DIFFERENT CLASS by Rebecca Gatenby

 

Well hello there sir,

Yes you, opposite me on this train

 

Suited and booted

Upper lip curled

Carrying a look of disdain

 

I am sorry dear sir

If my attire offends

Suits like yours are not often required around these ends

 

I will hazard a guess that you’re just passing through?

I can’t imagine any business here would concern one as smart as you

 

May I enquire what you’re reading?

You assume too intellectual for me?

 

Shoes polished

Cigar in mouth

One hand on your knee

 

Ah it is a Bronte novel you hold in the other hand!

A change of expression, you do not understand?

Well of course I’m well acquainted

They were women of my land

Do not presume your status sir gives you the upper hand

 

As a literate man, you should know better than to judge a book by its cover

Yet in life it appears you don’t apply this rule

You have no urge to discover?

 

We may seem like simple folk

Simply spoken, simply dressed

But there’s much more than meets the eye

With our minds, not clothing, we’re blessed.

 

We are each from a different class

Yet we are but the same

We both possess a functioning brain

And blood runs through our veins

 

We are not so different you and I

So, try not to look down your nose

You may end up in my position ONE Day sir

Depending which way the wind blows.

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL

newproject_1_originalBefore we get into the dark ‘truth’ about these Monday to Sunday pills, we should get ourselves familiar with the back story. Basically, society want to have sex without getting pregnant and without the restriction of condoms. The condom part is largely male driven because let’s face it…. women just want to feel erm…full. Pardon my crudeness. Interestingly, the pill was only initially available to married women when it was released in 1961. God forbid we should be caught with our knickers down if we didn’t have a husband. ‘That girl ought to be ashamed of herself!’. This rule lasted all of six years because the pharmaceutical companies realised ‘Hey there is a large profit to be made here!’. Hence why your doctor prescribes meds for everything instead of encouraging natural ways of healing…but that’s clearly a blog for another day!

Now, according to this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15984258 , the contraceptive pill has been called the greatest scientific invention of the 20th Century. Which it probably is…for men. This article also states that 70% of women in the UK are on the pill or have taken it at some point in their lives. Now that is scary. As you have been patient in reading this introduction, all shall now be revealed. Side note: I felt it important to share this in case other women are struggling and they can’t figure out why.

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I have been known to my family as RUTH. Short for RUTHLESS. Not a very endearing name to say the least. From the age of 14 years old I went on the pill to regulate and reduce the pain of my period. Had those side effects been the only ones I may still be on it now. For the next ten years of my life I would have a cloudy, angry mind, an extremely short fuse and endless migraines. The migraines were unbearable. The longest was 28 hours and I couldn’t leave my bed or come out from under the covers. Painkillers didn’t even dent them. I literally thought my brain was going to explode. During a shift at the bookies one day, my vision went blurry, I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t add up. I fell off my chair and pulled myself into the toilet and turned the light off until the duty manager arrived. On reflection, the symptoms suggested a minor stroke but because I was 19 and naive, I dismissed it.

It’s hard to say which was the most difficult, the migraines or the moods. If I was calling a company about a bill I would end up flipping even if the advisor I was speaking to was giving world class customer service. But to me the inconvenience of having to take 5 minutes out of my day to make a premium call to a company I don’t want to speak to was torture. Even during dialling I would hyperventilate with anger and just wait for a reason to start screaming. After these types of calls I would just sit and cry out of frustration and bae would be like ‘seriously though what did you get out of that’ and the guilt would set in.

Other instances have included calling my father derogatory names and telling him to get out of my life, ripping cables and wires out of walls, destroying my own possessions because being destructive helped rid me of the energy that took over my body. Because I had no rational thought I would spend my wages without a second thought and leave myself without basic needs such as food. Shopping also made me feel better…. which is ironic as I knew eventually I would destroy what I bought in a rage with my bare hands. The worst habit I got into, which I still do today but much more diplomatically, is tell people uncomfortable truths. If my comments upset my nearest and dearest I would just say something like ‘well the truth hurts…. bitch’. How awful! When I think back to how I felt during those years I could vomit in disgust.

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Whilst there were hundreds of occurrences like this, there was one thought I had which still makes me shiver now. The strong deep-seated feeling that I wanted to slowly tear somebody’s limbs off. I’d pray for a woman (or a man!) to start something so I could get into a scrap and rid myself of the strong feelings that were coursing through my veins like snakes. Had my love not loved me so much, I may have never recognised that I had lost my shit completely and needed to find a way back to rational thought. Neither of us considered the pill was the root cause so I tried exercising, eating healthy, getting more sleep, changing my surroundings….and alas nothing changed.

The penny dropped when I started to become conscious of what I was eating. Watching programmes like ‘The Sugar Documentary’ opened my eyes to what chemicals in foods do to the body. Consuming the parasitic chemicals in processed food could lead to serious illnesses such as cancer, as well as restricting day to day life due to the internal reactions they cause. Once I cleaned up my diet, I was devastated to find the feeling was still there lurking in the background. It was like a shadow that started at my feet, twisted up tightly around my body and finally made a permanent evil settlement in my brain, squeezing the life out of my rational thought.

So, after one particularly bad day of wanting to murder the world and smash up my house, I happened across the leaflet of the contraceptive pill I was taking. I’d never really given the side effects a thought before and my interest in how chemicals impacted on the brain and body roused my interest. In my contraceptive taking lifetime I used Microgynon, Yasmin and Cilest so I decided to look at the side effects in more detail (on an actual PC because phones didn’t have standard internet then…lol). The points below are the side effects I personally experienced from taking the contraceptive pill and these are listed in their literature-

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • a change in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches
  • Increased chance of blood clotting
  • Depression
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Disturbance in liver function
  • Mood swings

Serious Side effects

  • sudden and severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance

In the case of Yasmin, 6.7% women were discontinued from the clinical trials due to an adverse reaction and yet this product is available to young girls and women around the world!

After some discussion with bae, I decided to just stop taking it. I didn’t go to my doctor as I didn’t feel they would take me seriously. Every time I discussed contraception they tried to convince me to get the implant in my arm. Having heard and seen horror stories about the implant, I told my doctor I didn’t want to be asked about this again and I asked him to make a note of this on my file.

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The Results

Well, what can I say…a week in with no pill down my neck and I felt like a phoenix rising from the flames. My mind was clearer than it had been since my school days. My brain went to the laughter function quite easily and never strayed into angry thoughts. If it tried to, I could acknowledge them and send them away. I was rational again! The heavy cloud of being misunderstood and miserable floated away to find some other poor soul. Bae said it was like he’d met me for the first time all over again. Then that got me thinking, how many relationships have fallen apart because of this? How many women were feeling worthless, misunderstood, depressed and/or suicidal? From that moment on I told myself I would never put my reproduction system in the hands of a man made chemical again. Inhibiting my eggs for years at a time was not natural to me and the thought of potential damage to my cycle consumed me. Luckily, everything settled down after around three months or so. Experiencing a proper period after 10 years was hard going but I took joy from knowing my body was functioning as nature intended, not as a man in a lab intended.

Since my experience, I have seen other women go through the same struggle. During a camping trip, my usually kind hearted and fun friend was in a foul mood. Her temper was so short she threw a bag of metal pans at her brother! Immediately after she felt so consumed with anger, regret and upset she even exclaimed ‘what’s wrong with me?!’. She too stopped taking the pill and felt rational and happy after just a week too. So, whether you agree with the pill or not, the struggle is real for many women and they are better off using the natural method. If this story sounds familiar to you, I urge you to stop taking it for just a few weeks and I guarantee you will feel a million times better!

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/sep/12/health.medicineandhealth

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/sexual-health/a7829/cilest-ethinylestradiol-and-norgestimate/

http://www.rxlist.com/yasmin-side-effects-drug-center.htm

http://www.dokteronline.com/en/microgynon-30/package-leaflet/

Scotland Bound

Rest assured I know our isles

They cover no more than a 1000 miles
From the North of England to the South
I’ve seen every sheep and river mouth

Back up the country to visit Wales
It’s as pretty as the Yorkshire Dales
Across to Ireland I then travelled
And my secret trips began to unravel

‘How have you not been to Scotland?!’ she said
As I sit cross legged on my Mother’s bed
‘Don’t blame me, you never took me!,
but now I am going and I feel lucky’

The tripod attempt to commence
The trip costing 8000 pence
With the two Lucy’s, Nic and Abbey
We’ll do the six hour drive most gladly

Across the border we shall roam
And a lodge in a loch we’ll call home
Drinking, dancing and telling jokes
The rest of the camp will think we’re blokes

In the midst of hardwork and waiting for Santa
We will have some epic banter
Our raincoats and boots are at the ready
To traverse Scotland in rain so heavy

Walking alone

Cold nights and dark mornings remind us of being human
That prickle on the back of your neck
As you walk with no sound, ears to the ground
You have to turn back round to check

That no predators are on the hunt
Ears straining for hint of a creeper
You feel to defend and ready to offend
If they come you’ll press that beeper

It will screech the night and alert someone
To your crying call for help
After the creeper has pounced they will bounce
And on your own you’ll yelp

You come back to your thoughts that ran away
Your imagination goes wild
When you’re on your own and on your phone
Your nerves are anything but mild

Then you arrive home to your beloved ones
And they ask how went your stride
You think for a sec, your bag you check

…and you say ‘yes it was fine!’

Seven days without Social Media

We all know someone who always has their nose in their phone. Even when there is nothing to look at…they look at it. Unfortunately, that was me up until seven days ago. I was always running late because my focus was on tracking my followers, reading statuses and uploading Snaps. I had a routine just for social media, which on reflection makes me feel a bit silly. It was, wake up, post on Instagram, share the same post on Facebook and Twitter, then do a couple of snaps on Snapchat. Then the same routine would take place again in the evening. I would find myself thinking far too much about effective hashtags, intriguing captions and how many likes or followers I may get that day. Basically, I was bordering on narcissism…kind of. I do need social media to share my blog! Anyway, we know everyone loves a good selfie…but it shouldn’t make you late for work! After all, social media is just a virtual space where we can project any perception of ourselves that we like…but it is not a true reflection of our real lives. When a new opportunity presented itself to me at the beginning of October, I knew I had to reign myself in and start focusing more on reality, rather than the virtual world I had been living in.

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Day 1

Day one began at 8pm on Sunday 16th October. I uninstalled all the social media applications on my phone and I immediately had no genuine reason to pick my phone up. It made my heart sink and I was already feeling like I needed a cigarette to cope. That immediate withdrawal from social media made me anxious. You may think this is exaggerated but in all honesty, I did not know what to do with myself. Monday morning was also a struggle, as that was my busiest Instagram time where I would connect with my followers and talk about fitness and my blog. Was I losing followers? Have I missed any important messages? That was my thought process for the entire day, thinking about what I’d missed online *cringe*. Nonetheless, my resolve did not break and I successfully completed the day in a shaky mess. A major difference I noticed on day one, apart from the social media withdrawal anxiety, was that my phone was still on! Usually it is on 100% at 6am and dead by dinner. Today it was on 86% at 6am and at 6pm it was on 52%. Result!

Day 2

This was the day I travelled approximately 200 miles from Yorkshire to London for an interview. The journey was so long I thought I may crack and download the applications. I was also keen to share my little adventure and put Buckingham Palace on my snaps! It was during this journey I realised…no one REALLY cares what I am up to and if they do, they’re not on the edge of their seat about it. The desire was mine and mine only, so I should be focusing on enjoying the experience I created for myself! This uninterrupted alone time turned into a reflection session and I felt even more strongly that social media had been having a negative effect on me.

Day 3

Day 3 was largely uneventful. Social media did not cross my mind all day, as I was so busy and still tired from the day before. I went to work then came home and watched Luke Cage. Part way through watching it though I did smile to myself…usually I would have missed the plot lines because my nose would be in my phone.

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Day 4

This was a day of realisations. My phone felt cool all day rather than heating up from the constant usage. I did not feel weary and eye achy. Nor was I acting like a zombie around other people. My partner and I talked more than we had in weeks! Usually I would prioritise my phone and be dismissive when he was trying to speak to me. I felt quite guilty at this point and I told myself I would not let social media take me away from reality anymore. Dinner was prepared in record time and I slept peacefully that night, without the urge to ‘just check my phone’.

Day 5 & 6

Friday and Saturday was my chill time. After finishing work at lunch time on Friday, I went to see a comedy show, had a few drinks, did a little shopping and caught up with my friends. I had forgot all about social media and I barely touched my phone for two days. I felt enthusiastic about doing stuff again!

Day 7

It was not until someone asked me about my ban that I remembered social media even existed. I then spent much of day seven thinking about how social media had been shaping my life for the last few years. I joined Facebook in 2007 and only checked it a couple of times a week…on my desktop! By 2014 I had Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, however, I still only checked them every couple of days. Since starting my fitness journey in January 2016 and the blog in July 2016, I had progressed to checking all these apps every FEW MINUTES! How much time have I wasted and how many fantastic face to face conversations have I missed because of these creations?! A hell of a lot. These apps were making me late for work, interrupting my sleep, effecting my self-esteem and I was losing my sense of reality.

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In conclusion, I seriously recommend that you take a break from social media to nurture yourself and free your spirit. It may sound ridiculous but I can tell you first hand…you will feel regenerated, renewed and positive about…REALITY. Social media is and will always be a virtual world. What you see is not the truth and it isn’t the right environment in which to play your life out. We get so caught up in it, comparing ourselves to others, judging, bitching, ranting and for what? More stress?

No thank you.

Social media has its place…but it’s not a place to live.

Fighting Social Fear

 

wp-1476120289903.jpgThose who are reluctant to interact with new people, or make an effort to leave the comfort of their homes to see their existing friends, are often called anxious, paranoid, agoraphobic, anti-social and any other ‘official’ term you can think of. Often I hear people say they should have been born in a different decade or that the other people out there just do not ‘get them’. I have come to wonder…is this REALLY the case or are they just afraid of social REJECTION?

It was my own reality that popped that question into my head. For so long I kept myself in a bubble. I was afraid to try new things, ‘What if people laugh at me?’. I was afraid to be face to face with new people, ‘What if they think I’m odd?’. And lastly I was afraid of rejection, ‘What if they take the micky out of me?’. It was not apparent to me that I had a fear about these things until this year. Due to life events and drama going down it was time to take a huge step back.

I opened the door to my mind, went into the garden of my brain and peered through the window in curiosity. Sadly, I found the person I described in the first paragraph…and I almost laughed out loud. This was ridiculous. This was not me. I am opinionated, childlike and a go getter, yet in front of me was just a shell of former Thrine. I cannot bear the thought of my readers hiding their true selves, due to these self-destroying feelings, so what can I do about it? Make it blog #35 of course!

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The first golden rule and one that we all struggle to accept is…it really is all in your head. Humans are naturally somewhat selfish and self-absorbed. We are like any other animals with instincts; we seek to protect ourselves from predators. In the material human world, predators can be other people who have bigger personalities, more friends and generally more going on in their lives. They are preying on life! Whilst this is making you feel inadequate, jealous and/or reluctant to join in, those predators are not even thinking about you…you just think they are. When you meet them for the first time, they are also meeting you for the first time. They may even be as scared as you but their confidence overrides this and they are happily just themselves.

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…and that is the second part of this reasoning. Just be you. Nobody can argue with that. They may dislike, disagree and oppose you but at least the bottom line is, you have been true to yourself. Nine times out of ten people will appreciate your company and want to get to know you more if you are being genuine. If you choose to be moody, difficult and put across the feeling you do not want to be there, then that is exactly the response you will receive. Ooh frosty! Ultimately, there is no hand holding when meeting people/groups for the first time so you have to dive in, relax and enjoy the experience. If they do reject you when you are being yourself then please be rest assured… that is definitely an issue with them and not with you.

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Being a social butterfly starts from learning to accept yourself and conforming to your own thoughts and ideas, rather than someone else’s. This instils confidence and allows you to discuss and debate topics and ideas without becoming emotionally involved in them. In my experience, this is where social situations can go left. Being an adult who socialises pleasantly involves letting people have their opinion, particularly when it is the opposite of yours. Once you find this mutual understanding with a stranger, respect and possible friendship can be built going forward. Most importantly, do not judge on sight. Everyone has SOMETHING in common but finding it takes effort.

If you tend to shy away from party invitations, weekends away or meeting for a brew with a random to save yourself a social headache, please consider that you may be missing out! Chance meetings and unexpected friends are what make life exciting and they also open up new unexplored worlds, doors and opportunities. I have my blog because I shyly revealed to two newish friends that I ‘had an idea’. Their response was ‘just go for it’, so I did! Granted, there are occasions where encounters do not work out and these are the ones we learn from. Either way, if you just cut your anxious restraints you will see your life go from low to high in the blink of an eye.

Amsterdam: For the Stoners and the Stylish

You hear ‘Amsterdam’ and an image of naked girls, drugs, alcohol and leering men may enter your mind. Whilst this is partly true, it is only a small facet of what Amsterdam has to offer. You do not need to be a smoker, ‘alternative’ (whatever that means), a drunkard or a pervert to visit this beautiful city. There is an unusual air of peace and serenity in Amsterdam, even when you are taking a walk in busy areas like Dam Square or Central Station, or just trying to avoid cyclists on the cobbles! Everyone is just…chilled out here. And not because they are baked but because there is a feeling of total freedom.

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Once you arrive at Schiphol Airport you can purchase a train ticket from one of many desks to take you to Central Station. On arrival at the station just follow the throng and they will take you upstairs to the station entrance. You will be met with the hustle and bustle of tourists, canal boats, cyclists, unusual smells and beautiful buildings. My first thought was ‘I’m home’ (cue tears). Tip- If for any reason you have to keep your luggage with you, there are lockers in Central Station where you can pay to leave your bags all day. It is very secure, although I recommend you get there early to avoid disappointment!

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As  for the holiday experience here, everyone has a different perspective on what to do, so I’m igniting what I call ‘The Ben Clause’. Ben is my friend who lived in Holland for quite some time and I am pretty sure he will be ready to critique this post! So ‘The Ben Clause’ makes it clear that this is a summary of my experience. Let us break it down into categories, starting with Amsterdam’s main tourist attraction…

Coffee Shops

The first thing you should know is that you do not have to buy something in every coffee shop you enter, although it is polite to at least buy a beverage. If it is your first time in a coffee shop then do not be scared, the owners are overall quite lovely and accommodating. There will be a menu on the counter of different strains of cannabis that you can purchase, with the price and gram of each. They also sell cakes and pre rolled smokes if you are a first time smoker and do not know how to roll. The coffee shops do not feel like run down drug dens. They genuinely feel like a place of happiness, even if you do not partake in the plant itself. Here is a few to get you started-

Coffee shop Free!

The Bull Dog Café

Voyagers

Grey Area

Where to stay

The best thing about Amsterdam is that it can be done on any budget. If you want top of the range service and surroundings then head to the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, which will set you back around £150-£200 a night. It is over the road from Central Station and there is even a door man (to me that means it is posh!). …whose job is hopefully self-explanatory!

Equally as pleasant but much cheaper is the Rembrandtplein Hotel in… Rembrandtplein! This is just on the outskirts of the main city and it is ideal if you are looking for a more peaceful trip. If you go in low season you can bag a room for around £40 a night and they throw in scrambled eggs and coffee in the morning. Tip- There is a small, romantic Italian restaurant around the corner from here and the food is bellissimo.

Attractions

Boat

It was not until my second visit that I saw Amsterdam by boat and it gave me a new experience of seeing the city. The guides go through the history of the canals and buildings, which look even more spectacular and doll like from the water. There is only one point in the canal system where you can see seven locks one after another. It may confuse your eyes a little bit but I challenge you to capture it. Not only do you learn more about the city seeing it by boat, it is also quite romantic.

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Anne Frank

Okay so I am always shocked when somebody says ‘who is Anne Frank’? If you plan on going to Amsterdam and you have never heard of her I suggest you read the book ‘The diary of Anne Frank’. Once you are familiar with this tragic and heroic story you will want to visit the Anne Frank Huis on Prinsengracht. There is always a queue, however, once you are in it is a very moving experience. You actually get to go through the bookcase entrance and see all the rooms the Franks and the Van Pels were confined to during Hitler’s regime.

Ice Bar

The ICE bar is situated on the corner of Amstel just by the Blaubrug Bridge. It is much smaller than I initially thought, although it was a fun experience. On arrival you are kitted out in Arctic gear and given two drink vouchers. The cups are made from actual ice and you only get one for two drinks, so do not pick the shot glass! There are ICE sculptures of a Polar Bear and a Penguin if you want a good photo opportunity. The bar is lit with disco lights which reflect like rainbows off the ICE. This combined with the loud music makes you want to have a little boogie! Once you start turning into an icicle you can enter the normal bar for a complementary cocktail.

The Hemp Museum and Gasson Diamonds

I have combined these two as they are both very cheap things to do if you are going on a budget. Gasson Diamonds is actually free, although you have to be willing to listen to a sales pitch at the end. I quite enjoyed it after learning about the different grades of diamonds and the history of Gasson itself. There are some beautiful pieces displayed in glass cabinets and you can watch the engineers at work shaping and creating jewellery. The Hemp Museum is very commercial and does not last long. Nonetheles, there are amusing items on display along with a grow and the history of hemp. For 4 Euros it is definitely worth a little visit. At the end you can have a virtual picture taken so it appears you are stood in a Hemp field.

Nightlife

There are so many places to choose from you are literally spoilt for choice. The Red Light District is rather laid back and many tourists take a walk through at night time just to see all the shop windows lit up. It is most likely that you will just stumble upon it by mistake. Of course there are ladies offering their services, however, they are not pushy and they do not stand out on the street. You will see all sorts of people in this district, as it is just another normal thing over there. If you are into a bit of naughtiness, then there are a number of live sex shows, sex booths and shops to entertain you. If you are as lucky as I was, you will see a young man fall in the canal whilst trying to get a shop window in his photo!

If naked ladies and red windows are not your thing then keep walking and you will come across a number of little bars and clubs. One of the most popular places is The Water Hole. This trendy bar has live bands on every night and a great crowd to enjoy them with. Check out their website waterhole.nl

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So that is one trip in a nut shell to get you started. The next one will cover food,  Vondel Park, the Zoo, Amsterdam cards and lots more. See…told you it is worth a visit!