Since I started this incarnation of my blog, I made it clear it was never going to be just about beauty. While beauty has remained its primary focus and will continue to be so, I’ve also shared personal stories about my children, book reviews, my crochet hobby, posts about my vaping habit as well as the rare and occasional political post.
I was all set to post about The Body Shop Vitamin E range today, and I still will this week, but today, I just can’t. Having sat here for the last hour, in front of my computer in tears, with the deep sense of worry I’ve felt since the US elections, and with a feeling of foreboding about the political climate of the world in the last few years, I cannot at least post something about what is going on.
Before I start though, I have to say this: I’ve heard that there are some on social media, and in blogging circles who are taking it upon themselves to berate anyone who ISN’T using their voice as a blogger to condemn what is happening in the world right now. I have to say that I feel this is completely and utterly unacceptable. We cannot dwell on the horrors all the time, it is not good for our mental health and well being. It is okay to step back, and spend some time reading about lipsticks or whatever it takes to restore happiness. If we are not happy and well balanced, we may not have the strength to be useful to anyone at all!
With that in mind, to turn away completely, to not think on these issues, whatever your view point… well here’s some tweets from people I admire:
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” – Elie Wiesel
— michael sheen (@michaelsheen) 29 January 2017
Remember sitting in history, thinking “If I was alive then, I would’ve…”
You’re alive now. Whatever you’re doing is what you would’ve done.
— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) 28 January 2017
I’m not the best person with words, nor can I sit here and say I understand everything well enough to talk about things with any authority, but what I can say is that all of this, this fascism, this right wing hatred, has been brewing so long, the public have been drip fed fear and hatred through the media, and through organisations such as Britain First and it’s been going on a long time. I don’t entirely blame people, fear is a big thing to manage, and there are people who still don’t understand or accept media bias, who hear about terrorist attacks and and top of the drip feeding of fear and hatred they read or hear in the media, they become fearful and hateful themselves.
But let history teach us, this is where it starts, this where as a planet, we decide whether to hate, or whether to love, whether to fact check or whether to believe lies without question, whether we keep fearing or we take a stand and unite. This is the moment. This is where it happens. This is where you decide how history views you.
And while we’ve got Trump doing what Trump is doing, with our Prime Minister refusing to speak out, rather, holding his hand for photo shoots, what has shocked me the most in recent years, is the tide has turned so much so that where once racists and hate filled people kept their horrible little thoughts in their horrible heads or talked only to their friends about their shared horrible little thoughts, we now live in a climate where it’s not shameful to spout hatefulness. Any news article that mentions refugees or immigrants, any news article that talks about Trump, will be littered with comments from supporters of hatred, not under aliases, but out and proud to hate. Shouting loudly about how right it is that Trump should do what it is he’s doing and when is our PM going to do the same. And this has been going on a long time.
Just this weekend on my local newspapers Facebook Page, there was a “story” about and I quote “the Trump Mulim Ban”… here are a selection of the comments…
” If they are coming to Europe then its for economic reasons, free hand-outs, money, housing, furnishings, and old & young people who have beautiful eyes who they want to F & rape”
“Sort out this country first …Bide worrying about someone else’s”
“I think people should stick to there own countrys..look after their own first ..full stop!!!!!”
“No he aint we should do the same”
“No not at all,keep them all out .Top guy Mr Trump”
“I didn’t realise I lived amongst so many pathetic snowflakes, get a grip Trump is the President and is going to be a great one too…. I’m guessing the same people that signed this petition are the same idiotic dead beats who want another referendum, very sad individuals you are!”
Glossing over the apparent shared lack of good grammar, that’s just a small snippet, and its the same every damn time. I’ve picked out the least offensive because I don’t want that sort of hate on my blog really, but that’s the stuff that really concerns me. How normalised this hatred has become.
Anyone who cares, demonstrates, protests, comments on memes or Facebook posts, retweets, anything anti trump, or shows any concern at all for the welfare of other human beings outside of our own small circle is shouted down as a liberal lefty (as an insult of course!), the great unwashed, special snowflake…well if caring makes me any of those things then I guess I’ll just have to take that on the chin because I won’t be changing any time soon.
But to circle back to the start of my post, it wasn’t just badness that made me weep this morning, it was seeing so many people standing up and taking action, videos of the protests in the US, marches and rallies being arrange across the UK today. It’s all good stuff.
Amazing, emotional scenes here at Dulles as some passengers finally unite with crying relatives surrounded by protestors welcoming them. pic.twitter.com/h8sW3LR75N
— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) 29 January 2017
For a long time apathy has been an issue, but perhaps now, perhaps now the political climate is so extreme, perhaps now, people will find their voices and use them because we must speak out where we see great wrong, I would just argue that people should NOT feel compelled to do so on their beauty/mummy/pet blogs, but do contact MP’s, join any of the many protests today, do whatever, but speak out.
PS: As an aside, but still on topic, I’d recommend EVERYONE read this book https://www.amazon.com/Wave-Laurel-Leaf-contemporary-fiction/dp/0440993717
Imagine this. Imagine your worst fears happen. Imagine Islamic State got a foothold in the UK. Slowly and surely things start to change, your wives and daughters are insulted for wearing what they like as they walk down the street, imagine the government appearing to do nothing and things worsening, imagine your daughter being called a whore and given lashes for daring to have a boyfriend, imagine the knock on your door in the morning, and your son being dragged out into the street and being lashed for god knows what, and as you look around your neighbourhood, you see your house is not the only one to have received a visit, your neighbours are crying, some in despair, some in pain. Imagine your son, defiant, fighting back, imagine him being dragged to the Cathedral Green and beheaded. Imagine. Imagine that. As you listen to the news you realise that this is happening in Bristol, Plymouth, Torquay…not just your town.
Imagine, your father comes to check on the family and witnesses an attempt to drag your daughter away and shouts and wails and lashes out with his stick. Imagine he is immediately lashed for his insubordinance, and thanks to his age, he dies. Imagine realising this isn’t just your county, but is happening all over the country. Imagine your father is dead, imagine your son is beheaded, imagine your neighbours are missing, your sister isn’t answering her phone any more, imagine you turn on whats left of the news and realise its not just here in the UK, its in spreading all over Europe. Fear, death, despair. Imagine you have no money left, you can’t go out to work, you need to protect your family, there is no job to go to, life has changed forever. Imagine knowing your daughter, unless you protect her, will be raped, maybe over and over and again. If she protests, she may well just be killed. And imagine all of this, with a back drop of war. There is no hope. No one is coming to help you. So you run, you pack a bag with soft toys and a few clothes, a loaf of bread, the last few pounds you have and you run.
Where do you run? You don’t know, you’re frightened and desperate. Your son is dead, your father is dead, you need to protect what remains of your family. You head to the coast and see a dinghy, you beg and scream and plead to be allowed on the boat, because to remain where you are means certain death, you get on the boat and during the journey people die, they fall overboard, imagine one of those is your daughter, you wail and cry and beat your chest in despair. The pain won’t stop, your life may as well be over, but you look over at your spouse and know that despite everything you must keep going, you must find sanctuary and safety. When you are there you can grieve and try to make sense of the living hell you have been through. And then imagine getting there and being called a scrounger, imagine people thinking you’d come for a pitiful £30 odd a week, imagine being turned away. Can you even imagine. So tell me, what the hell would you do? Karma is a bitch my friends, do as you would have done unto you, exercise some empathy, help however you can, because you NEVER know when it may be you begging for help.
Once upon a time there was a young woman. This young woman never wanted children, nor to get married until one day she met her Prince. Then somewhere around her 30th birthday her ovaries went ping and lo, she longed for babies. And so it came to be that the young woman had two babies and the Prince and the woman decided it would be nice if one of them stayed at home to care for the babies. After looking at their finances it became clear that the obvious choice would be for the lower income to be lost, the young woman’s, but it would be worth it. And so for seven long years the young woman stayed at home and cared for the children, occasionally pushed the hoover about and did a lot of blogging.
Then oldest child started school and the youngest child started going to nursery. Money was a bit tight but the young woman (who wasn’t so young any more), had a bit more time for blogging, and put the hoover about a bit more often.
And finally the day came when the youngest child also started school and so the Not-so-young Woman had a lot more time on her hands and decided it was time to return to work. She didn’t really want to return to office work and fancied being around people a bit more and so she started to search for lovely little shop jobs. Applying for jobs was much harder work this time round as there was now a massive gap on her CV and she had no current references.
However, a little job cropped up that just looked perfect so she applied for it. Much to her joy and her Princes’ pride she got an interview which she prepared well for and joy upon joys she got the job! One evening she went to her new work place for her induction and it was then that she was told her wage. It wasn’t a lot but it was okay. In the days that followed her induction she realised that some of her hours would mean that the children would need some kind of childcare. When she booked and arranged that childcare with a combination of child minders and after school clubs, it soon became clear that half of her earnings would be spent paying for this child care. The Not-so-young Woman was still optimistic. After all, half the money was more than she had earned in the last years of not working and there were other benefits too, like being someone other than “mummy” and making new friends and having a life outside the home.
And so it came to be that the Not-so-young Woman went for her training in her spanking new uniform and she felt ever so smart. She wasn’t allowed to wear much make up so she enjoyed perfecting the no-make-up make up look and slicking her hair back into a classic pony tail and she enjoyed putting on her crisp ironed shirt and black trousers. And she spent four hours meeting lovely new people and thinking to herself that this working life was going to be quite alright.
In the days that followed, the Not-young-at-all woman realised that the half term holiday was fast approaching and that perhaps she should be organised and book the holiday club for the children for the three days that she worked. It was then that she realised that for the holidays the childcare would cost more than she was earning. Optimistic still, she spent hours and hours looking for cheaper alternatives to no avail, until it was decided that for one week the family would manage, but that the situation would have to be re-thought before the Summer holidays. She wasn’t keen on working for six or seven weeks for nothing. At this point, the Not-young-at-all woman’s optimism started to disappear and so she decided that a positive exercise would be to work out her entire earnings for the next year and the total child care costs for the next year. And to her great shock, the annual childcare bill was MORE than her entire year’s wage. And so the Not-young-at-all woman took to social media networks and other online groups to ask what other Mum’s did. Those that didn’t want to work full time because they wanted to be there for their children some of the time after school. And many people replied. The Not-young-at-all woman was shocked to learn that amongst her peers many worked at a loss in the holidays, many had run up debt by just working, and many had tried to look for work but had the same problems and so had given up and were struggling still with one salary because it just wasn’t worth the Mum working.
And so, with a heavy heart, and a great degree of mortification, the Not-young-at-all woman had to give up her shiny new job before she had even started and embark on a hunt for a job that either had such perfect hours that no childcare was needed at all, or that paid so well that the costs of childcare were not so important, but with this new job search, her heart was heavy, she felt defeated and pessimistic. After all, with so many Mums in the same position all searching for these rare jobs with great wages and perfect hours, the opportunities were not looking quite as bright as when it felt like the world was waiting arms outstretched shouting “welcome back!”
And so this is a fairy tale that doesn’t have a happy ending but who knows? Maybe there will be happier chapter two in the future!
*This situation cannot go on, by making the prices of childcare so astronomical, families have to make the decision for either both parents to work full time to cover childcare and bring in some extra income and therefore see much less of their children, or to not work, a choice which is quite frankly almost criminal to my mind and the fact that isn’t just my experience, but is altogether more common is an absolute disgrace*
In recent months I’ve become an angry person. In my life I’ve all kinds of emotions, but it’s rare for anger to be an emotion that sticks around. I’m not sure how long it’s been around, I think it may have crept up on me and so it is that I’m finding that I’m angry a lot of the time. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a good angry, it’s the kind of angry that gets messages out and things done, it’s anger that at long last I’m channeling in a good way.
I can sum up in one word what is making me angry and that word is fascism. I’m just going to bullet point a few of the issues that are bothering me.