Category Archives: Life

Tissues and tampax: #TheStruggleIsReal – but never hurt anyone

North West in a power struggle with mum Kim Kardashian. I throw these tantrums all the time too but I'm too big to be picked up so they exist in my head. Source: Instagram

North West in a power struggle with mum Kim Kardashian. I throw these tantrums all the time but I’m too big to be picked up so they exist in my head. Source: Instagram

When people say, “The struggle is real,” I do wonder how real their struggle is and find it funny that along with myself, nobody really shares their struggle.

Superficial ones, yes, but unlike the champagne lifestyle, lemonade money fraudsters, I don’t feel that admitting to being ‘financially challenged’ – this is my replacement phrase for ‘broke’ – is embarrassing, because I know when I reach that place of success, my backstory will be invaluable.

But let me give you a snapshot: today with the £1.94 in my purse, I had to forfeit a pack of digestive biscuits for sanitary towels – thank God you can find them for less than a pound. For that moment stood glancing left to right at the packs of Bodyform, Wilko own brand and the unaffordable Tampax, I resented my monthly cycle. And the fact that I didn’t put the coppers in my purse because I could have made that up to a round £2.

What made me contemplate sharing this is a friend who just vindicated me by admitting she was once chose tissue over sanitary towels because she couldn’t afford the latter. This confession completely changed my face, for one, I found that hilarious, but compelled me to retell the story and show people that they’re not alone. Let our struggle, be your freedom, especially since I haven’t finished yet…

I then, after just buying the sanitary towels, had to make a choice later on between milk from Tesco and UHT milk from Poundland (but skimmed, not semi, there’s around a 5p difference, if I remember rightly). As I’d already picked up a flapjack for 29p, I had to sneakily use my calculator just to make sure I had enough to buy the milk too before I got to the till. (Air high-five if you do this too). 

Some people might be wondering why on earth I’m airing this on my blog but I have no intention of editing it like I do everything else in my life to avoid embarrassment, it stays how it is because this is how it is. At least this week. So when you say your struggle is real, think of me who ate slices of cucumber and garlic tea for breakfast this morning and lasted the whole day, I don’t know how, and who’s restricted to one piece of protein per day until her bank says otherwise.

Of course, I could call home and I’d be sent money but where’s the lesson in that? Or even the entertainment.

After a while the hunger pangs go away, tea does great at tricking your stomach, and when you’ve been glued to your laptop for as long as I have, they go anyway. Plus I have carbs here so life isn’t that bad.

Hopefully you’ve had a giggle, feel better about your own life or can smile in solidarity at my        ‘stru-ggle,’ but more importantly, the universe loves a hustler so keep on it, whatever your journey. Peace.

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Two months in Manchester and still no friends – a snapshot of being in a new city

When moving away from home, a huge expectation tags along with the experience that it’s going to be life changing.

Sourced from: Weheartit.com

Sourced from: Weheartit.com

A new city offered new surroundings, to be enjoyed without boundaries when I left my parents, friends and everybody who knows me to become a stranger elsewhere.

It’s a liberating thought when you take a minute to reflect on it: being a stranger to every new person you encounter. Having the freedom to create a whole new existence or persona is inspiring. That’s what I felt before making the 86 mile trip in February and last Sunday afternoon, when I really considered the possibilities of what I could get up to, but as the headline suggests, there has been no rebirth, which is a little bit embarrassing.

Since migrating I’m habitually asked the question: “How’s Manchester?” and my response varies depending on who I’m reporting back to and how honest I’m being. Either I deflect the answer onto my course with a false display of overt joy: ‘It’s alright you know!’ or offset my true feelings with lightheartedness: ‘It’s cool thanks but I can’t tell you how Manchester is as I haven’t socialised since I’ve been here!’ – still with exclamation marks.

And it is fine. I get illegal free tram rides to the supermarket and back, have experienced no crime or racial abuse in deprived and all-Caucasian Salford, and there have even been advantages to my temporary poverty, like a diminished sweet tooth, but I exist within a hamster cage.

In fact I just dropped my old hamster cage into a new location. Some of this I anticipated and is necessary to achieve the results I intended. Venturing to Manchester was a purposeful decision, not frivolous, but there’s this niggling feeling of disappointment that I’ve not made more of it here when I’m dying to just initiate myself into some underground subculture or get involved in something that breaks me away from myself.

At the weekend, however, I was told sympathetically to go easy, “You’ve just moved. Everything you need to experience will come in due course,” which is perfectly logical advice. In the meantime though I’m looking for inspiration and content for new blogs with item number one being the London leg of the World Naked Bike Ride on 13 June 2015.

If I can secure an interview with the original founders/ organisers of the event then I plan to follow up with a news article so check back for that.

Cycling around Central London naked should be fun but much better with body paint to mask my clitoria – a flower with an uncanny resemblance to the vagina, but not the only one. (Click it) So on my to-do list is finding a bike, a creative individual who’d like to paint me and possibly a flesh-coloured thong.

Crowdfunding talk on BBC West Midlands’ Chatback show

No selfies with the presenters, I settled with hugs during the break but  the guest room was perfect for a snap.

No selfies with the presenters, I settled with hugs during the break but the guest room was perfect for a snap.

A friend of mine asked on Saturday night if I was weird and practised my interview responses in the mirror like her, to which I replied: “Out loud, yes! You have to!” and I did, hoping that Chatback’s Joe Aldred or Nikki Tapper didn’t open the interview with: “So tell me about the campaign” because that leaves far too much window to trip over my words. Thankfully the veteran presenters have much better style than that and gave me a wonderful introduction which calmed my nerves somewhat.

If you’re unaware, just recently I launched a campaign to raise £1700 remaining course fees for journalism school in Manchester. Utilising my editorial skills I’m approaching contacts old and new for commissions, with all profits going straight to my campaign. Meanwhile I’m crowdfunding so that hopefully with the two combined, I can just focus on my studies.

It was great being able to share what I’m trying to achieve as I don’t tend to often, and while there met another guest on the show, Lenise Harris, founder of the Women’s Reform Organisation. A ‘non profit organisation delivering holistic support to vulnerable women at risk of crime or reoffending upon release from prison’, the charity is in its infancy and born from Lenise’s own experiences of vulnerability as a young female which sparked a desire to help others as she became older. To help grow the West Midlands organisation, Lenise is actively looking for volunteers to support with areas such as mentoring, outreach and marketing so for more on her tune in at 01.07 – 01.11 or go to: www.womensreform.org.

Thank you to everybody who listened live and for any who weren’t able to, you have 28 days starting from now to catch it on BBC iPlayer. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nhr5f#auto (Skip straight to 45.15 – 55.27 for my segment)

Crowdfunding campaign lands me on BBC WM with the Chatback team in Birmingham

It’s been an incredibly busy few months what with relocating to another city, becoming a journalism student again and being thrust into a 37.5 hour course schedule but given my most recent circumstances, I absolutely have to get back into the habit of oversharing and blogging.

Just recently I launched a campaign on crowdfunding website, Go Fund Me on the back of some advice from a friend and my annoyance at always waiting for money rather than getting it myself, to help raise my £1700 outstanding course fees.

Vicky G Course Fees Campaign

From observation the most successful people I know are those who once they’ve amassed enough experience, draw a line at unpaid work, but I’ve never been entirely confident at monetising my skills.

Nonetheless, the reality is that I’m only ever a month away from being evicted if I fail to raise my rent, like a few weeks ago when the desperate Whats App messages for ‘rent contributions’ went out, but it still didn’t amount to enough. Add to that monthly outgoings of more than £700 on a zero hour contract job and an instalment agreement with my course provider, it was time to drop the pride and get clever. Leverage my creativity and find a way to make this financial challenge mutually beneficial, like a transaction.

The idea was born, as a headline, of course: ‘Manchester journalism student sells her skills in a bid to raise £1700 outstanding course fees’, and with a sneaky day off from my school, a Go Fund Me page was created alongside a compelling narrative of my journey to the present day, ready to send to every acquaintance I’ve ever made.

I can’t explain the weight that was lifted once the campaign became active – I haven’t done any crying since which is a good sign (actually that’s a lie I had a meltdown over the bank holiday weekend and closed my blinds midway through the afternoon) but though progress is slow, it’s now a visible scale on my funding page.

Switching sides to be interviewed, I’ll be chatting to BBC WM’s Nikki Tapper and Joe Aldred tonight on Chatback at 8.30pm about the campaign and detailing more of my backstory that I haven’t mentioned above.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 13.03.47

Please support it! All the relevant links are embedded in this post for you to click on and if you do happen to listen live or on BBC iPlayer afterwards, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. 1. If I have a good voice for radio let me know as I secretly want to add broadcaster to my repertoire and 2. If you have any advice for how I can push my campaign over twitter where most of my followers are strangers, tips are most welcome.

Wisdom From a Rare Krishna Book

Original photography sourced from Samishome.com/blog

Original photography sourced from Samishome.com/blog

“Think of this as the mastery of your craft,” he said. This is what you get when friends visit Buddhist centres in London over Christmas. Thanks Ezra-Aharon.

So the Yogi wants mystic power, the Jnani wants salvation from the miseries of life, and the Karmi wants material profit, but the Bhakta – the devotee – doesn’t want anything for himself. He simply wants to serve God out of love, just as a mother serves her child. There is no question of profit in a mother’s service to her child. Out of pure affection and love, she cares for him. When you come to this stage of loving God – that is perfection. Neither the Karmi, the Jnani, nor the Yogi can know God, only the Bhakta. (Science of Self Realization, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

The message: Do things out of love, not for personal gain.

Audio Blog: Would you be in a relationship with you?

Image

Source: meloveletters.com

A lot of the topics for my blogs have been inspired by conversations with friends, whether I say little or a lot, there’s usually something that sparks a trail of thought for potential posts. Problem is, when I don’t rush to get those written down, they shrivel back up, though gasping for air, in this sardine tin I call, my mind.

“Part of growing up is being able to find solutions to your own problems. At the end of the day, if you can’t do it, there’s no amount of asking for advice that’s going to help because it’s you that has to implement this advice.”

Last night, I decided to not procrastinate quite so much and take action when the thoughts were fresh and relevant. There was no time to write this down, it would have turned into an epic piece of waffle, and I can’t say that waffle hasn’t been transformed into ramble, but I ran with the momentum at least. No edits, I’ve recorded and uploaded this just how it is and as you may have guessed the question: ‘Would you be in a relationship with you?’ will crop up in this audio, eventually, when I get to the point.

“Like I say to everyone, which is probably slightly negative, I feel like your twenties are just – can be – slightly overrated. This kind of image of being ‘twenty something’ which is thrust upon everyone, isn’t what it actually is, which is why I love my website so much and writing because at the end of the day, I think I present a honest account, even if it is slightly self-depreciating, I just like to be honest.”

Apologies for it being so long, I guess I do like the sound of my own voice after all…

“You need to think about the value that you’re adding to other people’s lives. And before you think about the value that you can add to another person’s life, you need to think about the value that you’re adding to yourself.”

People Change – Get off Miley’s Ball and Chain

Source: The Hollywood Gossip.com

Source: The Hollywood Gossip.com

Most have had just over a week to collate their thoughts, leaving judgements on comment threads all over Vevo, YouTube and countless websites as Miley Cyrus released the second single off of her upcoming Bangerz album. The highly-controversial video is still receiving up-to-the-minute views and the moralists haven’t stopped offloading their opinions on the integrity of this latest visual instalment. Currently on more than 100m views, and in less than a week broke records with the most number of views on Vevo in 24 hours, it’s hard for me to ignore this, as irrelevant as she is to me musically.

Purposely, my approach for this commentary is one of autonomy, so I’ve refrained from doing any research on the video/song/director’s inspiration because it’s like spoiling the ending of a film. Instead I comment as if I’d never really been introduced to Miley because up until she was thrust into my consciousness; HD perfect in white panties, she was a non-muthaf**king factor. (Some may know where that phrase originated, expletives and all).

My initial reaction when I clicked onto this video, with my mum sat next to me, should I add, I believe it was on its debut day and needless to say, I was slightly thrown by the extent of nudity. It was unexpected; certainly questionable and as much as I sympathise with the plight of artists whose dream is to simply perform music but never asked to become role models to a whole generation – it comes with the job – and as examples to young women, I definitely feel that contemporary female artists are blurring the lines of what it is to express your sexuality.


Speaking of Blurred Lines, when I was first alerted to its unedited video, I had similar thoughts but lyrically, the message was so clear that there was no room to contest. However, what I extracted immediately from Wrecking Ball was the hard, concrete, unmerciful nature of loss against the soft, vulnerability attached to love and supposedly, femininity. Art is never easy to define and is entirely subjective which eliminates boundaries, unless they’re self initiated.

Nudity is also a state of being that I’m at ease with, for the most part. As a former life model, I see an immense amount of beauty in the female form and have seen far more intimate representations of myself than that video. Like Miley, in her white vest, no bra and boyish pants, that’s the outfit I’m most comfortable in too, and probably a good percentage of those who tuned in. Licking the hammer like it’s the end of a you-know-what; riding the ball knowing what’s perpendicular with the chain, yes, it’s suggestive, but I never want to ignore sensuality because it’s a core part of our nature. I see no reason to suppress, the action should be to educate. In a roundabout way, there’s a piece of every woman in those visuals, so I respect her statement and see the power in it.

Bigger than her nakedness, fondness of twerking, or as a friend of mine termed it, “long-back dancing,” because while twerking is coined a ‘black thing’ (an African-American blogger whose blog I now can’t find, also said this, and I was instantly offended by the deception) her assets in no way fit the bill. (Watch Kevin Hart’s interview with BBC 1Xtra for his comedic slant on it). What provokes me about the deep interest towards Miley’s drastic transformation from Disney do-gooder to white-Rihanna, is essentially people’s general inability to accept change in others.

Source: Bashik on WeHeartIt.com

Source: Bashik on WeHeartIt.com

Year-on-year since 16, I haven’t failed to notice physical and emotional change in myself. Whether it’s been centered on my style, behaviour, maturity, confidence, it’s something that – better late than never – my dad has observed and even my mum, who’s a grown woman in her 50’s is experiencing. The need to reinvent oneself and the desire to evolve is natural and quite frankly, I’d be concerned if this didn’t take place because life cannot exist without growth. Evolution is everything.

So while my opinion of Miley indefinitely changed, I left the “Beg” protest because I refuse to denigrate my race and myself by saying that she was “begging black” because there’s no such way to define blackness. How suddenly it appeared that she’d adopted this uber-sexual, ‘don’t give a F’ persona did leave me thinking that it was all a gimmick, but as individuals, we attack what we’re unable to understand or fearful of doing ourselves.

How many of us want to loosen the grip of fear and break out from the box we’ve been shaped into, but hold back because actually, inside the box you know yourself very well?
There are boundaries in the box that protect us from judgement and give us enough freedom to not go wild and tarnish the image of ourselves that we’ve constructed for so long. Why explore the other vertices when you risk complicating your identity? But boxes are cardboard for a reason and the abstract one that isn’t really there has mouldable qualities. Conformity is dead, and I commend Miley, irrespective of the puppet masters behind her, on having the balls to redesign her mould.

Without looking at the subtext of Wrecking Ball and the Miley Cyrus saga – sexualisation of women in the media, (when haven’t we heard that before?) how sex is corrupting our society, (why is it of so much significance now?) and everyone screaming to be noticed, (each generation had their rebels). Another friend of mine said to me last week, “You’ve got to be shameless in this game.” We were discussing the media industry and becoming a brand but it applies to all areas of life. Do you. Love you. But most of all, embrace reinvention.

I’m going to leave this with a video from YouTuber, Shameless Maya. I love this girl and got glued to her videos a few months back when I typed in ‘fear’ on YouTube which brought her up. Maya did it and is now reaping the benefits so I think everyone else is on to something, even if you aren’t.