You're a December baby too? Mine's on the 18th, and it has always been shite. Forget the usual "here's a joint present!" crap you can somewhat laugh off, I'd regularly get something small, like a CD or hair stuff, for both occasions. And no, it isn't just about presents, but it further showed how I was always treated differently by my family. I got a stereo one year, which I loved. It was mirrored, and pretty high-tech for the time. I often listened to late-night radio shows, you know the old advice shows they had on Radio 1? Anyway, a few years later, my dad took it from me, saying that I wasn't using it any more, and gave it to my sister (who, incidentally, had drawn over the speakers and flicked nail varnish all over it not long beforehand). Seems small, but I never felt like anything was truly mine. And that's how I still feel about my birthday. And Christmas is no better. A time of pressure, got to get the right things, got to smile the right way and be enthusiastic enough, but not too much. But no matter how I acted, it was always wrong. I'm a fairly subdued person anyway, but now I find very little excitement in me at the prospect of my birthday and Xmas. I try - I enjoy Christmas songs, I like giving cards, and I love decorating the tree - but there's always an undercurrent of sadness, of wondering what I'll do wrong for it all to blow up in my face. In my family, there's always something. That's our motto. This year, we're moving on my birthday, so my SO and I are celebrating on the Saturday before. But I can't say I'm too bothered. Getting away from this place is the best birthday present ever. I'm sorry you had to go through what you did. But I'm glad you feel able to move forward and celebrate this year. One step at a time. I can't tell you what to do, but I will say that I hope to be in a position once again where I can accept my past, accept the effect it has on me, forgive myself for how it affects me, and use it, for the most part, in a positive way. I hope you can too.
I think I understand what you mean. It's like the depression/anxiety/insert mental health problem here is a part of you. It informs at least a part of your actions, reactions, decisions. Without it, what would you do in X/Y/Z scenario? Who would you be? I very much get it in terms of my past. When I moved away to university, I spent a lot of time letting go of who I was, of who I had been made into, and discovering what I would do, who I really was. It's hard. You have to be prepared to forgive yourself for a lot. For example, I was fairly aggressive, because that was how I had learned to be. It took some time to discover when anger was an appropriate reaction, when my reactions were still being informed by my past, and when I was, quite frankly, just being a dick. I actually had this conversation with my SO yesterday. Xmas is coming, and it never brings happy memories or emotions with it. My concern now is that, since being back home for so long, I'm not going to be able to rediscover the real me, the one I found and shaped while I was at university. The "Plymouth Me", as I say. How much of my depression is attached to me, and how much is forced upon me by my environment and the people around me? Can I let go of it all? And how will I feel when I do? I don't have all the answers - I don't fully know the answers to my own questions - but I just wanted to say that I get it, and I think you should be prepared for any eventuality. So you're happy and it feels weird? It's not surprising, and you shouldn't feel guilty.
You all know my success story, plus the bumps along the way. After deciding to give things another go after the money fandango, we're back on track, and we're finally getting our own place next month. Which I am, of course, so fucking happy about. I did take my engagement ring off when it all happened, and haven't put it back on since. I know moving in together is a big enough step, but it just doesn't feel right to commit to getting married at the moment. Maybe it will again someday. Right now, I'm happy to move forward as we are.
See, during my work experience, I was made to do things that were not only dangerous, but also highly illegal. I had to clean the stock room, which involved climbing a ladder (hello health and safety!) and other things I couldn't/shouldn't have done. We filled in a questionnaire afterwards, and I said all of this, but nothing was done about it. My school was pretty shit, and they didn't give a shit. And the shop manager was a horrid woman. What 15 year old really knows what they want to do? It's rare. So work experience is usually a colossal waste of time.
I keep drifting in and out of the Saxon series. I like the books and fine them easy to read, but they never really grip me. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a fantastic example of decent historical fiction. It draws on real life with the right amount of imagination on behalf of the author. I recently reread it and loved it all over again.
I just finishing rereading Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback. I love this book, it's beautiful. Downloaded The Unnamed Midwife on Kindle Unlimited (hello free trial). It's meant to be similar to Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale, which I loved, so I have high hopes.
I ended up working in a shop. Our school gave us the option to find our own placement, or to stay at school and help a teacher during that week. They provided zero help in finding a placement. Nobody wants a snotty 15 year old in their workplace. So I ended up folding jumpers for a week in a clothes shop. What did I learn? That I'm not cut out for retail.
Sorry, but who the hell can survive on 20 hours a week these days? My SO is out the house for 12hours a day, I'm out for almost 10. We work full time hours because we have to, we wouldn't be able to afford shit if we didn't. So yeah, I'd like to be able to work less or no hours at a job I don't particularly enjoy. My SO would probably keep working.
I'm in the same camp as Nestor. I work a job that isn't the best, but I value the security it gives me. Would I rather sit at home and write or read or twiddle my thumbs while receiving a steady income? Hell yes. I have severe health problems and chronic pain, so there are days I wonder if I'm going to be able to sit in traffic for an hour, work for 9 hours, then sit in traffic for an hour again. I do what I can to ease my pain, but it's not ideal. I speak to shitty customers and deal with their crap all day. Nothing is particularly exciting about my job. I don't value any of that. So why do I work? To pay for the basics, of course. I'm currently putting half my pay into savings in order to move into a new place. I run my car, buy my food, pay my bills, and use what little I have left over to enjoy myself. However, I know myself, and there's no way I'd sit at home twiddling my thumbs for long. I'd keep writing, take lower paid/unpaid jobs for the experience (oh wait, I did that), volunteer, etc etc. Not all who don't value working or particularly want to work are lazy.
I started rereading Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Set in Iceland in the 1800s, it follows Agnes, sentenced to die for the murder of her lover. It's the best in historical fiction; I adore this book, and highly recommend it. It's beautifully crafted, harrowing yet wonderful. It was my choice for an article I did on #thisbook, to celebrate female authors, a couple of years ago, and it still continues to impress me. It also fits the winter theme very well.
I see it a lot, feminists "not being consistent". It's ridiculous, but a common complaint.
As for Femen, I love them. I love their fierceness, their confidence, their strength. I love what they stand for and how they stand for it. I love their passion. I personally think we need to be more aggressive sometimes, in order to be heard (but I am aware that not everyone would agree with me - and also, I wish it wasn't necessary).