Trivia Time 2: Bella’s Edition.

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If you follow this blog then you will know that after every serious, somewhat depressing, or upsetting post I like to lighten the mood by posting something a bit fun and light-hearted. So here is my second instalment of ‘Trivia Time’, but this time with a twist.

Since my posts about Bella have seemed to attracted a fair few views, and because I can’t think of anything to write myself, I’m going to let he take over and post this edition featuring her. Now I know what you’re all thinking, ‘how can a dog create a blog post?’, but let’s just go with it.

My name is Bella-Trix and I’m a 1-year-old Sharprador (Shar Pei/Labrador), and I live in North Tyneside with my two wonderful owners, who I love very much.

I’m full of love and energetic. I love people! I love to play with them, cuddle them, lick them, and jump all over them. Sometimes I get a little too excited and have to be told to calm, but that doesn’t stop me.

I don’t like being left on my own but I know sometimes I have to be, but it frustrates me that I can’t go to work or to class with my owners so sometimes I’m a bit naughty. At first my people were putting me in the kitchen, until I started to open the doors and run around. Then they bought me a giant metal crate, which was comfy enough, but I liked to unlock it and go on adventures around the flat. That’s when they started to padlock the door shut, that still didn’t stop me though! Being a Super-Dog I just chewed through the metal bars and got out to continue my adventures.

I like to chew things, but my people get angry when I do. A few weeks ago one of my people bought a lovely leather ottoman to keep all the towels in, and it looked so tasty, so I chewed up the lid, it wasn’t tasty after all, and my people got mad.

I don’t like making them mad, I like making them happy.

A few months ago everyone thought I was pregnant, but I was just pretending, I’m such a joker.

I love going on my walks to see my friends. I have lots of friends. But a few weeks ago I got a big fright when I was chased by a German Shepherd and an Akita. I didn’t like that.  That’s when I started to dislike my lead, I want to be free, and run and play forever! But my owners want to take me home so I don’t come back when they call any more, I run around, and they pretend to be hurt and lie on the floor but I’m not fooling for that one any more! They’re not letting me off my lead now, especially since I went on an adventure alone chasing after a cat, until I finish my obedience classes.

Paws and licks,

Bella

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November 18th

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I have a dilemma and I’m not too sure how to go about it.

 

The 18th November will forever be engraved in my memory, there’s no avoiding that. However, I’m not too sure whether the shirk away from this date, or to celebrate.

 

Allow me to elaborate and present this situation to you.

 

I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time now and I don’t really know why- maybe it’s part of the so-called ‘process’ or the ‘wider-picture’- nevertheless, I’ve failed to put it into words. After several attempts, re-drafting, starting from fresh but I believe this is one that I can actually post.

 

There’s no other way of saying it, nothing I can subtly hint at, other than to just say it (and trust me I’ve tried). November 18th marks the day I was sexually assaulted and raped.

 

There’s really no other way of putting it other than saying the plain truth. I hate saying it, I cringe at the words, but there’s no other way of saying it because it is what it is.

 

So here’s where the dilemma comes into it.

 

It’s the 18th next week and that will one year over. In one year I’ve dealt with this- openly, might I add, and with the most amazing network of support I could ever have wished for- however, some methods of coping or dealing with the traumatic assault failed, but others have succeeded.

 

At first, I buried my head in the sand. For a good few months only my closest and truest friends new, and, of course, my family. A few months later I opened up fully, exposing it to the world- I could no longer contain it and keeping it totally private made a lot of matters worse. To me, it seemed like a ‘dirty little secret’, but of course, it wasn’t.

 

I climbed mountains and fell off cliffs, only to re-climb them and for the process to repeat.

 

The array of emotions you experience at a time like that is immense and totally incomprehensible. I initially felt hurt, embarrassed, angry, dirty, vulnerable, and a whole load more.

 

So, do I shirk away from this day, or do I celebrate? I’m surviving, I’m coping, and I’m battling PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

 

This date has changed my life, there’s no avoiding that. It’s significant.

 

But along with all the negative there was a lot of positive.

 

Like I’ve said, to begin with I felt all sorts of things, I blamed myself and felt guilty. However, I know now it wasn’t my fault, it never was, how could it be? I wasn’t the one that took something that didn’t belong to me, I wasn’t the one to invade another person so unjustly, but I was the person to fight. And I’ve fought it for almost a year now.

 

I’m strong, I never knew that but I am. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my weak moments- I still do. I’ll occasionally us “alcohol as a crutch” (as my amazing friend Fiona explained to me- and I really don’t think I would have gotten through this last year without her.) and I do continue to stick my head in the sand, occasionally.

 

So what do I do?

 

So what do I want to do?

 

I want to make everyone aware that rape is not a thing of discrimination- it happens across the globe to people of any age, gender, or sexual orientation. It’s one of the mos heinous acts a person can commit, in my opinion, and it is life changing. It’s not something to joke about, and you never know who has been effected by it. Sex crimes should not be locked behind a door. No one is ‘immune’ like I thought I was, it can happen and unfortunately it does.

 

All I can say is: it’s never your fault- you might think it is, you might think you’ve led the person on, you might think you ‘owed’ them- but you didn’t. You’re not to blame. And if anyone is reading this, please don’t struggle alone- you won’t be judged. Tell someone, tell a friend, a family member, or a total stranger. There’s plenty of organisations out there that can help, use them. Just don’t deal with it alone.

 

I know I couldn’t have gotten through this last year alone. Not without the love and support of my friends and family. My sister, mother, grandparents have all been amazing, my father offered me an escape- somewhere else to go- along with my cousins and godmother, my friends: Connor, Becca and Kel, offered distraction, as well as someone to talk to, and Fiona- like I’ve already mentioned, she kept me right, even when she had her own problems and hundreds of other things going on, she always had time for me. I couldn’t thank them enough.

 

So now I’ve wrote all that, explained everything. The battles I’ve fought, lost and won. What do you think I should do? Do I embrace the 18th November, or fear it?

 

At this point, I think I’ve answered my own question. I no longer blame myself, I realise I was a victim.

 

A lot of my nearest and dearest will be pleased to see I’m speaking about it- they all want me to talk more, and sometimes I can be a closed book, this is why I think this blog is beneficial- helping to heal wounds, overcome obstacles, and in the process I hope my story can help someone else. I will never be able to forget what happened, but I will be okay, I will survive- and I think that’s worth celebrating- I can not let this control my life, otherwise that would be like letting him win- it’s already set me back, and I can’t let it hold me back any more.

 

I will keep on fighting, I will win.

 

Therefore, I will celebrate.

 

 

 

Flying Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: November 2014 Update

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So November has come around and the nights are darkening quickly, the air is chilling, and winter has truly set in.

For me, November means a few things. To me, November marks the beginning of the frantic Christmas shopping that will ensure until mid-December, it’s the run up to my mother’s birthday (yes, the big 5-0 this year Christine!), as well as marking the birth of my grandfather, and a few of my special cousins, and family members. November has always remained a rather ’empty’ month. Nothing major happens other than building up to the next one, however, a post in a few days time might make you understand why, and how, I am able to disregard these few weeks.

I’m going to start introducing this new month by concluding that of the previous, October, and in particular a rather uneventful Halloween.

I do love Halloween, the dressing up, the socialising, the horror! However, this year was different, this year was boring- possibly due to the lack of money (having not being paid this month!), but also because this year, I just didn’t ‘feel’ it. Perhaps my enthusiasm has disappeared, or I have much bigger things on my plate at the moment, but this year was as if Halloween didn’t even happen, which is kinda sad.

Maybe I’ll make up for that next year.

So back to November. November came with a mixture of anxieties and expectations. (No doubt I will do a second update towards the end of the month.) The dark nights exasperate my depression and anxiety, it’s a tense time of the year, and I’d much prefer for the joys of spring and summer, rather than the darkness and gloom of late autumn and winter.

So here is my November so far:

Bella ran-away.

Only moments after posting her ‘birthday post’ I got a call saying she had disappeared- running after a cat. I was devastated and immediately went on the search. I sent out an S.O.S via text message- to which several of my friends and family responded and came on the search. It took 2 hours of wandering the streets and fields, driving around, and asking passers-by if they had seen her, but I finally found her. Thank God!

In tears, I ran over to the people who had found her, strangers. I couldn’t be more grateful! I don’t know if you have a dog or a pet, but for me, she’s like my baby, and I was terrified for her safety as well as wanting her to come home for a big cuddle.

She’s home now; which is the main thing, but all this has kinda played on my mind. Why did she run away? Does she not want to be with me? And, is she happy?

I know she’s well looked after, occasionally spoilt, and gets a lot of love and attention. I guess this is where the ‘abandonment category’ of my BPD comes in to play. Have I done something wrong? Yesterday, this is all I thought. I was devastated as pet owner that my pup could and wanted to run away, and this made me hit a low. However, I was conflicted, I was so grateful and proud of all my friends and family that came out to help search, that posted on Facebook and rang other people they knew were in the area to keep an eye out.

Both my friends, Connor and Gav, hurried down a meal to come join the search. Either they care a lot about Bella, or they care a lot about me- knowing how much she means to me, or maybe a combination of both. Nevertheless,  I couldn’t be more grateful for them turning out to help.

Today I feel different. I wasn’t with her, so therefore I wasn’t in control. She acted out of instinct. Plus, she hasn’t been feeling her usual self recently, as I found out today- waking up to a blood stained carpet; she’s having her first period.

I expected, I mean, I know enough about dogs- but I wasn’t 100% sure. She had a pre-period a few months ago, but it was only a small smear of blood, this time, however, it seems to be everywhere! So she’s now sitting comfortably with an old pair of my boxer shorts on, her tail sticking through the gap that’s designed for your penis when you need to go pee-pee, and safety pinned around her waist so they won’t fall down. At least this will save my upholstery and flooring!

So the three big things that have happened so far this month are:

  • I didn’t get paid.
  • Bella ran-away.
  • Bella is now menstruating.

So overall, a rather eventful, if not disastrously stressful way to start the month! I guess there’s only one way up from here. Fingers crossed.

-S

Bella’s Birthday

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So, as an attempt to steer away from the doom and gloom of previous posts, and posts to come. I have decided to raise the bar and discuss something a bit more positive.

I’ve been planning to write a post, since I pretty much started this blog, on the benefits of pets for people with mental illnesses. However, I quickly became bored while researching and I believe if I’m bored while writing then whoever it is reading will also be bored so this post is kind of a collaboration of that long forgotten post and to mark the mile-stone of my baby’s first birthday.

Bella, my labrador cross shar pei, turned 1 year old yesterday! And she is both my miracle and my saviour.

We came about the ownership of Bella Trix purely by chance. After returning from Tenerife last April for the Easter break we caught wind of this pup’s story.

Bella’s early months were full of neglect. She was abandoned in a backyard with nothing more than a shower curtain as protection from the elements, she was covered in feces and totally malnourished.

My flatmate’s sister found her, complained the to her ‘owners’ at the time and quickly became guardian to the beautiful pup. However she couldn’t keep a hold of her forever, with landlord and tenancy issues, she had to seek a new home for Bella. At this time we were on holiday, completely unaware of what was going on back home with this poor unfortunate dog.

We returned to Newcastle to hear the stories and to be informed that Bella had been passed on to a friend. We had been in search for a dog for some time, checking the local shelters and the Dog’s Trust website, but to no avail, and we were devastated to hear we had missed out on this opportunity.

However, a few days later Bella returned to my flatmate’s sister’s. Apparently she had received yet another assault and more abuse at the hands of her temporary owner’s partner- who had just returned from prison.

Immediately we went to visit- spending the night with her and letting her get to know us. The next day we returned home with her and we’ve never looked back!

Since then Bella has flourished! She’s such a personality and a lover of cuddles. She’s gained the weight she needed and is receiving all the love and attention she wants.

If you’ve followed my blog, or know me personally,  you’ll know how much of a rough year I’ve been having, but Bella has made it so much easier. Caring for something,  having something to rely on you, and providing for something has given me a lot pride over these past few months. As well as her loving and affectionate nature, I’ve been given the feeling of worth from this pup and for that I can’t ever dream of parting with her.

We’ve had such a positive impact on each other’s lives, and to honour her first birthday, although I’m pretty sure she can’t read, or has Internet access, I’m dedicating this post to her. Ms Bella Trix Milson

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Me, Myself and Borderline Personality Disorder.

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I recently posted in my October update, yesterday, mentioning I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). However, I don’t feel I gave the disorder much justice (especially within a single post), and I think other sufferers or my readers may benefit from a more in-depth discussion and analysis of my situation and living with this condition.

Although I have only recently discovered my diagnosis, after living with this for over four years without hearing anything from my doctors or therapists, and I don’t claim to be an expert within the mental health sector or anything but I do think I have an understanding of what it’s like to live with BPD, in my own way at least.

I’ve always had an issue with being on the peripheral of my social group or family. I feel the need to be included by everyone, and I’ve managed this with relative success. My family has always been very open and warm, and I have a close-knit group of friends. However, it’s a bit more than just feeling left-out. If a family member or friend is displaying some sort of lack of enthusiasm or distraction I automatically assume it’s something relating to  me. For example, that I’ve done or said something to upset  them, annoy them, or push them away in some way. I’ll constantly ask if they’re okay because I perceive this lack of enthusiasm as receiving the cold shoulder I try to get them to tell me what I’ve done in order to fix it, however, nine times out of ten their behaviour is relating to stress outside of my own actions, or because they’re tired, and nothing to do with me at all. This can be incredibly stressful, feeling like you’ve done something to upset someone and not knowing what it is or how to fix it- even though it has nothing to do with anything you’ve done, and you can’t just fix it.

I am highly empathetical, it’s just at first I automatically blame myself for another person’s mood. Even if I get told that person is okay, or just tired, I will continue to rack my brain for something I could have possibly done to upset this person; after all people can lie and why would someone admit it if it were all my fault?

This is something I deal with on a day-to-day basis, and it doesn’t just include picking up on someone’s mood. If I feel like someone is hiding something from me, I think up this great big conspiracy and feel this person is out to get me- even if all they’re hiding is a private text message or a surprise. I always assume the worst, even though I don’t live within a TV drama fiction, a small secret can make me feel like the world is against me and I’m unsure who to trust. This can make Christmas an incredibly stressful time!

This way of thinking may seem totally childish and ridiculous to a none sufferer or someone without any experience with BPD however to me, and many others, this is our everyday life. I know all these conspiracies are in my head, that the world and all my friend’s and family aren’t forming a huge network that are out to get me, but I can’t help thinking and feeling like this. As much as I tell myself I’m just being silly, I keep falling into the same pattern of thinking.

I think the reason I feel this way is because my own emotions are so extreme and often tied to the actions of others and the way the treat, or the way I think they perceive me. I can fluctuate between depressed, anxious, and impulsive at break-neck speed- but afterwards I suffer from an emotional whiplash, dealing with the consequences of my actions from an impulsive spree or depressive episode, whether that be self-harm, emptying my bank account in one day, or randomly breaking down in tears at any given opportunity. At times controlling my everyday emotions is an impossible challenge.

I hate talking about this, and talking about myself. I feel like I’m just going on and on about the same old thing like a broken record, however I have to keep telling myself that writing, speaking out about, and telling my story might help myself, and if I’m lucky- help someone else. Writing helps me take a step back from what’s going on in my head and in my life, allowing me to process all these emotions that I struggle to control or understand, and all the facts I’ve read over the past few weeks.

Perspective, that’s it.

If you search BPD on any search engine and click a random link it will most likely tell you that people most often change from depressed to anger, however with me, I don’t think that’s the case. Like I said earlier, I’m much more between depressed/anxious/impulsive. When I’m sober I’m rarely aggressive, I can be irritable, but not explosive. I mean I can be snappy and bitchy, but I’ve always just put that down to my sassy side.

I guess you can say I yearn for a purpose, to be a part of something truly incredible and cement my name in history. When I was younger- up until I was like 14-year-old or something- I was adamant I had hidden magical powers like Harry Potter or Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I know that’s pretty comical, and maybe it’s just because I’m part of the generation forever waiting for their letter of acceptance to Hogwarts. I just don’t feel I’m suited to the mundane lifestyle and I guess that’s why I want to go into teaching. I want to serve a higher purpose and to have a lasting impact on the world, on future generations. I want to give people the chance to be incredible themselves- and I know how much I value my teachers and lecturers for helping me, guiding me, and inspiring me.

Borderline Personality Disorder has had an impact on my life, and it would be incredibly easy to curl up into a ball and focus solely on the negatives. Part and parcel of having this disorder is the belief that you’ve got a purpose, and that’s the path I’m going to follow. I’m going to embrace that part of my disorder and follow this ‘higher calling’. I believe everything happens for a reason and I’m going to take this reason to reach my goals.

So this post is going to end on a positive note. Rather than pulling the blanket over my head and allowing a temporary release I’m going to fight this head on.

Flying Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: October 2014 Update.

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My sister explained it perfectly, the way people handle stress.

She described the mind as a bucket, and each stressful event and/or everyday life adds a bit of water to this bucket, slowly filling it up. Some people can deal with stress; they can drill holes in the bottom of their bucket and allow the water to drain. However, others, myself included, don’t have a drill and our bucket fill and fill until it overflows. This overflow can result in a mental breakdown.

I like this idea of a stress bucket. The imagery surrounding this notion will hopefully remind me to measure my water levels, and to take a break if necessary and when my bucket is filling too rapidly or too much.

Unbeknownst to me, I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) four years ago- only discovering this fact a fortnight or so ago after an overflow resulted in a trip to the doctors.

I’ve been researching this condition (which I had never heard of beforehand, and finding a mixture of results) but a lot of things seem to ‘fit’.

People with BPD feel emotions more extremely, vividly, and rapidly fluctuating between highs and lows. People with BPD fear abandonment, isolation, and the notion of a person leaving can spark off an episode of depression or impulsiveness.

This can make relationships/friendships difficult- which I have definitely experienced in the past, considering I am still single *hint, hint*.

Perhaps unhealthily, I’ve been plodding through my life history trying to find an event or an incident which would have acted as a ‘trigger’ for my development of this disorder. However to no avail. I’ve now given up on this notion of finding the solo trigger, and will much rather focus on regaining my self-esteem, my happiness, and my mind.

So this October I’ve mainly been researching this disorder (which is why this post is dedicated to raising the awareness of BPD and hopefully help remove the seemingly everlasting stigma attached), as well as researching statistics for future posts, and a lot of university-related Shakespeare work.

After my bucket overflowing I took leave from work this month, yes a break from cocktail shaking and drink pouring, however I am, recently, integrating myself back into the workforce, and I am totally grateful for the way the management of my workplace have conducted themselves regarding my problem, they’ve been the utmost help.

This month, for me, has been about losing and then regaining my stride, stepping in the right direction and moving forward, rather than the usual autumnal folly and Halloween horrors, October has meant a whole lot more.

So thank you for reading my first monthly update. If anyone wishes to research BPD or ask any questions on the disorder (although I admit I am no expert) I will be more than happy to hear from you; either comment in the section below or you can contact me through my personal e-mail provided in the ‘background’ page listed above.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the month. Watch out for my November update, along with many other posts in-between, but in the meanwhile, I will leave you with this quote that I believe sums up this month’s events for me:

‘By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.’

(Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  Act IV. Scene I.)

Trivia Time.

I’ve decided to take a moment to blog about something trivial and allow myself the chance to introduce myself properly.

I have a few major posts in the works to be uploaded in the next few days/weeks and I thought I should break the ice before hand and take the moment to write about something a bit more fun and a lot less serious. So after Googling for a cliché to post about I stumbled across many blogs where the writer uses the first few posts to allow their reader’s to get to know the blogger. Since I clearly haven’t done that, I think I’ll take this opportunity to do so.

So here’s a few random facts about me.

I’m Skott, and at the time of writing this I am 22 years old and currently re-doing my final year of my bachelor’s award in English Language and Literature. I study full-time at the University of Sunderland, although I actually live in Newcastle. I also make cocktails for a living at a well-known hotel chain (that I shall not name due to my work agreement).

Although I’m sure those facts are truly riveting, I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty details of my existence. So here’s a few things you may not know about me that might seem a bit more ‘exotic’.

I’m a little bit of an ornithophobe. I’m not afraid of birds that could actually kill you, like eagles or vultures (in fact I actually like them), however, I have a bizarre fear of peacocks, geese, pigeons, etc. I have my reasons, but mostly because I seem to be a favourable target of pigeons and other flying creatures. Ostriches are just creepy, geese are evil, and I don’t even need to mention seagulls! I suppose we all have our strange little phobias.

I’m a pesco-vegetarian. I don’t eat meat, the majority of my diet is made up of Quorn meat-free products, vegetables, with the occasional carbohydrate. However, twice a week I allow myself a small portion of fish or seafood. This is mostly because I worry about not maintaining a balanced diet and because my flatmate isn’t a vegetarian, although we eat the same meals, and I guess this is a compromise.

I’m a coffee-addict. White, two sugars. Oddly enough though I can’t stand milk. It makes me physically sick, even peeling off the plastic cover from a new bottle makes me queasy.

I’m suddenly aware that I’m starting to sound a bit strange, but I’m guessing that’s pretty accurate. Anyways, this is the end of my first trivia post. As always I hope you have enjoyed. Feel free to like, comment, and share. Check out my other posts or follow for more updates and posts.

Thanks,

-S

Religion. The Question.

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(Warning: This post may contain opinions some people may find offensive. I suggest that, if you do, you leave this page immediately!)

I knew at some point I would use this blog to have a rant; I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon, however, I feel I can not contain this any longer.

I am totally fed up with seeing racist, right-winged, fascist posts on my Facebook, and I am totally ashamed that I know people narrow-minded enough to share or re-post them. In particular the people who mindlessly click the share button without knowing the facts and automatically believing the lies spewed out by groups such as ‘Britain First’. Rather than looking at the situation people are seemingly jumping on the hate-monger’s bandwagon.

Let me give you some background information as to why I find this a dangerous topic.

I am part of a generation that holds no recollection of peace- all I remember is our nation in conflict or war with another, or internally, whether it be with Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently Syria and ISIS, or even internally (within the British Isles) and Ireland. I have never seen peace- but I know hate is not the answer.

Hate breeds more hate. And there seems to be a simple answer: just stop killing people, stop hating people, and put aside your prejudices. Sadly, this is easier said than done.

I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to love and not hate. I was brought up knowing the differences between right and wrong. And I was brought up to stand up for people incapable of standing up for themselves.

This is why I am posting this.

I am not a racist, I am not an Islamaphobe, nor am I religious.

If anything I am an agnostic. I pick and choose aspects of different religions that I believe are worth living by. Obviously, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is high on the list. I think that maybe, this is more to do with my upbringing rather than having any religious fate, however, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a steady hand raising them- and this, this is where I believe religion can play a vital part in someone’s life.  Within our society is important to play by the rules, religion is often the cornerstone of these teachings, helping people who may struggle, decipher the differences between right and wrong. However, and in more recent headlines and news, religion can sometimes be harnessed as a weapon.

I have never read The Bible, or The Qua’ran, but I have read extracts (English editions, obviously. I am not a fluent Latin or Arabic speaker, unfortunately.) And the messages are peaceful.

As a literature student I fundamentally believe you can interpret pretty much anything from a text, as long as you can back it up by carefully selecting your evidence. I once argued some rather bizarre points in college relating to Nazism in Wuthering Heights but that’s a totally different story. Anyways, this is how we get extremists, reading into texts and interpreting these peaceful messages as acts of war, and as the saying goes, “One bad apple” and all that.

I do not agree with terrorism, let me set that straight! But this post is about the other side of the coin. Extremism is within our community however it’ not coming from the Muslims or the blacks that people expect, extremism is within our government (UKIP/BNP), within those Facebook Groups. Hatred and lies made by white, Christian, or Atheist British people.

It’s when people condemn an entire community on the actions of a minority that really aggravates me. It’s when people can not see that history is repeating itself, and it is when people are so blindsided by their hatred for immigration that they refuse to see that facts.

Let me take you back in time.

This has happened numerous times before. Hatred between religion is not uncommon. The Crusades in the Late Middle Ages, Christians killing Muslims, The Holocaust in Europe, Christians killing Jews, The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Christians killing Christians. For centuries religion has murdered its way across the globe. This isn’t the first time. But like I’ve already said, the solution is simple. Stop killing. Stop hating. And stop obsessing over the beliefs of others. Now I’m not saying Christianity is a bad thing, but have you seen the common denominator?

As for immigration let me just say this. People lie. The figures are not actually as high as some of these Facebook Groups make out. Immigration, our country actually needs it. I’m sorry for saying this but our country is lazy. The Polish and other Eastern European immigrants have a much higher work ethic. I work in a hotel, the majority of our employees are Latvian or Lithuanian, and these are the employees that work double shifts, work from 5 a.m until noon then return from lunch to work until dusk. Daily! These are shifts that a lot of the English people, I personally, refuse to do, however, the Eastern Europeans are happy to go without sleep, without food, and without seeing their family in order to ‘pave their way’. But it sounds more like slavery to me.

Oh and speaking of slavery, who were major perpetrators in the slave trade? That’s right the British. This is forcing immigration on people. Our nation took thousands of people from Africa to work, laboriously, in the West Indies and America. Whereas today, we have people willing to relocate from their home countries, to work for us in our country because the us British are either ‘too proud’, ‘too lazy’, or ‘too tired’ and they do it for minimum wage!

By all means I am not having a dig at Britain or British people. I merely aim to highlight that we cannot take the so-called ‘moral high-ground’. I am actually proud to be British, more so proud of my hometown and city. I don’t believe there’s any other place quite like Newcastle (but that’s another post!).

We have had a history of violence, there’s no denying that, we’ve killed people because they’re different, they believe different things, and we cannot change that overnight but we can atone for that. However, a lot has changed since we took what we wanted from different countries. Today, we have the capability to offer something to the people who’s ancestors we killed, or stole from, or raped and pillaged. We can offer a safe haven, if their government is more screwed up than our own, we can give them a place to live, we can provide an education for their offspring, health care for their elderly. And while our country may not be perfect, it can offer a lot more than their’s can. I don’t blame people for wanting to live here. I don’t blame people for wanting to better themselves and their families, after all this is the exact same reason why I go to university. However, the difference is, I have the opportunity to do so, they do not and if the shoe were on the other foot it would be a totally different story. Just look at how many Britons have emigrated, I personally have family in Australia, USA, and across Europe, they move to better themselves, to forge a new life, so why can’t people from Poland, Pakistan, or the Philippines do the same?

So, if you could improve someone’s life would you? Or would you leave them begging in the gutter?

If you answered to the latter, you need to reassess your priorities. If we can help, we should help.

Like I have already said, I do not believe violence is the answer. Communities, societies, and religions react and reform. It is the reforming that is needed. Two wrongs do not make a right, and neither does labeling a whole community on the actions of a few constitute as right. Did they judge the Christians for the actions of the Nazis?

To elaborate, we are heading down a treacherous path. If we do not stop the hatred, stop the blame, and stop the violence, we are heading towards a second Holocaust. We can not allow history to repeat itself. Learn from out mistakes, accommodate those different to us, and then, and only then, may we find peace.

For those of you who know me personally, you may be wondering where this outburst has came from, let me show you the answer. This post, these comments, and this person- whom I do not know- particularly boiled my blood.

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That’s an actual argument I had with a ‘friend of a friend’ over similar matters and the ignorance and arrogance of this woman really shocked me. Especially the comment about seeing how they would treat me if I wear in their country. This raised several thoughts in my mind:

  • Turkey. Turkey is an Islamic country and a very popular tourist destination for many Britons, every year and everyone I know who has been on holiday there has been treat wonderfully by the natives.
  • Recently, and dreadfully, there have been several murders and beheadings from the extremist group ISIS. While this is a tragedy and my sympathies go out to their families, I can not help but wonder what this women is insinuating. Firstly, and most shockingly, the Britons that were kidnapped and murdered were there as relief workers. They saw the devastation within that country and wanted to help. They didn’t hold any prejudices towards their religion or skin colour, they saw people in need and went to help. So is this woman from the post insinuating that they shouldn’t be helping? Bearing in mind these people paid the ultimate price for their generosity and empathy. Secondly, is she insinuating that because I hold similar sympathies, that I should be murdered too?

Hopefully this woman will see the error of her ways before she does something drastic. I live in hope that one day, within my lifetime, that people will no longer hold these irrational prejudices, that race, religion, gender, social class, and sexual orientation will no longer be an issue and everyone can live freely and equally. However, until then, I will continue to stand up for equality.

And I hope you will join me.

Academia

University is a life changing experience for everyone. It can be the greatest experience of your life and the people you meet along the way can become life-long friends. In between the mix of early lectures, hardwork, thought invoking seminars, and alcohol fuelled nights out, bonds are formed and cemented.

I’m incredibly proud of my university (the University of Sunderland, in case you didn’t know). However, the thought of returning this week to re-do my final year is daunting.

I can’t really say why, because I’m not too sure myself. I’ve always had an academic mind. My soul thrives in the classroom with my mind being stimulated by the many great lecturers within my department. It truly is an opportunity I can not surpass. However, I remain with certain anxieties.

I’m incredibly grateful for another chance to complete my course. After a string of uncontrollable events last November my attendance plummeted and my failure to make certain deadlines tripped me up once more- but almost a year later I can give my degree one last shot- which I guess I part and parcel as to why I’m anxious.

This actually is my final chance to get it right.

I have wanted this for almost a decade; to graduate with a degree in English Language and Literature. More so after my Year 9 English tutor nurtured my spark and coaxed it into a blazing fire.

That’s what I want. I want to oxidise young sparks, allowing them to burn, fueling fires and literary passions, and I know those flames will keep me warm.

Although I love academia, I love studying, I couldn’t do it alone. I’m lucky. I owe a lot to those teachers, tutors, and lecturers that have kept my interest alive and fire burning- if I can emulate that in any way I will.

I wish to stay within academic circles. To continue to learn and improve because there’s so much more I don’t know.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

But I’m not the Titanic, and I will not be sunk.

So here it goes, one last shot, bring it on!