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Archive for the ‘Things I don’t like’ Category

  • My lockdown wasn’t wildly productive, unlike over-achieving friends (who are always over-achieving, sigh), though I did at least organise all my recipe clippings into new folders.
  • Whilst I love binge-watching, because I become engrossed in the world of the series, I promptly forget it when I move on to the next thing. Binge-watching feels disrespectful to the year of effort of all those involved in putting the series together, and then I watch it in just a day or so, and forget it soon after. Whereas when I watch something over weeks, the pleasure is eked out, I have time to think about it, and the experience is etched into my mind. Not to mention that I then have to wait another year (at least) for the next season!
  • The language men use to demean women. All. The. Time. They do it unconsciously – often, but by no means, always.  For example, I hear men talking about women “faffing about” when the women are instead trying to organise themselves AND the children, the dogs, the men themselves. Or using “hormones” as a reason to dismiss women’s legitimate concerns. It is pervasive, insidious, and teaches younger generations it is okay to do that.
  • WordPress is trying to force me into using a new editor. I like the one I have. And I want to keep up with changes in software and new technology, because I have no-one else to help me. But really. Why change, WordPress? If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Sigh.
  • The fat-shaming (or ugly-shaming) of people who have so many more personality traits, statements or actions that can be (and should be) legitimately criticised.  Sure, if they turn themselves orange with fake tans, choose a stupid hair-cut, or distort their body-shapes through plastic surgery then their actions are open to ridicule. But not just because they don’t look good. There are many of us who can’t help not looking good. Please, stop it!
  • The fact that empathy for our fellow humans is not a universal trait.

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7 October is Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) Awareness  Day. Few people know anything about this condition. I didn’t until a friend was diagnosed with it almost 20 years ago. It sounded horrific.  Some years later, I developed shooting nerve pains in my face. Once again, I was lucky with my GP and my dentist. Both suspected it might be TN and I was saved the months or sometimes years of multiple tooth extractions and struggles to find a diagnosis that other sufferers have endured. It has since changed its form to what is called TN2, and now manifests with a constant burning. That change, too, was diagnosed quickly.

The condition can go into remission for days, weeks, months or years. But it is a progressive condition, and flares (or attacks) become more frequent, and for some, constant. They can be triggered by touch, wind on the face, weather, stress, brushing teeth, eating, or talking.

Even after diagnosis, TN patients struggle to find adequate pain relief, are accused of being drug seekers, or of exaggerating the pain by medical practitioners who know little about the condition. One woman reports of being told by a psychologist that she had “two arms and two legs” and should “get out and live.”

I have joined an online group of New Zealand sufferers. It is a supportive group, but shows the devastation this condition wreaks, as it is filled with people who have had to give up working, who live constantly with pain, who struggle to care for their children or elderly parents, or live anything close to a normal life, and who feel isolated and lonely. Yet they are able to joke online, climb ladders to paint their houses, travel overseas, and keep connections, even while their family and friends distance themselves, because they struggle to deal with someone who is constantly in pain.

So far I have been lucky, and I know it. So I’m torn between balancing the need to make more people aware of this condition and my desire not to make this a big deal – because for the moment, for me at least, it is manageable. So I’m talking about it today because there are many who are not as lucky as I am. And having TN makes me more aware of others in pain too. I now know how chronic pain or severe pain can be extremely debilitating, whatever the condition that causes it. It can be exhausting and restrictive and isolating. You never know when it will hit. And although someone might look fine, that doesn’t mean they are not screaming inside.

So I choose to use TN Awareness Day to implore you to reach out to anyone you know who suffers pain and let them know you care.

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In the last week or so, our Prime Minister was embroiled in an argument in Australia, when a shock-jock Radio DJ commented that the Australian Prime Minister should “shove a sock down her throat.” Rightly, the violence and innate misogyny of the comment was widely deplored, including by Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, who said, “I find that very disappointing, and of course, that’s way out of line.”

He could have left it at that, but he added, “I have two daughters, so you can expect that’s how I would feel personally about it.”

Why did he feel the need to say that? Didn’t he understand that women deserved respect before he had daughters? Didn’t he speak out against obvious misogyny before he had daughters? Didn’t he object to obvious violent threats against women before he had daughters? How does his wife feel about this? She was around before his daughters. Was he so unaware of gender issues and sexism that it never occurred to him before having daughters? Or did he just not care?

Not to mention that by equating the leader of his neighbouring country with his daughters, he is infantilising her, suggesting she is in need of his protection, that he’s a father figure.

Why are men so proud of defending women’s rights because they have daughters?  I don’t get it. And clearly, they don’t either, because if they thought about what they’re saying, they might actually understand.

C’mon, blokes. You either support and defend women’s rights or you don’t. By stressing that you support women and object to offensive language and behaviour about them because you have daughters, you’re not endearing yourself to women. Or not this one, at least. You’re saying that if you didn’t have daughters, you would be less appalled. That you’ve never seen women as your peers, that you accepted misogyny and discrimination in the past, that you never saw us as people. You’re boasting that you felt free to ignore our issues until you had daughters.

In fact, it is almost as if you are justifying your position to your fellow men, using your daughters as an excuse for your defence of women. As if that is something that needs to be explained away.

No surprise that I am, quite frankly, sick to death of a man’s defence of women’s rights coming with the qualifier, “I have daughters.”

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