Being Called A C*nt By A Stranger

Writing

It’s not everyday that you can indulge in the luxury of having off-the-cuff profanities spat at you on a public street whilst on your daily commute home from work.

So given that exactly this unfolded this very evening makes me really want to count my lucky stars and thank God for all of the socially defunct individuals who scuttle through our streets, waiting to pounce unannounced on the unprepared passerby a.k.a. moi.

No matter who you are or where you are, rest assured, an ill-mannered, pale and stale son of a b*tch will force their way into your life if only for a moment to p*ss on your parade. What kind of world do we live in where you can’t even walk down a residential street without being told you’re a c*nt by a stranger? Cat calls are bad enough but to say something so vulgar such as the C-word is a total disrespect and disregard for me as a human being.

If the world p*sses you off, don’t take it out on me. Mental-illness gets a bypass, but if you are not mentally-ill and instead you are someone who quite bluntly gets a kick out of straight-up verbally insulting someone you know nothing about then  you’re someone we should feel sorry for. For your life must be in a seriously dire state for you to be so cruel.

As the hooded man in his late-thirties stared into my soul while simultaneously slating it as he spewed the expletive with such conviction, I felt a tremor of shock ripple through my body. I turned my head to ensure he wasn’t going to step up his verbal assault with a physical one.

I stopped momentarily, struck by confusion as to why someone who doesn’t know me felt so compelled to say such a thing. As I watched him fade into the darkness of the Winter evening, my thoughts of confusion followed and faded alongside him too. In exchange came one clear intrinsic thought – ‘why be an enemy to yourself when you have plenty of enemies in this world’, not to say that every stranger I encounter is an enemy but moreso it’s this idea that we are all so hard on ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies, we look at self-love as something which is either mushy or big-headed. But those who see it in these lights fail to understand the true meaning of love. Perhaps love means different things to different people, to me it is an unconditional kindness and care for someone/something. Absent of harm, and full of compassion. It’s funny how we can apply all of these to another human being yet can struggle so much to apply them to ourselves. I am notoriously hard on myself, and I’m sure there has been times in your life where you have been so too. When you reflect on the ‘stick over carrot’ model this, do you think it has led to better or worse outcomes? Better or worse moods?

Perhaps I really should be thankful for the stranger who called me the c-word. For he made me realise that self-love is more important than I may have believed previously. I’m not saying that we need to put our guards up to strangers and repeat affirmation after affirmation to ourselves in the bathroom mirror before blowing ourselves a big kiss each morning. But I do believe if we were to even pause for a moment each day and reflect on how we are feeling, how well we are looking after ourselves then really all of us would be in a better place. Maybe even the man who swore at me today, he needs some self-reflection! Some self-care.

I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself, and if you are then don’t be! Because someone may just call you a c*nt for being so!

 

neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

Poem: Collapsing

Writing

Collapsing,

My last breath feels inevitable. 

Food, a phrase once so fruitious,

Now feels so forgettable.

Picking the apple from Eden,

An action so regrettable. 

 

I claw and I clamber,

You believe that I committed perjury 

One measly morsel of food is all that I ask for.

Yet you deny me this luxury,

I am no cardinal sinner.

Let God be my judge,

 Lord above, please listen to my prayers.

Sexual Assault – Should We Be Allowed To Carry Weapons?

Writing

The air is frosty, I’m wearing open-toed heels as I briskly walk towards the direction of my house, it’s the small hours of Sunday morning, and a few seconds earlier I was saying bye to my friends at the bar. I only live 15 minutes away, heels are hard to walk in I tell myself, but, like a newborn lamb I’m determined to put a spring in my step and scurry home as fast as I can.

The darkened narrow road is lit only by the soft amber hues of the lampposts. I’m only ten minutes away now I tell myself. I try to walk with confidence, noone will approach me if I walk with conviction, I thought. I turn the corner of my road, now only minutes away and I hear a branch snap behind me, refusing to turn around out of fear of not wanting to see what was there, I pick up my pace and head straight for my door, as I put the key into the lock, I hear footsteps behind me……

 

This narrative is becoming concerningly more common each year, the number of rapes recorded by police has increased by 40% in the last 4 years. Relating this to the reminder that it is illegal to be in possession of a weapon here in the UK without good reason. It has me wondering where is the legal system going wrong? Is it the victim who should be restricted by the law or the assaulter to take advantage of it? By being in possession of a weapon I  by no means condone the use of a knife or gun, but what permanent damage can really be done by pepper spray? Temporary blindness vs the loss of someone’s esteem, or worse, their life. The possession of mace or pepper spray is illegal in the UK. So what can I use to defend myself? Wear a longer skirt?

 

Women are not the only victims of sexual assault, men are too. Infact it has been reported that men are more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape.

 

With the statistics on sexual assault rising:

 

How can you defend yourself?

 

A Rape Alarm – these can be broken in a heartbeat, one stomp and it’s crushed. Besides, it’s hardly going to help me down a dimly lit alleyway with nobody around.

 

Or how about some ‘criminal identifier self-defense’ spray, what would you prefer maroon or rouge? I understand the premise if this, mocking pepper spray it could act as a deterrent and identifier of the attacker days later with it’s stain but at the same time I don’t have the biggest faith in it.

 

Yes, you could say just go to some martial arts classes, and that thought has crossed my mind, but then again you could be the next karate kid and be absolutely floored by the sheer weight of your attacker if caught offguard. Overall I have faith in the reliability of martial arts as a mechanism for self defense, but I just don’t think martial arts or self defense classes should be the only option I could rely on.

 

You could argue that if you were allowed to carry a weapon to defend yourself with there’s nothing to say the attacker couldn’t overpower you, turning the tables and use it against you. This is a fair point.

 

I’m not asking for a taser gun, knife or gun, just for the legalisation of pepper spray or its equivalent as a fast action measure to temporarily stun the person attacking me so I can at least get a few seconds to run away. As it stands, I hate the idea of leaving places late at night, I’m not paranoid, but if  am then I blame the news for constantly shoving statistics of assault down our throats.

 

I must clarify that I don’t encourage or endorse the use of weapons, I merely want to raise some thoughts on self defense with regards to sexual assault.

 

If you have been sexually abused, do not suffer in silence. Some supportive sources in the UK are:

 

Never Leave Your Luggage Unattended

Writing

Thieves walk among us! Not just the kind who nab an extra straw at McDonalds, oh no, I’m talking the type who’d steal your laptop and passport as you sit cosy on a coach about to head off to the airport. This is exactly  what I’d feared had happened to some poor soul several weeks back when I was travelling to Northern Ireland for the bank holiday.

 

Sitting in the coach ready to head to Luton airport, my sister next to me pipes up “she’s just taken someone’s bag!” In disbelief I  shake my head and tell Rose not to worry, just as I do this another man warns “I just saw a women take someone’s luggage” and with that my eyes widened as I rushed down the steps of the coach hoping that both my sister and the man were incorrect.

 

As I look into the holding area which opens up to the side of the bus I see that our bags are still there, with the threat of the same potential disaster happening again I grab my bags and sprint back upstairs towards my seat at the front of the coach again. Where was the coach driver all this time you ask? Well it was only at this stage when I’m trying to get my bag upstairs that the driver appears from the front of the bus and threatens me by saying noone is allowed to take their luggage upstairs it’s against the health and safety regulations. I proceed to say to him safety regulations got someone’s bag stolen. The whole time, once letting us on the bus he was having a smoke at the front of the bus watching time pass by, therefore he wasn’t keeping an eye on the luggage held in the side compartment of the coach. He didn’t shut the side of the luggage hold leaving it exposed for anyone to take our cases as we’re none the wiser above in the coach seats.

 

It’s funny how he’s in the wrong a) not keeping an eye on the luggage b) leaving the luggage door wide open, yet threatens me that “this bus is not moving until everyone puts their bags back in the hold.”

 

I reluctantly returned my bags to the hold and demanded he shut the door. The rest of the journey was rather tense as no sooner had he shut the door than was he racing down the motorway. Someone was potentially in for an unfortunate shock once we arrive at the airport I thought to myself.

 

Why I think a bag was in fact stolen:

 

Asking my sister what she saw it appears that the luggage  was indeed stolen as oppose to the situation being where a mistaken traveller who realised last minute that they’d got the wrong bus quickly grabs their case with no hesitation.

 

But that’s exactly my point, if the bag did belong to the person removing it, who may have accidentally got ready to board the wrong bus, would you really be that swift to remove your bag, would you not take a second to make sure you do grab your case and not someone else’s. By all accounts the person had no hesitation when walking passed the bus and grabbing the suitcase.

 

Leading on from this, my second point, if you’d just mistaken the bus wouldn’t you be standing around scratching your head a bit, checking bus timetables, checking your ticket? Not walking briskly towards the train station?

 

Thieves target cases for electronics, and valuable gifts you plan to bring back to loved ones. Taking your bag could mean they take away your chance to visit your friends and family or visit that destination you’ve always wanted to see if your travel documents are inside, as a lot of times they may be.

 

We didn’t stick around once at the airport to see if our worst suspicions were proven true. All I know is never leave your bag unattended. If you do, tell drivers to close the doors to your personal valuable belongings instead of turning their heads the other way.

The Psychology of Value – Culture

Writing

Carrying on from yesterday’s post, I noted how this concept of value stems from our childhoods. How we internally form an attachment to particular items we deem as ‘ours’  from a young age.

Yet when comparing this globally, there are certain cultures where regardless of age, this trend does not appear. For example in a study conducted by scientists at Yale University , researchers ran a study on the Hadza people of Northern Tanzania to determine whether the Endowment effect took place within the community or not. When conducted it was found that of the Hadza people who lived closer to the towns or villages which exhibited markets and were therefore exposed to a society where money was exchanged for goods, 25% of them were willing to trade their original gifted item for a new one i.e. trade the lighter they were given for a biscuit or vice versa.

Comparing this to the Hadza people that lived further away from the villages and towns, in a more isolated community, a greater proportion – 53% in the group were more willing to trade. So why is this so? The people in the more ‘isolated’ environment, the hunter-gatherer population, they lived in an egalitarian society and so the movement of goods is much more open and shared more evenly between group members.

Looking at this one example, it can be said that emphasis on the society we grow up in, the environment we grow up in are key factors to how we value the things in our lives.

In relation to this, if we return to the initial point of ‘monetary’ value, socio-economic factors can be linked to certain types of culture, for example gang culture. With this I ask the question:
What does the word ‘value’ mean in an impoverished community?

5 People To Avoid at the 24/7 petrol station:

Writing

We’ve all been in this position, you’re travelling late at night, maybe coming back from the airport or from burying your noisy neighbour once and for all, when you suddenly get a little peckish. Pulling over to the nearest fuel station seems like the wisest thing to do and you begin dismounting your 4 by 4 truck as you wipe off the last remaining wheat field sediment from your brand new Levi’s.

Upon entering the shop you are hit with the stark realisation that things just don’t seem right. You only came in for a snickers and a bread roll but instead you meet the gaze of these 5 freaks below:

  1. Microwave Meal Guy

Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with microwave meals but you know if you see someone with a basket stocked sky-high with readymade roast dinners and lasagnes, they’re either lazy af or mentally unstable. Probably an equal measure of both. Don’t you know how to cut a bloody vegetable?!

  1. The Exhausted Single Mum

Feeding 5 kids as a single parent isn’t easy, and doesn’t it show on the face of Sandra. 3/5 Kids have developed some midnight cravings, and Sandy, being the natural night-owl that she is, decides to indulge in her kids requests for pizzas, pop tarts and chocolate ice cream at 1am in the morning. Help her find the reduced in price curly fries please.

  1. The ‘Checkout’ Guy

Don’t bend down for the washing detergent to swiftly or you’ll find the watchful eye of the hormonal adolescent upon you. Really they should be at home playing Call of Duty but their parents thought it much wiser to have them bleep through beer cans and packs of tobacco in the wee hours of the morning to learn some sense of ‘responsibility’.

  1. The Guy That Stocks The Shelves

Look at him the wrong way and you’re getting stocked in the freezer next to the frozen petis pois that’s all I will say.

  1. The Serial Killer

Murdering people is heavy work, and sometimes a Happy meal just doesn’t suffice, you’ll always find them lurking near the Twinkie aisle with a hand full of bleach and marigolds in one hand, and a packet of beef jerky in the other. Quickly, give him the secret handshake, grab your soft mints and get out!