Am I a Feminist?

Being raised by a woman that is the epitome of capability and strength should have given me an early taste for feminism. However my foundation of faith was more dominant and growing up in church meant traditional gender roles were clarified early on. I liked Barbie and all things girly, and was told that it was a ‘tragedy’ if a girl wasn’t taught how to be a girl from a young age; God made us this way and we need to own our femininity with pride.

And if I’m painfully honest, there was a big ‘damsel in distress’ part of me that wanted to be rescued. It’s what Disney taught us and let’s be honest… Romantic.

Needless to say, Feminism slipped far under the radar of my child-turned-adult consciousness. It went in the same camp as the tree-huggers and all I knew is that it most probably involved daringly hairy legs, which ruled out my interest. It was unfeminine to stand up and fight, after all no one likes a forward-thinking, opinionated loudmouth, do they? Females should be ladylike and making a fuss about anything, let alone women’s rights, is certainly not that.

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Risen from the Dead… With Updates

Wow, it’s hard to pick back up writing after TWO MONTHS of silence. I haven’t really had the words – an identity crisis will do that to you. Especially when you’ve put yourself in a box as one type of writer, and then struggle to stay within those parameters because you feel yourself changing. Plus, bearing my heart and soul on the internet week after week got a little straining. You could call the last few months a “vulnerability hangover” of sorts.

Agh, life.

Anyway, the month of June has been busy and fun and crazy and up and down. I will put some of it in here to try and get this ball rolling again. I like this place and I want to stick at it.

Three Peaks Challenge

The three tallest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales, in 24 hours, when one has never climbed a mountain before? Yeah – I like to throw myself in the deep end. This was awesome, but also the hardest thing I have ever done. I am fitter than I was a few months ago but there were some FIT people in my group and I struggled to keep up. It was a brilliant experience and I am proud to have completed it. It’s not too late to donate to the cause – a small orphanage in Kenya that a friend of mine visited last year. Having to close the home down was a possibility and we are hoping the proceeds will keep it open and running for another year. Amazingly, we are currently very close to reaching the £10,000 goal. Click HERE to sponsor me and the amazing group I did the trek with!

Krakow, Poland (#girlsontour)

I think I may write an entire post on this weekend with some extra thoughts, but put simply, it was a fantastic three days. The city break came about through a casual conversation about travel over a dinner in February. Thanks to the incredible organisation skills of my friend Emma, it actually happened. There was six of us, all different but all with something to bring to the table. We tried Polish food and after a hilarious sitting that involved eating steamed vegetables as a starter, promised not to again. We did karaoke, visited Auschwitz and had two dips in the fountain (which made me feel like a kid again, and anytime I feel like a kid, I am happy). Krakow was beautiful but I more appreciated the quality time with five wonderful friends.

Northern Ireland adventures

“I’m in heaven”. That was probably the three words I said most over the weekend. My version of heaven? Green fields as far as the eye can see. Sheep. Cliffs. Castles. Tea. Brownies. More good food. Irish hugs (to clarify, this is essentially a hug from an Irish person. They don’t actually hug very differently but they are IRISH). Irish accents. Swimming in the cold sea. Almost getting blown away by gale force winds. It was the loveliest weekend and my friend Leigh-Ann is a spectacular host. It was almost like a retreat weekend and I was sad to leave. I may have invited myself back for Christmas… (awkward)

Well, that’s it folks. Enjoy the gallery of the above mentioned events. Please forgive me for being flakey and I would appreciate a comment or two, just so I know there hasn’t been an apocalypse…

Surviving the Terrible Twos: Money is a Big Deal

Money is a Big Deal

Creative Commons – Sean McMenemy

 

Here we are at week 3 and the final installment of Samantha and my 20s series, with the icky subject of Finances! I have loved discussing the awkward parts of  20s life with you all, so thank you for reading. Each week it has made me dig deep, think and look at my own life with a new eye.

Make sure you read Sam’s newest post HERE. Getting to know this girl better has been a privilege; she is funny, God fearing and true. I love that the internet has connected a Texan and Londoner to create this series. Two perspectives from two girls stumbling through their twenties. It’s been fun and I’m sad it’s over.

Week 1 – Careers
Week 2 – Dating 

Money is a big deal. You don’t realise it until you lose your wallet or debit card, and the simple things like buying your lunch become a problem. And if you’re like me, even though it’s a little out of your control, you still feel embarrassed or sheepish asking for someone to help you out until you can get some cash.

Which I think represents an awkward attitude that we have about money. I’m not sure what it’s like in other places, but in Britain it’s a fact that everyone has money and it’s no one’s business how much. The pay gap between rich and poor is a gaping chasm, even inside the walls of one office building, but no one talks about it. It’s a hush-hush subject and we’re all meant to keep up appearances, when often the reality is that a large amount of us are buried in debt.

My story is that I went from working full time at 18 without a financial care in the world and that being okay. To now at 23 with minimal savings and a permanent case of wanderlust, and it not being okay anymore. I used to think buying a house was for grown ups and I needn’t worry about such things for another ten years. I unconsciously put it in the “husband box” because responsibility comes with marriage, right? Then recently I had a brain wave; houses are expensive and I might not have a husband as soon as planned. Which means I would have to start saving a hefty amount each month now to buy a house by the time I am 30. Uh, which means, I need to be responsible now.

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Surviving the Terrible Twos: Discussing Dating

dating

Creative Commons – ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser

 

Welcome to the second week of Sam and my blog series on getting through your twenties. Today we are discussing DATING (ohh hell), and last week we discussed careers. Share your stories in the comments!

Be sure to check out Sam’s dating post here.

I can tell you how to be in a longterm relationship, and what not to do in one. I can tell you how to be perpetually single. I can tell you how to awkwardly tell someone that they have the “X-factor” you’ve been looking for… Yep, it happened, but in my defense it was long before that damn TV show existed. However, I cannot tell you how to “date” because a) the obvious and simple answer is to go on dates, and b) my experience within that arena is very limited.

I’ve had two first dates. The first first was a dive into the deep end, and the start to a serious relationship that I probably wasn’t ready for. The second first was spent freaking out about what personal information I was allowed to omit and what I wasn’t, because I don’t really have an internal “too much information” filter. Whew, stressful stuff. After forcing a second date, we agreed there wasn’t enough chemistry to go out again.

Two first dates and two very different outcomes, both of which I learned a lot from. And there you have my adult “dating” history. Therefore today there will be nooooo advice giving, ’cause this sister is as clueless as the next. But instead I will bring to you four discussion points that I hope you will weigh in on!

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Be Interrupted

Mother and daughter

As many of you know, this past Christmas/New Year my mum visited London to see me for the first time since I moved here. Before she arrived, I had a long list of wonderful London things I wanted us to do. Visiting Paris and Madrid was also on the agenda. Mum had never been to Europe and I was set on giving her the best time possible, which meant having a packed itinerary for three full weeks.

A couple of days in I realised that though she appreciated my efforts, she was just excited to see me.

She didn’t care about getting stuff done. The holiday was about us spending time together after almost five years apart. To her, it was about rich conversation and laughter and fun. It was about connection. It was about relaxation. After all, it was a holiday for both of us. She was eager to see the city I call home but what mattered is that she was doing it with me.

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Surviving the Terrible Twos: Careers

career

A few weeks ago I sent out a depressing tweet that said something along the lines of,

“No one tells you how hard your twenties will be.”

The lovely Samantha Jo Berry spoke up in agreement and said jokingly that she could do a whole blog series on it. Always a fan of a challenge and new opportunity, my immediate response was, “let’s do it together!”.

AND TA-DA, here we are. The ten years inbetween going to school and being a mature and full functioning adult is (insert profanity here) hard. It’s confusing and messy and lonely, despite the fact that we all go through it. In true twenties self-involved form, we think it’s only us that’s suffering. Such a lie. Which is why Sam and I are writing this series.

For the next three Wednesdays, Samantha of The Biggity Big Blog and I will come to you with our messy lives and lay it all out. Advice and whinging included, in equal amounts. Today we will cover Careers, the one thing I have a deep love/hate relationship with. Next week will be Dating, and that should be funny since my love life belongs back in primary school. And finally in week 3, Finances. The only advice that will include is what NOT to do because my money management skills are Dire with a capital D.

Your twenties is one thing you certainly cannot go under or over, because then you miss all the joys of going through it. Of which there really are many! We hope you enjoy the series and share your thoughts in the comments.

And don’t forget to read Sam’s post today on careers too, it’s a good’n.

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Yesterday over on the So Worth Loving blog I shared my struggles with holding my career in too higher esteem. It’s been a big head and heart ache for me since I left school, full of questions about my ability, talent and purpose. It’s made me cry and yell in frustration. It’s made me feel insecure in a city where everyone is someone and I’m lagging. We live in an era where young people are setting up businesses and living their dream because we are told “you can do anything!” and “never give up!”

What about when you don’t know what your dream is, let alone who you are or what you’re good at? What about when you need to pay the bills and don’t have the time or resources to pursue your passion? [Read more...]

You Aren’t Better Than Anyone

Creative Commons: epsos.de

Creative Commons: epsos.de

 

We live in a world of class separation. Sure, it’s a heck of a lot more politically correct and subtle than it used to be, but it’s still there; loitering, lingering, blowing some people’s egos up and trampling on the confidence of others. At its core, class separation is just one person thinking they are better than another. Often because of things that are out of one’s control, like their upbringing and family’s financial circumstances.

I find it fascinating that money and education can give people feelings of superiority. Working in support positions in the corporate world means I’ve experienced much of this. No, I don’t have a degree, but it doesn’t mean I’m any less worthy of respect than the person with a doctorate who’s sitting next to me.

Money makes the world go ‘round, indeed, but it can also do damaging things to a person’s pride. Whether it was earned by hard work or inherited, wealth doesn’t change the worth or value of a person. Neither does skill or education. And neither does good life choices, where is where my pride has tripped me up.

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Own Your Life

bwmic

Yesterday I was listening to a friend air her concerns about the guy she was seeing. “Do I really like him though? Do I want to make this official?” she asked. We laughed as I told her she is too old for commitment issues (I shoot from the hip), but I did have empathy.

My friend wanted me, or anyone, to tell her the answers regarding her love life. And all I could tell her was “only you can answer these questions because this is your life”. She probably knows the answers already, but doesn’t realise it because her mind is swimming with a million other anxious and afraid thoughts. On top of that are the host of well-meaning voices that have told her what to do, making a lot of noise.

I know what it’s like, because for a long time I spent every day in her shoes.

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When Is Running Away the Right Thing?

running 2

Running away has a negative connotation. We’re often advised to face an issue, deal with it and go through it, rather than escape it. Enduring hard times and seeing things through promotes good character, yes? I believe in this and all the reasoning behind it, but naturally, at my core, I’m a bit of a runner. I’m a little too familiar with giving up and calling it quits.

There are a number of situations where that’s cost me. For example, I wish I never threw the towel in with learning instruments when I was younger, or sticking with languages at school. It was all too hard, so I made seemingly valid excuses and broke up with German and French, and cello, piano and flute. I regret that.

But is it always bad?

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Is Love Earned?

love

This week, my friend Cory kindly hosted me on his popular blog where I wrote about my experiences with love. My own blog has been having some issues while I redesign it so I didn’t get to share it with you when the post went live.

So here is the beginning and I hope you will finish reading over at CoryCopeland.net

When I was 17 years old, I had a very unromantic understanding of relationships. I remember flicking through a magazine when a quote from Nicole Kidman caught my eye. Regarding her husband Keith Urban and their problematic marriage, she declared that “you can’t choose who you fall in love with.” I scoffed and thought, “Stupid famous people and their stupid romantic theories.” I believed love had to be earned, and that we all had 100 per cent control over whom we chose to love.

I was guarded and practical due to what I had seen of marriage and didn’t want to experience myself. I thought avoiding heartbreak was rather straightforward. All you had to do was wait for the right person who ticked all the boxes. Then you invested the time into getting to know them and eventually, with much deliberation and thought, you fell in love. Not rocket science, right?

Now here I sit some years later, having loved and been loved, and not sure what I believe.

Continue reading and share your thoughts at CoryCopeland.net