Category Archives: Guest Writers

Guest Post: Sausage Party: A Wiener of a Movie

untitledI’m delighted to resume my She’s All That series with this from my very own sister-in-law. Not only is she the sister I always wanted, Madeleine is one of the most interesting, go-getting people I know, currently making her own film as part of her Masters (and it’s not her first, either) and co-founder of production company, 2213 Productions.

She also gives great advice, sends the best cards and loves pretty much the same things as me, which makes her one of my favourite ever people too. This is one busy lady so watch this space and name, I’m sure you’ll be seeing it in lights some time soon! ❤

I recently saw War Dogs. Not entirely unexpectedly it didn’t live up to its trailer – a ‘hilarious’ true-life story of how two stoners won a $300 million arms deal from the Pentagon. Directed by Todd Phillips of The Hangover Trilogy I was a little trepidatious going in given that I’m not really a fan of Philips’ aforementioned work #sorrynotsorry but I was entirely prepared to be won over (as I was with Adam McKay‘s transition from the entertaining Anchorman to the excellent The Big Short).

Sadly, War Dogs is an uneasy watch, never really deciding if it wants to be a comedy or a drama, and unfortunately failing by being neither. Despite Miles Teller being spectacular in the equally spectacular Whiplash, in War Dogs, Teller is super weak as the ‘everyday Jew Joe’ who innocently falls into a multi-million dollar lifestyle on the fringe of legality.

Nonetheless, I came away from the cinema truly impressed with the performance given by Jonah Hill who, throughout the film behaves like an utter cunt, but is somehow still the best part of a movie which was thankfully ‘only’ 114 minutes long, even though I’ll confess, it felt much longer.

I’ve always been part of the Jonah Hill Appreciation Fan Club. I have a thing for schlubby actors with Jew-fros; they just look like they  they know how to have a good time (which works for me as I haven’t worked out since June and as I write this it’s 3pm and I’m still in my pyjamas). So, after watching War Dogs I spent the majority of the rest of the bank holiday in a Jonah Hill Fest state of bliss, consuming The Wolf of Wall Street where Hill is absolutely mesmerising as Danny Azoff; Superbad – which is the stuff that comedies should be made of. And I watched Moneyball for the first time and was blown away because it’s excellent; and I was so surprised and a little bit ashamed I’d never watched it before.

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I’m so glad Hill was Oscar nominated for his part, even if he did lose to Christian Bale in The Fighter (I haven’t seen The Fighter but my husband says Bale deserved it so I’ll concede as apparently it’s 1954 in our household). We wrapped up our weekend with 21 Jump Street which still makes me literally lol even though I’ve seen it more times than I’ll admit to (Hill and Tatum, c’mon), and Hail, Caesar! – and then we found this Reebok advert which made me love him even more.

And then last week I finally watched Sausage Party. I had fairly average hopes from a trailer that looked kinda predictably silly but entertaining enough; I’d  hoped it would be better than This Is the End too, given that Kristen Wiig was in it and she can always make me smile. So I watched; and sadly I just didn’t get it.

I sound like my mother (not that I’d ever want my mother to watch this film) but it was bad. It was lazy; there’s too much swearing; and it’s just…weird. There’s a literal food orgy that I just didn’t get as it was way too odd and sexual – were people meant to go home and jack off to hotdog buns and horny tacos?! I’d also read the props it’d got because it pokes fun at religion, but it’s so sloppy and in-your-face it felts super-smug and I’m bemused it’s been credited for being gag-filled as it was more gag-inducing (I’m thinking of the male anal douching).

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But my biggest issue around Sausage Party though was its treatment of women. They’re objectified and the female food characters are overtly sexualised in a way that the dude characters aren’t – even though the lead sausage Frank is as phallic as they come. Unlike This is the End where women are few and far between (but at least Rihanna whacks Michael Cera when she smacks her ass just because it’s there), Sausage Party feels like it’s unconsciously making a constant nasty joke against women. From the start, the objective of Frank the sausage, is to fill Brenda the bun. I know I knew this going into the movie so I guess I don’t know what I was expecting, but there are so many jokes about filling Brenda’s hole, and ripping her in two, that is becomes really unnecessarily graphic. Also, the fact that her mouth is literally like a vagina whereas all the men’s faces are cartoonish and look like, well, faces – Brenda is a glorified hole with eyes (don’t believe me – check out the merch).

Also, Brenda aside, the real-life women in the movie are all animated to be tits, widespread legs and ass. Told from the POV of the food on the shelves, the camera angles are always upward crotch-shots and under-boob, and as a woman, I felt uncomfortable watching. I don’t know if it was meant to be controversial, like, how you can get away with vulgar material because it’s animation – but it left me feeling uneasy, not least because I was sat in a cinema with a vast majority howling with laughter, and all I could think is ‘Why are you okay with this?!’.

As a woman I think it’s dangerous when female characters are objectified and treated as sex-objects within movies. In Sausage Party women are sluts, whores, bitches. And it’s not just what the men call them, it’s what they call each other. There are literally no nice scenes between the female characters; the buns literally engage in a bun fight because of an upset that threatens their belief their life’s objective is to be filled with any kind of filling. Even when Teresa Taco befriends Brenda and it appears the women are going to help each other, but after a few scenes we learn that nope, Teresa just wants to fuck Brenda too. It upsets me to think that this movie will reinforce movie-goers that women are nothing more than holes waiting to be filled. That their worth is only on attractiveness; there is another scene where a deformed lady-bun is the only bun nobody wants to have sex with in the food-orgy and she is bereft – until – a deformed wiener saves the day and makes her so happy by screwing her. What the hell kind of message is that? I guess one, in a world, even an animated one with singing jars of pickles and radishes, where a woman’s only worth is by having a guy want to have sex with her. And I’m just not down with that.

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In a world where Casting Call Woe regularly posts depressing audition briefs – last month I saw one that read Attractive, yet looks like she’s sadly past her prime: Aged 28-40 – women have never treated more badly. With films like The Other Woman, a movie I watched for the most part believing it had to be satire and feeling utterly despondent when I knew it actually thought it was some sort of sparky revenge empowering film for women. It wasn’t. It upsets me most that in a media where women take up only 17% of screens (despite making up more than 50% of the population) that Sausage Party is worse than most in its portrayal of its female characters.

Because if women are going to take up so little time on the screen it’s essential that when they do – they actually have something to fucking say, instead of just being there to be fucked.

Guest Post: RuPaul, Childline and Me

14063929_1773865192893670_8813665282415473580_nI really love Hannah of Ponderous Pieces and have followed her across several blogs for a number of years (where does the time go?). I’m particularly a fan of her book reviews. We’ve not met in the flesh yet but you know when you start following someone and they’re in your news feeds every day and you end up feeling like you really know them? That.

Hannah is definitely one to follow so I hope you do. Enjoy this post and then show her some love! ❤

A photo by Milada Vigerova. unsplash.com/photos/kT0tsYZ2YE0

For nearly a year now I have been volunteering for Childline, so I thought, what better subject to write about for Christa as the first anniversary approaches of something that has changed my life.

When I initially applied I was living in Aberdeen, having moved there from Glasgow for – as always – a boy.  I found being in Aberdeen very difficult; I was a three hour train journey away from my friends and it took me ages to find even a part time job. I wasn’t adjusting very well to my support network being so far away and to having nothing to do but shuffle about a flat that was a tad “in the sticks” all day.

I am not somebody who does very well having too much time on my hands. I suffer from anxiety, so give me enough space and time and I will string myself up into a quivering mess with worry and stress. I also, as the Dr put it, have” touches of depression” so endless time to stare and churn over dark thoughts is to be avoided at all costs.

So, I was feeling miserable, lonely and without having much in the way of employment, didn’t feel like I had much to contribute – to the world. At all.

I felt under my BF’s feet and didn’t know how to adapt to my new situation. While he was taking everything in his stride and striving, I felt like I was curling up at the sides. It didn’t take long for the darkness to start creeping in at the edges, chewing  up any self-esteem I had. Hours would go by and I hadn’t moved from whichever spot my BF had left me in that morning, I hadn’t washed and I’m not convinced I always remembered to blink. I couldn’t face going outside. I’d spend all day like a housebound dog waiting for him to come home, literally sat at the window from about 4pm waiting for his car to turn into the driveway. The relief everyday when I saw that black Peugeot was heavenly.

My anxiety was getting pretty bad, not the worse its been, but getting there. I would get the shakes just thinking about having to walk the 4 minutes to the Spar. I got into this vicious circle where I believed the only good thing I could bring to the relationship was the certainty of milk in the fridge, but because I was feeling so slow and meaningless, going to the Spar became something I almost couldn’t face. All I had to do was buy a pint of milk – I couldn’t even get that right.

I needed to pull myself out of my slump, I was keeping how I felt a secret from my BF, depriving him of the chance of helping me. A stupid decision, and yes, I got out of it, but with hindsight I should have said something. I decided I needed something to fill my days, having so much empty time was giving my mind too much roaming space, too many gnarly horrible logs to look under. It needs a tighter leash. So I signed up for an OU introductory course in counselling. It was all theory based – lots of reading and researching – exactly what I needed! I found it really interesting and not only did it cement in  me that counselling was an avenue I wanted to pursue, it also helped me step back from my own thoughts and view everything I was feeling more logically.

One day when I was job hunting, a cheery, engaging and very green Childline advert popped up looking for volunteer counsellors. It was the enthusiastic, daring shove I was looking for. It promised the outlet I needed, the distraction I wanted, and the vindication I craved. The interview was the hardest I have ever endured, but I was OVER THE MOON when I got a call telling me I had been accepted.

But, things then went pretty wrong again and having accepted the place I found myself having to move back to Glasgow. Out of the blue, My BF ended our relationship and it felt like I had been hit by a train. Just as I thought my life was taking the right turn it was smashed into a million pieces. So, I was back to staring, back to thinking, crying until I was sick, back to feeling nothing and like no-one.  I resisted and resisted getting my Childline application transferred to the Glasgow office – this, for me, would be finally admitting that everything was over with my BF and I really, really didn’t want to do that. Every time the woman from the Glasgow office called me about it I had another excuse, then another. If I moved my application then I was DEFINITELY going back to Glasgow, and it was definitely, definitely all over.

During that time, I spent most of my time up in bed, I stopped working and festered with my broken heart. But I was saved by a man, no, many men, in wigs. Surrounded by decimated tissues I binge watched Ru-Paul’s Drag Race – and never have I found refuge and peace in such a bizarre place before! It’s pomp and colour, its glamour and irreverence was the exact opposite of what I was feeling – I was a stinking, blotchy, sweaty sack of shit. But it turned out to be exactly what I needed! I found the whole thing so uplifting and beautiful that it managed to shake me out of my trance. I saw life again as some daft, silly romp full of chances for fun and that I could just fucking get through it on my own. I was going to get my head up, hit that runway and sissy my walk.

Before I got to the end of season 4 I was phoning the Glasgow NSPCC office to confirm a training spot and it was honestly the best decision I’ve ever made.

Whenever I have dark pukey moments now I have something to immediately counteract them- something I did all by myself, something that scares me each week  but that I still do. I  feel appreciated – when do you really feel that way at work? – and I like that I have this lovely, giving thing in my life. Hearing a young person laughing at some goofy joke you’ve made, having been in floods of tears half an hour earlier is glorious. Or just having them go “huh! I didn’t know that, that’s cool! I feel so much better” is THE BEST thing. Since last October I can honestly say that I like the person that I am now and that I deserve good things to happen to me. I never, EVER thought I would feel that way.

I have met wonderful people that make me howl with laughter, enrich my soul and make getting up at 4.30am on a Saturday morning so very worth it. It’s nearly my one year anniversary and its the charities 30th this year – I thank the world for its existence every day – it has done as much for me as it does for young people 24 hours a day.

I have recently been offered a full time job there, obviously I bit their hand off, but I was asked: “are  you going to carry on volunteering as well?”

– for the second time in my life, the decision was blissfully easy.

Guest Post: Why I love My #Selfie

13335849_10154323988412022_7277487513200349573_nI can’t remember exactly when I stumbled across Hayley and her lovely blog A Stitch to Scratch but it feels like a good couple of years ago. I’m very glad that I did too, as Hayley has an aura about her than not a lot of people do. She’s so talented as well, knocking up some really interesting pieces, from toys to secret books and more recently, her own dresses. I’m beyond jealous of her skills.

I feel like we’re also on the same page when it comes to the big stuff, such as self-image and loving ourselves, body positivity and the power of a damn good jumpsuit! Hayley also rocks one of the most impressive lipstick collections I’ve seen (something I’ve never got to grips with) and although some of our tastes differ, I feel like we can learn from each other, which is the whole point of new friends and getting yourself out there.

So please enjoy this post by this blog’s honorary Maid of Honour and then check out her blog as it will likely inspire you to knock something up, MacGyver-style (but prettier).

The wonderful Christa invited me to guest post over here on one of my favourite ever blogs, and well, I was never going to turn that down!

I started out wanting to write a witty post about a subject near and dear to both our hearts – the sacred selfie – and it became something a bit more honest.

I’m glad of that, because I don’t tend towards streams of relatively unfiltered thoughts and feelings, and it was quite cathartic to write this little peice of my brain down for you all to share in.

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Why I love my #Selfie

A month or two ago on your average Saturday morning, The Boy and I were getting ready to go out somewhere thrilling like Sainsbury’s or Wilko’s. I’d done my hair and makeup, put on something pretty and took out my phone to snap a selfie.

Then The Boy looked over at me, rolled his eyes and said

“You’re so vain.”
“I’m not!”
“You’re always taking pictures of yourself.”
“Not because I’m vain.”
“Then why?”

– and that’s the killer question isn’t it? I’ve seen a fair few blog posts on selfies, lauding and condemning, and few tapping into the why of it all. When he asked me, I knew what the answer was, but I still had to sit and think for a second before I could answer honestly and with the right words.

I’m so pro-selfie. I think that putting yourself out there for the world to see is no small thing, and it should always be received with positivity.
Sometimes I hear that looking at other people’s pretty selfies makes someone feel worse about themselves, and that makes me so sad, especially when for me, it’s such a tool for the opposite.

It just makes me want to say: we’re all on the same side, ladies. We should celebrate each other’s talents, skills, beauty and all around fabulousness. We have to stop tearing each other down to feel better, or on the flip side, seeing someone looking great and feeling worse about ourselves in response.

I’m of the steadfast opinion that no-one can shame you down by being their special self. Someone showing off their height doesn’t make you shorter. Someone being beautiful, doesn’t make you uglier. It’s so hard to try and stop judging yourself against everyone else like a standard, I know, but it’s also unfair to expect people not to shine a light on their own awesomeness for fear of someone else feeling shitty in comparison.

I’m sure many people out there have their own reasons for taking their selfies, some very different from my own, but for me, personally, it pretty much comes down to self-consciousness.

When struggling with your self-image the last thing you want to see is yourself. You actively avoid mirrors and photographs. Taking selfies takes that fear and inverts it. It says this is me and I am beautiful. I am not afraid to photograph myself, to have that lasting image out there.
In the past decade I’ve gone from a sad teenage girl who physically averts her gaze from any reflective surface for fear of having to look at herself, to the positive woman I am now, readily – nay happily – snapping photos of myself and putting them online for everyone to see what I look like. Ten years ago that would have terrified me, because even I didn’t want to see what I looked like.

Taking regular selfies combats the insecurity that sometimes still eats away at my brain. It’s regularly reminding myself that I’m good enough. It means everyday I get more comfortable with what I look like. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in the way that I look at myself, and selfies have been a big part of helping that progress along.

For me, a good portion of taking a selfie is saying, this is what I look like, and it is good. To look myself dead on and think positive thoughts. Putting that selfie online is I am proud of the way I look. See here, world, this is me, aren’t I fabulous?

Sometimes they never go online and I keep them just for me, as a memory.

To remind me that dress did not look frumpy and sack-like.

To remember that that very bold lipstick colour looked amazing, in case I ever have any doubts.

13941089_10154502260442022_523495384_nI have this one here of the first time I ever wore (or owned) a jumpsuit. Christa inspired me to get one with the way she always rocks hers, but I was so nervous to wear it I put it off for a whole month. When I plucked up the courage to don it, I snapped this selfie, to look back and remember that it did look good, for the next time I wanted to wear it but was too scared.

Bottom line: Let’s face it – who doesn’t like to see a picture of themselves looking great?

And to end relevantly, here are a million few of my recent selfies. Just because. (Though I must admit, my Instagram feed is being clogged up with pictures of kittens, rather than my face at the moment!)

Do you #selfie? Why? Why not?

Guest Post: She Just Might Be Out of Her Mind, Well She’s Got Baggage and It’s All the Emotional Kind

13697208_10153946965846026_8482657056586518980_nThis week’s Guest Post comes from one of the most beautiful writers I know. I’m not a fan solely for the stunning prose and vivid imagery conjured up by her words, I’m also a bit of a fan girl for the frank way in which Lydia speaks. She’s also incredibly inspiring when it comes to her inner strength and I hope she knows it.

Lydia and I met ‘doing nails’ at a short-lived salon in Brighton and although that never took off, I’m very grateful for the talented and interesting folk I met there, which of course includes this lady here. If you like what you read here, which you definitely will, go check her out on her own blog, Belle of the Bluegrass.

It is often said that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. I don’t believe that’s particularly true, but what I do believe is that you can start to love yourself and become more relaxed in your body when someone else loves you. Learning to love yourself through someone else’s love of you.

We all have our insecurities and body hang ups, no one is fully content but being a plus size woman my body image comes under the scrutiny of strangers every time I step out of the house. I hear sniggers and whispers, catcalls and some incredibly confronting comments upon my appearance from people I have never met before. For some unknown reason society has deemed it almost acceptable for this behaviour to occur.

Over the past few years I have tried to take ownership and be happy in the body I have, finding inspiration and courage in the body positive communities of plus size women on social media. I have finally found women with bodies that represent me; looking amazing and doing incredible things. I’ll admit there is still a long way for us to go in changing people’s perception of us, whether that’s within the clothing industry or having TV and film recognising us as something other than just the ‘funny women’ and realising our potential as the sex symbol.

Throughout my life I have rarely sought the approval of others in anything I have done. Yet, when you label someone for long enough, even the strongest of us can start to believe it eventually. The mean words that get screamed at me in the street start to penetrate the force field I have tried to build around myself. And sometimes, if the blow is hard enough and hits just the right spot, a crack can appear. A chink in my armour. These words that I have had thrown at me over and over since the age of ten have taken their toll on my self-worth. Slipping in to my anxieties and seeping into the way I conduct myself daily, these aggressive mean-spirited narrations have altered me as a person.

It took me five months to gather the courage to meet my boyfriend, terrified that he would run away screaming on sight because I am not a conventional size. Of course he knew this before we met in person and my anxiety wasn’t allowing him the benefit of being a decent human and accepting me as me.

Until my early twenties the men I often encountered were still being governed by what their friends might think, regardless of how they actually felt. That coupled with my underlying force field traumas always left me in the role of the good friend. I stopped trying around men, I wasn’t interested in playing this weird game of snakes and ladders. I didn’t want to keep seeing them slide down snakes every time they realised my appearance, even if they liked it and liked me, wouldn’t be accepted by their peers. Living in that weird limbo just cracks the force field further and I didn’t have time for that.
But then this man entered my life unexpectedly. I wasn’t looking to be rejected by someone elses insecurities so I never even tried things like Tinder. This was just a photo sharing app I downloaded as a way to distract myself after my mother passed away. I posted a selfie, always knowing my best angles, you wouldn’t even know I was plus size, but he was still sweet and interested even after I told him.

Having my fleshy curves admired and my wobbly stomach kissed can work wonders for a girls confidence. The parts of me that I was only just coming to acknowledge are entirely accepted and honoured by this man. He is not embarrassed of me as I was myself, standing by my side and telling me that I am beautiful. I think stretch marks are bewitching; mermaid scales and secret silver streaked maps written across my body. I didn’t always feel that way, embarrassed by them when getting changed for P.E. and having other girls ask what they were. Whilst I desperately wanted to be like these confident plus size women I admired, it took seeing myself through his eyes to make me believe that it is possible. I feel less need to try and make myself smaller and apologise for my appearance. He tells me I am beautiful, unprompted, even when I am convinced I am looking my absolute worst. Feeling more at peace and less aware of the looks and whispers going on around me. I have seen my friend, who had her own body confidence issues, become more accepting of herself because of the way her boyfriend loves her.

I am not saying that my self-worth is reliant upon a man, because I don’t think anyone should be reliant upon someone else to feel worthy in this life. Sometimes though, it takes standing back and viewing something from a different angle to really allow you to appreciate the beauty. And with every kiss and sleep laced declaration of love, the insecurities I have had over the years become smaller, beginning to fade away. My nonconformist body is loved by this man and now, in turn, by me.

L

Guest Post: Depression Is Fun and Other Lessons from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

13062132_3526507848147_794513142260302658_nAh Jillian. My beloved work wife and bad movie partner in crime, let me count the ways. We’ve been collaborating on our film reviews for nearly two years now, talk regularly about our mutual anxieties in all aspects of life and were lucky enough to meet in the flesh this May, which was epic.

I can’t remember my life without Jill in it and honestly, this has been the best thing about blogging for me, making real friends within the blogging community. You can keep your endorsements, your free swag, your one million comments, likes and shares – none of that is as important as genuine connection. And my wife is as genuine as they come.

So enjoy Jill’s post. You can find her on her brilliant blog The Pink Panther Snipes Again where she blogs regularly about B-movies, books, life and Bertha Mason, Warrior Queen of all the Cats.

Christa asked me to participate in her blog series focusing on inspiration and empowerment amidst all of the shit that has been this year.  I was both honored and terrified to contribute because (a) I don’t radiate positivity on my best day and (b) I’d been feeling the lowest I have in a long time (which realistically is probably a month) for nearly a solid week and I had trouble even getting through the weekend.

It’s well established that I can’t talk about anything topical without losing my shit.  (The first draft I put together reached a level of angst I haven’t achieved since my teenage journaling days.)  Other years have been a challenge too, but this year feels especially like a sucker punch to the gut.  I’m really tired of hearing about how the world is heading to hell in a handbasket when you know, the same thing was said about women riding a fucking bicycle.  (Thanks, Kate Beaton.)

That being said, I’ve still been staying up late to follow the Republican National Convention, which only succeeds in aggravating me right before bedtime.  I KNOW it’s bad for me, and I follow politics way more than I intend to because I care about social justice.  I honestly don’t know how you can be a librarian if you don’t since it’s essentially about helping people find information and learn things for themselves with no financial incentive whatsoever.

But so I don’t lose my goddamn mind (further), let’s talk about a familiar topic that is a mere stone’s throw away from the bad movie blog:  TV.  My latest binge-watch is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is a relatively short binge as it’s only 18 episodes so far.  Despite what you might conclude from the show’s title and truly terrible promos, it’s an incredibly funny, subversive, musical dark comedy.

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The show follows Rebecca Bunch, a career-driven New York lawyer about to get everything she’s always wanted and become partner at her law firm.  Or so she believes.  She receives a wake-up call in the form of a butter commercial and a chance meeting with Josh, her ex-boyfriend from summer camp 10 years prior.  Realizing she’s miserably unhappy, Rebecca impulsively moves to Josh’s hometown, West Covina (an LA suburb).

Stay with me because I KNOW the premise sounds cringe worthy, cliché, and anti-feminist.  But like so many current TV shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes a familiar premise and twists it into a self-aware, satirical social commentary.  And refreshingly, Rebecca carries a great deal of emotional baggage without being dismissed as crazy (except, you know, in the show’s name).

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that I love so much about this show, but the characterizations of its main and supporting characters are certainly a huge part of it.  Honestly, Rebecca is the character I’ve related to most since Liz Lemon (well, also sarcastic supporting character Heather).  Don’t get me wrong—I’m not sure either of these characters are great to emulate, but they feel real to me in a way that so many female characters don’t.

Rebecca is one of the few characters I can think of who has anxiety and depression that isn’t used solely for comedic effect.  We see her processing her problems logically but ultimately choosing the most self-destructive path possible.  She worries about not really having any friends, being a bad feminist, and not being able to convince everyone that she’s doing fine.  Among other things, there are songs about Rebecca’s depression, self-loathing, and being a good person (or not)–all of which get stuck in my head for days.  Whenever I’m watching, I constantly swing between laughter and the terrible suspicion that someone has stolen my memories and made them into a TV show.

It’s nice to see a character trying and often failing to stop lying to herself and allow herself to feel what she feels.  Sometimes the only thing you’ll be able to do is sit on the couch all day and fail to motivate yourself to go outside.  Not that I speak from experience…

Which is, of course, a blatant lie.  My experiences with depression are a major part of this show’s appeal to me.  Reading was my escape for a really long time, and I fell apart a little when it stopped working for me.  There are still days when I pick up a book that I’m desperate to finish only to put it down a few paragraphs later when all I can think about is how badly I fucked up that one conversation from weeks ago or why I haven’t done more with my life.

I  wish reading were still my escape because it was for years and years, but I’m working on giving myself a break for my needs and interests changing and simply giving myself time and space to be nice to myself.  True, reading is a more intellectual pursuit than watching TV or terrible shark movies, but sometimes my brain just needs a fucking break.

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This is also a reason I fail to understand the drive for constant self-improvement.  I appreciate that goals help push people to achieve their dreams and look back in satisfaction on their accomplishments, but sometimes a goal feels like the opportunity to break another promise to myself and to fail (again).  There are days when I just need to survive.  As TV is currently proving, it can be something really stupid that gets you through it.  And when I say “through it,” I mean temporarily because there’s nothing that will ever drive the bad thoughts away entirely.  And I’d be an intolerably peppy person if I never had any dark thoughts whatsoever.

I don’t like to give advice because it’s a really bad idea to follow in my footsteps, but these are the things I try to remind myself.  It’s ok to not feel strong, but you are, especially when you know you need help and support.  It’s ok to reach out to people and tell them you’re feeling shitty.  It’s also ok to have your own personal feeling space where no one is allowed to enter.  It’s ok to be fucking sad.  It’s so ok to do nothing except breathe and remind yourself to keep on breathing.  And journal, you guys.  I can’t say enough for journaling.

Of course I want to feel happy and I want you to be happy, but I think it’s more important to find the strength to accept what you feel.  Even when you’d prefer to gloss over it or repress the shit out of it (I’ve been there so hard).

This self-care reminder is something I look at A LOT and probably one of the best things to come out of Tumblr:

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Finally, NEVER get rid of your old iTunes playlists because Eva Cassidy, Missy Higgins, and Brandi Carlile got me through last week.

On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sad songs, “Penny to My Name” by Eva Cassidy. ❤

All images via Unsplash

Guest Post: I Want to be Just Like Her

13256249_10153557579543456_2036357381745081756_nWhenever I have a shitty day at work, I only have to look to the left of me to be reminded that things aren’t all bad. That’s because my angel, Tatty is there and that makes me luckier that anyone on this planet. (This post is one big mutual love-fest so if you’re looking for something other than that, normal service will resume on Monday).

Tatty, of lovely blog Camelia Ophelia, is one of the most driven women I’ve ever met. This girl is ridiculously gorgeous, as you can see, but she’s more beautiful on the inside. She’s razor sharp, super creative and has an eye for detail like nobody I know, in fashion, at work, everywhere. I’m a braver, cooler person for having Tatty in my life and I’ll always be grateful for that.

I think there’s a Twitter rule about re-tweeting compliments, well I’m breaking that for this post, which is the loveliest thing I’ve ever read and I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have a friend like this. Check out Tatty’s blog for yourself straight afterward, and thank me later. (Love you girl) ❤

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I feel honoured to have been asked to feature as a guest post for my most favourite blogger out there. You may, or may not, know that Christa and I get to spend 5 days a week together at work so she’s one of the closest people to me. She’s seen me go through my ups and downs over the last few years and is there supporting me all day long.

When I first started to have a think about what I could write I had a bit of writer’s block. I totally love the theme based around positivity, body image and empowerment but I didn’t find much standing out to me.

As a woman, I have a lot of feelings and emotions flowing through me every day, so I thought I would talk about how I handle myself when I was feeling down or in a certain uncomfortable state of mind. But if I’m truly honest, I have no idea and I can find myself quite lost a lot of the time. I don’t think I handle my emotions in a way good enough to give advice on. I tend to bottle things and then explode, I get really moody or I lash out on the people closest to me. So overall, I’m in real need of working on that.

Anyway… I of course am inspired by people including my Mum, my friends and people I follow on social media. But again, not enough to tell you all about and not enough to write about in detail that I feel you would be interest in.

And then it came to me…

Mrs Bass. The most inspiring women I know. Christa inspires me alone by just asking fellow bloggers to write about something that could be so meaningful. It’s not rare that Christa will write a post about how she’s feeling that I couldn’t have related to more.

Due to my writers block I am concerned that I won’t tell you everything I love and appreciate about Christa in a few paragraphs so I have put together a list. This, I hope, doesn’t take away any sentiment of what I’m trying to say.

  1. Work. Christa is like my right arm. No joke. I have told her this a couple of times recently as it’s become more obvious over the last few months than ever. Work can be tuff sometimes, as it is for everyone, but we all need someone we can rely on. There’s no one I rely on more than her and no one I would trust to rely on more. I dread a day when she’s not by my side. Her work ethic is an ideal match to mine. She gets things done without a fuss and will always support anything I need.
  2. Friendship. In everything that Christa does she puts her care and love into it, but from what I see she does this best with her friendships. I feel a lot of love and care from people around me but as a friend, I have never felt as loved than I do by Christa. From surprising me with a work day treat like, Grazia or a crème egg, to having my back when I’m not happy with something or someone (to put it plainly – when I’m ‘bitching’). Each and every day she surprises me with her support for me and everything I do. I’ve spent a couple of Birthday’s now with her and the level of detail she goes to when gift buying is second to none. Because she listens to me when I blabber on, she knows everything that I like and dislike to a T and that is more touching than you can appreciate until the time. When you gaze upon a pile of things that you may as well have ordered yourself is a true sign of love from a friend (I think). Always getting a high volume of likes on her pictures and comments on her status’ shows there are people all over the world that love and cherish her as much as I do (I know we’re not meant to measure things by social media but in this case it’s acceptable). You couldn’t ask for a better friend and couldn’t find one either.
  3. Feminism. Now, I have my own views as we all do but before meeting Christa I didn’t quite understand how I felt about the world we live in as a woman. I hadn’t really thought about it. Christa upholds the most positive and strong (but not pushy) views on feminism. Christa doesn’t ask you to think like her or bombard you with her opinions. I don’t even think she knows how much she’s taught me as it’s just her way of being that I have learnt from. She has taught me how to respect myself more as a women and the women around me. It’s been one of my biggest changes over the last few years as women in regards to how I now react and respond to situations, so therefore extremely valuable to me. As I said, I really don’t think she realises what she has taught me and will I’m sure to continue to teach me about myself.
  4. Love. Christa’s approach to her relationship. It may sound silly but we all have an idea of how we wish to best interact with our partners. How we’d like them to respond to us and our thoughts, how we’d like to feel with our other half. From early small conversations about Christa and Glynn I knew I was on to something to learn from. Christa will recall how Glynn may appreciate another lady’s ‘behind’ and she couldn’t care less because she knows she’s the most beautiful to him. As a young woman this is so enviable. It takes every bone in my body to not feel a twang of jealousy over my boyfriend looking at another girl. The confidence Christa has within her relationship is admirable, especially in my generation. People now are always looking for the next best thing but they know there’s nothing better out there for either of them than each other (that’s a presumption but I’m pretty sure that’s the case!). Saying that, that could just be true love which we all search for and hopefully, one day find.

I could go on but I think I can summarise it pretty well now. When you think of the kind of women you want to be like when you grow up, I think of Christa. I want to be just like her. She is beautiful, caring, conscious of other people, extremely loving and the most supportive friend I have. I probably don’t appreciate her enough but I know I will always cherish our friendship.

Writing this has almost felt empowering in itself. Woaw. I feel so grateful at these times that I am able to surround myself with people that I may not have come across in my usual friendship groups. I’m so glad that I don’t shut down the idea of being close to people because they don’t have the exact same interest as me or they don’t do the same things that I do. That would be the most boring life. A life I wouldn’t learn from and wouldn’t help me grow.

I’m sorry if I went a bit deep or a bit of course but when I think of positivity and empowerment, I think of my favourite lady, Christa Bass. ❤

Guest Post: It’s Okay to be Broken or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Flaws

UntitledFirst in my new She’s All That series is one of my dreamiest real-life friends. In fact, it would be true to say that Ms Lightle was my first real friend in Canada and one does not quickly forget that. United by our mutual love movies, amongst other things, Meghan and I used to work together then go and see as many films as we could get away with in one sitting. One Summer that’s all we did because we do what we want (and fuck the outdoors, apparently).

Meghan is a constant inspiration what with her strong writing, sharp mind and unlimited bravery. I want to be more like her when I grow up. For more from Meghan, go visit The Lightle Side of Life (for all sorts of life gems) and That’s Lightletainment! (for more entertainment based subject matter) and for now, enjoy this post. ❤

There’s something alluring about a mess, isn’t there? I mean, it’s overwhelming and sometimes you wish it would just go away, but isn’t there also some part of you that believes if you have enough time and the right tools, you’ll be able to square it all away and won’t that just be an amazing accomplishment? This is a metaphor for my life. I’m a mess. My house is a mess. My love life, such as it is, is a mess. I thought by the time I hit 30 I’d have it all sorted and be living in a clean and spacious apartment and hosting dinner parties on the weekends and curling up with my lover and our puppy at night.

So.. not quite.

But maybe that’s okay. And you know how I know? Because I’m not the only one still sorting herself out. And I know this because every once in a while someone creates a character, a grown woman, who doesn’t completely have her shit together and honestly if it’s good enough for them, what am I complaining about?

I’m speaking, of course, about the female anti-heroes.

Of course there’s already been a lot of inked spilled about your Cersei Lannisters, your Lisbeth Salanders (although I believe she’s pure hero) and your various Catwomen, but since I skew more comedy as a rule, I’ve decided to explore the female anti-hero through a different lens. One that makes me laugh.

bad-teacher-14In the beginning, there is the protagonist of Bad Teacher, Elizabeth Halsey, played with delightfully evil glee by Cameron Diaz. From the second she pulls the croutons out of her friend’s salad, uninvited, I was like YASS QUEEN this is my kind of woman. She picks the lettuce off her burgers and eats corn dogs for dinner. She smokes weed and drinks constantly. She couldn’t remember her fiance’s birthday. She’s selfish, cruel, manipulative, and conniving. Her only goal in life is to get a rich husband. To land one, she needs breast implants which she plans to pay for by stealing and cheating her way to the top. Does this sound like the kind of person you want to have over for Christmas dinner? No, of course not, but that doesn’t stop one of her student’s mothers from doing that exact same thing, which only leads to her making fun of said student’s sweatshirt. A gem, if ever there was one. Honestly, this movie made me a life-long fan of Ms. Diaz. I found her so enjoyable to watch and root for, I didn’t even care what a terrible person she was. That’s the kind of female anti-hero I’m after.

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Still somewhat in the vicinity of “evil doer” we have Mavis Gary, played by Charlize Theron in Young Adult. Mavis eats about as well as Elizabeth and I have to admit I felt a kinship with her when in her first scene she’s seen drinking Diet Coke straight out of the bottle while standing in the fridge. Take out the diet part and that’s me.

Mavis’ plan is even more simple. She’s going to save her high school boyfriend from his wife and new baby by blowing back into town and seducing him away with all the trappings of her (somewhat exaggerated) success. She is missing deadlines at her job and pulling out her own hair but all she needs is another chance with the one that got away. Instead she spends a few days getting to know the biggest loser from her high school. She teases him, drinks his limited edition “Star Wars” whiskey, and uses him to validate herself, all while being blissfully unaware of how her actions might be affecting people. I love this film because even in the end, nothing has convinced Mavis she’s doing anything wrong. She just packs up and goes home. Just like in life.

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Moving on to something even more depressing, we have Maggie Dean, one of the titular Skeleton Twins, played by Kristin Wiig. Wiig has a couple good anti-heros under her belt, if you include Bridesmaids (I do) but I especially want to talk about The Skeleton Twins because of how infidelity is portrayed in the film. Maggie has been cheating on her husband for a while when we meet her. She’s feeling lost and angry and instead of, idk, talking about her feelings, she’s pushing him away. It would have been really easy to make her husband an asshole (looking at you, This is Where I Leave You) so we would immediately sympathize with her actions, but no, Lance (Luke Wilson) is the sweetest, most laid-back, accommodating, and noblest husband that’s ever been cheated on. There’s no question that Maggie has some fucked up views on love and marriage left over from a traumatizing childhood and fraught relationship with her mother and brother. I really understood Maggie and I loved seeing the representation of an extremely broken woman up on screen.

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Bridesmaids was great for a myriad of reasons, the least of which was introducing the world to the comedy of the great Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy is a comic genius, an amazing actor and performer, and a plus size, big boned, voluptuous, fat woman. I adore her. As far as I am concerned, she has never made a bad movie. Her characters are fully realized, distinct, and compelling. Naturally I feel that Spy is her best work to date, but if we’re talking anti-heros, there ain’t no one greater than Shannon Mullins from The Heat.

Mullins should have lost her badge YEARS ago. She is unprofessional, rude, insubordinate, and terrorizes both her fellow officers and the suspects she brings in for questioning. However, she’s also a damn good cop and just as her male counterparts have known for years, you can get away with anything if you have the skills to back it up. She eats the same cheese sandwich for three days and has turned her fridge into an armoury. Her family is mad at her for doing her job but she won’t admit how much that hurts her. She is prideful and stubborn. She has no time for a serious relationship and has to constantly turn down former lovers who desperately want to be with her. She’s fiercely independent, a true lone wolf, and until she met FBI Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) she hadn’t a friend in the world. Not much changes by the end of the movie.

So if you’re a little crazy and jealous or boisterous and difficult, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Representation matters and there’s no shortage of flawed yet sympathetic women out there to relate to.