Sharongooner's Blog

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Originally posted on Not Writing But Blogging:

If you’ve missed what this is all about, I suggest you either google Suzanne Moore/trans/twitter, or have a look at these links. I’m pretty sure there are plenty more.
Suzanne Moore’s New Statesman piece
Suzanne Moore’s Guardian response
Stavvers WordPress response
a Pink News response

So, a younger friend and colleague, asked me today if I thought she should agree to write a piece about some work she’s made – related to trans issues, made with trans people. And because of all the stuff that’s gone on with twitter this week – aka the Suzanne Moore thing – I wrote her this reply.
In writing it I realised I should be posting it.
Money/mouth, head/parapet.
Here goes.

Gah, well, with all the Suzanne Moore stuff I’d say no and make for the hills, keeping your head well down. I read the original article, I didn’t think the Brazilian trans comment…

View original 1,155 more words

What have the coalition done for you?


In May 2010 the coalition put themselves in power. How do we measure the impact? I don’t think we can, collectively, but I can speak of my own situation, and what I feel. I don’t reside with any of the sides right now, and I’m unclear on what to do in the next election. I’m hoping this becomes clearer as I air my views and hopefully gain some perspective. I doubt it somehow.

A week after they came to power we got an email at work telling us we were on a consultation closure list. I worked in a busy county court, dealing with some 800 divorces a year, thousands of claims, repossessions, children act matters, and daily injunctions. It was never quiet and our town was and still is continuing to grow. I loved my job. The money was a pittance, I was often open to abuse (I hope you die of cancer was a common one), there was rarely any chance of promotion, but I enjoyed it, I loved helping people, people who were more often than not the people who the rest of us forget. WE never forgot them, we were not allowed. We fought, we fought hard, the local solicitors, our judges in all the courts across the county fought, put forward very valid arguments regarding the possible impact but the decision was made. We were given our closure date. April Fools Day 2011.

We had to make decisions. Redundancy or redeployment. We had little advice or support, things were rushed through, and I (with hindsight) made the wrong decision. In March 2011 I was redeployed to London.

I became seriously ill around the same time, and in June that year I was signed off work for six months. Do I blame the coalition for this? No, I can’t. But they were culpable. It was the perfect storm. Whilst I was stood in London having a breakdown with folk passing me by, crying and vomiting in the street, I never felt so far away from home. I knew that if I was in my own town I would have got help, my colleagues would have noticed my decline, they would have supported me. In the old days if someone was off for a long period of time we had a Welfare Officer who would intervene with help, support, guidance.

I got ATOS. My new colleagues and managers only kept in touch for sicknote updates. Atos phoned me fortnightly, pushing me with pathetic advice and threats. In December 2011 I resigned. So I missed out on an attractive redundancy, my 25 year service carriage clock, and a leaving party. Am I bitter? With hindsight, yes. I was in no position to make the decision I made, I felt ill-advised, and then felt hung out to dry, after 21 years of helping people I felt now it was my turn nobody cared.

I did get better though, I received counselling, and threw myself into restarting my career. I got lucky and in March 2012 after three months of signing on, I was working nights stacking shelves in Tesco’s. Tough work, but I’m now aware of how adaptable I am, and I will do anything to keep my families heads above water. Then I was offered a job (temporary ongoing) at a local company working days. I’m still doing this but it will come to an end, so I am again applying for jobs. My only problem is the stigma attached to ex civil servants, I’ve been told by a recruiter that it will often be binned before it is even read, and I now believe this. So I’m stuck in a job with no security, no pay rises, no future, and I could be dropped with no notice. I can hear the righty’s saying “welcome to the real world”, well, I spent 21 years living in, and helping the real world so save the patronisation and find another spin. But, at least I have a job.

So, how do we measure the impact? What of the woman being persistently battered by her partner, controlling her money, is she able to get £20 to take a return bus journey across the county to get an injunction, or is she spending what little she has feeding her children and buying nappies? What of the father who’s ex-wife is planning to escape abroad because she is denying him access? Will he reach a court before she reaches an airport? I don’t know, there is no way of measuring this.

In the 21 years I worked in the courts we had one case that resulted in death, the father had enough of not being able to see his children and went home from work and stabbed the mother of his children. One case.

In 2012 three women have been killed by their partners/ex partners in domestic violence related incidents in Harlow. We can’t ask them if they were hindered in seeking remedy through the courts because they are dead.

Lollyknickers


Qu

ick blog, forgive any mistakes I am on my Android phone and it is shit.

Many of you who follow me used to follow LOLLY. @Lollyknickers was a pure one off, funny, original tweeter. She made me roar with laughter daily, and even when she was moaning she did it in a fucking funny way.

I must admit, since she left Twitter even I have found myself using it less, because that LOLLY shaped hole will never be filled. But she left for important reasons, her marriage and family. She isn’t returning.

A few months down the line, and after counselling for her anxiety and other related issues, she was where she wanted to be. Family stuff all nice and content, and a job she enjoys. A year ago she barely left the house, so, you see, those things we take for granted, that was all she wanted, and she finally got them. Perfect.

And then life decides no, stuff your contentment, and deals you another, nasty hand.

Lolly has breast cancer. She is going in for surgery this Wednesday. She is a worrybag of nerves, and all the things that she battled to beat and did, are surfacing.

It is her birthday Sunday too.

I’ve written this because I want her to kill me. Obviously.

No, I’ve written it so that her old cyber friends on Twitter can leave some unlimited length messages in the comments section and I can pass them to her. I know many of you miss her and are not in touch, and I’m sure it will give her a boost to hear from you.

So, do please fill your boots with some positive LOLLYLOVE and birthday wishes.

Thank you. X

Rape LOL.


Laughter has unbelievable benefits. Comedy is a godsend. Thankfully we are blessed in this world that we have some amazingly talented, funny people who manage to carve a living from combining their skills. The benefits are endless, but here is a short list:

1. It reduces mental stress
2. It can change your mood state
3. Helps develop your own sense of humour
4. Helps overcome grief
5. Alleviates fear and anxiety
6. Great for anger management
7. Attracts us to others
8. Enhances resilience
9. Helps diffuse conflict
10. Potentially push a victim of rape to suicide.

Great list of benefits isn’t it? I don’t think all comedians can count past single numbers though because number 10 is commonly shunned.

This is a serious mental health issue, it isn’t like death jokes, it isn’t like racist jokes, it isn’t like jokes about disability. It’s the same and worse, and should be discounted as such.

Victims of rape often talk about their ‘triggers’, until you’ve been through it, you won’t understand, but it’s about time you did. For some just seeing the word RAPE in any context is too much. To see it in a ‘joke’ or hear it, will trigger many women to go through their good old ‘nobody believes me’ thoughts, and propel them back to horrendous places in their minds. I shake. I get terrible anxiety and feel physically sick. 12 months ago was the last time I self harmed and wanted to end my life.

I am a heck of a lot better than I was, but I am scared. I am scared I will be caught unaware one day and be sent back down. I don’t want that to happen, and I don’t want it to happen to the many ladies whom I am friends with who feel the same. We are a tiny minority, and at times like this we feel very vulnerable.

I would give anything, ANYTHING, for a big hitting, respectable comedian to stand up and denounce this trend. Tell their colleagues they are wrong. And tell them why.

Did you hear the one about rape? Unfortunately yes.

Please, lets stop this. Please.

Yours, in tears.

SG. x

The Curse Of The Typed Word


‘The Curse Of The Typed Word’ was a useful phrase I learnt to use many years ago when I first started networking, mainly on forums where you are not limited to 140 characters. The wonderful thing about twitter is that because you have a limit it forces you to be a bit more tactful in that little box. Most of the time.

 

The saying relates to what happens when people cannot ‘read’ the meaning of your words, see your facial expressions, know your true intentions, and so it is misread to mean something utterly different or out of context. This is a regular event when a non follower is directed to your words by a third party or an rt. If they don’t know your style, don’t know you in the same way a regular follower would, they may aswell translate the tweet into Greek for all it means to them. They will see exactly what they WANT to see.

Yesterday, Ian Martin off of twitter and well known blue word user was listening to cricket on his beloved TMS. We hashtag it as #tms on twitter because ‘BBC Test Match Special’ is too long, and it gives you more room to say what you wish. For the three years I have known Ian, I have found him at his most original and funnest at these times. I love cricket and his colourful contribution, criticisms of the broadcast are as much a part of cricket to me as predicting when Kevin Pieterson will get caught out. He clearly adores the coverage, and takes the piss. Yes, takes the piss.

To outsiders this is where the curse comes in. You take one look at his tweets without previously knowing him and you would be forgiven for assuming he hates it. Like some people said to him yesterday before a certain event “why don’t you switch it off?” in his own words he replied to one “Stop following me and let those of us who enjoy moaning about it enjoy it”. I don’t have to point out the millions of folk who watch Apprentice, Xfactor, Big Brother who admit they watch it to join in the moaning/piss taking that has become a regular event on twitter. It’s what we do, it’s called HAVING A LAUGH. It is at nobodies expense because the tweets are going out into the air, sometimes accompanied by a hashtag purely to show what the tweet refers to. They are not personal.

It isn’t personal until some fucking wet wipe decides to @ a person who may be offended by the tweets and brings them to their attention. Yesterday someone did this, they tweeted Jonathan Agnew (known as @Aggerscricket on twitter) and said ‘I hope you don’t follow Ian Martin’ (known surprisingly as @ianmartin on twitter, indicating he isn’t hiding behind a false name, indicating also, not a troll).

If I were asked to come up with a twitter ideology this is the one thing I would stamp out. It’s shitty behaviour and will only end with one, or hundreds of people feeling cross and upset. Ian’s tweets were read by Aggers who not only took them as personal insults, even though they were not directed at him, but at the broadcast as a whole, but told his 164000+ followers he was leaving twitter because of @ianmartin.

And the snowball was fully formed thanks to one users moment of utter stupidity. Maybe he thought it would be laughed off by Aggers, but if there is the tiniest sign that they may not then you DO NOT DIRECT A PERSON TO NEGATIVITY WHEN IT COULD CAUSE UPSET.

Aggers followers spent all night sending Ian the usual abuse that an army off twitter followers do when one of their idols cries. I say cries because he has not left twitter. He left for 12 hours.

He came back to call Ian Martin a hypocrite. The man who was tweeting such upset and anger and clearly stated he was leaving twitter didn’t leave. Now I’m sure Aggers is a gentle man, but one thing people must have on here is a thick skin especially if they are part of a broadcast that goes out to hundreds of thousands of people. The least he could do is make his followers aware that Ian did not direct abuse at him personally and request that his followers cease from abusing him.

He is perfectly aware of the abuse because both their names are included in most of the tweets, which aren’t very pleasant. His failure to address this says a lot more about him than I previously thought.

Having met Ian a few times and received help from him, I know he has a heart of gold. He would not have wanted Aggers to be upset, otherwise he would have directed a tweet or two at him. He loves cricket, I hope he still loves twitter. And I hope he continues to spout crap in his own personal style at the great British Institution that is TMS.

Please think twice about what the consequences will be when you make someone aware of something on twitter that may not be received in good light. There are NO winners.

Beware of the curse of the typed word, and BE aware of it.

RAPE: been there, I don’t need the T-shirt.


Rape has been everywhere I look this week, internet, tv, and sadly real life. When you’ve been a victim you unfortunately become unrepairably sensitive to the word, hearing it, seeing it, thinking about it. No amount of counselling can bleach your mind, but you can learn to live with it. Which I have been doing and doing it rather well.

But I cannot stand by silently when I can see this new, “Rape Culture” growing before my eyes. On monday evening, I was watching Coronation Street, it was the beginning of the trial of a man who had raped a character called Carla. I was interested to see how it was dealt with, having followed the storyline from the beginning. I speak to other rape victims regularly on-line, be it via email or twitter, we are very close having been thrown together by unfortunate events, and on this particular night I had to turn my computer and phone off until well after it had finished. Everywhere I looked there were rape jokes, people trying to outdo one another. It’s upsetting when you have to block people on twitter because of their ignorance, but thank goodness you can. I’ve always said it’s up to you if you find this sort of thing amusing, if you do and you know the effects it has on victims, then we part ways. We agree to disagree.

On Tuesday, twitter was outraged at an account advertising t-shirts with rape slogans on. Again, I found myself having to log out of something I enjoy before I either ended up feeling ill, or completely losing it with some undeserving Unisad sympathiser.

I popped back on there on Tuesday evening, and see one of my friends saying she was stepping away from twitter because of abuse. I had a glimpse at her timeline. She had pulled someone up who had tweeted

“#iftherewerenopolice I would rape all the pretty girls”.

She was very brave to do so, I thought, because I am too nervous to do this on twitter . She told this user (who was not an anonymous troll, he was a real man) she had been raped, and it had destroyed her. Instead of apologising for his ignorance, or ignoring her, he replied “I would rape you”. That was when she took her leave. There came a bit of tooing and throwing, his followers defending him, hers defending her, none of it pretty or very rational (you cannot have rational arguments on twitter), but he stood by his stance that it was nothing more than “a joke”.

My mum would say “if you are not online you won’t see none of this”. This is true, so today I decided to go out, we chose a different shop to buy our groceries from, and whilst walking to the checkout, the man who raped me was walking towards us. He was with an old man, I can only presume this was his dad. For a split second I didn’t know what to do, but I quickly decided to do nothing other than stare at him and carry on. My husband had not seen him, and I did not want a scene so I didn’t tell him. This monster saw me staring, and quickly ushered the man he was with up the next aisle so we would not pass each other. I never saw him again. I did the right thing, I won, I felt strong, he looked weak. I always knew he was weak because that is what a rapist is, but I drew on everything my counselling has taught me, and despite feeling extremely upset, I felt okay. I don’t know how I will feel tonight when I am alone, I don’t know how I will feel when bedtime comes, and that is where close contact with my internet friends comes in. But if I feel I have to avoid the internet for fear of further damage, I would have nobody.

I arrived home and I read this column by  @Naomimc

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/01/uni-lad-slogan-t-shirts

And then I stupidly read the comments, as far as I could.

Okay. 200 odd people would rather sneer at the style of writing, accuse her of being an angry feminist than discuss the real issue. All typical of the type of people who abuse the freedom of comment. I admire women who put themselves out there when this backlash is inevitable on every subject, I just would not have the strength. I thank them for doing it.

What is missing is education in rape recovery. An awareness of trauma triggers. It isn’t a case of it happens and then it is over so pull yourself together. Rape never goes away, one of my online friends is sectioned in hospital right now because of PTSD relating to rape.

I don’t know what else to say. The internet and my circle of online friends mean so much to me and my recovery. I don’t want to wear the victim hat, I want a normal life. I don’t want to have to avoid things I enjoy, I want to discuss current affairs, laugh at FUNNY jokes, not risk a week of triggered flashbacks and anxiety just because of ignorance.

But how can I? I can’t tell people how to behave, and what is right and what is wrong.

Maybe, my mum is right.

TTFN x

Benefits, caps, and lies.


When you’re a hard-working, tax paying, law-abiding citizen, you understandably feel it is quite unfair that people not working ‘appear’ to receive more in benefits than you do. And the government want you to believe that this is precisely what is happening, and people are getting all agitated over this £26,000 figure of maximum benefits that Mr Cameron keeps repeating, and repeating and repeating.

So, the maths. It is a compound figure made up from many factors. Not many average sized families receive anywhere near it. You either have to live in a shoe and have so many children you don’t know what to do, or have a landlord charging extortionate rent. It’s usually the latter.

A bit of research tells me the local housing benefit cap for my area in the south-east is £400 a week. That’s a total of £20,800 a year. A family of four would be left with £5200 if we are going by the £26,000 cap on their benefits (if the parents are out of work and they are receiving income support/child benefits/council tax benefit) That’s £100 a week to pay gas, electric, water, clothing, insurances, and food. And that is if they DO reach the cap. You won’t get much change out of that. You would only in fact reach that high figure if you are pushed there by high rent, and that is not the tenants fault. It is not the families fault. And it is most certainly not the children’s fault.

I spent years working alongside landlords within the repossession production line, and got to know a fair few personally. Corruption was rife. One told me, who had a string of houses, that most of his guaranteed income came from benefit claiming tenants. He never had to pay to have those evicted, because the housing benefit covering 100% of his rent was a cert every month. almost money for nothing. He also proudly told me that when he rented to private, professional couples with families he would reduce the rents by £200 because he knew they couldn’t afford to pay what he could convince local housing authorities to pay.

He wasn’t alone, private landlords can basically monopolise this figure simply by all charging the same high monthly price. If they are all doing it then local rent officers who make decisions on housing benefit rates have no choice other than to accept this as the local rental average price.

The only good that can come of all this, is that hopefully they will be forced to reduce their extortionate rents to something resembling reasonable, and families will not lose the roof over their heads. I’d much rather see fewer rich landlords after knowing how they have managed to make such profits, than homeless children.

When you see reports saying “Families earn £26,000″ on the dole, firstly it isn’t ‘earned’, and secondly, they don’t see anywhere near half that figure.

Yes: people do cheat

Yes: the system is unfair

Yes: it needs reforming

Yes: it needs capping.

Cap private rents.

I have seen a few reports and comments that make me very uncomfortable these past few days. “Dole scum” “Don’t have kids you can’t afford” “Only pay those who have paid in”. It’s like people are so clever that they know the ins and outs of everybody elses lives. How enlightened these privileged folk are! I don’t like being seen as “dolescum” and I especially don’t like reading it during the day on twitter. Written by people in their offices, hard at work. Earning a wage. On twitter. During work. Being paid. I could say something about maybe letting one of the “dolescum” do your job and give your employer better value for their time and money, but that’s not my style, and I’ve never been a fan of whistle blowing. But please, if you choose to be angry be angry at the right people and STOP generalising and START researching figures before you assume. The information is out there, talk to friends on benefits, I’m sure they will tell you the same as me. It is no fun whatsoever.

You never know when your life will change.

 

Just watch those glass houses people.

(Amendment: figures updated on 26.01.11 reflecting weekly totals (over 52) for accuracy.)

Football, fans, and fanatics. By a girl who knows the offside rule.


“Your name please?” “Sharongooner.”

“And your mission?” “To talk about football.”

“Qualifications?” “I have a brain and breasts.”

“Hang on…. there’s someone on the other line, we’ll get right back to you”

*click*……. *dialtone*

It isn’t that bad all the time, we have come a long way, and there are others out there with brains and ballbags who I can converse sensibly with about football and feel my opinion is appreciated, and never feel patronised. But football is still full of unbelievable fanatics who are so tunnel visioned I’m intrigued as to how they get any enjoyment out of life.

Football is first and foremost a ‘game’. A competitive game between two teams of men (for the purposes of this article, which is about mens football) who have a sporting talent which involves controlling a globe shaped object made of leather. Put that simply you would quite rightly wonder how this has been the cause for murder, fighting, racism, divorce, and all other sorts of horrors in its many years of history. Some people live, breathe, and die football to extreme extents. And for those who do not like or understand the game, they only ever refer to that element of it, and use that as some sort of justification to tar all football fans with the stereotype of being knuckle dragging hairybacked, culture starved ogres. Even Glinner (He kinda runs twitter, he wrote the fantastic Father Ted, is quite level-headed and up with politics and current affairs) on twitter one evening tweeted “Football fans, they really think the world revolves around them”, and I politely pulled him up on that and got nothing more than a “harumph bla bla” reply. I hate that fans have given us this image, you really only have yourselves to blame, and it has often been the reason I refuse to engage with many Arsenal fans online because I cannot stand the way a lot of you abuse your freedom of speech, even amongst yourselves, never mind towards other people.

I am quite open-minded about it all. I was born in Glasgow and was christened a Rangers fan. I imagine if you are born to a football family in any of the big cities or towns in the UK who are home to big teams the same happens there, and you often have no choice in the matter but you grow to accept it, and eventually love it. We moved to Essex when I was 3. When I was 7 and playing with boys, they said I must pick an English side to support. In my corner of Essex it is very mixed, but the team of choice is usually between West Ham and Spurs. My boy mates were all West Ham and Spurs so out of the air, I plucked Arsenal (showing that even at such a young age I refused to be influenced by the majority) and I stuck with it. None of my family supported them and none of my friends. My dad’s adopted English side was Liverpool, but rather like me, he just likes any good game of football, but to his horror  I also started supporting England. I lived in England, so I liked them, that was all there was to it as far as I was concerned. I still loved Scotland, and I still support them now. Luckily they don’t play each other often.

I have been to the Emirates about 8 times. The seat I sit in costs something like £47.00 (that rounds down to 50p a MINUTE if like me you run a tight ship and like to weigh things up). It’s a beautiful ground, the first time I went I remember being struck completely dumb when I got up the stairs and descended to my seat. My eyes were blinded by the greenery of the pitch, the echo of the noise (yes, there is noise, so shut up), all my senses were at fever pitch, it was just amazing. It is a rare treat when a ticket comes up and I value it deeply. But I cannot go regularly, and I compensate my need for a fix of live football by supporting my local team, Harlow Town. I go to most home games, away ones when budget allows, and we have great fun.

So, just to recap, I support Rangers, Scotland, England, Arsenal, and Harlow. I also supported my lads team for 7 years until he outgrew it and replaced it with FIFA on the Playstation. Now, because of all this I get so much abuse; How can you be a true gooner? How can you be an England fan? And so on. My answer is “because I can”. I don’t have a problem with it at all, but others do and if they choose to get their shorts in a wedgie over it, that is up to them.

I adore watching Harlow and being a part of the whole footballing family. We are literally at the bottom of the pyramid, we faced ruin two seasons ago when two major shareholders went through a bitter divorce and the club became part of the settlement. The heating bills for the stadium didn’t get paid, the players wages were withheld, the floodlights failed, and we were begging for someone to come along and help save our club. One Tommy Cunningham came along like a Knight on a stallion and did just that. A man with a rich footballing brain,  a sensible investor, a string of excellent contacts, and smart shoes.  We are now clear of debt, and are currently in a play off position that will hopefully see us escape out of the Ryman League division one north.

Darlington were not so lucky. There were a lot of elements involved in their demise, and I don’t believe the rest of football should bail them out, (as much as that would be an amazing gesture) but I just wish people (and players of the big clubs) kept at the forefront of their minds that without these clubs there would be no premier league, there would be no Thierry Henry playing in England, there would be no Arsenal, no Man Utd, no Spurs (your season’s looking good). We are all part of the footballing pyramid, the fans, the players in the lower leagues, the sky sports and ESPN subscribers, the shirt buyers. But I really have had enough of the blinkered, so called fans of the big clubs assuming dominance because they attend games. Remember clubs like Darlington, Harlow, Halifax, Wimbledon, Kettering Town. All pieces to the jigsaw that makes the beautiful game just what it is.

My heart goes out to the hardcore Darlington fans, the few thousand who have stuck by them through to today. I hope for them, that they do come up with a positive plan and arise from the mess and the rest of football should feel the same.

I also like cricket, but I will talk about that another day.

Encouragement or punishment? Unemployment.


I am angry about lots of stuff at the moment, but I’m mostly angry about unemployment and the utter hypocrisy of the rules and regulations surrounding “Job Seekers Allowance”. So I will talk about that.

I am a month into being officially unemployed. I am grateful for any help I can get, I am fully up to date with all the assistance that is available, and search and apply for jobs rigorously all week, day and night. If the circumstances were different and I had not made myself unemployed I would have a leg to stand on, but I haven’t. I resigned for my health, for personal reasons, and I don’t regret it. I hate what happened to me and I hate that it put an end to a 21 year long career that I actually enjoyed, but that’s in the past and there is nothing I can do about it now.

My advisor at the job centre has been fantastic, she has given me some good pointers, and information, and is satisfied with the proof that I have shown her of what I have been doing to find employment. As much as I would love an office job again one day, I have applied to clean ambulances for £12,000 a year, a car park attendant for £6.08 an hour, and if you follow me on twitter you will know that I applied for McDonald’s and DID NOT GET THE JOB.

Demoralising, yes. Surprising, no. I am old and to be honest it’s quite what I have come to expect after these last few weeks. People don’t even acknowledge that they have received your CV, you don’t even know if it gets read. If I at least get an interview out of any of this I will be amazed. It’s as if you do all the work and NOTHING HAPPENS. If after so many weeks I am still unemployed, I may be forced to do certain forfeits government initiative based schemes, like work for nothing other than the £67 a week JSA. That’s fine, as long as I have input into what I am expected to do, and I’m not being used to boost companies profits for nothing. See this article from November. Young people working 30+ hours a week for Tesco, Poundland, and then threatened that if they leave their benefits will be removed.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/16/young-jobseekers-work-pay-unemployment

It is far from perfect. It’s fucking crap. Today a friend of mine, a young girl who should be wide-eyed  and optimistic about her future in the world, used her initiative and found herself an internship with a company that SHE chose to work for free, because it would be beneficial to her and them, and give her something to do.

The job centre have told her she may lose her benefits if she does it. Their reasons? Because she is not available to seek work/or work whilst she does the internship. Now when I put two and two together, how is that any different to the people in that article above? They are no more available/unavailable than my friend.

I get the feeling that as the company she has expressed a wish to work for are not Tesco, and not in the governments pockets, there is nothing in it for them, so nobody really gives a shit.

She was so excited when she had the interview and was offered the position, even if it meant only getting her JSA, she felt like she was finally entering the world of employment and doing something worthwhile. Today she is upset and confused as to why she is being penalised for trying to better herself.  A whole generation are going to grow up wondering why they should bother doing anything.

 

What it is, is not bloody fair.

I did it my way, and it was the right way.


I thought I had finally gone proper mental when I said I would write a book. It was a huge gamble and given my fragile state the last thing I needed was to do something, and it not be received positively. But I now know it was the right thing to do. I felt like a right lemon every time I tried to promote it, but I knew I had to because a paper book author would have an agent, and websites, and maybe if they were lucky, a TV appearance.

I had Twitter.

But it was enough to reach an unbelieveable target. I had a couple of important targets, the first being I simply had to release it before the end of 2011, to draw a line under the previous 12 months. I could have bided my time and found an agent, but it was never about success, it was about sharing a story and closure. Plus I am rubbish at waiting to do stuff. The other target was to raise some money for MIND, the mental health charity who provided my therapy. I thought I may, at a push sell 50. When I overtook that I was amazed. What idiot releases a book just before christmas and expects people to part with their money when the country is in the middle of the  biggest depression we have seen in decades? Me. Who was kind enough to put that fact aside and buy it anyway? a huge 150 of you.

I downloaded it myself to see what it looked like, and I was fucking appalled to notice over 5 editorial errors. Yet none of you mentioned this in your lovely reviews, but I was so annoyed, especially as I spent weeks editing and re-writing it. It’s quite an awkward process to remove it from sale once it’s up there and selling so I chose to leave it as it was, but believe me, I punished myself.

I would like to specifically thank the huge number of men who have bought it. I’m not sure as many would if it had been on a shelf in a shop, but purchasing it this way meant it was available for anybody, and it is an important subject for any sex to be more aware of. My mum has even downloaded it, but she can’t bring herself to read it yet. Things are still a bit raw, but she is extremely proud of me, and that is the main thing.

So that’s it really. I want to close things off, send a cheque to MIND (once Amazon weigh me in) and say goodbye to it all. I hope those that paid for it up until now will understand when I explain that I’m going to take the price off it at some point in the future. It isn’t going to attract much more interest now, so by leaving it out there means the story will still be read by those choosing to, especially those who need to read it. I know there are some who simply cannot afford it, but have been through tough times themselves and are really keen to download a copy.

I am sure MIND will be chuffed with the contribution they will receive, and I have made enough to have a nice meal out with the family. That is enough for me. Family means everything, especially now we are watching my last surviving grandparent slowly be taken from us.

So from me to you, thankyou for giving me a platform, thankyou for indulging me, thankyou for tolerating my unpredictable mood swings, thankyou for being good, nice, genuinely caring people. Now lets shake a stick at 2012!

 

SG. x

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