10 Things I Will (Not) Regret In Ten Years Time.

I made the mistake of going on Facebook today – apparently some woman is having her second child, it’s the talk of erm… Britain. (Maybe she’s important somehow, like maybe she was working on the cure for a disease or something? I mean, the media is kind of going crazy, so she must be soooooo important!)

Anyway, among the drivel about a peanut-sized fetus, there was this gem about how I am totally going to regret these ten “choices” in ten years.  I mean, that’s vastly important information so I thought I’d better read it, before I get that tattoo of my driving license on my arm.

Apparently, it's been done... Photo courtesy of Dave (the tv channel).
Apparently, it’s been done…
Photo courtesy of Dave (the tv channel).

Except, as I read through these ten things, I found I was kind of underwhelmed. I was expecting (stupidly) an insightful list of things I totally think are a good idea now, that I will regret later. That’s what the title led me to believe. What I got was disappointing common sense, things that aren’t even choices, and a few things that are not so black and white as the article suggests.

1. Wearing a mask to impress others.

Okay, so obviously this refers to pretending to be someone you’re not, and not to literally wearing a mask all the time (unless you’re trying to impress members of the KKK or people who really love gimp suits, obviously). In which case the article is totally right – if you pretend to be something you’re not all the time to impress other people, you’re going to feel shitty. Firstly with exhaustion, and secondly with the realization that no one really knows and respects the real you, which is pretty lonely.

On the other hand, there are times when you should probably put your best face forward, and that might involve a little mask wearing. I doubt anyone has ever regretted showering and acting polite when they felt shit on the inside during a job interview, if you catch my drift.

2. Letting someone else create your dreams for you.

Every sci-fi in history says this is totally a bad idea – not least because people in your head will attack the person fucking your dreams up.

This bitch is going down!
This bitch is going down!

But seriously, living your own life is just common sense. Nothing to see here folks!

3. Keeping negative company

Okay, everyone likes nice people. You should hang out with nice people, people who make you feel good. But this one totally contradicts with things happening later on in that it’s kind of selfish and douchy when you think about it. I mean, nice people aren’t nice all the time – people fluctuate. Don’t give up on your buddy because they were honest with you about that haircut you love but they think is hideous, or because they were a bit mardy with you that day their husband died, or because they don’t want to hang out with you when they’re in the depths of a long depression. Just like you, they have fluctuating moods and personalities and are not perfect all of the time.

4. Being selfish and egotistical

 I donate to charity whenever I can – time and money, I give everything to support causes I care about. Some people would say I have a selfless side; other people would rightly realize that I do get a bit of a kick out of doing good, so some of it is still kind of selfish; other people would say I don’t do enough because I don’t deal in absolutes. I mean, I sleep at night rather than spending all day and all night helping folks, so I’m just not giving enough. The problem with selfishness is that it’s almost entirely decided relatively – as in by comparison between you and some bugger else. So, basically, stop worrying about being “selfish” by other people’s standards and just do what you think is right.

5. Avoiding change and growth

What can I say – some change is good, some not so good. Avoid the good, go for the bad. Wait… that’s the wrong way around!

6. Giving up when the going gets tough

Over the summer I had a shit job. Most of us have been there – it looked okay, and actually it turned out to be a steaming pile of shit. But I stuck it out based on the notion that I shouldn’t just quit because it was crap and thus kinda hard to put up with.

In doing this, I ended up putting up with stuff that no person should ever have to put up with, including but not limited to: four hour daily travel, eight hours without a break, doing everything on my own, sexual harassment (that was ignored), and an unsafe working environment. My nerves now completely shot, I have quit.

Sometimes, you should preserve. Others you should run for the hills. Learn to recognize which is which to avoid regret and unnecessary bullshit.

7. Trying to micromanage every single little thing

This is explained in terrible wishy-washy bullshit in the article (which I find ironic given later advice!), but the principle remains that you can’t manage every aspect of life. Sometimes things just happen and you can only deal with the consequences of it.

8. Settling for less than you deserve

Hold on a minute… the article said don’t be selfish, and yet this involves that very thing! Sometimes in life, this totally applies – if you work a certain number of hours, you deserve a certain amount of pay, for example. If you pass all of your assessments for a qualification, you deserve to be awarded that qualification. If, however, you are nice to a chick that’s a friend, and she doesn’t shag you, you can’t exactly claim you were swindled – no one said you “deserved” that as a reward. So, bear that sort of thing in mind.

9. Endlessly waiting until tomorrow

We’re all going to die! HOLY SHIT WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! And we haven’t got a clue when, it’s true. So while that does mean trying to get the most out of your life, what it doesn’t mean is not making any future plans simply because you can’t be totally sure you’re going to be alive by then. Future plans are still awesome, and some tasks take longer than a day to complete.

[Insert obligatory picture of Rome here]
[Insert obligatory picture of Rome here]

10. Being lazy and wishy-washy

Have you ever spent the day sat in front of the TV? Of course you have, you lazy bastard. There was so much more you could have done that day – maybe you were even thinking that as you watched Jamie and Adam blow the shit out of stuff on Mythbusters. So why didn’t you do it? Are you lazy and unreliable? Are you afraid of taking responsibility for shit?

Or, just maybe, you really needed a fucking rest. Just because you aren’t leaping from buildings or running a marathon every day doesn’t mean you aren’t doing something quite important. Just like sleep, taking a regular break to be lazy is very important. Think of RSI, but for your whole body and brain. Yeah, you can go back to watching Mythbusters in your pants now – do it for the welfare of you, man!

You got to the end!

In which case, you deserve a reward. Like my number one tip for not regretting anything ever? Don’t choose to regret stuff. You aren’t perfect, and shit happens. That, like you, is perfectly okay bro.

10 Things I Will (Not) Regret In Ten Years Time.

Why I effing love to swear!

You might have noticed reading some of my posts, that I swear an awful lot. If you’re thinking “it’s not that bad”, just remember that I’ve probably edited quite a lot of it out of my posts where I’ve noticed it. While I don’t swear as much as some people, I still swear multiple times daily. I don’t recall a day since primary school (yep, really) in which I haven’t sworn at least once.

I’m not swearing from a rebellious place – the man isn’t very fuckable – and I don’t consider myself to have an addiction. I’m not swearing because I’m always angry or miserable either. I swear an awful lot when I’m excited or happy or relieved.

TSM made the LCS finals!
TSM made the LCS finals!

The truth is, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. In fact, I enjoy swearing. Swearing is fun. Swearing is the ultimate expression of feelings and shit, you know? “I love you” pails into insignificance compared to “I fucking love you”, and there’s nothing as amusing as a middle finger between friends. It’s brutally honest, deeply shitting emotional. I just can’t help that think someone who swears when they talk about something is greatly invested in the thing they’re talking about. They aren’t just there because of a paycheck or some shit.

Non-swearers must be baaarmy.
Non-swearers must be baaarmy.

Swearing is also pretty liberating. People are always telling us not to do it. As a woman, I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been told it’s so ‘unattractive’ when a ‘lady’ swears. If anything, it’s more encouraging than discouraging! It’s honesty and expression are liberating, as things we also don’t get to do a great deal either. Swearing is a rejection of the “done thing”. I like that about it.

Plus, swearing might actually be good for you. New research seems to suggest that swearing consistently reduces self-reported pain and your heart-rate, and helps you endure it for longer when going through something considered painful. Although, I must confess, the effect is somewhat greater for infrequent swearers than for Brian Blessed soundalikes like myself. But the fact it exists is good enough for me.

Needless to say, swearing is fucking awesome. Do that shit… just in moderation.

Why I effing love to swear!

Lame anti-bullying “advice”, that we somehow still use

TW: This advice is inaccurate and horrible, and might bring back some nasty memories for anyone who has experienced the horrors of bullying. 

You might have heard the story of the school in Nebraska that sent it’s students home with the following advice on bullying:

"advice"

Wow, well done folks. Keep going and you might be shortlisted for the ‘Jerk of the Year’ awards along with US Airlines.

Obviously, this was a mistake. That’s certainly what they’ve told everyone, anyway, and they have since apologized and issued new advice. But let’s face it, anyone who’s been bullied will have heard this lame-ass advice anyway. Despite knowing full well that literally none of the “rules” on that list actually stops bullying, we just carry on with the general ‘sticks and stones’ mantra. WTF, universe?!

bullied-doge

 

This is something that seriously upsets me. Not only was I bullied, but repeatedly I was subjected to this pathetic pseudo-helpful “advice”. In fact once, when I was 13 and pre-self-harm, I went to tell my teacher – my personal tutor, in fact – about being bullied in school for my sexuality (everyone suspected I was gay, that’s a story for another day). He gave me similar advice about not letting them get to me, ignoring them and such. A couple of days later at my parents evening he even had the cheek to tell my father I was “unbulliable”, such was the fuck that man specifically put in charge of my care did not give.

The main problem with this advice is that it represents just that – it reeks of ‘put up and shut up kid, because it’s not our responsibility, and damn it you probably deserve it‘. It’s not dramatic of me to say so – it’s all summed up explicitly in the last three so-called “rules”:

Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?

Rule #8: Don’t be a sore loser.

Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: “If you think I’m ugly, you should see my sister!”

Loving number 9 – bully your sister, kids, on the off-chance that by ruining the reputation of your sibling and destroying your relationship, you might, just might, stop being bullied. Lovely.

Seriously though, this advice assumes automatically that you have done something to offend the bully, so you totally deserve to be bullied. Maybe you “tattled”, or it’s your sense of humour. Maybe it’s the way you dress, or talk, or walk. Maybe it’s your family. Maybe it’s your gender, or your sexuality. Hey, whatever, kid. You must suffer the consequences of being different. Including, but not limited to, the intense and wide-ranging physical and psychological effects of being bullied.  It just isn’t our concern.

It’s so easy to pass the buck if you pin all the blame on the kids being bullied…

Except we all know the responsibility for bullying lies with the perpetrator, not the victim. Blaming the victims is only going to reinforce this as a viable option in response to whatever shit the bully is going through. Is this really the only plan we’ve got in dealing with bullying – messing up a whole bunch of kids lives because we can’t be bothered to get our hands fucking dirty? It seems so obvious to me that we should try to help the damn people involved, including the bullies.

Before you weep for humanity though, guys, there are two things you have to remember. The first is that there’s people like this guy in the world. The second, is that you can still change these things. Get involved campaigning against bullying, teach your kids or your friend’s kids or whoever about it. Call people up on the stupid advice they’re giving if you overhear this rubbish. Do things.

Don’t let bullying win.

 

 

Lame anti-bullying “advice”, that we somehow still use

On childhood romances

I happened to notice the daily prompt today, on what attracted people to their significant other. It got me thinking – not about what attracted me to Joe so much (because I don’t have a billion years to talk about how awesome that guy is!), but actually about something I was discussing with my siblings the other day.

We were talking about childhood romances (well, more teenage for me), specifically about how those shape who we end up being, romantically, and why we entered into them. It was an interesting debate, especially since I am renowned for just having the worst relationships in adolescence. Yet, in a messed up way, I wouldn’t undo a single one of those.

But I digress!

My first relationship – at least the first that I remember – was when I was 13, with a guy called John. We’d been friends for a while, and eventually he asked me out. At first my reaction was oh hell no, boys are SO icky! 

Eventually though, I took him up on the offer – because even though I wasn’t really into him that way, I was certain I probably would be, if I gave it a go. I felt pressured into having a boyfriend, in part by my friends, and mostly by the homophobic bullying I’d been receiving. What better way to prove to everyone, even myself, that I was actually heterosexual? (Which you want to be when you’re 13 and being bullied. Trust me!)

Months went past, and the bullying didn’t stop. Neither did my feelings towards my same-sex friend, who I’d developed the hugest crush on. But I did care about John, I did have a soft spot for him. He was my defense against the bullying, for starters; I could tell myself they were wrong while ever I was with him. Plus it was nice to have someone around, for a bit of a cuddle and a chat when things were rough – which was every single day at school. He was a bit of an arse, in retrospect, and he wasn’t ‘me’ at all, but he was at least around when I needed him.

Except that time he cheated on me and we broke up. Then he was on their side, telling the whole school I was totally a lesbian. Thanks, John.

After a while, ‘Ben’ came to fill the friend-shaped hole left by John. We weren’t a couple, we were just good friends – he was there for me at the onset of all my mental health problems, and he did make an effort to understand. That didn’t really work out either, as I’m sure you read in the last post! But at least when he asked me to marry him, I knew two very distinct things: he wasn’t my type, and I wasn’t into marriage. That’s valuable information right there.

I had another boyfriend – we got together just as ‘Ben’ and I had our bust-up – and he was a total jerk. He physically pushed me to get his own way (often into things, which hurt like hell), and put enormous emotional pressure on me. He didn’t last long. I built up the courage and ended it as soon as possible – which taught me that I can be courageous and strong when I want to be, and that I’m not the kind of person to put up with other people’s shit. It also taught me that just about anyone can end up in a bad relationship. Guys like him seem wonderful, but under the surface they are actually abusive. I think that made me a bit more compassionate and understanding with other people.

So then I finally plucked up the courage, and dated the girl I’d liked forever. It was actually pretty amazing! I was completely infatuated, at the time; perhaps we weren’t so infatuated with each other as we were with knowing and accepting who we were. While in the end we were too incompatible to make it, I learnt yet another valuable lesson from the experience. I liked girls, and there was nothing wrong with that.

After *quite* a long time, I met Joe and loved him instantly, and we’ve been together since then. He’s so cool. He’s changed me too – in lots of little awesome ways!

But the point is, I took away some important messages from these life experiences – about who I find romantically attractive, and who I don’t; about what I want out of life, and what I don’t; about who I am and what I’m capable of. The people I dated sucked at the time (can’t really blame some of them, they were young and stupid), but they taught me some valuable stuff about me, and shaped the kind of person I am today to an extent. For that you kind of have to thank them.

On childhood romances

I’m totally not a feminist – except when I am entirely a feminist.

There was this lone tree in the middle of a small patch of grass at school that us ‘freaks’ claimed for ourselves (until the school chopped it down, presumably because we were having too much fun), and this was where we would have lunch every day, provided it wasn’t sopping wet or covered in snow. I distinctly recall one lunch break at school at the tree, sat munching my sandwiches happily, when the subject of feminism came up.

“I think feminism is stupid,” one of my friends began. “It’s full of man-hating women that just want to be superior to men. I want to be equal to men; I don’t hate men at all.”

We all nod. “It should be called equalitism or something,” someone adds, having yet to be introduced to humanism I presume.

“I agree with women’s rights,” I remember saying, “but I’m not a feminist.”

At the time, this statement was entirely correct. I have always been a fierce supporter of equality in all forms, but never did I identify as a feminist. Even as I began to call myself “Ms” instead of miss – following a lesson on the origins of the term that left me feeling unclean – I wouldn’t allow myself to be called a feminist. I knew of no feminists, who were frequently criticized by the adults in my life, so my stereotyped view of them was left unchecked. I didn’t want to be a hairy, unclean, militant, grumpy bra-burner who loathed men.

Over the course of time, I began to understand that the people peddling these ideas that feminism is the domain of hairy, man-hating lesbians were the same people desperately trying to suppress the fight for equal rights for… well, just about everyone really. It’s seems pretty obvious to me now, but as a kid you just aren’t aware of these things, especially when no one you know is a feminist. In fact, my first introduction to someone with the same views as me identifying as a feminist was in my media heroes; people typically named Ellen or Jess who talk a lot of intelligent stuff and who’s brains I would literally kiss if it wouldn’t kill them instantly.

You can see where this is going, can’t you? You’d be right – the entire freakin’ point of me telling you all of this is that we should be proud to be supporters of equality. We need to shout from every rooftop how freaking awesome it feels not to be oppressing people. 

Because if we don’t, there are going to remain a whole bunch of very confused people out there who genuinely believe the bullshit that people say about advocates for women’s rights, and are going to fall into the traps set by conservative prudes desperate to keep them in their places. That isn’t extreme – it’s already happened to a lot of the girls who were in that very conversation with me that day. They’ve accepted their ‘lot’ in life, and given up on big dreams, just because those dreams aren’t the done thing for ladies. That’s so sad. Seriously – fuck that shit. No more.

So let’s talk about rights; loudly, publicly, until it drives our neighbours bonkers. Let’s don a uniform of pro-whatever badges, and bumper stickers, and t-shirts, maybe even shoes. Let’s all be feminists.

I’m totally not a feminist – except when I am entirely a feminist.

I love people that don’t have all the answers.

Every time I go to restaurants, it seems to take me forever to decide what I want to eat. Usually that’s because there’s a lot of good stuff on the menu, or because I had something similar recently, or because someone else is paying and my favourite meal costs a small fortune and I’m trying to decide if it’s okay to order it. On a few occasions it’s been because there’s not been as much food on the menu as wine – I like to ask for water in those places because it messes with them, they act like they don’t even remember what water is when you ask.

Anyway, the point is, everyone always laughs at me for this. It’s gotten to the point that instead of taking my time, I copy someone else’s order because it’s easier than trying to decide while everyone is mocking me (which is really distracting). Sometimes that even leads to me eating stuff I’m just not supposed to have, and feeling super ill later. I know, I know – you’re thinking “why on Earth would you even do that it’s so stupid?”. I’m with you, buddy.

Sometimes, the world can be an incredibly demanding place. It wants answers, and it wants them RIGHT NOW. Which I can understand; I’d love to just skip ahead to the bit where we have a cure for cancer, for example. Yet in this demanding world, being in a hectic rush can actually pretty counter-intuitive. We all know that we make mistakes easily when running around like headless chickens trying to meet insane deadlines, yet somehow we still do it anyway, and frequently criticize people that don’t have meet them.

Jeez, you’d be amazed just how many times I’ve heard in my young life thus far that fence-sitting is just not allowed. (I hate that term; it almost seems like accepting parts of both arguments on a subject is not actually a decision, when it is.) Even in situations where there isn’t a clear answer, you’d better have one, buddy…

You know what? I actually love people that don’t have all the answers immediately, and sometimes aren’t totally sure what they want. They’re careful people – they’re probably engaged in a good, long debate about the pros and cons of having that steak, or whatever the debate is to be had. When they do eventually make their decision, it’s a damn good one, having been thoroughly considered. It’s something that they stick to, usually, because it’s the absolute right decision for them.

Not only is it good for individuals to take their time, but the undecided among us are good for the rest of us as well. While ever they’re ‘fence-sitting’, we still have to debate the important issues with them. We have to refine our arguments, keep producing evidence – we have to be sure before they can be sure. So when we are arguing, the same thing happens for us; we become entirely certain that what we’re saying is right, or else we’re forced to switch sides. (That’s the theory, anyway; some people are likely to just continue blindly arguing without thought.)

We need more time-takers. I freaking love those guys!

I love people that don’t have all the answers.