52and40/28 Ties That Bind

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Months ago, husband and I scoured our west coast map for unseen places, zoning in on Glenelg.  We went last week, exhilarated by the drive over The Ratagan Pass which had us whooping, awe-filled and delighted about the backseat being uncharacteristically empty so nobody was chucking up.

It was a flying visit, but a great place for orientation with Skye as the Arnisdale shore’s just 600m across the water.  Glenelg’s history’s fascinating – and prescient.  We’ll be back in future to bag the ferry crossing and drive up to Elgol (and whoop more).

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What’s that?  You need more #52and40 goodness in your consciousness?  Clickety click here then, you brilliant, curious soul.

52and40/21 Pivot Point

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Years ago, while reading about dog training, I learned the phrase, ‘pressure creates counter pressure’.  I was struggling with our then enormous puppy pulling on the lead.  The phrase underlined my feeling that yanking back was only making my arm hurt more and my stress levels soar. So I stopped yanking back.  Disengaged from negativity.  Got used to standing, waiting for fresh eyes and curiousity.  Eventually, it worked.

Scotland’s at a crossroads about whether, among other things, we value evolving multi-culturalism over a United Kingdom.  Yes or No.

Pressure and counter pressure.

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What’s all this #52and40 malarky about then?  Find out here.

52and40/16 The Out-Crowd

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Things I didn’t know last month;

  1. There are jellyfish all round the coast of Denmark – my husband got stung every other summer as a kid playing in the viking sea.
  1. The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art was originally built as a mansion for William Cunninghame in 1778, for £10,000. Cunninghame was a Tobacco Lord who benefited hugely from trade winds, the hideousness of the triangular slave trade and the connections of his prosperous merchant family.
  1. For the worse or better, it only takes two people to start a movement.

 

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Read more about #52and40 here.

52and40/10 Air In Your Hair

I’ve never seen a Scottish Autumn and Winter as beautiful, so far, as what 2016’s given.

The beauty in these seasons is going a long, gentle way to keeping breathing through the humanity shitstorm we’ve seen happen around the world this year.  It’s easier to believe we’re not all doomed when nature’s on its best behaviour.

As my own shield and sword, I’ve added focus to health and work ethic. These things help my locus of control  stay internal so fear doesn’t breed with downtime to create mischief.

Everything else is weather.

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More info on #52and40 here.

Of Mice and Men

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?

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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.

Slainte!

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Good Company

I’m proud to be a Dangerous Woman.

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The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh are asking what being a dangerous woman means and providing a myriad of answers, one per day, over the 365 days between International Women’s Day 2016 and International Women’s Day 2017.

My piece, entitled The Business of Incantations is here.

 

Days of Miracle and Wonder

It’s ten to one in the afternoon, I haven’t left the house apart from to hang up the washing in the garden and already I’ve been given six cues to not like myself very much.

When I checked Twitter this morning I had four new followers and six of my tweets had been favourited overnight.  Yay x 10!  Except no.  Three of the new followers were accounts with timelines full of before and after pictures of women who’d used anti-ageing treatments.  Three of the favourite clickers were similar accounts and another was a diet zealot with a bio urging me to get the secret now about how I too could have a body I could love.

The assumption being with all of this cack is that I don’t like myself.

It’s assumed I don’t like my skin.  It’s assumed I don’t like my face.  It’s assumed I don’t like my weight.  Ergo, it’s assumed I pretty much don’t like me.

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It’s also assumed that we can just ignore this kind of shit and pretend it doesn’t get in by osmosis.  And yet…. it does get in.  Because we’re conditioned to let it in.

I block them all but, dammit, it’s already slightly too late.  Their messages shout cheeky one liners from the back of my brain.  They’ve got into the bit where all the messages I’ve seen that tell me not to like myself exist despite the fact I regularly go back there and bludgeon them.  What can I say?  They’re persistent because they’re omnipresently backed up.

All those billboards, all those ads in expensive magazines where a woman sits wearing two grand worth of clothes, airbrushed to buggery and firmly artistically directed not to smile.  Having it all means looking like someone just pissed on your dinner – right?  Wasn’t that the message I was supposed to receive?  Whatevs.  The only thing we can be sure about is that even having it all doesn’t bring happiness and as women we’re supposed to stay thick enough not to notice that (and keep flicking our cash at the naked emperor).

Then there are the TV ads.  The ones that make you want to gouge your eyes out because they make you realise that if these ads still exist too many people on the planet think women are just naturally better at cleaning and baby-care than men and men are much better at doing flipcharts and power enhancing worky things. Duh!

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So I’m clearing what messages I can and turning on a different kind of TV.  This time I’m going for Tunnel Vision.  I will sing out loud when I come across women-hating Twitter accounts and have to spend three seconds blocking them.  It’s really hard to take in subliminal messaging when you’re singing Boy in the Bubble from Paul Simon at the top of your lungs.  I’ll keep treating misogynistically coded billboards and perfume ads as if they are shite-coated scorpions rising up in front of me; the only appropriate response being to scream and run or karate chop and spit F words.  I’ll keep watching Netflix instead of normal TV because life without the ads and the pop viewing bullshit is like gifting yourself two entirely new brain lobes.  I’ll hunt out the reality that chimes with me instead – stories that tell tales about women knowing their explosive worth and men who need more than a Playboy jumpstart to get turned on.  I’ll keep engaging in stuff that advances arguments littered with intelligence and creativity.  When the shitty parade of society rolls up in front of me to reinforce patriarchal messages I’ll turn the music up and show it my (gyrating, non-aspirational) ass.

In a hilarious act of radical defiance that’ll make men and women everywhere roll their eyes and wish I’d just get over it, I’ll continue to have the audacity to like myself.   

n.b; I was going to link to Paul Simon’s Boy in the Bubble video on YouTube here but sadly it would’ve meant subjecting you to an ad from Febreze featuring two women (and zero men) dancing joyfully around a perfect light and child filled home, generally having a marvelous, life-fulfilling time of cleaning.  Obviously I can’t be complicit in that kind of shite so here’s a subversive thrill from Malala Yousafzai instead.  I’m sure you have your own soundtrack that makes you feel great to accompany her, if needs be.

12 Powerful And Inspiring Quotes From Malala Yousafzai: