Paying more for being a woman.

I have very short hair, shaved around the sides and back with clippers, then cut with scissors on top. So this would stereotypically be classed as a ‘man’s’ haircut that could be done at a barbers, where I would most likely be charged the same as a man and maybe even offered a beard trim! If I wanted to go to a hairdressers I would pay at least double and likely triple than what I would at a barbers. It would also be classified as a ‘woman’s’ haircut and be charged as such, even though it is exactly the same as what a man would have. I am being charged more due to the fact that I am a woman. I’m not a hairdresser but I don’t think my hair is that much different to a man’s and somehow harder to cut. Yet this is not reflected in the price. This is why I don’t go to hairdressers. I don’t go to barbers as they only advertise for men. I would awkward going in and asking if they could look past the fact that I have tits and a fanny and cut my hair. Luckily, I have found somewhere that advertises as an allsex hairdressers and this is reflected in their pricing structure. They don’t have separate men and women’s prices, instead it is done on the length of your hair. So it doesn’t matter about your gender, it is based on how much work and how long it will take them, which makes much more sense to me. They also have a very relaxed approach and atmosphere, none of that pretentious shit (which is rife in Brighton) and this makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable. There’s nothing fancy there, no head massages and all that rubbish. You just go in, get a fabulous haircut, have a laugh (and can even take pints in from the pub across the road, which is always a bonus) and come out much more relaxed.

All hairdressers should be like this, the pricing structure should be based on what you want done and not on your genitals. They charge more for women because they know women will pay for it and in the past men did not want all that fancy treatment, but this is changing. The male grooming market is growing at a rapid rate and they are willing to spend the money now.

So should we also increase the price for men’s haircuts to come in line with women’s?

No.

We should be charged for the service/treatments that we want. If you go for a massage there are not separate prices for men and women, because that would be seen as sexist, but this is just the same. This is an institution that is primarily aimed at women but is inherently sexist towards them.

It needs to change.

 

Oh and the hairdressers I use is The Bomb. If you are ever in Brighton and need a haircut definitely go to them!

 

 

Advertisements

Women in sci-fi shows/films

I recently read an article about how the television series Wynonna Earp is breaking down television barriers. The article can be found here. Now, I do agree with this and it is refreshing to see a show like this on television again. You see, this has already been done, 20 years ago. I am old enough to remember when Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired. Joss Whedon broke all the supposed rules when it came to horror television shows. He did it from the first scene of the first episode, where you think the ‘helpless’ teenage girl is going to be killed and it turns out she is a vampire and kills the boy she is with. The main character was a woman and a kick-arse woman, she didn’t need to have a man to come and rescue her. The person who always needed rescuing was her male friend. There was a lesbian couple who were not there for the male gaze, but were depicted as any other couple on television shows at that time. The show had it all. But it seems we have not progressed that far since then. The late 90’s saw an influx of strong women in horror/sci-fi television shows, there was Buffy, Xena the Warrior Princess and Charmed. But then it seemed to just dissipate. Women went back to being helpless and needing saving.

Recently there have been a few shows in this genre that are having strong, female leading characters. There is Cersei and Daenerys on Game of Thrones, Kara on Supergirl (and her sister Alex), Sara Lance on Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow, Liv on iZombie, Jessica Jones, Wynonna Earp and probably a few more that I can’t remember at the moment. These women are characters all on their own, without needing to have men to define them or to save them. They can look after themselves and are often the person saving others.

We need more of this and not just in television shows, we need it in Hollywood films. There are not enough strong women within the sci-fi genre. There are certainly more than there used to be, but still not enough. There was a lot of anticipation and hope for Wonder Woman, as it was the first female-led superhero film from the DC/Marvel cinematic universes of their combined 21 films released to date. I must admit I haven’t seen the film myself but I know it has had good reviews, which is encouraging as the last female-led superhero films I can remember (Elektra and Cat Woman) were awful. They are planning a sequel to Wonder Woman and there is a Captain Marvel film due to be released in 2019. So that would give us a grand total of 3 female-led superhero films, doesn’t sound that bad except when you compare it to the 20 male-led superhero films that have been released or are due to be released. I think that clearly shows how drastic the difference is. There are plenty of women superheroes who could have their own films, if they were given the chance.

We are in 2017 yet it seems we were better off in the 90’s. Yes, Wynonna Earp is a great show and does go against the normal social conventions, but it just highlights how we seem to have regressed instead of moving forward. Fingers crossed this show will get the recognition it deserves and prompt other production companies to start showing more shows that are female-led.

#MeToo

#MeToo

These five letters have been making a lot of impact the last few days. Lots of women have been sharing their stories about the sexual harassment they have experienced in their life. If I think about it I could also add my name to it as well. From the ‘harmless’ cat-calling to some random stranger grabbing my arse. I’ve had so many comments from strangers about the size of my breasts I’ve lost count. Being a lesbian I’ve been told countless times how I haven’t just met a ‘real man’ yet, whilst being leered at and sometimes cornered.

And I’ve just accepted it.

Why?

Because I was always told words can’t hurt you. To a certain extent I believe this. I think a lot of the time words can be brushed aside, we can’t take everything to heart, otherwise we would be always be offended and end up confining ourselves to our house so we can avoid it all. Unfortunately, the world is full of mean and somewhat pathetic people and we have to learn how to deal with it. The odd comment from strangers about my appearance, my social interests or my choice of clothes, doesn’t bother me that much any more. Doesn’t mean they are right, but we all like what we like and that’s just the way it is. Do they have to be an arse about it? Of course not, but a snide comment will not do me too much damage. I’ve adopted this thinking to the way I have been treated by some men in the past. I think it hasn’t affected me. But the truth is, it has. If I’m walking alone at night and see a man coming towards me, I mentally prepare myself. I make myself walk with a bit more confidence and conviction, to show that I am not intimidated by them. Now, I am not a man-hating lesbian, I actually get on better with men than I do with women, but there is a small minority of men, who think we are beneath them. That we are pieces of meat, just here for their entertainment and pleasure. That they can do anything they want to us and there will not be any consequences. These range from the leery vultures walking down the street or in the night club, to the high-powered businessmen. The leery one’s in a club or pub are easier to deal with. They don’t have any hold over you. You can tell them to fuck off and walk away from them. The strangers on the street are scary, especially if you are on your own and there is no-one else about. You don’t want to say anything to upset them, on the fear they might become aggressive or violent. I think most women have said the go-to line of ‘I’ve got a boyfriend’, hoping that the threat of another male might make them back off, because us telling them we’re not interested is not good enough for them. I don’t tell them I am gay, as I think they’d then see me as a challenge or someone who needs to be turned.

But I think the scariest men are the ones who have some kind of power over you. Whether it be your boss, supervisor, potential boss or someone who has power or status within your community. These men are predators. They manipulate you. They use their power against you. They usually have enablers, people who are aware of what they do and don’t do anything to stop it or play an active role of putting a woman into a horrible situation. They feel as though as they are untouchable. They make it seem as though you don’t have any other option, that you are not allowed to say no. If you say no, you will lose your job, you’ll never get a job in that particular field as they ‘know people’ or you will become a social pariah. And unfortunately, it appears that a few of them have been untouchable in the past, and there are probably many more who are still getting away with it. Well we need to show them they are not untouchable. They are accountable. They will be held accountable. They will face what they have done. They will face what they are. They will face the backlash and punishment. They will face the shame. They will own the shame. Because it is not ours to have. We should not be ashamed of what has happened to us. We did not do anything wrong. They have the problem. They are despicable, pathetic excuses for men, no, for human beings. We all need to tell our stories. We need to rise up and stand up for our rights. Our right to live without fear. Our right to not be violated. Our right to be treated with the respect we deserve. Our right to be women.

 

World Mental Health Day 2018

This was a status I put on my Facebook on Friday the 13th October:

World Mental Health Day was on Tuesday but I feel as though it should be something spoken about every day.

This is going to be a long post, so apologies, but I want to say it. Oh and yes this is a serious post for a change.

I have Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety and depression. Some of you will know this already and some of you would have experienced the effects of it, on myself and on others. So firstly, I want to thank you for sticking by me and ‘putting’ up with me, especially people who have known me a long time and had the pleasure of going out drinking with me.

Secondly, for those who didn’t stick around, fuck you. There’s no other way to put it really. If we were friends, you clearly liked me, but gave up because I am ill. I know in the past I have been to much to handle, I have fucked with people’s emotions and said awful things in outbursts (usually when drunk) which I wish I could take back. But I can’t. The guilt sometimes consumes me. The pain in my head sometimes consumes me. Questioning every thought and emotion I have, fucking exhausts me. It is a struggle. Every fucking day. I live with it 24/7. And you couldn’t cope with it on the occasional day. Well, fuck you. That says more about you as a person and I wouldn’t want to associate with someone like that.

I just needed to get that out there, as I’m usually so nice and apologetic, so needed to say it before I backed out.

Borderline Personality Disorder is what it says on the tin, it is a personality disorder. There’s no cure. There’s no magic pill. It is a part of me, that I have to learn to live with. A part of me that I have to learn how to control and cope with. I have good days and some bad days. Okay, I can have some fantastic days and some god-awful shitty days, part of the disorder, I see and do things in extremes, no in between with me!

I guess what I wanted to really say, was that I am always ill. Whenever you see me, whatever day or time it is, my illness is always there, with every thought I have. It might be an invisible illness, but I live with it every day. And I can assure you I am not the only one. We walk amongst you. We work with you. We are related to you. Just remember that,

Oh and again, a big thank you to all of you, people I have known a few months to a few years, you make everything that bit easier and a bit brighter.

I don’t know why, but I thought I would receive some negative reactions to this post, whether it be by comments, private messages or people just deleting me. But it didn’t happen. People were very supportive and left some wonderful comments. It made me remember about this blog and how important it is to keep getting the message out there, that there is nothing shameful in having a mental illness.

Can you picture that? Um, no.

I’m sure you’ve been asked to picture something in your head. An old memory, what someone looks like or an imaginary place. When you have been reading a book you can picture the scene in your head. Well, I can’t. I have never been able to. I always thought it was just another facet of my oddness. But it turns out I am not the only one and there’s even a suggested name for it. For the time being it is called Aphantasia. Makes it sound like something magical and wonderful, but it’s not. It can actually be horrible. My grandad passed away a few years ago and I can’t picture what he looks like. I don’t even have a photograph to look at, so I can remember him. I was there when he passed away and although I can feel the emotions I went through, I can’t picture any of it. I can’t remember seeing him for the last time. That tears me up inside. Sometimes I just wished I could remember him.

The same for my cat. Might seem stupid, but he passed away a couple of years and I had had him for 8 years. He was my baby boy. My first ‘real’ pet of my own. We had a family dog, but I had moved away for a few years when we lost her and I’ve had a few hamsters, but he was my first pet that I felt connected to. He was my furbaby. And I can’t picture him. I have lots of photos of him, even a big canvas of him, but when I look at it, it sometimes feels as though I’m looking at a pet I don’t even know, as I notice different markings each time. As I can’t picture what he looked like. It’s frustrating. I just wish I could remember without having to have a picture.

It has also made me feel stupid. People asking me if I remember things, to somewhere we went together or something they were wearing on a particular day. I can’t picture it. If they tell me, I’ll know what they are talking about, but I still can’t see it in my mind. I know what people are talking about and sometimes I can describe it, but it isn’t because I can picture it, I just know it. For example if someone asked me to draw a circle, I could. But I can’t see it in my mind. I just know what one looks like. When I’ve tried to explain this to people, they look at me like I’ve grown another head. They just don’t get it. I guess they just think everyone can picture things in their mind. I have no idea if it is linked to my mental health or if it is just something else I have, or don’t as the case may be.

There hasn’t been much research or studies done about it, so I don’t know what causes it and if I could ever be ‘cured’ of it.

So, if you cannot picture images in your mind, know you are not alone and you’re not that odd or weird.

Nat xx

BPD Symptoms – Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality

Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality

People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.

I would say I’m the opposite of being suspicious of people and actually trust them too easy. I think I’m always striving for friendships and connections with people, I end up trusting them too quickly. This doesn’t usually end well. If they reciprocate the feelings, then it becomes an intense friendship, which consumes me and then quickly dies out. If they don’t reciprocate, then I end up losing a friend and feeling foolish and too needy. So neither are good. I have been trying to keep friendships at a ‘normal’ level, but I think I unconsciously keep people at arm’s length and hold back a little. I think this is because I am scared of losing them, scared of them realising how abnormal I am and scared of becoming obsessed with them.

So I don’t think I’m suspicious, just scared and cautious.

I think I do disassociate sometimes, but I just thought I always went into my own little world. I never thought there was anything wrong with it. I guess when I get really angry and don’t remember it, it could be classed as disassociating, as I don’t remember it and it doesn’t feel as though it happened it to. It feels as though it was something I was watching on television. From a young age, I have always felt spaced out. When I was at college, people thought I was always stoned as I was never ‘with it’. I guess I’ve never really had many friends, so I learnt and got used to being in my own mind. I don’t necessarily prefer it, I’ve just got used to it. It feels as though it is a part of me, but does get more frequent the worse I feel.

Nat xx

BPD Symptoms – Explosive anger

Explosive anger

If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.

I think to a certain degree I’m always angry. It’s always bubbling away under the surface. That’s how it feels anyway. I can get angry at the smallest thing and it consumes me. It is all I can think about and I can’t just let it go. Most of my anger is suppressed. I keep it in. It is usually towards myself anyway. But when I have lost it, I exploded. A couple of years ago, I spent a summer just getting drunk and being angry towards my partner. I don’t actually remember a lot of it, not sure if it due to being drunk or because the anger consumes me. Probably a mix of the two to be honest. But according to my partner, I was vile. I said horrible things to her and I said things to purposely push her buttons. I don’t know why. Maybe I was trying to push her away from me, because I thought she was better off without me. She is. I was never angry towards my friends or co-workers. I think this is because I always want them to like me and never want to upset them. So if they did make me angry, I kept it all bottled up and unfortunately my partner bore the brunt of it all. I haven’t been that angry in a while. I think it is because of the medication I am on, it has suppressed all of my feelings. But I have been getting angry at work, but have been trying to deal with it in a constructive way. Honestly, I can feel it bubbling up and I don’t think it will be long until I do explode again. I just hope it isn’t at my partner or my employer. Not that I particularly like my employer, I just need a job!

I am trying to control my anger and often have to calm myself down and tell myself that I am over-reacting. But then I don’t know when I am over-reacting or under-reacting or reacting in the right manner. It can be confusing. I guess I have always been a bit of a walk over and let people treat me like rubbish, because I don’t want to lose them – guess that comes under fear of abandonment. They all feed into each other and can make every day hard and confusing. When you can’t trust your own emotions and feelings, what can you trust?

Nat xx

BPD Symptoms – Chronic feelings of emptiness

Chronic feelings of emptiness

People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the hole with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.

I’ve always felt empty, like there is something missing. I’m not sure what is missing, I just don’t feel whole. I have never felt right. It feels as though there is a part of my essence, my being, that I have never had access to. If I could access that, then maybe I could understand and figure out who I am and what I want. I don’t really feel happiness or joy, not in the conventional way. I can become over-excited, almost to the point of becoming manic. I don’t really feel sad, again not in the conventional way. I spiral into a deep, dark depression. Also, I can become easily offended and either feel as though I’m the most evil person on Earth or the person who has ‘offended’ me now hates me. I could be called over-dramatic and false, but all my emotions are genuine, I just have ‘weird’ emotions.

But due to not really feeling any joy or happiness, I like to, no, need to do things that get my adrenaline pumping. This can be from getting piercings and tattoos to binge drinking and gambling. I’ve never really used drugs or sex to make myself feel better, but I do comfort eat, or as my partner calls it ‘mindless’ eating. I just shovel in junk food and I don’t really enjoy it, but it somehow makes me feel better. I think it is more the action and routine of eating it that makes me feel better. I have been on a diet for the past couple of months which has helped me understand my relationship with food and how unhealthy it was. I am trying to get better, but once I stop the diet, I’m not sure if I’ll slip back into my old ways. I have also used alcohol to make me feel more alive. A few years ago I spent the summer getting drunk every weekend, which I thought was great but my partner did not. Because when I came home I would vent all my anger and frustrations at her. So I now don’t drink that much as I realised I was a very bad drunk. I used to gamble a lot. I inevitably always ended up losing, as the banker always wins. I still gamble now, but only small amounts. I knew I couldn’t go on gambling the large amounts I was, as we were getting into debt and I couldn’t afford to pay my bills. I now try to do it more for fun but it is when I am losing that I somehow feel my best. When I’m losing my adrenaline starts pumping, I start feeling bad for wasting my money, I need to win to get my money back, then I win my money back and sometimes a bit more. This makes me feel great but then that subsides and I start feeling empty again, so I start putting my money back in and the cycle starts all over again. So maybe I should stop doing it all together, but it is in those few moments when I’m gambling that I actually feel some kind of emotions and I don’t think I’m ready to give that up just yet.

I don’t really do anything now to fill this void within myself, so I spend most my time feeling numb and empty, like a hollow shell. I know I need to find something to help me feel better, but due to copying other people’s interests for most of my life, I don’t really know what I like. I’m trying to figure it out, but I know it will take time.

Nat xx

BPD Symptoms – Extreme emotional swings

Extreme emotional swings

Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.

My moods have always been up and down, but usually down. I do suffer with depression and for a long time thought that was the only mental health problem I had. Turns out I was wrong. I didn’t realise it was unusual to go from feeling like complete and utter shit, to feeling really happy and what has been described as manic. I can start talking in a normal manner and then by the end I’m talking at such a speed, people cannot keep up with what I am saying. Then I’m quite excitable and then a few minutes later my mood can come crashing down. This can be for different reasons, I could just be exhausted, had a bad thought or believe I have said/done something wrong and annoyed the other person. I often think I have annoyed other people. I can be talking to them and if they answer a certain way or look a certain way, I instantly think I have annoyed them and then feel completely shit. This causes me to withdraw into myself and I can even stop the conversation or leave the situation. Deep down I know it is all in my head and do try to overcome the thoughts, try to rationalise them, but sometimes it is just impossible to do. Then once the thought is there, I cannot give rid of it, until I am out of the situation.

I can also get annoyed with people. If I think they have dismissed what I have been saying or don’t look interested, I will take it personally and get really annoyed with them. I say them, it’s only really with my partner. She says she doesn’t know what she’s going to get with me sometimes, as my moods can change so quickly and drastically. I have been on medication for the last year and this has helped reduce my mood swings. Well, it has stopped me acting on my thoughts as much, due to the fact that the medication mostly makes me feel numb. But it has still happened. But I am aware of it happening and either tell her or try and remove myself from the situation. It can go the other way and I just internalise the anger and then I will explode at the smallest thing. That’s never good. But I think being self-aware is reducing the amount of times it happens, but again, it means I am always constantly thinking about whether my emotions are valid or not.

Nat xx

BPD Symptoms – Self-harm (TW)

Self-harm

Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.

I have self-harmed in the past. I have cut myself, scratched myself, punched inanimate objects, abused alcohol and gambled. I still have the urges. I sometimes gamble, nowhere near as much as I used to, but it still gives me that sense of release, then promptly followed by guilt. Even though it is only small amounts of money, I know I am doing it for the wrong reasons. I often think about cutting myself. But I always stop myself, talk myself out of it. I also got a tattoo on my wrist, so if I do start having those thoughts, I can talk myself out of it, as I won’t want to ruin my tattoo.

I have a lot of thoughts about suicide. Sometimes these are fleeting and sometimes they are quite intense. I used to think that it was normal to think about your own demise. Turns out it’s not. But I still do it. I can be going about my day and it can just pop into my head. Just a passing thought of suicide. Nothing to bring me down. It doesn’t make me want to act on it, but it’s just there. It is as normal for me as it is someone thinking about what they will have for dinner. But then there are times when it becomes intense and it is all I can think about all day. I think about how I would do it, that everyone would be better off without me and how it won’t really matter to anyone. I know these thoughts are not rational, but they can overwhelm me.

I have attempted suicide in the past, I won’t go into details, but I have. I have also been very close to attempting several times. It has always been when I am intoxicated. Being drunk, makes the thoughts harder to ignore, makes they appear more valid. But thankfully, I have never succeeded. The thing is, I don’t want to die, I just want the shit to stop. It is exhausting living every day with this illness, second-guessing every emotion and feeling you have, trying to put a smile on your face and functioning as a member of society. Sometimes it is just too much and I just want it to stop. But it is impossible to escape your own thoughts and emotions. That’s why I can view suicide as my only option. My only relief. As I said, I don’t want to die, I just want peace.

Nat xx