If you like my soapbox moments or share my passions, grab a coffee or a gin and get comfy as you’ve happened upon my read me here update and it’d be great to have your comments along the way.
Firstly, I’ve written as a guest blogger on The History Girls Frae Scotland recently. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love The History Girls Frae Scotland site for all its content, best described by themselves as ‘History, Heritage and Hilarity’, it’s a total delight. The post I’ve written for them is about why, pushed by modern and historical politics, I came to create the website and online community I run called The Grantidote.
The Grantidote is a collection of real women’s stories from people’s knowledge of grandmothers and other women who impacted their lives. The Grantidote’s purpose is to create an intervention to a male-centric society in which toxic masculinity’s been normalised. This may sound like heavy work but the reality’s different – it’s a pleasure and change never felt so accessible to me than through this simple but profound portal. If you think you’ve a story about a woman to tell with me for this important archive, regardless of your gender, please get in touch. Contributions can be little or large and I’m interested in getting graphic storytelling and spoken word included too. Basically, the door’s wide open and the mood’s uber welcoming. Dive in!
Second up, I was recently interviewed by Jane Woods for Changing People. Changing People works with businesses and individuals to address gender imbalances in workplaces. As someone who doesn’t have a career, this chat was terrifying and affirming and had me thinking so much about the discomfort and inadequacy I’ve felt over the years about the informality of my work. My insecurities here are informed by quite extreme anxiety about money and security dating back to my teens, compounded by adult experiences with post-natal depression. It was therapeutic to be able to step back from anxiety about my identity and see a bigger story I’m tentatively proud to call my own.
Third and last (and really joyfully) apart from a wee bit of novel writing and nurturing short stories and poems for competitions, I’ve also created spoken word content for Fearless Femme, a frankly brilliant new social enterprise based out of Edinburgh. Fearless Femme will be providing, ‘a membership community where young women dealing with emotional and psychological challenges can connect with one another, and an online magazine that provides a wealth of advice and inspiration on improving one’s mental health.’ I mean, could it be more my thang if it tried?!?! Watch this space for brilliant badassery kicking off in early 2018.
I’ve been waking for weeks feeling badly misaligned. We had builders in, next door have builders in, two houses adjacent had builders in. With all the banging, shouting and stress there’s been little chance for creativity; each time I transported to inner space interruptions brought me clattering back. In parallel, feeling predated a notch too far when I moved around in workout clothes for running and yoga, I switched to just walking.
Muted, twice over, my connections to peace.
‘Sad’, as the predator in chief himself would say.
Fuck that. Comeback time.
Read all about #52and40 here.
I’ve been working on a new project called The Grantidote. Last week it took me west, to where I come from.
The Grantidote’s centering women, pausing to understand how a woman’s wholeness is made up of fragments big and small, some chosen, others delivered by circumstance.
The Grantidote’s about acknowledging the marks women leave on our world. I believe by fully registering women’s impact we begin to rectify an error that’s made how we organise, experience and understand humanity feel ill-fitting and wrong.
Toxic masculinity needn’t control the whole narrative, after all.
Hop on my hashtags too, won’t you? #52and40, Instagram and #TheGrantidote
A treasure trail of research lead me to Jessie Kesson and now I can’t believe her name wasn’t always part of my frame of Scots reference.
Jessie was born in 1916 Inverness to a loving single mum who worked as a prostitute and knew challenge intimately. At eight, Jessie was relocated to a children’s home in Aberdeenshire and denied further education because of her background. By the end of her life in 1994, Jessie was a London novelist, playwright and producer of Woman’s Hour.
The bits in-between? She told her stories.
More on #52and40 here and on Twitter.
I’ve wondered who this guy is a lot.
Turns out he’s Everyman. He’s Joe Public, apparently, the work of German artist Stephan Balkenhol.
There are more women than men in Edinburgh (and Scotland). How about a sculpture of the city’s Everywoman, instead? Or perhaps alongside?
According to population data, she’d be between 16 and 29, living in a flat with a council-tax banding between A and C and as likely to be single as she would to be married. Her life expectancy would be longer than Joe’s, too.
So where is she?
More on #52and40 here and on Twitter.
The zombies are calling me.
People who refer to other people as ‘they’.
‘They’re all the same’, and, ‘that’s what they want you to think’.
People who’ve given up on hope and change and hunkered down, rolling a boulder called fear into the cave doorway and frowning about how they’ll get the smoke from the fire to vent in a closed space.
I feel the temptation.
It’d be easy to sign up for the Daily Mail and play Loathe My Neighbour.
But, goddammit, I’ve no experience of easy ever feeling worth it.
Read more about #52and40 here and follow the hashtag on Twitter.
Internalised misogyny’s kinda like the rat who lived in our back garden. Every now and then it poked its head out of a small hole in the dry stane dyke and scared the living shit out of me (but thrilled the dog).
For soooooooo long I believed the rat was simply a large mouse. Then, faced with faecal evidence to the contrary, I spent some time simply telling myself the rat was a large mouse and willing away memories of the enormo-shits by the bird feed in the shed. Denial can be a really handy part of adjusting to an unpleasant reality, can’t it?
I did not want the rat to be as big a problem as it was – so I simplified it away and mentally minimised it to make it easier to think about. La la la la la la.
Meantime, the rat had babies and I grew unable to continue deluding myself that the big pink semi-ropes intermittently hanging out the wee wall in the garden were anything other than rat tails. Then, the sight of a rat climbing the 7ft clematis trellis turned out to be a moment even Instagram filters & wine couldn’t soften.
We are now minus a shed and a rat colony. We found out the rats were living under the decrepit, old, rotting shed (very low air miles to the bird food) so it was time for the lot to go.
I’ve talked a lot about the rat now and not so much about internalised misogyny, haven’t I? If you’d like to read me talking about internalised misogyny for reals, I’m chuffed as a rat in a slop bucket to say you can do just that on Bella Caledonia this festive season.