Showing posts with label Five Minutes On. Show all posts

Five Minutes on Validity

You all know that I have A LOT of thoughts when it comes to children and making children and growing children and having children and raising children etc etc. 

So this is a bit of an update around my thoughts on the validity of womanhood when it comes to children. The next step in my odd little journey along the road of adulthood if you will (You'd imagine I'd be getting it right by now...)

I just want to clarify in advance that anything I say is by no means someone without a child digging out those women WITH children. Quite the contrary. Mothers are INCREDIBLE. There are times when I look at my sister and think "HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS?!?" (Usually when she's covered in green stuff that could have come from literally any part of my niece) Plus, I would never judge any decision someone else has made when it comes to their body, lives and offspring - It is simply none of my business.
When we TALK about things, we start to realise there are people out there who have been thinking about the same things but with different experiences, which I, for one, find incredibly useful. I want to be tolerant, I don't want to be entirely wrapped up in my own understandings based on just how things make ME feel. Strangely enough, being angry doesn't make me happy and because I'm the kinda chick who rarely tells people when I'm offended or upset by their actions, the anger quickly transforms into an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. 

So I went on instagram and I talked about it. I talked about how I regularly feel that I'm somehow not seen as valid or included in society due to my choice to not yet have children (If at all). I mentioned the number of times I found myself excluded from events and invites purely due my childlessness. About how not being a mother somehow suggests that you're lacking in wisdom, experience and ability. 

And the response was phenomenal. 

I received hundreds of messages, from women at all stages of life, sharing their experiences, feelings and some truly incredible advice. And all of a sudden I wasn't alone. MAGIC RIGHT?!? With this in mind, I'd really like to share (with permission) some of the words that impacted me the most. So if you're in a quandary, WE CAN ALL BE IN IT TOGETHER. 

www.theemedit.co.uk

There seems to be some wider assumption that a family has to include children, but I'm really big on "Family" being whatever you make it. My immediate family is my husband and me. And the cats obvs. Families can be you and your parents, it can be you and a friend, it can be you and your case of stick insects. Family for me is the tightest circle of living things you have wrapped around you and I am incredibly fortunate to be close to my parents and sister who will always be family. 

As for "Selfish" UGH, this is one thing that really blags my swede. Firstly, not's let forget that not everyone is child-free through choice. Plus, what's selfish about not having children? Why is emotional labour only valid when it's directed towards the under 16s? I care SO deeply for the people in my life and I'm generally too busy doing all of the things I do in a day to be selfish, its a wonder if I've washed my hair nowadays...

www.theemedit.co.uk


"Focussing on your career". As if this is the only way to justify not having children. As if the only important things in life for a woman are work or motherhood. Why the heck are we having to justify our existence in this way? We exist because we do. Why the sudden need when we hit our mid-20s to take on some kind of societal role...? 

I had an interesting professional discussion around flexible working recently - Flexible working is incredible and has facilitated so many women being able to balance a career and childcare, but try and use it in any other way beyond child-based emergencies you may find yourselves coming up against issues. We've all been there; It's quite rightly deemed vital that a parent-child relationship is facilitated by the workplace, but the relationships we have with our partners and friends (Which at times are life-saving) are given short shrift. 

And it's not just the people without children who notice the difference:
www.theemedit.co.uk
I find it kind of selfishly comforting to know that new mothers recognise the difference in the way that society treats a woman with children, but, more importantly, it is so vital for us to be reminded that mums (particularly new mums) seek out other mums for support and its not unfair to assume that quite often this support is enhanced by experience, experience someone without a child simply doesn't have. And that's ok, I wouldn't ask a doctor for advice on how to cut my hair. As long as we're not muscled out completely. I may not know about colic or nappy changing (At least not that I'm willing to admit to...) but I am an incredible listener, I'm great at pulling stupid faces and I will sing and dance for anybody who needs those particular services at any given time. 

Two of the most striking comments that I want to leave you with are these:
www.theemedit.co.uk

Why are those of us in doubt feeling even a little bit obliged to do something that doesn't enhance our lives in any way? In most basic terms; We're not on the brink of extinction, the survival of the human race isn't dependent on people who are already quite happy adding to the population.

Part of me knows that some of you will be thinking  "Ok, we get it, you don't have children, get over it" and I can understand why you would. But it is SO important to me that we continue to have these conversations because if they've helped the likes of me as much as they have, they may help other people. So let's keep them going. 

We need to stop believing that not having a child makes us any less important. Or that our lives are any less full. We are valid, we are important, we are whole.

Please feel free to share some thoughts in the comments or over on my insta.

Em x

Five Minutes on Standing Alone

Sometimes we stand alone.

Today is the last day of child loss awareness week. I’ve not said an awful lot this week, partly because so many other wonderful women are saying things so beautifully and partly because I’m in a strange new phase. Beyond grief and into loneliness.


I’m a woman in my mid-30s. As much as I want to deny the understanding that emotions can be biologically led, there are days when I feel physical pain that there is no child of my own in the house. As much as I know that my life will have many other fulfilments, there are days when I feel such a deep sense of solitary that I want to curl up in bed and never get up.


Talking to other women who have experienced child loss, the overwhelming emotion is loneliness.

We all have an understanding of how we think our lives will be, even if we don’t make plans or set expectations (I certainly haven’t) we still build a world around ourselves that has so many intertwining parts, when one goes a bit tits, it can take years to work out how all the other bits work. How the other people in your life fit into it all. What you see your future being, or not being. 


When I first talked about child loss and mental health on this site, I made a bit of a pact to myself to talk about ALL of it. All of the stages, all of the changes. I do it because it helps me and, hopefully, it helps other people to know that they're not alone.  

When I’ve figured it all out I’ll let you know. It could be a while. 

But rest assured I’m not sad, I’m not incomplete, I’m just a bit lost, and sometimes we have to stand alone. 
Em x

Five Minutes On Loss

Trigger Warning: Detailed talk of child loss/medical experiences.

I've been a bit of funk of late and could not for the life of it get to the bottom of what's going on. Then it hit me: My head has reached capacity. 

We go through so many things in our lives. Some bad and some marvellous. Some we talk about and some we don't. Ultimately, I guess we must reach a point where we're fully loaded - That's one of the original reasons I started this blog; A space to vent, to share and maybe even somewhere that other big odd women can relate or refer to. 

I absolutely do not want this to be a site that is SAD and SERIOUS because I am 100% neither, unless I am a. Hungover or b. Pretending I am an adult for a job/loan/other adult reasons. However, I have this space and I need to stay true to my original intentions. 
I PROMISE MY NEXT POST WILL BE KNICKERS.

So here is a big folder that has been archived in my brain, on a topic that I've mentioned time and time again, because grief really is an emotion that never truly leaves you, regardless of whether you feel it should or whether the thing you lost is no longer something you need. 
www.theemedit.co.uk
Five Minutes On Loss

I miscarried on good Friday four years ago. I remember because I had some strange catholic belief that if Jesus was risen from the dead then so could my baby. I was in a room that wasn’t my own, I was bleeding and it hurt and I told my husband then told my mum and everything went quiet because who knows what to say when this happens. 

Rang the hospital who told me to go to the emergency walk in. Waited awhile, knowing that really time didn’t matter because when you bleed like that a baby isn’t going to be a baby any more. There was a woman crying in the waiting room. I chatted to her, trying to take her mind off the pain she was clearly in. She had toothache and alone and I felt awful for her because nothing hurts more than toothache - She thanked me for talking to her and taking her mind off it, she was so grateful to not be alone and in pain. 

The doctor was dressed like a Bond villain in a black rollneck, covered in wiry white hairs and smelt like dogs. His room was too hot and I was sweating and everything smelt too much of unpleasantness. “One in three pregnancies ends this way” he said when I gave him my notes and told him about the pain and the blood. So it’s ended. I’m the one in three. No comfort at that point but it was oddly comforting to have something to say to everyone as part of the “I’m ok though” conversation. 

Onto the hospital where the blood test showed that I was still pregnant. The ultrasound next. Two incredibly kind women whose faces knew exactly what shapes to make. With my husband there, I thought again of the biblical rising of the dead and held his hand with part of my brain trying to convince me that this would be the first time that we would see our baby and that this would be one of the HAPPY memories. 

No living baby. 

Appointments made for the next day whilst I waited in the maternity ward with the expectant mothers, grinning comfortingly at them hoping that they wouldn’t realise I wasn’t one of them any more and subsequently turn their thoughts to the negative, the fear and pity. 

Back home, back to bed. Easter plans cancelled, parents called and gently told, friends full of love and sadness and not knowing what to say. The guilt that comes with all of that. Of letting people down. Remembering their excitement and predicting their grief that they would never show because their love for me transcends everything else. My husband’s set jaw, not knowing how to react because we didn’t know how to react when the baby was alive never mind now the baby is dead. Hugging and sniffling and the physical pain and the blood and the confusion. Blood tests the next day confirm it really is the end of this story. 

Down to a local cafe for breakfast and to get out of the room that isn’t my own, laughs as we talk about ordering a real drink for the first time in months. Discomfort and a pain that’s not physical as something passes in the toilet to be flushed away because oh my god what else do you do?!? Nobody has told me and nobody knows what to say but at least nature hasn’t played any more tricks on me and I can joke about it whilst everyone else looks a bit uncomfortable but it’s my decision today. 

Time moves on, back to work, having to tell people I didn’t want to know because of one day off work. Too much sympathy. Too much. Will have to think about Christmas leave because I’m not going to be on maternity any more! Every woman has experienced this in some way, they tell me and it HELPS. It really does. The one in three seems more now that people are talking to me. United in loss. 

Deeply grateful for the NHS. 
Deeply grateful that I was able to experience pregnancy when so many don’t. 
Deeply grateful that this baby was a choice. 
Deeply grateful for the completeness we get in being a family of just us two. 

Never really “moving on” - The words of an angel of a friend who has experienced this more times that could ever be fair, telling me to tell anyone who suggests that I SHOULD, to “go f*ck themselves”. There are the bits that we share and the bits that we keep to ourselves. When another well meaning colleague asks the inevitable questions, I know I can’t tell them about the doctor who smelt of dogs or the underwear that needed to be thrown away. It’s not NICE. 

But still life goes on and there are SO MANY joys and happinesses that we experience and maybe now is the time to tell the whole story to people who know me and people who don’t so here it is. Not presented for sympathy, not presented for shock. Presented for catharsis and a hope that if you want to talk or to share or just to go back to the grim and odd little details of your own sadnesses that you keep locked away but really should let yourself remember and feel, you can. 

Presented in the knowledge that this experience is not unique or rare, and no longer exists in MY mind alone. 

Because we are the one in three.

Em x

Five Minutes on Breaking Down

***Trigger Warning: Mental Health***

When I was 29 I had a breakdown.

 It started as butterflies in my stomach. 
A constant feeling of “something is wrong” without knowing what. 
Then I started to forget words, simple words like potato and microwave (vital words in my jacket potato life). 
I would go to work and “wake up” staring at my hands, not sure how long I’d been sitting that way and scared that people were noticing that I was quite clearly a massive weirdo.


 I’d get home and go to bed. No matter what time. I’d switch between staring at the wall, not feeling anything and sobbing into my pillow.
I’ve had a skill from a young age of being able to force myself to feel happy - Just by smiling at myself in a mirror, my brain could switch from sad to happy. 
But now I wasn’t feeling anything. Nothing at all. 

I spoke to my wonderful manager at work, she asked if I might be depressed. 
I knew I couldn’t possibly be. 
What did *I* have to be depressed about? 

The tears started to follow me to work. 
I stopped answering my phone. 
I completely blocked out my family and friends. 
My thoughts got darker, less rational and more intrusive. 

SO I went to the doctor.  
The doctor made me fill out a questionnaire, she told me: 
I’d feel better after Christmas; Christmas makes a lot of people feel sad.  
She threw the questionnaire in the bin.  
I told her, “I won’t be here at Christmas”. 

I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to live. 


The doctor prescribed me some pills (It’s all a matter of choice but I these little babies got me to the point where I could accept help)

I was very fortunate that through the support of my wonderful family, I was able to get the help of an incredible therapist who let me talk. 
Who let me NOT talk. 
Who helped me to stop mind reading. 
Who taught me to stop getting into the boxing ring with my own brain. 

The intrusive thoughts continued but they didn’t own me any more. 
Words started to come back. I started to talk to people.
I was feeling again. 


Four and a bit years on: I imagine pre-breakdown me as a care bear; 
all fluff and sparkles and heart. 
Breakdown me was a potato (I remember that word now). 
Post-breakdown me is a cat. 
I’m still soft and loving but there are less sparkles, more solitude (Good solitude) and I know how to recognise when things are going a bit Pete Tong. 
I have intense moments of appreciation for the people around me, delight in their acheivements. 
I know how to drop the things that hurt me but that I can’t control. 
I can be pragmatic but now, more often, I can be positive. 

I can’t tell anyone how to feel. Especially if, like I was, you’re not feeling anything at all. 
But I can tell you that this is not permanent. 
No matter how long it’s been, how often it is. 
All I can say is...

Every single day I wake up with a genuine gratitude that I’m still here. 
Em x 
This post was originally published on Instagram                   All images by the incredible Olivia Lenn 

Five Minutes on Loving Yourself


Remember when you were younger and people said "OH they LOVE themselves SOOOO much" like it was a bad thing? WELL, I'm here to tell you now that actually it's a really really good thing.

www.terribletumbles.co.uk
Knitted Bardot Jumper* - Tokyo Laundry
I've spent too much time over the years wishing that I looked a different way, that I was cleverer, more interesting, younger, older. I know for a fact that I don't take enough time out to look at who I am and what I've done right now in this exact moment. 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk

It's not always easy. So here I am, posting gratuitous pictures of myself. Completely unedited (Other than a filter and the removal of an ugly light switch), taken in my lunch hour with a camera on a timer, but made up in my favourite style, well lit and completely and utterly feeling myself. 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk

Give yourself five minutes tomorrow to love yourself (In whatever way you like. Even that way <Nod to my friends at Lovehoney here>. All self-love is good love isn't it really...?) 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk

I'll be back with more outfit posts soon - Just as soon as I stop having spotty tonsils...
Em x
* Denotes gifted item 

Five Minutes on Who I Am And What I Want


Happy 2018 Party People!

You all know me fairly well by now and, as such, will know that in 2018 I will be paying no heed to New Years resolutions. I will, however, share with you some of the things I've learnt over the last 12 months and some of the things I'm going to keep on learning for likely forever because I'm a REALLY slow learner (Please see also; "Learning to drive" - Moving into year 17 of that and "Shaving my legs without bleeding to death" - Year 20) 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk
Taylor Dress - Joanie Clothing 
Firstly, a subject I always come back to and which I am now well and truly laying to rest: 
Babies and the such.

I want to start by saying: My Vagina Is Nobody's Business (Except my gynaecologist's and on rare occasions like birthdays and olympic opening ceremonies, my husband's) This said, I now feel absolutely no shame or even fear in saying "I Do Not Want Children". It gets you the same looks you get when you say you're bisexual or that, actually, you've always thought that dolphins are total pricks. You know, that frozen smile and a look that says "I have absolutely no way of processing this information, I just know that I've now categorised you with James Blunt as a person who I don't hate as much as Hitler but still wouldn't want around my kids" and THAT IS OK WITH ME. In fact, it's incredibly liberating. You make your genital choices and I will make mine. 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk

I am a remarkably uncompetitive person. To the extent that, if a zombie was chasing me, I'd roll over and let it eat me in order to allow someone else to not be chewed on (I think about this a lot. I have my zombie plan DOWN). It's not altruism, I just like to see people who care about instant gratification do well. Also, being an actual zombie looks to be infinitely preferable/simpler than being the person running away from a zombie doesn't it...? 

I know who I am, I know my strengths and my strengths do not lie in fierce debates, cut throat negotiations or saving face. My strengths lie in influencing, informing and enabling the people around me to be just generally fucking awesome. I recognise all of this and am mostly comfortable with it. However, I now work in what can, at times, be an incredibly fierce business environment and the time is right to fly my own flag, even if it IS a flag covered in fluffy bunnies and Care Bears... 

There's a quote I fucking love; "Don't ever lose your softness to their arrogance, let your soul give them hell". There is a place for us all, soft or hard, leader or influencer but personal development can be good and this is something I'm doing right now. 
So don't piss me off (or do, I'll probably still give you a hug and ask if you're ok...) 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk
Bikini - Simply Be 

This next bit is copied from an instagram post I put up last week but I'm not going to paraphrase because I was clearly having a good word day when I wrote it:

I started 2017 fat and I’m going to be ending it fat. In the time in-between, I was fat. To all of you reading this, I’m sure you’ll notice that I HAVE NO BEEF WITH THIS. The only time I make excuses is when I walk into something/someone, knock something over or stand on one of my cats but that’s not me apologising for my fat body, that’s me apologising for being a clumsy knob. My fat has nothing to do with my “health” (And I implore you to not be dim or ableist enough to assume it does). There are women who are much fatter AND thinner than me also just living their lives as the smoking hot magical people that they are, enjoying themselves and being total fucking diamonds.

I'm going to go into 2018 fat, fat and happy because my body really isn’t all that I am. I’m hard working, loving and patient amongst other things and I’m not going to let the world tell me that all I am is a disappointing fat body (I’m not, ask my Mum) (Maybe don’t ask my Mum right now, I stole one of her airbeds which is probably pretty disappointing to her).To be honest, I'm bored of harping on about being fat now so please just assume that I am fat and will continue to be so and there will never ever be any form of diet shit on this blog or my social media. 

I also recommend that, Instead of using this week to berate yourself for having a lovely indulgent Christmas and new year, or making stupid goals which you will also berate yourself over or convincing yourself that things will be better if you can just do X,Y or Z; Just go out and do those things because they’re just as enjoyable regardless. Remember that the body image industry exists to make money from people - They’re not here to help us or quinoa and kale would be free and it’s really really not, so don’t believe the hype.

www.terribletumbles.co.uk
Reed Blouse - Second Script Curve
Jeans - Second Script Curve
One last thing from me, you know that saying; "Fortune favours the bold". Well please believe me when I say that never have four words been truer. This was my third year of saying yes, of doing things that scare me, of taking every opportunity that comes my way, and I'm incredibly glad that I have. Don't sit there and wait for things to come your way, go out and get it: Ask out that cute babe, apply for that job, start that blog, make that new friend, learn that Beyonce dance routine. 

I've got this, and so have you.


Em x

Guest Post - Keep banging your drum and eventually we’ll all get a dance

Hello,

My name is Danielle and I am Emma’s BEST FRIEND FOREVER and number 1 fan.

‘Are you sure?’, 

I hear you ask,

‘She’s never once mentioned you in any of her blog posts or pictures?!’



Yes… yes I know, and yet I’m still here, adoring her from behind the scenes despite that fact I am largely ignored. It’s important to love those we are closest to yet not be blind to their flaws *nostril flare*. I’m not bitter or attention seeking. Really.

Emma and I have a cute story. It goes something like this…. We hated each other at school, both moved to Sheffield (albeit 6 years apart), she saw me on a bus, messaged me on Facebook and since then we’ve been stuck together like clams. The end.

The other cute thing about Emma and I is that physically we are very different. You will know she is a tall, flamed-haired, pale, Amazonian goddess. I am very short, dark-haired, olive-skinned. I also have massive tits but the hands of a four-year-old child. My Patronus would be Ronnie Corbett with breast implants. We look funny when we are together. A bit like Arya Stark and The Hound, Timone and Pumba, Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum,... you get the picture. One of the ways in which we are very similar is that we are fully-paid-up members of the feminist sisterhood, Prosecco-swigging socialists and independent ‘wimmin’. You know, the type the Daily Mail hates.



Emma’s success at Plus Size blogging has me bursting with pride. It’s so-fucking-fantastic that she and her peers are chipping away at the status quo with gathering momentum, providing an alternative with intelligent reasoning and fuckloads of style. I have had the pleasure of meeting several of Emma’s blogger friends, they have all been PROPER BIRDS and gorgeous. I hate them.

And yet I feel dissatisfied. See when one bastard child eventually gets their slice of the pie, the rest us want ours too. But do I deserve it? I’m not big enough to be fat shamed or brown enough to be systematically excluded. For the large part, my seat at Society’s table is reserved, albeit at the back of the room, and I sometimes get mistaken for the waitress. I can sit with ‘them’. On a good day. Still, I can’t open a magazine or watch a TV advert and see women that look like me. I can’t covet a dress on a website and really imagine what I’m going to look like wearing it until it’s on (clue: usually too tight across the chest and 6 inches too long). Society, media, popular culture, seem to only exist in extremes much of the time. We can only communicate at a quiet or shockingly loud level, the rest is just white noise. The Plus Size movement, I feel, is testament to this. You bang your drum to such a rhythm it’s getting difficult to ignore; the fashion industry is tapping along to your tune, media outlets are beginning to sway their hips and retailers are dragging you to your feet.



But what does this mean to lil’ old big-tits me? Well when the first balloon has popped with a bang the rest don’t seem as intimidating. Women need better representation whatever we bring to the table and somewhere in the distance I can hear your vibrations. People are listening. So, Emma et al, you’ve put a crack in the glass ceiling of societal norms for ALL women and for that I salute you. Keep banging your drum and eventually we’ll all get a dance. 

Ronnie Corbett, eat you heart out.




Danielle (Emma’s BFF IDST)

Five Minutes on Feminism + Fashion


Feminism in fashion is "having a moment" as they say and high street store Peacocks have sasheyed in with their fab The Future Is Female t-shirt, which you may have seen gracing the body of celebrities and bloggers aplenty. It's a beaut tshirt - Lovely soft cotton, great fit and most importantly, a message we can all get behind.

www.terribletumbles.co.uk
The Future Is Female Tee* - Peacocks
Faux Suede Skirt - Navabi
Sandals - Topshop
Bag - H&M (Similar
Okay, I accept that there are extremely problematic areas around feminism in fashion - Until marginalised women are appropriately represented in advertising, until ranges are inclusive of ALL sizes, until working conditions for the women who make these clothes improve, until fashion is accessible to all; Fashion by its very nature is a feminist issue. 

Some brands recognise that they have a corporate-social responsibility to put their money where their mouth is. For example, my faves Navabi have partnered up with Smart Works, supporting women into work in the UK. I'd love to see much more of this, and as someone who personally works for a company with an incredibly strong commitment to their social responsibility, I can confirm that this working culture has an incredibly positive effect on staff and stakeholders alike. 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk

My question is, why is feminism in fashion OK when it's only available to people with a big bank balanceWhen Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney showcase feminism, we see it as art, as politics, as a war cry (This is in no way a criticism - These women are incredible and what they give back is phenomenal). Yet when the high street does it, we see it as somehow crude or gauche. For those of us not rolling in cash, this is an affordable way of showing your colours, of spreading the word. Why shouldn't feminism - a movement which should benefit us all (including men, not that I care), be accessible? 

www.terribletumbles.co.uk

I feel that this is likely going to be an unpopular decision but I think that feminism and high street fashion CAN work. In a time of great social change, where misogyny seems more visible than ever before, intersectional feminism is essential in preventing the fight for equality being thrown back in time a hundred years or more. The important thing is that you don't just wear the t-shirt, you believe in it and you live it; Support marginalised women, be loud, call out the bullshit. Disrupt the default.
Em x 

I'm extremely open to comment on this post as you don't get anywhere in life by talking and not listening. I'd like to also say that I will always recommend supporting your local small feminist business by spending your cash with them where you can - I will start to share below but if there are any you would like to share - Please let me know and I will update the post with these. 

Penfight - A little zine & DIY art distro based in Manchester, UK. Distributing new, affordable, self-published creative work – Prioritising women, non-binary, working class, LGBTQ+ or disabled people.