The Skit

I haven’t written a blog in ages. I have been short of inspo and also distracted by many other projects. However, I just watched a video online of two little kids doing a skit and it really brought back a memory, you know when it’s like Bang! Wow I completely forgot that ever happened in my life, how have I forgotten that?! I’m so glad your brain stores little treats away from you like that. Well, I’ll share this with you.

I did a skit when I was ten. I moved to New Zealand near the end of the school year and all the kids in that class were super sweet and went out of their way to be my friend and be really kind to me.

There was a talent show on at the end of the year for all kids in any year group, doing any activity. And a few kids in my class – sadly I can’t remember them all now, but Kerry and Shelly were two of them, and there were a couple of boys too – had written a PLAY. At the age of ten. And guys, it was frickin genius. I wish I had a copy, or a video of it. And they asked me to be in it, to be nice I think.

We spent lunch times rehearsing in the classroom and making each other cry laughing. And then the talent show was up. It was presented by our wonderful, and extraordinarily beautiful headteacher, Mrs Stewart.

The plot, as I remember it, went like this.

We all got on stage in pyjamas and sleeping bags. We huddled down and chatted. The scene was set in a creepy haunted house. We were kids proving to each other that we were brave enough to handle it. We made jokes, made each other laugh, and scared each other with tales of the haunting.

Then Kerry said, in her character, “Guys… I need to go to the toilet.” She stood up, and we made her go alone. She felt her way across the darkened stage, and heard a voice saying “I’m going to get ya… I’m going to get ya… I’ve GOT YA! Mwa ha ha ha haaaa!” Kerry screamed and ran off stage.

I was up next. “I need to go too,” I said, and the same thing happened. “I’m going to get ya… I’m going to get ya… I’ve GOT YA! Mwa ha ha ha haaaa!” I screamed and ran away.

The others got very scared when we didn’t come back.

(Their fictional characters were blissfully unaware, of course, that backstage Kerry and I were in full thespian mode, doing a quick-change for our vital parts.)

The remainder of the brave kids got up, wrapped in their sleeping bags, and started to shuffle down the stage to our little curtained-off bit, previously of no note whatsoever.

The haunting voice rang out again. “I’m going to get ya… I’m going to get ya… I’ve GOT YA! Mwa ha ha ha haaaa!”

The kids all stumbled around and clutched each other in fear. “Guys!” one whimpered. “Guys I think it’s coming from … inside the bathroom!”

They edged closer and the laughing got louder…

They squeaked in fear…

And then a boy jumped forward and RIPPED the curtain (the ‘toilet door’) back and –

What?! –

Who was there but?!

“MRS STEWART?” all the kids chorused as one, proper pantomime.

Of course it wasn’t actually her, but Kerry was dressed up as our beloved headteacher, and I was next to her playing her friend, and we clinked beer bottles together and laughed manically and then Kerry – sorry, ‘Mrs Stewart’ – stuck her finger up her nose and yelled “I’m gonna get ya, I’m gonna get ya – I’ve got ya! Mwa ha ha ha haaaa!” and then pretended to eat a bogey. And then we pretended to down our beers.

The End.

Honestly I would be proud of that if I wrote it now. I wish I had had a hand in writing it!

Mrs Stewart saw the funny side… We got first place!

What absolute weapons.

Unfortunately our year six teacher didn’t see the funny side so much, and gave us a lecture on how alcoholism is a very serious problem and not to be laughed at (we were TEN, nobody mentioned alcoholism, and fuck mate it was hilarious shut up) but still, a piece of work that, now I’ve remembered it, I’m very proud of. Hahaha.

Yours actingly,

Georgie

In Other News

Aye, I’ll do an In Other News while I’m here, why not.

‘Absolute weapon’ is a phrase I’ve picked up from my Mancunian office buddy. Another is ‘get in the bin’. This week she told our other office pal to get in the bin, and he actually did?! Except he is a lot larger than the bin, and he could only fit his feet in, which got stuck, and he started to topple over, and couldn’t fight his instinct to try and step which caused him to crash full-length across the office floor and end up with his head under his desk and his feet still stuck in the bin. Haven’t laughed so hard in weeks. This man is 29 years old and mere months from being a Doctor.

Never grow up, kids.

Bidentity

Evening, all.

I don’t have a rant to go on today. I just want to talk about something. Writing it out helps me as much, if not more, than anyone who may choose to read it.

What I’m going to talk about is bisexuality and identity.

I have friends who I talk to about this all the time. And I have other friends who I barely mention it to (or who don’t even know, through my own omission and their assumptions in a heteronormative world). This isn’t anything against those friends – for me, more than anything, is it’s a very personal thing, when you think about it, to mention your sexuality – and I’m really not the kind of person to just be like ‘HI I’M BI’. Generally, if it comes up at all it’s in passing, because it’s relevant to something else we’re talking about.

I’m going to get personal now, and tell you about (sigh) my ‘journey’ (ew).

I always felt weird as a teenager. My friends had crushes on the hot male history and science teachers. The only teachers I had crushes on were female ones. This added a LOT of fire to my already-extremely-awkward personality. I got bullied for being gay. And the thing was – I wasn’t sure! Maybe I WAS gay – because I certainly didn’t like any boys. But I didn’t feel any pull of attraction, like that, towards anyone at all really, for a long time. So I was stuck in a ‘maybe I am gay’ rut, and at school, gay was the worst insult. So I felt pretty horrible about the whole thing. My parents thought I was gay too, and my dad constantly made jokes about it – which was their way of telling me that a) they already knew so I didn’t have to do the whole coming-out thing because they knew how horribly embarrassing I would find that and so I would probably never say it, and b) letting me know that was absolutely fine. Personally, I’d go about it in a different way, but their hearts were very much in the right place.

In my later teen years, we have a whole crash of views coming in. I’ve got my parents who are fine with it, and being gay is spoken about openly and without prejudice in my house; half of my mum’s cousins are gay and as a little kid we’d go and see Chris and his boyfriend. Cool. But school was a whole different ball game, and at that age your parents are almost out-of-focus compared to the social pressure and even hate you get from peers. But another worm in the can was my religious experiences. As a teenager, I identified as a Christian (still do) and the few friends I had were also Christian. As a group, we were greatly influenced by more conservative Christianity, and we started attending a club-like ‘church’ on a Friday night involving disco lights and speaking in tongues and wild dancing and solemn heartfelt prayer with raised hands, and fainting people in spiritual communion, and a lot, a LOT, of highly questionable messages. Things like how, at fourteen or fifteen, we should be thinking about getting married, looking for the person we would marry, and making ourselves into the sort of person they’d like to marry. Girls were virtuous ‘God’s daughters’, all sweetness and light and housewifely and child-bearing and holy, and men were strong and it was their job to take care of girls, but with that came control over them. Girls were told to dress modestly to put across the sort of personality that would make a good and modest wife. Did I mention we were fifteen. Yeah.

So I was battling a lot out – general teen weirdness, social pressure, my interpretation of my own faith, my friends’ faith, a belief that if I was gay I’d be facing this sort of bullying my whole life and it would never be ok no matter what my parents said. A mess.

Well, I went to college and didn’t think much of it there, just felt a sort of release from it because I was with different people and things were a bit more mature. And then I went to university and didn’t think much of it there, either, I’ll be honest, until I was in second year and found a guy I fancied. Wow, a guy! And someone I fancied! He was so gay. But we seemed to want to fuck each other, put bluntly (which we didn’t, because of a different avenue of religious questioning which we shall put aside here). It didn’t work out, anyway, and I’m pretty sure he’s at least bi too.

Then we hit third year of uni. And I’m not really sure what happened over the previous two years but I guess just exposure – exposure to ‘gay is ok’! Exposure to bromance, girls kissing in clubs, an openness about sexuality in general I hadn’t seen before in my small-town Christian life. The earth-shaking revelation that feminism has been for me, and the open embrace true feminism offers to everybody. And somewhere in there, although I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, the realisation that being gay and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive and we have a God of love. Love is love. OK. Doing well!

So, third year. New year new me. I grew in confidence. I was happy with who I was. I had amazing friends. I loved my course, my uni, my friends, my life. I started a new accepting church. And as far as I remember, my sexuality wasn’t bothering me at all.

Then a comet hit me in the form of a new girl on our course. Our interaction was in all truth pretty brief, but I can credit this girl with a lot. She was openly, confidently, sexily gay. She was the best flirt I’ve ever met and she was relentless, and when I was with her I found myself being much more flirtatious and witty than my usual standards. And she made it clear she found me attractive and she asked me on a date and she asked me (a lot) to have sex with her. Stuff went wrong because it wasn’t the right time. I make a rule to avoid regrets in life, but if I was to have one, I honestly wish it had gone better with her and that we’d both been more mature about it. But, we moved on, became good friends. But that small thing I had with her blossomed and, as silly as it sounds, that was my true realisation moment. OK. I am a bisexual.

Over the course of that year I came to terms with myself. I started being more open about it with my friends (well, getting off with girls in clubs will tend to do the talking for you). I did get a boyfriend, who was a Christian, but before we’d gone anywhere I told him, because if he hadn’t been ok with it, I would have finished it before it started.

But the time I spent with that guy was my first love, which does funny things to your brain, and it was an unhealthy relationship on top of that and significantly stifled who I really was. So I may have taken a backward step there.

But then I came out of that, and I was ready. I was me. I got myself back. And I LIKED GIRLS.

Over the last couple of years my feelings towards women have intensified and I don’t know whether that’s my sexual feelings in my maturity genuinely getting stronger, or just that I’ve become more open and accepting of who I am.

I told my current, amazing, boyfriend, that after that ex I said I was ‘done with guys’. He took it quite personally as evidence of my man-hating feminism. I didn’t really get chance to explain that that wasn’t it; I just emotionally connect better with women because I understand them, and I wanted a relationship with someone who wasn’t stifled by the toxic masculinity endemic to our culture – someone with emotional eloquence, which women tend to be better at than men (tend! No blanket rules! Purely because of our socialisation). And I wanted to explore my sexuality and my identity. It was far, far more than ever being ‘done with guys’ because they hurt me. It had nothing to do with that. I just wanted to open up my other side to myself.

As it happens, I met him, fell in love, and life took its course, as it does.

I’m also incredibly blessed with my group of Christian best friends from school, who stayed my ultimate bezzies, and who all went away and had the same love-is-love, feminist awakening I had, so we’ve supported each other and become closer than ever and have such a wholesome dynamic as a group and as individual friendships I cannot sing these girls’ praises high enough. I love them with all my heart. If you’re reading, girls, you are LIFE, thank you xxxx

And one of them had a bisexual awakening too, and so we’ve become a sort of support group for each other, us two yammering away about our queer little feelings surrounded by the warmth and true ally-ship of our oldest mates. It’s the best. So that’s helped, too, with confidence and openness.

The back story has gone on longer than intended but it helps me to iron out how I got here.

Because now all that’s bothering me is that nobody seems to know. Bi erasure is a thing. Both me and my bi bestie are with guys. People assume we’re straight all the time. She’s married so that will always happen to her. And I’d like to marry this guy, so it’ll probably always happen to me too.

But it’s something that I now see as so intrinsic to who I am, how I see the world, that I feel a sort of desperation in it, a weird urge to just yell it at random moments, or bring up things in conversation. I literally imagine being able to tell people in an unplanned scenario. I joked with Bi Bestie (she’ll love that as a nickname… not) about feeling so invisible I might get a badge. As it happens, after that skype I really did google ‘bisexual badges’ and they are a thing, and now I own two. And a gay pride one. Yessss.

It’s a hard feeling to describe because you feel like it shouldn’t matter, in this day and age, but it just cuts having people make assumptions about you. And although our sexuality doesn’t define us, for me I do feel it’s an important part of who I am, and it just gets ignored, unacknowledged, unnoticed. And there’s no real socially acceptable time to just yell ‘HEY I’M BI’. You don’t really see bi people on tv, or read about them in YA lit. You might see the struggles of a gay person on tv, but I’ve never seen the rather different struggle of being bi, and all the confusion and frustration and feeling of being invisible that that brings. And when I have brought it up, I’ve heard things like ‘I don’t get it. Like, I get being straight. And I guess I get being gay. But not… both?’

Something I also struggle with is FOMO – I’ll never know (I mean, if all goes according to plan with my amazing boyfriend, who I love, respect and adore, and would never swap for anything) firstly what it’s like to have a girlfriend, but more importantly to go about the world with my identity on show, saying yeah here look is my girlfriend, I am queer, I am visible, I am part of this community, just…. Being. Being all of myself.

And how lucky and blessed are we to live in this age where we have the freedom (here, at least), to go about the world like that?

I just wanted to explain how it’s something that affects me all the time, and I think about it a hell of a lot, and I sometimes just need to talk about it. Thank God for my amazing friends and boyfriend. Thank God for my amazing accepting validating church. I’ve never had anything but positivity about my sexuality from people of faith since that short-lived stint in the rock n roll Christian conservatives club in my teens.

If you are Christian and queer, may I suggest the Christians for LGBT+ facebook page as one of the warmest and most affirming religious spaces I’ve ever come across.

And now you all know me better than you ever wanted to, and it’s way past my bedtime, I’m ringing off. Love you all. Thanks for being here. And being queer.

Yours bisexually

Georgie

 

In Other News, I punched a guy

A pal – my Bi Bestie, in fact – insisted on going clubbing for her 25th even though we are too old for those shenanigans now.

Five minutes into our first club and one of my pals got a very thorough groping.

Five minutes after that, he came back and got me.

But this time he’d picked on the wrong lass. He made to dart away as I turned but I was too quick for him. I punched him so hard in the head he nearly fell over. Despite what he’d just done, I still had to fight the urge to laugh because he’d just been punched in the head by a woman a foot shorter than him and nearly fell over, but the funniest thing was the pure surprise on his face. No anger. Just utter astonishment.

His dickhead mates set him back on his feet and he came back over to me, holding his hand up. “High five yeah, all good yeah?” he said, expecting the response he’s no doubt had countless times from women he’s assaulted, who are afraid of taking it further and want to de-escalate the situation. Again, wrong lass.

“I’m not high-fiving you, you’re fucking disgusting, if you ever do that again I will fucking deck you,” I yelled, aware that in the noise of the club my anger was more important than what I actually said.

Now he looked furious and I thought he was going to punch me in the face. I dared him to, and one of his mates slung an arm in front of his chest.

At this point, the bouncer arrived, assessed the sight of a small girl yelling at a large man, asked no questions, and threw him bodily from the club.

Result.

 

You know you’re an ecologist when

Dear all and all dear

I’m an ecologist and on the British Ecologists Facebook page (yup) someone started a ‘you know you’re an ecologist when’ thread, some of which were highly amusing.

My top four from there were, in order:

  • ‘After a couple of unexpected surprises, your husband won’t even light the candles on his children’s birthday cakes because (muttered darkly) “you never know what you might find in a matchbox in this house”’
  • ‘You’re getting strange looks from a group of hikers as you walk back to your car, oblivious to the fact that the morning’s catch of snails that you thought were safely tucked away in your backpack are now crawling all over your back.’
  • ‘You get stopped by the police (doing 35mph just inside a 30mph zone) at 2am and you are not wearing trousers because you fell in a bog during a bat transect.’
  • And my favourite, ‘You are involved in a minor-but-serious-enough-to-involve-the-police bump in your car (not your fault!) and you are nervous talking to the police because you really don’t want to have to explain the dead swan on the back seat…’

So I decided to make a little list of my own and put them on here because yep life gets weird.

You know you’re an ecologist when…

  • An off-duty police knobhead runs a numberplate checks on your car (apparently) because ‘We’ve had a lot of rural crime round here’ when you’re armed with nothing but a weather writer and a see-through shirt after a downpour. Obviously, very threatening.
  • You break your finger hitting it very hard with a large hammer putting up a reptile fence
  • You can’t shake hands with a client because you broke your finger hitting it with a hammer when you were putting up a reptile fence… leading to a VERY awkward interaction where the client doesn’t know what to do with his outstretched hand and sort of pats your elbow and then looks horrified with himself
  • You get accused of planting bat droppings in someone’s loft to get more business
  • You’re on the way to a field site and fall in a ditch
  • Your car is FULL of equipment and mud and, frankly, smells
  • You’ve worked 8am till midnight and you’re on the same all week
  • Strangers ask you ‘what’s in the bucket?’ and you just proffer it towards them rather than say the words ‘Thirteen slow worms’ and just watch their reaction
  • You get fourteen ticks in two hours on a bird survey and have to dig them out in the office
  • Your freezer is full of creatures to identify later
  • You have at least one skull, and probably more than one pot of something very questionable on your desk (personally I have a few owl pellets; my colleagues collect bat shit. They are, quite literally, bat shit crazy.)
  • You can not only identify lots of kinds of shit, but get a bit excited about them too. And you don’t even mind if things poop on you. A slow worm pooped on you? Well, that means you caught a slow worm! Congrats!
  • You can sniff out dead animals
  • Your trousers are covered in literal shit but hell, they don’t need washing, they’ll only get more shit on them tomorrow. They’ll be good till the end of the week.
  • Your family text you pictures like ‘Is this a bee? It’s in my garage, what do I do?’ You have become the insect queen.
  • Ditto plants. ‘Is this poisonous?’ YES IT IS put it down!!!
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to leave a literal shit on your boss’ desk (as long as it isn’t your own)

There’s a lot of shit-related things there isn’t there. Ho hum.

Today I found fox poo, deer poo, hedgehog poo, and shrew poo. Nothing has shit on me for at least a week though, but I did get eight ticks in 45 minutes. I do think this job will kill me.

Au revoir pals

Yours shittily

Georgie

 

In Other News

I was back home with my parents, my favourite hilarious people. Dad said he’d cut his finger. Mum had a look and it’s a fair decent slice, and she said it looked dirty.

I said “I got a deep one yesterday and it was so dirty I thought I’d wake up to a disgusting infection.”

Dad said, “Have you had your tetanus?”

I said, “Yes, have you?” He said, “Yes, a long time ago!”

“So how did you do yours?” I asked him.

“Oh, well, the fire brigade doctor came round and we queued up and all got the – ”

He didn’t get the rest of it out as me and mum drowned his voice with our laughter.

Pro life = pro death

Hallooooo

Today we visit the cheeriest of topics: abortion. And be warned, it’s a long one.

I think ‘pro life’ and ‘pro choice’ are misnomers. To me there are only ‘pro life’ and ‘pro death’ arguments… but probably not the way round you’d assume.

The self-identified ‘pro-life’ camp doesn’t seem to mind women dying.

And the self-identified ‘pro-choice’ side is allowing those women to live.

There are people who would immediately take issue with that and argue that abortion kills babies. Well, it doesn’t, does it, really. It isn’t a viable life yet. I liked the analogy someone set sail upon the internet about whether in a fire you’d rescue a whole tray of embryos or the crying toddler in the corner, and no one on this earth would pick the tray of embryos.

I’m not saying foetuses aren’t important or valued. They are.

And because someone would probably ask me in a real-life conversation, no, I don’t think I could personally get one (unless it was rape and then I think I would) BUT HERE’S THE THING.

It’s not about me. Or you. Or any individual and what they would or wouldn’t do.

We don’t all have identical ethics, circumstances, dilemmas, and desperations. We are humans.

Women’s bodies should not be a political battleground. They should not be weaponised against women themselves. These laws are a form of pure control. Women’s bodies should be nobody’s business but theirs and whoever they choose to share it with.

Men make these laws. 68% MPs in the UK are men. Men hold 77% government offices in the USA. In fact, out of 200+ countries in the world, only two have more women in political offices than men: they are Bolivia at 53% women, and Rwanda at 64% women. (The whys and wherefores of this are one for another day, but perhaps a simplified contributor might be that women have to have the babies. And they are made to have the babies. And then there are no support systems in place to re-route post-birth. Well, why should there be, that’s biology right? Women have the babies and then look after them! Except, wait, we’ve managed to lap biological difficulties in every other fucking aspect haven’t we, look at the phones in your hand and the Viagra for your dick and the rockets on the moon and tell me we can’t come up with a solution to shared childcare I DIGRESS).

So, these men, anyway, they don’t know or care about a woman’s biology. They don’t care that loads of women often have late periods. They don’t care that some women might only get one every six weeks, or might be on birth control that usually stops them getting periods altogether and one egg just slipped through the net. They want to force women to bear children, which is a tool of subjugation as old as time.

The really fun part is, it does take two to make a baby. So where’s the political battleground for men’s bodies? Oh wait

https://www.mic.com/articles/95402/one-chart-shows-all-the-times-politicians-decided-to-regulate-men-s-bodies-in-2014

here is a fun graphic for that!

In 2014, legal restrictions proposed to regulate women’s bodies in the USA: 468.

Read that again. ONE YEAR. IN 2014. FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT. IN ONE COUNTRY.

Not all of these passed, sure, but they were proposed in actual government to tell women what to do with their own bodies.

And legal restrictions imposed on men’s bodies?

ZERO.

Something here really doesn’t fit for me.

(Point: yes loads of this focuses on America, for two reasons: one, excellent data availability, and two, it’s one of the few western developed nations to still cling to this medieval attitude in law.)

Ok, so a woman has to grow the thing, but they don’t spontaneously appear. And last time I checked, ‘contraception is a responsibility for both people’ is said A LOT.

And here’s another thing: the men responsible for pushing these bills through really are all about control. I’ll tell you for why…

They don’t mind when the boot is on the other foot, as long as they still have control.

Tennessee Republican representative Scott DesJarlais pressured his mistress (ooh so extramarital sex as well! Bravo!) into ending her pregnancy when he’s supported a national ban on abortion. AND – HIS WIFE, TOO!! And he used to be a doctor and slept with several of his patients. Sounds a real nice guy who definitely has your best interests at heart, doesn’t he?

Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania also had an affair, and texts were made public in which she told him: “you had zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.” Ouch.

Scott Lloyd, a human garbage patch who somehow got the gig of Head of Office of Refugee Resettlement in the US, removed abortion and contraceptive services from refugees and personally blocked a 17-year-old refugee who was a victim of rape from getting an abortion. And, oh yeah, paid for his ex-girlfriend to get one.

Elliot Broidy works for the Republican National Committee and raises funds for the party because of it’s ‘pro-life’ stance AND paid the woman he had an affair with to keep silent about her abortion, organised by Michael Cohen, interesting.

Could go on.

So the thing is, these stupid fucking badger merkins KNOW that there are circumstances where an abortion is the best option BUT NOT FOR YOU NO. Only for them. Because in super-Bible-belt-sinless-raging-white-Christian America I guess you only go to hell for shit if other people find out?? These people have no religion, no faith. They are poisonous. They use religion as a tool for control and coercion. Nothing more. They are toxically hypocritical. They do not care about the lives of babies. They care about the lives of women being corralled. They care about control. This does come down to men believing they have a right to control women.

They. Do. Not.

So, contraception. Logically, then, to reduce abortion rates you would support contraception. But no, these blithering jizzmongers don’t want that, either, removing vast swathes of Planned Parenthood funding and overseas aid for any organisations which are even connected to abortion providers (as any organisation having anything to do with contraception usually does).

So what, then? I guess they are trying to encourage abstinence? In their good Christian ways?

Well, we all know that statistically, abstinence until marriage is doomed to fail, and you’d think these raccoon giblets would know that better than most, but apparently not.

Here’s a link to a scientific paper which proves a positive correlation between abstinence-only education and … hahahahaha… pregnancy and STI increase.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194801/

“These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S.” So they can fuck right off with that one.

And personal responsibility? Knowing that sex can lead to a lifelong commitment? Well here is some news, no contraceptive method is 100% effective. So I guess no intimacy OH WAIT WE ALREADY DECIDED THAT WAS BULLSHIT sorry. It just doesn’t work. And this whole women-don’t-have-sex-then thing completely ignores the fact women are also people and enjoy sex and want to be intimate with the person they love. And I bet the people who sit on their high horses banning abortion are exactly the sort of men who would pressure women into something and then disappear into the sunset.

Because, another argument then: well, have the kid, and get support.

But saying a father should support his offspring is very different to it actually happening. There are no guarantees.

Take me for example. I’m 25. I work a just-above minimum wage job on a one-year contract at unholy hours. I live in a friend’s spare room. I have little savings and no personal space. My partner lives currently 2000 miles away. I live 200 miles from the rest of my family. I have nothing of my own except a very tiny car. And, when we’re in the same place, I’m sexually active. With one method of contraception. I guess to some that would be ‘reckless behaviour’ then. Because there is no way on this planet I could have a baby in this situation. I’d have to quit my job, move back in with my parents and put a huge burden on them, I would lose my independence, any progress in my career, chance of improving that or saving to have a baby at a better time, I would feel so trapped and desperate and alone. So I guess by that logic I should just not have sex then. Ever.

I feel safer knowing there would be a way out, if I ever needed one. I hope I don’t. But until you’re in that situation, you will never know. And you cannot prescribe something like that to another person. You just can’t. It’s not your body, your life, your pain or suffering.

Next argument: so give it up for adoption. This completely ignores the physical and mental trauma or going through childbirth, bonding, and then giving up a baby and never seeing it, never knowing. I can’t say what’s what, it isn’t my place, but for some people, a termination of a non-viable embryo which isn’t really alive yet is an easier option to live with.

We haven’t even touched on the ravages of pregnancy. According to the NHS, ‘it’s common for women to experience mental ill health’ in pregnancy. COMMON. Maybe for some people, that is just not an option. If it’s something you have struggled with your entire life and spent thirty years trying to build, imagine watching your existence crumble away in a single minute.

And not to mention pregnancy can be deadly. It’s all right those ‘some exceptions’ people – that’s OK if the risks are identified. But just carrying a baby has severe risks. Maybe some people just cannot face what pregnancy can do to a body – from permanent disability or illness, right down to death. It’s terrifying. This is not an experience that law should be able to enforce.

I can’t imagine those not-so-quite-anti-abortion men previously mentioned standing up to volunteer, if they could, can you?

Personally, I quite enjoy the videos of dudes hooked up to electrodes to simulate labour.

Another argument: get rid of abortion in law and it won’t happen. I’ve never, ever understood this. The people who peddle this shit are like flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers. This isn’t an experiment or a practice run. In the whole of human history, abortion has only been legal ANYWHERE for a maximum of 99 years (personally I’m surprised it’s that long! – and where!). As far as I can tell (wikipedia), Soviet Russia was the first country to legalise abortion and put it under state control, in 1920! Lenin cited economic and social factors post-war and post-revolution which made it extremely difficult to support children, and he apparently recognised that banning it didn’t make it go away.

Because abortion has been around for as long as humans have. According to WHO, abortion rates are similar in countries where abortion is legal and where it is not. Natural abortifacients have always been known. And of course, the one which springs to most sane people’s minds, is the image of a woman in a darkened room with dirty instruments and blood on the floor. So many women die or are damaged for life through back street abortions. They die from internal bleeding or sepsis. They lose their wombs to necrosis. In 2006, the figures were that 70,000 women a year die from backstreet abortions – and that’s what we know about. These figures are from Abortion Rights UK/The Guardian.

Making abortion legal doesn’t increase abortion rates. It makes the abortions that would happen anyway safe.

I am not here to debate when life begins. But 90% abortions in the world take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Only 1.6% abortions in the UK happen after 20 weeks and these are almost entirely due to foetal abnormalities which would be terminal.

I would unequivocally support my mother’s right to choose whether or not she had me.

The ‘pro-life’ people are nowhere to be seen when it actually comes to supporting life. They are not there for the nappy changes and the sleep deprivation, with the funds for the costs of a baby, with a magic cure for physical and mental pains, with jobs which match your pay and qualifications after having a baby, or of course a cure for not wanting a child at all.

There is no analogue between women who want a baby and can’t, and women who can but don’t want one. Every woman on this earth is an individual and should be able to choose for a start what her body goes through (pretty basic idea, to me) but it’s comparing apples to spaceships to insult these groups by comparing them to each other. A guilt trip helps precisely no-one. It does nothing for the woman who wants a baby, but makes the hardest decision anyone could ever make even harder.

And why do women choose to have abortions? Statistically the most common reason given in the US is ‘negative impact on a woman’s life’ which is very broad. Second is financial instability. Thirdly is relationship problems and unwillingness to be a single mother.

That first reason encompasses an entire woman’s life, remember. Less than half of girls who have a baby before they’re 18 graduate high school. Think how that leaves your entire future. Not even a high school diploma. How are you going to earn enough to support a baby? How are you going to earn enough to support yourself over the course of your life? What are your career options? Any skills, talents or dreams you may have had are gone. Your ability to provide a better life for another child in the future is affected. These girls are more likely to become trapped in dependent and abusive relationships. How can a girl go from having to put up her hand up to go to the bathroom one day, but being responsible for a tiny helpless human the next? And in trying to take the decision away from them, we are enforcing the paradox that they aren’t mature enough to decide to have a termination, but they are mature enough to bring up a child??

Other reasons frequently cited include: I don’t want any more children; stigma around sexual activity; my partner wants me to; and the health of the woman or the foetus. 1% abortion seekers are victims of rape. Think about that. It doesn’t sound like much but it fucking is.

89% women gave at least two reasons. 72% gave at least three.

Women do not seek abortions lightly. The myth that abortion is used as another form of birth control is precisely that – a myth. There is nowhere in the world where abortion is entirely unrestricted. You cannot just turn up, as though you were getting a haircut, like some people seem to believe.

OK, I think I’ve got everything off my chest that I needed to say. It’s taken me 2600 words and a colourful search history, but here we are. There should be a legal opportunity. The rest is up to the individual. I do not believe there is an ethical case for the banning or undue restriction of abortion. It will still happen, it will just be deadlier and more secretive and more shameful and cause untold pain.

I’m going to leave it there.

Yours very definitively,

Georgie.

 

In Other News… A Difficult Essay To Follow With Comedy…

Errrr…. Well,  I once farted on a bat survey and the bat detector picked it up, does that count?

So it turns out silent farts actually aren’t silent. I found it so funny I had to text my best friend and she replied with ‘Good luck to whoever tries to identify that one’ and I creased.

Your Point

Hello dear friends

I feel like I last wrote maybe a week ago but it’s five or six now. In spite of that feeling, much has happened.

I spent two weeks in Lebanon, for a start, which is a beautiful country and you should all visit. It has Jeita grotto and Balou-Balaa which should be on the wonders of the world list. The cities are intense and the food is wonderful and the mountains beyond imagination. Go.

I wrote most of this in the middle of a workday last week, because inspiration strikes at inappropriate times. I’ll leave the context to your imagination, but it was an office day and not a lizard-catching day, I’ll give you that much.

I feel like a wild animal that’s learned to put on a shirt, but I am half an inch from clawing my way out and diving into the woods. I feel so constrained and the seemingly endless ticking of the clock and repeated days and structure and timetables is slowly suffocating me…

We’re told in theory to practice critical thinking when in practice, any initiative, any deviation from the expected and taught, is discouraged or punished. THIS is the right answer. Through school, through work, under teachers and curricula and bosses and clients. Education is failing to keep up with society and life, becoming irrelevant with startling speed in today’s world, and the science in the office failing to keep up with science in the hallowed and protected halls of research, where access to knowledge is not a right, but a tax. And then the homogeneity of society is puzzled at, despite a social and cultural training throughout our entire lives funnelling us into tools rather than toolmakers, lasering us towards one tiny speck of light in the far distance, whittling away any unnecessary personality or individuality on the way whose attentions might cause you to deviate for half a second towards something you actually enjoy.

Uniformity is enforced, sparks of light flickering out wherever you look, forcing people into the boxes of greater good where they spend miserable lives, like a dog on a treadmill running towards the treat dangling in front of it, never able to reach it. The more we claw upwards, the further away our aspirations move.

My boss questioned my ‘motivation’ a few weeks ago, I think groundlessly; but either way, it made me think of what I have so far done with my life. I did everything the way we were told. I answered all the questions right. I sat the exams. I was funnelled through that precise school system. I went to university. And then I went back to university. I had a dream in mind, a career. I did everything we’re ‘supposed’ to do, things we are taught will make your life better, will give you the satisfaction society insists is just out there, waiting, as long as you make the right choices. And then at the end of it you will achieve the homogeneous dream: get a good job, save up, get married, buy a house, have kids, work cheerfully, retire comfortably, die happy.

And at the age of 25, sitting in a plain office, staring up at a double monitor showing me reports and maps, the realisation hit me: all we are promised does not exist. It is a mirage. I am 25, living in someone’s spare room with not a legal leg to stand on, on minimum wage, having survived on a shoestring alone for seven years, with almost no savings to show for ten years in part- or full-time employment (hi university), debt which is undoubtedly larger than any difference in my gross lifetime earning capacity between university attendance or lack of, my partner is stuck 2000 miles away in a bureaucratic sinkhole, my family is 200 miles away, and I have a distinct black hole feeling that All Is Not Quite Right. All dripping under the umbrella of Brexit, which lies under the marquee of Global Climate Disaster (yep, it’s always there, above every single one of us, and ready to collapse on our heads).

So I suppose if my motivation was suffering, it’s probably… just… that.

My boyfriend called me a nihilist after my last blog post. After googling what that is, I think he might, sometimes, be right. Not all the time. But there’s definitely a streak of it if you push the right buttons.

Yours gloomily,

Georgie
In Other News, It’s Not All Work And No Play

My office is not a bad one to work in, if you have to have one at all. We have a laugh, and we have a dog (improves it 1000%).

Someone’s got hold of the office number and has called several times asking for the boss, let’s call him Steve, as ‘he’s won a prize!’ You’ve never heard anyone so excitable as this conwoman.

‘That’s funny as I’ve never entered anything,’ Steve humphed, the first time.

Now, our favourite thing to do with these calls is put them on loudspeaker…

“Hello, is Steve there please? This is Louise calling from WhateverTheFuck Competition, he’s won a prize!”

As a matter of fact, Steve himself usually answers the phone.

“Steve?” he says. “Oh – oh yeah – I’ll just go get him for you.” He then balances the phone in the furthest corner of the office while we snigger quietly and uncontrollably.

After about five minutes of hilarity, he then picks the phone up again and says, “Hello? Is there someone on this line?”

“Hi, yeah!” Excitable Louise gasps on loudspeaker. “Is that Steve?”

“Oh – Steve – he’s around, I’ll just go and find him.” And Steve abandons the phone again.

And repeat. She stayed on the line twenty minutes once. Three repeats.

How we laughed.

The black smoke ring of death

Dear all,

I have what my parents would probably term some extreme opinions. I can’t help it. Having spent coming up for eight years studying purely the brewing death of the planet and everything on it, I do feel as though I have some insight as to precisely what is going to stab us in the face.

I have really mixed feelings about having children, for example. I mean, I’m a bit scared of them, and I was in the office with my boss’ kid the other day and I kept opening my mouth like a fish and closing it again because seriously, what do you even say to a five-year-old? All I could think of was ‘Nice pirate hat’ and I don’t blame him for ignoring that. I didn’t know what to say to five-year-olds when I was one, never mind now. But they seem all right, and it would probably be great to have a baby one day, and I think I’d be good with teenagers. Anyway, I’ve digressed – because they seem all right and everything, and that’s an experience I’d quite like one day, maybe. But how can I, when I know the shitstorm of injustice that would claw them from the womb? How can you possibly avoid the fact that a) the world you brought them into is not the world you were brought into and b) simply by living, they are going to make the whole situation worse and basically kill themselves faster. That is HORRIBLE, isn’t it? But it’s the truth. The more people, the faster the resources run out. Resources including space, food and water. But also ecosystem services like waste cycling, oxygen production, soil formation. How do you expect your kids to be living in fifty years’ time? Do you think it’ll be like now? Because I’ll tell you for nowt, I expect to be foraging for edible plants and catching diseased rabbits in a desolate moonscape. Hope you’re bringing your kids up with some good survival skills for when the oceans are acidic and barren, the antibiotics are useless, fuel has run out, martial law run by oligarchs has taken over, the sky is grey, and the vast parts of Africa, Asia and Oceania are uninhabitable desert. Ta-ta.

Also, news item on the damage to economies by steering away from primary industry, mining, plastics etc. I said, basically, who cares if you lose jobs in those industries? Because if you don’t lose jobs in those industries, you’re gonna lose the entire planet, and last time I checked, we don’t have ANY industries running anywhere else. My dad was like “HOW CAN YOU BE SO CALLOUS AND SHORT-SIGHTED, PEOPLE NEED THOSE JOBS TO LIVE” I’m like “Yeah but how they gonna live when CO2 is 1000ppm, temperatures are 5O higher which doesn’t sound much but will desertify huge areas, melt the permafrost and accelerate more global warming by releasing vast amounts of trapped methane, the oceans are acidic and full of plastic, all the fish are dead, humans and livestock are the only animals left on earth and they’re all starving together, the ice caps have melted and drowned vast swathes of coast around the world along with ocean expansion by heat, the coral reefs have dissolved, and growing food is impossible on most of the earth’s land surface – BECAUSE WE HAD TO PRESERVE THOSE JOBS IN THE OIL INDUSTRY …” (and that’s just a tiny little hors d’oeuvres to the encyclopaedia of death heading our way)… like, what. He said, you just don’t understand the economy, it’s not an economic possibility to shut down and *added bonus ding ding* we need population growth to sustain the economy too. Whatever, probably time we switched up the economy then??? bye.

There is no point having an economy that is literally on self-destruct??!?!!?!! Huh?!

Fuck the economy. Fuck politicians who can’t see further than the next election. Fuck companies that fuck over the planet, stuff their pockets with money and run off leaving kids starving and dying of dehydration. Fuck manufacturers that fill the planet with items used for one minute that last for a thousand years.  Fuck the people who say nothing can be changed, fuck the ‘business as usual’ model, fuck the establishment that has tried for decades to lead society blindfolded into a self-made apocalypse and told them they have no choice. Fuck the power dynamics, education bias and wealth inequality in this world. Fuck the system that says the biggest change we can make is stop buying plastic water bottles and switch to energy saving bulbs as if the entire world isn’t pumping out an INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENT-SUBSIDISED black smoke ring of death.

Fuck. Them. All.

With love from a ‘conservationist’ (which should be renamed ‘observer of destruction and desolation’ cos I tell you what, we’re not much good at holding the tide back with mops against the rich fat cats and companies surfing the fucking tidal waves)

Georgie

In Other News

Um yeah it is hard to follow that with something light-hearted tbh. My friend told me this week he was snogging a girl at a party, drunk, and passed out literally in her lap, which made me laugh a lot. He’s training to be a vicar, so there’s hope for the church yet, then.

“You haven’t lived.”

Howdy, friends and neighbours, near and far.

When I was, I think, nine years old – so about 2003 – a girl in my class called Emily said something to me that still reoccurs to me now and then (and now).

A lot of the children were talking about their PlayStations and what games they liked to play. Emily said to me, “What do you like to play?”

I said, “I’ve never been on a PlayStation.”

She stared at me, agog, and I still remember the weirdly adult tone of her voice, dripping in condescension, as she said, “You’ve never been on a PlayStation?! You haven’t lived.” And all the other children started laughing at me.

And in context, this was an alarmingly long time ago now, and from my somewhat obscured vision I think it’s got a lot worse since then – my friends who are teachers say children are addicted to phones and Facebook and Instagram, play Call of Duty from the age of six, have Xboxes in their rooms and PlayStation 4s in the living room and iPads to shut them up and smartphones to text their little friends.

As a nine-year-old, I knew smart-arse little Emily was wrong. Now, I think she is even wrong-er.

I said to Emily, “I’d rather play outside or make something,” or something along those lines.

Emily was not an unadventurous child, but she was very cosseted and had severe only-child syndrome. But this is not really about Emily; it is about a whole world of Emilies who will grow up with her world view of what we consider ‘life’. How we create relationships and sustain them. How we communicate and relate to others. What we consider relaxation. The stimulation our brains get used to, and consequently the stimulants our brains learn to reject. The value of boredom, and the creativity it inspires. The stimulation our bodies receive and the kicks we get from this, or the lack of. Our knowledge of the world around us. The way we form opinions and, outside any classroom, the way we educate ourselves, and the subjects we are exposed to.

I remember even as a nine-year-old thinking of everything I’d rather do than play on a PlayStation. And thinking of all the things I considered having lived, which differed so alarmingly from my peers’ even at such a young age. When I was nine years old, I’d been to seven countries (two of them twice, because we have family abroad). I’d swum in clear warm oceans and poked quokka poo and cuddled a koala and shared a paddling pool with my German cousins. I remember my dad carrying me back to a hotel room on his shoulder under a silent European sky, walking down the middle of a deserted cobbled street, my eyes barely open and my cheek pressed against the soft silky fabric of his shirt, and he ducked beneath grapevines to unlock the door. I had listened to my English and German family clinking wine glasses and speaking softly in two languages while I tried to fall asleep beside an open window. I had helped to put up a tent and camped in many places. I had fallen off swings and got a mouthful of grass, and rolled down a hill and got covered in goose poo, and fallen over in a cow pat on my walk home from school one day. I dressed up my brother, painted his nails, and played let’s pretend. Our imaginary games were incessant. In France when I was seven, my dad and my brother and I explored an abandoned, ‘haunted’ gîte in France and I was really frightened, although I pretended not to be. That house was frequented by a dog called Dodi which belonged to the next farm, and was my first experience of the love of a dog, as he would follow us around and lean against us and stare up with huge blue eyes into our delighted faces. There was a huge toadstool on the oak tree in front of the house, and I would play it like a drum, fascinated by the hollow sound of something that looked so soft but was as hard as the tree it sprouted from. I swam in rivers and stuck my head under waterfalls, in England and abroad. I tried body-boarding when I was eight, and I was really bad at it. At four, I had been permitted to cross the road alone while we were staying in a tiny shed-like pre-fab in Perth and I would run to the park, where I made fast friends with girls I had never seen before and never would again, and I taught them British playground clapping songs and they taught me Australian ones. I had already climbed mountains and run across stepping stones, and gone pond-dipping and rockpooling and fossicking. I would ride my bike up and down the street with my brother, and in the snow we would run to the park and build snowmen taller than ourselves. We would climb trees and roam and get muddy. If we were out with my mum, she’d climb them with us. We played football in the back garden – until my brother kicked the ball a little too enthusiastically and smashed the shed window right above my head, but we didn’t get in trouble, because we’d been playing nicely and it was an accident. Dad gave us an old tow rope to make ourselves a swing – he didn’t make it for us. We hung it in an old oak in the park, and when we were only slightly older we used to disappear for hours up that tree, my brother trying to find the most dangerous stunts he could pull, while I nestled in the crook and wrote poetry. We used to make disgusting ‘potions’, largely out of mud and grass and water with occasional slugs or snails. And when we were inside, we were reading or writing or drawing. We read books to make us laugh, learn, think, explore. We wrote (terrible) poems and made up stories and plays. We had pets – degus and giant rabbits – and we learned about their needs and feelings and the love of a creature that cannot communicate with words, and how to take care of them. My mum would teach us to bake, to write, to co-operate, to clean, to take care of ourselves, but she also had the best fun – she was creative, funny, and encouraged every hobby and interest. My dad taught me to mix cement at the age of seven, and let me use a hammer and nails as soon as I could hold them securely. He gave me a Swiss army knife when I was ten, which I mostly used for carving my name as high as possible in the apple tree at the bottom of the garden, and a Leatherman when I was about fifteen, and he showed us how to light fires with a magnifying glass when we were much too young (to his regret – no, we never had an accident, but we did graffiti our names into the shed and the yard-brush by burning).

What skills does an Xbox or a PlayStation teach you? Do they teach you love, compassion, co-operation, friendship, and a love of nature and how to care for it? Do they teach you a love of exploration, of sights and smells and sounds of an unfamiliar place and how to treasure them? Do they teach you to see from others’ perspectives, to listen, to learn from other people? Do they instil in you a love of learning and a love of the outdoors, where you are happiest and healthiest if you give it a chance? Do they teach you real-world risk taking and responsibility, dealing with the consequences of your actions, taking care of others, using your time responsibly, and developing skills which will make you a likeable, funny, happy, carefree person who knows how to enjoy time, be productive, reduce stress, and use your body as it was designed?

Was I the one who had never lived, Emily? Or did we just have such opposite views of what life consisted of, and what fast pleasures we could get, even at such a young age?

It scares me that Emily, like me, is an adult now. How much will her worldview have changed, given how it developed? What of everyone else around me? What are we doing to our brains, our hope, our resilience, our focus, determination, compassion, concentration, and our natural connection to our surroundings, and to each other?

This isn’t meant to be a ‘oh look how great I am’ shittiness, and I can’t take any credit anyway, it’s all from my v cool parentals. But I’m just really happy and confident in the skills that sort of outdoor lifestyle brought me. So – happy, yeah sure, … but also … really worried, haha.

Yours wildly,

Georgie

 

In Other News: Romance

Really short one this week. And seeing as it’s Valentine’s tomorrow…

I was sitting with my wonderful boyfriend and things were feeling a little tender. He stared deeply into my eyes.

“Your eyes are like the ocean…” he said, softly, leaning in.

Well, you know me, can’t take anything seriously.

“What, full of shit?” I said, and laughed myself stupid.