Cancer, Cancerian

“With Cancer, there is always something more that meets the eye, for they are always partially hidden behind the shell. They are deeply sensitive and easily hurt. Cancer needs to be needed. When cancer gets the support it needs, it has a tremendous amount to offer in return.”

My dad is very superstitious so new shoes were never to be put on a table, salt never spilt and fingernails never cut on a Sunday. I wanted to get a tattoo to cement our relationship with something physical. He isn’t my biological father so it’ll always be second best to actual DNA. I decided to get a crab.

Although I don’t think star signs are a real thing (I only fit a few characteristics of a typical Capricorn), my dad is a Cancerian through and through. He is prone to long periods of sulking and is uncomfortable with strangers. He’s probably the most sensitive person I’ve ever met, which means you’re walking on eggshells sometimes. But he is totally worth it for that squishy interior.

PicMonkey CollageI feel like being tattooed is like childbirth. You have something so beautiful in the end that you always think the pain wasn’t that bad. It was. I was in utter agony for three hours and I really don’t know if I could get such a big tattoo again in one sitting. But, it was totally worth it, as I hope you’ll agree…Daryl at Rock n Roll Tattoos in Dundee is wonderful.

sYoDQSm-VhgXywKQbhB_Lg_wOVvbGojsvn7AInHjfJU,CxiDYLeREtQdRHVOEmYg0fXcK34Gh9ez_OU96pBgsXE

Advertisements

Mud

DSC_0474 DSC_0478

My boyfriend is one of these irritating outdoor types. He runs places for fun. He owns three different bikes. Mine is hasn’t been ridden for 10 years and is sitting at the back of my parents’ coal shed. The most consistent exercise I’ve ever had is lifting food from a plate to my mouth. So when he said we were going to the Mountain Biking World Cup in Fort William, I can’t say I was counting down the days to it. I’m a country bumpkin too but standing on a hill watching people race to the bottom in a foot of mud has never been at the top of my bucket list. Not whilst there’s tequila in the world, anyway.

We made a road trip of our adventure to Fort William, starting at Mike’s house in Garmouth and heading clockwise.

tourmap

DSC_0484 DSC_0487 DSC_0490

I still know sod all about mountain biking in a technical sense. But now I know that it is bloody exciting and fun to watch. Who knew. Unfortunately, since I now have the vaguest interest in the sport, I might have to actually ride a bike soon. Are stabilisers acceptable for a 26-year-old?

DSC_0500 DSC_0517 DSC_0519 DSC_0526 DSC_0532 DSC_0535 DSC_0543 DSC_0552

3hua08231iIAEwrOhh3at96Mig19bbq_fUx8cWK9owk

Bonnie and Clive

I hate writing catch-up posts. They’re so lazy and yet there’s nothing else for it when you’ve been AWOL this long.

I saw Paul Simon live. I went to London for a night out and met the newest member of my family, 11-week-old Ella. I started doing political writing again. I’ve been drinking a lot of whisky. I’ve been to Glasgow to bond with my best friend in the toilet cubicles of bars. I made quiche from scratch for the first time in years. I’ve been running every evening.

I also met the love of my life on Tinder. No, I’m not even kidding. And I’m a cat person now. Who saw that coming?
DSC_0425 DSC_0433 DSC_0437 DSC_0443 DSC_0446 DSC_0448 DSC_0450 DSC_0451 2015-03-28 20.53.58 2015-04-01 14.39.10 2015-04-05 13.41.53 2015-04-06 14.57.32 2015-04-10 15.48.28 2015-04-24 10.45.43

2015-05-01 19.35.10

2015-05-02 23.23.02

2015-05-04 02.01.37

Crouton, Crouton

When you start seeing someone new, interests are exchanged. You have to watch this comedian. I can’t believe you’ve never tried Philadelphia on a bagel. Please listen to this album- it’ll change your life.

I wasn’t expecting to be with someone whose greatest love is making soup.

I like to think of myself as a good cook but had never explored the world of soup beyond eating it on Sundays at my grandad’s or opening a tin of Baxter’s. But the last few weeks of my life have been dedicated to the making and eating of soup.

Here are some pictures of my attempt at French Onion (my favourite, as it’s basically made of butter and wine) and Cullen Skink, a Scottish delicacy (and Liam’s favourite).

If you don’t think you’re very good at cooking, soup is a great starting point and amazing therapy at the weekend. Making it is extremely good for the soul, especially if Liam’s mum describes your creaton as tasting “affy fine”, a wonderful Aberdonian compliment.

DSC_0353

DSC_0354

DSC_0347

DSC_0349

DSC_0350

 

DSC_0351

DSC_0352

DSC_0356

DSC_0357

DSC_0358

DSC_0359

DSC_0362

DSC_0363

Winning

I’ve never worked Monday to Friday before. Having been a slave to retail for 11 years, I’m used to working night shifts, leaving the house at 4am or  getting home at 1am. ‘Weekend’ was not in my vocabulary.

I’m doing a temp job for the council until I’m properly assigned in April. I arrange emergency money for people who have had their benefits stopped or haven’t managed to make their meagre amounts stretch until their next payment. Some people abuse the system of course, but even though I find it upsetting at times to talk to people who have just left prison or are homeless, I feel like I’m doing a tiny bit of good.

When the phone lines shut at 5pm yesterdat, I raced home to have the perfect Friday night with myself. It included season three of House of Cards, wine, popcorn, curry, girl chat with Olivia, a Lush bath bomb and taking my bra off as soon as I got in the door.

2015-02-27 20.58.17

2015-02-27 17.58.33

2015-02-27 17.58.37

2015-02-27 17.58.51

2015-02-27 18.16.32

2015-02-27 19.38.03

2015-02-27 20.10.05

2015-02-27 20.18.30

PS- I saw this book on tumblr and have to really recommend it to anyone who has been a victim of abuse by a partner (not necessarily physical, but mental or emotional). It’s unbelievably insightful and I wish I’d read it when it was going on,  not as a recovery tool.

Everyday Sexism

With time to spare in Aberdeen last weekend, I went to Waterstone’s in search of a good book to accompany my brunch at The Beautiful Mountain, my favourite place for eggs and salmon.

I’ve been a follower of the Everyday Sexism project for a long time now and with the book in a ‘buy one get one half price’ deal, I didn’t think twice about picking up a copy.

If you’re not familiar with the website or twitter feed, it goes like this: women (and men) send in stories of sexism that they’ve encountered. These range from catcalls on the way to work, right up to extreme sexual abuse. Having kept tabs on the project for so long, I thought I was prepared for the book. I was wrong.

Everydaysexism

I found myself shaking, almost in tears in some parts as memories I’d suppressed or events I’d overlooked came up to the surface. I’ve experienced abuse in my life and it’s very hard to read statistics like “1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence” and know you are that one person.

I’ve started to talk about it more and more with my friends and family- the people I saw every day and had no idea it was happening. It was a long time ago now but it still runs very close to the surface sometimes and I know it will be something I’ll probably be dealing with for the rest of my life. I didn’t know whether to share my experience here but then saw this quote:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better” – Anne Lamott

Everydaysexism2

So here are my stories.

In primary school, the girls in my class would play football at lunchtime in the pitch next to the boys. The headmaster would sometimes referee the boys’ matches but would refuse to referee ours.

Being told by colleagues (and some family) that I’m going to change my mind about not wanting children.

When I applied for a part-time job in a supermarket whilst at college, I asked for the position in the butchery as I was experienced in handling food and had all my hygiene certificates. I was put on the tills as the HR manager didn’t think there should be women in the butchery. When I eventually fought (and won) to be moved, she did everything she could to stop it.

Being sexually harassed by a temporary manager to the point I was in tears and having my boyfriend at the time tell me I was making a fuss over nothing. Higher management changed my shifts so I didn’t have to work with him any more but he was never confronted despite this behaviour in other stores.

Being grabbed on nights out and having the men laugh in my face when I confront them (to the man who genuinely felt terrible when we spoke and apologised- you are a gem).

A catalogue of physical and mental abuse from a partner, which I realised after reading this book includes coercion into sex with him. Very rarely did I say no to him and got my way- we always had sex anyway. I would sometimes cry quietly throughout or wait until afterwards and cry in the bathroom. I didn’t think anything of it. Occasionally during arguments, he would also sexually assault me and threaten to rape me.

Bumping into an old university friend on a night out. He was very drunk and picked me up with my arms pinned to my side and stuck his tongue in my mouth. I couldn’t move and had to wait for it to be over.

Staying the night with a trusted male friend after a gig. He said I could have his bed and he would have the sofa. He came up during the night and got into bed with me and tried to put his fingers inside me. I managed to fight him off and sat up all night on the sofa, scared he would try it again. I left as soon as it was morning.