Dear Theresa May

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your amazing comments on my last two blog posts. You give me more hope, and I was already pretty damn hopeful. Thanks are especially due to all those men who sent me amazing messages of strength.

I already believed ‘not all men.’ I am blessed by the good fortune of having wonderful men in my life already. My husband, who tells me how proud he is of me every day. My son who is everything I could wish for and who will, I know, grow up to be the very best of men. My father who is somewhat bemused by the foul mouthed firebrand he has unleashed upon the world but who has never doubted me for a second. My ex-husband, who puts up with me hi-jacking his social media feeds to promote my latest cause with only a small shrug. My male friends who only slightly raise their eyebrows when I talk loudly about my period in the pub. And now you, and you, and you.  Thank you.

And to all the women, all MY women. Well, I always knew you were the bomb.  You rock my world. WE are legion and we will do this. Together.

So, what next?

There are so many things. So very many, but let’s start with an easy one.

Theresa May is meeting with Donald Trump in the next few days to discuss a trade deal with him.  When asked about how she would deal with his misogyny on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, she said that she thought that him having to meet with her, and knowing that she is a female is enough of a statement.

This is not good enough. Not by a country mile.

So we need to write to her. You can do it by post. Send your letters to: Theresa May, 10 Downing Street, SW1A 2AA.

If you are her constituent, you can send mail to her constituency office in Maidenhead. You will need to quote your full name and postcode for an acknowledgement and reply. The email address is on this link.

You can send a template postcard by clicking on this link and printing one out.

Or you can email her in her capacity as PM by following this link. There is a limit on the number of words, so you may want to send more than one. Your email will not be sent properly unless you click the email they send you to make sure it’s really you. If it isn’t in your in box, it may well be in your spam folder.

It might seem like nothing, but to many people the march seemed like nothing and now figures put us at over 5 million and making history. We have been plastered all over the news since Saturday. That’s not nothing.

If it helps, imagine a flurry of letters akin to Mr. Dursley being bombarded by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts letters. That’s the sort of effect we’re looking for. Your letter will count. But only if you send it.

For those of you who are struggling with what to put may I suggest a variation on what I sent? You do not have to use the text. You can, I am sure, think of a million things to say, but sometimes it helps to have a starting point.

Dear Prime Minister

On Saturday, over five million people around the globe marched against Donald Trump and FOR women’s equality. One hundred thousand of those marchers were in London. They were part of one of the biggest protest marches in history. Not just women, but all genders, ages, races and creeds. They came out in force, they made their voices heard and they motivated themselves to do something, and keep on doing something. These are your potential voters. These are the people I would respectfully suggest, you need to start listening to.

You will meet Donald Trump in the next few days, to talk about potential trade deals with the USA. Your stance on Brexit has put us in a position where we need those deals, but I would ask you if we need them at the expense of our dignity, our humanity and our basic manners?

When asked on the Andrew Marr show at the weekend if you would challenge him over his behaviour towards women you, in so many words, said that it was enough that Trump would have to deal with you, because you are a woman. This, in my opinion is a shameful cop out. Angela Merkel is a woman, arguably a more powerful woman than you. Nicola Sturgeon is a woman, and the leader of a country, like you. They have already managed to speak out, respectfully and with dignity, over Trump’s treatment of women.

You said nothing, and judging by your answer on Sunday, you will continue to do so. You will say, no doubt, that you are not in a position to jeopardise such an important trade deal with such a huge power. I would respectfully suggest that as a seasoned politician you could speak out, and broker a deal. Furthermore, I would like your assurance that when you do broker that deal, that it is one which honours and respects women’s contribution to the workforce of this country and gives them the economic room to grow in parity with men.

Yesterday I was told that I should not complain about my lot, because after all ‘you’ve got a woman prime minister to speak for you.’ Yet you do not. You remain silent. You push through social care bills that penalise women as the main carers in families. Your plans for the NHS push sick people back into the community with inadequate provision for treatment, and women will pick up the slack. Your maternity leave and child care provision push women into part time, zero hours contracts to fit around their children. Your cuts shut down valuable refuges for victims of domestic violence. Your cuts to legal aid mean vulnerable women face their abusers in court. You do nothing to prosecute those who still maintain a gender pay gap, despite legislation having been on the books for over forty years.

And now you choose to turn a blind eye to misogyny personified in the shape of the leader of the Western World when you are one of the few people who could challenge it. If you are already doing this, what does that say about you as a negotiator? It gives me no confidence that you will come away from this negotiation with anything but the scraps from a rich man’s table. How will that feed us all, spiritually, emotionally, economically? Particularly women. We make up over 50% of the population of this country and we are already making do with scraps. How many of Donald’s meagre crumbs are we going to be allowed to have in the future, when the one woman who could speak for us remains purse lipped?

You keep using patriotic buzz words to describe the Britain of the future, the Britain you want to lead. You hark back to our glory days, our greatness, our patriotism. You want a Britain to be proud of. Well, we want a leader we are not ashamed of. You are our figurehead and you as a woman are letting us all down.

A few weeks ago you were criticised over the cost of your leather trousers. Me, I don’t care what you wear. I think women should be allowed the freedom men get to wear exactly what they want, and be criticised or lauded for their policies and actions. 52% of us would like that to be a reality for you.

This may seem like an aside, but I’d like to finish by mentioning that there was one time when I got angry about your clothing. It was when you wore a t-shirt that said ‘This is what a feminist looks like.’

If you are what a feminist looks like, then please stand up to Trump on behalf of all of us.

Regards

Katy

 

Dear Some Men

Dear Some Men.

I cannot just say men, because ‘not all men’, for which I am profoundly grateful. Let me define the kind of men I’m talking to.

The man I don’t know who called me a stupid ‘split arse cunt’ just for going on a march.

The man who wanted a plane full of marchers going to the Washington DC march to crash and burn to rid the world of ugly, feminist people. And the people who cheered him on.

The men who said that feminism is only for ugly, fat dykes who haven’t got anything better to do. Let’s include the ones who said, ‘thank fuck that fat women finally got off their arses to exercise’. Only fat women are feminists apparently, and lesbians. Remind me to tell Mark Gatiss. I stood next to him on Saturday. He’ll be delighted to know he’s a fat lesbian.

And body shaming? It’s so 2016. Who gives a fuck what size you are or what you look like? And if we want to go down that route, the USA have just elected a man that looks like a shrivelled satsuma with a combover and a cat’s arse instead of a mouth.

And lesbianism is an insult? Ha!

The men who said that if women only had a cock inside them they’d learn how to shut the fuck up. We can cluster that with the one who said that we should all be forcibly impregnated and the one who said we should get back to the fucking kitchen and learn our place.

The men who said that women don’t deserve safe, legal abortions because they should learn not to be slags/keep their legs shut/stop fucking around. The same men who denied any responsibility for any part of the sexual act, who denied that contraception fails, who denied that rapes happen.

The men who said that children who think feminism is a good idea are brainwashed. This goes with the one who told me this morning that he didn’t believe my 13 year old had asked to go on the march because it’s a fact that ‘children can’t think for themselves’.

The men who wished all women on the march to die horribly.

The men who kept shouting about how we were all wasting our time marching and didn’t see the irony of wasting their time spending hours repeatedly telling women what to do and how to think about things. I include the men who deliberately joined a women’s group page to tell the women on their own page to shut the fuck up.

The men who wished all women who were on the march to be raped repeatedly. There were several variations on this. The  word ‘skank’ got used a lot, along  with repeated use of the word ‘cunt’ and threats of cutting and other acts of violence, sexual and just downright physical. I expect they don’t believe in safe, legal abortion either.

The men who said: ‘Why are you bothering to march, you have no problems. Tell me what problems you have. You are equal,’ while conveniently ignoring the death threats, rape threats, insults, slurs and defamation they were posting their ‘you are equal’ comments in the middle of. That doesn’t include their ignoring of the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, the lack of representation in many career choices, the cutting of refuges for victims of domestic violence, the woman killed every three days by a man in this country.

The men who asked why we weren’t protesting sharia law, Saudi Arabian politics, cruelty to animals etc, because apparently you can only do, be and think one thing or your tiny, female brain overheats.

This is from Tony. Tony wants to know why we didn’t march to protect girls in Rotherham being raped. He won’t accept that people did. He won’t march himself because, ‘I’m not a woman, duh.’ And this: ‘I only march for serious issues, not with a load of stupid slags who don’t know what they want.’ When you tell Tony you did march he tells you you’re a fucking liar. When you tell him exactly what you want, he calls you a slag. Tony thinks we’re all munters except his wife who thinks we’re all cunts. Tony doesn’t march. Tony doesn’t do anything but dictate to women what they should and shouldn’t do and then repeatedly refers to their vaginas when they don’t. Apparently Tony doesn’t have any problems finding pussy. He’s ‘dipped a few.’ I bet his wife is happy about that.

Fred posted just now. Apparently he gave some chips to homeless people in Skegness on Sunday. Why can’t we be more like Fred instead of being women with ‘ a filthy mouth and are crude too. There is no demure lady in you. Your prob the dopey bird who walked around with the fanny on her head. You carry on your march , your protest . We just laugh at , birds, like you’. Fred doesn’t think women are capable of doing more than one thing. Fred is superior because he fed chips to a homeless person. Fred thinks women come from eggs because he keeps repeatedly referring to their avian ancestry. Fred doesn’t believe in multi tasking, or spelling, or punctuation.

Tony can’t support women’s lib because he’s still mad about World War I. Apparently we mention ‘Nothing at all about sending millions of men to their death during world war 1, the women’s lib took up the white feather issue to help men win wars’. Tony is a man who holds a grudge, and demonstrates publicly a spectacular failure to grasp historical facts.

These are the tame quotes. I’ll spare you the rest.

The men who cried ‘fake’ news at the numbers of people, the diversity of people, the lack of violence and damage done despite the evidence pouring in minute after minute on social media for the last three days from every possible source.

To the men who persistently call us feminazis, because wanting equality of opportunity for all is exactly the same as sending six million people to their deaths because you believe blonde hair and blue eyes look nicer in the photographs.

To the man who said to me this morning in response to seeing my daughter marching under a WEP banner saying no to hate. ‘What hate?’ I respectfully point to the above.

To the men who denied the government report that 1 in 3 girls experience some kind of sexual misconduct in school from groping to verbal abuse to rape. To the man in particular who told me I was stupid to think that girls in schools get raped.

To the men who have called us foul mouthed for using the word pussy and cunt while advocating violence to all fucking, ugly cunts. Apparently you can rape a woman to death and that’s fine because you’re just showing her her place, but if a woman says cunt, the world literally ends.

To these men and all the others who have come crawling, and I use the words advisedly, out from the woodpile in their thousands since Saturday I have this to say.

Your mother, believe it or not, is one of us. She is a woman. She has a vagina or a ‘cunt’ as you might prefer to say. When she conceived you, she was having hot, sweaty, sex with a man. She carried you in her womb for forty weeks, during which time you were responsible for many ravages on her poor body from stretch marks to swollen boobs to piles. Then she probably pushed you out of her vagina. She’s probably not someone you’d say was beautiful in the way you expect women to be. She doesn’t have to be. She’s your mum. If she marched,  would you call her an ugly, fat slag for marching?

Your sister, believe it or not, is one of us. She has tits and a cunt and an ass. She has holes that men like you think it’s their right to violate any way they like. They want to push her up against a wall and fuck her till she bleeds. They want to rape her and leave her ruined and sobbing and guilty, possibly diseased, possibly carrying the baby that you want to deny her the right to abort. She walks down the street avoiding cat calls from people like you. She goes to school wearing leggings and PE shorts over her knickers, praying that today, boys like you won’t put their hands up her skirt. She knows men who look at her like they’re banging her every which way from Sunday and it makes her skin crawl.

Your wife, believe it or not, is one of us. She probably let other men fuck her before you. She bleeds from her vagina every month, just like we do. She probably doesn’t look like a supermodel either. Is it alright with you if someone like you calls her a lesbian bull dyke because she doesn’t look like Cyndi Crawford, because there are men that want to? She has to think about how safe she is when she goes out at nights with her mates, just like we do. She probably carries her keys splayed through her knuckles just in case someone jumps her. She might walk down the middle of the road when she’s alone, just in case someone jumps out of a hedge and tries to rape her. She thinks about this all the time, even if she doesn’t tell you. She might not even consciously think she thinks it, because it’s second nature most of the time for a woman to try to keep herself out of harm’s way, and by harm, I mean men’s way. Men like you.

And this goes for your grandmothers who are also women just like us, and who, if they live alone, probably panic when the door bell rings in case it’s men like you who pretend they’re there to read the meter but force their way into her house because they like to fuck and beat up old ladies, and don’t say it doesn’t happen. It happens. It happens all the time.

And it goes for your daughters and nieces, your beautiful baby daughters and toddlers and little girls, the little girls who sit on your knee and make you feel like a million dollars as you burst with protective pride. The little girls whose tiny hand fits inside your large one like it was always meant to be there and who believe you are keeping her safe, until they find out you aren’t.

They are us. We are them. They will grow into women like us and they will be used and abused by men like you. And don’t say they don’t. 1 in 3 women in the UK experiences harassment and worse.

I know it’s fear that drives you. That’s what hate is at bottom, just fear. And I understand why you fear us. You’ve been doing this to us for so long you fear that when (and I use this word advisedly), we get equality, we’ll use our power to do this to you, to take revenge, because it’s what you would do.

Well think again. We’ve got better things to do with our time and our energy. We’re about building, not destroying. We’re about inclusion and fairness and tolerance and love for ALL, and that includes you. It worked on Saturday. It will work again. Why not try working with us. It will work for you.

In the meantime.

The rapists, the perverts, the abusers, the murderers, the men who think it’s acceptable to troll women to the point of a nervous break down, the stalkers, the men who deny responsibility, the men who say women deserve what they get, the men who say only bad girls get their just deserts. The domestic abusers. The gas lighters. Those men. They don’t know that those women are ‘YOUR’ women. They don’t know not to touch your wife on the street. They don’t see the sign round your daughter’s neck that says ‘hands off.’ They don’t think your grandmother is exempt from their attentions because she’s related to you. They see what you see. They see minge, cunt, pussy. They see bodies up for grabs, dumb fuck, asking for it, uptight girls who need to be shown their place and that place is under a man either physically or emotionally or both.

Every time you post the stuff you do,  every time you open your mouth and spew hatred, advocate violence, turn a blind eye, make it a woman’s fault or responsibility you are giving men like you permission to do this to women like us, and one day it will be your woman.

And when she’s broken, and battered and full of shame and bloodied and bruised we won’t ostracise her because she’s your woman. We’ll accept her. We will support her, love her, stand up for her, give her comfort, reach out to her, make her welcome in an unwelcome world, because despite what you say and think, she was always and will always be one of us and we are one with her.

The Women’s March

Yesterday was the Women’s March. I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Tallulah and I drove down to London and met up with a bunch of friends old and new to be a part of women around the world making history. I say women. What I mean is ‘everyone.’

I’d been excited about it for about two weeks beforehand. The night before I couldn’t sleep. When I finally started driving through thick fog down the M1 I got that horrible sinking feeling, that ‘what if it’s a damp squib?’ feeling.

It wasn’t a damp squib. It was a bastard massive flare shooting into the sky is what it was, and I loved every minute of it, even the standing around freezing my bits off in Grosvenor Square.

There were a lot of people you see. A lot. I heard someone say she’d asked a policeman when she arrived how many people they were expecting to turn up. Apparently he said two or three hundred. We did a little better than that. There were one hundred thousand of us.

Actually, globally, conservative estimates give a figure of 2.5 million of us marching yesterday. All together, all in solidarity. All working as one.

There were so many of us in Grosvenor Square that it took well over an hour for us to get out. At one point we thought we’d just have to stay there, the sheer number of us was so great. By the time we actually got properly under way our feet were like blocks of ice and it was difficult remembering how to put one foot in front of the other. We were helped by a bunch of LGBT activists who were having a disco march within the march and that soon warmed us up.

It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It was a joy and a privilege to be there. As we marched, and chanted and sang and celebrated together the mood got better and better. It was more like a party than a protest. It was wonderful to see so many different people with so many different philosophies, calls to arm, beliefs and ideas all coming together peacefully to make a stand. It was everything I ever dreamed a march could be.

There were babies in buggies and slings. There were toddlers on scooters. Parents marched with their children on their shoulders. People marched with their dogs. There were people in wheelchairs being pushed, there were old people and young people, men and women, people of all faiths, colours, creeds and genders. There were people dressed up. There were people dressed down. There were famous people. We spotted Mark Gatiss in the crowd. Even Dr. Who was there. There were non famous people. Me, for one. There were people marching for all kinds of causes, and proving that there was room for everyone.

There was no violence at all, no problems, no sense of threat. The few policemen I saw were chatting and laughing with the marchers and looked to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. A lady had a huge shopping bag filled with snack packs that she’d made up for hungry, thirsty marchers. She’d taken the time to stick slogans on the bags to keep people’s spirits up. There was a lady who had a bag full of pink pussy hats she’d made and was giving them out to people who didn’t have hats. People were offering placards and badges and just generally being kind and brilliant and generous and resourceful and downright lovely.

Half way down Piccadilly I could see up as far as Trafalgar Square and it was wall to wall people. I turned and walked backwards and you could see as far as Park Lane and it was still wall to wall people, and they were still coming as I marched. It was awesome in the absolutely truest sense of the word.

By the time we reached Trafalgar Square the speeches were over. They’d been over for a while, and still the Square was full and still people were arriving. It was just perfect.

Yesterday I saw in action on the streets of my favourite city in the world, people coming together to be what I believe we can be all the time. They showed me a future I’ve sometimes doubted we deserve. They showed me that we are many, our voice is loud. They made me believe again that we can do this. There is another way and it isn’t such an impossible dream. They showed me what equality looks like in real time with real people and I loved it.

Gwyneth’s Eggs are Ready for ANYTHING

If you arrived here on the great wave of Brexit postings you may want to pop off and get yourself a cup of tea about now. If you’re one of the Boo Street Irregulars, ears up, paws up, because we’re going full Gwyneth.

I got a message from my friend Kaz on my Facebook feed today. It said: ‘Gwyneth does it again!’ As you can imagine, it was like cat nip to me. I have never quite got over the time Gwyneth suggested that the best way for a woman to care for her vagina is to steam clean it.

Now apparently it is all about the jade eggs.

Ho yes. If you want your pudendal parts in tip top condition, MOT’d, valeted and ready for the spring/summer 2017 collection, you need to whap a couple of jade eggs up your foof and clack about for a few days with them in situ. It’s the only thing worth doing for the modern vagina – appaz.

As I read this article I began to realise why Gwyneth and Chris Martin had to have a conscious uncoupling.  It was clearly because he was never going to get within forty feet of her fanny ever again due to the fact that she’s constantly got something in it, on it or up it and none of those things are Chris Martin’s knob. He might be a curly haired, boy faced  muso with all the money in the world, but it’s no substitute for a roll in the organic hay with the missis. At least not one without fear of having your penis shrunk in a steamer or trapped between two lumps of egg shaped jade at the moment of climax.

It explains a lot about his pre split anguished song writing, and his move to euphoric pop musings once he’d found himself someone who didn’t want him to put his knob through a jet wash and then spiralize it before going near them.

To return to the issue of the eggs. They are, according to Goop, which as we know is the fount of all vagina based wisdom, going to do so much more than make you walk about sounding like a wind chime in a washing machine. They are going to turn your pelvic floor into something akin to an over-sprung trampoline and allow you to squeeze anything you care to stick into it into jelly. I would say a penis, but in Gwyneth’s case it’s more likely to be Voldemort’s Elder Wand or The Lost Cities of Gold.

Why would you want this? I mean, as a woman who has to be careful how vigorously she sneezes these days, I appreciate a certain spring in the pelvic muscles is a good thing, but how tight do they have to be? Do we want to strangle a python every time we hiccup? And what about the bounce? Nobody needs to be bouncing around the contents of a hair trigger pelvic area with gay abandon. In any direction.

Regardless of my misgivings, Gwyneth is not deterred. Not only does clacking around with your eggs a rumbling’ tighten those muscles until you no longer fear that everyone will know that you’re wandering around with jade eggs up your snatch because they’ve fallen out onto your foot and rolled across the floor, it also does marvels for your vaginal energy flow.

Yes indeed. Your vagina based chakra/energy centres will be like the deck of the Starship Enterprise on full Klingon alert, every damn day. You could shoot laser beams from your fanny. You could literally have someone’s eye out with that thing, energetically speaking. Imagine.

Who wouldn’t want that happening in their pants?

 

NO DONALD

I’m going on the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday. The London bit. I haven’t got the energy to go to Washington. My political leanings only extend to the end of the M1. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this march. I really am looking forward to it. Properly butterflies in the stomach about it.

A friend asked me why last week. I’ve been thinking about it.

Here are my, mostly incoherent thoughts.

Politics on a large scale is almost impossible for an individual to take part in/influence/access. If you try, and believe me I have, there are always barriers. You can’t speak to him until you’ve spoken to the fifteen people below him in order of age and importance. You can’t meet with them, they’re busy. You can’t talk to him about that, it’s not his area. He’s not your MP so you can’t write to him. You can’t send that petition with that petition, it’s not valid. That is not the correct form. I cannot send you the correct form. And on, and on, and on.

Until you start to try and change the world, you have no idea how many doors will be very politely closed in your face. Politics in the UK is built to work top down, not bottom up.

The only time you really get to make a difference is if you a) get really lucky – and this has happened to me, or b) you become part of something much, much bigger. It’s easy to ignore one person. It’s harder to ignore a thousand.

Normally I campaign on a small scale. A handful of us cluster around the Clock Tower in Leicester, usually on a rainy Friday night or a rainy Saturday lunch time. We compete with the drunks, the fundamental Christians and the bored and curious for what little attention we can get. I’m excited about getting involved in something bigger.

It will be great to show unity with those who are really going to pay the price of Trump’s regime. I can’t do anything except stand up and be counted, to make it known that I’m willing to stand next to and in solidarity with those who will suffer the most. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think we’ll all suffer, but I’m not going to be subject to his abortion laws or his lax interpretation of what consent means, but I feel for those who are.

What was one march in Washington is now, according to the women’s march website 386 marches across the globe with an estimated total of 735,000 marchers joining in protest. I want to be one of those 735,000. I am going to be one of them. So are lots of people I know. So many people I know who don’t usually do this kind of thing are either going or want to go, or going to different events. It’s already uniting people. It’s already a good thing.

Marching might seem futile, but it can actually create the space for change, because if there’s two things politicians aren’t keen on, it’s bad media reporting and mobs. Mobs you see, can get unruly and we are not that far away from the French revolution that people in power don’t start to get twitchy.

It also gives you something to do with your feelings. If you start to think about politics for any length of time, no matter what your colour on the political spectrum, it’s very easy to get aerated about the state of the world, and even easier to get frustrated. You can sign petitions, write letters, go to meetings etc, and all of these things are valid and have their uses, but sometimes, when something is really huge and overwhelming, something physical to do really does help. We talk about standing up for our beliefs. Well sometimes we need to stand up for them, and sometimes we need to walk them about a bit.

I’m not an American citizen, and yet Trump is already influencing the face of global politics. His face is on every newspaper, every television screen, every media outlet. It’s no good ignoring him and hoping he’ll go away. He doesn’t work like that. It strikes me that nobody has ever said no to Donald in his life, and that’s what he needs. He needs someone to say no, except that he has grown so huge, so egotistical that it’s not just one voice that’s needed anymore, it’s thousands of voices saying the same thing over and over again. That’s what I’m hoping this march will do, what my voice will do. It will join with all the other marches and all the other voices and it will say NO.

I cannot wait to say NO to Donald Trump.

 

Things I did and didn’t do.

Apart from my hip being rather tender and not entirely up to strenuous activity, I am all back to normal after last week’s migraine. It has taken a few days. After a bad one, the next day can often be like having a hangover but without the joy of the drink beforehand.

For me this is generally exacerbated by my sleeping patterns being turned around as I will have tried to sleep for as much of the actual migraine as possible. Last week I was feeling much better by ten o’clock on the Wednesday night, and awake. Wide awake. There wasn’t much point in trying to go back to sleep, so I read my book till three in the morning.

Thursday was hungover and tired to death day. I tipped my body clock a little further back the right way and only read until two o’clock. And so it goes. I am a night bird by habit, but that only works if you don’t have anything to do in the day. Otherwise it’s a bit of a bloody nuisance to be raring to go at midnight just as everyone else is winding down or asleep.

Today was the first day I have felt on top of things rather than things being on top of me. I have changed bedclothes, hoovered, scrubbed bathrooms and cooked things from scratch instead of eating chips and lounging about on the sofa in my dressing gown. Not that there is anything wrong with eating chips and lounging about, and dressing gowns are vastly under-rated as a piece of must have apparel. However, being able to be interested in food enough to cook it is always a good sign, and nothing adds to a feeling of getting better than a hot shower and clean bed sheets, both of which have been achieved today.

In other news:

The council are thinking of shutting down my local library. Frankly, I’m amazed it’s taken them this long to consider it. Needless to say, I shall be protesting vociferously about this. I am unspeakably angry about it.

The tortoise has taken to climbing under Oscar’s school bag to sleep. She tucks herself in so perfectly we lose her for ages and it’s always a shock if someone moves the bag by mistake. I am impressed at her skills.

I am teaching my friend Jenn to bake chocolate cake tomorrow afternoon. Really I shall be plonking her down in front of Jo Wheatley’s Malteser cake recipe and forcing her to follow it at skewer point. There is no point re-inventing the wheel. It is the most perfect, foolproof chocolate cake EVER. Still, I am looking forward to it, as we get to mess around in the kitchen all afternoon and it is something I know I can do so I actually feel confident instead of the usual blagging it.

Talking of chocolate. My brother gave my dad a 4.5kg bar of Toblerone for Christmas. Having realised it will take him until the dawn of the next Millennia to finish it alone, my dad gave us some of it today. It’s monstrous. Even in parts. A lump hammer (I kid you not) had to be employed to break it into chunks. We may all die of surfeit. I can’t even complain about the post Brexit gaps because I currently have about two kilos of Swiss chocolate you could build a functional shed with sitting on the draining board.

I did manage to get my food bank supplies down to the drop off point on Friday afternoon, despite being a bit crocked. It’s the first time I’ve managed a donation since Christmas and I’ve been feeling really bad about having fallen off the wagon so to speak, so I’m glad I got round to it. I’ve already got a few things for next week’s drop off, so I feel happy it’s back on my radar again.

As you can imagine, my reading is going well thanks to my topsy turvey sleeping patterns at the moment. I’ve just started the third Bernie Gunther novel by Philip Kerr, and I finished the second volume of Stephen Fry’s autobiography.

I also read Electrigirl by Jo Cotterill, a children’s book which Oscar came back from school with on Friday night. He never stopped talking about it all the way home from school. It’s one of his class’s top five reads and they’re hoping it will get nominated as one of the top reads in the whole school. Everyone in the class wants to read it and it was Oscar’s turn to bring it home. He finished it on Friday night, and thrust it at me with a ‘READ THIS. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW GOOD IT IS.’ So I did read it, and it is good. I was particularly impressed that it is a book about a girl superhero, but that he loved it and his other mates loved it and none of them cared about the fact that is a girl hero, which is fantastic. You would not believe how much gender bias and cries of ‘I’m not reading that, it’s a GIRL’S book,’ I’ve heard over the years.

On the cooking front I’m loving Chetna’s The Cardamon Trail and Tessa Kiros’ Provence to Pondicherry. Two highlights are the chana pie from Chetna and the potato and onion curry from Tessa.

Tallulah and I watched films yesterday. We watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Sing Street. We recommend them both but Hunt for the Wilderpeople wins hands down. In fact we all watched that and absolutely loved it. If you want a film that reminds you of how good people can be to each other and also makes you laugh a lot, you need to watch it.

 

 

 

 

 

Menstrual Migraine Mans Up

A few months ago I was invited to go and talk about my experience of problem periods and how it affects women’s working lives on Emma Barnett’s Radio 5Live talk show. Emma was fantastic as was Nancy, a fellow sufferer who I met while I was there.

One of the questions we got asked was, and I paraphrase. ‘How bad can it be? Why can’t you just man up and get on with it?’

Emma had prepared both of us that there might be questions like that, and had gently (and wisely) reminded us that swearing was frowned upon that early in the morning. We were both very restrained in our replies.

I thought about this question a lot yesterday.

My period started in the early hours of Saturday morning. It was four days early. I thought it might be coming because I had spent most of Friday with a splitting headache. I get menstrual migraine/headaches. I’ve been getting them for years. Some people will tell you that they’re not a thing. They are most definitely a thing.

My headache persisted over the weekend, and on and off all day Monday. On Tuesday afternoon it started to come back with a vengeance. What had been a dull, persistent thud in the background started to make its presence felt more and more insistently. I took some pills and soldiered on. I have spent a great deal of my life suffering with migraine and headaches. There isn’t really an option to give in unless things get desperate. Since I had my daith points pierced last Easter, these desperate times have been fewer. Life has been easier.

I should have known on Tuesday night that this was going to be different though. I had food cravings. Like pregnancy food cravings. Coca-cola, hot chocolate, crisps that kind of thing. The dinner the children and Jason had smelled awful to me. These are signs. I just ignored them and went to the pub quiz and had a nice time. I didn’t drink anything as all I wanted was hot chocolate anyway.

I woke up at six o’clock on Wednesday morning. My head hurt. It hurt in that way that said it might just turn into a migraine. I was complacent, because since the piercings I’ve only had one really bad migraine. I rolled over and hoped going back to sleep for an hour would fix it. I woke up at half past six feeling worse. I knew then I needed to get up and take some pills.

I drank a pint of water. I took some pink Migraleve (anti-emetics to try and avoid the sickness). By this time my sense of smell was on the fritz. Everything smelled terrible, and strong, and persistent. Like it can during pregnancy. My internal thermostat started to go wrong shortly after that. I am usually freezing. When I get a migraine I start to sweat I’m so hot. I have to have windows open, even when it’s icy outside. I opened the French windows and tried to get on with getting the children’s things ready for school.

By the time the children’s alarm went off at seven, I knew it was game over. I was starting to shake. I was hot and cold in turns, pouring with sweat. My right eye had tremors in the corner of my vision. Sometimes I go blind. Not yesterday, which was one, small blessing. My eyes hurt so much I had to turn lights off. I could feel the nausea beginning to roll over me in great waves.

I got the children up and let them know I couldn’t help them. They’re brilliant. They know the drill. They checked I had everything I needed and proceeded to help each other get ready. I am very lucky they are so good.

I couldn’t go back to bed. Too hot upstairs.

I shut myself in the study where it was dark. I opened all the windows, wrapped myself in a blanket with a bucket by my side and hunkered down.

There isn’t anything else to do. Nobody can help then. No pills stay down. Not even sips of water stay down. Everything makes you throw up. Everything hurts. My head splits, my neck is rigid, my belly hurts from period tenderness and repeated retching. I hadn’t managed to eat anything before I started throwing up. I’m never sure at this stage whether full on vomiting or dry heaving is better. Every heave hurts like a mother fucker because I have to move my splitting head.  I want to cry, but I know that if I do, it will only hurt more, and my runny nose will make me feel sick and then I’ll vomit again, and again, and again. Because I can’t keep water down I get more and more dehydrated. This makes the headache worse. It’s no good drinking though. It just makes the nausea worse.

At this stage, everything in my body wants to empty. It rejects everything. I don’t want to move, but I have to. I stagger and I use this word advisedly, backwards and forwards to the bathroom. It’s excruciating to move and worse because I have to go out into the light and God damn it hurts.

I do this, repeatedly from seven in the morning until about seven at night. It gets marginally, incrementally better. By four the heaving is slightly less. By five my eyes are less sensitive to light. By seven I can see out of one eye fine. My right eye is still a wreck. My head still pounds like a train. I can manage a few sentences. I can’t take pills till about eight. That’s when it starts to go in the right direction and I know I won’t die this time.

My hip, which is never great from where I was rather brutally manhandled during surgery for my ectopic pregnancy twenty years ago, is absolutely trashed from lying on a cold floor, shaking. I can barely walk and it’s going to take a couple of days for it to click back into place. Last night when I finally got the bliss of a bath to wash all the sick and blood and sweat off my knackered body, I crept upstairs like Julie Walters in the Two Soups sketch. I fell out of the bath on exit and had to be rescued by Tilly.

No dignity. No romance. Nothing lovely. No manning up. Today I can almost walk. Today I am hungover as hell and clumsy and disoriented, and that’s how it is.

Before I had the piercings I had this about once a month. The week I got the piercings? I had two of these back to back. They swallowed a week of my life.