Dreams

“Dream a little dream of me” ~ The Beautiful South*

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Dream (n): an imagined series of events, an aspiration, goal, aim

 

I woke this morning with the feeling my dream was trying to tell me something and also a strong desire to contact my friend Kim to say hello and see how she was. As I tried to decipher the strands of my dream and work out what they meant, a message popped up from my phone from Kim. It was a message of love and appreciation and it felt to me like a sign that the skeins of thought from my dream needed to be untangled and shared. So here they are.

Give

Give to charity, invest in the Arts, send someone a card. Giving doesn’t have to be money; it can be time, it can be donating upwanted items, it can be assistance of a practical level. That’s not to say rush out of your door and volunteer or sign up to a direct debit for every charity that crosses your path, the vast majority of us are simply unable to do this. But many of us can find the time to give a friend a call and talk with them, maybe pass the time of day or listen if they feel they need to unburden themselves. Giving, be it of ourselves or in a more material way, can help us to think of others and, in turn, make us feel better about ourselves. And what part of society couldn’t use a little more of that?

Share

You are unique. No-on has your specific knowledge and skillset. No-one has your specific experiences. So why not share them? Why not tell people about them? If your passion is camponology or mountain safety then share what you know. If you are great at building websites why not contact the campanologists or mountaineers and see if they would like a website to help share their knowledge? I know things of privacy law, the making of cocktails, the lighting of movies; all because I know people who took the time to write things down or talk about them, and I was interested in finding out. Sometimes I wish I could stand in a library with my arms outstretched and have knowledge pour into me. But I can’t, not least because I’d probably be thrown out. But I can absorb what others tell me. And, in turn, share my knowledge, my passions, with others. We all have so much, in so many ways, so let’s spread it around.

Respect

If you don’t like someone that’s fine. If you don’t like an opinion that’s fine too. But to insult, deride, make personal remarks, that’s less fine. It’s disrespectful to the person, the situation, and also to you. Better to walk away than engage in unpleasant mud-slinging. Consider your environment; respect the space by using a bin and not spitting on the floor. Give your seat to another on the tube if they look like they need it more, not because chivalry or age, just because it is the decent, respectful thing to do. In short, do unto others as you would done by. If you don’t want to be sworn at or about, hurt, abused or ignored, then don’t do those things to others. And don’t stand for them being done to you, by others or in your own head. You are worth more than that.

Don’t sell yourself short

I’ll say it again: you are unique. Why should you hide your light under a bushel? Unless, of course, you are creating an art installation, in which case carry on, my bushel-lighting friend. You have a voice that should not be silenced because you believe you don’t know enough or because X is better. X is great at being X. But you are perfect at being you. No-one else can do that. So let the light that is you shine out in the world.

 

This was the message in my dream. I’m giving it to you to read, sharing it as food for thought, and respecting myself enough to say that I have a voice and I wanted this to be heard.

Interested in your thoughts, as always.

 

Princess

 

 

*many versions of this song have been recorded, I’m going with the one in my head

Advertisements

Look But Shut Up

“What’re you looking at?” ~ Madonna

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Look (vb): to turn one’s eyes toward something or in some direction in order to see, to                         glance or gaze

 

Personally I am a fan of a polite wolf-whistle. I probably shouldn’t be but I am. If you don’t think such a thing exists, then spend 2 – 3 weeks with me and you will change your mind. Those I tend to acknowledge with a wave. An aggressive honking on the horn, however, will always be ignored by me. I know from bitter experience that if you reply with a “fuck off, you Neanderthalic toe-brained cunt” or something similar. the guy behind the wheel will find this hilarious and drive on smugly, leaving you impotent with rage.

From having had stuff shouted at me in the street averaging, at a guess, at about once a week since I was about 14, I have started to grade it in my head. A polite wolf-whistle, an appreciative “hello, sexy” they make me smile. I won’t give you the time of day if you do it but I don’t mind smiling as I carry on about my business. Aforementioned aggressive honking, comments about my ass, they all get ignored. But there are increasingly sexually abusive and aggressive things that are said and done, in my direction and to women in general, and they infuriate me.

I’ll give you an example: whilst walking home recently I noticed a slightly built young female walking towards to me. She was dressed in skinny jeans, some sort of puffa jacket with a dark headscarf & a pair of headphones in. It was dark so I couldn’t see her features clearly but she could have been anything from a composed 14 year old to a young looking woman in her twenties.

But the reason I noticed her was because of the noise following her. There were four young men further up the street all shouting after her. Their shouts initially were “hey sexy / tell us your name / you’re fine” Then as she didn’t respond they developed into “Look at that arse / I’d like to smack it / I’d like to smack her / I’d like to rugby tackle her to the floor”

What. The. Fuck.

When did “I’d like to rugby tackle her to the floor” become an acceptable thing to say about anyone, let alone a woman walking down the street?

Now, I’d love to say that this was an isolated incident but it isn’t. I know women who get solicited for sex by random men whilst grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon. I know women for whom having “cunt / bitch / slag / whore” shouted at them is a such a regular occurrence that they barely register it.

And that’s awful. It is a form of abuse or harassment; how desensitised do you get to notice to not even know that it is happening.

I once had a guy call me a slut, straight in my face, when I was walking through town during my lunch hour. It upset me so much I went straight back to the office, into the toilets, and cried. I even uttered the horrible words “but my skirt isn’t even that short” A good friend set me straight by pointing out that I could be wearing hot pants and a bikini top; my outfit was nothing to do with his comments. How you dress does not make you a slut. Why he said it I don’t know, but it was over 15 years ago and I remember it all in vivid detail.

It was upsetting, it was horrible, and I, like many women, have suffered more since. It affects your confidence, it makes you cry, it makes you think twice about what to wear when you go out (shouldn’t but does), it makes you question your own safety. And all because some people think paying sexually obscene “compliments” is funny; some people get off on randomly insulting and humiliating women.

If you think these things are ‘funny’ or just done ‘for a laugh’ then ask yourself this: how would you feel if this happened to your mother, your lover, your child? Because chances are it already has.

We don’t live in Minority Report so as yet you can’t get arrested for what you think. I can understand the mentality of seeing an attractive woman and thinking in passing what you might like to do with her. I can’t understand shouting in her face as she walks by what you think of her or what you would like to do to her. I don’t want to stop people thinking, I like to make people think. But some thoughts really should just stay in the head. Let’s have a little respect, please.

Interested in your thoughts, as always, so please drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard.

 

Princess

Self-Respect

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me” ~ Aretha Franklin

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Self-respect (n): a feeling of confidence and pride in one’s own abilities and worth

 

(my noticeboard – pithy quote central)

 

The first ever blog I wrote was on confidence and self-esteem. It’s here if you want to read it. I suffer from writers fear of reading my early stuff so can’t look at it.

But confidence, self-esteem, these are still things I ponder a lot. I’ve added a new element to it now and that is self-respect. I think what happens when you get confidence and self-esteem in sync you develop this great trait known as self-respect. Self-esteem is about knowing your worth and living up to it. That’s not in a “I’m worth more/am better than you” it’s about recognising that we have worth, that we are worthy. (Please, no L’Oreal quotes – we’re all worth more than a bit of shampoo). But self-respect, that’s another level again. It’s about how your treat yourself and, more importantly, how you allow yourself to be treated.

“It’s not about being liked, it’s about self-respect”

That’s an old quote, I don’t know where from. I cut it out of a magazine ages ago and it’s on that noticeboard. I did it as it rings so true with me. I suffer enormously from wanting to be liked, to be accepted, that I have twisted and altered my personality so much at times in order to do so. And of course this never works. But it’s hard to break a habit ingrained over a lifetime. It’s hard to take a stand, just for yourself, and say yes, this is me and I’m ok.

I believe everyone is due a basic level respect. Until their behaviour causes it to be lost. It is a deserved human civility. But further respect has to be earned. And I think the same applies to ourselves. Quite a lot of people don’t give themselves the basic respect they deserve in terms of how they look after themselves or how they allow others to treat them. But also we can earn our own self-respect by being the best we can be. Being kind, doing nice things, achieving; these all seems to be something that it is chic to deride in society right now. This depresses me. Striving to achieve is an admirable thing. Being a nice person is too. And if that means standing up, being counted, and then not being liked then I guess I’m old enough, wise enough, and strong enough to deal with it. The only person I am guaranteed to be waking up with for the rest of my live is me. And I’d like to feel good about myself when I do.

And what about you guys? Do you respect yourselves? Is respect an automatic right or should it always have to be earned from scratch? And what pithy quotes do you have lying around the place? Thoughts appreciated, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard, please.

 

Princess