Posted in autism, feminism, feminist, health, leeds beckett university, lifestyle, Mental Health, phd, phd student, Student

Update: Masters, PhD and Life

So, it’s been a very long time since my last post. I’ve completed my Masters and have just begun my second semester of the first year of my PhD. Lockdown has been a thorn in my side when it comes to love, socialising (what little I do of it) and studying but I’m making it work.

Tomorrow is my COR (confirmation of registration) meeting with my supervisors and a panel of academics which will check my work in progress and let me know whether it is worth taking further, and give me feedback.

I’ve prepared a presentation that outlines everything that I think they may ask, added images and examples, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. At present, I’m looking over my notes ready for the morning and trying to decide (in my head) what the hell to wear for a video call in my bedroom. Not the most professional environments but it’s what I have!

Staring at my notes is making me anxious. They’re messy, look uncoordinated and scribbles is pretty much what my handwriting looks like!

Handwriting

But I’m hopeful that once they see the passion I have and the amount of time and effort I’ve put into the work already, that they will let me continue to do my research.

My boyfriend (of two months now), a fellow aspie, has been a huge, loving support system during this time. Ki is a fun, loving, kind man and I don’t know how I got by without him! He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. That kind of support from a romantic partner is new to me. My exes all wanted me to leave education and pursue a working life that I would deteriorate in, lose my mind, get bored of and bury my dreams of making a contribution somehow. But, as the feminist I am, I decided to ignore them and do what I wanted without the support of anyone. My advice is: you don’t need a man/woman, they are a wonderful extension of your life. Do what makes you happy.

Now that the soppy stuff is out of the way…..

I hope lockdown is being kind to you. Stay safe and keep yourself busy. I’ve had Covid and it was a terrible experience which I hope will never be repeated. I got lucky. But so many other people haven’t. My prayers go out to the families and friends at this time.

Keep safe and happy writing xx

Posted in autism, Body Positivity, book reviews, feminism, feminist, gay, groups, lgbtq, lifestyle, Mental Health

Girl Up – Laura Bates, you’re my hero!

When my little meltdown occurred the other day I decided to shake myself off, get up and pick an empowering book to read to snap me out of my funk. This book was Girl Up by Laura Bates.

Laura Bates is a successful feminist who became well known for her website called The Everyday Sexism Project. This website holds a vast amount of comments and posts from women all over the world sharing their experiences of sexism in their everyday lives. Bates went on to write a book after her project and then wrote another: Girl Up.

I must admit: I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Not having read her first book, yet, I wans’t sure whether her writing style and voice would appeal to me as I struggle to keep focused on writing which is over complicated and droned on. However, her style was the complete opposite. It’s passionate, informative and fun without the jibber jabber which a lot of books possess in the genre. Bates’s writing is casual and easy to read, making her book a delight for my autistic brain to work through and absorb. It’s also illustrated. Breaking up large amounts of text with a humourous image or a small comic strip.

The content is informative and filled with ideas to help anyone start their feminist journey! From campaigning to online activism. All done in a fun and creative way. It’s a book I would recommend to anyone who wants to have an insight into the world of feminism and have fun while doing it!

Laura Bates – Girl Up

Posted in autism, health, lgbtq, lifestyle, Mental Health, Psychology, Student, Uncategorized

Second Semester….A Rant…..

Hi, I’m back and ready to share my experience of my Masters, so far….I apologise in advance for the emotional rant. I’m going through a lot at the moment.

Well, I’m sat in stats class thinking about everything but stats. I’ve had a rocky few weeks and lately everything seems to be becoming overwhelming. I’m struggling with my exams (apparently, I’m not doing as well as I thought in certain areas) and I’m struggling to be motivated after a family incident which has affected me more than I thought. 

It’s unfortunate because I was enjoying the course at first. However, with the lack of communication from tutors who are supposed to be there to help me I’ve found it quite isolating, and as though no one really cares. Like I’m a number. 

Despite this I still want to do well, and I refuse to not finish this with at least a pass. I haven’t gone through all this struggle to come out of it with nought. I am hoping my dissertation will improve my overall grade so that I can finish with some pride, some dignity. 

I’ve found I don’t concentrate well in modules that don’t interest me. Right this second, I am in a statistics class and I should be listening and writing notes, instead I am writing a blog post. Numbers are my enemy. I am better with words, not numbers. As well as all this stress I am facing, I am struggling with what to do after my Masters. Whether I pass or not. With my autism being more of an issue than I originally thought, I am worried that I am not capable of working at anything. Every job I have ever had has either sent me crazy into a pit of depression or bored the living daylights out of me and upset my senses and wellbeing. Choosing a path will be hard and I’m not sure I am able to do anything right now. My failures are piling up and I’m hating that I haven’t progressed in these classes even though I have tried my best! I have done everything that has been asked of me, but to no avail and it’s beginning to damage my confidence. 

I guess I will continue to try my best, and hope I can get through it without losing my mind in the process….  

Posted in autism, Body Positivity, groups, health, lifestyle, Mental Health, Psychology, Student

First week of University….

I have been so busy it’s unreal. I’ve had reading to do in my spare time and any free time I do have I’m busy doing something to relax my brain. So being able to sit down and write something, anything, is amazing to me.

So, this week has been a mix of excitement and complete anxiety. Not at the work but at the environment. Being autistic I find it hard to be in an unfamiliar environment with people I don’t know. It makes me feel a little paranoid, anxious and I end up biting my nails to the wick or, if I have no nails because I’ve bitten them all already, I pick the skin around them until they bleed. Even though I’ve had my sensory toys with me everywhere I still find I am picking my fingers til they are sore.

A couple of the group have spoken to me. Me being me, I only speak when spoken to and I try to be as ‘neurotypical’ as possible. Mimicking I seem to do without thinking about it: eye contact, smiling and rambling is just a few of the traits I show when one to one with someone. Within a group I go mute, which I’ve done repeatedly this week during group work. I hate group work.

The classes themselves are actually really interesting, especially the Neuroscience and Applying Psychology classes (I’m looking forward to performing experiments in the labs later on in the semester).

I’ve been having thoughts about what to do for my dissertation which we start in January. I’m thinking about doing it on Autism (duh) but from what angle yet I’m not sure. So far I’ve been thinking about writing from a Neuroscience point of view. But that’s as far as I’ve got.

Hopefully, when the occasion arises when I have to start writing it I will be ready.

Xoxo

Posted in autism, Body Positivity, health, lifestyle, Mental Health, Psychology, Student, Uncategorized

I need your help!

I am raising money for Support Dogs in Sheffield! They train and provide Therapy Dogs for both adults and children in the UK.

With an increase in demand for these wonderful dogs, that help with autism, epilepsy and other conditions, Support Dogs need every penny they can so they have the finances to purchase and have the time to train their animals so they can give those with Autism a better life!

Therapy Dogs provide a comfort and assistance while the individual is out in the community, as well as companionship while at home. As we autistics know very well that it can be very isolating.

So far I have raised £30. But I would like to raise more for this fantastic charity!

Please, help me reach my birthday goal for Support Dogs!

Posted in autism, Body Positivity, gay, groups, health, lgbtq, lifestyle, Mental Health, rugby, sport, Student, Uncategorized, womenssport

So it begins! 13/09/2019

So, I’ve decided to try and get strong and toned. According to my Personal Trainer I need to lose some weight first before we can get cracking on to the strength training.

I attended an assessment where he poked and prodded me and tested my flexibility. I was surprised by how I did though when it came to the sit ups and push ups. The average amount for a healthy individually to be able to do is 26. I managed to do 15 sit ups and 11 push ups and, honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to do one!

We then began forming a work out plan for the next 6 weeks. I’ve done one week already so I’m now down to 5 weeks.

Workout Plan- another one done!

I’m not someone who is constantly worried about what I look like. I’m actually a bit of a Tomboy. As long as I’m comfortable and my hair looks semi-decent I’m happy. But, I wanted to feel healthier. So far I do. I’ve cut back on sugar and I’m eating more protein and veggies, which I’m enjoying. I’ve found experimenting with meal prep and making weirdly healthy meals can be fun! I put Netflix on in the background and start grabbing whatever and just throw it together. Remembering to keep it low in sugar, fats but high in vegetables, greens, fruits and proteins!

I’ve found I sleep better after a workout day and I feel more emotionally stable. I have suffered with depression and anxiety a lot in my life but the increase in hormones with the exercise has lightened the load! I’m just taking it a day at a time and not kicking myself, or getting upset whenever I slip up and have a slice of cake. Let’s face it – my life would be miserable without it!

The gym I go to even has a women’s only area!
Posted in autism, Body Positivity, gay, groups, lgbtq, Mental Health, rugby, sport, Student, Uncategorized, womenssport

Super Leagues Grand Day Out…Blackpool 7th September 2019

Hey Folks!

I had my first game of the season yesterday and it was so much fun! Learning Difficulties teams around the UK came together for a Festival at Blackpool Sports Centre. We played against five teams and won two games, but in Tag Rugby it is an all inclusive sport and not competitive. Which means that we all play for the love, and fun, of it.

I had a blast and wanted to share the photos of my first game. Unfortunately, I joined at the end of the season, so our match this coming Friday against Wakefield Wildcats will be our last until next year. But I am going to use this spare time, around my studies, to get fit and work on my strength for when we start playing again.

Below are just a few photos of the day…

Castleford Tigers LDR Team

Every time I got the ball I started laughing…I honestly don’t know why
There were other women as well on other teams, but at the moment I’m the only woman in the Castleford LDR team. Hopefully, more will join next season
Posted in autism, groups, Mental Health, rugby, sport, Uncategorized, womenssport

New Endeavour….

Well, it’s official! I am officially playing for the Castleford Tigers Foundation Learning Difficulties Rugby team!

So far, the training has been only one occasion and this Saturday we are going down to Blackpool to play against the other teams. I’m excited, but also nervous because I’ve only had one hour of training. So, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to train alone and look into hiring a Personal Trainer to help whip me into shape!

It’s not badly priced, I guess, it’s £20 a month and then £9 each time you go for the Personal Trainers time for 30 minutes. Which, to be honest, would be more than I can handle at the moment. But, for a starting point, and a trial run, I don’t think it’s half bad.

This is all so new to me, I haven’t been part of any sport since I was in little school and now being 28, soon to be 29, I’m worried my body is past it. But I’m determined to say “fuck you” to stereotypes and jump in head first and have fun! That’s what sport is all about anyway, right?

Winning or losing isn’t as important as the taking part and having fun, or so I’ve been told. However, I am highly competitive…shhh.

On my Instagram I am going to be adding photos of our escapades and outings and maybe some training too! The coach doesn’t know how to work social media so I thought I would help. It is a team full of autistics, dyslexics and other learning difficulties and, who knows, maybe it will inspire some more people to join! It’s a very supportive and happy group!

I will keep you updated! Xoxo

Posted in autism, Body Positivity, gay, lgbtq, Mental Health, Psychology, Student, Uncategorized

Body Positivity and Self Love…A Journey.

It took me a very long time to think of myself more than what people were telling me. Since I was a little girl, I craved my father’s approval. I craved it so bad I took on board everything he said about me. I was “too fat”, “too sensitive”, “too simple”, nothing I did seemed to change his mind. Nowadays, I couldn’t give a shit. I do me, and I live MY life the way I want to. But, back then, being young and impressionable: it can have a negative effect. Especially, when it comes from a source which you think should love you for you.

I went through years of bullying about my body, and about my personality. I was shy, quiet and lacked self confidence and the boys in my class thought I was strange. I would go hide in the English Department so they didn’t try to call me horrible names, or pull my hair and throw my hairband (or other hair accessory) out of the window so I would have to go get it. Which they often did with anything they could get their hands on. At this point I hated myself, my body and everything that I was. Looking back, if I could repeat the process or go back in time, I would kick the little shits in the nuts and tell them to stock the hairband where the sun doesn’t shine! Unfortunately, back then, I only spoke when spoken too and was way too shy to stand up for myself.

Since leaving that horrible school behind me and moving into adulthood, I have managed to come out of my shell. It has taken me a lot of years, and a fuck load of practice, but I can say that I can look myself in the eye every morning in the mirror and love who I am. Everything I have been through (which is a hell of a lot, but that’s a post for another day) has made me the person I am today, and I’m proud of her.

The loving of my body is something that I am still working on. It doesn’t take over night, but let’s face it: nothing does. Everything that means something in this world takes effort, hard work and time. Self love truly is one of the most time consuimg and difficult things to do when you have always looked at yourself negatively. But, baby steps, I have found, are the way to go when first starting out. Saying something nice to yourself about yourself, personality or about your body, works over time. You simply pick something out that you like about yourself and gradually you WILL feel a difference. Nowadays, I go to the gym for the endorphin rush and it’s not as often as I would like (I’m a busy woman these days) but I don’t feel like I’m there focusing on how I look. My cousin says that she will never have sex again, or get into a relationship, until she has lost weight….I think if someone doesn’t love you, every beautful part of you, then they are not worth sleeping with anyway. I certainly wouldn’t sleep with someone who doesn’t like me for me. But I am a picky bitch, now and then.

I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that your body is yours, and you are you and you should love who you are. There is only one of you, you are unique. One of a kind like a rare flower in a meadow in spring time. Stop putting yourself down because of what others think you should be. Eat the cake, go for that run because you want to not because you hate yourself, take time for yourself and explore wonderful things that make you feel good. Life is far too short to be permanantly on a yo-yo diet. There are experiences in this world that are far greater, there are loved ones who need your attention more and you are deserving of these things. You deserve everything good in this world. The bad doesn’t last forever, the tide always goes out. And when it comes in again you have beautiful, loving and wonderful people around you to bring the coast guard and the perfect cup of tea.

You’re body is amazing, it does so much for you. It’s beautiful, you’re beautiful.

Don’t forget it, beautiful reader! xoxo