Saturday, 23 June 2012

Bad Feminist

So, this week FemFresh has been taking a bit of a beating over it’s inappropriate advertising, which was suggesting that us women had smelly lady parts that needed cleaning so that we didn’t offend anyone with our lady smells.  And they made things worse by calling such lady parts ‘frou frou’s’ and suchlike...  Social media did its thing on twitter and most hilariously on their facebook page and the mob descended…

Of course, this also comes at a time when middle America is apparently outraged at the use of the word vagina and so calling our lady parts by the proper name is now also a political statement.  VAGINA! Yell it enthusiastically at those bad misogynistic republicans. 

Well, I’ve never called my bits frou frou, and prefer the more traditionally filthy pussy or cunt myself, but if someone wants to refer to parts of themself as a frou frou, then I shan’t argue.  And, whisper it, I actually use FemFresh.  Every day. 

I’m a sensitive soul and my pussy is no different.  Ordinary shower gels and soaps, they can cause itching.  Hot days, tight clothing, different time of the month… Sex.  Itching is uncomfortable.  FemFresh actually works and occurrences of itching significantly reduced.  So, I’m a fan.  Comments on the FemFresh site were also particularly scathing of their wet wipes type product.  Well, I was at a festival and these were being handed out by the portaloos.  Brilliant.  Every time I go to a faintly unsanitary lavatory I wish I had some with me. 

I’m tired of being told by men what I can and can’t do as a woman, how I should act, having them talk at my breasts, or brush my arse with their hand.  I’m tired of slut-shaming and victim-blaming.  I’m tired of judgements over abortion.  My vagina isn’t a political instrument.  And women have no right to make it so either.

So, I use FemFresh.  And shock, I also get a Hollywood wax every few weeks.  I don’t do it for men, I do it because I prefer it.  Being entirely smooth doesn’t make me feel like a child as often charged against the practise, it makes me feel soft, slippery, sexy.  I even quite like the idea of bleaching my anus but steer clear because I don’t need another beauty obsession and I do try not to spend my money on unnecessary things... 

Does all this make me a bad feminist?  Maybe.  Some might definitely say so.  Many said that Slutwalk was bad feminism too, but in fact, it was probably the most successful global gathering of women coming together (with men) to stand together that I am aware of since our mothers’ burned their bras.  I'd prefer to spend my energy campaigning against the things that really matter: rape & sexual assault, domestic violence, the gender pay gap.  It irks me beyond mere irkness for example, that there are so very few women in senior leadership roles in my company, and none who report directly to the GM of Consumer.  And we work in Marketing, the supposed bastion of the female executive.

[Actually, I think on reflection that FemFresh may have a fantastic marketing department, not the terrible one they are being accused of... If all publicity is good publicity they have run one of the most successful viral social media campaigns in recent history (maybe since Threshers 'mistakenly' released that voucher).]

So, I’ll continue to keep my cunt fresh and slick and shrug my shoulders at anyone who thinks by doing so I’m betraying the sisterhood. 

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Humpty Dumpty Girl

This is very self-indulgent, very 'woe is me'.  It's how I feel today.  Normally, I write and post, no edits.  This one, I posted, then deleted the links, then wrote the flip side, and then edited it together.  It probably doesn't work.  It's painful, and I apologise to those who know me if it's too painful to read.  But I'm posting it, and I'm going to post the links because this is what rape does.  This is what living with rape is like, at least for me.  And it's important to me that people, that society, knows that it's a lasting scar, that sometimes results in days like yesterday and today.  But I still hope for better tomorrows.

You’re despicable, I loathe you, despise you.  You’re nothing, never was much even before the shit went down, never will be now, you don’t have the stuff of survival, you don’t roll with the punches, you just curl up in a ball and feel sorry for yourself.  It’s all about you, isn’t it?  Don’t you know how many others are much worse off than you?  But you can’t move on from it can you, you weak, snivelling little nothing of a girl. 

Yes, that’s right, reach for the knife, it’ll make everything better.  Slice open the flesh, watch the blood rise.  Feel the sting.  It is better now, it’ll last maybe 12 hours, and you’ll want to do it again.  Reach for the bottle, but, no, you don’t drink alone.  That’d make you an alcoholic, but you don’t really have problems, do you, stay in control, always in control, at all times.. Chocolate, that’ll do, , yes, fatso, you’re 3 stone overweight, eat, eat, eat, eat, it makes everything better.  Oh, for when there was something to snort, need that stuff again.  To feel high, to feel invincible, to feel back together. 

Tired, too tired.  Take a pill, take two.  Not three though, don’t want an accident, things aren’t in order yet, not ready for a mistake yet.  Sleep, perchance to dream.  No, no dreams.  Please, no dreams. 

Retreat from the world, cancel all your engagements.  Sleep, doze, watch TV, escape from reality.  Switch off the phone, ignore it when it rings.  When your friends worry, pretend it’s all OK, you’re OK, don’t want to worry anyone.  Want a hug, desperately want human contact, push it all away, because you don’t deserve it, you definitely don’t deserve to worry anyone. 

When will it end?  When will this cycle end?  When will the next one start?  This time it started with feeling overwhelmed, working too hard, getting too tired, too stressed.  Then, a breakdown, like one I’ve not had in a while.  Curled up in a ball, in the corner of the room, shaking, shivering, scared to death.  And then the panic attacks started.  And kept coming.  Crying in the office, waking up in fear, running, running, always running.  Maybe because you didn’t run at the time, tried to fight, but gave up, gave up really quickly didn’t you?  Coward.  Pull yourself together, it’s been four years, get over it, get over yourself.

I don’t really feel all that shit, not all the time, I don’t hate myself like that all the time.  But the internal monologue is pretty fucked up, that much is true.  I want to change the record, I want to be able to say positive affirmations to myself, and really believe them. 

I know I’m strong, I know I’m a survivor.  Because I do think that shit about myself most of the time, and yet I still keep going, finding ways to put myself back together.  I have to believe it’s just a short-term blip, that my time for happiness is coming, just around the corner, that it won’t always be like this, because if it is always like this, and it carries on like this, I honestly don’t know how many more times I can put myself back together.

It’s hard, battling a mental illness.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia.  And doing it alone.  Yes, I have friends, you are all awesome, when I let you be.  But I get home from work, I get up in the morning, by myself, alone.  I can go the whole weekend without talking to a soul, not even via text.  I’m lonely.  When I’m with you, I try to be happy, because it’s no fun dwelling on the painful stuff, and no-one wants to be around someone who brings them down.  And it’s exhausting, so sometimes I just choose to be alone. 

And when there’s other stuff to deal with too, it’s like there’s too much.  I’m not fit, my body aches, I’m overweight, mostly from comfort eating.  But now I have an injured knee, it probably needs surgery, and I don’t know how I’ll cope with that, just the idea of my body being invaded like that, then mending, being trapped in my flat.  I feel overwhelmed by having to get well in my head, and get well in my body, all at the same time.

Every morning, when I wake, my hands ache, like an old person.  I sleep with them clenched so tight.  I want to know how to relax, how to let go.

It’s been four years.  There are so many years ahead of me.  But it’s such a struggle, every day feels like another struggle, another battle, it’s exhausting.  How can this go on for year after year after year?  How can I find the strength?  I’m starting therapy again soon, I hope it will help me find a way out of this rut, I feel like I’ve stopped, I’ve not been making progress, I want to get better, so badly.

I want someone, but I feel damaged and broken.  And I’m scared to go looking for someone, very few men are bad like the one I was unlucky enough to have dinner with that night, I know that, but I can’t stop the fear. 

I want a baby, so badly.   I want to be a mother, to cherish someone.  I don’t think I’m well enough, I’m scared I never will be.  Because of the knee, I have to wait again to try for another few months, maybe I’ll get well in time. 

Is this my life?  Working too hard, going through cycles of depression and panic, putting myself back together, doing it all over again? 

I saw my oldest friend the other day.  Happy, married, two beautiful children.  It reminded me why I should never go to a reunion.  I just don’t do well by comparison.  I’m happy for her, so happy, but I want to be happy for me too.  Me, I just feel like a cautionary tale.  You can have it all, it can get all screwed up, so quickly, so suddenly, I know it’s what you do with it that counts, and maybe I haven’t dealt with it right, yes I wanted to self-destruct and did my best to do that for quite some time.  But the reason I didn’t self-destruct, and haven’t yet, is maybe because I am still fighting for myself, I have to hope that I will continue, and won’t give up, however much I sometimes want to.  Just to make it end. 

Anxiety, panic attacks.  Now, evidently, depression.  I want it to end.  I’ll put myself back together again.  I always seem to.  It seems to get harder, not easier, every time.  I won’t go back on the happy pills, they take too long to kick in and I hate the side-effects.  This is my prescription this time:

1.       Today I rest, and eat the two bars of chocolate I’ve been hoarding
2.       Tomorrow I get some stuff done around the flat so it doesn’t feel like I’m living in my own filth
3.       I’m going to go visit my lovely friend, pick up her newborn and feel calmer
4.       Meditation classes start when I get back
5.       Yoga classes start when I get back
6.       Date with a lovely man who always makes me smile
7.       Go running – or rather jogging, try to get fit. 
8.       Don’t work much, leave on time, or not too late anyway

I know I need to be around people, but I don’t have the strength, I’m not cutting you out because I don’t need you, it’s because I need you too much, and when I’m better I want to laugh with you.  I hate that you see me as broken, I hate that I’m damaged.  Tomorrow, I’ll be a survivor again.  Today, I just don’t have the energy.