Monday, 29 September 2014

Family

There's been a lot going on in my life lately and more than anything, it's made me think about family. I am so, so lucky that my immediate family have always been with me in the most physical of senses, we have all always lived under the same roof (disregarding Marc and university of course), we come home to each other more days than not, even when they're away from me I speak to all of them most days. Like I said, I'm so lucky to have that aspect of family. (NB: all the below photographs were taken pre weight loss.)

family photos

Earlier this Summer I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and, currently, my doctor is leaving it alone to see if it becomes more bearable on it's own in the current months. Some days I feel like my diagnosis is complete overkill and, although I am anxious, it is manageably so. Some days I feel like I can't breathe over the stupidest things, I can't even wear my headphones on the bus in the morning as I am completely paranoid my breathing is somehow wrong and everybody around me if judging me for it. This has made me think about my family even more. When I was seven I lost a huge chunk of my family due to an disagreement, As I've grown up, although there have been times that I've wondered whether reconnecting is something I might want to do in the future, the fact is I don't know whether I will ever be able to make up time with the relatives that turned their back on a seven year old child, the relatives that haven't known me for over half of my life. When I started to really struggle this year, I distinctly remember a conversation with my then girlfriend; it's impossible when a big thing happens to wonder whether if a significant life event like that hadn't happened, would things have worked out the way that they have now? The plain and simple truth is, I don't know. Nobody really does, and there's nothing I can do to change it. The last few weeks have given me a little bit more of an important perception about family.

Family doesn't, it's true, end with blood. It's taken me a long time to realise that I have all the family that I need. I don't mean I have a mum, a dad and a brother who give me endless support; although I do, and I will be forever grateful, but I mean I have an entire mismatch of family that I have picked, and have picked me in return. I not only have cousins, aunties, uncles, but I also have two ex-boyfriends-turned-best-friends who are endlessly encouraging, and who read draft after draft of half written stories, I have a best friend who grew up with me like a sister who has done more for me than I can ever imagine, an other half who puts up with everything life throws at us. I have a work team who keep me strong, day in, day out, five days a week and a girl who quite readily calls herself my mum's favorite daughter.

Friends

The thing for me is, I was looking too deeply into who shared blood with me, when I should have been looking for something far deeper than that. My family in the traditional sense may not be as big as it rightfully should be, but that doesn't change the fact I have an entire family around me that, yes, might not share my blood, but shared every single one of my dreams, shared my experiences, shared my sadness and my happiness. I am surrounded by the most perfect family I could wish for, and they might not share my blood, but it's undeniable that they shared, and continue to share, my life.

What are your views on family?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Best Friend Glasses

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Things I Love #1 - Chandelier

For those of you who don't know me, I grew up a dancer. From the age of two I took ballet, tap, modern, jazz and disco lessons every week and I only stopped when dragging myself out of bed at 15 was too much to contend with on top of exams and everything else happening in my life. What can I say, I'm a moody adult, but I was an even moodier teenager. That being said, dance remains an absolutely huge part of my life, sometimes when I'm brushing my teeth I find myself absent mindedly using the sink as a barre, when I'm standing in work I nearly always have my feet in first or third positions and when I'm home alone, I can normally be found exhausting myself flinging myself around to anything and everything.

So, it goes without saying I love Dance Mom's, and the minute I saw one of it's stars, Maddie Ziegler, in Sia's video for "Chandelier" I fell completely in love with it. Maddie might only be eleven, but she's completely captivating to watch. Last night, though, I stumbled upon a live performance of the video on Dancing With The Stars not only containing Maddie but also Allison Holker and in my opinion, it's too gorgeous not to share, so here you go!


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, do leave me your opinions.

Sammy xo

If you liked this you might like: Things I Love No.2 -My Top 3 Songs

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The "Faked" Sexual Assault Video

NB: writing this made me feel really awkward and I was unsure whether to post it, but in this case the fact that I felt awkward was one of the main reasons I decided that I had to post it. 

This week Sam Pepper's "faked" video of him sexually assaulting women (and then men, in a very misguided way to redeem himself) by promoting pinching strangers bums has been unavoidable. I'm not even going to give the satisfaction of linking the video, but I will provide a link to an article detailing it here on The Independent's website. Although YouTubers and the public alike have taken an overwhelming stand against what is clearly inappopriate, what truly shocked me was the amount of people on YouTube comments and in general discussion who saw no problem with it at all. If you're one of those people, let me tell you a quick story (although this won't be detailed, better safe than sorry, consider this a trigger warning).

A few months ago I was sexually assaulted by a man I have known well for a number of years. Writing this down I feel stupid, he didn't rape me, he didn't even actually remove any of my clothes, but he did force himself on me in a sexual manner without my consent, and that is in itself sexual assault by its very definition. I had always assumed to have the support of my friends through anything should I need it, but all of the following statements and questions were given and asked before a single person asked me if I was okay:

1: why were you on your own with him?
2: why didn't you fight harder to get him off of you, if you didn't want it?
3: I used to be like that when I was younger, it's just a boy thing.
4: That's what boys expect if you invite them over to "watch a film".
5: you obviously aren't that upset if you're not going to the police about it.

To put this into context, we had been friends for five years, and I had been alone with him countless times before. Furthermore, we were actually in my house and my parents were in the next room, not that I ever would have told them what happened. I grew up with an older brother and there's no denying I can hold my own in a fight, but that doesn't change the fact I am a 120 pound, 5"4 girl and I was up against a man twice my weight and easily over 6 feet tall who had me pinned against the floor and had hit my back so hard that it later required X-Rays. I didn't go to the police because I was made to feel stupid for letting it happen. In fact, it was the same people who made me feel stupid for seeing myself as a victim who were quick to suggest my lack of police involvement was a sign of guilt. 

The other two points on that list that haven't been covered are the two most relevant to this post. After he left the man text me to apologise that things had "gotten out of hand" and nearly every boy I talked to suggested I shouldn't have invited him around to watch a film as boys are sexual by their very nature and I brought it on myself. It's a sad but true fact that this is what the world, through the media, films, actions and acceptance of those actions, has taught a majority of males, that boys will be boys, and sexual assault is acceptable under those very terms. Although a dog is punished for not understanding the word no, as girls we are expected to laugh it off when people around us struggle to do the same. I am not saying it is all men, by any means, sexual assault committed by women is an ever increasing issue, and the fact that this was exploited in an attempt for Sam Pepper to redeem himself is inexcusable. As an issue already struggling to find its footing as being a legitimate act in the public eye, the fact it's been used to disprove sexual assault against women is unspeakably disappointing.  

Videos like the one that Sam Pepper posted are the root of the problem with regards to us not taking sexual assault as the true crime that it is. If you laugh along with sexual assault, then you are condoning it as an action on at least some level, if you watch the video and don't find it appalling, you are condoning the action, and by condoning the action you are allowing it to carry on as though it isn't an issue at all. The very fact is, neither men nor women should ever have to feel as though that is acceptable, they should never have to grow up in a world where people may pinch your bum on the street and they most definitely shouldn't have to grow up in a world where this is laughed off and seen as a prank.

The very fact I have had to sit and write this is living proof that we need change. I don't want to have children that have to grow up fearing being alone with someone they call a best friend, I don't want my children to ever be made to feel uneasy in their own house and unable to call for their parents due to their shame, I don't want my children to condone sexual assault happening and I certainly don't want my children to see it as part of their every day lives, as it is slowly but surely becoming an every day part of mine.

What's your opinion on the Sam Pepper videos?

Sammy xo

If you have ever suffered sexual abuse or rape in any form, or God forbid do so in the future, Rape Crisis UK can be found online here or can be contacted on the freephone number 0808 802 9999

If you liked this you might like: Tattoos, Same Sex Relationships and The Drop In Blood Donation

Monday, 22 September 2014

Dressing For Men

I have to say when I'm throwing my clothes on in the morning, the absolute last thing on my mind is whether a man is going to like the jeans that I've picked; I am certainly not consciously dressing for anyone except myself. Having said that, I am often guilty of throwing my jeans onto a discard pile because I wonder what people will think of my less than tanned expanse of ankle, or swapping skirts because I think the first one is a little too short. A quote on tumblr recently got me thinking, and although I can't find it again to quote it entirely, I believe it went something along the lines of "If women dressed for men, they would spend their entire lives naked."

It got me thinking though, because no matter how I look at it I can't help but think that at least on some level, actually we are all dressing for men. Isn't it hardwired into our DNA? We dress the way our father's want us to, I have lost count of the amount of dresses I have put back on the shelves whilst shopping because I could imagine the horror on my Dad's face if I were ever to wear them. We grow into teenaged girls who almost subconsciously buy heels to make our legs appear longer in the skin tight skirts we pick to go to clubs on nights out, and who are we dressing for if not the men we want to admire us, even if we have no desire for them; I know I'm guilty of doing it and I'm certainly not striving to find a male partner any time soon. There is no denying that although there's no way we like to be objectified, someone's eyes lingering on you that bit too long is flattering, exhilarating, and above all? A sign you've done something right when you've gotten ready this morning.

Laptop and Magazine

So what about those of you who say you aren't dressing for men? What about the fact that when I thought about this quote I defiantly picked my hoodie and mom jeans to wear out as an act of rebellion? Well aren't I still realistically dressing for men? In the very act of rebelling against what I imagine that they traditionally want, am I not still dressing for them? 

In fact, aren't some of the biggest days of our lives going to be shrouded by the tradition of dressing for men? Irregardless of whether I end up marrying a woman, it's highly likely I'll be wearing white. Wearing white because, of course, traditionally this is something that women did to prove virginity to the men that they were marrying. That isn't to say it's a bad thing, and contrary to the gifs above I believe self-respecting women are well within their rights to dress, or not dress, for whomever they feel comfortable, but the fact is, it's inescapable that at least on some level, we are all dressing for men.

Do you believe we dress for men? What's your opinion?

Sammy xo

If you liked this you might like: Myself, My Brother and Feminism

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Strictly Need To Know

Hi there, I'm Sammy. I'm not new to the blogging world, I'm been flitting around FBL circles for a little while now, but I seriously dropped off of the face of the Earth and now I'm back, I have a new prerogative on things and so I figured why not start a new blog altogether, clean and sparkly fresh. I thought for my first post I would tell you everything about me that's strictly need to know.

I was christened Sam, I wear glasses as I have an astigmatism which means my eyeball is rugby ball shaped and not round, and I work as a waitress and I have done for two years since I left a Grammar School with A-Levels in History, Politics, and English Literature. I live with my parents and my brother in a small, somewhat rough part of the world just over the water from Liverpool. I have an absurdly large family, I love ugly dogs, stationary is probably the one thing I waste the most money on, and I am completely in love with bad American TV programmes (in fact bad TV in general is my passion). I can bake but I most definitely cannot cook, I have a serious addiction to Diet Coke and chewing gum and I'm allergic to exercise.

There's everything that's strictly need to know about me (and more), I look forward to writing more on here in the future, I hope to see you back again here soon!

Sammy xo.

instagram // twitter // bloglovin'

If you liked this you might like: The A-Z of Sammy
 
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