Young Lady…

Young Lady…

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog.

Today, I want to vent, and to address an issue of social equality (AKA feminism).

The term “young lady”. It really rankles me. My hackles go up every time someone says it to me.

The problem is, I work in a very sexist company. It’s old-fashioned, male-dominated and traditionally a ‘masculine’ career. Therefore, a lot of the senior and middle managers are middle-aged or older white men.

Privilege, much?

I didn’t realise this when I joined, otherwise I would have seriously considered running for the hills. I don’t know what it’s like out in the field, though I can’t imagine it’s much better, but at this office, and certainly in my department, the casual sexism is rife.

And it’s p*ssing me off.

My second line manager, for example. The head of our team. Refers to me and my female colleague as ‘young ladies’ on a regular basis. When asking how we are. When assigning us work. When asking for an update. When telling me off for raising a grievance about bullying against my line manager…

All the time.

I’m going to say something to him, from both a gender-queer and feminist point of view. I don’t identify as a lady, or a woman, so calling me this is insulting in that sense, and to call me young lady is, to me, patronising and condescending and therefore insulting a wider social sense. He doesn’t call people ‘young man’, he calls men by their names, and even if he did, why should he assume a typically ‘fatherly’ position in the conversation? Keep it professional, dude. You’re my boss, not my Dad or my Uncle. We’re not even Facebook friends outside of work. You know nothing about me. Don’t assume you can call me whatever stupid pet name you feel like.

Yeah. Vent. Warned ya.

Now, interestingly, when I Googled ‘young lady offensive’, there were several articles and conversations on the internet about it already. People have mixed opinions on the matter. Some say it’s endearing, or mildly annoying but that ‘you can’t change an older man, he’s set in his ways’. Some ‘feminist’ writers say that the angry response is actually because it’s our own self-doubt creeping in and therefore we should just be more confident.

I want to address these findings.

  1. It’s endearing.
    1. Not to everyone. (Not to me.)
    2. Not in a professional workplace setting, especially when discussing a grievance or a project.
    3. Not when you don’t 100% know the person you’re saying it to identifies as a young woman
    4. Not when you’re not friends with the person you’re saying it to, and 100% know they’re comfortable with that sort of language
  2. It’s annoying but you can’t change an older person
    1. Bullsh*t. Everyone can learn and improve. Nobody HAS to be ignorant, or rude or offensive. A mistake followed by a sincere apology and then not doing it again is OK. Continually sticking with your old ways of doing things, despite it causing emotional or physical harm to other people? Then you’re an arsehole and I have no time for you.
    2. This is also disrespectful to the older person. You’re assuming they can’t or don’t want to change. Maybe they just didn’t realise it was upsetting or insulting?
  3. It’s actually our own self-doubt creeping back in. Just be more confident!
    1. Bullsh*t. Even if I do struggle with self-doubt at times, I’m insulted because it’s insulting, not because I’m not feeling confident. Subtly putting the blame back on the woman is disgusting and not ‘feminist’. You moron.

Yeah…

I have a lot of feelings about this. I’m entitled to my feelings. Things need to change. They’re improving and that’s brilliant.

They can be even better.

So, to all those out there who might want to call me ‘young lady’…

Just don’t.

My name is Laura. Please call me that.

Peeps works, too. Or folks. Or everyone.

There are so many neutral ways of being informal. That’s the other thing. A lot of people then come down with the patriarchal hammer (without even realising it’s the patriarchy hammer) and saying ‘it’s Polictical Correctness gone mad!’ and ‘we’ll never be allowed to make jokes again!’. No. Just be nice, and RESPECT each other.

Why is that so complicated?!

Eugh, vent over.

Thanks for listening, folks!

Toodles. xx

Angry gif

Image courtesy of http://chibird.com/

I want to run away :(

I want to run away :(

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog.

Yeah. I want to run away. I’m feeling really stressed and overwhelmed by my life right. I’m having some problems at work because my boss is a bully, whether intentional or not, and it’s having some extremely negative effects on my life.

I want my blogs to be about happiness and positivity, but I feel like such a liar right now because I have such a strong voice in my head screaming at me that I’m the problem with my life and that everything and everyone would be better if I just wasn’t here.

I’m not about to hurt myself, don’t worry. It’s more that I want to be someone else. I don’t want to be me anymore. Being Me seems to be the problem.

I can’t seem to make any decisions right now. My brain is whirring at a thousand miles an hour and spinning around a thousand possibilities like a hamster in a wheel. Could I do this, could I do this, is this how it’ll fix it? Where’s the magic button? Where’s the off switch? How can I make it all go away?

I’m exhausted. I can’t stop yawning. All I want to do is sleep but when I do sleep I have horrible nightmares about being chased by walkers (as per The Walking Dead) or of drowning.

I’m having loads of migraines, or just one constant migraine that doesn’t shift. It feels like my left eye socket is made of sandpaper and my eye is grinding against it every time I blink or look around, and my jaw is wired shut. There’s a hot needle in my ear and the tide keeps going out in my head. That and the fact that I feel really sick, like I’ve just stepped off a rollercoaster and I’m seeing black spots everywhere, sort of like dozens of little spiders just crawling over everything or floating in the air…

I need a break. But I can’t have any more sickness because I’ll lose my job. I’m already on an attendance plan because of the migraines. I’ve been given a good tolerance and they’re allowing me to have up to 1 day off a week (on average) but if I’m off for more than that, I’ll fail the plan and then I won’t have a job to worry about, which is even more stressful because I have a mortgage and bills to pay.

So, yeah, I just want to run away. But I can’t. I just want to not be me because someone else must be better at dealing with this… right?

I used to be happy. I used to be confident. I’ve lost it all. Who was that person? Who was she? Who was I? How did I do that? It doesn’t feel real anymore. It doesn’t feel possible.

RIGHT.

  1. What can I smell? I smell… lemon cleaner, aircon air, my perfume… carpets…
  2. What can I taste? I taste… Coca-Cola, chocolate, caramel…
  3. What can I see? I see my work laptop computer, I see this word document, I see a smiley face sticker on my keyboard, I see the Marvin the Unicorn plush keyring that my amazing wife made me, I see a post-it saying ‘Just be Yourself’ and a little cartoon picture of my two wonderful dogs, Lilly and Doug.
  4. What can I feel? I can feel my mouth stretching into a smile again, a really big wide smile that crinkles my eyes and fills me with hope. I can do this.
  5. What can I hear? I hear uplifting music on YouTube through the blue earphones I’m listening with. I can hear my keys clacking, a really satisfying sound because it means I’m writing and writing is my life.

I’m going to be just fine. I’m okay. Just as I am. I’m back, I’m good… I’m breathing.

I can survive this.

I can do anything.

UNICORN POWER!!!

Unicorn kawaii

Image courtesy of:
http://evaons.deviantart.com/art/Unicorn-Kawaii-635054675

Sunny Sunday: The Dandelion of Self-Doubt

Sunny Sunday: The Dandelion of Self-Doubt

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Dandy Lion, the self-doubting weed.

Dandy Lion the Weed

Now, this is NOT my artwork, but this is very much how I imagine Dandy Lion, the self-doubting weed.

Basically, Claire and I (with the help of our amazing strong friend) cleared our back garden of all the massively overgrown weeds a few weeks ago, but in the nice weather I’ve noticed that they’re starting to grow back. So out I popped this morning to pull up some of the nettles and dandelions before they could take over and create a Backyard Jungle once again.

And it reminded me of my mental health.

Confidence and positive thinking don’t come naturally to me. My depression and anxiety are daily struggles. BUT if I can keep working on the weeds of self-doubt then, over time, Dandy Lion will become a positive-thinking flower, instead of a self-doubting weed.

So, how do I do this? With extreme effort and patience. And a lot of Google searching. I mean a LOT of Google searching.

There is tonnes of advice out there, and some of it might work for you, some of it won’t. Here’s something what works for me:

I pick a feature, just one, about myself that I like, and I compliment myself in the mirror EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Sometimes, I have to pretend that the reflection is a different person, and I ask myself, how would I speak to her? I’d never say a horrible, bullying thing to someone else, but my self-doubt weeds make me do that to myself.

Honestly, try it.

For me, I choose my big blue eyes. I think they’re really pretty.

Now, the self-doubting weed immediately pops up and, like a stinging nettle, jabs at me and says, “That’s so vain, who are you to like your own eyes? You can’t call yourself pretty; that’s arrogant and then no-one will love you.”

To which I reply, “It’s okay to like just one feature. I’m going to keep saying it for a while and see how things go.”

And the weed of self-doubt subsides into sulky silence and lets me get on with my day.

It still jabs at me (especially when I first started, it was so difficult to ignore the stings!), but perseverance is key and, sort of like non-harmful re-planting, the weed of self-doubt is slowly moved into a pretty terracotta pot and becomes a flower of confidence instead.

Because weeds are really just flowers in the wrong place.

There’s a time and a place for self-doubt – it can help us become better, stronger and kinder people – but too much self-doubt, like too many weeds, or self-doubt in the wrong place of your mind, like weeds in the wrong part of the garden, can make it really difficult to see all the beauty that your mind has to offer.

Could this work for you? Why not try it for 28 days and see? Apparently, that’s about how long it takes to change or create a new habit (or how long it takes to re-plant a weed into a pretty new pot).

Stay amazing, my fellow unicorns!

Chibird dandelion

Dandelion & Lion image courtesy of:
http://www.deviantart.com/users/outgoing?https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabhan-Abdullatif/218421908222045
Check out more illustrations at:
https://www.facebook.com/nabhan.illustrations/
Make a wish dandelion image courtesy of:
http://chibird.com/
Check out more chibird illustrations at:
https://www.facebook.com/ChibirdArt/

 

Storytime Saturday: How I proposed to my wife

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog!

Today, I want to share with you the story of how I proposed to my wife. It was such a typical example of our relationship and it formed part of my wedding speech.

It’s our 3 year wedding anniversary in July and I’m looking back through our wedding photos in preparation.

So…

I proposed in 2009. Claire had moved in with me at my parents’ house cos she was still in uni but needed a break from home, and we were definitely back together  (after the on-off-on-again 2006-2008 phase).

I knew I wanted to marry her, or at least get a civil partnership, which was our only option at the time, but proposing is really SCARY so I sort of wanted to test the waters first and get a sense of how receptive she was to the idea.

Subtle I am not.

So there we are, sat on the end of our bed, talking about rental flats versus waiting and saving to buy a house, and I say, super casually (of course):

“I guess, before we get a mortgage, we should probably get married…?”

And she just looked at me for a long minute and said, rather incredulously,

“Did you just propose?!”

Now, this was a scary position to be in because if I said no, she might be too upset for me to try again, meaning I’d blown my chance forever, but if I said yes then it was the crappiest proposal in the history of the world ever.

So… I hedged my bets and said…

“Maybe.”

It’s gets better…

“But not really… but if I was… what would you say? Cos I really want to surprise you by proposing on valentine’s day only… oh crap, well, surprise!”

Yeah…

Of course, after we laughed about me being a dummy and the worst person at keeping secrets, Claire said yes and burst into tears of joy.

And then I said,

“But I’ve not really proposed, because you propose with a ring, this is just the pre-proposal, so you have to wait till valentine’s day.”

2 weeks later and we’re walking into H Samuel the jewellers for engagement rings.

But I kept the box and on valentine’s day I put a Haribo gummy ring inside, got down on one knee and proposed properly.

Enter more tears and hugging.

… we still ended up getting a mortgage before we got married though…

Wedding photo.JPG

I think I’m happy…

I think I’m happy…

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog! Isn’t the weather gorgeous at the moment?! It certainly is where I am in the UK. Glorious sunshine and heat. The birds are singing, the cats are soaking up the rays and the dogs are having a jolly good time running around in the grass.

Peeps… I think I’m… happy… Like, truly happy…

It’s really scary!

Haha! I love how I’m worrying about being happy! This is the thing I’ve been aiming for, a goal I’ve had in mind for a while… and now I’m worried again. I’m worried that it won’t last, that the come-down will be more than I bear…

But, at the same time… I don’t want to be worrying. The worry and the happiness come in waves, like gentle water lapping at a beach. Yeah, apparently I get all poetic and descriptive when I’m happy. Enjoy!

I think I’m so used to being anxious, so used to worrying that it’s become a habit. I’m so used to not feeling good enough and not being happy with my life, not feeling like a success or capable of achieving anything that I can’t recognise these feelings for what they are.

I didn’t have a single day off sick last week. Not one. For me, that’s amazing. I’ve not binged on food in 2 weeks. That’s also amazing. I’m so proud of myself.

Sure, I’ve had dips; I can look back over the last 2-3 weeks and see the odd difficult day. I’ve smoked a few cigarettes to keep from cutting but y’know what, I’m not smoking anymore, not for 4 days, and I feel brilliant.

The house is in order, I’m getting back on top of the laundry and the dishes… The dogs are so happy as well now that I’m happy.

So… how could I keep this going as much as possible?

  1. Write more of my book (that gives me a huge sense of pride in my achievement and it’s a great use of my extra energy)
  2. Exercise (I can improve my cardiovascular health and lose some weight, which will boost my self-esteem even more)
  3. Get ahead of the housework (so that it’s easier on the not-so-good days)

Yeah! I can do this!!!

Chibird doing great bunny

Image courtesy of http://chibird.com/

 

Until next time… stay amazing, my fellow unicorns!

 

Toodles!

 

 

 

I cut my hair!

1492787673029-1955355291.jpg

Hey peeps! Welcome to another Project Unicorn blog. I’ve been really struggling with my anxiety and depression recently (as I’ve mentioned before) and it just doesn’t seem to be shifting.

After bursting into tears on my GP (family doctor), I was given more anti depressants and told to come back in a month.

However, I’ve been speaking to a great woman at work and she’s recommended a nutritional therapist. This holistic approach really helped her so I’m going  book myself in for a consultation.

I’m also going to contact Let’s Talk because they give free advice and can offer counselling if they think I need it.

 

Unicorn has no voice!

Unicorn has no voice!

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog!

I’m sorry for the radio silence over the last couple of weeks – my anxiety and depression have flared up again and I’ve just been a total social media hermit.

HOWEVER, I am feeling much better now, so I’m looking forward to blogging more frequently and creating more YouTube videos. Watch this space for updates and links.

No Voice?

So, for the last six days, I’ve had no voice. It started with the dreaded lurgy (a cold, for those of you who aren’t a drama llama.) Then it turned into tonsillitis. I’ve never had tonsillitis before, because I’m lucky, but that luck has most definitely run out. My glands swelled up until they were visible in my neck and my voice was completely and utterly gone. I’m on the mend now, painfully slowly, and am just taking one day at a time. Even though I want to jump right back into making videos, I have to heal first, because I still sound like I’ve been smoking 40 Virginia Slims every day for 20 years.

Hybrid Update

Excellent news on the book front – I’m steaming along, minus the last 4 days of being too ill to sit up and write – and have written six really good chapters so far. This coming from the Queen of the Re-write… having just under 20k of words that I’m happy with is really good news.

I intend to keep going at this pace as I really want the book finished this year. Hold me to my promise, fellow herd-members!!!

Chapter Seven is currently in progress, and I’m particularly excited because one of the main romances begins in this chapter. Raize meets Nathan at Nico’s Christmas party. It’s a small scene but it’s the seed for their entire relationship, which continues throughout the series. I’m so happy!

Work Update

Work is… well. It pays the bills, eh? Haha, I’m sorry, I’ll try to be more of a positive bean… Um… Work is… fine…

To be completely honest, I’m looking to leave my job. I want to set up my own dog-walking and dog-sitting business, so I’ll be creating my Wix website soon. And I’d like to do freelance copywriting, proof-reading, admin and editing in my spare time, since I’ll have hours in the day available. Imagine how much writing I could get done!

2017 Resolutions – An Update:

  • To write at least 1 sentence of my book every day
  • To create at least 1 Project Unicorn YouTube video every fortnight
  • To post at least 1 Project Unicorn blog every week (even if it’s really short!)

Okay… so I’m mostly keeping up with the resolution of writing 1 sentence of my book every day… I didn’t do any writing for the last 4 days because I was really poorly, so I’ll forgive myself for that. I need to do some writing today to keep up with that resolution… I’m really glad I checked back about these resolutions, actually; I’ve got a terrible memory and it’s nice to know what I signed up for!

Project Unicorn video every fortnight… it’s ‘mostly’ happening… I was REALLY consistent at the beginning, even posting twice a week, but then I slipped and it wasn’t even that I couldn’t find the time, it was that I didn’t feel good enough or worthy enough for YouTube. I felt guilty for creating content when I don’t watch that much of it. I’m one of those people who goes onto YouTube for 8 hours of club music or nature sounds, or to watch a fan video about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson kissing (or at least intimate eye-staring with imagined kisses in between). I suppose I just need to get on with it. Claire told me not to worry about what I ‘should’ be doing, ‘cos I was winding myself up with ‘I should be networking more’, ‘I should be watching more made content’ etc. She reminded me that I’m free to do what I want on YouTube… for such a rebellious, punk-loving creative Unicorn, I’m really scared of leaving the rulebook and heading out on my own. What does that say about me??

Finally… to post at last 1 blog every week… yeah… I’ve been really neglectful of this blogsite. I feel so guilty, because it’s such a great site and I really enjoy writing the posts when I actually do it! So, no more torturing myself for the things I HAVEN’T done. Here’s me picking myself up by my rainbow-coloured cotton socks and giving myself a big grin and saying ‘I CAN and I WILL.’

What’s Up This Week?

I’m working on my final assignment for Uni this week – it’s due on Thursday. Then we’re into the final leg because it’s REVISION TIME ready for the exam at the start of June! Great news, though, folks! I got 85% on my last essay, which is my highest score yet, AND included 2 poems that I had to analyse! I went with my gut instinct, had fun with it and it paid off!

Lesson learned: Stop trying to please other people by changing who you are. Embrace yourself completely and let your inner light shine through.

On that note… I’m going to do some writing now.

 

Toodles!