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.

This post is about my body.

This post is about my body.

I’ve been reading through old notebooks quite a lot recently, trying to organise previous bits of writing into ones that are worth keeping. I was looking for stories, for starts of fictions that I never carried on with, but most of what I found were old snippets of myself. I wasn’t surprised by what I found, but I didn’t recognise a lot of the thoughts I had scribbled down. At first I thought they might be character writing – you know, writing in the voice of someone fictional. But the more I read, the more it started coming back to me. This is what I used to think. About the world, about the future, and mostly about myself. Echoes of someone with so little self confidence it’s hard to reconcile her with the person I am now.

So I’m revisiting this girl, this young woman, this person that I used to be, and I’m trying to see things through her eyes again, but it’s difficult. I have changed so much since then. And it’s something I want to talk about. I want to address the way that I used to feel, because even though I don’t feel that way anymore, I haven’t really looked back on it and worked out why I was like that. So this is me sharing and talking and addressing.

—————-

For a good few years, I longed to have an eating disorder. Or rather, I wanted the control over my life and my body that I thought an eating disorder would give. I’d read stories about girls losing so much weight in so little time and I’d think – that would be ideal. It was very fucked up. I know that. I hated my body and was convinced that if I could lose weight, then everything would be fine.

I tried every diet under the sun before I hit eighteen years old. No carbs, no dairy, the five-two, meal replacements, appetite suppressors, the Special K diet, something to do with protein, I dunno, I can’t remember them all. The problem was simple. I liked food. I liked eating. I hated exercise. I’d get up in the morning before school and do aerobics for half an hour before walking an hour to my high school. For a few weeks, I didn’t eat or drink between sunrise or sunset. Ramadan rules. Which, in my Roman Catholic high school, may have seemed odd.

I tried to put my body through hell in the hope that I would lose enough weight. But how much is enough? Enough that I would enjoy shopping trips with my friends. Enough that I might be able to talk about fancying someone without people reacting with sympathy or disgust. Enough that I would be able to go swimming and not think that everyone was staring at me.

University. I got heaps of self-confidence when I was there, reinventing myself, but it was fake. I knew it was fake. Fake it till you make it was the idea, and I made it for quite a while. I was loud and deflected everything with humour. I got good grades, I got very drunk, I kissed random guys, I had fun. I had a three month relationship with a guy, not because I liked him, but because it was the first time that someone had shown proper interest in me that way. When he suggested getting engaged I dumped him, and he stalked me for about a year. But hey. Shit happens.

I hit another low when I came out of uni because I wasn’t in a relationship and I was convinced that nobody would ever find me attractive. I didn’t find myself attractive. I never had done. Attractive was magazine covers and the girls who didn’t have to go to a special section of New Look to buy their clothes. Attractive was girls with slimmer hips. Attractive had fuck all to do with personality and everything to do with what kind of body you had.

There are some bits of writing in the notebooks that made me cry at the time, and make me feel hollow reading them now.

I don’t want to be the fat friend any more. I don’t want to be the sidekick, the comic relief. I want to be the love interest. I want to be seen for more than comic value. But it’ll never happen. Maybe the reason I don’t want to get married or have kids is because I don’t actually think it’s possible for me. I’m not the kind of person someone can love. Might as well just deal with it. Or just focus and lose the weight. Or just carry on being fat. 

———–

I have changed. Thankfully. The way I see myself has improved so much. I follow body confidence Instagram feeds and read important articles about loving yourself. Watching drag queens helps a lot. I practice self care. I surround myself with people who I know don’t see my weight as a thing. And if they do, if anyone does, I want them to see it. To see my weight, my softness, my curves, for what they are. My body, my rules, and fuck anyone who says any different. I still have blips. I will avoid social events because I “can’t look right”, I find meeting new people terrifying because of my appearance. When chatting to people on dating sites I will make sure they know I am plus-size before we start chatting properly. But I have changed, and it’s important to acknowledge that.

It’s alright to feel like shit sometimes. It’s okay to not like yourself all of the time. But you have to bounce back, you have to embrace, you have to reconcile with yourself. Fat and gorgeous are not mutually exclusive. Size doesn’t matter the way you think it does. It’s taken me twenty five years to get to this point.

I tore out the pages that this stuff was written on. They’re in a folder in a drawer in my room. I don’t want to get rid of them, because one day I will need them to remind me how far I have come. How much I’ve changed.

And if you want to talk, if anyone wants to talk, I’m here. It’s important to address these things.

Geraghty out. x.