Countdown to my 30th

Monday, 30 January 2012

Tomorrow is the last day of the month meaning only one thing:  the countdown to my 30th birthday!  Arrrgh!  A little over a week away I will be marking the end of my twenties and ringing in the new era.  My thirties.  How did I come to this?!

Aging and encroaching onto another decade is a pretty daunting prospect.  To me, being a 30-something means suddenly you're an adult, you have to start acting grown up and look the part too.  I should be married and settled down with kids, comfortable in a well calved career and planning for my end days.  How depressing!

If that's what being in your thirties means then I've been put back a class to catch up.

Okay, it's not all bad.  I am kind of settled down.  I have my fiance, though admittedly, I am still awaiting from him the marriage proposal to actually materialise into the ceremony where I'm supposed to take his name.  Already I'm threatening him with a Don't Tell The Bride wedding.

I don't have the kids yet but I've got lots of animals to keep me busy and give my maternal hormones a test run.  (Don't tell that to the Other Half though, as much as I know he loves talking to the furries and feeding them their veggies, he can't stand people who call their pets their babies.)  It is a valid point.  Lucy the rabbit is still going to be pottering around her room in four years time (hopefully) and not waiting to go on to toddlers.  Or school.  Or whatever it is that kids go to when they grow out of being a baby.

The career... well, I should be grateful for anything that I do do because I should (and will never) forget what I've come from.  I started my twenties in a place I'm glad I'm far from.  That's something I can speak positively for moving onto the next decade, it's a new chapter.

As a 20-something I had a lot of growing up and self development to do that did literally set me back.  In my late teens I'd been attacked, suffered horrendously with the resulting agoraphobia, anxiety and depression and found myself barely able to move out of my bedroom let alone the house (and definitely never alone).  I carried this through my twenties where I somehow ended up at a point where I was able to see the other side of the hill, I was now coming back down from what was a hard slog.  I truly know that if it weren't for my Other Half I wouldn't have been able to take on my fears and get to where I am now.  I've had a scattering of fleeting jobs, but what the heck.  I've actually had jobs!  I was able to walk out of the door by myself, sit down in an interview and jolly well get it.  I even passed my driving test!  I may not have driven for a long while now because of my health, but it makes all the difference to know I can drive, I did all those tests on my own and passed both tests straight through.   I set up my own business trading online.  To think I rang people on my own, arranged meetings and deals.  I don't have it now but I did it, I tried.  Then I took part in a tv show, Brides on a Bus.  I was absolutely petrified about going without my Other Half.  Not only did I have to be apart from him for over a week straight but I had to fly on my own down to the very bottom of the country.  I'd never been on a plane before, let alone so far away from home on my own.  Whatever happened on the show and after doesn't matter.  I did it!

Now looking at it, turning 30 isn't so bad.  I may be a desperate thirty-something in a panic about work and kids and life, but I'm a thirty-something with a brighter future.  Who knows what I'll do and where I'll find myself in the next 10 years?!

Slice of pre-birthday cake, anyone?  :-)


Rod Liddle - his fondness of the disabled

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The name Rod Liddle meant nothing to me and most likely many more people until today.  If you're disabled or live with any kind of disability, just be sure to stay out of his way.  Or maybe from today's enormous reaction over the Twitter-sphere and beyond, he may want to duck his head down and steer clear of anyone.

Rod Liddle (not a doctor or anything qualified in the medical industry, nothing more than a journalist) today wrote an article for red top The Sun declaring that being disabled 'is now fashionable', and calling those of us who are tortured with invisible debilitating conditions such as Fibromyalgia and M.E 'pretend disabled'.  Not only is this is a disgusting rib against anyone disabled but I find it very defamatory against me personally.

"My new year's resolution for 2012 was to become disabled.  Nothing too serious, maybe just a bit of a bad back or one of those newly invented illnesses which make you a bit peaky for decades - fibromyalgia or M.E."

Nothing too serious, you say, Mr Liddle?  Okay, how would you feel if you physically couldn't lift yourself out of your bed in the morning because of horrendous pain in your limbs and a fatigue that feels like a huge sack of coal weighing you down.  Imagine it, please.  How do you get up, get dressed and get down the stairs?  Me, I need my fiance to get me up, help me dress and I literally shuffle down the stairs, that's if I'm having a good day.  On a worse day, forget even getting up at all.    So many people are confined to a wheelchair and driven to using sticks for the want of any mobility.  But apparently that isn't too serious.

A newly invented illness?  Say what?  Maybe someone as yourself Mr Liddle have never heard of it before because it's rarely spoken about in the media.  Ignorance has made you unaware of a condition that has existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  Fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal disease and has taken the form of many names, commonly fibrositis and muscular rheumatism.  The name 'fibromyalgia' ages back thirty to four years, but the illness itself has remained and consisted of the same.  Florence Nightingale is believed to have suffered with fibromyalgia as was Charles Darwin.  Fibromyalgia is certainly a misunderstood illness with the need for continued research to help us sufferers live with the condition, but it is definitely not something new.

A bit peaky?  That word is frankly an insult.  Fibromyalgia is a complicated spectrum of symptoms which together make the syndrome.  Chronic widespread muscle pain and chronic fatigue are the main complaints but there's numerous more including gut problems (IBS, reflux) , memory loss, insomnia and poor sleep, reduced cognition, depression, migraines, circulatory conditions (Raynaud's disease).  There are many many more, but each sufferer of fibromyalgia has an individual different experience.  To me, 'feeling peaky' isn't even a word I would consider to describe the pain and destruction this illness does to me.  To give anyone an idea of what fibromyalgia is like to live with, I'd say imagine having flu every day of your life with extra symptoms thrown in.  You don't need to walk do you?

I have no idea where Rod Liddle has drawn his immense medical knowledge of fibromyalgia from but he's seriously misguided.  His narrow minded article infuriates me beyond any words, because it is this very discriminatory, judging, condescending attitude that makes the suffering of those like myself as hard as it is.  It is difficult enough trying to find medication and support to get me through each day of pain without the need of ridiculous ill educated drivel like this.  I only hope one day he doesn't find himself in the same situation and need to eat his own words, battling to keep a roof over his head because he's in so much pain and agony, and trying to convince not only the world around him but the government that he is indeed in need.

I believe and expect an apology from Rod Liddle and The Sun for publishing this article.


Apprenticeships for all?

Friday, 20 January 2012

I was watching the One Show on BBC1 earlier this evening and reporter John Sargeant was talking about the topic of apprenticeships.  He had two examples; one was a young woman who was doing your typical apprenticeship that's for 16-24 year olds who's work involved putting together fighter aircraft.  The other example was an older lady in her 60s + who is currently doing an apprenticeship at a supermarket chain.

On first impression it seems perfectly acceptable, after all, no matter what your age people will always want to learn, and everyone should have the option.  Not all older people want to be assigned to the grave and left to potter around the house until their time is up, and young people equally have a drive to learn and want diversity in options of aspiring for and attaining a career.

What I picked up on in the article wasn't what anybody else brought up.  The issue of pay.  The older lady said she was being paid the minimum wage that the sales assistants were earning whilst she was training in her apprentice role.  The younger woman didn't say anything about pay, but typically the modern apprenticeship that's targeted at 16-24 years do not receive the same minimum wage.  Instead, younger apprentices on this scheme are lucky to earn a few pounds per hour - £2.60; a stark difference between that and the older lady's minimum wage which currently stands at £6.08 per hour.  I'm all for equality in the learning capacity, but is this equal and fair to the younger learner?

If apprenticeships are going to be available then they should be the same across the board.  A learner regardless of their age should receive the same fair wage.  Why is it fair that somebody even at 24 comes away with a pittance of a wage when a lady in her 60s - who will also receive senior citizen rates everywhere they go and probably already claiming their pension, is paid such a higher rate, not in accordance to any apprenticeship rate?  In this case, I think seniors of that age group shouldn't be entitled to an apprenticeship.  They're already in their retirement years and have no career to work toward.  They won't have a family to support (when many younger people will), they've paid off their mortgages if they bought their house and they already receive many benefits because of their age group that younger people don't get.

I'm 30 next month so I fall in the middle.  I'm supposed to already be in a career I've spent my twenties progressing through.  Many people my age have long been settled down with kids.  Lots of people my age won't even consider an apprenticeship because they're already established in their lives and don't need or desire to start from the bottom again.  I on the other hand would be interested in such a thing but I don't get the option.
I'm not considered a young person anymore.  Therefore I do not qualify for many things younger people naturally do, like going to college for free.  I'm also not 'over the hill' yet.  I have twice my age to live before I'm close to collecting my pension (if I will have one).  So I don't qualify for senior discounts wherever I go.  I'm a middle of the road person.

I would love to be able to learn new skills.  I recently enquired into my local college and was told I would have no financial assistance if I were to enroll on a course.  At the same time the very government who tell me I don't need any help when I suffer with health conditions including fibromyalgia are not assisting me find what I can do without harming myself and suffering.  So if the government really want to make a difference, why don't they listen for a change because maybe something like an apprenticeship would be beneficial to me and society if they made options such as apprenticeships more accessible and available to all people, including those of us who are the middle-of-the-road-joes.  Learning should be equal and fair without discrimination of age and that includes pay packet.

Becky x

I've been Heatworld!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Cruising about the web as I do, I came across Heat magazine's website, Heatworld.  Having a bit of a browse I came across some more Katy Perry goss, and being a big KP fan myself I had to have a look.  I thought I'd landed on my own blog because I arrived at a page entry called 'Katy Perry's feeling blue'.  Now I'm either being stalked by the UK's hottest celeb mag or I'm a damn good writer who needs to be given a job there!

My blog,  dated 16th Jan (left) and Heatworld, dated 17th Jan (right)
And to those who remember me saying I was getting my own hair done today, I'm sorry to say I didn't go blue.  Not that I had the choice!  It was at Saks Academy and the L'oreal rep was down and it was only root touch up and full colour on the menu today.  I quickly grew a dislike to my hair colour before, I felt it was too orange, so went for a slightly cooler all over colour.  Apparently I can go for something more drastic in the coming months, so we'll see! Though by that time Katy's probably gone orange...

Becky x

Katy Perry's Feeling Blue...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

So, Katy Perry is starting the new year facing a divorce from beau Russell Brand.  I haven't got a clue why and how they came to this point and, through all the magazine and newspaper speculations and allegations, I don't really give a monkeys.  I do because I love Katy Perry but I'm not interested in gossiping about her love life, I don't think it's very fair when it's a personal deal to them.  I was kinda using the blue theme to give me a cheap swing onto my actual topic but I've probably spoiled it now...

Katy Perry has dyed her hair blue again!  I noticed only last month she'd had her hair cropped, and I think it looks really cute.  Katy can pull off any look though, I'm sure, but it is a refreshing change to see her like this.  Katy came onto the scene over here in the UK in 2008 when she had dark hair, we never knew her as her blonde Katy Hudson.  Throughout the One for the Boys album her hair remained relatively the same until the California Gurls song from her second album, Teenage Dream, came out and we were introduced to wacky haired Katy.  She seemed to have grown her hair out to this point but I ended up losing track of how long or short or brightly coloured her hair was or not because of the use of wigs.

Personally I like Katy dark haired, despite her natural blonde and her opting for a more Smurf-like do now.  (Which is funny because when Katy voiced over for Smurfette she actually reverted back to a shade of natural blonde and not the blue we've seen).  I think deep brunettes are pretty cool with a sexy allure.  I'm one of them.  I should know ;-)  But, I'm sure Katy will always be a different hue haired girl and no matter what her hair colour, she'll always be enthusiastically in your face.

I hope Katy does still use her wigs, because they're cool and quirky and because I've just bought a Katy Perry blue hair wig.  I'm working on a really funny project at the minute that I'm hoping to bring to Youtube in good time.  It would be awesome for Katy to actually see what I'll be doing too, because I'm sure she'll love it.

In two days time I have an imminent hair colour change because I model at Saks Academy and they have L'oreal coming up.  I was just planning on having another shade of brown, touch up my roots (cover my grey *ouch*), but now Katy has had her hair cut short and now redyed an electric blue, I may need to step up the mark?  We shall see, ay!

Becky x

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