Living with a Narcissist

I’ve written this blog to help you. The poor soul; who thinks, like I did, that you are savvy and living life with integrity according to your own moral compass. For those who think themselves confident with aspirations and a plan of sorts for their life and what they’d like to do with it. This is for you.

Here is a simple guide to the signs that you’re living with the worst kind of manipulator; a Narcissist. If any of these ring a bell. Leave. Life should not be this complex. It’s not love; it’s control. And worse than that the offender is incapable of love and you’re merely a pawn in the game of their life. An expendable pawn too. Because if it isn’t you; it’ll be another. Equally drawn in by the carefully constructed character they’ve honed over the years based on what works. And with each new victim the patter will commence; to first build you up into something you simply can’t sustain, then they’ll surgically deconstruct the real you until there’s nothing left. If successful you will become but a nodding dog, a semi-smiling robot playing the essential part of ‘back-up’. This is an important role in a Narcissist’s life; to corroborate the endless lies, along with providing 24/7 attention, adoration, platitudes and doing exactly what you are told. By this time your agenda has been rubbished, you’re needy and difficult; always the ‘worst’ (insert***) they’ve ever come across.

Once ensnared to the point of submission the Narcissist will slowly unravel whilst binding you in, tighter and tighter. Like a snake with a mouse; you’ll not be able to breathe and your support system should by now be long gone. Ironically they will have been ‘seen off’ by you in accordance with the Puppet Master’s ruling that it is odd that you need them. If you’re lucky this new docile iteration of ‘you’ will now be really irritating to them and they’ll start to tire and look outside of the relationship for fresh meat. Unfortunately if you’ve got children together this might start closer to home and at this point you MUST find a way to rise up and take control; for their sake if not your own.

There is only way to win in this situation and it begins with listening. This type of person seeks drama, negativity and blame; oh how they love to blame. They’ll put down their best friend, their parents and family but the most acerbic assessment is reserved for their ‘ex’. Most recent being the ‘worst’; they’ll compare you favourably to them, you’re so very special and nothing like them. They’ve never known anything/anyone like you. They know you deeply; better than anyone, even yourself. They ‘get’ you; understand the ‘real’ you. True fantasists; they’ll concoct ‘unique’ ways that you’re magical together. Whilst peddling this myth they’ll also systematically pull apart ‘your ex’ and by proxy your former life, whether you’ve discussed them or not.

A first class manipulator can feign empathy like a master. Drawing you in; encouraging openness, ‘go on tell me, I’m interested, I understand you’; during this moment anything you divulge will go on file in the manipulators head. At some point later this will be regurgitated, re-packaged and fired at you; at close range for maximum impact. This applies to those who you love; who’ll also be used to syphon information from; then rebranded to apply specifically to you and casting you in the most negative light. Literally your own support system can be used to bring you down.

This person is everything they accuse you of. They reflect back onto you every negative, destructive and damaging element of their personality until you own it. Their appetite for attention is unbridled; they’ll stop at nothing to engage anyone in their game. From the little old lady at the bus stop, the bar tender, young, old, male or female, that’s not the point. The point is to get from them what they need. This can include drama, validation, confrontation, flattery and more. And if you’re with them at the time you know that your needs are secondary to this engagement. You might be in a hurry, need the toilet, feel unwell, be late for work; the Narcissist doesn’t care, the blinkers are on, game is up and empathy and understanding for their ‘partner/friend/child’ no longer exists. Often the game will include you; whether you like it or not. You’ll be drawn in to corroborate truths, to be made fun of, used as a scapegoat perhaps. You may even have to observe outright flirtation which if questioned is diffused with a lecture regarding your insecurity and jealousy before reminding you just how ugly those traits are.

A Narcissist has no boundaries or filter. They are overpowering; physically; the level of their voice and strength, emotionally; by giving you no peace and invading your personal space, mentally; by nit-picking and creating the same exhausting and time consuming scenarios then insisting you talk about it, not to mention endlessly hogging the spotlight. A Narcissist lives for interaction and reaction; negative or dramatic is preferable. Faced with a worthy adversary they become defensive, angry and/or aggressive but not before they’ve tried to laugh or physically goad you out of it. If you don’t find it funny; what is your problem? Then a considered list of all the reasons it is your problem, why and who they could make contact with in that moment to substantiate this. Or there’s the ‘I’m sorry I’m just trying to have fun; do you remember fun?’ Equally peachy; ‘babe is there something wrong with you; seriously I’m here for you, you seem down, depressed, your face is sad and a bit difficult to look at?’ Followed by ‘I know what he/she did to you; the way they treated you, sure the negative things they said could be true; but not always, you do have good days…’.

One of the worst things to contend with I found were the never-ending contentious conversations about the same thing/issue/situation. I say conversations eventually I would call them ‘word salad’s’, ‘circular conversations’, ‘regurgitated venom’ or ‘verbal diarrhoea’. ‘Wordy- bollocks’ if you will. Either way it will drain your life force and sap your soul. Narcissistic talk is complex; veering off on a tangent, random and difficult to follow. This is deliberate; to catch you on the back foot, keep you off balance and therefore susceptible to their influence. You may even fear you’ve developed a hearing issue; ‘can you hear me?’ ‘Is your hearing okay’, ‘HELLO….’. That and nothing is ever their fault. Oh other than the tiny, insignificant thing you’ve definitely not complained/ or care about; like ‘babe I’m really sorry I’ve been placing the cushions weirdly on the sofa, it’s not fair to you and I should know better’ just to later proof their ability to ‘take responsibility’. Yet not for the actual mentally damaging, coercive and controlling mind games that play out day-in, day-out; for they are most definitely not their fault.

First way to break free from this; is it to no longer engage, for it is the reaction which is key to perpetuating the drama and the drama is essential fuel for the Narcissist. It is this fuel that keeps the fires burning; the fires of discontent, anger, irritation, condemnation and righteousness. For they are flawed people; for whatever reason, entitled, spoiled and embittered. So without the ability to be introspective and actually take responsibility for their actions; or at least understand why they behave as they do and how it impacts on those around them, they cannot be helped. Therefore you must leave.

On the other side of this madness; upon breaking free and running for the hills, you’ll experience a freedom, peace and absolute contentment you’d never imagine possible. There is life after the Narcissist and if you learn nothing else; it’ll be that you’re stronger than you ever thought.


Great Expectations

Life was simpler pre-millennium wasn’t it? Don’t say it wasn’t; it was. Everything is limitless these days. I mean it might have always been but we wouldn’t have known that. Back then we had to walk to use a public phone box to communicate with someone and if that person didn’t answer you’d be forced to return home (berating taking the shortcut via the allotments after walking white (yes, white; you never see that these days) dog poo all over the epilepsy-inducing Wilton). No chance to leave a message or anything. Photographs taken on cameras that you had to fit with a cartridge yourself then wait a few weeks to find out whether you’d managed to take even one decent photograph. People wrote letters; in their own handwriting with a pen then took it to a post box with a stamp and reverence and popped it in.

Waiting was common place; nobody really thought about it, it was what it was. I’d often wait for the local Butcher to fillet 4 chicken breasts right there in front of me. Stuff seemed more precious, more fought for; waited for, longed for. When I was a young Mum a big night in at our house was fancy crisps from the Spar which included a little tub of sauce to dip them in. I bloody loved those crisps. Washed down with one bottle of Diamond White each. If there was a celebration we’d share mushrooms in gravy from the chinese with prawn crackers. Yes I really was that classy. Obviously buying a deep-fat fryer was a game changer; now we could have fried potato in any shape our heart desired, on any given day…simple pleasures you see. That’s all we needed. And contentment was generally high as we had no real concept of what others were doing or having.

Today we are forced to mentally digest everyone’s life. Yes we can chose not to look; not engage in the social media circus and for the vast majority of us we dip easily in and out. And if the phone apps don’t get you the televisual brainwashing and advertising will anyway. Most of us have the good sense to know it’s only the polished version of a truth, even though the public display of what people have; regardless of how they’ve achieved it, has definitely furthered the myth of what is normal and in turn expected; particularly by young people.

A night ‘out out’ years ago would have seen me popping a Harmony box colour on my hair whilst spackling the bathroom and carpet a few hours before, then popping on my ‘going out clothes’ as there was invariably only one choice at a time and applying the brightest lipstick I owned. I’d drink either half a lager or Martini and lemonade and only expect to visit a few pubs and still be home in time for Come Dancing. I never thought of having my nails done, fake tan, eyelash extensions or having a ‘hair-up’ in a salon pre-drinking Prosecco with my friends.

And this level of expectation now applies to all areas of our life. Because we’re being led to believe that there is a lavish way of doing absolutely fucking everything and literally everyone is doing it and we can also do and have it should we aspire to do so (not labouring the extremely high price you will invariably pay as you entrench yourself both fiscally and mentally). Unless you’re going it alone; and then you can pick a ‘minority’ label? Of which there are now MILLIONS. If going down this route; at least go for something conservational; Veganism perhaps, anything other than some vile introspection, where you seek attention by berating the masses to appease your grossly inflated sense of self.

The poor young people of today with their great expectations of the brand new car that all their friends in essence ‘rent’ these days. Yes you don’t’ just rent a property, you also pay a premium to be told how far you can travel and in some cases between which hours of the day/night; in order to have use of a car you will never own but at least can be seen driving in the meantime. This along with your extortionate i-phone contracts, Netflix and Spotify accounts starts to drain the pay you receive for that middle-grade job you struggled to secure after 4 years at Uni put you into 40k’s worth of debt that you don’t really see as being yours.

Then there’s the ticking time bomb of ‘do I go travelling’, ‘further my career here and get on the property ladder’, ‘find my soul mate and get procreating’? And each one is time-limited; and to enable just one person to ‘have it all’ which they’re being invisibly force-fed to truly believe they can and should but for that to happen requires everything to go smoothly; absolutely fucking everything. There must be no mishaps; no deviations, missed turns or opportunities. No, there’s no time for that; not if you hope to tick off every stage of ‘having it all’; one bit going wrong will have a knock on effect and suddenly down come your hopes and dreams; collapsing like a pack of bloody cards and suddenly you’ve failed. Oh dear, you’ve only managed to have a career and a family; never been travelling? Must try harder; look at all these golden families on Insta trotting round the globe with their offspring; living the dream, assuring you it’s all totally possible. So you’ve travelled the earth but have now returned home the wrong side of forty with no significant other and an untarnished womb; all the mind-blowing sunrises not enough to stop you feeling unfulfilled and like you’ve failed the ultimate life experience; to actually create life…and so it goes on.

Expectations that remain just that and never materialise end up like a vulture of self-loathing that sits on your shoulder and constantly reminds you of what you’ve not got/had. They’re to be avoided. Though today’s world makes that very difficult and avoiding the endless taunting images of all that you’ve not yet achieved damn near impossible. And unfortunately no amount of motivational words, self-help links or sensible platitudes from your contemporaries will be enough. We need a full societal overhaul. For it’s not just the planet that’s in danger of imploding.

On a lighter note; it’s nearly Christmas and all my wrapping is done (badly).

I’ve Fallen off the Wagon

So there it is; the demise of my fitness is nearly complete. To re-cap 2017 was the year I re-sculptured my body and overhauled my cardiovascular system. I entered 2018 with a robust; muscular heart and arteries you could whistle down. I was an acheiver and could legitimately tick the ‘I do moderate exercise five times per week’ box without clenching my bum cheeks. Speaking of which when I did clench them; two firm orbs would be revealed; not that I looked…in a mirror…with a mirror…and a smile. My bingo wings were less dinner lady and more Caitlyn Jenner’s first unveiling. Even my ‘wobble’ (extra chin) which I inherited paternally along with dry skin and tiny cankles was reduced. Confidence levels relatively high I sashayed into the new year with further plans for physical endurance and personal acheivement.

2018 however didn’t pan out quite like that. In fact it could be described as roller-bladings over cobble stones in a tutu with no pants on, or juggling with puppies wearing Freddie Kruger’s gloves. Either way it’s kept me on my toes; and perhaps in retrospect that was quite enough exercise without actually visiting the gym! I did manage a walking challenge for charity in the summer and from that point on I developed an unhealthy obsession with excess eating and chilled white wine served with ice. I blame the heatwave; long summer nights listening to music under the trees whilst the kids made memories in a cheap 3-ring paddling pool until dusk. Where Kettle crisps and hummus replaced actual meals, and every night I’d produce a top-notch ice-cream cone with a variety of sprinkles before practising my Lambada and recalling the more deviant details of my first holiday abroad; Majorca 1988…

To be honest it’s standard for me to be fatter in the summer; why oh why the Lord does this to me I’ll never know. I mean right when I want to get my milk-bottle thighs out he adds podge and usually a fine rash from the heat. It seems a little unfair considering I’m Baptised, Confirmed and used to sing a ruddy decent Alto in the church choir for many years before turning to fags and cheap liquor. Anyway I accept this curse and usually adapt my warm weather wardrobe by becoming a hippie; layering, chakra bracelets, flip=flops with black painted toenails that sort of thing. That way I maintain an allure of still being in shape whilst working wishy-washy, flouncy clothing with an ethnic twist…up there for thinking down there for Bangra. Then before you know it I’m back in 80 denier’s with an a-line skirt and boots fooling the world like my Patchouli oil don’t stink, anyway I digress…

So it came to pass that my 10 classes a week at the gym fell to 6 then down to 4. As if to highlight my utter failing a whole bunch of my contemporaries at the gym continued (almost on purpose) to maintain their enthusiasm for what now seem a ridiculous number of classes per week. Furthermore they began to restrict their diet, clean eating and all that, weighing everything they ingested and performing complex mathamatical equations to ensure success. Rising like skinny, toned goddesses from the cheesy chips I still coveted they could calculate the macros I’d eaten that day, just from the the tension in the seams of my leggings. Whilst they were upping their kg’s, I’d purchased a pair of elastic-waisted trousers from Primark and considered an ISA to save for the Bariatric bed I’ll no doubt require in my lifetime. At this point it was autumn and life was simply about baked potatoes and early nights plus I’d also discovered Aldi’s cheap chocolate which wasn’t playing in my favour. Heading towards Christmas I’m now only attending one or two classes per week and the likelihood of me cancelling one or the other is quite high; depending on the Mother appearing brandishing a bottle of mulled wine and either child requiring a bath. So I’m now in a period of acceptance. And will trade henceforth on my ‘kind face’ and cheery disposition.

However my goals for 2019 are perfecting a ‘crab’ and achieving the ‘splits’; so watch this space…

The Righteous Brothers were wrong; no melody is ‘unchained’.

I find myself lingering upon far-reaching, cosmic thoughts of late. Pretty sure it’s the impending menopause; I haven’t bought my purple jumpsuit just yet, but I’m perfecting some acerbic comments and my ‘tut’ / eye-roll is ready to go. Only recently I attended a concert and heard a piece of music played that means a great deal to me. It’s a classical piece that both in the ‘second batch’ of my children were born to…literally.

I can still recall straining through the contractions to shout ‘play it a-f*ckin-gain, get to the good bit; the good bit, the rousing bridge with minor chords, the crescendo bit, ffs come on the ring of fire is here…’ and to give Daddy his due; he got it spot on.

I’ll not dwell on how a deaf/mute with no hands could have done it faster. Or if a dog had taught a hawk wearing boxing gloves to achieve it they’d have expected less praise…I digress.

Anyhoo; it occurred to me whilst sitting within touching distance of the violin soloist (in a white suit, skinny, spotty and balding; a full house) who was caressing my soul; through my ears that a celestial chain reaction was taking place.

Delving deeper I imagined all the micro-links and chains that connect all our sensitive and highly personal mini-life experiences via musical notes. And that’s another thing; think of all the compositions of music; within all the genres that are created from just, seven musical notes. (on a piano at least) . The major and minor chords, blends of sharps and flats, limitless combinations each timed to perfection. The layout of which evokes a myriad of different emotions; as we mentally link faces we love, nostalgic scents and touching memories.

I mused at how our brain extracts all the emotional data pumped into us through our senses and simultaneously marries it all up. Then formulates a magical algorithm that produces a physical effect. It does this on a second-by-second basis and each time it’s slightly different; as more and more intimate detail is added and must be calculated and re-calculated. Andall of this happens faster than a heart beat and without us knowing.

So it came to pass that on this evening as I listened to this highly emotive piece of music; I felt the hairs on my arms stand to attention, my heart pound in my chest and tears fell onto my cheeks as I replayed the unfettered joy of being handed a perfect baby. The sheer desperation I’d felt after battling through a pain only a woman whose given birth can imagine. A bittersweet pain; mixed with fear and hope that ended (thank God) with elation and relief.

Though I sat next to my eldest child who was born via a c-section, where no music was played and I was under a general anaethetic. A little one born too early; who was not growing and was given a chance of survival weighted against her, I squeezed her hand and gave silent thanks, safe in the knowledge that the symphony was now richer than ever.

Note to self: must buy some Tena-lady pads and a bag of Strawberry Bon Bons.

A Celebration of Life…

Who doesn’t love a birthday?

Particularly your child’s birthday. A celebration of the day you endured pain, nothing short of the sort of medieval torture one might see on Horrible Histories. That beautiful time of the year that appears annually and robs you of a couple of hundred quid, your peace, time and a triangle of hair around each temple (thus also robbing you of the simple ponytail until it’s recovered).

The run up to which includes sourcing their greatest toy desires, organising a party, writing and handing out invitations, literally feeling your blood pressure rising as you hand over your debit card over and over again. Collating responses to said party invites, wrapping gifts, attempting to write memory-making words in a card that you must, must, fucking must remember to add to the sparse memory box you keep forgetting to add to.

You must confirm numbers, buy cakes, one for school and one for the party, pat yourself literally on the back for firing off the job of party bags to the venue; thus you cannot be held accountable for. Buy new outfits for the birth-day, the actual party plus siblings, guilt all available family members into helping then ship everything required to the venue whilst still exhausted from getting up at 5:45am and coercing birthday child back into bed several times until the will to live appears a dim and distant memory.

Then clear up expensive paper, painstakingly applied to stupidly expensive shit they’ll only toss round the house; potentially chipping and/or scratching furniture, up off the floor whilst inwardly groaning at one’s growing carbon footprint. Kow-towing to cries for a ‘fun’ breakfast then apologising wholeheartedly to the nursery staff who must then contain a 4 year old experiencing an early sugar rush combined with ‘it’s my bloody birthday-itis’.

You must remember EVERYTHING. All the stuff; you know the stuff that must be remembered on such a day…updating social media, bringing the tangle teaser (single-most important thing after the humble ‘wipe’), additional shoes (they don’t match, but fuck it, at this point you don’t give even a tiny shit) and the phone charger; lest you shouldn’t have full charge for all the pictures.

At this point you must greet each parent and child, take leave of a gift; unless in my case the birthday girl has already wrestled it out of a surprised parent’s hands, ripped a few strips off the wrapping then got bored and tossed it in the opposite direction. You must watch all the children, calm any in-fighting, observe who goes in and out of the toilets, ensure everyone has their share of the party food, keep plastic cups topped up with squash and prevent any flame/hair related incident during the big sing-off.

Finally you must find everyone’s shoes and coats and say goodbye nicely whilst smoothing down frizzy yet vaguely sweaty hair (mine) and dolling out party bags and squashed slices of cheap cake. After this it’s round up your own consignment of owned children; all their stuff including a huge pile of gifts all half opened and slightly battered and toss them all, giving no shits, whatsoever into the back of the car and drive your brood; higher than a chav on E back home.

Here you must continue with an ever-diminishing level of patience (after all the birthday’s pretty much done and normal service can now resume) until everything’s back in the house. Then wash the sweat, tomato sauce and icing off your precious children’s hands and face and supervise a tired teeth clean with a growing tension which is causing a small tick in one eye (yours not the childs).

Next a lot of telling off will ensue as you battle like a Spartan in a Colesseum; attempting to get children who are by now whining about tummy ache and are equally prepared to ‘take you down’ if you prevent them taking a noisy/light-up toy into bed.

At approximately 11pm it’ll all be over and you’ll be congratulating yourself with a well-earned glass of something alcoholic then picking through which presents you’ll be saving to hand out at future parties for the next 12 months.

Until next year….

Bucket List Antithesis… ‘The F*ck-it List’

A life is enriched by many things; family, friends, experience and twice-cooked chips.

A new on-trend thing to do is to create a ‘Bucket List’; where you list all the things you would like to do/experience before the Grim Reaper arrives with his body rake.

This began as something one would do if unlucky enough to know that your time on earth would be cut short but has now become an excellent way of simply ‘taking stock’. To look at your life experience to date and consider all the things you’d like to ‘make happen’ before your time is up. I mean what better time to collate wistful ideas for mind-blowing encounters, adrenalin-charged events and vacations to exotic climbs than when your healthy enough to carry them out? That’s right whilst you still have fully workable arms and legs and enough iron reserves to get off your ‘long time dead’ arse and take the plunge, go for it!

I mean who doesn’t want to think that their one time on earth will be as diverse, culturally rich and jam-packed with seven shades of ‘amazeballs’ shit as humanly possible?

However, on this occasion and for the purposes of this piece I’ve decided to write my antithesis to the traditional Bucket List; The ‘F*ck-it List’ so here we go…

1. Pubes – f*ck it; let them be. I’ve written this delightful prose to help you to understand my feelings post-40 about ‘Area 51’ of a woman’s body.

Pubes are your friend, a gift from God

Like a hairy bikini they protect your ‘mod’

Like tumble-weed on a windy day

Please accept that they’re here to stay

Created for a reason we have to succumb

They’re here to cover your front bum.

I think the genius of this poem is in its simplicity; the writer (me) is simply asking you to embrace, accept and love your pubes rather than spend the rest of your days in a constant battle to tame them.

They cannot be tamed; it is a game you will lose and it will cost you time, money and pain. GIVE IT UP; I’m giving you permission.

2. Aspirations – f*ck ’em they’re just a massive pressure. Let it go, stop dreaming and focus on the here and now.

The job you currently have, ‘it’ll do’. The place you live, ‘it’s alright’. You’re other half, ‘beggars can’t be choosers/you made your bed…’ Delete your social media and only buy Bella magazine. See, the pressure’s off!

3. The perfect body – f*ck it, that takes serious dedication, abstinence and pain.

Accept the one you’ve got, buy a size bigger, stand up straight and smile. Think ‘teeth n tits’, wear Spanx and voilà you’re working it!

4. Seeing the World – f*ck that!

Download Google Earth and trot the globe from the comfort of your armchair. Add chocolate and wine to really enhance the experience. Plus you’ll be lowering your carbon footprint into the bargain…everyone’s a winner, including the planet.

In short; make some plans but make them realistic (like a Silver-grade Haven caravan through The Sun newspaper token scheme). Because endlessly focusing on luxury this and high-brow that can only lead to misery.

Let’s re-focus on the simple times of yester-year when life was less complex and contentment no more difficult to attain than adding Spam chunks to a packet of Super Noodles.

Oh you’re very welcome 😁

It’s Life Jim; but not as we know it…

Dear God life is complex these days.

And apparently everyone is responsible for everyone and nobody is really responsible for themselves.

And if someone says they’re fine, they might not be and we should all be talking about everything with everyone in case we miss something.

And we’re all endlessly sharing everything about ourselves; right down to our inner most thoughts/demons/fears and we should want to listen to everyone else’s.

Though we can’t be sure that smiles are genuine or ‘I’m okay’s’ are real ‘okay’s’ and that’s okay because ‘it’s okay to not be okay’ even if you’re not okay enough to be honest about how okay you really are. And all of this is leading to a melting pot of emotions spilling over like the Magic bloody porridge pot and we’re all going to get burned…it’s almost catching.

How do I really feel? Am I being honest with myself?

Is my friend whose laughing like a loon and is sporting a perfect eyebrow today whilst regaling me with her intention to try the Spicy chicken wrap at McDonalds (don’t it’ll burn your face off) actually planning her own demise?

And how often do I ask her if she’s really okay before she is not longer okay and is in fact really pissed off with me for being a Debbie Downer? (Apologies to all the Debbie’s out there; I realise you could sue me for defamation of character on account of name/emotion slang association but fuck it I’m on a roll).

At this point in life we’re all fearful and it’s getting worse.

There’s enough genuine fears; an actual sociopath is the President of the US, our NHS is being administered ‘end of life’ drugs as we speak and you can’t visit parts of sleepy Wiltshire for fear of being poisoned by Russian henchmen.

And we have to censor literally everything that comes out of our mouth for fear of offending someone.

Gender is complex. Sexual preference is complex.

What we eat is beyond complex, political and is now touted as one of the leading contenders for a climate catastrophe.

We should all be supporting minorities; even though there are now a trillion of them rather than 3 or 4 back in the late eighties. And each of these minorities are now being handled with kid-gloves and backed by some agency set-up or other and are apparently more deserving of benefits and rights than the rest of the world who came before it was fashionable to take each passing whim and make it a life choice.

I’m not talking about the clear-cut cases. The world certainly has to evolve and there have been well needed changes in the way it’s now deemed appropriate to behave. But it’s the frilly offshoots I’m struggling with. And the lack of understanding from those staunchly determined to be some standalone. Those micro-versions who endlessly complain even if we mistakenly say something that might upset their delicate sensibility. Not to mention the sense of injustice and lack of fairness in the way us ‘normal’ folk are now treated in comparison.

Perhaps playing by the rules is now outdated?

Should I continue to take responsibility for my actions and health (that’s right, don’t make me responsible for your obesity, smoking habits or any obscure and expensive treatments you might require to become a Unicorn whilst some are waiting an inordinate length of time for a mammogram)?

Continue working, paying my taxes and not engaging in risky behaviour?

You know the balanced life I was brought up to cultivate; where I appreciate that I can’t have it all and I don’t feel the need to rebel, sue someone or make it my life’s work to convert the masses or make someone pay for my need to be ‘different’.

Yes, I get it that for some they can’t help being different. But they will also have to understand that different is what they are, and as such will have to adapt; though fully entitled to be who they are; live the way they wish, they must also stand in line to wait for help with the rest of us.

To those who have come to this Country to seek asylum. You are welcome but you also must adapt and play by the rules of this Country. You must work and pay taxes and then you’ll be entitled to the benefits available. I don’t agree with Burkha’s or other forms of dress that ‘hide’ you. You should be as visible as anyone else. And you have absolutely no right to oppose other members of our society’s way of life; if you’re offended turn away. If you can’t live with it. Move on.

To travellers; I applaud you keeping to the traditions of your Romany ancestors but have some respect for others. The land you set-up upon, the rubbish you produce, the way you appear to swoop in and create havoc then feel aggrieved that you’re less than welcome.

To religious groups; there is room for all. Stop being offended by each other; you’ve each no more right to practice than the other. Your Gods are your own; if you had sufficient faith in them you’d not be threatened by anyone else’s.

Also if I’m to believe you all there must be more than one God, just sayin…

To the beauty industry; no matter how much you’re forced to peddle that everyone is beautiful there will always be those who are more so. Model’s are such for a reason. Yes I’m very glad to see more realistic shapes for size appropriate clothing, I’m all for choice but let’s get a grip of the fact that professional photo’s of a short, dumpy girl with thin hair and a squint wearing a couture gown is not going to sell it. For the love of God (whoever’s I couldn’t care less) let’s all ingest a healthy dose of reality.

To everyone; you can’t be everything.

There are limitations; we’re all subject to them. Genetics has made you a certain way; men are generally physically stronger than women; sorry that’s a fact. Only women can have babies. End of.

Some people are intelligent, others creative, some can sing or dance and though dedication, training and the luck of the bloody draw can help to achieve this though not everyone can be everything.

What you can be is kind.

You can be responsible for your actions and supportive of your fellow man. You can sample all life has to offer yet be introspective enough to decide you’re not good at something and give it up; without reproach, guilt or blaming society at large for conspiring against you.

“It’s not fair that I’m not allowed to make an album because I’m tone deaf, have a lisp and have no sense of timing; I’m being discriminated against.”

Let’s bring back pride.

And understanding, acceptance; maybe even a bit of making do!

Just be the best you can be. And recycle, reduce your consumption of meat, plastic and consumerism…and that’s all encapsulated in ‘be kind’, to those you meet and the planet upon which you reside. And to yourself.

Finally post #mentalhealthday it is indeed good to talk; though we’re not responsible for everyone’s mental health.

What we are however responsible for is how we behave and it’s impact on those around us. #itsokaytonotbeokay #bekind