him again and I wasn’t surprised.

The problem was that I had a) no experience in the dating world and b) no experience enjoying life on my own. This meant that I gave someone credit for simply showing an interest in me (something I hadn’t been used to for a very long time).  Had I had any sense I would have known what he was all about from the beginning but I had fun and it was nice to be out with someone who wasn’t treating me like one of the boys. Besides he was just a tiny bit of preparation for many a disaster to come and at least he didn’t push me into the arms of my best friend who had declared his love for me and then left me heartbroken……….to then go on date number one with Mr complete and utter disaster (part 1)……………………………………………(oh wait, that is exactly what happened)…