Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys, Women; It's safe here.

Why I NEED Feminism

Anyone who is a feminist out there has their own reasons for being one. Most of the time, these reasons are similar or the same to others, but their reasoning for needing it, that’s what different, because everyone’s experiences with the things that fuel the need for feminism in the first place are different.

Feminism. Yes, it’s a word and it’s not a bad one. Yet people are stigmatized for stating they are one. Just like periods, masturbation and fetishes, feminism isn’t taboo. It isn’t about some gender being a head of another. It’s about equality, something everyone should be concerned about. Yet, feminists get a reputation for being ‘crazy, lesbian, men hating ugly women’. Isn’t it funny how, when we are talking about equality and equal rights, people have to put a label on what they think the cause is about. They don’t agree with it, so they stick a label on the cause, they stigmatize these people. For what? The hope that less people will become a feminist? Because god for bid you become a ‘crazy, man hating women’ right? Wrong, it’s not funny. Not at all.

Although the feminism movement didn’t appear till the 1960s/1970s, women have been fighting for equal rights since 1848. The first women’s conference was held in Seneca Falls, America in 1848. It was at this time that women started to realise that in order to change society they would need their own organisations to do so. But it wasn’t really until 1897 that the move for women to have a vote actually started. Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage. The word ‘suffrage’ means the right to vote. She wanted a peaceful protest. She felt that any violence would persuade men that women could not be trusted. Her tactics were patience and logical arguments. She argued that if parliament made laws and if women had to obey those laws, then women should be part of the process of making those laws: she argued that women had to pay taxes, like men, they should have the same rights as men. It was unfortunate that her progress was very slow.

She converted some of the members of the Labour party (known as the labour representation committee back then), most men thought women wouldn’t be able to understand how parliament worked and therefore should not take part in the electoral process. This made women angry, which prompted the creation of the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters.

The union became better known as the Suffragettes. The members of the suffragettes were prepared to use violence to get what they wanted. The suffragettes continued fighting for the right to vote, holding protests and even getting arrested for doing so. The Cat and Mouse Act was introduced to deal with hunger strikes that where being held by jailed suffragettes. The act would allow the suffragettes to starve while in jail if they did not want to eat, they would then release the suffragettes, so the government wasn’t responsible for the death on an inmate. Once they were fit and healthy again, they were re-arrested for any reason and this process would happen again. On the 8th June 1913, Emily Wilding Davison died after stepping out in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby on the 4th June 1913. She was a member of the Suffragette movement. She was their first martyr. In 1918, women over the age of 30( who also met a property qualification) were given the right to vote. It wasn’t until 1928 that all women over the age of 21 had the right to vote.

Of course, it didn’t end there. There was a lot that still needed to be fought. For instance, the pay gap between women and men, discrimination in the work place and sexual and physical violence issues.

In 1948, The NHS was introduced, which gave everyone access to free healthcare, where as before only the insured (mainly men) would benefit. In 1974 contraceptives become available, free under the NHS.

In 1977, the first rape crisis centre opened in London.

In 1985, The Equal Pay Act allowed women to be paid the same as men for the work of equal value.

In 1994, Rape in marriages was made illegal.

What shocks me more then the years in which some of these things were legalized or made illegal is that we are still having to fight for the most basic human rights. Men still earn more then women in some job roles or in some companies. Women and men are still subjected to physical, sexual and verbal abuse by partners, little is being done about these issues. Sexual harassment is a massive issue, one that seems to get swept under the rug more often then not.

Women and men are being sexually harassed all over the world, every second of every day. If you’re in a room filled with people right now, you can bet they have been harassed at some time in their life, and most likely it was sexual harassment. It’s to common and it shouldn’t be.

I need feminism because these women fought for my freedom. They fought for my vote, my access to free contraceptives, my right to have a legal abortion, to study anything I like, to have any Job I want, to file for a divorce, to own my own property, to have my own money. Most importantly they fought for me to be my own person. To be me, not just someone’s daughter, wife or mother. They gave me the freedom and decision to be whomever I wanted to be.

I need feminism because I am a victim of sexual abuse and our country does very little for abuse victims. Schools aren’t teaching the important issues of the world, but as long as you know algebra, who needs to know about the suffragettes and what an abusive relationship looks like… right? No, they need to learn these things in high school because too many teenage boys, boys who have grown up in the 21st century still think its acceptable to smack a girl on the ass, or stare at her chest. There are people out there that think groping, cat calling, inappropriate messages and unasked for nudes  are acceptable.

I need feminism because I am taught that walking alone at night, wearing a  short skirt or flirting is dangerous and that I should not do those things if I do not want to get raped. I live in a world, where we sexualize children, teach teenagers what to do to not get raped  and stigmatize women for living their life their own way. I live in a world where my 8 year old sister cannot take her top of at the beach, without someone telling me that it is wrong and she needs to out a top on. I live in a world where teenage boys are allowed to be young and silly. They’re allowed to be ‘boys’ but teenage girls need to careful and watch what they say and do. I live in a world where women fear walking down the street after a night out. Their heart beats faster and they start to panic when a man walks behind them in the dark. They get even more scared when that man approaches them, and he may only be asking her the time or for a lighter, but she has accepted in her head ‘this man is going to hurt me’. Why, why in 2017 is this even still possible? Why are women still living in fear? This is why I need feminism

I rejected a boy today. I was honest, I told him I didn’t have feeling for him and that I was attracted to someone else. He seemed fine about this at first, but suddenly his messages started getting meaner, he started picking at my past relationships, slut shaming me because I have talked about sex and stated I enjoyed it, I am not ashamed of that fact. Yet, he tried to make me feel like I shouldn’t talk about it openly, fuck him I thought.

So, what I took from this was, a boy who was told weeks ago of my feelings for another boy used verbal abuse to try an intimated me because he was mad at me for liking another boy or because, he wanted to make me feel bad about not liking him. It didn’t work. Neither of those reasons are okay. I respected that he may be upset but that does not mean I deserve any kind of verbal abuse for stating I did not like him, in the kindest way I could.

If I ignore a boys advances or messages, I start getting hate for it. I’ve been called a snob for ignoring a message on Instagram from someone I didn’t even know. I’ve been called a prude for not messaging back someone who sent me a nude at 1am on a Tuesday, waking me up. I have had people message me telling me I am showing a little too much of my body in pictures on Facebook. Apparently its okay for lads to pose in a mirror, flexing with no top on and caption it ‘finished my workout’ but not for a girl to post a picture in shorts and bralett captioned ‘feeling good today’. It’s the same f***ing thing!

Sexual Harassment isn’t just unwanted touching or advances. It’s all of those things I have mentioned and trust me, there are many more ways in which people are sexually harassed. It’s disgusting, we have come so far already, but we are nowhere near finished fighting for rights, for protection, for justice.

 

Shannon x

 

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Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys, Uncategorized

What is school all about? – BACK TO SCHOOL.

The year was 2014 and I fled my high school as soon as the teacher said ‘good luck’ to my entire year as we sat in assembly waiting for the teachers to finish babbling on about our future and how they’re a big part of our success – haha, they were jokers them lot!

As you can gather from my opener, I HATED high school. Now, it wasn’t the learning part. I liked that part, weird right? I didn’t the students or the place. If I was to do high school again, I’d have done it a little different but in the end I think my life would have lead a similar path either way. High school was a time of pain for me, my dad died, my boyfriend hurt me badly and I was bullied. It wasn’t the best time in my life, but regardless of all that, I tried my best to power through. Teachers in high school are so intense, they are always in your face about exams and how you need to apply yourself more to your work. I think sometimes they forget your a teenager. You’re crushing on the popular lad who sits in front of you in English. You’re falling in ‘love’ for the first time, you’re getting your heart broken for the first time or the third. You’re changing physically and mentally. You’re having your first period, you’re trying to figure out how to use a tampon, you’re worried that your pad is going to move during gym and you’re gunna have a Carrie moment right there in the changing rooms. Basically, you have a lot on and to top all those lovely feelings and emotions off, you’re dealing with teachers telling you what you do now will impact you’re entire future. Truth is, it won’t.

Now, I am not saying don’t turn up and pay attention. I still think learning is important. I just don’t think 15 year olds need the stress that is put on them by high school teachers. You may get crappy GCSE results or amazing results. What’s important is what you do after that. Do you give up? No. You go to college or get an apprenticeship or get a job. Those GCSE’s won’t define your future. They can be important if you want to go to a highly respected college or uni yes. But they aren’t a deal breaker. Not getting good results isn’t the end of the world. You’re 16, you shouldn’t be putting the world on your shoulders. Neither should any teacher, parent or friend.

School is about:

1. knowledge – I do not just mean algebra, I mean life lessons. Like sex ed, finances and how to live in the real world, employability lessons and lessons on getting your house and paying your own bills. You shouldn’t just be taught that condoms are to protect against STD’s and pregnancy. You should be teaching ALL students the meaning of the word NO, how to respect the opposite sex. Telling someone how to use a condom is useless if they’re just going to rape a girl at a party because they thought ‘she wanted it’. Teach them that smacking people on the ass on the street is not okay. Why is this not being taught? Why?

2. Socializing and Connecting  – I have never understood same sex schools. I think its important that boys and girls mix in their teenage years. Most of the time they will end up growing up not knowing how to act around the opposite sex. Males and Females need to connect with the opposite sex when growing up, I think its damaging when they don’t. School is a in which teenagers can talk to their friends about familiar issues, they can talk about things they’re all going through together. I once a teacher who said ‘ you come here to learn not talk to your friends’ – never hated a teacher more in my life. Right, I am here to listen to teacher talk like they’re a walking textbook for 6 hours and then be given 2 hours of homework, so after an *entertaining* day at school I can go home, do homework, have my tea and go to bed – how interesting.

3. Change – You’re 11 when you walk into that school for the first time, everyone is massive compared to you, the building is intimidating and you’ve got a bag full of stuff you probably will never need or lose by Friday, you’re in year 7. Over the course of the next 5 years, you’re going to change. The things in your bag will change, your body will change, your thoughts and opinions will change. It’s called growing up, but so much of it is done in high school. The lessons learned, the mistakes made, the embarrassing stories forever engraved in your brain. That all happens between Year 7 and Year 11.

I wouldn’t go back to high school if someone had a gun to my head. Overly dramatic? Yes. I guess I just really hated High School.

It is September 1st 2017. A new academic year starts Monday, my brothers go back to school Wednesday (thank god) and a new year of schooling begins. One brother is going into his last year of high school – without a care in the world, may I add. Another goes into Year 9 – He doesn’t seem to bothered either to be honest. Is it a boy thing? Have a good year whether your going into High School, College, Uni or your working!

Shannon x

 

 

Posted in Advice♥, Slimming World

Low Syn Snacks & Treats – Slimming World.

Since starting a diet in March I have lost two stone. I didn’t do it by not eating enough, or onlt eating fruit or not eating carbs. I did it by joining a group, one that didn’t tell me to cut major food groups out of my diet, they never tell you that you can’t have something, they simply advise you on what’s better for you and informing you on what you can eat instead of something full of calories. I thought when I started Slimming World that takeaways, treats and carbs would be wiped off the table and that I would be shouted at for even thinking about pasta or a portion of chips and curry from the chippy. I was wrong. Once a week I go to a group near me with other people who are there for the same reason as I – to lose weight the healthy way. You’re given a booklet full of information when you start, including a book that informs you on most of the food you eat on a daily basis. There are multiple sections in this book. One section tells you what fruit and veg are ‘speed’ (helps you lose weight faster), another part of the book tell you what ‘A’ and ‘B’ choices you can have each day ( I normally got for 30g cheese for my A choice and 2 pieces of Hovis 400g bread). Then there is a section in the back full of ‘syns’. Syns are things that have a high calorie count. For instance, chocolate has syns in, as well as sausages. It is recommended that you have no more then 15 syns a day if you want to lose weight, not gain. You also have a section full of ‘free’ food. Like, rice, pasta, potatos etc. So, for instance you ate a jacket potato with butter and cheese for your dinner, the potato is free, if you only use 30g cheese, that’s your A choice and for 1 teaspoon of LIGHT butter, it’s 2 syns. You can skip the butter for a syn free meal or simply minus 2 syns from your daily allowance of syns. It’s easy to follow and after a few weeks of referring back to the book and online site, which you are given a pin to when you gain, you will be able to remember the syn count for most basic foods, like butter, mayonnaise and a packet of maltsters. Some treats have more syns in than others and over the last few months I have brought together a list of snacks and treats that are low in syn but that I still really enjoy, they take away the cravings I have and stop me from binge eating and undoing all the work I have done up to now.

This is my list of low syn treats and snacks! Let me know in the comments about your favourite low syn snacks and treats.

Meringues

Possibly one of my favourite treats to have when I feel I need a little treat on a Monday evening.

Syn Count – 2 syns per nest.

Price – £1.25 at ASDA (Extra Special, 8 nests)

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Sugar Free Strawberry Jelly Sachets

I love these because they are cheap and very low in syns. There are 2 sachets in each pack and they make a lot of jelly then the premade pots you can buy, yet have the same amount of syns.

Syn Count – 1/2 per sachet.

Price – 74p at ASDA

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French Fries (Crisp)

These have always been one of my favourite crisps and luckily they aren’t the highest in syns compared to other crisps

Syn Count – 4.5 per packet.

Price – £1.45 for 6 packets at Asda.

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Cadburys Highlights (sachets, 11g)

Sometimes I get fed up with drinking tea, or diet soda and want a cup of hot chocolate. These 11g sachets are the perfect treat.

Syn Count – 2 per sachet (with water)

Price – 4 sachets for £1 at ASDA

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Fab (Lolly Ice)

Thank god there is a lolly ice out there that is easy to get a hold of and cheap. Everyone wants to enjoy a lolly ice at the beach or park with the kids on a hot day, so luckily this fab lolly ice doesn’t go over your daily syn count!

Syn Count – 4 per lolly 

Price – £1 for a box of 6 at ASDA (the birthday cake edition is about 25p more and weirdly half a syn less at 3.5 syns)

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Nutella 

I don’t know a person who doesn’t like Nutella. I mean, there must be people out there who don’t like the chocolate spread, but they’re rear. Nutella isn’t the lowest in syns but 1 tablespoon on toast or straight from the spoon is the same amount of syns as the FAB lollies and will settle your chocolate cravings.

Syn Count – 4 per tablespoon (1.5 for teaspoon) 

Price – £1.50 for 200g at ASDA 

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Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is something I only ever eat when put into something, like my peanut butter cupcakes which are NOT slimming world acceptable. Lets just say they’re only made for special occasions as a whole tub of peanut butter goes into 24 cupcakes. But, my mum does like peanut butter and like Nutella, if she is craving some will have a tablespoon on her B choice for the day.

Syn Count – 4.5 syns for 1 tablespoon (1.5 syns for 1 teaspoon)

Price – £2.58 for 340g at ASDA (the whole earth one, asda own is about 95p for 400g) 

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Aero Mouse Yogurt/Dessert

These are great for a low syn dessert or treat during the day. They are cheap and easy.

Syn Count – 4.5 syns per yogurt (59g pot)

Price – £1.40 for 4 at ASDA 

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Snack a Jacks (Caramel)

These are one of the lower syned treats on here. They are again cheap for the amount you get and you can have a few of these for the same amount of syns at are in a packet of crisp.

Syn Counts – 2.5 for each 

Price – £1.79 per packet at ASDA

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These are my picks, if you want a part two let me know below. What are your favourites? Are you also on Slimming World. Comment below or tweet me @lifeasshanx

 

Shannon x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys

10 things I wish I knew at 15

Being 15 is hard. You’re dealing with feelings you’re not yet used to having every day, you are dealing with fake friends and first love.

There are things I wish I knew at 15, if you’re 15 or nearly 15, you should know these things as well.

  1. You won’t be friends with 95% of these people when you leave, so whether you’re ‘popular’ or not, it doesn’t matter. In 5 years you won’t even remember their second names.
  2. The exam results/grades your teachers are pressuring you to get aren’t the most important thing in the world – your health is. Teacher’s say things like ‘ these tests will define your future’ but they don’t and they won’t. You’ll define your future. You have your whole life to learn.
  3. You’ll say and do things you regret. Don’t feel bad, everyone makes mistakes, all you need to remember is to learn from them.
  4. It hurts now, but it won’t forever. The person you like doesn’t like you back, your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you, your best friend hurt you. They feel like the worst kind of pain when you’re 15 and it’s all new to you but you won’t feel like that forever. Give it time.
  5. It’s okay to say no. It’s high school and all your friends are going to parties, getting high, drinking and having sex. You aren’t any less of a person for saying no, you aren’t any less fun for not wanting to do something. Even if its as small as your boyfriend not wanting to wear a condom, if you don’t want to put yourself at risk of STDs and pregnancy but he does, say NO. It’s your right and you shouldn’t feel bad about saying the word NO.
  6. But its okay to say yes. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to wear something, wear it. If you want to say something, say it. Do what feels right to you and don’t let other peoples small minds keep you from being who you are.
  7. Don’t stand for bullies or anyone who knocks you down. If a friend is bringing you down, leave that negative person, tell them to get out of your life. High school is hard enough, you need people who support you, make you laugh and understand you in your life. Don’t let anyone make you feel worthless.
  8. Respect your family. They have their rules and you’re probably going to break them, that’s what being a teenager is all about BUT respect your mum and dad. I lost my dad at 15 and I will always feel guilty for the argument we had a few months before he got sick. Help them, let them know you’re okay, tell them you love them.
  9. Enjoy yourself. You’re only a teenager for a couple of years, soon you’ll be doing exams and picking a collage and being pressured to pick a career path but right now, you don’t need to worry about that.
  10. Smile, laugh, work hard and be hopeful. You’ll be older soon, you’ll be out of high school soon. You’ll be away from the people you don’t like, the bullies and the cliques. You will be an adult soon and it comes around faster then you would expect.
Posted in Advice♥, Uncategorized

Don’t hide behind self harm – suicide

When I was 13 I was adamant that at 16 I was going to get a job in America and move to New York. At 13, the idea of moving to another country was exciting, considering I didn’t have the best home life. However, at 13, I didn’t realize how hard it actually is to move to another country, let alone another continent. TV Shows like friends made me want to be apart of the city life in New York, bearing in mind I don’t even like the city, I am a countryside and seaside kind of girl. Half my wall was covered with pictures of New York and I knew one too many facts about the city, I guess my fantasy of jet setting off to another country came from the fact that running away from my  life at the time was all I wanted. I didn’t need to go to New York, I didn’t need to leave the country I live in, I just knew I needed to get away. I could use the excuse that I didn’t leave home at 16 on the fact that I didn’t have money, but if I really wanted to leave, I would find a way. Over the last 4 years I have grown, I have become stronger and a lot of things and people have got my through the hard times but I do credit myself a great deal for dealing with my issues. I could never sit here and say that I am the strongest because that’s not true, I still have moments of weakness now.

I don’t want to die, I did. I wanted to die, I didn’t want to live in a world without my dad, I didn’t want to live in a world where I couldn’t trust men, I didn’t want to have nightmares that he was hurting me again, I didn’t want to get hurt again. I won’t lie about my past, I did go through a dark period in my life, one where  I didn’t see a way out, it was horrible mainly because I didn’t know if I would ever get out of it and to this day I still worry that I am going to go back into one of those phases again and it terrifies me, I don’t want to be that scared, lonely girl I was, I have to just hope I am strong enough to deal with whatever comes at me. A couple years ago, I started getting over my dark phase but one thing that still carries with me from those days are my scars and the urge to hurt myself again. I started using self harm as a way to cope, it wasn’t about killing myself anymore, it become my way of dealing with a hard time in my life. I would turn to cutting myself to make myself feel better and too me that was more, is more scary then cutting my wrists to kill myself because like I said I don’t want to die, I just have gotten used to using self harm as a way of dealing with my pain. Why? I guess its a couple reasons. I blame myself, I blame myself for my past, I blame myself for my pain and the only way I can think of punishing myself is by hurting myself and causing myself pain. Luckily, I stopped. I stopped using self harm as a way of dealing with my pain, instead I started to do other things, like writing and drawing, I distract myself with other things but it doesn’t always work.

It’s like a drug, an addiction. Whenever I am feeling stressed, sad or angry my first thought is to break something and hurt myself with the glass, I rub my wrists, I stand and I cry and I think, I spend so long standing there trying to stop myself. It’s an urge to relieve the pain in my own way that I have used to years but I can’t, I can’t do that to my friends, my family, anyone in my life, I can’t hurt them anymore and its the only thing that stops me from hurting myself.

Why can’t I have use fantasies like moving to New York to deal with my pain, my life? Things aren’t as easy as it was when I was 13, 14, 15, 16, its different, its harder. I need to find a way of dealing with this pain that still can burden me to this day because I have a good life and amazing people in it, I can’t afford to lose any of it, not after I have come so far.

No, I no longer hurt myself

No, I haven’t attempted to kill myself in over a year

No, I don’t want to die

No, I no longer use self harm as a way to deal with my pain

Yes, I still think about suicide and self harm, I have my scars as a constant reminder

Please tell someone how you feel, you deserve to want to live as well.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.

  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.

  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

 

Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys

Goodbye 2016 Hello 2017

Sometimes the pain will never go away. The pain of losing a family member or the heart ache from losing someone you loved. It all hurts and I wish I could say it will go away, but sometimes it just…doesn’t. I wish I could give everyone an easy fix to heartache or death but I can’t and maybe that’s because I haven’t gotten over it yet or maybe, just maybe it’s because you never get over somethings, some people. I am not talking about a May – December romance, I am talking years of trust, comprise and commitment to one person, do you ever forget that kind of love? Do you ever hear their names after years and not feel anything? Maybe after time, you do get over it but how? Because as far as I am aware loving someone for so long, and I mean LOVING someone, you must feel something when their name is mentioned or when you see them around… that’s normal right?

I’ll never forget the people that left my life, some left not because they wanted too but because they had to and some left because they wanted too. I let some leave, as much as it killed me but I needed to let them go, but no matter what, I miss them. I miss them friends I had, not because they made me a better person or because they made me happy but for one stupid reason, they remind me of a younger me and as much as I cannot be that person anymore, sometimes it’s nice to think of a time when life was easier and simpler and the only thing that made me sad was liking someone I couldn’t have and I didn’t have anxiety and I wasn’t depressed, it was all just so much easier.

Over the years I have asked my self so many questions… Where do I go from here? What will I do? Who will I be? What will I be? Questions circled my mind for what seemed like years, ever since I left high school I haven’t known what to do with myself. High school should have been this amazing thing, but it wasn’t and I couldn’t have been out those doors any faster and to be honest the thought of school now sends shivers down my spine and makes me feel sick, I hated high school, I hated my classmates the most, not the learning part, I liked that part, I still do. I tried being a chef, but decided that wasn’t for me and that it would simply be a hobby, I tried childcare but that wasn’t for me and even though I love to write, Business Admin was definitely not for me. Finally I settled on Animal Care, but until 2016, I had no idea who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be, it was scary.

However, this year a lot of things became clearer to me, my feelings, my future, my pain. It all started to make sense, it all started to become manageable.

Earlier, I talked about love and loss, something that has been a big factor in my life since I was 14. The pain of my past hasn’t gone away after 4 long years, by now, I wished it would have, but like I said, there aren’t any quick fixes to not being in pain anymore and it sucks, it really does, but its the truth. You can read article after article about moving on and getting over someone or dealing with grieve and maybe for some they work but sometimes not even the age old saying ‘It takes time’ works because no matter how much time passes I will never get over my dad dying and I will never forget my abusive first boyfriend, or my best friend who broke my heart, when I didn’t even love him.  Loving someone can be confusing, it is confusing. But so is losing someone.

I have learnt a lot the last couple years, I am not the same person I was 4 years ago, hell, I’m not even the same person I was a year ago. Everyone says that with the new year they are going to do so many new things, most never keep to these ‘New Year Resolutions’, after 3 days it’s back to life before the 31st December, we have all done it, made unrealistic resolutions we cannot keep to, but this time last year I made a couple resolutions, the most important one; To be happy. Am I the happiest I will ever be? No, but I am happy, I am very happy. I may not have everything I want and feel the way I want too all the time, but for the most part I am happy and to me, being this happy right now is all I need and want.

This time last year I was a wreck, I actually made a show of myself at a wedding in front of someone I once liked because I was so upset, angry and confused, it wasn’t one of my finest moments, let’s just say that. This time last year, I was more confused and scared about my future then I had ever been before, although I was in college during this period and getting my grades/marks up to where they needed to be, I was worried about the upcoming year. What would it hold? What would happen to me? Would I get a job? Would I pick a career path by the time I leave college? Again, lots of questions I didn’t know how to answer. I entered 2016 not knowing what was ahead for me, I was nervous.

February 2016 rolled around pretty fast, I was leaving college, insert a very nervous and over panicked(is that a word? It is now) Shannon. I passed my exams(yay) and I left my college with more confidence and more qualifications. Although March was filled with job applications and disappointment, I finally found a career path and luckily a job, an apprenticeship actually. As of April I was working, I had made new friends, I was going out on nights out and having a good time, my life felt together, but somethings aren’t meant to be and some people aren’t meant to be in your life… who knew I wouldn’t be there longer then 6 months? August was the breaking point for me, after losing one of my best friends for a new ‘friend’ and being walked all over I had to leave, I had to run as far away from that place as I could, before I found myself not wanting to be here anymore, again. Suddenly I found myself in that place again, confused, angry and upset, a place I know very well. But I am lucky, my college tutors got me a placement nearer to home and they took me on, I guess luck is on my side… well sometimes it is.

I am still at this placement, in fact as I am writing this, we still have 104 dogs in before Christmas! Don’t worry, when you read this, I’ll be relaxing, probably being lazy in bed, not waking up till 11am, eating chocolate all day and watching TV.

But, this last year hasn’t all been about work and college, no. This year I turned 18, I wore a beautiful dress to a massive wedding, went on days out with my family, I laughed with my friends and family. I faced my fears and went to a new college! I made loads of new friends, the only downside to that is… Christmas just got a whole lot more expensive, but that’s okay. I reconnected with old family members and took a step back into my childhood, remembering my dad and our happy memories. I bought clothes and shoes that I wouldn’t normally wear, I faced my fear and built up my confidence to do something daring. I found my passion to travel, explore and have adventures again, somewhere along the line I had lost that, but I found it again and my bucket list is growing evermore.

Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys

Some things I’ve learnt while being a dog groomer

So, as I have stated in previous blog posts I am currently an apprentice dog groomer doing my level 2 in animal care. I have been at a grooming salon( well 2) for around 9 months now and I have learned a few things while working at a dog grooming salon. Here is my list:

People think I play with puppies all day

So, once I mention that I am a dog groomer I often get a lot of responses along the lines of ‘ oh that’s nice, you have a really easy job’ , ‘ why are you so tired? All you do is play with dogs all day’ and I have even heard ‘ I am in the wrong business, that must be really easy money’ . Now can I just say, before anyone agrees with any of these statements, that they are all wrong. No, my job isn’t easy, I am tired because I do a lot more then play with dogs and No, it is not an easy money making business contrary to popular believe. The last thing I do at work is play with dogs. You may see a 60 second video on dog grooming facebook pages of us playing on the floor with your pampered pooch, but that is not all we do, you see, those dogs have been washed, dried, brushed and groomed within 1 and half hours by 1 to 2 people who haven’t sat down all day and before the dog goes home they go out for a wee, and might get a treat, so for 2 minutes a dog, we can stroke them and play with them, but 2 minutes is not the same to all day. I do not play with puppies all day, If that is what I wanted to do, I’d be in the wrong profession.

People lie

Okay, something we all know, people will lie, but I have never come across this as much as I do now I have a job and deal with the public. Now, I am not saying these are massive lies, but I do not understand why people need to lie. When you tell us your poodle gets brushed daily and doesn’t need shaving, doesn’t mean anything if your dog comes in matted, it’s going to get shaved and it’s obvious you either haven’t been brushing the dog daily or brushing him correctly.   When you tell us your dog is ‘good’ and ‘doesn’t bite’ on your first visit, we believe you, but when the dogs hanging off our hand over its leg being touched, we aren’t going to believe you anymore.

Small dogs will attack you

I can tell you many stories about a small dog like a ‘fluffy and cute’ Bichon or an adorable Pomeranian that doesn’t like to be groomed and shows you their hatred for it by hanging of your fingers, hands and arms. You see, the smaller the dog, the more likely it is to have you off in 2 seconds flat. I don’t know why this is and it is not the case with every small dog, I know many well behaved smaller dogs but the percentage of aggressive small dogs is massive compared to bigger dogs. Not everyone agrees with me here but come work at my place for a couple weeks and you’ll be walking( or running) out agreeing with me.

Some days are hard

Sometimes you’ll get home and you don’t wanna go back in the next day. You’ve have probably dealt with one too many naughty dogs or rude customers and just want to give it all in. Yes, I have lied there at night and wondered why I am doing this job but I get up the next morning and I carry on like everyone else.  I love my job but sometimes I feel the need to drive into the middle of nowhere and scream my lungs out in the middle of a field, but instead I have a bath, watch Netflix, have some chocolate and get an early night.

 

Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys

How my apprenticeship is going…

If you know me, I have probably talked your ear off about apprenticeships, since I started mine, I realised how much I was missing out before by deciding to go to college after school then go on an apprenticeship.

After high school ended for me in 2014, I opted to go to a big college, with no one I knew, in a different area.Now at the time this seemed like the perfect idea for  me because I wanted to be away from where I lived and who I lived around, but I soon realised a big college like that one wasn’t for me and I backed out a lot sooner then I am proud to say. After dropping out of college, I needed somewhere new, so after a long needed break, I started looking for an apprenticeship, as I had decided this would be best for me to gain my qualifications. In college I was going professional cookery and first looked for apprenticeships in that field, no luck. After months of looking, a company got in touch with me and I found a training provider, which was much smaller and closer to home. In September 2015 I started at my new ‘mini college’ and for the next 6 months I studied for my maths and English functional skills level 2 and also gained a certificate in ’employability’ which helps you write a CV, understand the laws at work and trains you what to do during an interview for a job. In Feb 2016, I left that college with my maths and English level 2 and other certificates. I was again on the hunt for an apprenticeship, through this time I was unsure what I wanted to do anymore… did I want to go into business admin? or childcare? or cooking? or animal care? I looked on the apprenticeship site for these and found a couple I liked in different fields and applied online for them. The gov.uk apprentice site is where I applied for the apprenticeship I later got in animal care.

I started at a dog groomers in April 2016, I started with a trail week and later was given the job, I then went to the training provider for an induction. That was it, I had my apprenticeship. My apprenticeship was my first job and for 4 months at my placement I was very happy, I felt like my anxiety and depression was decreasing and I felt better with myself, I was enjoying it. I liked the people I worked with and the place I worked but things where not working out for me there, the happiness went away and I was filled with anger everyday, I didn’t enjoy it anymore, it was a nightmare every week for me and the thing I struggle with most now, is trying to think back to when the job I loved turned into a job I hated and I am still trying to figure out how to tell people about the change I made during my apprenticeship, but it was so many things, it is hard to name all the reasons why I am no longer there. The last month at my former placement was the hardest and all those little things I could deal with, become one massive issue and I couldn’t handle it anymore, I had to leave and August 2016, I was gone. What happened? My friends and family say… ‘ you seemed so happy there’.

I don’t know the ins and out of the business I worked for, I do not know what kind of person my boss was and what were her real reasons for hiring me, whether it was cheap labour as I was being paid apprentice wage or if I wasn’t cut out for that kind of business.

In the simplest terms, here is what I was struggling with while working there:

  • I wasn’t getting my breaks as they did not think I was working fast enough( can I just add that they overbooked dogs in and excepted the cleaning to be also done during this time)
  • I wasn’t getting home till 7pm, even though I finished at half 5 because I was not allowed to leave 2 minutes early to get a bus that would take me straight home(even after offering to come in earlier, plus I wasn’t getting my last 15 minute break anyway)
  • My breaks and dinners where never my own and I was always getting up to get dogs for customers and answering the phone during the only time during the day I could sit down and enjoy my dinner.
  • Talking of dinners, I wasn’t getting mine till around 2.30 – 3pm
  • I was being asked to come in on my days off, the night before(by night I mean 10pm, when I had already made plans the next day).
  • When I got home at 7pm, after having a bath, putting my uniform in the wash and cooking my tea, it was time to go to bed for work the next day, I was so tired my last month, I was constantly drinking energy drinks( which aren’t good for my anxiety but I had no choice).

After I had left my former placement, one of the girls, whom I thought was my friend started putting things on social media, calling me selfish, a loser and other colourful things, I was at this point(before seeing these) debating going back to this placement if my tutor at college could resolve some of the issues there, but after this I was sure I did not want to go back to that place, with them girls. For a couple weeks I didn’t know what I was going to do about my apprenticeship, luckily my assessor at my college helped me through the process of finding a new placement, one nearer to home, one where I would be happy. That is when I heard about a dog grooming salon nearer to home, 15 minutes away infact. It all happened within a week, I called the manager Monday, went in for an interview Tuesday,in college Wednesday and started working at this new place on Thursday, I was relieved, I had a place again.

I have been at my new placement for around 5 weeks now and I am so much happier. I feel like the people I work with know what they are doing in regards to running a business. It takes me 15 minutes to get home( 5 minutes on a non busy bus and 10 minutes walking from the bus stop). The environment is very different, it’s the kind of place I feel like I fit in, the kind of place I need to be at, not at all like my old placement. My assessor recently came out to assess me and everything is going well and the bonus is I don’t have to start my course again, so I am not behind. I have no settled into college again(after the summer break and new people starting) and settled into my job at my placement.

I do believe that change is good and sometimes change is a much needed thing. I know I needed a change and even though it was scary, I am happier because of the change.

 

 

 

Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys, Q&AS, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Sex | Peer Pressure

Peer pressure and sex have been a massive problem for many years now. There are a couple different types of peer pressure. See the table below from the NHS site for a little more information.

obvious peer pressure “Everyone’s doing it, so should you.”
underhand peer pressure “You’re a virgin, you wouldn’t understand.”
controlling peer pressure “You would do it if you loved me.”

When it comes to sex, peer pressure can play a big part in someone’s first sexual experience. Peer pressure could come not just from your boyfriend or girlfriend but sometimes your friends as well. When someone is pressuring you into doing something you are not 100% comfortable with, it’s hard, it’s not easy to say how you really feel. You feel like you’re disappointing them or worried that they won’t like you anymore if you do not do what they are ready to do.

One of the most important things I tell people is that you can always say no. If you’re not ready to do something or do not want to, you have the right to say no, you need to remember you are not obliged to do anything. Sex should be something you do, not because they want you to do it, but because you want to do it. If you feel like you want to wait or that you do not want to do it, be clear with the person you are talking about having sex with, let them know how you feel, do not go ahead with having sex with them if you’re not 100% comfortable and happy to do that.

In a world, where it feels like everyone your age is having sex, it can be hard to separate your feelings, your mind is telling you ‘I think you’re ready because everyone else your age is having sex’ but also saying ‘ I don’t think I am ready even know everyone else my age is having sex’. Now, I can you, some of those people who claim to be having sex, are not. They are simply lying because they want people to think they are having sex or maybe they’re been pressured. Some are having sex, I was on those, I lost my virginity while still in high school, but not because everyone else was. Unfortunately, some of those who are currently having sex, don’t feel 100% about doing it.

Sex comes with many adult responsibilities, it is important that you know everything you need to know about sex and all things that come with sex. Knowing you are ready to have sex isn’t just about a feeling or an age(of consent), it’s also about being aware of what sex is. Once you know all you need to know about having sex, you’ll be one step closer to being ready.  Make sure you have someone to talk to about sex, whether that’s a parent, family member, friend, teacher or in an online chat( in a REAL, helpful chatroom/private chatroom, like Kooth or Childline), you can use these legit sites to talk to real professionals about sex, birth control, pregnancies and STD’s with no judgement and they won’t tell your parents ( they legally can’t, unless you’re in physical danger or they think you’re going to hurt someone, which does not apply here as you will only be asking for sex advice). Also, make sure you know about what contraceptives there are out there and where you can get them, make sure you know how to practice safe sex, to prevent pregnancies and STD’s. The last thing I can say here, is make sure you have spoken to your partner about their sexual history( I do not mean prey on who they have slept with, I mean ask them when they last got checked and if you feel like it’s necessary, ask them if they will go and get tested, if they won’t, you can’t make them, but it is your choice whether you decide to sleep with them or not). Remember, every time you have sex, whether you use birth control or not, there is always a chance of STD’s or pregnancy. It is important to practice safe sex and know who you are sleeping with.

Weirdly, not all peer pressure comes from friends at school, it can also come from parents. Parents like to think they know best all the time and I have to tell you, that’s not true, yes most parents know how to bring up their children but sometimes they can take a little too much control of their children’s lives. Most parents don’t like to think about their children having sex( I know my dad would have went mad if he found out I was having sex, when he was here), but it is something that is happening and it is completely normal. Some parents tell their children about sex and give them the best start in life. Unfortunately, some tell their children not to have sex, others avoid the subject, hoping their children won’t have sex because they haven’t spoke to them about sex.

My biggest issue with not telling children about sex is that they are going to have sex whether parents tell them about sex, birth control and std’s but these parents assume that their children won’t have sex because they haven’t spoke to them about it, that’s not true, not talking to teens about sex is wrong, if you don’t give them the right information, they are going to and ask their friends who might give them the wrong information, or even worse, they might not ask anyone and just go have sex without knowledge of std’s or birth control. Telling your child they cannot have sex; isn’t going to change anything, these are the children who are going to sneak out and do it behind your back. Have you ever heard the saying ‘strict parents equal sneaky children’. If you are open to your teens and treat them like adults when it comes to sex, they might treat you like equals when it comes to talking to you about sex. My mum always brought me up to tell her about things going in my life, now I didn’t go and tell her every detail, even she didn’t want to hear every detail but she always taught me to open with her, and she’s never judged me for anything, including having sex. I have told her who I have had sex with and I thought at one point she’d be angry with me but she wasn’t, luckily I have a pretty amazing mum and I’m lucky to have her, as I know not all parents are like her. Trust me I know, I had complete opposite parents, they tried to bring me up 2 different ways and as much I love my dad, and have some his family’s traits, I followed my mums way of life. Moral of the story, your parents aren’t in control of your sex life, so if you are of change of consent ( 16 in the UK, although I am not going to lie, I started having sex before I was 16) and know all about sex and the responsibilities, then it’s up to you when and who(with) you start having sex.

If someone is pressuring you into anything including sex, please remember you can say NO, you have a choice. Remember never to pressure anyone who clearly doesn’t want to do something, into doing what you want them to do, it’s wrong. You also do not have to tell anyone about your sex life, if they ask how many people you have slept with etc, you do not have to answer unless you want to. No one is alone, so do not feel like you are, peer pressure affects a lot of people and in my opinion, a form of bullying, so don’t stand for it!

 

Posted in Advice♥, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Sex | Contraceptives

Hello,

Welcome to the second blog post in my new series ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’. Today I thought I would talk about contraceptives. If you are thinking about having sex or are sexually active, you need to aware of contraceptives and what they do, as well as the different types there are. I have been on the pill for almost 2 years now and there are pro’s and cons of being on the pill, like with every contraceptive. You need to find one you are happy and comfortable with, before you start having sex. If you want to see a detailed pro/con list about the pill, click here – https://lifeasshan.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/proscons-being-on-the-pill/

What are contraceptives?

Contraceptives are either a drug or device that prevents pregnancy.

How many different types are there?

Currently, there is around 15.

Different Types Of Contraceptives…

Contraceptives Effectiveness  Side Effects
INJECTION MORE THAN 99% There are three types of contraceptive injections in the UK: Depo-Provera, which lasts for 12 weeks, Sayana Press, which lasts for 13 weeks, and Noristerat, which lasts for eight weeks.
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • mood swings
  • breast tenderness irregular bleeding
IMPLANT MORE THAN 99% The contraceptive implant is a small flexible tube about 40mm long that’s inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It’s inserted by a trained professional, such as a doctor, and lasts for three years.
IUS MORE THAN 99% An IUS is a small, T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse.
  • Some women may experience mood swings, skin problems or breast tenderness.  
  • There’s a small risk of getting an infection after it’s inserted.
  • It can be uncomfortable when the IUS is put in, although painkillers can help with this.
IUD MORE THAN 99% An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse.
  • There’s a very small chance of infection within 20 days of the IUD being fitted.
  • There’s a risk that your body may expel the IUD.
FEMALE STERILISATION MORE THAN 99% Female sterilisation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, but can be carried out under local anaesthetic, depending on the method used. The surgery involves blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes, which link the ovaries to the womb (uterus).
  • As with any surgery, there’s a small risk of complications. These include internal bleeding, infection or damage to other organs.
  • There’s a small risk that the operation won’t work. Blocked tubes can rejoin immediately or years later
MALE STERILISATION MORE THAN 99% During a minor operation, the tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed.
  • As with any surgery, there’s a slight risk of infection.
PATCH MORE THAN 99% The contraceptive patch is a sticky patch, a bit like a nicotine patch, measuring 5x5cm. It delivers hormones into your body through your skin. In the UK, the patch’s brand name is Evra.
  • The patch can increase blood pressure, and some women get temporary side effects, such as headaches.  
  • Some women develop a blood clot when using the patch, but this is rare.
VAGINAL RING MORE THAN 99% The vaginal ring is a small, soft plastic ring that you place inside your vagina.
  • The ring may ease premenstrual symptoms, and bleeding will probably be lighter and less painful.
  • Some women have temporary side effects, including more vaginal discharge, breast tenderness and headaches.
COMBINED PILL MORE THAN 99% A woman can get pregnant if a man’s sperm reaches one of her eggs (ova). Contraception tries to stop this happening by keeping the egg and sperm apart or by stopping egg production. One method of contraception is the combined pill.
  • Minor side effects include mood swings, breast tenderness and headaches.
PROGESTOGEN ONLY PILL MORE THAN 99% It contains the hormone progestogen but doesn’t contain oestrogen.

You need to take the progestogen-only pill at or around the same time every day.

  • Side effects may include spotty skin and breast tenderness – these should clear up within a few months.
MALE CONDOM ABOUT 98% Male condoms are made from very thin latex (rubber), polyisoprene or polyurethane, and are designed to stop a man’s semen from coming into contact with his sexual partner.
  • It’s possible for a condom to slip off during sex. If this happens, you may need emergency contraception, and to get checked for STIs.
FEMALE CONDOM ABOUT 95% Female condoms are made from thin, soft plastic called polyurethane (some male condoms are made from this too). Female condoms are worn inside the vagina to prevent semen getting to the womb.
  • A female condom can get pushed too far into the vagina, but it’s easy to remove it yourself.
DIAPHRAGM 92%-96% A contraceptive diaphragm is inserted into the vagina before sex, and it covers the cervix so that sperm can’t get into the womb (uterus)
  • Some women develop cystitis (a bladder infection) when they use a diaphragm.
CAP 92%-96% The contraceptive cap is a circular dome made of thin, soft silicone (they used to be made of latex, but if you get a cap on the NHS today it will be made of silicone). If you lose or gain more than 3kg (7lbs) in weight, or have a baby, miscarriage or abortion, you may need to be fitted with a new cap.

All information in this table is from the NHS official website, If you would like any further information on any of the contraceptives listed above, click here http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/which-method-suits-me.aspx

All of the contraceptives I talked about here are available in the UK, I am unaware of available contraceptives or if they are different for US, Canadian, Australian countries ETC.

In the UK, men and women can get most contraceptives for free, you can pay for them but a visit to your doctors or a health centre, may mean you can get them for free. Even condoms can be given for free at certain clinics. You can find it out where you nearest store is – http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Free%20condoms/LocationSearch/732

Now that you know the different types of contraceptives and where to get them, let’s talk about communication. Talking to your partner about what kind of contraceptives you two are going to use is a key part to a healthy sex life, don’t be scared to ask the other if they are currently using any form of birth control. If you are on the pill or have the injection, I would still recommend using a condom as well, this way you are more safe, safer from STD’s and pregnancy. Whether you are a girl or boy, I recommend keeping condoms. It’s not just a man’s job to buy and bring the condoms.

Questions about contraception –

Can I get pregnant if my partner uses the ‘pull out’ method?

Yes, the ‘pull out’ method is not an effective method of contraception.

“As commonly used, it is only 78 percent effective, meaning that 22 of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal will become pregnant over a year”.

Is using 2 condoms instead of 1 going to be even more effective?

No, using 2 condoms can cause friction and can cause one or both condoms to tear, meaning sperm could leak and increase pregnancy or chances of catching an STD.

How do I check if a condom is safe?

Firstly, check the ‘use by date’. Make sure they are from a trusted company ( you can look online for the company) and make sure they are stored correctly.

How long after unprotected sex can I take the emergency pill?

The emergency pill must be taken within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is.

Whatever contraceptive you decide to use, make sure you have done research on things like side effects, how to use if effectively and how it is inserted, taken or used.

If you are a young adult or teenager and are unsure what is best for you, talk to someone close to you like an older, experienced friend or family member, or speak to your doctor about what is best for you and your partner.

Shannon x