A middle class whore?

Ireland, is not a fun place to be a young, unemployed student. We face astronomical college fees. We are expected to take up forced labour schemes, or emigrate. Our mental health system is lacking the vital services it requires to serve it’s main purpose. We may forget about housing, that could be a whole blog post of it’s own. Social protection, has proved to not be so protecting after all. So, when a young female student, unemployed, needs to find 2750euro, within a few months, where does she turn?

In this case, she turned to this relatively new idea in ireland, called a financial arrangement. She signed up to a website, which matches wealthy men (sugar daddy’s), with young female students (sugar babies). The sugar babies, provide the men, with companionship and time, in return for an arranged fee. In other words, the men pay for sex. It’s what I would call middle class prostitution. To be blunt.

I did this once. It was unwanted and cold sex. I was taken to a fancy hotel in Dublin city, to a fancy hotel suite, with a separate living area. A balcony. Room service. A wealthy man. And me.

I admit I drank quite a bit before I even arrived. Not even that could quell my mind shouting at me not to go ahead with it.

But I desperately needed that money.

In the morning, I awoke, and decided to leave immediately. As I was getting ready, he threw a wad of cash into my bag. I said goodbye. And began to walk down the hall quickly, whilst counting my cash.

I had become a whore.

I rang my best friend immediately, who knew what I was doing. Within a few hours we where drinking away my memories of that night. That’s the problem with this work. You will end up spending a lot of the cash, trying to forget how you got it in the first place.

Thankfully, since that horrific experience, I have found a wealthy man, who sends me books to read, I then write about these books. I am part of a privileged book club I guess. Every fortnight, I receive a book, with cash enclosed within it. Luckily for me, these books are actually extremely interesting.

Would I advise someone in financial distress, to take the measures I’ve taken? Not necessarily. Being a middle class prostitute, is a dangerous game. You sell something extremely precious and valuable, to some sleaze. You don’t know who he is, or what he is capable of. You don’t know who else is in that hotel suite when you walk in. If you gotta do it, do it wisely.

The book thing, however, is great. So far. But who knows what this guy really wants?

Before now, I seen sex work, as an underground, suspicious trade, that involved pimps, streets and drugs. I thought of drug addicts, becoming sex workers to fuel their habit. When you think of a sex worker, never would you think of a student, just trying to get an education,

I am not ashamed of what I done, what I am ashamed of, is the situation I find myself in.

22 Things To Do As A 22 Year Old Independant Woman

This post is very different to my usual stuff, but here goes. New year and all…

So, some awesome woman wrote this http://wanderonwards.com/2013/12/30/23-things-to-do-instead-of-getting-engaged-before-youre-23/ and I loved it, I loved it enough to share it, and spend most of my day debating the ins and outs of the entire post with facebookers.

Who knew the subject of marriage was so controversial?

The girl kicks all your tied down asses! Whats so wrong with living a little, exploring life and nature, being spontaneous and random? Doing things you certainly could not do when married? Why aren’t we celebrating our youth, trying new things, taking up crazy opportunities, instead of joining the rat race to be ‘grown up’.

We have all the time in the world to be boring and married, right now, we are young, healthy, vibrant badasses, and we can make what we want out of our lives, if marriage is that, well then off with you, but you’re missing out, is all i’m saying. We should embrace all the new, wild, crazy things possible! After all, YOYO! (You’re Only Young Once).

Anyway, she gives a bucket list, I thought hers was slightly boring and totally safe and censored, and realised I had actually already done many of the things on it, so I have decided to do up my own;

’22 Things To Do As A 22 Year Old Independant Woman’ for the more free – spirited, experimental, immoral folk in society.

1. Wear a full leather catsuit to tesco, during the day.

2. Take up a hobby you have never ever tried before, preferably one that you’ve never even heard of before.

3. Never mind threesomes, have a foursome, fivesome, the more the merrier. A merrysome.

4. Go to karaoke, sing the feminist parody of ‘Blurred Lines’. Because there is no cooler way to educate.

5. Make a load of sandwiches, spend your day handing them out to the homeless people, remembering to talk to them, maybe even sing a song. Everyone loves songs.

6. Grab your best friend, make a cake, make another cake, make another cake, make another cake…you get my drift.

7. Trash a hotel room, like a true hero.

8. Make out with as many nationalities as you can, I suggest 15, but again, the more the merrier.

9. HUG! Hug your best friend, your neighbour, your cat, your rabbit, go do it! Hug yourself too, because your the reason your so damn cool.

10. Make pancakes! Go for a hike on a mountain, then eat those beauties when you get to the top. (Don’t forget the maple syrup)

11. Style your self in a bin bag for a night out. Because you’re young and hot, you can pull it off.

12. Have competitions with yourself to see how many people you can make smile every day, extra points for laughs.

13. Go to as many gigs as possible, even if you dont like the music, make friends with strangers at them, dance with those strangers, sure even follow them home if you want.

14. Couch surf across Europe, you’ll meet amazing people and you’ll never be bored.

15. Never mind cars, find a hippy van, have sex in it, preferably with a hippy dude, with flowers in your hair.

16. Make hot chocolate, real hot chocolate, not the powder rubbish. Melt chocolate, add milk (+ marshmallows). Add Ferrero Rochers, actually, add whatever the fuck you like. Heaven.

17. Host a pot luck partay with all of your friends and eat like kings.

18. Go to La Tomatina in Spain (tomato throwing festival) and dont forget your tomatoes.

19. Go Disneyworld, and ride every rollercoaster. Sure, we may be young adults here, but I stress the word ‘young’.

20. Break the law- smoke weed, drink wine outside, buy some spray paint and go graffiti some shit hot quotes on a wall.

21. Talk to a baby, failing that, a dog, or even a cat. They will make you feel amazing, they also cant talk back. Always a plus.

22. Go to a protest! Seriously, you know you wanna ;)

Celebrate your independence, if you have it, flaunt it sure.

So its a new year and society wants a newer, skinny you.

Its a new year, and as always, the media and co promote that you go and be a better, skinnier person. This blog post was inspired by this post on Cosmopolitan Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=600990653301071&set=a.440409169359221.100972.440403062693165&type=1&theater 

Once again, the advertisements for weight loss suffocate us. The options, so many of them, from the hundreds of diets, the exercise DVD’s, the weight loss pills, to the double page spread on our local newspaper telling us what to (and not to) eat. Lets face it, its everywhere, and I for one am sick of it!

On my own facebook page, my homepage, is full of the ‘sponsored adverts’ telling me I can lose two stone in a month, I can take those magical diet drops, and be transformed into a skeletal beauty. I can also transform my mental attitude, and that will help me lose weight, or I can avail of my local gyms bargain of a membership offer. 

Why is society so transfixed on weight loss? Why is it so adamant that we lower the number that appears when we stand on a weighing scales. Does that number even mean anything? After all, it is only our relationship with gravity, it does not say anything about our level of physical health, which should be most important. Society tells us we should lose weight, it does not matter what size we are already, but we must become smaller, more petite.

Its a new year, as far as resolutions go, we should be focusing on the important stuff, our families, our mental and physical health, trying new things and breaking out of our comfort zones. We are humans, and we strive for happiness, we will not find that happiness in weight loss. The media tries to tell us how happy we will be if we lose weight, but no, no it will not add anything to how you feel about yourself. Thing is, your shape is always gonna remain the same, no matter how much you lose.

This new year, lets strive to try new things, lets rebuild broken friendships, lets accept people for who they are, lets become better, happier people by forgiving others, and opening our minds.  

 

The Irish housing crisis worsens…

Visit any city, and a person is guaranteed to see vulnerable people, lying on the street, accompanied by a paper cup and a sleeping bag. This is the form of homelessness that we commonly see, and which some may only associate as homelessness, but it is not the only type, and it is essentially, one of the more uncommon types of homelessness.

The homeless we don’t think about:

Homelessness in Ireland has always been a huge issue of concern, and with Ireland’s current economic state, the rise in homelessness has inevitable increased. What we could call a ‘non traditional’ group of homelessness has emerged, these are the families, couples, individuals, who are not homeless due to mental health, addiction or societal issues, but due to the financial pressures of the economy. These are not the people we see on the streets, these are not the people we avoid eye contact with, these are the families, the couples, men and women who have had to move in with parents, friends, neighbours because they cannot any longer afford to keep their own home. These are the people who are sleeping on floors, blow up beds, or in over crowded accommodation. This group places a much different demand on the homeless services, of which are obviously also met with the financial walls of reduced funding from the government, increased costs and reduced donations as a result of the crashed economy. Our homelessness support systems have become accustomed to dealing with these service users homelessness through rehab, psychiatry and life skills training, but this group of homeless have none of these issues, so what supports is there for this group of people? This is the silent homelessness, we don’t see it, we rarely hear about it, and we as citizens rarely categorise it as homelessness.

The real issue at hand:

Agencies such as MABS, Citizens Advice Bureau or St Vincent de Paul all do great work in supporting people in their financial difficulties and pointing them in the right direction. But the real problem here lies within the government. This issue has been raised in the Dail on numerous occasions in the last few weeks, and met with an array of judgemental and poorly educated assumptions from those we rely on to deal with these issues. One comment that particularly stands out is Kennys opinion that ‘some people just choose to live that way’. If our country’s elected representatives view homelessness as a personal choice, how are we to move forward and take steps as a society to prevent homelessness? These are the people that on one hand, could have the most influence over citizens outlooks and attitudes on these issues, and if they are adopting this ignorant, ‘not my problem’ attitude, how are we to mobilise society to act in order to integrate these people back into society? On the other hand, we are the  99%, and we have the power within us to challenge this misconception that homelessness is a choice.

Homelessness must be seen in its reality: as a serious and growing problem. The amount of people who can be described as ‘at risk’ of homelessness is becoming  too big an issue to ignore. The attitudes we have as a society towards homelessness must change, and this is a group that is becoming increasingly oppressed, more than ever before. We must tackle this issue as a society, realise we have the power to change this disastrous consequence of the economical gambling within our government because we know and it has been proven that the government and relative ministers have no notion on what action needs to be taken in order to prevent this housing crisis from worsening further.

So, the incident that happened yesterday in England

So, the incident that happened yesterday in England with the soldier. I want to make some comments, not about the ins and outs of the named incident, but about peoples reactions. I have seen on my facebook account and some other places that people are immediately resorting to racial blame and ‘get out of our country’ type insults to the 2 men who initiated the attack. That is not what I am here to do. I want to highlight the absolute importance of global empathy, understanding, compassion, respect and most importantly, love. We need to think about those two men, not only the victim. This is not normal human behaviour, these men are humans too, and they are exactly the same as us. We need to stretch our minds to understand that they are no different than us, we are all made the same way, with the same stuff and if we continue to just point blame and insult and abuse a persons racial, economic, religious background, well, then I believe this stuff is just going to keep happening. 

 

Compassion is totally underrated and when we are raising our children, we need to be promoting the concept of compassion for others, not material objects, or educational/proffesional success or sporting ambition, but COMPASSION. 

 

This is all I will say on the topic, but we all need to remember that we share this world together, and nobody is any different from another. Because these men done such a horrific act, does not mean they are not an equal with the same rights, needs, wants and desires as ourselves. Of course, my love to the families of all involved in this tragedy.

 

XXX

 

Trust: Who do we trust and why?

Recently I have been thinking about the issue of trust, and when that barrier, of trust is lowered, enabling us to trust others. I want to begin by asking the question, when does a person begin to trust another person? There are people who we know well, who we do trust, and others who we know just as well, that we don’t trust. Then, there are people who we dont know that well, whom we nearly automatically trust, because they appear like the ‘type of person’ we could trust. Trust is a major part in the foundation of interpersonal relationships. It is just as easy to build trust as it is to break it down on a daily basis. I have thought of 5 key elements in the trust process:

Past Experiences: This can play a part in the development of trust, a bad experience trusting others of similar nature or even that same person. A past experience of your trust being violated or betrayed, can easily lead to you keeping problems to yourself and not confiding/trusting anybody with them. When a person has also not taken the trust layed onto them seriously, this can in turn, cause a bad experience of trust, and can also cause low self esteem on the person who was not taken seriously. We can all think of a time when our trust has been betrayed, violated or not taken seriously, however intentional by the person. in some cases this can lead to a knock on effect of not taking their own issues seriously, therefore finding it difficult to seek out the motivation to trust a person enough to help them or listen or give advice, whatever.

The Bonding Process: this refers to the time in which 2 people develop an understanding of each other and in this post, i am referring to the bonding process of two adults. SOme people we bond with easily and others we find it more difficult to bond with. This can be attributed to interests, likes, dislikes, hobbies, culture or religion. If someone was  trying to bond with a person who loves nights on the town, rugby and watching the football, and the other loves cycling, camping and books, the bonding process of these two individuals is going to go through some barriers. On the other hand, two people attempting to bond who dont like team sports, love the theatre and/or both have a passion for politics, these people are going to bond pretty easily! Therefore, the bonding process is a part of trust building that is highly important, meaning that if the bonding process was successful, the issue of trusting each other should come more naturally.

Popularity: if a person has a lot of friends, who like them, and appears to hold traits such as agreeableness, assertiveness, sociable and honest, this can lead to the thought that ‘this person is trustworthy’. in my opinion, quite illusive, but, this can happen.

Career Choice: if you have an issue to do with their career or field, you might trust them more with it than another. Similarly, if you have a personal problem you may trust a doctor, counsellor, lawyer, community worker,(seeing these persons as friends rather than the professional context) more than, say your friend who works at the supermarket or local shop.

Persons Life Experience: if the person has been through the certain issue or problem you wish to trust them with you may be more willing to accept and trust their advice or confidentiality, rather than a person who has not experienced it.

These 5 factors contribute to the amount of trust we have in other people in our lives. But the development of trust begins with our first relationships, our parents/gaurdians. Trust versus mistrust(0-1yr) is the first stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. So it would be accurate to say, that if a child goes through this stage concluding that people are not be trusted, he/she is gonna have a few issues trusting people as they grow older. This can also lead to the person not accepting the trust that others put on them, as they may not have learned the importance of trust.

I know that in my lifetime, I would have overestimated the trust of some, and it has led to unwanted circumstances. But through trial and error, I know the people in my life who I can count on when I really need them. An interesting question a friend brought up recently is ‘who would you call at 4am and trust they would answer and help you with whatever?’ I think we all need that person in our lives, that 4ammer. I know who mine is, and I know that he would not only answer and listen to whatever had me call him in the first place, but he would actually want to help also. But, I only know that he would, because of past experience, he has been by my side when most would run a mile. I think it is important that we all sit down and think not only who would we call at 4am, but who would call us? Although this post has focused on our trust with others, we must also think about our own trustworthiness. More importantly, how much do we trust ourselves? I know there was a time in my life I did not trust myself, and I know others didn’t either. Part of this I believe is to do with knowing ourselves, going back to the second factor of trust which is Bonding. We also need to bond with ourselves, if we dont know ourselves, how can we trust ourselves. Knowing the self can be a long process and everyday we are discovering more about ourselves. But, it is important to take risks, try new things, put yourself out there, as it is the only way you are going to know yourself, therefore trusting yourself, and ultimately having the confidence that you are a person worthy of trust and therefore boosting your self esteem!

If you take anything from this post make it this

Trusting is knowing, so to trust you must know, and the self is where you should begin!Image,

This thing called Introversion

 I remember in second year of secondary school, in social, physical and health studies, the teacher asking us who liked to spend time alone with themselves. absolutely nobody put their hand up, nobody! I remember thinking, hmm that is kinda me, and I thought no, I won’t put my hand up, everybody will think I am a freak. I also remember thinking, that the only people who are gonna agree to this one, are the loners of the class, the girls who have hardly any friends and are the unfortunate victims of constant bullying. I didn’t put my hand up for fear of what people would think, and also because of the fact that I would never put myself in a situation that I would have to explain myself to a large number of people. This was 8 years ago. I now (finally) have the courage and confidence to be able to say, yes I am an introvert. Some of you may not know what an introvert is, I am sure you have some idea though.
I will explain:
Solitude. What does one think of when we mention the word solitude? A hermit at the peak of a mountain meditating perhaps? or maybe one watching the waves come in at a deserted beach? Or maybe you don’t associate solitude in such a peaceful way. Maybe you think of it as prison like. Like the time your parents grounded you from seeing your friends when you were absolutely dying to get to a party absolutely everyone was going to, or maybe you liken it to the feelings of a person confined to a prison cell or hospital ward. 
Solitude is what introverts need to gain energy, it is a state of being by oneself for any amount of time. 
Introverted persons lose energy when being in large social circuits, it actually exhausts them. this seems an abnormal trait by most. Introverts also prefer to socialize in small social groups, ideally one to one. Introverts are most productive when in calm environments and are enabled to do their work, in privacy, and yes, solitude. Introverts are sensitive, empathetic and intuitive. This means that we react to situations (namely unfamiliar situations), feelings and stimuli stronger than extroverts. It has also been found that introverts react stronger to pain and coffee. We freak the fuck out when we have to give a talk or speech in front of a large audience. We are extremely sensitive to the energy of others, I have been known for my mood to actually change if in a room of a large number of people, and one of those persons is exhibiting a strong vibe of some sort. 
It has taken me years to figure out what my strange ways were caused by, many of my theories include, lack of attachment to my mother as a child, an undiagnosed mental illness, and autism! As a child my extra curricular activities involved playing the violin, learning french and brownies. I hated sports, especially football and netball which would have been the most popular choice in my community. I did try them , only to quit. I was never part of a large group of friends, I always had the one or two best friends and that was it. The highlight of my week as a child was Saturday mornings, going to the library with my mam and two brothers, to pick out books to read for the week. I found it hard to only choose 3, which was the limit. 
Secondary school was a little bit tougher, I was becoming an adolescent, I moved to Ireland from England, alongside the traumatic change, I was battling with my quiet personality, and being the center stage as ‘the English girl’. I spend most of my teenage years thinking of ways I could get out of this horrible school environment, I just wanted to be left alone. Back then, I was just labelled as a troubled kid, but now, I know i was battling to be myself, among an extrovert society.
Adolescence was especially difficult as an introvert. I believe if we took more time to engage in the style of being for an introvert, there would be more ‘school finishers’, the waiting list of mental health clinics significantly reduced, suicide rates lowered, success rates higher, bullying also less common. We need to welcome introverts into society with open arms. Think about the classrooms you sat in, where they suitable for an introvert? think of your workplace, or past workplace, how does an introvert fit in there?
Introverts have a lot to offer (as do extroverts) we need to adapt our communities to allow these unique and not to mention able persons to succeed in life, to know that they are not ‘wrong’ or ‘dysfunctional’.
It is a shame that it has taken me this long to figure out why I am who I am, but there are others out there, who will take longer to realize they are introverted. This is a shame, as I know fully well the implications of ‘not knowing’. It can cause extreme confusion about who they are supposed to be.
If you think you might be an introvert or are not sure, if you, like I did, think you have some sort of undiagnosed or undiscovered mental illness. Read Susan Cains book on introversion ‘Quiet’. It will inspire.
:)
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