All posts by Sally

Damnation

I know there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in the world which I could be talking about right now, and before I get started I just want to reassure you all that I’m thinking about all those big things – Biden, Rashford, Oxford-AstraZeneca. All the big good guys right now.

But I’m also thinking about Damnation Festival, a metal festival which would have been held yesterday if we weren’t all currently avoiding an actual plague.

I have been to Damnation three times in the last few years, which I’ve been able to do because I work at the venue where the Festival is run (Leeds University Union). As most readers know, I work there as the Leadership & Governance Support Manager, which basically means I look after the administration of the charity. It is not very metal.

I’ve always had a fairly diverse taste in music, but I have to confess, metal has actually never really been my thing. There’s definitely some that I really like, but it’s a bit of a hunt and honestly I’ve just never put the work into the genre. So it might therefore seem strange to you all that I would repeatedly turn up at a metal festival when the only link to it that I have is that we’re both based in the same building.

But listen guys. It is honestly an AMAZING event.

Opeth at Damnation 2019

The first year I went, I was shadowing a colleague who was mentoring me – giving me a greater insight into the commercial workings of the organisation. I’ve always been into live events management, but up until I started working at LUU that really revolved mostly around live theatre, speaking…narrative-based production. I’d not really had much experience of the workings of a live music event on the scale of Damnation.

It’s a whole day thing, so our doors open at lunchtime and then we don’t close again until the end of the afterparty in the wee hours. The attendees are a mix – not our normal crowd of students, but people of all ages, from all walks of life, from all over the country. We host four stages and there are stalls selling merch and bars selling beer and food. It transforms the building. It’s loud (naturally), and at times a bit intimidating, but it’s also one of the most friendly and charming crowds that you’ll ever meet.

After that first year, I was hooked. I’ve volunteered to go back each year since, getting up a silly-o-clock in the morning to get into work and move furniture, try and locate various people with far more technical skill than me, and scanning thousands upon thousands of tickets. The organisers are lovely and even though I suspect they’ve no idea who I am, I’m excited to see them every year just because I know what a good day it’s going to be.

This year as there’s no festival, they’ve released some custom merch and a podcast – and I, a self-confessed non-fan of metal have bought my merch and listened with interest to the podcast (and you should too, it’s honestly great).

Why?

Because actually, you don’t have to be massively into something to see its value and to love it. If I wasn’t able to go along and help at Damnation, I don’t know if I’d buy a ticket, certainly not every single year, because I wouldn’t get the same enjoyment as I do making sure that everyone has the right wristband, and that the acts can find their dressing rooms. But I might buy a ticket because Damnation is exactly the kind of live event I hope makes it through our current plague-ridden storm. It’s a well-run festival packed full of people who just want to enjoy screamy shouty art together. More power to them.

Oh and guys, I might not be massively into metal, but because of Damnation I got to see Opeth live last year, and honestly, that’s enough.

Support the arts guys, in whatever way you can. Buy some merch – if nothing else, it looks really cool.

#savethearts

Sally wearing a spotty mask

Not Special

TLDR; You are not special. Wear a damn mask.

You are an individual. There’s no-one else on Earth quite like you, there never has been, and there never will be. You are the only you we’ve got.

But listen, pal. Being an individual does not mean you’re special. 

Disappointed? Don’t be. None of us are special really, despite our individuality. There are a couple of traits which set us each apart, yes, but we’re quite similar to each other in the grand scheme of things.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I was going to write it even before the most recent change in guidance, because I’ve been to the supermarket a couple of times recently, and it has struck me that a lot of people who live near me think they are special. How do I know this? Because they are choosing to act like the rules don’t apply to them –  they are special enough not to wear a face covering in a supermarket, even when explicitly told to do so. Even after we all got angry with Dominic Cummings for breaking the rules (alongside being truly one of the most objectionable individuals I have the displeasure of sharing this Earth with)

Let me break away here for a disclaimer. The rules which currently exist in this country are deeply questionable and often conflicting. They are being interpreted wildly differently from one venue to another. And there are many people who the rules do not or cannot apply to – and I support those people fully. If you are not able (because of physical or mental health reasons) to wear a face covering then you should still feel able to get on with living your life right now. If you have good reasons to meet in a group of more than six, I am so sorry that you’re now not able to.

However.

The rules exist, and for 99% of people, there are no barriers, or minimal barriers, to following those rules. You might not like them, you might not believe them, but if you just behave like a grown adult you will find yourself able to follow them. Does following a one-way system in a park mean you’ll be 30 seconds late getting back to work? Maybe, but you’re not unable to do it, so why shout at a voluntary event steward and be objectionable? What have you gained? Certainly not your precious 30 seconds (yes, this exact interaction happened to me)

Does not being allowed to meet in a group of more than six make a real, material difference to you? If you really think hard about it? Can you find no possible way of living your life in a world where at one time you’re only allowed to be with five other people?

I am a professional rule-maker and enforcer, so I know a thing or two about the rules.

  • Firstly – rules were not made to be broken. They were made because people repeatedly took decisions or actions which were agreed by a societal or organisational majority to be the wrong ones, and so we made a rule to stop that from happening, or to force something different to happen.
  • Secondly – all rules are not well-made. Rule makers should recognise this, and should be willing to change and adapt their rules on the basis of testing and feedback.
  • Thirdly – just because a rule has not been well-made, does not mean you should break it. Challenge it, by all means, complain,  lobby, vote with your feet and don’t continue attending a venue where you disagree with the rules. Vote with your vote and kick out a government who makes rules you disagree with. BUT until the rules are actually changed, you have to keep following them. Why? Because every time you ignore a rule, you endorse others doing the same and you reinforce the notion that the rule is needed, and is needed more strongly than the rule-maker thought.

So just because you feel like you’ve done “research” (talk to me about this by all means, I have a Masters by Research which I passed with distinction after writing over 15,000 publishable words on my topic and a further 20,000 in analytical appendices) and so you “know” that face coverings don’t work, doesn’t mean you get to keep breaking the rule. I accept that it’s hazy – it was a rule brought in too late in the UK, and with not enough clarity and justification of the scientific basis for the decision. But it is a decision which has been made, by people who have access to more actual research than you do (see above, fight me) and we need to abide by it until such a time as it is revised.

As restrictions ramp up across the UK (because of constant rule-breaking) now is the time to take a good look at yourself, remember that you are not special and that the rules apply to you just as clearly as to anyone else, and adhere to them. All of the information you need is here (if you’re in the UK) and if you disagree with the rules as so many of us do, you can petition the UK parliament or contact your local MP. Oh and by the way, this applies to lots of things – don’t like how something is run? Tell someone. Be active. Show you care.

But stop breaking the rules in the meantime. People are dying. You are not special. You do not know better. Wear a damn mask.

Practice vs Preach

I haven’t written for a long time.

Not because I haven’t had things to say. God, I have mountains of ideas floating around my head daily at the moment. The selfishness, the arrogance, the bureaucracy, the outright hate that is part of the way we live now. For a ranty, self-righteous writer like me, the possibilities are frankly endless.

But I haven’t been writing, because I have hit a very specific block, which is that I just cannot actually define what it is I think any more.

I feel like a motionless rock in a great crashing ocean storm, full of waves, thunder, lightening, and the occasional ship careering off into the night spilling passengers from each side as it tries to stay upright. I’m not drowning – that’s not what rocks do – but I’m very overcome, by lots of different things all at once, and I’m watching other people drown right in front of me and I’m just here, motionless.

Lovely analogy and all, but I’m not a rock, and so I should be helping. So much is going wrong in the world right now, and I have always advocated for building community, being present, caring for others – and I’m not practising that, so how dare I preach it?

There are so many other things I feel like I’m not practising as well. I feel like a walking contradiction. While my friends have had to stay completely isolated and shield themselves for months, I have been able to go out and do things, but I haven’t felt able to. I’ve been into a supermarket twice, maybe three times, since the start of the UK lockdown, and it still feels utterly terrifying. In many ways, I have shielded as much as someone with a serious condition would need to.

But I went into a pub within a week of them reopening. A pub where there was minimal social distancing and plenty of outright silly behaviour. And I didn’t love it, but I didn’t leave either.

When the UK first started experiencing the impact of Covid-19, back in February/March, I was part of the group who thought we wouldn’t choose to wear masks – the science seemed very clear then that unless the mask is medical-grade it won’t protect you or others – but now, I can’t even walk down a fairly quiet city street without my non-medical, probably useless, home-made mask. And I judge others very harshly for not wearing them, because I know if I had a condition which meant I was exempt, I just wouldn’t leave the house. I believe quite strongly that people who refuse to wear masks are selfish – despite the fact that a couple of months ago, that was the science I was sticking with as well.

I know it’s partially a cultural thing. We are brought up to believe that sticking to our guns is important, that it’s the foundation of who we are. Changing your mind is weakness. Except of course that’s ridiculous, because you should absolutely change your main if you learn new information which renders your previous stance stupid. So, now that I have determined that wearing masks is in fact a good idea, I am free to judge the people who haven’t come to my enlightened way of thinking…

A lot of this, of course, is about saturation of information. There’s so much out there that just picking and choosing which truths and which facts you’re going to believe today is a struggle. Three months ago I’d never have considered wearing a mask. Now I wear one whenever I go somewhere indoors. Except for when I’ve been to other people’s houses (as I’m allowed to do) or when people have come to my house (as they are allowed to do) – except those people haven’t been my close friends, still avoiding them of course. Naturally. Obviously. Because all of this is logical behaviour.

And why do I wear a mask everywhere (apart from some places…as discussed)? Because the government told me I should. The same government that I know categorically does not care if I die. How do I know this? Because it is demonstrated daily. But I still follow their rules, even though I know that they regularly lie for their own profit. Because I need to follow some kind of rules, because rules and guidelines and instructions and plans are what make me, personally, feel safe – and my brain is such a mish-mash of information that I can’t make those plans and guidelines for myself any more.

Such privilege, too, with all of these kind of thoughts. That I’m able to stay home, and have my partner do the shopping, or order things online. That I don’t have kids to take care of. That I’m still in a job and don’t need to get out on the streets to protest my very right to even exist.

So then I circle back into a miserable whirlpool of blame and self-loathing. Instead of doing the things I think about, I just hate myself for not doing them, and then that takes up so much time and energy that I end up exhausted and no use to anyone. And another news story breaks and the cycle starts again – I judge, I question, I look for ways to help, I don’t do them, and then I spiral. In between I sleep.

Is this going anywhere, I hear you ask. Well, dear reader, the answer is no, not really. Everything is just a bit confusing right now, and I have wanted, so badly, to write it all down, and failed so frequently to find any of the right words.

These are a few of the right words. Now, I’m off to do some of the things I have been failing to practice

  • Donating to Impact Lebanon and Beit el Baraka supporting people in Lebanon
  • Contacting some friends and colleagues I should have spoken to long before now
  • Finding out more about how I can give back locally, without leaving the house (because I need to recognise that’s a barrier for me right now)
  • Watching videos to support Black Lives Matter (something you can do for free, right now – this was the original video, and there have been issues with Youtube and their policies, but there are still a lot of video fundraisers still up)

Change the World

Today I did a day of work.

After work my lovely fiancé and I took a short drive to stand outside a potential wedding venue and peer through the windows.

Then I came home and changed the world.

Not in a major way at all, I should add. All I did was I got my laptop out, and I wrote a letter (directed to Liz Truss MP, currently serving as Secretary of State for International Trade) and I sent it to my local MP, Rachel Reeves. Yesterday, I had approached my local councillors to ask if they would countersign a letter to Liz Truss, asking for confirmation that US export licenses for riot equipment and various crowd suppressants were being revoked, given the systematic misuse of these items by the US government.

My local councillors supported my views, and suggested a more powerful statement would be a letter from Rachel, on behalf of our whole constituency. Today I didn’t hear an update on the progress of drafting this letter and sharing with Rachel for her to send, so tonight I drafted it and sent it to her myself.

I have no idea if she’ll even see the letter, or if it will be drastically redrafted by her office before it is passed on to Liz Truss. I hope it isn’t, because a big part of my job is drafting communications and I think it’s quite a good letter (though I accept there’s always room for improvement).

So when I say I’ve changed the world, I don’t really know to what extent – it might barely have an effect.

But these actions are so important, because even if it feels potentially ineffective and insignificant, it’s better than nothing. I will never be famous for the impact I have on the world around me, there will be no statues of me, I will not be immortalised for my good deeds. But together, with lots of small actions, we will change the world.

We are living through a revolution, and as white people there are a lot of us who need to learn a lot, quickly, to keep up. I am learning day by day what it means to be an effective ally, including not demanding that my black friends and colleagues teach me, but being ready to listen, hear and learn what they have to say. I am looking for new sources of information, and challenging myself to identify behaviours which aren’t helpful to the wider racial justice movement. I am so lucky to have grown up with a diverse family who travelled and exposed me to a huge range of cultures, nationalities and heritages. I hope my family and friends who are people of colour feel served and supported by me as an ally.

My letter* may go nowhere, but I am choosing not to be silent on this issue.

Black lives matter.

 

 

*I haven’t often written to my MP, and initially I struggled to find the right words. While it’s important that if you contact your representatives you do so in your own voice, feel free to get in touch if you’d like to see my letter or use my wording, or if you’d like help drafting any formal communications to your representatives.

Hands

When I had just turned 16, I got my first job. It was a 4 hours a week (ish) Saturday job at one of the pubs in the village, just waiting tables. From the moment I started I was on my way out, because the manager just didn’t like me. I learned later that they turned over waiting staff almost every six weeks – the length of their probation period – and I just think that they couldn’t find anyone who was a good fit with the manager.

There were two staff who had worked at the pub much longer, who were basically the full time waiting staff, and then there were a few bar staff who were on the more permanent end of things. One of the two waiting staff was the “maitre d'” though I think he’d given himself the title and really was taking it a bit far. He talked a lot and I learned absolutely nothing from him.

The other member of staff was a tiny woman nicknamed “Magpie”. She was totally lovely, about 5’3″ and as far as I remember had blonde curly hair. She was called Magpie because if we cleared a table and someone hadn’t finished their chips they went into a bowl and Magpie would snack on them for the rest of the night. Waste not want not. Everyone else clearly looked down on her for it, but I think I know where she was coming from.

She taught me how to pour out the huge bottles of ketchup without getting them everywhere, how to put together a plate of bread and oil and vinegar for dipping. She almost taught me how to carry more than two plates, and she helped me keep track of which table was which number. She was cheery and charming, and everyone who came into the pub really liked her (which was notably not the case for any of the other staff. The pub closed a few years later, and I don’t think it came as a shock to anyone).

One week, maybe about three weeks into my time working there (which as I mentioned was not long, maybe seven weeks in total) Magpie commented on how young I was. At the time I remember being a bit shocked, because of course to 16-year-old me, being 16 was being an adult. But I was also shocked because I hadn’t really considered that Magpie was much older than me herself, maybe 18 or 19. As we chatted it came out that she was actually in her late 20s, married with two children.

The thing which she noticed, she said, was my hands. We had been washing up cutlery (I think) and she pointed out that my hands looked “unused”.

I think about that conversation a lot. I remember looking down at her hands and seeing her age for the first time – because it’s true, especially when your job involves carrying burning plates, washing up in caustic detergents and going in and out of walk-in freezers, your hands do begin to show that you’ve worked. It wasn’t Magpie, but someone else in the kitchen chimed in about me keeping my hands nice for longer than “the rest of us”. There was a lot of classism at work in that kitchen, which at 16 I didn’t really comprehend. Looking back I know I was being singled out as the posh girl, who didn’t exactly need the Saturday job or to be slumming it with all of them. They were not-so-subtly pointing out that I wouldn’t ever need to “get my hands dirty”.

Of course despite the fact that I only stayed there for seven weeks, I did feel I needed that job. Being sacked (badly, by being left on the phone for 15 minutes as I tried to quit after yet another last-minute shift cancellation) was an experience I didn’t want to repeat in a hurry and so I waited a few months before my next job, but I can’t be accused of being work-shy. At one point when I was in my upper sixth year I was working two different jobs each weekend, volunteering at a youth centre, and babysitting on the side. The cruel comments from the pub kitchen weren’t necessary, and they weren’t accurate.

I didn’t work for the first year of my undergraduate degree. I was very worried about my academic performance, preparing myself for living abroad (10 years ago now, doesn’t time fly), and my dad in particular was very keen that I understand I didn’t need to work.

By the end of my year abroad I was itching though. I got a summer internship with the British Council, and realised that for all my resistance after my year 10 work experience visit, I could cope with working in an office. When I moved back to Leeds I got a job teaching science at primary schools, and then another as office manager for a web development firm. There are all kinds of stories about my various jobs strewn across this blog, though work isn’t something I write about often (after all, you never know who might be reading it).

I have done a lot of jobs, now. I’ve used my hands a lot, even when my job might not have naturally required it. My job now doesn’t require me to take apart steel deck, or count cash, or answer queries posed by concerned Spanish women. But I do all of those things anyway, when they are needed, and I think that my hands show it. I have always taken a lot of pride in my hands – I have nice fingers, and strong fingernails which are always painted, and I look good in jewellery. But underneath that, I do think my hands are starting to show my age and my story. It’s a decent story though, so maybe I don’t mind.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

There are no easy days.

I actually think that holds true even when there isn’t a global pandemic. There are easier days, which to be honest are usually just the days where there’s a better plan (if you’re me). There are more complicated days, there are days which are physically hard, and emotionally hard, and mentally hard. That’s just being human.

Being human at the moment is difficult, because there are no easy days, and there’s no let-up.

I get up each day and I walk to my odd little loft-office, and I hit ctrl-alt-del and open my laptop and I think about how lucky I am to be a person who still has a job, and a place to do it, and who is still healthy and safe.

But I also feel a wave of anxiety each time I hit ctrl-alt-del because that’s what I’m missing right now. Control, of any kind. I can make plans, but I can’t do anything about the world outside, or the people I support. They are unpredictable factors, and it’s all I can do day by day to try and keep up with them.

This isn’t just a work thing. That accounts for a lot of it, because supporting others is a huge part of my role (it’s literally in the name), but that’s also how I interact with so many people in my life. I have always taken on a caring role, it’s where I fit, and I love to do it. But right now I am struggling to be that supportive person in the way I’d like to be – not because of a lack of will, but because of a lack of way.

And let’s be clear. This isn’t a cry for help. I’m not “struggling” struggling. I just want something which is impossible right now. To control the circumstances around me and others so that I can make everyone’s life easier.

So no days are easy.

I hope we all make it through this ok.

Speechless

I (like so many others) have been working from home for a week now.

At the start of said week, a friend texted to check in and make sure I was doing ok, and one of the things I said is that I would probably write a lot during this time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that, because there is a lot in my head, but putting it into words on metaphorical paper is the challenge. It’s not even about having some new and original thought, or some kind of epiphany (lord knows, I’ve never been about that). It’s about being able to turn any of the noise and colour into words and sentences. Honestly, I’ve found myself speechless.

It is not even that the current situation is unprecedented. It is in my lifetime, and in the vast majority of cases, but we know a lot about history, so we know that this kind of thing has happened before. Biology has always dictated it was likely to happen again, which is why the SARS and Ebola crises were both so scary. We have been waiting for our next pandemic for a long time. I’m not shocked that other people are shocked though, because this isn’t expected, or normal. It feels like the big deal that it is (despite the many people still behaving otherwise). It’s such a big deal that it’s a challenge to comprehend. The numbers are already far beyond what I can expand my mind to imagine.

I’m speechless at the international political reaction. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in less good ways. The people we have chosen (in some cases) to lead us are doing…a job, and only time will tell whether it is a good or a bad one. In the main, I feel like the UK government has said the right things, but a little slower than we needed. The lack of real information provided alongside most of their promises is the thing which leaves me worried though, because saying the right thing is all very well, but putting my fiance out of a job, and then taking two weeks to announce that you’ll also not be giving him any financial support (he started after the furlough qualification date of 1 March) is quite another.

Ultimately, the political decisions which have been made will likely save a lot of people from the coronavirus. But they may drive hundreds of thousands of people below the breadline and into destitution. The UK government may be saying the right things, but saying them after 10 years of destroying our health service and welfare systems, and repeatedly stamping on those who most need their community to stand with them, really reduces the impact of “saying the right thing”.

While we are on the community, the way people have come together (again, metaphorically) over this crisis has been heartening. Yes, there have been burglaries, and scams, but overall the reaction I have seen around me makes me feel proud to be part of my local community, and I hope I’m able to help somehow. I’m also proud of my communities online, made up of the people I work with, sing with and act with, who are continuing to do all of the wonderful things they can from afar.

I don’t know when I am going to see my family again. I don’t even know if I will see them again. That’s a sobering thought.

Like everyone, I’m also so convinced that I’ll “use this time well”. Today, I have spent 6 hours playing Skyrim and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, so I think I need to examine what I feel is time well-spent. I’m also doing some online filing though, and I plan to spend tomorrow writing accounts for my choir. As a busy person, having time in the house means ticking a lot of to-do boxes I would otherwise have struggled with, but it’s also hard to see what value any of it will have in the long-term.

Long-term is a difficult concept right now.

I feel like I’ve struggled to engage my creative mind at all in the last week (maybe that’s why I haven’t written anything until now) because I’m so tired. Physically, emotionally, socially – it’s amazing the energy it takes to be engaging over video-conference, and I’m not sure I’m managing it to be honest. Like everyone who is still working through this time, work is taxing right now, it feels relentless and still unsettled despite already being incredibly cyclical and predictable.

I started this blog as a travel blog, and now I am watching other countries shutting down, wondering if I’ll ever get to travel again and what the world will be like when I get there. The UK will probably (in the grand scheme of things) be ok. The developing world is much less secure.

I have no idea where we go from here. I have no linear thoughts, nothing to hold on to, just shapes and colours and tonnes of feelings. I don’t remember a day recently where I haven’t cried, and I have no idea what I’m crying about most of the time.

And on top of all of these thoughts, I am overwhelmingly aware that I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job, I have a house, I’m not alone. I have the time to sit around writing blog posts. I am still well.

When the colours and shapes settle, maybe I’ll do a playlist post or something.

Doomsday Preppers

Does anyone else feel like they are living an episode of Doomsday Preppers right now? (one of the best shows on Netflix, in case you were wondering – it follows folk in the States who have a very specific doomsday scenario in mind and are preparing for it, mostly by buying guns apparently)

I went to the shops earlier to buy a toaster, and while I’d seen all of the toilet roll and soap panic-buying posts, I was still surprised.

And listen guys, here’s the thing. For some people in our community, stockpiling is legitimate. If you are vulnerable and don’t have a strong support network, the threat of being asked to self-isolate is very real isolation. People who feel they have no-one to call on may be very reasonably buying enough of products to ensure they can properly self-isolate should they need to.

There are other people who might feel the need to stockpile. Those who don’t have the financial means to buy food ad-hoc on delivery, or who fear they may not have the funds to buy essentials if they rise in price during a crisis.

While at the shops earlier however, I ended up at the checkout behind a woman who had 6 bottles of disinfectant, an entire shopping bag of crisps, and two full trays of beans.

And some mascarpone.

I am not necessarily shaming this particular woman. Maybe she was buying extra goods to give to a charity or a food bank. Maybe she was buying for vulnerable neighbours. I know I don’t know her personal story. But she didn’t look like that was her motivation, and I think she is reasonably representative of a lot of people out in the world right now. Selfish people, who are not considering the impact to their wider community of their greed. That is what it is at the end of the day.

The same kind of people who have bought all of the pasta in the UK are still going out to busy pubs each night, still planning trips across the country to see elderly relatives, and still (somehow still) not washing their damn hands properly. Because they don’t think they’ll get sick, but if they do then they have plenty of food in, so they’ll be fine.

I have no faith in the UK government to properly manage a crisis, or effectively contain an outbreak of Covid-19. I have more faith in our experts, but they need to be heard. I have even more faith in the staff of the NHS, but they are reliant on resourcing from our pitiful government.

As ever, I have the most faith in our communities. Community action is powerful, and people are generally good, and caring. But those communities can only be properly supported if the greedy people take a long hard look at themselves and consider their priorities.

Let’s look after our neighbours, not threaten them with (proverbial, or real) guns, and fight them for the last tin of chopped tomatoes. As a community we are far stronger than that.

 

And listen seriously. If you can afford to buy mascarpone as part of your panic-shop, you don’t need to be panic-shopping.

IWD

So I’ve seen a lot about International Women’s Day (because that’s what today is), coupled with a lot recently about women bringing each other down – or rather things on social media trying to convince women not to bring each other down.

I think it’s symptomatic of the world we now live in that it is so easily done. Thoughts which used to just be thoughts end up on twitter, or tiktok (whatever that is) or one of the three million other platforms we have at our disposal, and they get a positive response, and suddenly more and more of those thoughts trickle out of your head and onto the internet. It’s actually pretty awful.

I do it. I think a lot of people do. I am currently watching ‘Love is Blind’ on Netflix (truly one of the most ridiculous programmes ever created, just by EXPENSE alone) and I keep finding myself having views on the women on the show. And the guys too, but I do find myself being more critical of the women. Maybe I think I’d be “better” or at the very least “different”? I don’t really know, but it’s there.

Hopefully less frequently, I do it to people in my life as well. And if I’m totally honest with myself, I do criticise the women in my life more than the men. I don’t know why, I’m not suggesting that the men I know make less mistakes, but I am definitely more critical of the women in my life than I’d like to be, and than I probably should be.

So this International Women’s Day, I’m making a commitment to myself, to just be a bit nicer to the women around me. It’s not always easy being a girl – just read anything about the feminist journey, which is very much not over – but being challenged and having barriers put up by other women doesn’t help. I’m going to try not to be that person any more, if I can help it.

8 posts

In 2019, I posted 8 things on this blog.

That’s less than 1 a month (for those of you who are gregorianly-challenged).

This year, I absolutely don’t promise to do better.

It’s not that I have lost a love of writing – far from it – it’s just that I lack time, and brain power. As my job has changed and progressed over the past 5 years, I have found myself doing less meeting arrangement, and more report and document writing, and while fascinating, it’s somewhat tiring.

The other thing is, I’m doing so much. I’ve always done a lot, don’t get me wrong, but at the moment I am working to get things done in my spare minutes, not even my spare hours. And I have plans for this year. So here’s a rundown of some stuff I might be doing –

  1. Getting a qualification in Charity Law 
    I’m already working on this one, and my exam is in June. I should be spending much more time revising than I have been, but assuming it all goes well I’m even considering doing another course starting from September #learning
  2. Going to a festival
    Ok this one is a bit pie-in-the-sky because we still don’t have tickets, but the aim is to go to Glastonbury. As someone who has never been interested in festivals I am finding it hard to get excited, but if we actually make it I’m sure it’ll be great
  3. Being involved with a production of “Annie” 20 years after I last was in it
    I don’t know if I’ll be in the cast (wish my luck for my audition) but there’s no way I’m not getting involved in the next LIDOS production. I was the orphan ‘Kate’ when I was 9, and it was my first full-length musical.
  4. Visiting Thailand
    I got a lot of travelling done before I was 15 years old, and as a consequence I haven’t really done that much since (living in Morocco and Spain notwithstanding). The Man wants to visit Thailand and show it to me, and so this year may well be the year
  5. Going back to Spain!
    Let’s not even joke about how long it is since I lived in Spain. But as a big birthday present to a friend, we want to go back. The only issue at the moment is finding a time which actually works for us both
  6. Attending 5 weddings (currently)
    I say currently because I would not be shocked if more appear. I remember turning 23 and people telling me I was about to go into wedding madness- cue years of very minimal activity, but it turns out it’s all kicking off this year

So there’s plenty going on. Will I keep this blog updated? It seems unlikely, but I’ll honestly try. Writing and keeping a diary in this way is still a massive highlight of any day for me, and so while my posts may be few and far between, SallyTalks will live on for a little while yet.