Night Nurse: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH

So I realised recently that I’ve been talking a lot about ladies of the night. Let me take a moment to talk about my actual career, the one I spent 2 years training to do: Paediatric Nursing. How’s it going? Well, let me summarise it for you using the power of GIFs.

SEND HELP

I am no longer supernumerary which means that I am officially On My Own. I do my own meds, I have my own patients, I write my own notes. There’s no one behind me to keep track of what I’m doing, no one to countersign things, no one to report to or take the hard patients. One of the students on my ward asked me what it was like and I told her that it felt like someone had taken the training wheels off my bike, then kicked me down a very steep hill.

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten the bike though

My last shift was awful. There were so many acutely ill kids that coming into handover was like…

…and the day didn’t improve from there. At one point we were all in the treatment room, quietly contemplating life/the medication we were meant to give and I was like “Is it too early to retire?” I’m not sure if everyone laughed because they were panicked, tired, or genuinely found me amusing. Some of us, myself included, even had to stay late to write notes. Really makes me wonder what the single, rich Arab princes of the world are doing lately. If anyone knows of any, ask them to get in touch. (Yes, Boy knows about this plan. Yes he is on board. I’m going to hire him as a butler and have a Lady Chatterly-esque tryst).

I’m on a complex ward, and I don’t think it hit me exactly how sick the kids were going to be. Is that a dumb thing to admit? Well I’m admitting it. My last placement was 13 weeks in an emergency department in a District General hospital, which meant most of the kids came in with cuts and bruises and maybe the occasional croup. This ward has kids who have had parts of their BRAIN cut out because that’s the only treatment left for them. This isn’t some paracetamol-and-kiss-the-booboo kind of thing. I knew on an intellectual level that it wouldn’t be easy but it didn’t hit me until my first shift. I hear the call bell in my dreams sometimes.

Perhaps this is why I keep crying? Half the time I’m not even sure why I’m crying. I thought I was having a terrible day so I was going to go home and cry out of exhaustion, but then my preceptor (like a mentor but less hands on) told me I did well so I went home and cried in relief instead? Yesterday I cried because my managers are so kind, the shift before that I cried because a parent thanked me, I cried the other day because the printer stopped working… I’m a mess. The nurses I work with are all so lovely, so guess who cried because I was so glad that everyone was friendly? THIS GIRL DID.

Honestly though, I think I’ll be OK. I’m doing well, I just need to stop being so hard on myself. Like my preceptor said, “If nothing’s broken and no one died, it’s a good shift.” I just need to eat less ice cream and woman up. Grow a womb and all that. I’ll be fine.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go cry because I have laundry to do.

I only wear my uniform and pyjamas, why is this even a THING?

 

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You know what song I really like? Bodak Yellow.

 

I know, surprising right? I’m a nerd whose hobbies include knitting and reading. And yet Bodak Yellow was what I listened to on my way to work on my first shift. It makes me feel like I can conquer anything. Something about the way Cardi B says “LITTLE B**** YOU CAN’T F*** WITH ME IF YOU WANTED TO.” I haven’t got any red bottoms but man, I feel like I’m wearing them when I listen to it.

These expensive, these is red bottoms

By extension I like Cardi B. She seems like a nice, genuine person. She’s worked hard to get where she is, she was in a terrible situation and managed to get out using every asset at her disposal. Bodak Yellow was sitting pretty at the top of the charts for a while, and gurl get it. I’m so proud of her. She don’t gotta dance now, she has made money move.

So it really sucks when I see people being horrible about her past (and women like Blac Chyna and Amber Rose). People get on their high horse and say some really disparaging things about these women because they started off as exotic dancers, strippers or prostitutes, and it really upsets me for several reasons.

First of all, they did what they had to do in the situation they were in. Very few women go to their school’s guidance counsellor and ask for advice on how to write a CV for their local strip club. People do what they gotta do to put food on the table, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads, and stripping pays way better than serving fries at McDonalds (and it’s an easier job to get, McDonalds rejects thousands of people every day). If I had a nice body and needed fast money because there are debts to pay and the landlord’s threatening eviction, I would be on the pole faster than a fireman (and by the way, pole dancing is really hard. You need an insane amount of core muscles and coordination to do anything on it. It takes real work to get good enough to get paid for it, and real athletic ability to make it look as easy as they do. Pole dancing should be an Olympic sport, honestly. #Pole2020 get it trending).

Do what you gotta do

Honestly, I find them pretty inspirational. Unlike Drake, they actually started at the bottom and now they are here. Amber Rose is touting her unique brand of feminism, advocating for sex positivity and for sex workers (who have a pretty dangerous job tbh. The statistics are damaging). People going on about Blac Chyna being a gold-digger when she married Rob Kardashian need to know that our Angela is worth more in terms of investment than he is. She’d have to pay him alimony, HA. Who’s the gold-digger now!

And my girl Cardi is an unapologetic feminist. She paid to go to school, to get out of the hood and to have a better life. Plus, she’s from the Caribbean so I have a bias. Girl do your thang. You worked so hard to be here. People who can’t look at her achievements and react positively need to take several seats. Fair enough if Bodak Yellow isn’t your thing, but she isn’t any less of a person because of her past. In fact her and women like her all over the world who are making better lives for themselves through sex work are as hard-working as any of us and don’t deserve our scorn but our praise. Maybe it’s time we support women instead of tearing them down, hmm?

Anyway, I gotta go. Bodak Yellow just started playing and I have some lyrics to yell at unsuspecting bystanders.

Periodic Confusion

As I lie here in a pool of blood, a tangled mess of hormones and cramps, I wonder vaguely how my ex is doing.

I saw him in public the other day and this was actually my reaction. But that’s another story for another day.

Not that my ex and I are in any way close. If I could go back in time, I’d have stopped our meeting (going back any further would just increase the chances of me, A Black Person, getting murdered anyway), and I only want to see him in the future when I am rich and successful so that I can be petty in an Aston Martin. But the reason why I think of him in these monthly trying times is because he once asked me if there was any way I could “push it out”.

“It???” I, an adult, asked my adult ex-boyfriend circa 2BB (2 years Before Boyfriend).

“Yeah, y’know…. your *stage whisper* period. Can you push it out, like a baby? Or like pooping?”

It has been 4 years since that fool asked me that and I still chuckle heartily at the thought. Sir, you have a sister and a mother. I was your 4th girlfriend. You have access to the internet. Are you seriously asking me this question??????

Dated him for his looks (and because he liked anime)

I’ve seen Twitter conversations and Reddit threads on this very same topic. It seems like there is a significant portion of the population who does not know what 50% of the population get up to monthly. How is this a thing? Who do I have to complain to so that this is fixed? Do non-menstruating folk have a manager I can speak to?

 

I will go to my hairdressers TOMORROW if that’s what it takes

To be fair, this is but a small part of how sucky people are at having The Talk with kids. It amazes me that people can remain woefully ignorant of a whole system of organs in another person just because they don’t have a set themselves. And before you ask, yes, I do know the bits and bobs of men’s bits and bobs. I am a licensed healthcare professional. Also, I have access to Google.

I think that this kind of learning should start early. Kids get curious about the body at a fairly early age (the first time I saw a penis I was about 6, we had come back from the beach and my cousin stripped naked and went to wash himself under the pipe outside. I think there’s a picture of the two of us, we’re at the age where nudity is cute and not a felony). I remember asking what it was and my mother (Number One Stunna OG) told me (cuz the streets ain’t got nothing on Mama D). She never left me hanging on those questions, perhaps because she was a nurse herself, or perhaps because she is a #Gangsta4Lyf. It’s not a hard question to answer. Boys have penises and girls have vaginas (heteronormative I know, but it was the 90s). Some people stand to pee, others do not. Why? That’s how we were made. Cool ok, can I have a snack? Ok sure.

 

Related image

I was a simple kid

OG Don Momma never stopped having the talk with me. As I got older, my mother changed the conversation from the basics of consent (“if someone touches you and you don’t like it, kick them and aim low”) to where babies come from (“when you’re old enough, a man puts his penis in your vagina. But only when you’re older, and you’re ready, and you can pay to take care of a child because my diaper-changing days are over”). When I got my period, my mother pulled up some online encyclopedia and, a little misty-eyed, explained to me that this would be a monthly occurrence so carry lots of pads. When I grew boobs, my mother informed me not to let people touch them without my permission. I overheard the word lesbian and was told it’s when a girl likes a girl romantically. The last time I had the updated version of the talk (V2.5.2) was about 3 weeks ago when I was informed to double up on contraception as I have just started work and I don’t need no babies right now. Lifelong Learning, y’all.

I’m aware that I am lucky. Many people I know are still waiting for their parents to give them the birds and the bees talk, and hey that’s OK! But that is no excuse for ignorance. Non-menstruating people of the world, learn what a uterus is and why we complain about cramps. Understand why I have suddenly become grumpy and spotty, and why it lasts 3-7 days, and why I may start unconsciously rub my chest in public. Wikipedia uses a lot of big, confusing words so if that’s way too much to deal with, ask your local woman. They’re not hard to find, there’s 3.5billion of them in the world. I’m sure one of them will be willing to divulge the secrets of the womb. Just don’t ask her if she’s on her period for whatever reason. She will murder you and you will get no sympathy from me.

Finish Last

I like to think I’m a nice person. I mean, people tell me I’m nice.  And I do things like charity runs and fundraising and I give food to the homeless, and I work with sick kids and knit hats for babies and old people and all sorts. I think this qualifies me as nice. But you know what? I don’t think I’ve ever thought this meant that I was owed anything in return. Cuz, yknow. I’m nice like that.

I’m modest, too

So it fascinates me when I see or hear a guy describe himself as nice, then lament at their lack of romantic success. I am of course speaking from a heterosexual female’s perspective, feel free to tell me if this occurs in other situations too.

After all, bad behaviour is unisex

About 1BB (one year Before Boyfriend) I distinctly remember talking to this guy. It was complicated in the way only millennial dating can be, but I won’t expand on that. Anyway we had this conversation about previous dating history and he said that he had been dumped for being too nice. This angered and confused him. I mean, who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who is nice? Guys like nice girls! Why are women so complicated? Y’all womenfolk don’t know what y’all want! Blahblahblah.

I interrupted him.

“So, are you dating me because I’m nice?”

A pause. “Well, yeah.”

“Only because I’m nice? Not because I’m funny, or clever or because I’ve got a big… ego?”

“Oh. Well yeah, of course.”

“If I had none of that, just niceness, would you be here right now?”

No reply was given. No reply was needed.

And there’s the crux. Niceness is not the only thing anyone is looking for in a partner. Why would it be? Niceness is the bare minimum anyone needs to be a functioning member of society, and even then you don’t need that much of it. You need enough niceness to be kind to the staff at restaurants, and to not cuss out the bus driver if he misses your stop. You don’t need to give to the homeless or run 10k for disabled kids,  although it certainly helps. Niceness is not the price you pay to society to be seen as an attractive person to your chosen gender. In fact, it’s barely the price you pay for people to be nice back.

People can and will ignore you

This is why Nice Guys™ amuse me. I’m sure they have a list of requirements for their potential partners, and did not gravitate towards their victims targets potential mates solely because they saw how much money they have donated to the Red Cross. And yet they get really angsty because their chosen sucker person isn’t appreciative of their actions… or at the very least aren’t appreciative enough to go on a date with them. Double Standards are a helluva drug.

Although once again, I acknowledge that bad behaviour is unisex

Look, I get the frustration. I was an awkward fat kid that became an awkward fat young lady, and dating is hard when you’re awkward and fat. Especially when your beautiful slender nonawkward friends are getting laid left, right and centre. It’s tiring sometimes, trying to be interesting and interested in other people for little to no return. But I have never expected someone to fall on top of me because I help old ladies across the street, and I certainly don’t see why anyone else should. For one’s own benefit, it’s worth learning how to be funny and how to do one’s eyebrows, and how to ask questions and what perfumes make you smell good versus what makes you smell like a locker room at peak time in a budget gym. It stops you from being a Nice Guy™ and helps you become more than just a nice guy.

Or at least a less stabby guy

Night Nurse: Student -> Qualified

I HAVE A JOB.

Well, I mean I got the job in, like March, but I wasn’t writing then so I’m telling you now!

You are looking at at a Band 5 Newly Qualified Paediatric Nurse at… a famous children’s hospital. I’m supposed to up my social media security and become a more ~private~ person, but I really don’t know how the NMC guidelines on social media feels about blogging so I thought I’d ask the RCN.

“I…oh. What an interesting question!”

The RCN also didn’t know what to do with bloggers, it turned out.

Anyway, the end result is that I have to be more private, not say anything offensive and talk to my line manager in case my hospital turns around and says “Hey, we like our nurses to be big on social media!” So away with any photos of me, to be replaced by stock images of Caribbean women…

This is the first picture I got on Google when I typed in “Caribbean People”. I am now Lupita.

… maintain anonymity of anyone I’m in contact with, and do not be slanderous in anyway. Which is fine, as I am *~*lovely*~* (and modest) and wouldn’t hurt a fly anyway.

Other than the necessary aspects of my job that will involve inflicting pain, of course.

New jobs come with big changes, man. In the past week I’ve moved house, gotten my uniforms, posed for my ID badge, gone to a hipster restaurant and eaten a salad with all sorts of “superfoods” in it…. Big changes, man!

I didn’t think I’d like it so much but I really do! If you’re reading this and you’re from the UK, keyworker accommodation is an NHS worker’s best friend. I’m living in the centre of one of the most expensive cities in the world for chump change. My room is big enough to fit all my stuff, my (shared) kitchen is big enough to fit my slow cooker and there’s like 3 toilets. The admin lady who houses people looked really apologetic when she told me about the accommodation, as if she’s never seen the horrors of student accommodation. Compared to some student housing, this is the equivalent of a tiny palace AND the walls are thick enough for me to listen to music at 3am without guilt? SOLD.

So I guess this is it. Student Nurse Me is now Staff Nurse Me. I’m gonna try to write about my experiences as a student and as a staff nurse, but I won’t stick to as rigid a blogging schedule, at least not until I get the hang of having a living wage and being a Real Adult™. So far all I’ve had is induction and meeting new people (all of whom are lovely<3). I’m really enjoying this, guys 🙂

I mean, I’m sure the novelty will wear off when I realise that nurses are paid in pennies but, y’know. Whatever.

Hiatuses and Burnouts

Have you ever been so broke you considered becoming a stripper?

You laugh. I’m not kidding. Serious question. Have you ever looked at your bank balance and thought “I can throw that ass in a circle”? Gotten your bills at the end of the month and wondered if pole dancing classes would be a good investment? Watched a documentary about ladies of the night and fired up Google (incognito window of course) and found yourself…. contemplating?

I’m sure I appeal to a niche market

That’s how broke I am. And that ties in with why I haven’t written in such a long time.

So as you may remember, I’ve been doing a postgraduate in nursing. I decided not to have a part time job because I worked throughout my undergraduate (yes, even on my year abroad) and I didn’t want to do the same thing to myself. Unfortunately that meant that I just didn’t have enough money to support my large-coffee-and-little-sleep lifestyle. So I applied to a bunch of student projects at uni for a little extra cash. I answered surveys, was a participant in research projects, actually DID a research project, and signed up to so many things that I found myself working when I was off from, y’know, work. That is not an easy thing to do and I sorta burned out as a result.

#me_irl

I’m used to burning out, as sad as that sounds. I put a lot on my plate and then realise I’m not that hungry. I was writing my mandatory essays while getting my head examined (FOR SCIENCE) while conducting my own research project while running this blog while running another blog while commuting FOUR HOURS RETURN TRIP and I just couldn’t do it anymore. The breaking point came in July when I tearfully called yet another paid project opportunity saying “I can’t do this. Please don’t make me.”

#also_me_irl

And then I had night shifts, and then I finished my course BUT OH WAIT I had applied for ANOTHER job and also my Real Adult Job™ was starting in a month and I needed to get my accommodation sorted and my annual leave and pack and clean…

Anyway. We are now in September. As it is the start of the academic year, I feel it perfectly acceptable to say “New Year, New Me”. The money I made has gone towards rent and NMC registration so I’m broke, waiting for that Real Adult Job™ paycheck coming in October to a bank near you (well, near me). So I decided I needed to get back to my love of writing and my need for exercise (expanding my mind, deflating my waistline). Work is starting soon (like, in a week) and I’ve got everything lined up. Can’t wait to become a Real Adult™!

I’m not gonna stop googling “how much do escorts make” on incognito though. I like to keep my options open.

I’m a private dancer/dancing for money

 

 

The Trouble With Allies

A few years ago there was a huge earthquake in Haiti. Buildings crumbled, clean water was hard to come by and people were really struggling. And so people in richer countries sent clothes and toys to those in need, out of the goodness of their hearts. Really nice, right?

Well, not really. For one thing, kids in a disaster don’t need teddy bears to hug. They need clean water and food. Most countries around the world have access to clothes (yes, even after natural disasters), and the clothes that were sent were either inappropriate for the climate (tropical people don’t need winter jackets) or poor quality. It also slowed down the actual relief process – planes bringing essential supplies were bogged down or couldn’t land. People’s hearts were in the right place, but their common sense, and therefore wallets, were not. So their help was more of a hindrance. See what I’m getting at?

There’s been a lot of protesting lately. This is great, the people have a right to make their voices heard, and I love a snazzy protest sign or two. But it can be hard to see where protestors are helping the disenfranchised, especially when the protestors are not the disenfranchised people themselves. I mean, I know that their hearts are in the right place, but I wondered about their post-protest actions. Marching is an all-day affair; oppression spans generations. So I guess the question is, how does one be an ally every day?

I’ve come across two schools of thoughts with regards to allies. The first is that the oppressors should help the people who have less privilege than them, and the second being that the oppressed need to help themselves, and the oppressors need to check themselves. I’ve seen this in Facebook arguments and on blogposts and in real life, and it actually kind of amuses me in a sad sense. I mean, people who think that being an ally means that they should help at all costs are so… earnest. Their placards are so glittery, their voices are so loud, their selfies so full of hope. And if I’m honest, I personally appreciate the support. With a little guidance, I think there’s real potential there.

But the thing about privilege is that it doesn’t just go away because you want it to. And when you’re more likely to be heard than the oppressed, you run a real risk of overstepping your place and the people who need to be heard continue to be ignored. I’m a firm believer in checking your own people, and I try my best to do that. I’m a heterosexual cis woman, and that is a privilege in itself, so I try to point out things that other cishet people say that may be harmful. I cannot speak as an LGBT+ person, but I can listen to them and relay the message to those who are hard of hearing. Similarly, as a black woman, I don’t necessarily need a white person talking above me, but it’d be really helpful if said white person turned to her racist uncle and said “hey actually that’s really harmful thinking, can you not?” They’ll get it a lot faster if they hear it from someone like them.

Let Uncle Chad know!

I think a lot of allies get really hurt when they get told that they’re not being helpful. Like the charity organisations, it’s quite hard to tell someone who’s just “trying to be nice” that niceness doesn’t fill bellies or fix problems. Just like how you can’t fix earthquakes with a teddy bear, you can’t fix oppression with earnestness. It’s tiresome having to deal with other people’s hurt feelings on top of the actual problems that need addressing, and allies need to learn to check themselves before their feelings take over the actual task at hand. It’s an ongoing struggle but it’s a worthwhile one too.

Change is slow, but it’s effective when we all work together. The wonderful thing about allies is that they’re born with a megaphone in their hand. They  just need to figure out which way to point it.

In Defence of Celebrities

I used to hate Kim Kardashian. I don’t often hate people, but edgy teenage me hated her with a passion. “Why on earth is she famous? She does NOTHING. OMG SHE’S EVERYWHERE. SHE ISN’T EVEN THAT PRETTY. AND HER FAMILY OMG WHYEVENISSHEFAMOUSICAN’TBELIEVE-”

You know what changed that stream of vitriol? Netflix.

Once I had access to something that I could easily watch for 24hrs, I realised how easy it was to not see Kim K and her Klan of Karacters. And then it occurred to me that in reality, she’s a woman trying to live her life. We’re not all that different, she has a family that is crazy but loves her, just like I do. She has a nice butt, so do I. She likes shopping, so do I. She just has a lot more money than I do and a camera on her when she shops (Kim, you should get Amazon Prime. Stepping over paparazzi to get to the fitting room must be pretty tiring.)

From then on I stopped hating on celebrities just cuz they’re famous. At the end of the day they are people doing a job, and while I can certainly side-eye something specific they’ve said or done, I’ve started to think of them the same way I would think about anyone. It can be a little hard to do that when they’re so absurdly rich and doing things so different to what you’re doing, so I’ve found that an easy way to stay empathetic when seeing a headline is to remove all identifying factors that shows that a celebrity is involved. For example: “Man declines job based on differing principles between himself and another man” is a little less polarizing than “Ewan McGregor snubs Good Morning Britain interview following Piers Morgan row“. After all, most people can agree that if you afford to maintain your principles, then you should, right?

The thing is, even if you disagree with someone quitting on principle, I can accept that. What I find difficult to accept  is when people say “Oh they should just shut up and do their jobs.” I mean… they’re entitled to an opinion too. Just because they have a bigger platform than you and your 250 facebook friends, doesn’t mean that they aren’t free to express ideas and opinions, and in some cases they’re in an even better place to express them than we are! I have my opinions on politics in America, but I don’t live there, and can’t vote there. If Meryl Streep, who is an American citizen, has had 4 children who are American citizens and lives in America wants to comment on America, then who am I (British Caribbean living in London) to grumble? It’s not like she stopped in the middle of The Devil Wears Prada to deliver a speech. And if it really bothers you that someone cares enough about something to talk about it, then maybe the issue is with you, not with them.

Something that horrifies me is when people take time out of their day to wish ill on someone just because they’re famous. Last year, armed thieves broke into a woman’s hotel room, tied her up, hurt her and stole her things, and apparently she deserved it because she’s Kim Kardashian. She must have been traumatised, she went low profile, her husband dropped what he was doing to go to her, and yet it serves her right. Really? She is a human being. Disapprove of her moneymaking methods but no one deserves to be held at gunpoint , tied up and robbed. Like I said before, she’s a woman like me. She’s a human being. She’s a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife. Surely a little empathy is deserved?

In other celebrity news, a man recently found out his son has cancer, but people asked why should we care just because he’s Michael Buble. I don’t think the point is to care about his kid more just because he’s famous, I think the point is to show a little sympathy for someone who found out that their loved one is suffering from a life-threatening illness. People who say “Oh well this happens to normal people all the time, why should we care more???” are the worst. I doubt many of those people regularly give to charities, or regularly sign petitions or march or are activists or fundraisers, yet when a celebrity story comes along they all of a sudden demand to know why people care about this person when there are starving children in Africa to care about. Instead of expending energy on social media attempting to silence people with your false moral high ground, have you done something to help the social ills of the world you’re using as a weapon in this argument? Because if you’re only bringing up other people suffering in the comment section of a Buzzfeed article, then you’re not actually helping anyone.

It is perfectly possible to care for celebrities and for the rest of the world. But if you really don’t care about pop culture, then that’s ok too, providing you 1) actually care about something and 2) don’t bash people for caring about pop culture. As someone who is looking forward to more Destiny’s Children being born (Red Rose and Yellow Sunflower FTW), I’m also pretty invested in the rest of the world.  So before you post that meme, or write that comment, or tweet that tweet, maybe consider saving your energy and expend it to somewhere useful. Here, I’ll start you off.

Give a little, folks

LGBTQ-I-Slay

Did I ever tell you about the first time I heard the word Lesbian? No? Ok storytime.

I came home after summer camp one day and went to my parents, who seemed to know every word and would answer any question: “Mum, Dad, what’s a lesbian?”

My dad, who, despite his religious tendencies (or lack thereof) was still in many ways a conservative Caribbean man, bristled. “Listen here young lady-“.

But my mum interrupted him. “Why do you want to know?”

“A boy was troubling my friend, so I told him to go away because she doesn’t like him and he called us lesbians.” My parents looked at each other.

“Bring the dictionary and look it up. Tell us what you’ve read.”

So I looked it up, read it out and then asked “What, like how men and women get married?” My parents nodded. “Oh ok. Well I’m not one, but I’d rather marry my friend than that boy, he’s annoying… Oh by the way, what’s a male chauvinist pig?”

Biting the inside of their cheeks, they spelled it out to me as I looked it up. “Why do you want to know?”

“Because that’s what I called him after he called me a lesbian.”

Even as a kid, I took a take-no-prisoners approach to ignorance.

The first time I remember actually meeting a lesbian was not too long after that. A brilliant spoken word poet named Staceyann Chin visited St Lucia, and my mum, in her mysterious ways, scored two free tickets to watch her perform. I do not remember much of what she said (I think the word nipple was used, which made me giggle because hey, I was 10), but I do remember a pause between her poems when she looked out at the audience, her face lovely and humorous yet there was a shade of sadness to it I hadn’t noticed before. “You know, I can perform my poems all over the world, I can even perform my poems the next island over, but I cannot perform them in my own home country because of fear.”

I am, as far as I know, a heterosexual woman. I say “as far as I know” because I’m keeping myself open for Beyonce should she come my way, and because I might one day meet a woman that changes my view on my own sexuality. I am in a relationship now, but who’s to say that I won’t end up with someone different to while away my twilight years and who’s to say that the someone else won’t be a woman? We are prettier and smell nicer. Sorry, current boyfriend. I like your smell. Smells like clean linen and testosterone. But if Beyonce came up to either of us and asked for a concubine, the deal was we’d leave each other for her. It is what it is.

My body is ready, B

But growing up in a culture that justified homophobia with religion always perplexed me. I always used to wonder if I had missed something growing up agnostic, for I was told that God was love and Jesus died for all our sins and we were to treat others as we would like to be treated, and that’s why I should renounce my heathen ways and join the fold. Yet being gay was seen as an abomination, a great sin that condemned people to Hell. This made no sense to me, especially when I took the ambitious step to read the Bible cover to cover and discovered about 600 sins ranging from “do not covet thy neighbour’s wife” (fair enough) to “do not eat shellfish” (Lobster is incredible and if you live on an island that’s crawling with crabs and crayfish, it would be impractical not to eat them). As far as I could ascertain, God was meant to be love. But then I suppose just because God is love doesn’t mean his people are going to be.

This is something on a list of things that I think people of colour and feminists need to work on. We know what it’s like to be considered less because of something we cannot change, and any heterosexual person should be able to say that they were born liking the opposite sex. It’s not a great stretch to say that homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality, all the letters of the rainbow, are traits that people can be born with as well. Where is our compassion? Why do LGBT+ children continue to become estranged from their families for living life the way they were born to, often becoming homeless in the process? How do we not recoil in horror whenever a music-maker of our culture sings about violence against “batty boys”? How do we justify doing unto others what we would not do unto ourselves?

I for one am proud to say I am an ally. I support the LGBT+ community not just because I have loved ones who are a part of it but because we are all humans just trying to get by on this rock speeding through the universe. We deserve to live and thrive regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, belief system or nationality. This year I am challenging everyone who’s thrown a proverbial stone in the name of homophobia to look at their own sins before doing so. Homosexuality isn’t a sin, but your judgemental ass is (Matthew 7:12).

It’s a big enough planet for all of us to be fabulous and slay all day. Thus it is written in the name of Godney, the Holy Spearit. Gaymen.

2016 2.0

2016 has been a dumpster fire. You know that. I know that. It’s not been great on an individual level, nor a global one, and it’s worth recognising that else how will we be able to fix anything?

However, I’ve decided to do a master post of all the things that have made me happy last year. Partially because it’s important to remember the good stuff and also because it gives me an opportunity to share all the little things that made me smile, laugh or shed a happy tear with whoever’s reading this.

  • Lemonade. Just… Lemonade
  • Frank Ocean finally released a new album and it was amazing
  • Childish Gambino gave us an album out of the blue and it’s funktastic
  • Rihanna giving us the gift that is Anti
  • Luke Cage
  • Bugs Bunny dancing to One Dance
  • Markiplier’s voiceover of dogs
  • The annual reminder that the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn
  • #UNAMEIT
  • #wastehistime2k16
  • Kermit the Frog memes
  • Joe Biden memes
  • That Arthur fist meme
  • Damn Daniel (look, I like that a young man feels confident enough in his masculinity to show some love to his friend without being all “No homo, bro”. More men should be like that. Love each other, guys)
  • Atlanta (the tv show, not the place) (although I’m sure the place is lovely)
  • Stranger Things
  • The Get Down
  • Jay Park’s new music *twerks in hangul*
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Finally getting to read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Formation
  • Beyonce dropping an album (did I mention this? TOO BAD)
  • Beyonce’s sister dropping an album
  • Serena Williams
  • Serena Williams TWERKING IN A BEYONCE MUSIC VIDEO
  • Michelle Obama. Cuz when they go low, we go high.
  • Simone Biles
  • Nicola Adams
  • Kadeena Cox casually laughing in the face of her illness to win multiple Paralympic medals
  • Issa Rae
  • Luvvie Ajayi
  • #BlackGirlMagic in general
  • Sadiq Khan winning (PoC Representation Matters)
  • My birthday cake
  • This song
  • Also this song
  • And this one too
  • The dance off I had with the guy at the till in a restaurant I went to the other day
  • Getting a tax rebate
  • The look on my mum’s face when I gave her some of it
  • My mum
  • My dad
  • My family
  • My friends
  • My boyfriend
  • My boyfriend’s family
  • BORK
  • The Nike ad of Indian girls just SLAYING EVERYTHING
  • The success of This Girl Can, one year on
  • Dude-oir photos (because everyone should get a chance to feel sexy)
  • That guy who sings a remix to the Golden Girls theme song (when he rips that wig off though)
  • Being able to do things that matter to me. I got to promote mental health in BME communities, I got one step closer to becoming a paeds nurse, I had important conversations with amazing people on incredible topics and I got a lot of hugs and free chocolate.

There are probably more I’m forgetting, but 50+ examples seems more than enough, right?

So it’s the new year. I’ve gotten back on the blogging train because I discovered I really liked doing it. I’m not gonna make any promises like last post, I’m just gonna keep on keeping on. This year will see the manifestation of many things that happened last year, not all of it good, and we will see a “sequel” of 2016 in a lot of ways. It’s inevitable. But with hindsight and foresight, hopefully we all can keep on keeping on and  fight the good fight and make the world a better place in our own little way. That’s my new year’s resolution anyway!

…Unless we all die because WW3 was triggered by a tweet.