Uncontrollably in control

Society today can be tough right? We are told how to look, think and act and then we are told to ‘just be ourselves’. Wow, sure, ok.

Then we have people. People love helping other people. Advising them. Telling them what to do and how to behave. I’ve already covered the topic of people advising you based on who THEY are rather than who YOU are. Most people want to fit in to society – and then believe they are different from anyone else. Which ironically they are when they stop trying to be like everybody else.

And finally we have fear. Fear is painted as a person shaking and looking terrified. But fear, like the devil, wears many disguises. It is the cause of people wanting to fit in and look perfect and not be singled out. It is the cause of those advising you to keep quiet and put your head down and not upset anybody. It is the quiet voice in your head that says ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you look stupid’, ‘don’t cause a problem’.

Some of us are aware of the ‘truth about fear’ and some of us are not. Some will come out and say ‘I am far too shy for that’ ‘I can’t stand everyone looking at me’ ‘I am just not brave enough’. Some lather themselves with excuses and stories to avoid people questioning them or so that they can avoid speaking their truth or just to feel better in themselves.

I haven’t always been one to face fear. In fact I used to be the Queen of excuses. I was living in a ‘woe is me’ world drowning in my victim river. I haven’t always been able to be truthful and express my feelings without trying to belittle others or feeling the need to put them down and have the last word.

Why did I do this? Because I didn’t like who I was. Because I didn’t feel good enough to be listened to. Because I didn’t have the courage to say how I felt. Because I would feel stupid or silly for feeling the way I did. Because I valued myself based on other people’s opinions. And a whole list of other reasons, none of which benefited my life.

However that was a long time ago and mixed with a whole load of other problems that I had to face on my journey of becoming a Lioness. I have learnt the reasons behind all of those and in turn, studied others. Watching people convince themselves of their place in today’s society. Watching people excuse the things they are unhappy with and play victim to win sympathy off of others and it is quite fascinating.

I believe very strongly in being true to yourself. True to your creative side. True to your feelings. True to your likes and your dislikes. True to your own worth. And I believe something else:

Bollocks to anyone who doesn’t like the authentic version of you.

The most interesting part of my journey is most definitely the other people around me. Since I am no longer influenced by other people’s opinions of me or the need to ‘fit in’ anywhere, people see me as a potential problem, I know right? Little old me! Well the reason is that I will not people please or hide from how I feel. I will not try to ‘fit in’ for the sake of other’s opinions. I will not act according to anything other than the way I believe. For example:

I am happy to speak to a man sleeping on the street and bring him a hot drink or something to eat – people often fear those that they do not understand and often worry about their own or my safety when I talk to someone homeless.

I am happy to offer help to a stranger and do not fear rejection – If someone looks like they could use a hand I will lend it, if they say no (for whatever reason) that is fine too. At least I offered, this is often embarrassing to other people, they feel silly for trying and fear what others around them are then thinking.

I am not affected by someone disliking me – Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. If they wish to tell me what they dislike or cast judgement that is fine by me. I know who I am. I know my intentions in this world and I also know that their opinion is not a reflection of who I am in this world but rather, who they are. It is a compliment to be thought of enough to be disliked.

I am not able to be controlled, muzzled or put off of speaking my mind – I won’t be told who I can or cannot speak to or confront. If I feel the need to confront somebody when they have upset me I will. I don’t believe in putting someone down or trying to scare anybody at all but I do believe my feelings are important and I should be able to express them without being made to feel like I am causing a problem. I will always consider how it may make someone feel and use my words carefully. I will always try to express hurt or anger after I have calmed down and I will aways take responsibility for my own feelings. If someone is afraid of confrontation that is THEIR problem. I will not stay silent just to keep the peace – silence isn’t truth. There are no rules on how to deal with a negative situation but it is my personal belief that you have to be true to yourself and speak the truth to others. I won’t look you in the eye and smile whilst secretly seething inside. It is not me. I will not be told what I can and cannot say or to whom. I will also have the intention of making peace with someone and clearing the air.

I won’t change who I am for anybody. If someone doesn’t like me or accept me then my suggestion is to not be around me. To leave me be. If you feel embarrassed or awkward or uncomfortable with any of the ways in which I live my life then I won’t be offended if you step away. I do not wish for you to do anything you don’t believe in either.

Why should we be anybody but ourselves or made to feel like we have to change who we are in certain situations? We are human. We are each imperfectly perfect. We do great things and we make mistakes. We have good days and bad days. We have beautiful days and not so beautiful days. Why are we so ashamed of being ourselves? Of excusing those around us? We are not responsible for anybody but ourselves so why would anyone try to justify anybody elses truth? Why should you tell someone how they can or can’t act because YOU are scared of what the other person might think.

Be you

Be every part of you

Do right. Be right.

Do wrong. Be wrong.

Learn

Grow

Be brave

Be shy

Be beautiful inside.

Be anything you want to be. Be everything you want to be. Don’t be sorry for being you. Be sorry when you feel sorry but don’t be sorry for being you. Don’t let anyone make you feel you should be. Let the world know you will always be you and you won’t be controlled by anybody. Let them fear that, it’s not your problem and none of your business.

In the words of Lesley Gore – ‘You don’t own me, don’t try to change me in any way’!

100% Lioness 0% Mouse

Here’s to YOU 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!

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?

Mr Disaster – Part 2

Life was going pretty smoothly when Mr Disaster decided to message me again. He was inviting me out for a drink and somehow I read his message to mean that a few people from the gym were going out. I assumed it was his excuse to message me so I thought why not, I didn’t have feelings for him anymore so let bygones be bygones. Turns out it was just him and another friend and I completely read the message wrong – IDIOT!!!!! Maybe I was meant to read that message wrong who knows. I went anyway and had a good time catching up, I didn’t give him an easy time by any means but it was all very friendly and nice! He did try to message me again after that but I pretty much ignored him. I had no intention of getting back into old habits with him and yes, he was still with his girlfriend.

 

A few months later I was in Thailand in my dorm in a hostel in Krabi when I received a message – MR DISASTER – I laughed because I always hear from him at a strange time in my life when things are going really well. So I replied saying I was away and he said that him and our friend wanted to see what I was doing so we could all meet up again. When I got back from Thailand he got in contact with me and we started talking again.

 

With Mr Disaster it was a very tricky situation. We were just connected. I wanted to be respectful of his relationship but at the same time they were clearly not in love, they were clearly together for the sake of it and I had been in that situation and gotten out of it. It’s hard to take a relationship like that seriously. Having said that I would never get involved with someone who was in a relationship so friendship would be as far as this could ever go.

Pretty soon we were messaging all the time again, mostly about nonsense but making each other laugh. He started calling me again and we would be on the phone for ages talking rubbish and making each other laugh. We would talk seriously too and he would entertain my whole day. One evening we were on the phone and all of a sudden the call cut off – I knew 100% that his girlfriend has just come home – I called back, no answer, he messages me saying ‘I don’t want to argue with this girl’ I reply ‘excuse me?’ ‘my girlfriend’ he replies. I told him that we shouldn’t talk if it was a problem and he assured me it wasn’t and then went on to tell me that the phone just cut off and there was a problem with the network – Yeh sure genius, because I am a fricking idiot aren’t I!!!! – I called him the next day and explained that we weren’t friends, we spoke all day every day and I felt like I was doing something wrong and didn’t like it. He tried to convince me otherwise but I just wouldn’t have it. That was that. He wished me luck with a guy I had recently been on a first date with – our very own Mr Angry PT guy – and said that I deserved happiness and we left it there.

 

Over the next week I still heard from him and I would tell him to leave me alone, it was the usual routine where he ignores me and messages anyway. I was at a bit of loose end. The guy I was due to go out with again turned into a bit of a weirdo – as we know so I got rid of him. – I was feeling a little bit lost with my work and my life and now I had to deal with saying goodbye to Mr Disaster AGAIN! Why am I punishing myself, we are only talking to each other, I don’t know his girlfriend, I don’t owe her anything, I’m certainly not going to be the other woman so I’m not doing anything wrong. Why do I always have to do the right thing for everybody else. Right now it isn’t hurting me to talk to him so why do I have to make myself suffer by stopping. So I did something that I never expected to do and Mr Disaster certainly didn’t expect me to do it. I sent him a message, just a confused face, that was it but I knew that was enough. He hadn’t been on his Whatsapp on this phone for a couple of days but the second he saw the message he responded. I had a go at him – ‘why did you ever have to message me again, why couldn’t you just leave me be?, I was fine before you came back into my life and now I have to say goodbye to someone I get on with and I haven’t even done anything wrong!’ He simply replied ‘would you like to go for a drink tonight?’ We arranged to meet up somewhere local to both of us, I was actually secretly a bit excited – only because it had been so long, not because I had feelings…of course….because we are just friends.

We ended up having a really nice catch up and…..no, you should know me better than that by now! We didn’t stay out too long and we just had a nice friendly time. He messaged me straight after saying he had a nice time and we went back to talking as normal.

I kept saying I didn’t have feelings for him but the only person I was fooling was myself and to be honest, I wasn’t doing a very good job of that either. Mr Disaster was something else in my life. He was refreshing, he didn’t hide that he cared about me (unlike many of the other bad apples), he fought for my attention, he listened, he joked, he was serious. I felt so relaxed talking to him, I didn’t feel like I was bugging him – I couldn’t really he always bugged me – I didn’t feel like a nuisance to him, it wasn’t too serious and there was no pressure. We just got on like a house on fire, we could talk about nothing all day every day and we did. People like that don’t come into your life everyday and when they do it means something. We were like magnets, the closer we got the more powerful the force. I knew that this couldn’t last. Truth was he was no way going to be brave enough to leave his girlfriend and setup on his own, he was too proud and way too afraid. I knew that I wouldn’t tolerate this ‘friendship’ going nowhere for much longer. With him it was easy to fall and I knew he had fallen too.

A couple of weeks later it was my friend’s birthday party and he had again asked me if I wanted to go for a drink so my friend suggested I invite him to the party instead. I was excited that he was coming but in general I just wanted to go out and celebrate my friend’s birthday. I had still been a bit stressed at that time and had been feeling anxiety creep its way back into my life. I just wanted to go and have a few drinks and let my hair down.

I had more than a few drinks and was quite drunk quite quickly. Mr Disaster turned up and looked….well…..like himself and I was very drunkenly happy in my little world. The problem was I wasn’t happy and me getting drunk was a nice little escape from my crazy head. Somehow a conversation was triggered by my friend about the two of us and she was warning him to treat me nicely, the next thing I remember he is talking about how I wouldn’t be able to trust him if he left his girlfriend and got with me. I was saying something along the lines of my usual jargon ‘you have missed out on the best thing you could have’ – please be assured this isn’t a ploy to get him to leave his girlfriend, I would never want that kind of pressure on me. Imagine it didn’t work out, I would feel responsible for the whole thing…..no way, I don’t need that on my head. – So then the worst thing in the world that I could imagine doing happened…I got upset and…  yep, I fricking started crying – IDIOT…IDIOT….IDIOT!!!!!! Another friend saw me upset and asked me if he should tell Mr Disaster to go and I said yes, the last thing I wanted was for anyone else to see me upset so I just concentrated on looking normal (yeh right). He wouldn’t go without talking to me and seeing if I was alright. He took me outside and I wasn’t really interested in talking to him, I didn’t want him around while I was upset. I shouted at him and he left. My friend got me back to his to sleep it off. I later found a message on my phone from him that said something along the lines of:

I hate that I am the reason you are upset. A man should know a woman’s worth and you are worth a lot. It’s time for me to step up and do the right thing so I will leave you alone forever now.

To the best of my memory that is what he wrote. Ok so underneath the cosmetics of pretty compliments all I hear from this is that I am going to let you go. Someone willing to let you go is never worth it, just for future reference.

 

I was so confused when I woke up. Why did it always get like this between us. A big final cut off, why couldn’t we just enjoy our friendship. I rang him and told him straight that I didn’t want him to leave his girlfriend for me, I didn’t want to be in a relationship with him and that I was only interested in being his friend (why I was hanging on here I do not know).  I don’t think he liked hearing that, not that he would ever admit it. A couple of days went by and something really didn’t feel right. My head was all over the place. I spoke to one of my closest friends and she told me to stop beating around the bush and just deal with the situation once and for all. So I did. I asked him how he felt about me and he told me ‘I like you and I think you are an amazing individual but I can’t be with you at the moment because I have a girlfriend’. This is exactly the type of message I expected and I simply needed to hear it. I said to him ‘Mr Disaster I like you too, I can pretend I don’t but I do. If this isn’t going anywhere then I need to walk away for good this time. You saying you can’t be with me at the moment means you want to hold me there and I deserve better.’ He tried to say life was a bitch but I told him that life is exactly what you make it.

I used my anger that day to face my fear of doing my first handstand….ok so it was against the wall but I still did it, it was something I had been trying to do for so long that all of my colleagues were even desperately trying to help me do it. It may sound silly but it was something I was too scared to do so I asked myself ‘am I going to live a life of fear like this fool? Hell no!’ So I did something I was scared to do – even if it sounds small I felt great afterwards.

 

I have ignored him since. I erased his numbers and all of our messages. He messaged me but I ignored him. He called me once and I didn’t recognise the number since I erased it, I very quickly got off of the phone. I was done with him. It still hurt, I carried on with everything as normal but I did have feelings for Mr Disaster and you can’t control feelings. He was someone who was in my life morning until night, non stop. Someone I really connected with and someone I could not hate. The truth is I just love me more now days and I won’t be second best to anyone. Show me that you see my worth or I will show you nothing. Simple as. Still doesn’t stop the pain of walking away from someone you care about but it sure as hell makes it easier! Goodbye Mr Disaster, forever and ever…..or….until Part 3 – Great!