Monthly Archives: March 2017

Just because…

When you take your first look at me…

Just because I’m white British and speak with a Yorkshire accent don’t assume that I’m Christian or have a religion at all.

Just because I wear a ring on my wedding finger, don’t assume that I’m married to a man.

Just because I wear a dress, don’t assume that I identify as a woman.

Just because you identify me as a woman and I’m married, don’t assume that I have children or that I want them.

Just because I don’t have children, don’t assume that I’m not fulfilled as a woman.

Just because I don’t wear short skirts, don’t assume it’s because my Muslim husband is controlling what I wear.

Just because I tell you my mum isn’t around, don’t assume that my parents got divorced.

Just because I smile and I’m generally cheery, don’t assume that I’m not crying on the inside.

Just because I’m good at listening, don’t assume that I don’t want to talk sometimes.

Just because I have a degree, don’t assume that I view myself as a clever person.

Just because I don’t talk about my relationship, don’t assume that we don’t have problems sometimes.

If you actually get to know me you would find out:

I am white British and do identify as a Christian. I am married to a man. He’s lovely. I identify as a woman. I do want children but didn’t want to get married and immediately have children. My work keeps me fulfilled at the moment along with friends, travelling and family. I don’t wear short skirts because I’m currently having a massive break out of eczema and have for some time which makes me self conscious about showing off my legs even in 30 degree heat. My mum died when I was young. I struggle with my mental health sometimes but have coping techniques in place, mainly friends, family and husband. I like talking a lot. I don’t use my degree therefore it has no relevance to where I am today. I love my husband but we don’t live in a happy world all the time, we do argue.

The first part is what people can assume. The second part is what I have chosen and it’s the truth. If you want to find out the truth, don’t make assumptions, ask questions. If you don’t care about the truth, don’t make assumptions and stay quiet. Assumptions are dangerous. We all make them but that doesn’t make them right. Assumptions can breed hate, distrust and is bad. Take the person as you find them and you could broaden your own little part of the world.

What makes me ‘me’

Nature vs Nurture. What makes a person develop their views, values and beliefs? Is it nature? Something that is just part of someone when they’re born? Or is it nurture?

For me, the nurture argument has always made me think. I know that some things that have happened during my lifetime have shaped my development and who I am. It goes beyond nature and biology and I’ve thought more and more recently about who has influenced me to be the person I am today.

My mum has influenced me massively. She was in my life for 9 years but she definitely made an impact. She was always there for me even whilst holding down a job. She used to go out to the pub every Friday night with my dad. Out by 8pm (after my bedtime) and back by 11:30pm but she made me realise the importance of quality time with your partner. She influenced me in other ways too. I always remember reading a letter she wrote when I was first born and I read on my 16th birthday. She talked about lots of things but the main thing she wrote about was that she hoped I would always judge people on their actions, not by their race, gender or anything else. It’s something I’ve always tried to live by. She influenced me because she was truly the nicest person I knew when I was younger and she never raised her voice and I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.

She’s also the reason why I cling to my husband when we pass a motorcycle because of how she died. I know it’s an irrational fear but it’s something I just can’t get over.

My dad is another big influence. He’s the reason why I expect so much of my husband. He’s the reason I expect my husband to be truly involved in our children’s lives when we have them. My dad became mum and dad when I was 9 years old and he was brilliant at it. I don’t want to say he didn’t make mistakes because he did. He probably was too lenient in some ways and too expectant in other ways but, given he had lost his partner of 14 years, I think he deserves some leeway. The proudest moment of my life came when he walked me down the aisle at my wedding and when he did the ‘father of the bride’ speech. My dad is not prone to bouts of emotion but I look at him now and I know how lucky I am that I had him as my dad.

My friends – I have always always valued my friends. I have a pretty eclectic bunch of friends. One friend is a single mum to two young boys whilst holding down pretty much a full time career with her own house and still managing to keep in touch with friends. She is my benchmark for when I become a mum. She will cringe at that sentence but it’s true. For anyone who has said they are too busy to be there to support, I constantly look to her because she has everything going on but she is one of my constants.

I have a mermaidy and blinde (in-jokes) friends who are there for me when I want to be silly and free. They are there for me no matter what and they match their response with my mood. For a long time I expected too much from my other friends because they can’t be, for wnhatever reason, what the other friends are. In my thirties I have realised that’s okay. They have their own value and they too shape me.

I have my childhood school best friends. They have their own careers and own lives. Yet I know they are there. And that is more important than they know.

My aunties and uncles have shaped the person I am too. My aunties have been there, not as a replacement for my mum but still an influence. They have been there to tell me when I am being unreasonable, supported me with my decisions and ultimately made me realise that family is so important.

Finally, my husband. The guy who keeps me literally sane when I’m looking over the precipice into oblivion. He has taught me so much about acceptance and just being calmer. He accepts me for who I am and that in turn makes me more willing and able to accept people for who they are. He helps me to reach out to people on Twitter who have also shaped me, by gently challenging my views and assumptions and broadening my mind.

Nature makes you what you are. Nurture helps you to change the path you walk on.

City break – take me back to Budapest

Last week I took a short flight (through Storm Doris which was a bit interesting) and headed to Budapest for a 3 day, 2 night break to Budapest with some friends.

I have to confess I didn’t know much about Budapest. I knew it was in Hungary and that was about it. So I headed off with little expectation.

I came back last week immediately wanting to go back again. Budapest is a thriving city which is undergoing some massive redevelopment at the moment. On our first night we went for a trip along the Danube river taking in some sights and providing us with the opportunity to taste some lovely Hungarian food (dumplings, stuffed cabbages and paprika chicken) as well as seeing the sights of Budapest lit up. Budapest is one of those cities that is truly beautiful at night. The cruise we went on is http://budapestrivercruise.com/budapest-buffet-dinner-cruise.

After a few samples of the Hungarian house wine (had to be done!) we headed to the most famous ruin bar in budapest. Ruin bars are literally that, bars set up in ruin buildings, which have been left. The most famous (or busiest) is Simpla Kert. You kbow when you go somewhere and you feel at home even though you haven’t been there before? Well that happened for me there. Just chatting to anybody who happened to stop by our table and exploring the vast depths of Simpla.

The next day we headed out to take in the sights and history of Budapest. First stop was the House of Terror which brought to life the effects of Nazi and subsequently Soviet Communist rule. A sobering visit but so important to see, particularly given that some of the stories were eerily familiar in the current climate. Then lots and lots of walking to Buda Castle, to the Parliament Building and to the Fisherman’s Bastion. Budapest is rich in history and all you need is the energy to walk and find it.

Food wise, there is plenty of choice from Italian to Hungarian to lots more beside. Budapest is a city full of history. You only have to walk along the Danube to see brass shoes in tribute to the 3,500 who died during Nazi rule. The people are amazingly friendly, we were stopped twice to check we were okay and knew where we were going.

So go. Go see this beautiful city before it becomes overrun with tourists. Budapest is truly Beautiful Budapest.