Choose Joy

Choose Joy

Oh. The taste of my own words is bittersweet. But here I am, chowing down on them and enduring the feeling of swallowing my pride.

I was wrong.

Kind of.

Well, I’ve changed my mind on one thing anyway.

Oh, hey, by the way. It’s been a minute. A hot fucking minute. I’m not back, though. I’m just dropping by. Yes – I am still alive. No – I’m not pregnant. Yes – I still think about this blog. No – there’s no big reason why I went away for a bit.

Truth is…Im soaking up life at the moment. I’ve found myself in a real beautiful space that I don’t think I’ve inhabited before. Or, at least, I’ve not inhabited for a very long time. Comfort. Peace. Contentment. It’s around me always, right now. It’s not always within me but it’s there for me to take if I just breathe and let it in.

Its reminds me of a beautiful day I had once in my second year of University. It was a baking hot day – I mean, sweating thighs just sat down kinda heat. My Dad and Step – Mum had visited me for the day with my brother and they decided to go home at 4pm. I left them and turned for home when I realised…I didn’t want to go home. Not yet. The afternoon was still in her youth and, bear in mind, this was a time before smartphones had really kicked off. The era of Blackberry had just arrived and my student loan skint ass didn’t have one so I was unreachable. No one expected me back and I liked that feeling of being entirely unhinged. I stayed alone in the park, bathing in the sun, surrounded by families and children, absorbed in a book…alone. Oh, I see you introverts drooling and yes – it was bliss. I eventually returned home about 9pm slightly sunburnt but feeling like I’d had a holiday. I’d checked out and blissed out. Fuck everyone else. I’d taken time out for me for the first time in a long time. No essays. No reading. No social engagements. No texting. No phonecalls. It was the first lesson in taking time out for me…

And that’s how I feel now. This space I occupy in life has been like that. I’m just enjoying it. Soaking. Putting the year long lessons I’ve shared on here into action and just trying to be a decent human being.

So, I’ve not abandoned you. I’ve just checked out for a while, blissing out in this wonderful space. After my twenties have been filled with a lot of mental health challenges, this space is so sweet for my soul. Life is flowing and I’m going along with her, saying yes to all that she’s giving me, and just learning how to sow joy, compassion, and love everyday. She’s gently teaching me that I do indeed reap what I sow.

Listen – I love you and I care for you and I will be back. But, for now, peace out…

…oh, wait. I didn’t tell you what I’d changed my mind on, did I? Choosing joy. You can do that. I was wrong. You can choose to be happy if your mental health and physical health allow. You can choose joy if you’re brave enough. You can choose to smile and say good morning when you swallow your pride, realise that your wounds are scars now, and you don’t need to be afraid. You can choose joy when you’ve done the work to lay the right foundation in your life to let it grow. Because it is exactly that…if you want to reap joy, sow it. What you give out comes straight back to you. You choose joy, you feel joy, you receive joy. It might take a while to get the momentum going, it may be a minute until the Universe realises that you’ve raised your vibration so you’re able to vibe with others on the same level. But it will come. Keep choosing joy. That’s what I’m learning and soaking in right now. The simple choice of joy.

Love and light, you beautiful fuckers. I’ll be back soon.

L x

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Debunking Jess Glynne at The Brits.

The 2019 Brit Awards aired on Wednesday 20th February and, amongst other news reports covering the event, the most hailed amongst women (according to Twitter) was the moment Jess Glynne removed her make up in front of 20,000 people in the auditorium and countless others watching live on TV all over the nation.

She was hailed as inspirational and brave with thousands of social media users taking to their platforms to express their awe at such a statement. It was a triumphant “fuck you!” to the body-shamers, fat-phobics, gender-stereotyping misogyny that plagues our world. It was intended as an almighty signal to the cosmetics companies that profit off women’s inherent hatred for themselves, the diets that decide how healthy looks and perpetuate disordered eating, and the magazine covers that adorn every shelf and shout that we must be thinner, more beautiful, more curvaceous, and we are ultimately not enough.

Yes. All well and good. But, quite frankly, I’m plunged into doubt. Whilst it is all well and good to send out such a message to all of the above, it makes me wonder what state female empowerment has come to when this is blasted as brave, as an astounding act of courage, and an awe inspiring act for young girls to see.

Let’s be fucking real here. In order to make a statement against the bullshit culture we have created for young females today, you need to be a part of it. What I’m saying is that you need to act in accordance with the values that you are protesting against. Take, for example, body positivity on Instagram. I’m all about showing real bodies online and – don’t get me wrong, it has helped me on countless occasions – but perpetuating the idea that bodies are more than sexual commodities for the consumption of the male gaze would require you getting half naked to do so. You’re still within the confines and rules that you’re trying to break – get naked to make a statement. You see what I’m saying?

Jess taking off her makeup was an attempt to abolish the shitty culture we’ve grown accustomed to that make women feel awful to fill the terrible void they’ve created but, inherently, she just perpetuates the same message. By using makeup as a statement to say “you’re worth more”, you’re still using makeup to say “you’re worth more.”

Listen – this is not an attack on the woman. Far from it. I got fucking chills watching her performance. How could you not? Her voice. The message of the song combined with the act. It was powerful. Could I get up on stage and belt my latest tune whilst taking off my warpaint? To be honest, it would make me shit my pants. Notwithstanding the fact that I can barely type on a keyboard properly when someone is peering over my shoulder for fear of being judged on my literary ability.

If Jess Glynne wanted to be more than her makeup or show that the shallow culture she was allegedly raising her arms against was bollocks, come on stage dressed in your normal garb and don’t wear makeup in the first place. Don’t get your makeup artist to dress your face in the latest Charlotte Tilbury so you can take fancy pictures before the event and then try to make the statement. I smell bullshit and it only makes me think that the entire thing was orchestrated in order to ensure that you wouldn’t be forgotten amongst the myriad other artists also performing that night.

Who am I trying to convince? Of course it was. A cheap thrill to sell. You know what would’ve been better? Just focusing on her singing. Using her talent. Belting out with all the power her lungs gave her and being bold in her talent.But, instead of remembering her voice, we remembered her makeup – or lack of. Ya see? You protest against something within the confines and rules of the culture you’re trying to shift and you don’t send a new message – you just use the old.

You can accuse me of looking too much into this. “Laura, calm the fuck down, hun. It was only the Brit Awards and we all know she didn’t mean anything political.”

I won’t calm down, soz. Because it makes me wonder what state female empowerment is in when it has come this far so that removing make up is hailed as brave. Let me remind you, I’m not knocking Jess personally. She’s beautifully talented and her hair is that gorgeous shade of red that I’ve coveted my entire life. For those of us who are enslaved to the idea of perfection and hold an inner-criticism against the way we look, the act that she committed to onstage resonates deeply with us. But, a part of me is heartbroken because, in reality, this is tragic. It displayed first world white privilege at its finest hour.

I’m actually fucking terrified of publishing this because, actually, I’m not educated so much on these matters to really digress them. I almost feel ashamed of my lack of historical knowledge of such subjects, particularly when it comes to black history and the struggles surrounding the fight for liberation. All I can do is share my immediate thoughts and opinions which is bound to piss someone off but…my opinion isn’t gospel, thank goodness, so cool your tits.

What I did do off the back of my feelings surrounding this was research. I looked for historical and present day women who, I believe, personify bravery, courage, and inspirational attributes. Perhaps we are so quick to hail these moments of removing makeup on stage as courageous because we are not taught of women who are badass and came up against detrimental odds and overcame. History is a collection of factual reflections written by the hands of white men. We aren’t taught about these women in school. I had to actively seek out women to share with you…

So, rambling aside, this is what I’m going to do – each month, I will be bringing to you a badass female that we need to know about. Historical, present day, whoever. We need role models. We need to fucking know our sisters and our ancestors; what they did, and what they are doing, for us. We need women we can look to and think “Fuck yes!”

On some level, this is for me. I need these women, too, because I am admittedly ignorant. God, I am an ignorant twat. Ask me about present day affairs and I don’t know. A part of this is to do with the fact that I spend more time with my head in Geroge R R Martin books and on Instagram as opposed to filling my time with less trivial pursuits. I’m hoping that my education will also be our shared education, too.

I mean, this is She, Uncensored, right? So let’s carry on with the Uncensoring and start to understand the greatest power there is in this world – the power of She.

Be More Water

I gave up on a lot of things as a kid and, generally, I lose hope in myself very quickly.

When I was fifteen yeas old I gave up bass guitar because, despite practicing for at least 10 minutes per day (and at most half an hour a week…), I wasn’t sounding anything like Flea. Growing out of this habit never happened as, at the tender age of twenty two, I gave up guitar because I didn’t sound like Jimi Hendrix. I even had callouses on every finger tip, for fucks sake. Recently, I gave up drawing because I’m nothing like those amazing people on Deviant Art. Fuck, I nearly gave up blogging last month because I barely get the audience. (Secret’s out, people. Blogging is a dying art but you’ll find me here waiting for it to resurge again like vinyl and podcasts.)

If my failure’s were successes, I’d be one smug bitch right now.

Oh, yes! Nothing quite like a bit of failure to get you to question everything about yourself and give you the confidence kick-in-the-crotch you need.

I’m a big ol’ ball of optimism lately, aren’t I? Bear with me. It gets better, I promise.

We went away last weekend and, as it’s coming up to April, the UK council’s get squeaky bums about the budget they haven’t spent so literally every road that has the smallest pot hole in it gets dug up for about four miles either side. Traffic cones block the way and reroute the roads so, all of a sudden, you feel like you’re competing in the Mushroom Cup on Mario Kart. We were re-routed to a road that has clearly seen better days – most likely when horse drawn carriage was the modern day equivalent of an Audi. This small -ass country lane was our detour and my car shuddered along uneven tarmac whilst I prayed there was no oncoming vehicles to shatter my knee caps upon collision.

As we trundled along this road, I saw that there was water pouring from the roots on the trees. Where the water was trickling down the road, it had carved a path for itself. Bad news for the life span of my car but I found it remarkable that, despite the strength of the concrete in comparison to the gentle trickling of water, it had overpowered it and made a route for itself…

I get it. It’s February. We make resolutions and, when they haven’t come to fruition yet, it’s difficult to stay focussed. Diets suddenly have more cheat days, fitness classes get missed, and books remain unread. But, listen, even the sharpest of boulders can get worn down in the gentlest of waters. What I mean to say is this – keep on at it. Particularly if it’s something you’ve never done before and you’re not very good. Be consistent and keep showing up. Gently does it – don’t expect to carve a path overnight. You think that water carved a path in a few days? Hell no! The little waterfalls on the road that was wrecking my car wheels was carved over time by a consistent trickle that never ceased.

Be more water. Be gentle with yourself. Show up as often as you can. Do what you are able to do in that moment. Consistency is key. Before you know it, you’ll find you’re flowing a little easier as you carve your own path.

So…what paths are you carving this year?

Love and light,

L

x

 

Confidence Knocks

I hate the gym.

Listening to the constant clanging of weights, dealing with the ‘New Year, New Me!’ crowd in January, feeling self-concious with every move I make, pretending like I know what I’m doing when I approach a machine when really I have no fucking idea…

Yeah, fuck all of that.

In 2019, I resolved to keep fit in another way – I signed up to Circus classes.

Yeah, yaknow. Circus. The silks, the ropes, the trapeze…

The website insisted that I’d be able to do it as it was created for beginners. Spoiler alert: the website lied. I turned up the first week full of hope and the famous last words of “How hard could it be!?”

Very hard, apparently.

Shakira might have boasted at one point that her hips never lied but my hips are compulsive bullshitters. You see, they look young and strong being attached to legs that have seen many a half marathon but, in reality, they’re about as flexible as an iron rod. There are 65 year olds who can touch their toes whilst this 28 year old struggles to bend over without cracking her joints.

Turn out your hips are fucking crucial when it comes to the trapeze and, after the first week of trying, I realised my hips were not ready to be inducted into the Pretzel Hall of Fame.

By the second week I’d lost all hope. But I didn’t give up like an adult, owning up to my shortcomings and requesting that I leave the course for another time. No, no. I decided to sneak out of the back door half way through a lesson.

I gave up. And I hate giving up more than I hate the gym.

And I cried. I legit fucking cried walking back to my car because my confidence had been well and truly knocked. Nay, pummeled. All of a sudden I felt like a teenager again…which is to say I felt like utter shit.

I realised it had been a good few years since I felt like that. So vulnerable, so unsure of myself and my abilities. And in an emotionally masochistic way…it felt good.

(I know. One minute I’m cry walking back to my car and the next moment I’m enjoying feeling like shit. But let me explain…)

I realised in that moment that confidence knocks are evidence that we’ve pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone and we’ve been humbled. Congratulations, honey, you’re shit at something!

You see, confidence knocks feel like shit but they are crucial to our personal growth. It shows you tried for something. It highlights your vulnerabilities and weaknesses that need a little extra TLC. It shows that you’re out of your comfort zone and brave enough to try something new and that’s very good, my friend. Confidence knocks are the roadmaps to becoming better at something, of protecting ourselves, of more self-love, more patience, and show where we need to strengthen our weakest spots.

But, no. I didn’t go back to circus because my hips need serious prayer. And yoga. Lots of fucking yoga. Truth is, I’ve been meaning to go back to yoga for about 6 months and this confidence knock was the boost I needed in the right direction to sort myself out. And, trust me, I will not be running out of Yoga class any time soon. Here’s to more confidence knocks in 2019 and may the confidence knocks lead us to new strengths.


2019 – Resolution 3: I’m Not Sorry

Our final resolution for 2019?
#SorryNotSorry

Last year, I went to see A Simple Favour with a few friends. For those who don’t know, the main characters are Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) and Emily (Blake Lively). Stephanie is a stereotype of bubbly femininity and one of her foibles is constantly saying “sorry!” for no apparent reason. Emily eventually turns around and says “Never say you’re sorry. It’s a fucked up female habit.”

Aint that the fucking truth.

We literally say sorry for everything. Someone holds open a door for us and we apologise for not walking through it fast enough. We bump into someone and immediately apologise. We go to state our opinion and apologise before even saying a damn thing!

Saying sorry just means that, on some level, we think we are wrong, or we aren’t good enough, or we don’t have the right to say or do something. When I really thought about why I was saying sorry all the time I realised it was because I wanted to please people in order to be liked.

Yeah, well, fuck that.

Stop apologising. You have the right to voice an opinion. You have the right to take life at your own pace. You have the right to fucking do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said, and to be here on this earth. It’s time to stop excusing yourself, sweetie.

I mean, think about it – most of the shit you apologise for isn’t your fault or isnt even a problem. Women apologise for everything. We’d apologise for fucking breathing if we felt it necessary. Stop being self-conscious about the space you take up in this world and just fucking own it. If anyone has a problem with you let it be them because (unless you have mortally offended them or their families or whatever) it’s their issue to deal with, not yours. You are not put on this earth to please everyone else at the detriment of yourself.

Moving forward this year, every time you feel the need to say ‘sorry’, pause and think. If it’s unnecessary, which 9 times out of 10 it will be, then switch it around and turn it onto the other person.

“Sorry I’m late” (because of traffic that was out of your control and not your fault) becomes “thank you for waiting – traffic was crazy this morning!”

“Sorry!” as you’re walking through a door (that someone is holding for you out of a matter of their own choice) is simply “Thank you for that, I appreciate it!”

“Sorry but would you mind…?” is changed to “Please could you…?”

In reality, sorry starts with us – we’re just thinking of ourselves and usually from a self-conscious and negative perspective. Putting it onto the other person allows us to understand others better and reminds others of their worth. Apologising doesn’t always communicate how much we appreciate others.

Let 2019 be the year we’re not sorry.