My Boyfriend Is My Best Friend And That’s All Right

There will be a lot of people who will roll their eyes at a couple spending a lot of time together. But I don’t think it’s so bad. My boyfriend and I were initially friends, and have been together for almost three years now; and we still haven’t grown sick and tired of one another.

14341611_1259075354123641_1219643719_nIt’s not just about going out for meals, and Netflix and chilling. It’s much deeper than that. It’s about feeling more whole in their presence; it’s about a unique connection. They should be there for everything, from being a shoulder to cry on when things go awry to celebrating your every achievement. That’s what mine does. And that’s also what best friends do. So, yes, it is all right for your boyfriend to be your best friend.

Whether it’s a godawful Buzzfeed quiz about what kind of cloud you are, a Joe Biden/Obama meme, or a 9/11 conspiracy theory article at three in the morning, your boyfriend is the first person to receive it. Even when you find yourself sending him ten stupid Internet findings in the middle of the night, it’s fine because he always wants to be bothered by you.

Even when you know you’re looking your absolute worst with your hair pulled back, the same pair of pyjamas on for the third day in a row sans makeup, you know you’re not being judged. He’s happy to see you in your natural state eating an entire Dominos meteor pizza to yourself.

When you decide to treat yourselves and have a date night, it doesn’t feel weird going dutch. You’re so close that it doesn’t matter who pays for what – what’s yours is his and what’s his is yours. The same goes for his hoodies being yours. They’re all yours. All of them. Yours.

As menial as your day-to-day tasks might be, it’s always riveting to your boyfriend when it’s coming from you. He feels inspired just knowing that you gave that snotty customer a dirty look as she left the shop.

Sometimes it can feel as though you and your boyfriend are in your own special bubble when you basically have your own language with the scope of inside jokes you share. It’s ok to act stupid together. In fact, it’s the silly moments that make it that much better. Even when he farts in your face. And when you poo while he showers. Nothing is off limits. He’s your best friend.

It’s easy to get mad at him because he’s the most annoying person alive, but it’s also that easy to calm down and get over it because he matters more to you than whatever it is you’re arguing about.

At the end of the day, you love each other and don’t want to be without one another. Lovers and best friends.

The Alt-Right

Pepe memes, Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon: all strange, and yet central to what we now know as the alt-right.

nwmwmzdmnzyzyymvverlshbzbne4b09zv0e1amduuvjllxzor29jps8ynngyojiznzr4mte5oc8xmjgwedyymc9mawx0zxjzonf1ywxpdhkonzupl2h0dhbzoi8vczmuyw1hem9uyxdzlmnvbs9wb2xpy3ltawmtaw1hz2vzl3n5mndybzjuc2e4bmd6dxmznnrhb3dr

 

Now, if Pepe memes don’t clear up what the shite the alt-right is, then maybe I can sum it up for you: the alt-right is nothing more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of society: white supremacists, mysoginists and anti-Semites. But, is it an ideology? This is a question that doesn’t half rattle my cage. It’s not conservatism, but it’s certainly not liberalism. It seems to be a patchwork of the ideas of young white men who crave attention.

Why do I think this? There’s a sanctimonious portion of the left that have so belligerently pushed for safe spaces, trigger warnings and the acceptance of an infinite amount of genders, attempting to tell people what they can and can’t do, and can and can’t say. The reaction to this – on an extreme level – is the alt-right. Essentially, a bunch of vitriolic, self-indulgent white boys have turned to the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos and latterly Donald Trump in an attempt to say a big “fuck you” to political correctness and the establishment.

The reason the alt-right is so dangerous is that it’s fuelled by white boys. Historically, white boys have never had an issue with getting their voice heard have they? This is the danger; the danger of people who have never experienced any level of systematic oppression claiming that they are being oppressed by the status quo.

Unfortunately, it is becoming harder and harder to ignore them. It’s almost as if they’ve formed their own society; a society in which it’s completely acceptable to have a President who not only thinks that its funny to grab women “by the pussy”, but is also endorsed by the KKK. We can only wonder what’s next.

Thank You, Hillary Clinton


After a shock defeat last night, I have only one thing to say to Hillary Clinton: thank you.

Thank you, Hillary, for endlessly and fearlessly fighting for women’s and minority rights.

Thank you, Hillary, for being a great candidate.

Thank you, Hillary,  for being someone that we can believe in.

Thank you, Hillary, for showing us a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you, Hillary, for never backing down and always making your voice heard.

Thank you, Hillary, for proving that a woman can become the President of the United States.

Thank you, Hillary, for showing little girls that they can grow up to be whoever or whatever they want.

Thank you, Hillary, for inspiring so many young women/girls to follow in your footsteps.

Thank you, Hillary, for never letting us feel as though we are inferior to men.

Thank you, Hillary, for putting so many more cracks in the glass ceiling.

Thank you, Hillary, for giving us hope.

Thank you, Hillary, for inspiring me.

Thank you, Hillary, for being my hero.

Armistice Day

“In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place: and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders’ fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high,

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders’ Fields.” – John McCrae, 1915

We wear red poppies as these are the ones that grow in northern France and Belgium, where many of the deadliest battles of the First World War took place. Poppies are both tough and delicate, thus making them a fitting emblem to remember those who died, in the First World War and subsequent conflicts. 

It’s that time of year when ‘poppy fascism’ arises. You’ll hear arguments regarding the symbolism behind poppies, some accusing them of glorifying war, and some simply stating that they are a symbol of remembrance and hope.

To me, wearing a poppy is not the glorification of war. It is not the justification of war. To wear a poppy is to respect those who died in imperialistic conflicts. To wear a poppy is to remember those who have died in vain, not just in the First World War, but the Second World War, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. To wear a poppy is to condemn warfare and to promote peace. To wear a poppy is to show that you remember history and never want it to be repeated.

We live in an age of populism; an era of rising prejudice and discrimination. Brexit, the likelihood of a Trump Presidency… society is taking a step backwards. Those who fought did so for us: the future generations. This is why we owe it to the fallen to organise and step up. We need to show those who feel disheartened and/or ignored by the system that populism and hating ‘the other’ is not the way for our society to progress and improve. The poppy is a symbol of this. The poppy reminds us of what was lost, but also what was gained: democracy, liberalism, open government. 

I leave you with this poem by a nice chap on the internet that I believe helps us remember the true meaning behind the poppy:

I am not a badge of honour,

I am not a racist smear,

I am not a fashion statement,

To be worn but once a year,

I am not glorification

Of conflict or of war.

I am not a paper ornament

A token,

I am more.

I am a loving memory,

Of a father or a son,

A permanent reminder

Of each and every one.

I’m paper or enamel

I’m old or shining new,

I’m a way of saying thank you,

To every one of you.I am a simple poppy

A Reminder to you all,

That courage faith and honour,

Will stand where heroes fall.

British Thoughts on an American Election 

A race between a highly qualified, well respected woman and a reality television star with orange skin and a toupee; or, in other words, the 2016 presidential election. 


In Britain, we have become accustomed to American politics being – or perhaps aspiring to be – a theatre of greatly qualified statesmen/women debating high ideals along their special path laid out by the Founding Fathers to stand as the bastion of western democracy. American elections are glossy, they are grand, and they are stage-managed. 

When Obama was on the campaign trail, he promised change and invoked hope in generations of Americans; hope for a fairer society. Now, we are exposed to a seemingly never ending tsunami of tumultuous scandals concerning groping, sexual assault, and emails amidst other topics. And the best part of this is that the Clinton emails are worthless. But, sure. Let’s rebel against Hillary for a few apparently dodgy emails by voting for a racist, destructive mysoginist. Nice one, America. 

This election is not something to laugh about. Memes and dubbed videos are not going to make this calamity any easier to get through. You might doubt that Trump could ever realistically become president. Well, you may have also doubted that we would choose to leave the EU. The populism that was prevalent in the public’s choice to leave the EU was spurred on by nationalist spin, just as populism is likely to have a mass effect on this American election. 

I guess we’ll see on November 8th. 

Living with PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects a woman’s ovaries and how they work as its name suggests. No single cause of PCOS has yet been confirmed but the general consensus is that it’s due to elevated male hormones in women as a consequence of numerous environmental and genetic factors, including obesity. PCOS is a very personal syndrome, that intimately affects 1 in 10 women.

PCOS is something that I have personally struggled with, so I’m going to share some of the things that I feel people should know:

  • IT IS MORE THAN JUST MY OVARIES!

PCOS impacts my ovaries- yes- hence the name. But PCOS is so much more than that, impacting on every area of my body and life.

I gain weight faster than you can open a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, I have body hair where it’s not wanted (what’s with the ‘tache, Mother Nature?), I have periods when I least expect/want them, I have awful mood swings (just ask anyone who knows me) and I have struggled with depression since I was 13. Sometimes getting out of bed to make a cup of coffee and get Netflix on is a huge achievement.

If you know someone with PCOS, just be kind.

  • Fertility is tricky.

Now, fertility. This is a sensitive issue. While it is not impossible for me to fall pregnant, it is going to take so much longer than the average woman and will be a source of great emotional and financial strain. My older cousin suffers with PCOS and had to pay for ludicrously priced fertility treatments that almost destroyed her marriage after it failed four times. (***SPOILER ALERT***: they now have a healthy eight year old girl).

While children aren’t part of my life plan, that’s right now. That’s the present. But I found out at 16 that I will most likely never be able to have my own children and that was really difficult for me to hear. The one thing that those of you with PCOS should remember is this:

You did not choose to have PCOS. It is not your fault. It does not make you any less of a woman. It just means that your journey will be a little bumpier than everyone else’s.

If you know someone with PCOS, be sensitive.

  • I am overweight but trust me it is not for lack of trying.

Here’s a joke for you:

Q: What’s the difference between standing on the scales when you’re carrying Christmas weight and standing on the scales after being on a diet and exercise regime?

A: PROBABLY NOTHING BECAUSE YOU HAVE PCOS!

You would probably look at me and think I’m lazy and that all I do is sit around and eat junk food. You would be wrong. While I don’t eat as healthy as I could or exercise as much as I should, I try. I have always tried. I care about the way that I look (us Merseyside birds have to – you can’t let them brows go to shit). Just because I am bigger than you does not mean that I don’t care and don’t try.

I can look at a chicken nugget and gain 5 pounds, then it’ll take me weeks to get that back off.

If you know someone with PCOS, cut them some slack.

  • Inconvenience.

DO I EVEN HAVE TO TELL YOU THE TERRORS OF THINKING ITS SAFE TO NOT WEAR PADS AFTER NOT HAVING A PERIOD FOR 7 MONTHS AND THEN SUDDENLY COMING ON YOUR PERIOD WHILE YOU’RE IN THE QUEUE IN THE PRIMARK IN LIVERPOOL ONE? DIDN’T THINK SO. LET’S MOVE ON.

  • Sometimes you have to forgive me.

There are times when I will be super irrational and hormonal, but sometimes I just don’t have control over my moods. If you know me, you’ll know the sarcastic tone and the deadpan look. But you know that I’m sorry.

If you know someone with PCOS, be understanding.

  • Don’t give up hope.

It can be hard, but never forget that PCOS does not define you. You are not ‘unwomanly’. It is not your fault. Just stay resilient and be the strong independent woman that you are.

To round this off, here is a photo of me in Stratford-upon-Avon with the unwomanly woman herself, Lady Macbeth (or a statue of her, at least).

13096129_991551780894503_1548513574426905663_n

Saying Goodbye (?)

Today, I said goodbye to one of my best friends; one of the greatest people I have ever met. Her name is Lois, and she was at the Uni of Warwick for her year abroad. At 12:45 this afternoon, she boarded a plane back to South Carolina and our quad was reduced to a triad. So, today I’d like to thank the Internet and social media. Without it, how would we be able to keep updated on each other’s every move?

I’ve never really been an emotional person. And, by that, I mean I cry once maybe twice a year. So you can imagine how uncomfortable I was on our last couple of days together as a whole quad when Lois, Katie and Serena were sobbing and I was just sat there swigging sipping wine. It’s not that I won’t miss her (because we left her at the airport four and a half hours ago and I already miss her). I just don’t really know what to do in those situations. Maybe because I like to think rationally rather than emotionally?

 
She was only here on her year abroad, so we all knew that she would be leaving at the end of the academic year. What we didn’t know is how close we would grow and how strong the collective bond formed between us all would be; we’re like a little family. I think that goodbye is just one of those things that I don’t understand yet. Maybe I’ll never fully understand it. People come and go in life all the time as you drift away, but when someone you love has to leave and you have to say goodbye, you just aren’t prepared for it.

1379649_968516559864692_4187244822838285470_n

The Quad.

The word ‘goodbye’ holds a certain weight. One of fear; one of the death of a relationship; one of impending change. Last night, I told Lois that I am awful at goodbyes. I told her that she is special to me, and that I wasn’t going to cry because I know that I will see her again at some point in the future, so this was more of a ‘see you in a few years’ rather than a goodbye. Just after we had done all our hugging and had a cute but SUPER expensive airport breakfast, we took Lois to security. I gave her the peace sign that she hates me doing, and told her to just go because Katie flooded the airport with her tears. She just looked at me, squeezed me tight for 30 seconds, told me she loved me and off she went.

I don’t feel like such a winner today because I have lost someone very special to me, but everyone else who gets her when she’s back in the US, they are winners. The thing you have to realise is that you can be friends no matter where you are in the world today.