Bits and Bobs

Shine like a diamond, eh?

Over on Twitter today, I’ve been chatting about ‘Vagina Makeup’.


Vagina makeup.

From the product’s website

-Actually (I’m foof-splaining, here, note ‘actually’) it’s a cream for the mons, not the vagina*-

This led my deranged mind on some bizarre pathways, and other people got dragged along with me on the journey. We discussed female and male genitalia makeup and different ways of tarting up one’s nether regions. Plumping gloss for penises, rainbow lighting for the vulva, eyeliner and glitter and superheroes… It was a brilliantly funny conversation and gave us all a laugh.


But… When you think about it, it’s quite serious. Quite sad.

Women are already told that our natural appearance is unacceptable; we have dainty wee razors to get us in trim. We can’t have odour or natural secretions (both of which are entirely natural and serve a function), and now women are having surgery to get perfectly landscaped ladygardens… Yep. Surgery.

Google has the answers to questions nobody should ask

I know there’s also pressure on men to have the perfect penis, which is again wickedly irresponsible – penises come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all ok.

It’s human nature to be curious-to-fascinated regarding genitalia; it’s part of the survival of the species (and you only need to try raising eight-year-old boys to realise it’s completely nature and not nurture). But we live in a culture which has gone beyond a natural appreciation of ‘sexy bits’ and now fetishises them to a degree which is unhealthy.

We already face immense pressure to conform. To be part of the herd. To be homogenous. Society tries to mold us via the press, entertainment, peer pressure into ‘perfect’ humans. And now that pressure is extended to having beautifully bald-and-Barbielike genitals…

Remember the Sex Hats in Demolition Man?** We are moving rapidly towards that state; where the act of sex is considered unnatural, unnecessary. Where making children is a sterile procedure and the sex itself is purely visual.
Well, enough.

Sex is at the most basic level the act of procreation.

Tab A fits into slot B, nine months later, along comes C: end of.

But there’s so much attached to sex; emotion, sensation, connection. And all sorts of ways to get tab A into slot B…and while you’re at it, you’ll find fur and fuzz and lumps and bumps and scents and odours and outies and innies…and you know what?

It’s. Natural.***

It’s bad enough that we are expected to be homogenously perfect. That the world still only really accepts that we are male OR female, and can’t grasp that people fit anywhere and everywhere between. We can’t have zits or dandruff or wrinkles or fat**** OR bones. We shouldn’t have pubic hair, leg hair, armpit hair (unless we’re making a ‘statement’), but our head hair has to be glossy and go ‘swoosh’…

But enough!

Being human is messy. And messy is good. Messy has worked for millions of years. Messy has put 7+billion people on this planet.

I’m here to tell you that (unless it appeals to you) your mons doesn’t need to sparkle like Edward Cullen.

Honest. It doesn’t. (Unless you want it to.)

Your body can be skinny, fat, smooth or fuzzy, and that’s ok.

Your body is where YOU live. YOU have to feel comfortable in it. If you want to sparkle-up your ladygarden, by all means do it – but only because you want to. Not because it’s what society demands on order for you to be acceptable.

In the words of Christina Aguilera:

You are beautiful/ No matter what they say.


*Autocorrect wants that to be ‘monster’, not ‘mons’…I think it feels threatened!

**If you haven’t seen Demolition Man, try it. It’s hysterical. And very violent.

***Really! Humans are messy. It’s cool.

****I have wrinkles and fat. The other week I described myself as being ‘fat fetish territory’. Nobody should feel like that. Yes, I’m fat. No, that doesn’t mean I’m just an object, sexually. I need to sort that shit out.

Bad Porn.


I am so sick of Magic Penis Syndrome in modern romance, especially Billionaire Romance.

I’m sick of billionaires, too, come to think of it.

I’m sick of feisty, go-getting women with interesting lives and backstory and inner monologues all becoming hormonal messes with no will after one glance from “his [incomparable/unusual/badly simile-d] eyes”. Women who, at the merest whiff of his super-strong testosterone, drop their knickers along with any previous sex issues they had – magic penises being able to cure all hang-ups and issues with one noticeable prod to her hip/tummy/side, depending on location and size difference.

I’m sick of jealous exes, mad stalkers, throwing caution to the wind, bathrooms ‘bigger than my entire apartment’ with handily-placed showerheads (see older blog piece), million-dollar cars, surprise luxury vacations, and a denouement three chapters from the end.

It’s Mills & Boon, just with bigger penises and a lot more swearing.

You think you’ve moved on, with your bondage and ‘mature themes’, but you’re writing the same stories than have always been told, just with bigger budgets and more gynaecology.

Give me ordinary fellas, with un-magical penises (and, please, some kind of refractory period!), mortgages, boring everyday jobs, who still make my heart flutter.

Give me women who aren’t a plus-sized twelve (horrors!!!) ‘but still sexy anyway’, or a perfectly formed whatever. Give me cellulite and knobbly knees and boobs that disappear when she lies down. Make her real and relatable.

I grew up on Mills & Boon. My expectations of sex were…if not completely realistic, then at least not over-inflated, pardon the pun. I worry that this generation are reading these books and thinking they’ve got to be perfectly formed, all-knowing, duracell-powered sex machines…and the prevalence and accessibility of online porn isn’t going to help dispel that myth one bit.


Get. Rid. Of. Magical. Penises.*

*I have a migraine and PMT. This doesn’t excuse the above post, but might explain some of it.**

**I am, however, enjoying the curmudgeonliness which has blossomed since I turned forty. Whingepower FTW!***

***_IF_ magical penises do, actually, exist (‘thick as my wrist’, ‘big enough to almost hurt’, never goes down, always get the job done, and gives it’s partner morality amnesia) I’m happy to be proved wrong.****

****Debate only. NO PICTURES. Or videos. Written testimony, properly witnessed, is allowable.


Oh, gods, I’ve had enough.

I am so bloody tired of all of it. I don’t have answers for any of the questions, not solutions for the problems. And I. Am. Tired.

Yes, I get like this regularly (every three months, according to my mood tracking app), and the lead up to this point is so predictable; I stop eating properly, sleeping well, I have nightmares every night and then I become, if not someone I’m not, then someone I fight hard not to be; crude and suggestive, obsessed with sex and wanting so desperately to feel attractive, to be wanted.

I could blame it on my daddy leaving when I was a kid; on being bullied for being ugly and undateable; on only just realising at the age of forty that I don’t actually identify as female a lot of the time, which answers questions I didn’t even know I had… But that wouldn’t be honest.

Truth is, I haven’t a clue why I’m like this. I’ve always been excessively moody, PMT had always been horrible for me and those around me, but the last year has been worse. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the middle.

Being suicidal is new. Being suicidal and meaning it. Planning how to do it, where and when, so I disrupt or distress as few people as possible. Wondering if I can, because I want to, but feeling such a burden of guilt at the thought of the people I’d leave behind. And then hating on myself because I’m not strong enough to just do it.

There’s a scene in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ where Richard, the protagonist, is facing a trial to win a key. He finds himself on an underground platform confronted with people from his ‘real’ life (and himself) all urging him to just kill himself, despising him for being ‘too weak’ to. And that’s my head right now. I’m pushing and provoking myself constantly, trying literally to shove myself over the edge. (Richard wins the trial by NOT killing himself and proving he’s stronger than the voices, by the way…)

And this time, for the first time, I hurt someone else with my actions. I never meant to, but I did. I wish to goodness I hadn’t done what I did, nor said what I said. I wish it could be erased so I didn’t cause hurt to a really good friend, so he’s not left hurt because of me. I wish an apology was a magic wand, but it isn’t because we are grown ups, not three year olds. So all I can do is apologise one more time, from the bottom of my heart. I am so, so sorry for hurting you. It was never my intention, and if I could make it up to you I would.

So, yeah. I’m fucked up. Fed up. Tired of hurting in my body, my head and my heart.

I don’t know what the answers are, other than Keeping Calm and Carrying On, and hoping that maybe finally, things are going to change. It’s not like I’m not trying.

Anyway. That’s me, brain vomit all over cyberspace. Thank you for reading/listening/being there.

Rant Warning

That was the official warning: if you read after this point, it’s your own fault…

Ooh, you’re a glutton for punishment, aren’t you? *nudge*

So. It’s one in the morning, I’m recovering from the most hideous bout of flu I’ve had in recent memory, and I look and feel like something the cat dragged in, hid well, and wasn’t found until someone noticed the smell. Only worse. As a result, my self-confidence, ever a fragile thing, has vanished utterly. Even my eyes (which I’m normally slightly vain about) look, in the words of Terry Pratchett describing Albert’s eyes in Mort, ‘juugly’. I have exactly zero redeeming physical features right now.

No, that’s not the rant, and it’s not a ploy for sympathy or reassurance, I promise. Me and the demons of my looks are old buds. The rant is this:

Western. Standards. Of. Beauty.

I am forty. I am genetically predisposed to short, busty, ampleness, and too lazy to fight the ample part. The lazy also means that right now my legs could double for Chewbacca, my hair is grey (coz I think it looks badass) and growing out from the last time it got a #4 with the clippers (because I am NOT paying Β£25 to get my hair washed). I hardly ever wear make up any more, and although my nails are currently looking good, that’s because I stopped biting them seven weeks ago and haven’t started again yet. (Yes, ‘yet’. I’m a realist)

I also have, in no particular order:

  • Cellulite
  • Saddlebags
  • Bingo wings
  • Stretch marks
  • Sagging boobs, tum, and bum
  • The start of jowls
  • Wonky little fingers
  • A big nose
  • Assymmetrical ears
  • Invisible brows and lashes
  • Fat lips
  • A lisp
  • And gollum feet***

Now, half of those are genes, and half are the side-effects of various parts of living. All are…’Fixable’, and by currently acceptable standards of beauty, I should really think about it. And as regards the weight, I should for my health. But, and here’s the thing –

I. Don’t. Want. To.

And I am not in any way, shape or form denigrating those women who do – it’s your body, you need to feel comfortable in it for you.

I just wish that we lived in a society that valued Barbie-like perfection less. (And Ken-doll-perfection, too, these days!)

Human beings are wondrous things. Living, breathing canvasses. Their faces and their bodies tell tales as much as their words do. By implying that we must fit into a preconceived set of ideals to be acceptable, by buying into this notion, we rob ourselves of ourselves. 

Having said that – for some people, homogenised Aryan human is how they feel most themselves, and more power to them. For others it’s being the 97-year old lady with unfeasibly-jetblack hair and fingers full of rings. For yet others it’s being that lad who owns every team shirt in home and away colours for the last fifteen seasons.

But for me, I’m coming to realise, it’s about accepting that I’m short, fat and scruffy. Which means that, thirty-five years after I first wished it, I have finally achieved my dream and become What-a-Mess.

From the books by Frank Muir, illustrated by Joseph Wright

(That wasn’t as ranty as I expected, and was in fact more of a late-night brain fart. But ‘brain fart’ wouldn’t sound so snappy as a title. Or would it?)


I forgot to mention

  • Spots
  • Freckles
  • Skin tags on my neck
  • What my sister calls ‘Trans-Am wheel arch nostrils’
  • Regrettable taste in socks
  • A tendency to flirt too much
  • And, oh yeah, I’m hypercritical of myself 😝

Mad Skillz, Innit?

Or for this of you who don’t speak Kiera-ese/Essex-ese: I’m rather clever, no?

This week, I have Done Stuff.

Me and Google/YouTube have stripped and resealed the bath, fixed a broken arm on the dishwasher, and serviced the tumble dryer. 

I love fixing stuff. I love figuring out how stuff works. I love making things better. I think it’s an extension of why I prefer drawing or craft to gaming; I have a compulsion to create stuff and to try and leave the world changed to how I found it…I dunno, I’ve had a three-day migraine, so I’m seeing smells in 4D and the universe is all whoa, trippy…

Anyway. My next project will be fixing the downstairs loo to stop it wobbling – and maybe rigging a small invisible electrical field to dissuade Youngest from peeing everywhere but in the pan.


I don’t think…

I don’t think I can do this anymore.

I’m so tired.

So scared.

And, if I’m honest…?

So very angry.

But I can’t stop.

Can’t run away.

So I will start again and try again and love…


Found on Pinterest. Art by Sam Cannon, words by Bhudda

Linear Thinking in Seventeen and a Half Dimensions

Otherwise known as Trying To Get My Kids To Cooperate.

This morning saw HUGE meltdowns/tantrums/behavioural stuff from both boys. 

Jay is being bullied at school and Moo is…I don’t know. Bored? Having problems with his teacher? Fed up with pretending to be a human being? All of the above? Anyway, neither of them wanted to go to school. Both started self-harming (scratching, hitting their heads, in Moo’s case headbutting a door) so I decided to keep them off again.

This is not ideal. 

Firstly, because they need an education.

Secondly, I will eventually get into trouble with the school.

Thirdly, I need space.

They agreed to do school at home and I spent 45 minutes using their homework books to rough out ‘lessons’ for the day.

Time they spent working = 3-ish minutes.

Time they spent complaining = 25 minutes.

I thought that I’d found a fairly straightforward solution to a slightly knotty problem. But no.

I’ve looked into homeschooling previously, but I honestly don’t think I can do it (not being massively academic myself, plus Moo runs rings around me). In an ideal world I would, because neither of the boys deals well with the real world, and because I could teach at their pace. But I can’t.

So I looked at moving schools. The nearest school is over subscribed, and there’s no point going to a school which is even further away, because the commute is one of the stress triggers. So that’s out.

Next up was running away (one of my favourite back-up plans) but running away never solved anything… Apparently.

Net result of today: two hours on the phone to my sister (thanks, Kris!) not crying, but using Creative Anglo-Saxonisms to express my feelings, and the vague feeling that, yet again, I’ve effed this all up.

There is a solution to this problem. I will find it. I will support, encourage, defend and occasionally kick the butts of my kids. They will get the chances they need and the love they deserve.

And I will eat junk and sublimate my feelings because…Just because. πŸ˜„

No Plans

I hate plans.

I have tried many (many, many) times over the forty years I’ve been on the planet to write myself timetables on order to better manage my days, and after many (many, many, many) frustrating and fruitless attempts, I finally – yesterday, aged 40 years, one month and eleven days* – realised something key:

I do not function well with order. Structure makes me rebel. The feeling I have to do something means I will dedicate stupid amounts of time and energy to procrastination and avoidance. Net result: tasks left undone, feelings of guilt and anger, 200g of Dairymilk mysteriously vanished. Oh noes!

If my mum reads this, she will by this point have rolled her eyes hard enough to strain her optic nerve (sorry mum).

Anyway, over the last week I have been trying a new style of household management which I am calling The Benevolent and Chaotic Dictatorship. I wake up each day with a rough idea of what needs to be done, and by and large it’s getting done! I am (mostly) kindly bullying Paul and the kids into cooperating with me – the rule is, I don’t mind doing everything, but they will jolly well butt out and let me do it my way. And it works!

It’s quite difficult to mesh the needs of five people at the best of times, but when one of the five is a fluffy, aimless, squirrel-brained maΓ±ana-queen, and the other four are order freaks in need of excessive amounts of regulation and structure, it’s nigh-impossible…But me being a little tugboat towing the Good Ship Bruce about somewhat haphazardly works**.

I mean, humans being what they are, it may not be working this time next week, but hey ho. I’ve had a week (and counting) of efficiency*** and calm and feeling like I can actually Do The Thing, and that’s priceless…Right?

*Lessons worth learning take time. Or something. Oh, shush πŸ˜›

**This mental image amuses me; I just need to stop giggling long enough to watch out for hazards in the water.

***For a given and somewhat…Flexible value of ‘efficient’.

A new start

I’m doing new things in 2017; whether it’s due to turning 40 and feeling more mortal (need to start living more!), or simply because the time is right, I don’t know. But I’m making changes to me, to my surroundings, to my perceptions.
I decided last night (so technically on the first of the month) that I’m going to try and keep my blog updated regularly. Ideally daily, but life happens, so no pressure. And, so it’s not just me moaning on, I’m going to use journal prompts I found on Pinterest.

Here’s February’s…I’m starting with the 1st (ooh, rebel), mostly because the prompt for the 2nd will require Serious Thoughts and it’s not yet 6am… 

My favourite place.

I grew up in Ilford, Essex. We lived two roads away from my grandparents in a house built near the turn of the 20th century (we still had an Anderson shelter from WW2 in the back garden, but were never allowed in it: it did, however make a wonderful shelf to enable my sister and I to lean over and talk to the kids over the back fence and trade toys with them…The story of the Great Barbie Fiasco is for another time…)

Five minutes’ walk from our house was the imaginatively titled South Park (ermagerd, they killed Kenny!), a square-sided, late-Victorian public park with two playgrounds, a bandstand, a cricket pavilion, a HUGE field, a long, narrow duckpond, and (I remember vaguely from the verrrrrrry early 80’s) two little kiosk-shops selling pop, ice-cream and crisps.

South Park also had the most wonderful trees.

According to my mother, as a tiny baby being pushed round the park in the pram, I’d always wake up if the shadow from one particular lime tree crossed my face. I remember as a five- or six-year-old collecting the big, faintly sticky leaves to try and stick them together and make clothes like Adam and Eve had on on the big bible Aunty Iris had.

There was also The Spaceship: a fir or pine, I think, with a strong, straight trunk and low, curved branches. The way the foliage grew meant that inside the tree were big spaces where we could sit astride the branches or climb without being poked and scratched at by the branches. I’m not sure if it got dubbed The Spaceship due to the faintly spaceship-shape way trees of that type grow, or because spaceships was the game we always played there…

Past The Spaceship and just over a little rise, down the path past the bandstand (a forbidden territory due to the steps having caved in) and on the left was My Tree. Capitals totally justified, IMO. I think My Tree was a chestnut, although I haven’t sat under it for half my lifetime, and I may remember wrongly…But, regardless of species, this tree was special. 

I was an unhappy teenager, being weird, poor, not particularly pretty and naturally inclined to lonerishness. What I now know as depression was – in retrospect – present in me from quite a young age, and when life got too much, I’d grab a book, or a sketch pad, or my Walkman, and head for My Tree. I’d sit on the grass, back against the trunk, and get lost with Garion and Polgara or Simon and Binabik for an afternoon, or draw little cartoons and strange, ugly creatures, or listen to decidedly uncool music. And My Tree would help me (this is because trees are magic. There’s no other word for it). I’d sit down angry and afraid and lonely, and get back up contented and more certain of myself. 

I miss My Tree.

South Park also had gigantic spider plants (probably actually huge ornamental grasses or something) big enough to hide in and jump out at people; a massive, man-made hill with an oak at the top; holes in the perimeter fence which meant I didn’t have to walk to the gates…And memories along every path.

By the grotty tennis ‘courts’ was the best place for conkering with Grandad.

I had my first ever panic attack aged four, stood on the top step of the slide.

Walking the dog with Mum past the back of the cricket pavilion, and her in fits of giggles because no matter how I tried, I couldn’t say ‘feather’.

The long, straight path from the South Park Drive gate to the South Park Crescent gate where I learned to skate on those rattly, adjustable skates which laced over my shoes, and were not glittery disco roller boots, no matter how much I pretended.

Long, complicated games of pirates/astronauts/dinosaurs/princesses with Kristen and Amelia on the long hump of earth by The Spaceship (there was a bench in the middle where mum would sit and read, but could still see and hear us, so we were allowed free range).

Walking Dill, and later Sam, round the pond while they barked at the uppity Canada Geese; accidentally walking through a cricket match because I was reading; getting my chin cut open because I walked out of the bushes behind the swings without paying attention, and got clipped by someone swinging (three stitches, and I’ve still got a scar); my Nan, pockets full of little bags and a pair of secateurs, unashamedly taking clippings as we walked; falling through the ice on the pond one winter; never being allowed a ‘popeye’ from the ice cream van because they were too dear; and so on and so on…

It’s all changed now, obviously. Time and health and safety have worked their cruel magic, and when I looked it up on Google, it wasn’t the place I remember. But it’ll be that place for another kid in this generation, and in generations to come.
Which is kinda cool, isn’t it?