Apologies For The Radio Silence

So peeps, I’ve been a little quiet for the last few weeks.  Apologies if you’ve been wondering where I was, but in the UK it’s the school holidays and the little people need entertaining.  Also, hubby had taken a couple of weeks off work so we could spend time together as a family.

During the time I’ve been away, we had a lovely week down in Cornwall enjoying the beautiful scenery and wonderful food.  Time away from it all really does give you some space to reflect on your priorities and also helps you focus yourself on the things that you feel really matter to you.  It also gave me some wonderful isolcornwall-335021_1280ation to be able to work on the planning for my novel that I’m going to be writing.

While the children and husband mucked about in the water, I was able to sit with my notebook, some music and my thoughts.  During that week I managed to work out more details of the plot, flesh out my main characters and really think about the physical & personality traits that I hope will make them appeal to the reader once I start writing.

It’s left me feeling enthused and more positive about the idea I had, which is great for me in terms of momentum when it comes to starting the harder task of getting it written.

The other reason for radio silence is that I honestly didn’t have anything I wanted to blog about.  Nothing really irked me or got me fired up enough to start hammering the keyboard in the last 3 weeks.  Maybe that’s because I’ve become numb to a lot of things, or they just didn’t feel particularly important to me thanks to where my head currently was.  When I went away I had every intention of writing about my holiday but quite frankly, I was too busy enjoying it and I’d already bored people enough on Twitter with pictures of the sunshine, ice cream and all the delicious meals I was eating.

So I’m afraid, while I get back on an even keel and find something blog-worthy, you get this. Something that says nothing of any real value or is of no impact to anyone.

 

Comfortably Numb…

I’ll start off by just throwing the grenade out there – I’ve suffered from bouts of depression & anxiety since I was a teenager.  Most people upon hearing a statement like that will either run in the opposite direction because the ‘D’ word scares them or makes them feel awkward, while some will ask ‘well what on earth do you have to be depressed about?’ followed by pulling a face resembling a cross between confusion & abject horror.  Then there’s the classic reply of ‘oh cheer up, it can’t be that bad’ which makes you want to just punch the person in the face.

The truth is, it’s not a matter of having something to be depressed about per-se, and it’s an issue that I have no control over, usually brought on by stressful situations but not always.  Yes some of the things that leave me feeling this way come from a place of sadness or hurt, but ultimately it extends way beyond those basic emotions and leaves me full of self-doubt, insecurity, and a belief that things are utterly hopsad-depression-lonely-Quoteseless or out of control, or I just feel nothing at all.  When this happens it is mentally crippling to the point that it’s a struggle to even pull back the duvet and get on with day.  Those periods for me are compounded because, hiding from the world is not an option, my children need me, and I can’t just give up on functioning.

The triggers for me have been different every time it’s happened over the last 25 years, and are usually things that are beyond my control, which for someone who is used to being in the driving seat just adds to just how head fucked I feel.

So when it hits, I have to keep pushing forwards, often ignoring that I’m heading downhill emotionally & mentally (which has been to my detriment on a number of occasions), the world can’t see my mood because as most depression & anxiety sufferers can attest to, there’s a mask I wear to shield the world from those awkward moments, or simply because I’m ashamed that it’s happened again.  I carry on joking, smiling, laughing and engaging with others, even though I’m screaming on the inside and desperate to isolate myself so I can work through the turmoil that’s going on inside my head.

That doesn’t mean I disregard it all together.  I’m not daft enough to think it will just go away if I don’t acknowledge what’s happening, thankfully I’m self-aware enough to recognise the signs, and handle it in a way that’s appropriate to the situation.  It has taken a long time to get better at coping, and understand that often, the trigger will often determine my coping mechanism.

In my younger days when the factors that were influencing my mental health were ongoing and caused qitemby situations that were far too close to me, there was a massive benefit to having counselling.  It benefitted me massively, not because it resolved the way I was feeling or the root cause of the issue, but because it provided me with an outlet for my emotions and made it easier to identify when I was on a downward slope as I got older.  Talking to someone is cathartic though, and having a person to vent your emotions to is massively beneficial, but there’s a big personal stigma about sharing such deeply complex & private thoughts, so taking that first step is often next to impossible for some.

As the years have progressed, and I’ve become more adept at spotting the warning signs, I’ve also come to accept that sometimes there isn’t anything I can do to prevent it happening; either because there’s no root cause, or it’s a short-term issue that is having a profound effect.  What I’ve also managed to ratify in my head is that there’s also no shame in accepting chemical help in the form of antidepressants when the situation dictates.  My personal situation dictates that I need to be fully functioning for the sake of my family, and I guess if you want to look at it this way, I’m fortunate that a low-level dose of Prozac is enough to get my head clear enough to be able to work through things.

I know that on the spectrum of depression, I’m low grade which in a sense means I’m lucky to not be living in that state constantly, but that doesn’t place any lesser value on what I’m feeling, nor does it seek to make a drama out of my situation.  I know I have the support and love of my family, but more often than not, there’s nothing they can do for me physically or emotionally when it hits.  In this respect I’m incredibly fortunate to just be aware that they’re on hand should I need them, sadly however, there are other sufferers who face a more monumental challenge without having anyone to prop them up if needed.

So why am I telling you this?  Well, it’s very simple really.  What I wanted to do with this blog post was to share my story because if it can encourage one person who is struggling to seek the help they need for the way they’re feeling then I’ve done something positive.  I would urge them to speak to their doctor, the Samaritans or whatever organisation is relevant in their country to find out about what support they can get.

The journey to acknowledging that it really is OK to not be OK is not an easy one, but in doing so, it can provide ways to cope with how you’re feeling in the long run hopefully.

The Writing On The Wall

I’ve always loved literature.  I’m a massive fan of the written word, the images it creates, the feelings it evokes, how its composition draws the reader in until they’re utterly absorbed by the characters and scenarios that dance across the page.

At university this extended beyond simply reading, and I found myself immersed in the desire to use my creativity to develop words of my own into something of substance.  For three years I filled notebook after notebook with words, scribbles and thoughts and sometimes they formed poems or fluid bits of prose, but never anything substantial, or that I would consider worth showing to anybody these days because even I can see how juvenile the majority of it is.

By the time I left university and entered the real world, work took over, life got in the way and I convinced myself that I would never be any good at this writingquote-Roald-Dahl-a-writer-of-fiction-lives-in-fear-10468 malarkey so what was the point.  Still as the years rolled by, there was always a little niggle in the back of my mind, urging me to give it a go.

Sadly I let the fear of failure and rejection get the better of me, every time convincing myself that it was best left well alone.  One thing that never wavered though, was my desire to read.

Then 5 years ago, I stumbled across something called Fan Fiction which was a no cost way to feed my reading addiction. For those who aren’t in the know, this is where people who enjoy writing take characters from well-known books that are already published, and use them within a plot that they’ve crafted themselves.

Through one particular site I was able to immerse myself in some incredible work from some amazingly talented, people who either wrote using another person’s characters because they loved them so much, or because it eased the pressure on them when crafting their story.  Either way, I was happy as a pig in muck with all these lovely stories to devour, while marvelling at the bravery of these complete strangers who put their words out into the public domain for anyone to view, praise or criticise (I must add that given the supportive nature of the Fan Fiction community, the majority of readers leave positive or constructive comments).

The more I read, the more that voice started to bug me.  The voice got louder as the months went on, its incessant chatter getting louder and louder.

“You should give it a go….you know you want to”

Eventually, after a few exchanges with one particular author I started to bounce around some ideas that might work.  I set myself a challenge to write something called a One-Shot which is a short piece that either stands alone as a story (normally 5-10,000 words in length) or it could be left with the potential for continuation.

It felt like a mountain that I had no chance of conquering when I started to put my idea into words.  Even as things flowed and took shape, the voices in my head told me it was utter rubbish and that I should never consider publishing it because nobody would read such a worthless piece of crap.

I almost bottled out of hitting the publish button, and had it not been for my husband giving me a not so gentle shove with a comment along the lines of “just push the button, the worst that can happen is nobody reads it!”, then those words may never have seen the light of day.

As it was, the feedback on the one shot was very positive and there were enquiries about whether I would be continuing the story, to which I replied “we shall see”, even though the ideas for how it could move forward were already brewing in my head.

Now, 2 ½ years down the road the story is almost complete.  It’s been a long process, largely thanks to a crippling 12 months of writers block where I just had no idea what to do with the story, but with the help of some fatypewriter_quotebulous friends on the Twitter community, I’ve once again got my mojo back and with it found a whole new raft of supporters for the words that I write.  It feels right, it feels good and the freedom I feel from watching things take shape is like nothing I can describe (which is ironic given that I’m writing!).

No longer is it such a daunting task when I hit the publish button on each new chapter.  The nerves are still there, but they’re also mixed with anticipation & curiosity to see what people’s reactions will be to the latest instalment.  Will they like how the plot twisted, or a new character that’s been introduced?

I’ve even got ideas bouncing around for my next piece of work that will be completely original.

More importantly, I’m starting to see myself as a writer and author, which I’d never considered myself to be before.  I just thought I was a daft woman who buggered about with words so that her head didn’t explode with everything that was going on.  When the truth is, I’ve realised I’ve got lots of things to tell people and with a fair wind, and the support of those who know me, this could be something that I’m meant to do.  I feel fulfilled, frustrated, angry, sad and joyful when those words flow out of my fingers and if what I’ve created makes just one person fall in love with the characters and their journey, then I’d like to think that it wasn’t time wasted.

I’m even OK if that one person is just me!

You have the right to remain silent……what you lack is the capacity!

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

Maya Angelou

After writing my post on respect last week, it got me thinking about a deeper issue that is being created by the online community under the much abused banner of ‘Freedom of Speech’.

Witnessing the sloping shoulders of groups who believe there is nothing wrong with voicing their thoughts and opinions, while refusing to be held accountable for the vindictive cruelty they display, took me back to the early days of secondary school where I was subjected to consistent verbal bullying by some of my peers for 2 years.  I was regularly ostracised simply because I didn’t dress the way they did, didn’t look attractive in their eyes, and favoured learning rather than slacking off.  They even sought to vilify me for my father’s non-working class profession (which was predominant in the place that I grew up, along with the surrounding areas).

I had done nothing to justify any of this hatred other than exist, so when you peeled back the layers on the motivation behind it all, it boiled down to two things, jealousy, plus a dislike for their own personal situation.  I was an easy target because being a quiet person who shied away from conflict, I was less likely to fight back or challenge how they were treating me.

It took a long time for me to rationalise in my mind that I had done nothing wrong, that their cruelty was unjustifiable, actually the issue lay them, not me.  Once you wrap your head around that, you realise just how deplorable it is for someone to belittle another person’s self-worth.  As I said in my post about respect – it actually speaks volumes about the kind of person they are.

Which brings me to the newest form of victimisation– the internet, and in particular social media.

HypocrisyFlaming, trolling or bullying – whatever term you wish to use, it’s abusive behaviour;  vitriol aimed at people whose worst crime appears to be just sharing a life with someone.  Camouflaging your insulting words under the guise of ‘expressing your opinion’ just shows you to be a poor excuse for a human being.  Legitimising your activities, when you wouldn’t stand for it being done towards yourself, or someone you care for/support just makes you a hypocrite on top of everything else.

Standing on a soap box picking holes in a person with anyone who will listen to or agree with you, is not healthy discussion, it is not exercising your right to freedom of speech, it is hiding behind a right that has been afforded to you while manipulating the privilege to fit whatever petty agenda you might have.

Seeking to publicly marginalise an individual because in your eyes they are not worthy of something/someone or you deem them inferior to you, is just an extension of intimidation similar to a thug in the playground who pushes a smaller child around because they unlikely to fight back.  Attacking someone either indirectly or via a third party on social media is just as reprehensible, because those that behave in this way hide behind the protection of whatever piece of technology they’re using to ‘voice their opinion’ safe in the knowledge that those they’re attacking are unlikely to see their words or  even if they do, they won’t respond.

Sadly the policing of social channels when it comes to this sort of stuff falls at the feet of the user, if you find what somebody says online offensive then the onus is on you to report that account for their behaviour.  You then have to hope that the service provider agrees with your assessment for anything to be done about it.

Thankfully in the UK, our criminal justice system now views cyber bullying as a chargeable offense.  If someone is the victim of it then they can take action, however if the hatred aimed at a person is done in an indirect way i.e. they don’t have a Twitter account and it’s done under the pretext of a group of like-minded individuals just having a discussion, then that’s where they get away with it.

It has become particularly prevalent in the world of show business where actors, musicians and the like become subjected to this kind of behaviour on a regular basis, and it’s not just them directly that come under attack. It would appear their personal & family lives area hot topic of consternation & criticism.

Now I will freely admit that the topic of this blog has sprung from things I’ve seen for myself relating to an actor that I admire.  Jamie Dornan and his wife in particular have become the subject of some really unpleasant stuff being put out in the ether.  The reason for this?  He took an acting job and now a crowd have decided he’s living a lie and that his co-star is his true love (please feel free to roll your eyes or snort at this, I do regularly!).  However, the issue runs deeper than this single example, and I have barely scratched the surface.

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In the realm of celebrity, cyber bullying and trolling is something that is brushed off by those dishing it out because in their eyes the individual ‘can take it’ but it can still have a damaging effect on those being targeted.  A large portion of the time it is often other fans who attempt to pull those being offensive up on their actions & attitudes, but this typically results in West Side Story style bunch of drama with battle lines drawn, lots of name calling followed by angry blocking of profiles.  Of course those that were flinging insults in the first place are utterly outraged that they’ve been treated in such a way, and are quick to play the victim because they were just minding their own business, having a ‘bit of banter’ with their mates.

NEWSFLASH – you pedal vitriol or snide comments about someone (famous or not) in a public forum while believing you’re exempt from backlash or to be challenged over your behaviour…think again! The very nature of social media means that any person can and will call you out when you pick on someone that isn’t likely to be in a position to defend themselves.  You put your comments out there for all to see, you are fair game to be highlighted as the appalling human being you show yourself up to be.  It doesn’t give credence to what you perceive to be the truth, it just highlights what a shitty individual you are for wishing ill on somebody.

Incidentally what actually ends up happening in response to this vile conduct for the greater part isn’t OK either.  It becomes a far less classy exchange, whereby 2 sides of a so called ‘fandom’ start hurling insults at each other to prove their point. It becomes a mirror of the school playground where a friend steps in to defend their mate who is being harassed, then, because they dare to stand up to the abuser they also become the target because that’s the only way the bully knows how to respond.  Ultimately an all-out brawl ensues, meaning nobody has the moral high ground because it’s all just become a giant mess of idiotic comments.

This is exactly what I’ve been spectator to over the last couple of weeks.  It’s not something I particularly want to see, but quite often thanks to the wonderful world of sharing or retweeting, it is often impossible to avoid.

You don’t have to dig very far to find some disgusting behaviour from individuals who seem to think that because a person is in the public eye for whatever reason, they automatically become public property, thus giving these people the right to say whatever thatehe hell they like to and about the celebrity in question or their immediate family.  Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is absolutely riddled with posts containing offensive comments either directly to these celebrities or via dedicated hate accounts so they can use their so called ‘freedom of speech’ to just bash individuals that they find objectionable.

It’s no surprise that the celebrities they claim to worship won’t come anywhere near social media – not when they’re confronted by a gang who think it’s OK to spew bilge about husbands, wives, partners and children.  To top things off, they then have an aggressive amount of criticism levelled at them for not being on social media, thus giving these bullies yet another reason to express indignation.  They’re not your property to treat how you see fit (those that post graphic sexual comments directly to them would also do well to remember this).

Get a grip!

We all have things we care about, the things we would happily defend to the death, and that’s great.  However, targeting someone because you want their life to crumble just so it can facilitate the fantasy you’ve created in your head based on something you think you’ve seen on screen or in photographs…that is definitely not OK.  Attacking those who seek to respectfully defend the targets of your shameful actions, again, not OK.

I’m not saying you have to like everyone, I’m not even giving instruction on who you should and shouldn’t like, but nobody deserves scorn, hatred and revolting things said about them or their family members just because it doesn’t fit into the invented image or relationship you’ve concocted based on two people who worked together on a job.  Not everyone is Brangelina!

On that note, I shall let Ian Somerhalder have the last few words.

Ian Somerhalder Calling Out Trolls

Fat Lass At The Back….

As a 30 something mother of 2, I’ve given a lot of thought about why I have such a negative view of my own body.  Since my early teens I’ve always struggled with my weight.  I was never an athletic child, preferring to bury by nose in a book, couple that with an unhappy adolescence for reasons I won’t bore you with, I sought comfort in food thanks to a killer sweet tooth and a love of anything fried.

In 20 years I went from a size 12 to a size 22 – not something I’m proud of, or that I particularly like to broadcast.  Over the years I’d just resigned myself to poor attempts at dieting with limited success, accepting that I was just destined to be a ‘bhippo-515027_1280ig girl’.  My husband loves me, so what did it matter. Finding clothes I liked, that fit me well was increasingly more difficult, I was never going to be a size 10 ever, so I just had to accept that I wouldn’t be able to wear the clothes I wanted therefore I just had to accept what was available to me in my size.

Having 2 children compounded the problem.  While other friends had no problem shifting baby weight, no matter how many miles I walked with a pram, nothing changed for me.  Going back to work just left me stagnating.  A sedentary job, family and running a house left no time for myself or doing anything about it.  I’ve got cellulite, stretch marks, droopy bits and the most awesomely jiggly mummy tummy!

It wasn’t until my eldest child had been in school for a couple of years and I finally stepped away from my job to spend more time with my offspring that it began to become more than a minor niggle for me.  Standing in a playground full of ‘yummy mummies’ is a sobering event, but to repeat it 5 days a week for 39 weeks of the year is just torture for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin but had chosen to ignore it.  You can look as smart as you like, but you still feel inferior standing next to them with their skinny jeans and latest top from shops you can only dream of being able to squeeze yourself into their wares.  As a result, I avoid my thighs being visible if I’m wearing leggings (tunics are a staple in my wardrobe), shorts are a no go because my legs wobble too much, and swimwear? Yeah, I own one bathing suit in black and it’s rarely worn in public without a t-shirt over the top of it!  Why am I like this?  Because ultimately I’m ashamed of my body the way it looks now.

Still I did nothing about it.  There was plenty of internal castigation going on, but no action.  Then came a tipping point.  Last year mbelly-2354_1280y father was diagnosed with an illness that is degenerative and will ultimately end his life.  A sobering thought for anyone.  Once we’d wrapped our heads around his diagnosis and started to formulate plans for his care, I decided that I wanted to something positive to support the charity that is funding research into the condition to hopefully one day find a cure.  A chat with a friend ended up with me signing up to do a 50km bike ride this September.  I started my training in the middle of April, and since then not only has my body shape changed, but I’ve also lost 15lb.  It’s a small portion of the weight I need to lose, but it’s a step in the right direction, and I intend to keep going because I can seriously feel the positive effect is having on me, not because I’m on some big quest to get thin.

I’ve done a certain amount of reflecting on how or why I let myself get so bad, but it boils down to one thing that I think may be the root cause.  A lack of self-belief.  Growing up; the one person who should have built me up to be a confident young woman, who should have made me believe that I was beautiful both inside and out, never once made me feel confident about my body shape or looks. Now this is not going to turn into me bashing them, that’s not on the agenda, and I was fortunate to have a number of other positive females in my life, but it had a profound effect on me that still resides today.

With 2 girls of my own, I feel a massive sense of responsibility to make them feel good about themselves, whatever they look like, whatever their shape.  It’s already clear through the differences in them that one of them will be able to wear whatever she wants, while the other will battle with her lumpy bits (but no doubt have the most amazing shoe collection ever!).  That’s OK, because I make a point of telling my children regularly that they’re beautiful, bright, smart and can be whatever they want to be – in essence, to me they are perfect just the way they and should be comfortable in their own skin.

For this reinforcement to be a success, I have to lead by example and that starts with a responsibility to myself.  For their benefit and mine, I must keep going with the cycling and weight loss beyond the sponsored ride in September.  This isn’t because of a desire to conform to a social norm, but because I owe it to my children to be the best version of myself that I can be, and that starts with me being happy on the inside and outside.  I’ll never be a size 10, but I’ll be happier if I can drop a couple of dress sizes and feel a bit more confident in myself.  If cycling is helping me achieve that then I’ll stick with it.thisgirlcan

What bothers me most though is that my hard work in building them up, will be undone by the fashion industry and compounded by the media with its never ending quest to define what beauty is or what body shape is acceptable.  Why can’t someone who is bigger than a size 16 wear good quality, fashionable & affordable clothing?

A non-standard body shape should not be something that legitimises the exclusion of a massive proportion of the female population.  Why shouldn’t plus sized models grace the catwalks or women’s magazines more frequently?  Why should a simple hashtag be blocked by social media channel under the poor guise of cleaning up offensive content while still allowing terms that are likely to return far more offensive pictures? It sends completely the wrong message to every generation about what is acceptable in modern culture, and makes our jobs as parents even harder as we attempt to raise our children to feel good about who they are.  The media has morphed its role in the world from one where it informs, to one where it dictates, and this becomes embedded in a social media led culture where people judge with wild abandon, and don’t care about the damage that it does.

When something like The Oscars coverage becomes more focussed on the best & worst dressed people gracing the red carpet rather than the talent, and magazines shame celebrities who battle with their weight whilst putting vacuously perfect non-celebrities on a pedestal because they look good, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

Excerpts from this blog have been featured on The Fiercests and I would like to thank Mandy for asking me to be part of her blog post.

Just because you have the right to say something…..

When I was younger, I never used to put much stock in the things my father would say to me.  As a child you don’t really give it much thought, but as I’ve gotten older, some of his words have stuck with me.  The most memorable ones are all around the idea that just because you have the right to say something, doesn’t make it right to say it, along with the belief that you can say anything you like, as long as you are respectful.  These little pearls of wisdom seem to crop up more and more in my everyday life, and now I find myself saying the same things to my own children in the hopes that they will take this with them and adopt the same attitudes.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been witness to a number of instances of appalling behaviour and treatment of others.  Now, I’m probably going to come under fire from some people because of the incidents that I’m referencing but this rhetoric is not about defending the individuals who have been on the receiving end of such vitriol, it’s more a commentary on the abuse of a person’s right to free speech.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a Twitter event aimed at the fans of a particular author, designed for the lady in question to have an eRespectnjoyable interaction with her readers, answer their questions and give a little bit of her time back as a thank you for making her books a raging success.  What actually happened is the hashtag used for the occasion was hijacked by people who have issue with her writing – both style and content, and used it as an opportunity to lay into the woman in a very brutal way.   Now some would say that the criticism was well deserved (in fact most of those who let loose the harsh torrent of abuse would probably hop up and down angrily at being questioned over their harsh words and treatment, because they have the right to say what they like!). What would their response have been if the shoe were on the other foot and they were the ones under fire?

I’m a massive supporter of the belief that you can say anything you like as long as you’re respectful.  Criticism only really works if there’s a valid learning point to be taken away.  Suggesting that someone deserves to die because of the content of a book, is not only awful, but utterly ridiculous.  Salman Rushdie was lauded for writing a tome that was considered offensive to a lot more people than a book about a troubled man who finds love and redemption with an innocent young woman.

Perspective is something that we can all benefit from.  Not everyone wants to read Dickens or Tolstoy constantly, sometimes it’s just about being able to absorb yourself in something that’s easy to digest with characters you can identify with.  While not every woman who has read those books will admit to having done so, you can pretty much guarantee that each and every one of them is a sucker for a tortured hero who goes through a journey of self-discovery and transformation.  It’s been the formula for just about every romance novel in history, and it’s not about to change.  I personally wouldn’t be caught dead reading a Jackie Collins or Barbara Cartland novel, but that doesn’t mean that I’d deem it OK to rip the author’s work to shreds just because my opinion of their stories wasn’t a positive one.

A work of fiction is exactly that.  When you read it, you have what those in the literature/film world call a suspension of disbelief – in that you park the real world at the door and you escape in the story, in this case the love story that is at the heart of the book.  If you have issues with the subject matter then why bother reading it in the first place.  If you think it’s poorly written then stop reading and move onto something that is far more worthy of your highbrow tastes.

On the flip side, I’ve also been witness to some abject hatred for the wife of one of my favourite actors.  There’s a small enclave of Twitter users who are fans of a film he starred in, who have got it into their heads that a) he is destined to be together with the female co-star of said film, and b) that his wife is nothing but a gold digging hanger on, who wouldn’t be with him if it wasn’t for their child.

The level of nastiness being preached about a woman that they don’t know, aren’t likely to ever know, and about a relationship that is none of their business is quite frankly disturbing.  These people seem so detached from reality that they have convinced themselves that their abhorrence for this woman is justified and therefore acceptable to be voiced publicly.

I think we need to get one thing straight.  Freedom of speech is something that you have, but with that right comes a level of responsibility to use your words carefully.  If you were to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, how would you fIMG_3771eel if those words were being said about you, or a loved one for that matter?  Not a particularly nice thing to think about really.

Add to this the fact that if somebody dares to call these bullies out on their behaviour (because let’s be honest, it’s exactly what they are), then there’s a large amount of hissing, spitting and insults from them, along with yelling about having that right to say what they like.

Let’s also throw in a quick reality check while we’re at it.  The actor in question was cast in the role only 4 weeks before filming started, so had the original male lead for the film not pulled out of the project, you would now in fact most likely be ‘shipping’ some other imaginary pairing and hating on another undeserving female who happened to be attached or associated with the person you were fixating on.

I’m not telling people who they should or shouldn’t like before anyone starts on me, I’m well aware that it’s not my place.  I’m not even saying that you should respect the woman.  What I am saying is that if you like an actor/actress, then perhaps you should at least support or respect their personal choices.  In this instance the man was married before he got the part in the film with your ‘Queen’, and his wife is the person he has chosen to be with. Accept it, move on and focus on something more positive like supporting your favourite actress in her career instead of expending a ridiculous amount of energy spewing vile words for anyone and everything that you find objectionable.  There is something inherently wrong with your moral compass if you’re gleefully wishing for the demise of a relationship that would invariably cause upset to everyone involved including a child.  If you wouldn’t want it to happen to you then don’t wish it on somebody else.

Now I know that there will be a certain number of people thinking, well what does it matter, they’re public figures, they’re not going to see it or care.  While this may be true, these are still people with feelings, and social media is a difficult thing to avoid 100% so it’s quite likely that some of this hatred is creeping its way back in their direction.

As part of this blog post, I did a bit of digging through some Twitter feeds and a number of these individuals are just nasty to the core, firing hate at anything and anyone famous that they please. What they would do well to remember is that just because people are in the public eye, does not mean they’re public property and they still have a right to live their lives in the way they see fit without a bunch of angry people who bear no consequence to them spouting such rancid opinions.

Let’s just get one thing straight – it is not, has never been, and never will be acceptable to treat someone with such downright nastiness.  It actually speaks more of the kind of person you are than anything else.  If you have nothing better to do with your time than to make spiteful and hurtful remarks about someone who you don’t even know, then perhaps you need to take a step back and work out what is so wrong with your own life that you have to pick on someone who has done nothing to deserve your venom other than simply exist.

It wouldn’t be acceptable in the workplace, or in school, so why is it acceptable on a social media platform?

The belief that these people should be ignored because they’ll soon stop their behaviour is a potentially dangerous thing, because while it’s true on a very basic level, what example are we setting by choosing to turn a blind eye to such appalling conduct?  If a child is not reprimanded for misbehaving, then they will continue to misbehave, and how does that translate into the way they raise their own children when the time comes?

Both incidents serve to highlight everything that is wrong with our social culture.  Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just create more opportunities for bullies to surface and breed.  We have a whole generation (if not two) who think that they can behave as they like and say whatever they please without being held accountable for their words or actions, because they are labouring under the misapprehension that by having free speech and will, then they’re beyond reproach.

The next generation will in fact be doomed thanks to a life lived publicly and without any sense of responsibility.

What Have I Done?!?!

OK, so I got this crazy idea, after many hours of talking with friends on social media, that I should start a blog.  Do I know what I’m doing here? Hell no!  Do I have any idea what I’m going to say?! Hell yes!

There’s a mountain of thoughts, ideas and opinions that I’m just bursting to get out of my head and on to paper.  I hope to post at least one blog a week, plus random thoughts, observations and then there will be things related to my writing.

You might like what I have to say, then again you might not, but that’s your right, but one thing I will promise, I will always speak my mind.  If you want to leave a comment, then please do, but keep it constructive and classy. There is no room for people who want to just deliberately cause upset or hurt.

So, for now I shall just say hello to whoever is visiting this site, and thank you for dropping by.

Lou xx