Posted in Chronic illness

“How are you?”

It’s a question most of us ask or are asked multiple times a day. Usually there’s a simple “fine, you?” Reply and that’s all that’s needed. 

As a person with chronic illness, this question isn’t so easy to answer. Most people don’t really want to know my honest answer. That I’m actually doing pretty shit. 

But the people I’m closest to- my boyfriend, my sister and my mum. They regularly ask how I am and expect the truth. 

But the truth is hard to hear and I’m never quite sure what answer I should give. Should I be positive and say that I’m doing better than yesterday? What if I’m actually doing worse? What if I’m really struggling to be positive?

I don’t always want a conversation about how I need to stay positive. I don’t always need reminders that it changes everyday and just to try and get through today. I already know that stuff. But that doesn’t stop the pain I’m experiencing right now. And sometimes (a lot of the time) I just don’t want to talk about it.

But if I can’t be honest with them, who am I being honest with? And if I’m not honest with them, how do I expect them to understand when I do need to talk about it?

How did a simple question become so difficult to answer?
This post was inspired by this.

Posted in Thoughts

If I could…

If I could vanish one thing. If I could make one thing disappear from the world, what would it be?

It’s a question that’s appeared on Facebook a lot of times. And there’s many great answers. HIV. Cancer. Donald Trump. ISIS.

My thoughts on this question and questions like it such as ‘if I had one wish’, ‘if I had £1million’, ‘if I had one superpower’ is how to make it go as far as possible. How can I have the most impact?

For example, getting rid of Donald Trump will likely have a bigger impact than getting rid of that irritating neighbour.

So I have a few possible answers for this question.

1) Illness- This would cover all chronic illnesses, both mental and physical. And it would also cover that dreaded winter cold. Everyone would be fit for work all year round as well so there would also be positive impact on the economy.

2) corruption- This would wipe out a lot of politicians and we would know that the ones left have our best interests at heart. I believe it would also bring an end to a lot of wars and to ISIS. 

3) environmental problems- Global warming, droughts causing lack of food, pollution of seas, melting ice caps. Everything would be brought back to where it should be in one go.

4) inequality- this would bring an end to homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism. All the isms. And we would all be economically equal, ending hunger and poverty.

If I was really given the choice, I would not be able to resist choosing illness. I have a chronic illness and I would be selfish and choose illness, though the other options are all good too.

This is entirely hypothetical as no one ever has the opportunity to actually make something like this vanish. But the question of ‘how can I make the most impact?’ Should be something we all think about more. And I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. 

Every minute, we have choices as to how we can make an impact. On the world, or on ourselves. Maybe the biggest impact you can make one minute is choosing the stairs instead of the lift and getting some exercise. But maybe another minute you will decide to learn something new instead of watching tv. And maybe another minute you will give up your job as a doctor to move countries and work providing healthcare to people living in poverty.

Every minute we can make an impact on our futures and we should be thinking about how to make the most impact. Is watching that new game of thrones episode going to have more of an impact than practising guitar?

What would you vanish? And how can you make the most impact?
This post was inspired by this.

Posted in Creativity

Creative block

Nothing is inspiring me to write. Nothing is motivating me to write. Either working on my novel, writing short stories or writing poetry. I’ve drawn a blank.

And I’m also struggling to find motivation to play keyboard, ukulele or guitar.

It’s not your typical writing block that can be pushed through. It’s a symptom of a wider problem.

Depression.

I know being creative will help me through the depression but the depression is stopping me from being creative. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m getting nowhere.

This post isn’t how to fix depression or how to fix writers block. It’s simply an acknowledgement that it’s happening.

Posted in Popular culture, TV

Gilmore girls reboot review

*beware:spoilers*

Let me start by saying that I loved the bits that didn’t make me uncomfortable, (they were funny and brought back every character I could think of from the originals) but there were too many uncomfortable parts for me to rewatch it. I’m considering rewatching the original series to see whether they were as problematic and I was just oblivious when I was younger. In fact, this series was so problematic, I’m going to need subtitles.

Fat shaming

The most obvious problem, that anyone could spot, was the fat-shaming. The summer episode has a few scenes at the pool. Lorelai and Rory are making comments about disliking the pool (because kids pee in it). When fat people walk past in swimsuits, one of them says ‘belly alert’ and they look away. At another point, pat stops to talk to them and Rory accidentally calls him ‘fat’ instead of ‘pat’. They are further dehumanised by having the heads of the fat people off screen, so you can only see their bodies- even when pat is talking to them. The scene is completely unnecessary and has no effect on the storyline at all, so it’s even more surprising that no one said anything about the fat shaming and got the scene cut.

Child labour

Also during the pool scene, and a few other scenes, Lorelai and Rory have two children waiting on them. Now if the children had been shown going up to them and asking if they could do anything for some money, and then getting paid a decent amount of money, then it might be okay. But the kids are clearly unhappy about the work they’re doing (they walk past children playing and one of them says ‘that looks fun’ sounding quite downbeat). They’re also made to carry a lot of stuff that looks heavy, while Lorelai and Rory carry nothing. And Lorelai and Rory mostly ignore them. Child labour? I’m not sure.

Homophobia

Now there’s two gay characters in the show, which is improvement on the original series if I remember correctly. Michel that works at the dragonfly inn, and one man that lives in the town and is at town meetings. During a scene discussing the possibility of a pride parade, they talk about there not being enough gay people in the village and wanting to borrow gays from other villages. I have two problems with this- they’re talking about gay people as if they are some kind of commodity, and they completely ignore the other letters in LGBTQIA+. I also think showing Michel as gay just reinforces stereotypes of gay people because he is the perfect gay stereotype. But having a black, gay character is some kind of progress I guess…

Racism

Most of the characters are white, which is a problem itself. For speaking characters there’s Michel, Lane and her mother, Gypsy and Berta and a few minor roles who are people of colour. There’s an okayish amount of non-speaking parts played by people of colour. One problem that stands out is that there’s a lot of people of colour in servitude roles. From Emily’s maid and her family, to the headmaster at chiltern’s secretary, to Paris’ secretary, to Emily’s driver. Emily’s gardener and pool boy are also mentioned as translating languages for Emily so we assume they are also people of colour (or maybe they just care about people other than themselves unlike anyone else on the show so have learnt second languages). 

Looking at the more prominent roles, Mrs Kim is still a stereotypical first generation Asian immigrant. Lane doesn’t have much of a role but it seems she has become Americanised as she always wanted in the original series. Gypsy has a name that is a racial slur, but doesn’t have much of a role in the show. Berta is laughed at. It seems like it’s her problem to get past the language barrier, when it should equally be up to Emily. Berta has a huge family, and Emily doesn’t bother to learn the names of the family calling some of them ‘the cousins’. The jokes at the expense of Berta and the language barrier are in very bad taste.

And then there’s Michel. His accent is laughed at when another character complains they’re unable to understand him. He’s not the stereotypical black person, but he is the stereotypical French person (sticking to stereotypes is a recurring theme in this show). He has a proper storyline- he might be leaving the dragonfly inn, unless Lorelai expands the business, which she eventually does. But we never find out for definite whether that means he’s staying afterall. It was a bit like ‘he has a storyline but we aren’t going to finish his story because he’s not actually that important’. I’ve read that there was an ending to his storyline but it got cut because the show was too long. I don’t understand why that got cut and the fat shaming scene didn’t.

Mental health

I think Emily does a good portrayal of grief. But the therapy sessions are ridiculous. The therapist doesn’t seem to do anything. She doesn’t ask any questions to prompt discussions. She just takes notes. I’ve had therapy and that wasn’t anything like my experience. Lorelai’s attitude towards therapy isn’t great at first, but that seems to change. But then she ditches her therapist, all because her therapist auditions for the town musical, as if therapists can’t have a life outside of their job. No mention of actual mental health problems are made. None of the characters have mental health problems it seems. Sookie is ridiculed for taking some time for self care. And the worst part is a joke about a woman with bipolar disorder. 

Classism and financial privilege

Lorelai and Rory have always been portrayed as if they are working class and not wanting to accept money off Emily (and previously Richard). But they are at least upper middle class if they can afford to spend so much in coffee shops. The price of flights between America and London is never addressed. Where is Rory getting the money? And one of Rory’s rich friends buying an entire bar and a car while drunk is treated as a cute quirk, not as a disregard for the value of money. Emily buys a house that isn’t for sale by making an offer the owners couldn’t refuse. And a loan for thousands of pounds isn’t treated as a big deal. But what really got to me was the 30-somethings group. A group of friends who are all living back with their parents because they are unemployed. The fact that so many people are unable to find work and afford to live on their own isn’t addressed as a very sad part of the society we live in. No. They are laughed at. As are their parents trying to help them find work. Moving back in with your parents in your 30s because you can’t afford to live independently is reality for a lot of people, and they use it as a joke.

Invisibility

One good point is that there’s only one bit of ableism in the show- the joke about the bipolar woman already mentioned. There’s no other ableism. Now of course, this might be because there are no disabled characters. There’s also no transgender characters or bisexual characters or asexual characters or Jewish characters or Muslim characters. In fact religion isn’t mentioned at all apart from lorelai and Luke having a priest perform their wedding. There’s a lot of society’s diversity that is completely invisible in the series.

Treatment of surrogacy

The way they looked at surrogacy was obviously going to be a little ridiculous just because they’re dealing with Paris but they went too far. Again, money comes up. Or rather it should do. Getting a surrogate is expensive but it’s treated like something anyone can have, rather than addressing the fact that it’s actually expensive- and how are Luke and Lorelai going to afford it? And Paris refers to the surrogates as breeders, and ranks some of them as being better than others. I don’t know how to put into words the problems of this. I was shocked. 

Other gripes

My other gripes with the show are more about the storylines not being what I expected. Lorelai and Rory have always been self centred but Rory is a a horrible person in this series- she’s cheating on her boyfriend who she keeps forgetting to break up with and she’s also a mistress to someone who’s engaged. And then she seems hurt by the fact that Logan still wants to marry his fiancé. She also has a really bad work ethic and expects to get places just on talent and intelligence.

The Wild storyline just didn’t make sense to me. Lorelai isn’t an outdoor person. If she needed alone time to think, I would expect her to go to a spa, not on a hike.  

Lorelai and Luke getting married was also a bit like ‘what the hell?’ for me. They were having issues in their relationship and not communicating. Yet they suddenly get married and that’s supposed to fix everything. Marriage does not fix relationships.

And my final problem that has already been mentioned is that there’s no end to some storylines, particularly Michel story that I’ve already mentioned but also the letter that Lorelai supposedly wrote to Emily, which seemed like a big deal in that scene but then was never spoken about again. 

Finally

This is one of those series, that if I was the writer, I would have scrapped most of the script.

Posted in Books

Book review: fantastic beasts and where to find them script

No spoilers (or nothing more than shown in the movie adverts)!!

I’ve not seen the film yet so this is based only on the script book.

Plot: there’s two big plots, which if you’ve seen the movie adverts you know are- newt scamander’s case of animals has released some animals, and there’s a magical thing causing havoc in New York. Each is fairly good, but they don’t seem to be linked together very well. One is not really necessary for the other to make sense. Each could have been expanded to make it fit an entire book/movie without having the other plot. As a result the overall plot is just a bit weak. And some scenes relating to one plot, don’t make sense and don’t tie in with the rest of the movie until the end. I kept thinking ‘why do these characters keep coming up?’
Characters: it’s a script, not a novel so the characters aren’t going to have as much back story as I would like. But some things didn’t come across well. It took me a while to realise a few things- 1) credence is a boy. 2) Tina and queenie are sisters (I think- still not 100% sure, they could be cousins). At first I thought they were roommates. 3) there’s a twist about one character, which to me was obvious quite far in advance. Having said that there’s not much backstory, pottermore has already given us backstory for newt scamander so we already know who he ends up with (if you’ve read pottermore), which ruins some of the ‘are they aren’t they?’ moments.

Writing- the use of the term ‘no-maj’ to replace muggle was clunky and unnecessary and at times confusing. There’s also plenty of script-talk which has a glossary at the back. This is something I expected since it’s a script but I looked up what it meant online, because I didn’t realise there was a glossary at the back. It really should have been put at the front.

Overall, a script is not meant to be read like a book. As a book, it’s putdownable. To create something unputdownable to me when I’m a huge fan of the wizarding world should have been easy but it just wasn’t achieved. As a script, it’s supposed to draw in actors and directors and producers etc to work on the film. I feel like from that point of view, a lot of people will have worked on it because it was written by JK Rowling, regardless of what the script said.

The characters were fun, even though they weren’t very deep. And learning about the fantastic beasts was interesting. But I won’t be rereading it in any hurry because I didn’t become invested in the characters. When reading fantastic beasts and where to find them script, I didn’t want the main characters to succeed because I liked the characters. I wanted them to succeed because I was sure it was going to have a big dramatic ending when they did. There was one dramatic bit but I saw it coming, and then the ending dragged on a bit. I was sure I must be on the last scene a few times before I actually was. 

I think from anyone except Rowling and without the huge fandom around Harry Potter, I would have considered this a fairly good read. But with the expectations that it would be amazing, it’s disappointing that in reality it is just okay.

Posted in Chronic illness

Disappointment of chronic illness

The film fantastic beasts and where to find them is coming to uk cinemas on 18th November. I booked tickets to go two months ago. And the book of the script has been pre ordered and will be delivered to my house that day. I’m a big Harry Potter fan and have been since I first read the first book. 

On the 19th November I have to travel and deal with airports. I need to get packing done.

I also have ME/CFS and fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. When I booked the tickets to go to the cinema I thought I would be fine. My health was going fairly well and I seemed to be improving steadily.

Now I know I won’t be able to go. A trip to the cinema will be too much if I want to do anything except lie in bed the entire of the next day.

People with chronic illnesses don’t cancel plans because they don’t want to go somewhere or they don’t want to see you. It’s just as much of a disappointment for us. I was really looking forward to seeing a new Harry Potter film in the cinema, but that’s not going to happen, at least not until I have some days free when I can plan to be ill afterwards.

Posted in Politics, U.K. Politics, USA politics

Real world Harry Potter 

After Brexit in the U.K., and Donald Trump winning the election in the US, I’ve seen references to Harry Potter. Mostly comments that it’s like when Voldemort took over the ministry of magic. 

And I can see some similarities. The people in charge right now aren’t really looking out for the majority. They just want to push their own agendas, as the expense of others.

It’s the closest analogy I’ve seen floating around the internet. 

It says that yes, we, as a society, will survive, and will likely become stronger because of it. But also that a lot of people are going to suffer and even die because of what’s going on right now.

It also shows us a way forward. There are three kinds of good people that it shows- one is Dean, one is Neville and Ginny and the other is Harry.

Harry is fighting for an overall win. He’s fighting to overthrow Voldemort once and for all. There’s very few people in a position to be a Harry, but we should support the people who are, because without Ron and Hermione, Harry wouldn’t have achieved anything.

Neville and Ginny are in a privileged position of being pure bloods, and they use their privilege to fight for the people who can’t fight for themselves. They fight the everyday battles, maybe not making the big difference like Harry, but their fights were just as important.

Dean is lacking the pure blood privilege and goes on the run to protect himself. He joins together with other people in his position and they support and protect each other. There’s safety in numbers.

Most people think Harry’s job is the most important. That’s who the book focuses on so he must be most important. But for Harry to matter there needs to be something to save and there would be nothing to save if there weren’t the Deans and Nevilles and Ginnys protecting who they can- themselves and others. And we all have the opportunity to be like Dean or Neville or Ginny. 

Posted in US politics

A Trump presidency

Donald Trump won the presidency of the United States.

That’s the big news of the day.

As a UK Citizen, I fear for my own country as well as the US. Our media is very much shared with the US. I fear that as US citizens become more open about their prejudices against minorities that it will spread to the UK.

I am a woman.

I am bisexual.

I am disabled.

Financially, I am reliant on benefits.

I believe in climate change and pay to offset my carbon footprint.

In other words, Trump would not be a big fan of me. 

I’m scared of the sexism, sexualism and ableism I may face. I’m scared of the prejudice people in the US are already facing.

I’ve heard of American Muslim women discussing whether they should continue to wear the hijab for their own safety. These conversations should not be happening in the most powerful country in the world.

Posted in US politics

US Election as an outsider

I live in the U.K. and the US election is going on right now. Well as I type this, the last polls closed twenty seven minutes ago.

The whole world recognises that the US is the most powerful country. Britain particularly is involved with America because we share a language and therefore share media. Many US tv programmes are shown here. I watch many American youtubers. And we can directly read articles in your newspapers on the internet. I’ve spent a long time reading about the US election system, and I understand it fairly well, though I’m no expert.

Here in the U.K., many of us are scared of a Donald trump presidency. We know that Hilary clinton isn’t perfect (though understanding the issues where she went wrong means sometimes understanding a lot of US political history so a lot of us aren’t sure why she’s not that great). But we know Trump is worse.

We know this because we went through Brexit. As a result of a vote to leave the EU, suddenly people felt like it was okay to show their true colours and be publicly racist. There was an increase in racially motivated attacks and race-related insults being thrown around in public. We’re scared of the same happening in the US.

But because the US has a bigger impact on the world than we do, we’re scared of what that means for the rest of the world.

But the possibility of a Trump presidency isn’t just going to increase racism. Trump has been a lot worse than just openly racist. There’s the sexism and misogyny. There’s the hatred of LGBTQIA+ people. He blames the poor for being poor. There’s no group of people he hasn’t singled out.

Which leaves a lot of us wondering why people are voting for him. Why are any women voting for him? Why are any people of colour or even white immigrants voting for him? If the groups he singled out and said hateful things about didn’t give him a single vote, there would be a landslide victory for Hilary Clinton.

Of course, I’m not talking for the whole of the UK. But I’m talking for all the people I know. Everyone I know is pretty much in agreement that Trump is a terrible idea.

Results won’t be coming in until the early hours in U.K. time, so I won’t find out the result until I wake up in the morning. I hope I don’t wake up to a Trump presidency.

Name Undetermined