Making connections

Today I met someone who’s gender identity is similar to mine and feels the same way that I do about Veganism, social justice, the binary, yoga, polyamoury, fertility, feminism/equality… the list goes on and on and on.
It blew me away and I don’t remember a time I’ve connected with a person on so many levels so quickly (and agreed so much!). We chatted for two hours in a coffee shop before I had to get to another appointment, but I feel like we could have spent all day discussing our views about the world.

Making connections with various people, each of whom feed a different aspect of your personality is so important. I never really realised how important this was until today. Obviously this connection comes in many forms, from having more than one friend through to having more than one sexual partner.
The conversations I had with this person today really opened up my thinking on not only having multiple sexual relationships but emotional ones also. It made me see it was possible. Possible in terms of ‘it can be done and done successfully’, but also possible personally for me and my relationship.

I have much in common with the partner that I live with, we laugh constantly and share much of our lives together. We aren’t sexually monogamous and whilst this is something we’re both very happy with, the idea of one of us falling in love or having the intense emotional connection that we have with each other, with another person is a concept we’ve both found difficult to get our heads around.
Today made me see though, how vital to our wellbeing it is to have these different connections because our individual personality is so multi-faceted that one person alone is not able to meet all of our intellectual and spiritual needs. As much as we may sometimes wish that was possible.
I’m not saying that having intense emotional connections with more than one person is what every individual needs. You do what’s right for you at the time. There are many many many forms of non-monogamy and relationships come in all different shapes and sizes. We gain connection from our platonic relationships as well as our sexual ones.

Make connections that get your brain excited. Have conversations that thrill you. It really is ultimately liberating.

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Fertility?

When I was 17, after a few awkward straight sexual encounters, I decided to make a GP appointment to talk about contraception. Knowing then that I was not planning on using my womb (an organ I was born with and did not choose) for reproduction, I asked the doctor for a hysterectomy. I had heard my mum and her friends speak about this surgical procedure in relation to ‘women in their 30’s and 40’s without children’ and assumed this would be the best course of action for me. I was not aware, at that point in my life that a hysterectomy is the removal of the whole womb, ovaries included and therefore induces menopause.

The male doctor laughed. I remember this so clearly and now as an adult wonder why he did not ask me why I felt this way about my fertility.
He prescribed me the combined hormonal pill MicrogynonAnd I started doing my research into the sterilisation process. I don’t feel like going through menopause before my body decides it’s time.

Now, over 9 years later, I have tried the whole ‘range’ of combined hormonal contraceptive pills and the Implanon implant. The side effects experienced over this time could use up a whole blog post, but all I’ll say is how? (Literally, how?) Could pumping your body full of unnaturally created hormones not fuck you up? Long-acting reversible contraception I do not need.

I feel the same way about my fertility as I did 10 years ago. I do not want, or need that either. My doctor (not then same one I had when I was 17) this year finally referred me to my local outpatient gynaecologist to talk about getting sterilised.
I had my appointment yesterday. Overall my preconceptions and fears about people under 30 asking for sterilisation treatment on the NHS were confirmed. The gynaecologist was very polite, appreciated my rationality (and the fact that I had done my research) but still told me that he was basing his decision on the fact that there are a number of people who have had his operation young, only to request reversal years later. Obviously the fact that I had begun pursuing this decision 10 years earlier was not taken into account.
It is not something I decided to do on a whim. It’s a procedure that feels as natural for me as going to the dentist: necessary.

Being treated like you can’t make decisions about your own body because you:
A) Are too young
B) Were assigned female at birth
C) Might undergo a radical personality change and want to further the population / have parental responsibility / become pregnant / give birth

I’m frustrated.

There are a whole host of articles online from women who’ve had to battle for control over their own fertility. #toomany

Whirlwind.

The first few months of 2017 felt so manic thinking about it now seems like a distant memory. Here was always where I was headed. I have found my partner in (crime) life.
The person I always hoped was round the corner, but never dared to dream…

And we’re cooking some amazing food together! We love talking about food, cooking food and eating food. He’s embraced the vegan lifestyle with an open mind and an enthusiasm that matches my own.

We eat big meals and have a balanced, nutritional diet but lately we’ve been feeling like we’re just not eating enough. My body mass index has just slipped to ‘underweight’, which is something I’m keen to address and need to gain around a stone. We’re planning more protein smoothies, less skipping lunch (which happens way too often in our household) and more cake.
26 is according to some the year you reach and have formed much of your personality, but for me I also feel I’m noticing aging physically also. Nothing too drastic, it’s just I had a wild early 20’s (yeah right)…

I’m posting as on a study break till October, therefore can sit and type something that isn’t an essay without giving myself a hard time. But I also do feel that this is a particularly important time for me in terms of personal development. Looking forward to beginning my next module, just as much as I am to finishing it in April!

My ‘current’ interest lies in social research. Education and Healthcare mainly; more specifically in the fields of Sexualities and Gender, but I’m also just sat here wondering if there are any Vegan groups that educate school-age children about the meat and dairy industry? Doubt there would be time on the curriculum for that..


 

#iamwhole

The changing of the seasons can be very difficult, and basically very annoying for people who love the outdoors but dislike the dark and the cold. It makes you want to stay in bed more, sleep more, eat more.

However, sitting in your garden to meditate fully kitted out for the crisp and sometimes breathtakingly cold sea air is certainly refreshing!
Cooking and baking and yoga are things I’m hoping will help me get through the next few months of dark, cold evenings. So far we’ve enjoyed hummus, falafel, lemon cake and lentil curry. (Not all at once!) Currently looking for more vegan recipes and bakes to add to my list!

As part of World Mental Health Day (10th October) the project I volunteer for, along with the NHS kickstarted a campaign to break down mental health stigma, and encourage young people (and those who come into contact with young people) to be more aware of mental health issues and to feel more comfortable talking about them. It was commissioned by the CCG in response to poor statistics regarding mental health awareness and the feeling of being stigmatized that young people were experiencing.

The tagline #iamwhole champions the fact that no matter what your mental health status, or how much support you may need, you are still a whole individual.

As someone who has always found it near impossible, who still finds it pretty difficult to open up about how their feeling and accept support, this campaign is one I would have benefited from at a school age. Learnt behaviours like ignoring the problem; not being honest with yourself about how you’re feeling take their toll and are challenging habits to break. I had a mentor a few years ago who’s favourite saying (that I shall re-appropriate) was ‘Be kind to yourself.’

It’s good to remember on days when the nights drawing in are getting to you; that it will pass, it’s okay to not feel your best and to BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

What things do you do to keep you going through winter?

 

 

When nothing is certain, anything is possible.

It certainly seems like I have come a long way since my last post. Almost a year. My exam for the end of my first module at the OU is in 10 days. Revision is going well.

What I have learnt academically is nothing compared to what I have learnt personally. I have learnt that no amount of therapy, medication, self-help books or yoga/meditation is conducive to a healthy body and mind, if that body and mind do not want to make positive changes. I didn’t want to make these changes for a long time.
Not long after my last post, I started volunteering for a project called Right Here. The project supports young people to develop resilience to all that life throws at them, creates awareness campaigns about mental health issues and conducts research into free and paid support networks. The people I’ve volunteered with during my time with the project have been wonderful and engaged and I feel we have made a small but vital impact within our community. It was also immensely helpful to have an external project on which to focus on whilst so much else around me was uncertain.

I’m also now vegan. It took me a while to get ‘there’ but I am sure with all my heart that I will never look back. Veganism and the concept of healthy, sustainable, cruelty-free living are working their way more and more into my consciousness, an incredibly welcome lifestyle and attitude adjustment. Tomorrow I will be attending my first ever Vegan festival and I could not be more excited!

Working hard, studying hard and volunteering hard have kept me deliciously busy. It’s good to be busy. Everyone in their 20’s should be busy! Meditation and yoga have assisted me to keep a healthy routine of self care, one I hope I stick with. Progress photos of some of the more challenging (for me!) yoga poses helps me to challenge and push myself physically. I have serious backbend envy at the moment, and so saving for a Dharma Yoga Wheel…

 

Turns out, this adult thing just takes a bit of getting used to.

Finishing what you start.

So after dropping out of University after two years (one lecture in 3rd year does not count) I have recently made the decision to study for my last year with the Open University. Spending the last few years in jobs that have depressed me further have helped me come to the realisation that a degree that took me longer to get than originally planned is a degree nonetheless.

Just looking at the different modules the OU has to offer is making me very excited to start studying again! After clearing out all my old college and school papers earlier this year and seeing how studious I was before I stopped caring about my future and started relying too much on alcohol.. I know I’m making the right decision to finish what I started. My confidence in my abilities however are not what they once were. It’s amazing the confidence and arrogance that alcohol and drugs give you. A sober me is a naturally self-deprecating individual and at the moment I am trying to believe that I am capable of finishing 3rd year.

There’s only so much time you can spend on Instagram and Twitter, watching Youtube videos and wishing you were someone else. My therapist recently recommended a book to me called ‘Managing Intense Emotions and Overcoming Self-Destructive Behaviour.’ by Lorraine Bell. It’s not in my local library networks and the cheapest I have found it for is £23 online. Trying to save money at the moment so that I can move out of the hostel I am currently living in, so think I’ll be waiting a bit longer before I actually buy it, but it does sound like the author saw me coming..

This is how my life and my decision making feels at the moment. It’s from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar:

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”