So, I work part time. I work like 27 hours on a normal week. Sometimes I do overtime, but mostly I just do those 27 hours. And I don’t get paid much. I got minimum wage until this month, and I currently get an extra nine pence on top of that.
Sometimes I work my ass into the ground doing overtime and I catch up with my bills but not often.
So I don’t earn much. I do live within my means though, just about. My wife works too, though with the accident she’s only just got back to work so it’s been a little rough. Things have been a little tight. And money was hardly overflowing before hand. I’m barely keeping up right now, I’m definitely behind on a few things, I will admit it.
What people don’t seem to understand is that I’m not actually spending much money beyond bills and food. My extravagance is the hosting for this blog, something I’ve cut down to the very basics I need to run it – a single database and the domain name. I’m living off rice and beans and tins of tomatoes some weeks. My wife fixes everything – clothes, appliances, everything. We made our nieces birthday present, the other came from Barnados.
Our other extravagance is Thanksgiving. Except this isn’t actually going to cost a lot of money. We bought the food bit by bit, froze it. People bring more food. We bought some fireworks, just a few, for the first time in years – the last couple of years the fireworks have been left overs from a Bonfire Night previous. And anything else is coming out of my bonus from work last year (it comes in vouchers not cash).
Christmas is always the challenge but we only buy stuff for the kids, and spend it alone watching Christmas films and eating and being together. Mostly because my family is awkward but that’s another post.
I don’t know what else I can do to make my money go further, without finding another job (which I am also trying to do).
The only thing I can do is make more money. And the only thing I am good at is writing. Poetry, fiction, this blog. So I have made a patreon so that you the reader can support me at the source. Fuck ads, fuck affiliates, fuck sponsored posts (especially that last one), just content, good honest quality content.
Support me with a dollar, support with more. Support me for a month, support me for a year.
I have plans with the money, other than bills. I’d at least like to be able to pay for the hosting and in the future a logo, a new design, new poetry collection. I’d like new equipment to make my work better. I’d like more time off work to write.
There will be rewards for your support. They’re a bit of a work in progress right now, so we’ll see how it goes. But as they stand –
My eternal thanks.
My eternal thanks.
Preview of my blog posts.
My eternal thanks.
Previews of my blog posts.
A postcard featuring one of my photos.
My eternal thanks.
Previews of my blog posts.
A postcard featuring one of my photos.
The chance to influence and suggest blog posts.
My eternal thanks. And an internet hug. A big one.
Previews of my blog posts.
A postcard featuring one of my photos.
The chance to influence and suggest blog posts.
Commission a poem or a short story (minimum 30 lines or 1000 words).
What do you think? If you have any suggestions let me know and consider supporting me on Patreon.
Now more than ever it’s going to be hard to believe that. That the world is actually made up of beautiful things and beautiful people, with some awful, awful things mixed in. Over the last twenty-four hoursfour attacks on beautiful people in beautiful places have killed over 300 people. And those are only the people in died in those violent attacks. People die violent deaths everyday. Over the past twenty-four hours even more people would have died too.
People are dying in places like Syria every day. Violent deaths. Bad deaths. Broken bodies and broken lives.
But it is not a broken world.Not if we keep trying, keep working on beautiful things, keep working on being beautiful inside. Being good people.
Most people in this world are like me, you are like me, you just want to live your life and pay your bills and be a good person. Even if you have bigger goals, bigger dreams, deep down it all boils down to the same thing. Living your life and being a good person. Hopefully at least. I’m pretty sure all those people in Paris just wanted to enjoy their Friday night. Enjoy some sport, some music, some company. Something beautiful. All those people in Kenya just wanted to learn something, something useful, something fascinating. Something beautiful.
These attacks are terrible and these people are terrible. But they are not making the world a terrible place – okay granted they are trying – but they cannot and will not succeed. I have to believe otherwise, that we as a society, as societies spread out across the world made up of beautiful places we can keep the world beautiful
We’re never going to rid the world of all the terrible things. I can accept that. I can hope that it will get better than this but the world has always been full of pretty horrible things and pretty horrible people. It’s the nature of things. But we don’t have to fall into complete chaos and horror. We don’t have to let the terrible people win.
We can keep our world beautiful, full of good things.
There are few important things when it comes to these attacks that are important to remember.
“To people blaming refugees for attacks in Paris tonight. Do you not realise these are the people the refugees are trying to run away from..?”
Remember that, cause it’s important. And not helping the refugees who are good people like us lucky sods who don’t live in war zones, is not going to stop attacks. Plus, in years to come who knows what will happen. We could find ourselves in the middle of a war, in the same situation, homeless, desperate, afraid. With no where to go and no one to turn to. And people are going to look back on how we treated refugees today and could very well leave us to suffer.
The attacks were on people living their lives. Not military targets, not other religious fanatics. Students, sports fans, people sitting together in cafes enjoying the end of the week. Mourners.
These attacks aren’t about religion.
Religion is an excuse. This isn’t about Islam. Is do not represent Muslims, or Islam, or humans. For comparison, Westboro Baptist Churchdo not represent Christians. I mean, yeah, the all say they practise their religion and even believe in God, but they are not doing what they say. I’m not an expert in religion – I’m agnostic, I skipped most of Religion Education in school, and while I am making up for it by reading a whole lot of books I don’t know everything about Islam or Christianity.
What I do know is that if you are full of hate, hurting people, doing bad things, then you are not practising any religion properly. Jesus was all about love, Mohammed all about community. Neither were about hate and even if they were it doesn’t make it right. And it doesn’t mean that’s why IS have done this, will continue to do this. But religion is just the uniting force for a bunch of people who want the world to be as they want it – as they want to rule it – regardless
We can make this world better. By being good people, doing good things. Even right down to the basic level. Respecting people, loving the people in your life, helping the people around you that need help. Making people happy, keeping people warm, feeding your family well and adopt a cat. Donate clothes, time, money.
Smiling, laughing, caring.
Fight back by being a good person. Don’t fight back with hate.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
Do not despair, there is always hope. The world is beautiful.
So it’s been six weeks since I started my journey to give up my medication. I went down from 800mg to 600mg and for the last week or so I’ve been taking 400mg.
I feel fine.
I’m actually more worried than I need to be.
I’m worried that I’ll snap. That my temper with get the better of me before I can do anything about it and that this is all a stupid idea and big mistake and it will back fire and I will be in worse shape than before. More than that even, I worry that my temper with get the better of me and I will snap, hit out, hurt someone.
Hurt my wife.
Who is the last person I ever want to hurt.
The thing is I actually don’t have a temper. I’ve lost it three times since I was a kid. Three times. Twice I hit out physically, once verbally. I dislike it, dislike me when I do it. My actual problem isn’t my temper but it is what sparked me starting the mood stabiliser in the first place. I lost my temper with a manager at work (not my direct one), freaking out and swearing at him and basically getting in a shit load of trouble, complaining about him and it was a whole thing.
Basically I felt out of control with my anger and went back to the psychiatrist for more help.
My anger was a problem though. Well, actually the anger wasn’t the problem – everyone gets angry, I still get annoyed and angry and frustrated and a whole bunch of other synonyms. The problem was how I reacted to being angry.
For a long time I held it in.
The first time I self harmed, I let it out and it was the only way I let out my anger for almost ten years. When I got angry I cut myself. It was pretty simple. Over the years other emotions got replaced with self harming too, misery, sadness, happiness, enjoyment. I didn’t feel anything, I just self harmed. I stopped crying, I stopped enjoying stuff, just stopped caring. I self harmed instead.
I actually stopped crying the same time as I started the Seroxat. I started crying again at some point during therapy.
I cry a lot now. My wife will confirm this. It’s healthy, it’s good for you. I mean I get a headache and a bit snotty but overall it’s good. It’s healthy.
So now I don’t self harm I worry about my anger and how I’m dealing with and how I will deal with it. The thing is, I must be dealing with it because my life is bonkers, it’s full of frustrations and I regularly get pissed off with people around me. But I seem to be managing myself fine, because I’m not self harming and I’m coming off the one thing I started and managing my anger fine.
And trust me I have felt angry over the past six weeks.
Currently I’m experiencing some headaches, because I normally take a tablet in the morning and at night, but now I’m down to one 400mg tablet, at night. So I tend to get a headache in the morning. They’re tapering off a little, getting a little easier each day. Little else if affected. Messing around with my Tegretol normally makes me feel a little out of it, I can’t quite get my head working and everything feels slow.
Strangely the nights seems a little too quiet.
I know that sounds weird, I live in a little village on the edge of the middle of nowhere Wales – it’s always quiet. Silent. The two aren’t necessarily connected, i know, but it’s been a stressful week and I do feel a little odd when I lie down at night and it’s silent and quiet and finally the end of the day.
My mood is fine too – according to my wife. I don’t necessarily trust my own judgement when it comes to my mood and my personality. She’s says I’ve been fine, that I haven’t changed. I trust her. She’s the one who has to live with me.
This post is rated B for a ‘bit much’ and P for graphic mentions of periods.*
I started menstruating around 13, I’m sure my mum remembers how old I was exactly (though I doubt it, she’s a bit batty since she started the HRT). All I really remember was that I started my first period and my mum let me have the day off school. Brilliant, i was bloody ecstatic. Looking back, perhaps she was expecting it to be worse, or she was being nice because she knew how bad it was going to be when I got older. She too had bad periods until she had a hysterectomy when I was 17 – something she suggests I have almost every month (also, the reason she started HRT). Either way, it wasn’t the first day off school I took because of my period. The pain didn’t really kick in until I was about 16 and when it did, wow, it really kicked in and it’s been steadily crap ever since, regardless of my sex life, my contraceptive choice or whatever else I put into my body (at either end).
Over the past year however it seems to have been kicked up a notch, so I give you all the horrible details. Because it’s not just me, I know it’s not just me, but sometimes I feel like no one’s taking it seriously enough. And trust me, it’s serious stuff. And horrible. So we all should suffer together.
1. It’s Not Just Really Bad Period Pain
Dysmenorrhoea is technical term for period pain, but it’s so much more than that for about 90% of women of suffer from period pain. One article in American Family Physician states – “Dysmenorrhea is very common, and it may be severe enough to interfere with daily activities in up to 20 percent of women.” Menstruation comes in many horrible, horrible forms. Okay, and one good one where it’s light and there’s no pain. I have a few of those, from time to time. Where I actually bleed very little and there isn’t much pain and it is the best month ever. Ever. It’s brilliant. Really. But rare. The rest of the time, at best it’s controllable with co-codamol. At worst, well at it’s worse I had to have a doctor come over to my flat and inject me with a painkiller (a really good one) and an anti-sickness drug in the bum because I’d been throwing up all day and suffering the second worst pain of my life (I’ve ranked the top three most painful experiences and two of the three are period related).
Sometimes I can’t even walk – this was quite common when I was a teenager. I would shuffle around the house wrapped in a blanket, bent over the waist because it was the only way I could stand the pain and, well, stand. Sometimes all I can do is rock back and forth and wait for the combination of painkillers to kick in (at it’s worse I’m taking co-codamol and a lot of ibuprofen).
Sometimes it feels like someone has punched me in the uterus, grabbed my fallopian tubes and twisted them around.
Sometimes I physically have to cry out in pain. Like in a film, or when you stub your toe and you cry and swear a lot. Like that, except for over an hour, while rocking back and forth and feeling a bunch of other crappy symptoms.
2. It can make you sick. And give you diarrhoea.
Yeah, so periods are gross for a few reasons other than the fact that you’re bleeding. It completely screws up my stomach – something that starts about a week before I even start bleeding. Most months I get really, really hungry. My appetite just goes into overdrive and I just want to eat all the things. All of them. On top of that, the week before, I can (often but not always) get constipated. Then, once I started my period, everything that went in during the week before comes out. Fast. I actually think this is the worst than the pain sometimes. And then the pain kicks in and I decide that the pain is definitely the worst.
Then I throw up the cup of tea and painkillers I just managed to take. A lot of the time it’s just water (or whatever that clear stuff is…man I hope it’s just water), and I’m mostly dry heaving into a toilet (or an unusually empty bin) before collapsing on the floor or returning to the foetal position in my bed on the the sofa. Or going back to work.
I used to have Emetophobia when I was a teenager. The fear of throwing up. I would hyperventilate whenever I threw up and it was completely irrational (as many phobias are) and often panicked before throwing up if I could feeling it coming. This is not a phobia that has lasted past the age of 17. After a few months of vomiting during every period I stopped freaking out. Apparently, when it comes to my phobias, aversion therapy is the way to go.
3. It can make you faint.
For me this is a new one. I’ve fainted a few times in the past. Once I even lost consciousness – I was about 13 we were watching a video in science class about measles and I fainted. When I came to I was in the school sick room (I was lighter back then) and it turned out I had the German measles. I don’t do things by halves.
More recently though, as well as having some stomach problems that are not period related (at least I don’t think they are, it’s still a prognosis in progress), I’ve been fainting due to the pain. The pain doesn’t always feel any worse but my body definitely reacts worse. I feel that buzzing in my head, from ear to ear and wrapping around my brain. I feel fuzzy, the buzzing becomes a whooshing noise going in and out and then my vision starts to go. Blurry at first, then grey and then I really need to lie on the floor. I’ve fainted in the bathroom – had to lie on the tiles for a bit, work – had to lie in the hallway upstairs for a bit and once on the T5 bus from Cardigan. I was in pain in Cardigan, and in agony, and then the buzzing, the blurriness, the grey and I was lying down in the seat. When I felt better (i.e not like I was about to pass out) I was in New Quay twenty miles away.
Afterwards, usually, I feel fine. The pain is gone and I don’t feel sick any more. I’m exhausted though. It happened one evening at home, around seven in the evening and I spent the rest of the evening in bed, half dozing. I may have had dinner there before going to sleep for the night.
4. Sometimes the pain isn’t even the worst thing about it.
Okay, so to be honest, the pain is the worst things when there is pain. But pain usually (for me) precedes bleeding. So when there is bleeding there is a lot of fucking bleeding. Okay, so yeah sometimes it’s fine and containable. Most of the time it’s containable but sometimes…hell sometimes it’s like that scene in The Shining, when the elevator doors open and all the blood comes out. Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes it feels like that. Without the opening bit.
I’m starting to think this was a bad analogy now.
Anyway. Sometimes it’s just there, a lot of it when I got to the toilet. Sometimes my body waits until I am on the toilet. Sometimes my body fucks me over and I can feel it. I don’t use tampons – I refuse for a couple of reasons (one being I grew up in the Toxic Shock Syndrome scare of the nineties, the other being that I’m pretty selective about what I shove in my vagina). So I use pads, a lot of them, cause I’m heavy and it’s gross – sometimes it’s red, sometimes it’s brown (what the fuck), sometimes it’s in clots (this was explained to me once but I forget what it means). Even I think it’s gross and it’s coming out of me.
And it gets everywhere. You think it’s gross and horrible and then it’s on your legs, or hands (from wiping) or the bed sheets, your underwear (we have designated pants for periods so we don’t ruin any good pairs – not necessarily cause they are comfy), the toilet seat.
The bathroom floor.
Seriously. I’ve been that heavy. I regularly am. I’m not going to deny it. I’m not overly embarrassed by it. I’m annoyed more than anything, cause then I have to clean it up and I’m already in pain and then dried blood is hard to get out of stuff and it’s hard to soak an entire sheet in cold salt water and in the end you stop caring until you feel better.
In my case, day four.
5. Sometimes it’s a symptom.
The NHS says it gets better as you get older. So far this seems to be bullshit for me, as it seems to be getting worse. Also it’s supposed to get better after you have a baby, which also sucks because I’m not planning to be pregnant any time soon.
They also say it can be a symptom of something else – pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis or fibroids. All horrible things and if I were even older or it was even worse (though, fainting on a bus and needing stronger painkillers than you can buy over the counter seem pretty bad to me) I would head straight to the doctor and say something.
And perhaps I should. I have in a the past. Perhaps I’m putting up with something treatable, but that’s part of being a woman right? Bullshit. We’ve found ourselves in this cycle where we’ve in terrible pain, suffering badly once a month (or so), with something everyone tells us is normal, ‘part of being a woman’, part of life and we just shut up and put up. Because we’re expected to shut up and put up. We shouldn’t though. You shouldn’t though. You should go get checked out. Cause if you could have one of the above conditions.
Or you could not. You should go even if not cause you shouldn’t have to shut up and put up. You can get stuff to help. Stuff to help the cramps, the bleeding, the hormones, the pain. The sickness. Maybe not the fainting, but then, without the pain I don’t think there would be the fainting. I too have fallen in the trap of shutting up on occasion. Which is rare for me cause I’ll moan about everything.
You could have a hysterectomy my mum says. Every month. Without fail.
Plus, bleeding out your vagina is not the be all and end all of ‘being a woman’. Far from it.
6. It’s different for everyone.
My mum and I seem to have suffered very similarly over the years, according to my memory, my mother and, bless him, my dad (he’s actually always willing to talk about this shit, it doesn’t bother him at all. After all, he was married to my mum for about 17 years). My sister and I are different again, though, oddly not something we talk about. And why not? I don’t know. But she suffers from the pain certainly, in her back. My wife gets cramps and back pain, and down her legs too.
I oddly get pain in my hips some months, a couple of my friends get headaches (I do too. I have one now, it’s definitely period related and on occasion I get migraines). I don’t get the back pain though. Sometimes periods can last three days. Sometimes one. Sometimes ten (argh). Sometimes there’s heavy bleeding and no pain. Sometimes it’s all pain and no bleeding. Sometimes there’s spotting in the middle of your cycle for no real reason what so ever.
It’s affected by stress, anxiety, weight (over and under), smoking, drinking, diet, your ability to exist as a physical human being with this set of reproductive organs.
Your period might be like mine. It might not. There is no normal. I refuse to believe that about a lot of things. Plus some don’t even have periods, at all, for a variety of reasons. You can start at nine, you can start at nineteen. No one should think they started too early or too late. About anything, periods, school, talking, writing, running, sex. You do it when you do it. When you or your body it ready. I’m a firm believer in that. My body was ready at thirteen (possibly).
To reiterate, bleeding out your vagina is not the be all and end all of ‘being a woman’. Far from it.
We shouldn’t be embarrassed about this. I’m not. Not any more. Haven’t been in a long time.
You know those adverts for sanitary products? Who is fucking roller-blading happily on their period. Who is going ‘yay my period is here’. Who are these people??
For someone who used to self harm, the whole blood thing is very different when it’s coming out of your vagina as opposed to your arm.
There is no usual.
Our bodies are really messed up.
This has not made me feel much better, physically. Painkillers will.
We should be talking about this.
Aren’t you glad I didn’t post the picture of the blood coming out of the elevator after all?
I’m not overly great at self-promotion – I have issues which may make a good blog post later on, but for now, let’s give it a go:
This is the new issues of Glitterwolf – the second Halloween Special – in which you will find a couple of poems by me. I’ve been in a few issues of this magazine now, it’s a great publication full of LGBT writers and artists.
Three and a half months ago my wife Kate Ellen was hit by a van. It was all pretty horrific but she survived and actually only spent a week total in hospital – three days in intensive care and another four on a regular ward in Aberystwyth Hospital. In the end she had a small bleed on the brain (the size of a fingernail I was old), a contusion on the spleen and she fractured all the ribs on her left side (where she was hit).
She’s been off work since the accident – the pain has lingered and the exhaustion caused by the pain stuck around for a bit too. I’m told, by doctors and by people who’ve also broken ribs, that the pain will last for about six months but she weathers it well. It’s been hard though, on us both, because she’s suffering and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it other than get her medication.
I think not being at work has been the hardest for her. She doesn’t necessarily get bored easily but she always needs to be doing something and doing something useful. I’m the opposite. I’m happy to sleep, or play xbox, or do nothing but Kate Ellen needs to be productive. So being at home and out of action for a few months has really wound her up.
She went back to work today.
It took a little longer than she would’ve liked but much quicker than one would expect when they’ve been hit by a van. Plus her job is very physically demanding – she works for a nursery, lots of lifting up of children so she needs to be able to do that and not put her recovery backwards.
I’m really proud of her though.
Sometimes I still struggle to comprehend the idea that I could’ve lost her. That she was so lucky. That the doctors would’ve even tell me that she was going to be okay for the first day or so she was there.
We’ve been together for four years. Been married for three and a half. Without her I am a mess. Without her I am only me. Without her I’m Ruby. She is my Sapphire. The calm to my anger. We are Garnet. Together we make one fully functioning adult human being.
So to lose her…I cannot comprehend a life without her now I’ve had her. So to speak. to go back instead of forward.
But no, she’s back to work and we have much to enjoy together. My niece’s birthday is tomorrow. We have the kids for Halloween Bonfire night is coming. Thanksgiving. Christmas. A baby maybe. A world where my kitten doesn’t pee under the bed? Who knows but that isn’t really anything to do with my wife being at work. That’s all him.
Okay, actually, I think, depending on who you ask – and what scale they use – I am obese. Not morbidly so, I have a bit of height on me so it evens out but there’s enough weight on me to got past overweight in most scales and into obese.
Basically I’m a podgey fucker.
I’m neither shy about it (not that I can be in real life) nor ashamed of it. I’m actually quite healthy, physically speaking. I used to get ill a lot but that was solved by changing my diet – not going on a diet, but just eating less crap and more vegetables. And I haven’t lost a load of weight, but my immune system better. Other than that, I’m healthy. No diabetes, no blood pressure issues, no joint problems – all things I may develop when I’m older due to family history as much as my sister may. My sister who’s well inside her ideal weight.
My weight is so far down on my list of things I think about that I have house hold appliances that cause me more grief. Carpets. My lawn. The weather.
So I do wish people would stop treating me like a fat person. And I don’t mean calling me nasty names and throwing biscuits at me in the street (actually happened). Or making me the butt of all food related jokes (also happens a lot).
I mean being nice to me.
I mean compliments about loosing weight or being fitter.
It seems to be perfectly reasonable to compliment me on my weight. My family, my friends, people I sort of know cause I serve them all the time at work. People I consider strangers but are pretty sure they know me and haven’t you lost weight since the last time I saw you…
Maybe, maybe not, I don’t know, I’m not checking. My clothes all still fit so it can’t be as much as you think it is but it’s not really important because my immune system is better and my stamina is greatly improved and I don’t need to nap in the afternoons and I deal with my depression better, and my anxiety is better. those are important. My ability to lose and regain weight is actually not in my control. So congratulating me on it, commentating on it, or just noticing it, is a bit pointless. Cause I sure haven’t noticed (clothes still fit and the epic podge of win remains) and I have all this other shit that has changed that’s really made an impact on my life.
My stamina is so much better. Two years ago I was getting up around midday and napping around four am. And sleeping all night. Now I can work roughly around 30 hours a week in a physical job (I do a lot of running around in that shop).
I haven’t self-harmed for a year. I haven’t done so for any real length of time for even longer.
I have a job. My first proper job since 2008. Think about that for a moment. 2008. I started this job last September. That’s six years between jobs.
I got married – okay, this one is a little harder to explain. I have been anti-social pretty much for as long as I can remember. There have only ever been a few people I have wanted to spend time with, and even then it’s been a struggle to do that. On top of that, while it might not seem like it considering I write this blog and what I write in this blog, I’m actually quite private about certain things in my life. The web affords me some anonymity that I don’t get or feel in real life and I can be very private about my some very specific things. Which meant I didn’t like having people in my house for the longest time. In fact, when I moved back to Wales, the only people I allowed in my were my mum and Jay, my sister and nephew, and my niece. No one else. For the first time ever I had my own space with my own rules and I was able to keep people out of it and I had never felt better about it.
It wasn’t until I met Kate Ellen that I let anyone else in. And now I’m back to letting lots of people in my house but unlike when I lived in Leicester, now I it doesn’t make feel panicked, or a sense of dread, of sick.
I’ve had poetry published in magazines. I’ve written short stories and thousands of words on this blog that’s been going in this incarnation since 2007.
I have cats. I hate cats.
I love my niece and nephew as if they were my own children.
I do good things. I am a good person.
It’s hard to put that on a badge though. And so I have the visual. And the visual is a variation in my weight which may or may not be up or down, given any time of the month, year, or just how much money we have for food and desserts.
There’s not actually a lot I can do to change this though. I can’t change the way society views fat people. Hell if I lost a shit ton of weight, it would be worse. And if I were thin, there would be other problems (as my sister can attest too). I can, and do, deal with it. In that I ignore the comments and compliments, and most of the time I don’t care about this stuff. Like I don’t care about my weight.
Sometimes though, it gets too me, bugs me enough to lie awake and grumble to my wife about it (who only cares about my weight in the same way I do. Less than I do actually), and sometimes it bugs me enough to write almost a thousand words on the subject.
I’m in the Halloween edition of Glitterwolf – next time you see me and think my weight has changed, tell me well done for that instead – cause poetry is much more important to me than any perceived change in my weight.
Until just recently, no one amongst the viewer-ship had mentioned the lgbt aspects of Steven Universe. Maybe, this is because on the show itself no one has pointed out certain things that are very lgbt – i.e the character Garnet is in herself a same sex relationship – not in a relationship but the literal, physical result of one. In the show two gems (aliens that take the form of female humanoids) can “fuse” themselves together, giving up their individual identity to create a new, unique person. When it is revealed that Garnet is a relationship, nothing is made of the fact that she is a same sex relationship. The sexuality or gender of her characters isn’t what makes her who she is, the relationship is – regardless of the sexuality and gender of the characters that make her up. Steven, the title character, doesn’t care, no one makes a note of it, no one is surprised or has slightly inappropriate questions to ask. It is just something that exists and we wouldn’t even know if it weren’t for the fact that Ruby and Sapphire, the gems that make up Garnet, were forcibly separated at the end of the first season. After 50 episodes.
Reunited after escaping captivity with Steven’s help, they kiss, they fuse, they’re Garnet again. And Steven’s surprise is more about the fact he has known Garnet all his life without knowing she’s made up of separate gems. His young age (roughly ten years old) and the gems’ “alieness” give the writers a certain freedom – he’s too innocent to realize questions could be asked and he’s known them all his life – this is his normal and it’s not heteronormal. This is the same for the Gems too – it’s too normal to be commented on. Once you’re aware of this aspect of Garnet’s character there are a couple (make that a lot) of clues early on the season, if you’re paying attention or re-watching it for the purpose of writing a blog post. Knowing this really enhances Garnet’s character and you start to look at her relationship with Steven in a new way – he too is a fusion of sorts between a gem and a human.
It adds layers and layers to the show and the relationships between the characters, showing that lgbt characters are just as complex as straight characters, often in ways that has nothing to do with their sexuality.
People say the producer, Ian Jones-Quarterly, didn’t need to confirm anything about the nature of their relationship. I personally don’t have an opinion on that either way because my focus is on the show itself and whether it’s talked about on the show.
And I really like the fact that no one makes a big deal of this. That it’s normal because when it comes down to it – that’s what I want. I want same sex relationships like mine to be normal and not to become that couple everyone talks about. I want to be the couple that doesn’t mow their lawn and keeps those noisy chickens over those lesbians with all those cats (who don’t mow their lawn). I think that’s the important thing here, the normality of their gender – their same sex – in the middle of a world that is definitely not normal. That’s what I want as a person in a same sex relationship (regardless of my own sexuality).
There are a few other things that are not as obvious as Sapphire and Ruby’s relationship. Which by time I had caught up with everything, was pretty small. Just a quick kiss and an explanation – a reminder later on that Garnet can’t have a relationship with the postman because she is a relationship. It’s all very brief and even that is fine but there are some things that aren’t even pointed out like this.
One is Pearl’s affection for and obsession with Rose Quartz, Steven’s late mother. Whatever she may feel, you can’t deny it’s something deep for Pearl, and the problem was never that Rose may have been straight but that Rose wasn’t interested. After all, they’re thousands of years old and nothing romantic happened between them in all that time. I’d just like to point out though, they are both gems and aliens after all, their perceptions of gender and sexuality could be very different to ours and, well, that’s maybe getting too deep into the way creator Rachel Sugar has put this world together. Pearl’s interest in Rose is no different to Rose’s relationship with the human Greg, which would ultimately result in young Steven. What’s odd about it all is that they’re a gem and a man – alien and human. The relationships that are effectively straight are the odd relationships, when you really think about it. Rose always treated her relationship with Greg as somewhat as a novelty, and Amethyst’s interest in Greg is complicated not because of gender but because of his relationship with Rose and Amethyst’s relationship with Rose.
Not that Pearl’s love for Rose Quartz seems healthy either, but it’s not the gender or sexaulity that makes it odd. That’s my point. Amethyst too has an unhealthy interest in Greg. For everything that’s going on in the show Garnet’s relationship is the most stable – it’s why she’s able to fuse and remain a fusion for so long.
Another episode that deals with gender and sexuality without actually addressing it (or pointing it out) is when Steven and his human friend Connie fuse for the first time. Their fusion, Stevonnie, is female. No one makes a big deal over this, or even points it out. Steven doesn’t get all bothered or emasculated by the fact that he fuses into a girl, or that he flirts and dances with another boy. Steven loves the fact that he can fuse with his best friend. There is no gender binary or sexuality binary in the episode. Both genders are attracted to Stevonnie, and Stevonnie is interested in both genders in turn.
Later, when they fuse accidentally while listening to music with his father, Greg’s concern is that they fused, a human and a half-gem, not that they fused into a girl. The gems have the same reaction, not knowing that Steven could manage to fuse all, let alone with a human.
It’s the fact that the gender and sexuality of the characters isn’t a big thing, that it barely registers for the characters if at all that makes Steven Universe so special. It’s very inclusive without pointing it out. Garnet is different to Amethyst who’s different to Pearl who’s different to Steven because of their personalities, because of who they are and their gender and sexuality is a part of that and not the sole reason for that. I’m sure it’s not perfect, I mean, I might be looking at this through rose-tinted glasses since I saw Sapphire and Ruby but it’s hard not to when so much media that is purposely aimed at the LGBT audience are romantic dramas and some of us really can’t stand that. I want sci-fi, I want cartoons, I want cop dramas with LGBT characters and slowly, bit by bit, it’s becoming more common.
In Steven Universe though it’s the first time it’s truly been part of the every day. Not a big character arc where someone discovers they’re gay, but just another facet of that character’s life. That’s really all I want in life – because that’s me. That’s us. Hopefully watching this show will help kids realise that too.
I realised something today – the only people who think that we can’t have a cohesive society with mass immigration are politicians, the media and racists. The rest of us normal people, living our lives and (trying to) pay our bills and eat our dinners and pets our cats don’t eve notice anything is supposed to be wrong.
Immigration may or may not be high at the moment, may or may not be higher right now than it’s ever been but it’s not the first time there’s been large numbers of immigrants or refugees moving to the country for a better life, to escape poverty or war or both, to escape brutal regimes or because their home countries have laws against basic human rights.
I grew up in Coventry before I moved to Wales. I lived in Leicester for almost eight years. I’ve lived in cities where immigration is massive and there are a lot of refugees. I lived in areas that have been full of Somalians refugees, then full of Polish immigrants. Worked with English, Scottish, Polish, Portuguese, Romanians, Czechs, Nigerians, South Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, and a guy called Mohammed from Kazakhstan. I’ve worked with Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, a Buddhist, a couple of Jews and a lot of people whose idea of religion was having a christening because it was another excuse for a party.
Unless you’re racist or a member or the right-wing media or a politician, immigration isn’t a thing. People come into the country, people leave the country. Most people that come here, come to work. Most Brits that go to abroad go to retire.
My current locum pharmacist is an immigrant, my wife’s current consultant (after the accident) is an immigrant, my wife is an immigrant. Many of the people I serve in work are immigrants. We all just carry on with our lives as we always have, and always will, because the only people who see this as a problem are, well, politicians and racists, and the media.
We need people in the country to work in the NHS, over and over we recruit more people into the NHS from outside of Britain. We’re running on immigrant doctors and nurses. If we forced all these hard working people out of the country the entire health care system would crumble and it’s already struggling.
People who think immigrants are taking their jobs usually can’t get jobs because of a lack of education or experience of their own making, or the Governments making. Immigrants become an easy target for people who don’t want to face the truth or don’t want to take the blame. Theresa May doesn’t want the Conservative government to be responsible for the worsening poverty in the country so she deflects the blame onto easy targets.
But it’s not as simple as that.
And making it sound like we can’t have a stable society with large numbers of immigrants makes us forget that it’s the politicians that are tearing us apart, right from the heart of the country before we even get up and come into contact with any of these pesky immigrants.
Unless you married one, like me.
We are socially cohesive, else how the hell would we be functioning as one, day in, day out. It’s not perfect, but it mostly works. We sleep, we eat, we work and play video games. My problems have little to do with immigration. Not here in Wales, not when I was living in Leicester, not when I was a kid in Coventry.
There will always be immigration, people want better lives, people, human beings deserve better lives – we shouldn’t lambast them for such a basic desire. And if we don’t want any one to come into the country, then we shouldn’t let anyone leave either – if it’s not fair that other countries are subjected to people from our crappy country trying to make better lives for themselves in those nice sunny European countries.
I don’t know what society Theresa May lives in. We are as cohesive as we’re ever going to be – it would probably be more cohesive without crap like this.
Be fore warned of the following: language and awkwardness.
There are few things more awkward in the world than having a guy come over to your house and wank into a cup.
One of those things is talking about how you’re trying to find a guy to come over to your house and wank into cup.
(I really enjoying saying that to people by the way, so expect me to repeat it some more in the course of this education post about sperm donation).
Okay so, this is how it goes. We left our houses, we met, we returned home, fell in love, got married and now we want kids. Which is all very normal. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that we’re both a bit odd and social recluses and medicated up to the gills (well, I am, my wife isn’t), we are all very normal. We work, we watch films, we eat food and have cats.
And we want kids.
All very normal.
Except the bit where I trawl the internet for a guy to come wank into a cup in my spare room.
(By cup, I don’t mean like a teacup, or one of my mugs, I mean, like a specimen jar but that’s not nearly as funny is it?)
Okay, so my major flaw in life apparently is my lack of sperm. And if I could produce sperm I would be some sort of medical miracle and there must be some money in that. But being a regular bisexual in a same sex marriage doesn’t make me much money in a freak show (maybe when I grow my purple goatee?).
The NHS does not pay for this sort of thing. In fact, even when you’re infertile, getting IVF, IUI, or any sort of help is a bit hit or miss. And I live in rural Wales where basic care can be a bit hit and miss. We have to have six attempts privately before before they will help. It’s just not going to happen. To do this privately – and I mean at a clinic – it costs over a grand. And I need that money to you know, pay my wife’s visa fees and rent and eat and bills and it just seems like a lot of money for something that has such a small chance of working.
So we’re looking for donors online. It’s a bigger risk for a bigger reward – the chance of it working is actually pretty high so we just need to find a guy to come over and wank into a cup.
Not so much. Found a guy, he’s moving to America. Found a guy and got a donation, wife had an accident, now he’s unreliable. So now I’m trawling websites looking for guys to…well you get the point. And now facebook too. Cause facebook has loads of groups for donors. I didn’t want to use facebook at first cause it’s my actual face and name (well, no it’s not but close) but then, it’s locked up tighter than a locksmiths (I’m sure there’s a dirty version of that saying) and well, I really want kids.
I ask a lot of questions. Obvious ones. Personal ones. I want to know everything. From whether they drive (I live in the middle of no where – it’s an important question) to whether there is any diabetes in the family (cause there’s bloody loads in mine and my wife’s). I know all the legal stuff. I know all the medical stuff. I know everything.
I know all the terms too. Those are my favourite part of this process, the little codes littered across the the websites and forums. AI, NI, PI, PI+ – Artificial, Natural, Partial and Partial Plus. PI+ confused me a little, but as it turns out, it’s PI but with a bit of help.
We are looking for AI only: Artificial Insemination. So basically, some man sauce (my GP’s exact word) in a jar and a syringe. And you can work out the rest from there really. Oh and we use lube too, but not the regular kind, but the kind that doesn’t hard sperm, so we use Pre-Seed but there is one called Conceive Plus too. the idea is that they aid the sperm rather than become a barrier to them or harm them.
I know, I know. Now try explaining that to anyone, in real life, ever.
Yeah. Blogging is easy. Trying to avoid the questions my mother-in-law has, not so much. My own parents have no questions. It’s great and I know it’s not they’re not interested but I do not that sort of relationship with my father (it’s strained), and my mother tries not to get too involved because she doesn’t want the extra stress. Also, she already has adorable grandchildren. My mother in law in dying to have grandchildren. She wants to know more about the guy we chose than we do – and I already ask a lot of questions.
But then, I get the feeling she wants to the ideal – you know, tall and handsome (which is subjective) and smart and so on but I just want healthy. We are not the ideal. We are podgey and a little nuts and I truly believe that shaping a child, a person, is as much about the environment as it is about genetics.
And so, I just need some genetics in a cup as a starting point and I can create a tiny little Kate Ellen, and it will be wonderful.
Aren’t you glad you read this? Don’t feel awkward and uncomfortable now?