Lots of I am.

I want to write. I want my writing to be read. I write about my body and want people to read what I write about it, because when I post things on my blog, it is not just my body any more. I know I am voicing concerns that other people have about their bodies, about their minds, about their well being. When I write about my body, I am sharing a burden. It’s something I tend not to do out loud.

When I talk about being fat, it is with a tone of comedy. I take the piss out of myself – not out of my weight, I try not to self deprecate, I try to be the strongest me I could be without people realising how much strength it is taking. Either that, or it is with an edge of anger. Anger at clothes shops who fail to stock above a size sixteen. Anger at people who think my weight is their business. Anger at the corporations and the society that seems to benefit from my perceived shame at being fat.

I don’t talk about sadness.

I keep that to myself.

But when I write about it, I can articulate the sadness so it comes across properly.

I am part of the body positivity movement. I believe that people should feel good no matter what they look like. Embracing that belief for myself is harder. Sometimes I hate myself and that’s difficult – what I think and what I feel are two separate things, and it takes a while to talk myself down from that particular ledge.

I read an article by Roxane Gay – someone who I look up to immensely – on the Guardian website. She talks about not being happy, about knowing she is the fattest person in the room at most times, about the pitfalls of being overweight, about dieting and the fake concerns of strangers, articulating many of the doubts and fears I have in my own head. It’s a brilliant piece of writing. I didn’t feel empowered after reading it, but I felt understood. That’s important.

When I decided to force myself into accepting my body, I sought out role models. It helped. I remember listening to a podcast – Sofie Hagen’s Made Of Human – and crying because finally, finally, I felt understood. I looked for these women, these fat, intelligent, powerful women, everywhere I went. There were a surprising (to me) amount of them. Now, I’m sure if you’re into body positivity this isn’t something new for you, but to me it was. I saw fat people out and about and instead of comparing their size to mine, I tried to see the beauty in them. It was difficult because I hadn’t ever seen the beauty in myself. Cheesy, I know. But it’s true.

I don’t really know where this writing is going. I guess I just feel a bit sad tonight and wanted to talk to someone.

I used to have a lot of fears, and I’m getting over them. I force myself to think about these fears in the same way I force myself to look at my reflection in a full length mirror. I do that sometimes. I stand in front of the mirror in my room, in my underwear or in nothing at all, and look at myself. I pick the bits that I like and accept the bits that I don’t. I poke at my belly, squeeze the flesh at my shoulders, lift my head to minimise the chins. I swallow the whispered words of self hate. I look at my legs, the curves of my shoulders, the shine of my hair, the green of my eyes. I let the words of acceptance go past my lips. The words of love. Words like sexy and attractive and beautiful and yes. I look through my brain into the fears I have for the future. Most of it centres around being alone, about not being loved, and when I examine it really closely I realise that it doesn’t bother me too much. Not really. I have love from the people I surround myself with. And being alone isn’t a bad thing – god knows I’ve been single for long enough that I like my own company, most of the time. Sometimes I can be a complete bitch to myself, but other times I am actually quite a cool person for me to hang around with.

I cloud my head with words of positivity. Lots of I am. And after a while, after quite a long time, things became true. Self-fulfilling prophecies.

On bad days, I hate myself. I cry. Sometimes I punch walls (not advised). But that’s alright. Because on the good days, I am one of the fat, intelligent, powerful women I look up to.

I guess that’s why I write this blog. If you enjoy my writing, fantastic. Honestly, fantastic. But if you get something more out of it, then even better. You can be a body positivity activist even on days you hate yourself. Because to someone else, you’re the most badass feminist killjoy that ever walked the earth. You are worth so much more than the size of your clothes. And you owe it to yourself to know that. And to own it.

Geraghty out.

This post is about body positivity.

I’ve been going to the doctors quite a bit recently. I figured that if I could sort out my physical health then I could legitimately ignore my mental health with no repercussions whatsoever. Which is bollocks, obviously. What these trips to the doctors’ actually did was kick start a mini existential crisis which knocked another one and another one until my mental dominoes were all over the place. They didn’t even fall in a pretty pattern (something I’ll work on for the next time I have sequential meltdowns).

So I’m going to go through a couple of them, I think. I might give up halfway through. You never know. And they’ll be a little bit angry. Just a heads up.

This post is, once again, about my body.

Fat.

(https://areomagazine.com/2017/04/20/body-positivity-is-killing-women/)

So I read this article which was a mistake, and unless you’re looking to get angry or sad about yourself and other people then I would not recommend. Also, the writing isn’t great and the stats used smell a little bit like bullshit.

I am tired. I am tired of people shitting on the body positivity movement. I am tired of the unwanted and unwarranted opinions of random people making me feel like shit and making other women (yes, mostly women, deal with it) feel like shit as well. The only people I will tolerate weight talk from is the doctor. And even then I have to steel myself to hear it. What kind of screwed up thing is that? I have become so used to throwing up defence mechanisms when someone talks about weight that I find it difficult to take the advice of a medical professional. And there’s a reason for that.

Look, I understand that people link weight with health. I get it. It makes sense, in the grand scheme of things. I am fat, I am not as healthy as I should be. I eat too much. I’m overweight, and therefore I find it harder to exercise because I am self-conscious about my weight. And so the vicious circle continues. I’m trying to get over it – go swimming, walk more etc – but the simple fact of the matter is that fat people are made to feel like shit as soon as they step out of the door in the morning. It is a radical act for a fat person to wear what they want because they want to wear it and ignore what society deems is acceptable.

But I digress. Back to this article. Let’s say, for just a minute, that the stats are right and that all possible health problems are the fault of being fat. Yes that is something that should be addressed. Yes, people need to look after themselves. But even if all that were true, that is not what the body positivity movement is about. We are not glorifying obesity, we are not telling girls and young women not to exercise, we are not saying “don’t take care of yourself”. What we are saying is this:

No matter what your size is, you deserve to be happy.

Just like feminism is “the radical notion that women are people, too” (Cheris Kramarae, shade intended), the body positive movement is the radical notion that everyone deserves to be treated like a fucking human being and not ridiculed, not told that they are not good enough, not made to shop in “special fat people shops” not told that they look like they need a good meal or that they need to cut down on the chips, not told that if they are ill it is their own fault, that if they are lonely it is their own fault, that if they feel like shit it is their own fault. The body positive movement is a fucking Godsend and if anyone says any different then they are talking bollocks.

“Obesity is not positive. It’s a dangerous plague that is being fueled by disillusioned women convincing themselves that they are happy”

Disillusioned women convincing themselves that they are happy. 

Just let that percolate for a wee minute.

What. Is. This. Bullshit.

This sentence made me so fucking angry.

How dare you. How dare you take away someone’s right to be happy. How dare you call someone’s happiness a disillusion. What gives you the right. And there are no question marks on the end of these because I have no wish to enter a dialogue with someone about this, unless they have something genuinely illuminating to say about it or is a goddamned medical professional. And even a medical professional wouldn’t say “you’re fat, but you seem to still be smiling. Therefore you must be stupid and your happiness is invalid.”

I’m done with this now. Rant is over.

Geraghty out. x.

Acknowledgements

This is something I wrote at the beginning of last week, just to give a little context. Enjoy. 

And after a week of working on Bears, I’m on a severely delayed train to Lancaster to embark on my next freelance project. I’m wearing my dungarees, listening to Anderson Paak, and I feel untouchable. Today I feel amazing.

This week has been a week of firsts. For example, today is the first time I’ve not been severely thrown off by a train delay. Actually, it didn’t bother me at all.

Another example – I didn’t put my headphones in until I got on the train. This is a massive thing for me. I normally have my headphones in as soon as I’m out of the house or just not with my mates, because music is my barrier. It’s an armour. I feel protected with my headphones in because then I don’t have to think about people looking at me, I can just focus on the music and pretend I’m somewhere else. But not today, society. Nuh-uh. Today I stood in the middle of Piccadilly train station in my dungarees and blue Docs, with my bright red guitar case and no headphones in, and I did think of everyone else’s thoughts and I did clock a few people looking at me (or at least I thought I did) but I made an important next step. I actively didn’t care. Because fuck them, that’s why. I even participated in small talk with one of the guards. And it felt normal.

At the beginning of this last week I gave myself a pep talk. Not quite pointing at myself in the mirror, but I sat and wrote a pep talk and honestly I have found this whole week so much easier because of it. I have been slowly coming to the realisation that I ignore my negative thoughts. About others, mostly about myself, I knew they were there but I swept them under carpets and locked them in cupboards, never letting my eyes rest on them for too long. And over the last couple of weeks, I have been facing them. Bit by bit. I’ve been throwing glances at them and acknowledging their presence. And on Monday, I sat them down, stared them in the face and addressed them. Asked them why they were there. And tried to reason with them.

Listen: I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to fix me or any of you, if we do indeed need fixing, I’m just fumbling through my own brain trying to make the paths a little clearer. And as I’ve been trying to work out the roots of these thoughts, why I react in certain ways to situations, why I think certain things about myself, etcetera and soforth, I have been visiting places I didn’t want to go to. I don’t want to be fucked up and for a lot of time I didn’t think I was. But I probably am. And that’s fine. The first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging it, right? I reckon so.

We’ll see.

Anyway – this week has been fantastic. The show is coming on leaps and bounds and I reckon we all feel a lot more confident in what we’re doing. I was nervous about this week. Nervous about not being good enough to direct a show, feeling competitive and territorial and I was legitimately concerned that this week would make me feel like shit and knock me back. But it didn’t. It hasn’t. I feel great. I’ve found my confidence, I’ve spoken out a lot more and thrown my weight behind my ideas and I’ve acknowledged my reactions to situations and tried my best to deal with them. I have so much love and respect for my fellow ‘Kegs, and after this week I feel deserving of the same amount of love and respect from myself.

I’m at Preston now and the weather is slightly worse. Anderson Paak is singing the last track in my headphones and Solange is up next and I can carry on swimming through their music. I’m almost at Lancaster, it’s a Saturday, I’m wearing dungarees and I feel good. 

Geraghty out. x.

Pretty sure I’m running late now.

It’s 8.36am , and I’m writing a blog post because I have time to kill before I go to work. I have had a shower, I’m dressed, I’ve had a cup of sweet tea and eaten a breakfast of avocado and tomato on toast. I’m listening to the sweet sounds of Talking Heads. I have been up for two hours.

Mornings like this make me hate myself a little bit.

I was going to do a blog post last night, one that I’d written on the train on Sunday, but then I realised I’d left my notebook in the theatre and I got all annoyed. So this one might not make much sense.

This blog post is about self care.

I am getting better at looking after myself. At least, I think I am. I seem to be developing a routine based around what doesn’t make me feel like shit and I feel a lot better because of it. But I am well aware that this will not last. I am ignoring a couple of things that I have to do pretty soon, and I know that in a day or so I will be lay in bed and my brain will send me into full on panic stress mode because I haven’t kept up to date with the million projects I decided to take on at once. But for now, I am looking after myself.

Self-care is something I only discovered recently. I think that in the arts – speaking mainly about theatre because that’s where I am – people don’t look after themselves.. There is a cult of overworking. Every conversation revolves around your work – what are you working on at the minute? What’ve you been up to with your work? Have you got anything else lined up? And quite often we hang out with other theatre folk or arts folk or people who do more than one job or have a committed hobby and so their answers ping into our brains like a pinball machine of inspiration and panic and suddenly we’re focussing on the fact we’re not doing enough, no matter how much we’re doing.

Taking time out is hard. When you finish a project, you want the next one to be lined up. There’s no reliability to our work. We have to work extra hard now, we have to take on three times the amount of stuff we have time for right now, because we might not get work for the next four months. I think there’s definitely a failure thing there as well. I think the point where you stop being an emerging artist is when you no longer have the fear of getting stuck being a barista forever. I don’t know. I’ve never not been emerging.

Emerging is a stupid term. Emerging artists. What about just artists? What are we emerging from? Behind our parents’ aprons, faces covered in chocolate. Behind the giant triangular silver doors: “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be…” Under the ground like a mole, unseeing and shovelling dirt. From the chrysalis of a zero-hour contract, enduring being treated like shit and paid next to nothing because you know – you know – that it’s just temporary and one day you can spread your wings and become the fucking majestic theatrical butterfly you always wanted to be.

Self care is difficult when everything is telling you to doubt yourself, when being proud of yourself is vanity, when taking time off means you’re slipping backwards, where finding time for yourself is selfish. But it’s okay, gang. Self care is important. Self care is essential. Self care is a radical act when capitalism relies on your self-hatred. Self care is cool and desirable and clever and doable and fucking sexy. But this might just be morning Geraghty talking. I haven’t looked at the news yet. I haven’t had to speak to anyone yet. I might hate everyone and everything by the time I get to work.

Have a beautiful day, because you deserve it.

 

Geraghty out. x.

27 Things.

I’ve not been sleeping recently. Not a lot, anyway. And after reading countless theories and tips online and downloading sleep apps and trying herbal teas and all that shit, I have resorted to keeping a bedtime notebook. The idea is that I get whatever starts whizzing around my brain at night written down before it starts stopping me from sleeping. And it’s kind of working.

So, in lieu of my sleeptime notebook (which is at home, where I’m not – I’m in a cafe in Chorlton, drinking enough tea to float a small canoe) I am going to make a list of things that I have on my mind in an attempt to clear my head. Because these thoughts are not just reserved for bedtime. Some of them may even get a follow up blog post. Most probably won’t. Who knows. Anyway, here’s the list:

  1. Skincare.
  2. Bees. How are they doing? How do they cope? Why Nicholas Cage?
  3. Why can’t I get to sleep?
  4. Climate change. Christ, this is one that I know keeps me awake at night. I’m currently reading “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein, and it’s a lot to take in. Brilliant but terrifying. More to do with global economics than I first thought.
  5. Global economics and how to wrap my brain about big number related things.
  6. My sporadic veganism and the ethics that go along with it.
  7. My dog. How is she doing? Does she miss me? Whose socks is she eating?
  8. How to balance my art-self and my family self.
  9. Am I just selfish?
  10. Puns. All the time.
  11. Female representation in books for kids.
  12. Ditto LGBT representation.
  13. Ditto non-white representation.
  14. Being perpetually single and finally being okay with that.
  15. Money. Mostly the money I owe other people.
  16. Should I quit my job?
  17. Writing a book.
  18. Whether it’s okay to start writing another book before finishing the first.
  19. Arts Council Funding.
  20. Feeding internet trolls. Also, angry internet feminists and how awesome they are.
  21. Sex. How female sexuality is still a taboo topic. How little it features in my life.
  22. Body image. This is the big one at the minute, as per my previous blog posts.
  23. Theatre and my future in it. After summer comes the void and all that shit.
  24. What can I cook that’s a)vegan b)tasty c)cheap d)requires minimal effort?
  25. The ever creeping wanderlust that I have versus knowing that planes murder the environment.
  26. How could I acquire a ship?

Good god, I could go on forever. It’s a bit scary actually. I don’t know how humans cope with so many things in their minds.

That’s it. That’s the blog post. It’s not all that interesting, but I can’t fascinate all of the time, can I?

27. The long list of books I want to read, mostly female authors. Attempting to diversify my reading list to include a lot more non-white, non-male, non-dead, non-Western authors. Dickens will have to wait.

Geraghty out.

This post is about my legs.

To steal the FB status of a good friend: “Happy International Women’s Day. Yes we do need one. Yes there is actually, it’s November 19th.”

This post maybe has something to do with IWD, maybe not. It’s carrying on the theme of my last post – Body Positivity: Or, How I Learned To Stop Weighing Myself and Attempt Self-Love.

This post is about my legs.

I love my legs. They are two of my favourite features on my body. They are muscly and look toned as fuck, which is cool because none of the rest of my body is. I used to do a lot of swimming, and I walk nearly everywhere, and so yeah. Leg muscles. Hell yes.

I used to be really self conscious about not having slim legs. I wanted dancers legs, I was cautious about wearing skinny jeans, was unsure about going swimming because I was stocky, not sleek.

My legs were the first things on my body I learned to love. I wear chunky heeled boots with skinny jeans or tights and I run my hand down my leg and feel the hard curve of calf muscles and I love them. My legs aren’t slim – they never will be – but they are powerful. I am solid when I stand. My strong legs root me and I love them for it. I live in short skirts mainly because I love my legs.

Summer will be a different story. I love my legs when they are covered up because they can be hairy. Hairy legs are great. They make me feel comfortable and safe. But I will make efforts to keep them hairless in summer because I haven’t reached that level of self-confidence and I want to wear shorts. One step at a time.

I’m going to a spa tomorrow with my mum and my little sis, and so today I shaved the lower halves of my legs. Jesus christ. What an effort. I might love my muscly legs but there is a LOT of surface area to cover. If I had the money I would probably go and have them waxed or something but when it’s just me with my foot up on the sink with Morrison’s Own Brand shaving foam and a Bic razor… I’m ready for a lie down. And I hate the little bumps you get after shaving. And I wish I didn’t have to do it (have to for me, not because there are rules or anything), but my hair is dark and it looks like I am wearing odd footless tights if I don’t take the time to shave them. Depending on how knackered I am after work tonight I will embark on the Shaving of the Thighs. Probably with a beer.

But then they will be Smooth and Sleek and feel amazing… for a few days. But I can go to this spa day tomorrow and not feel entirely self-conscious. And if I get looks in the summer for having my legs out, then I will say I don’t care because I have fucking great legs. I love my legs. And I’m determined to get there with the rest of me as well.

That’s about it, to be honest. I’m waiting for the moisturiser on my legs to sink in so I wrote this.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Geraghty out. x.