THE LIFE LINE

Relationships

FullSizeRender-1The umbilical chord is often seen as the ultimate connection between mother and baby. For me, it’s nature’s helping hand; a necessity rather than a matter of choice. A survival tool for the child within.

And although carrying something as wriggly and heavy as me for nine months is testament to how strong we are as women, it’s the connection that is made after that time is up, the invisible one, that is what makes a mother, a mother.

My brother was a nightmare, much like most teenage boys growing up in the big city. He had an attitude, loved women a little too much and hated school. I, on the other hand, was glued to your hip, aiming to please you at every turn. I felt bad I didn’t want to wear that money belt you insisted on me wearing at secondary school and was wracked with guilt when I snuck off to see boys instead of revising. Your children were polar opposites, but you seemed to balance our characters and fulfil our needs so seamlessly from day one that I’m sure you’re some sort of super human. And for that, we both thank you.

I had always thought that you were the only one capable of such magic, but of course I was wrong. Naturally, I still think you’re number one, but after asking for people to share the love they had for their mothers, I realised: you’re one part of a very big, very strong and very beautiful tribe. And so, the Dear Mum, Project was born.

So many of you had lots to say about the women who brought you into the world, proving how strong maternal bonds really are. I personally think something must happen to a woman when she gives birth that is never spoken about except for with fellow mothers because I sure don’t possess the stoicism, the strength or the resilience that you and I describe about the women who gave birth to us.

Today is a chance for mothers everywhere to take a break from the hardest job in the world. So as you put your feet up with a cup of tea and a chocolate hob knob, we say thank you, we love you and we appreciate you, for one day of the year (which really isn’t enough but there’s no real way to repay you, so it will have to do for now).

Happy Mother’s Day, to all of you wonderful creatures.

(As for you mum, I will never be able to show you how grateful I am for the last twenty five years, but I can do my best, as you always tell me to. So, dearest mother, the unquestionable love of my entire life, thank you for absolutely everything you’ve ever done for me- from telling me daily that everything will be okay, to gently letting me know that I should never, ever wear red lipstick – you’re an angel, and life without you is unimaginable.

Happy Mother’s Day, my life line.)

THE TRUTH

Mindfulness, Relationships

sssh_by_publiccenzor-d4aziuaI’ve travelled the world. I worship Madonna. I hate you.

There you go, I lied three times and I’ve written three sentences.

There are jobs out there that are designed to figure out the truth: doctors, judges and scientists, to name a few. But outside of the work place, how much truth can we really handle? And given the choice, do we want to know the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, all of the time?

Our biggest secret as human beings is that we even have secrets. We like to pretend that we are honest, up front about everything and have never told a lie. We aspire to be deemed, “really genuine” by everyone we meet and it’s our own job to persuade the world that we’re legitimate – a bit like a second hand car dealer selling a motor he knows is flawed – because if we don’t sell ourselves as the real deal, then who will want us? Trying to be the perfect human being is impossible, because we’re impossibly flawed. But we’re triers, us humans. And that is why we lie.

We try to fool our friends into thinking we’ve ditched the guy that’s bad for us, we hide things from our lovers for fear of losing them and we persuade children that there’s a tiny person who trades their molars for hard-earned fairy cash. But who do we think we’re actually kidding? As humans, we know a lie when we hear one, but we choose to ignore it most of the time because it’s easier, because it’s not worth the hassle, or because we knew it was a lie all along (and being British, we’ll do anything to avoid an awkward exchange).

So, armed with the knowledge that everybody does it, why does it hurt so bad when we find out that we have been deceived by someone we love? Before thinking about their good intentions and whether you really wanted to know or not, you feel disappointed, hurt and then a little bit silly. Then, if it’s really bad, you feel like you’ve acquired a brutal stab wound, a gun shot and a slap to the face all at the same time.

It’s not until you take a step back and think about similar lies that you have told that you realise that they might actually have been trying to protect you from pain as opposed to inflicting it. But the cliches we so often use – Ignorance is bliss. Curiosity killed the cat. Things better left unsaid –  all tell us to stop searching for truth, because knowing itall might actually lead to our downfall. I am in no way condoning the actions of a liar but am merely drawing attention to the fact that it’s as common as a roast on a Sunday.

Do I believe that it’s right to be honest? Of course I do. Have I shared all of my secrets? Hell no. There are some things that I’ll take to my grave. So how many cats should we let out of the bag? The truth is, I don’t know.

All you ever hear when talking about the perfect relationship is trust, trust and more trust. But can we actually really rely on anyone?

A friend of mine said you could only really count on your mum.

And even she told me Father Christmas was real…

Just use your instincts as best as possible I guess. Good luck!

THE FEMALE

Feminism

Emma WatsonMy most memorable International Women’s Day to date was the year I saw Florence + The Machine at Ally Pally. Granted, I didn’t buy the tickets in celebration of womankind, but it was a nice coincidence all the same.

I went there with a secret hope that she would acknowledge the day, and Florence being Florence, she did. In the best way ever.

After howling her way through hundreds of hits, she asked the men in the audience to lift the women nearest to them onto their shoulders. My brother is 6ft2 and frequents the gym daily, but I assumed he’d still tell me and my thunder thighs to jog on. Much to my surprise however, I felt myself being lifted into the air, along with hundreds of other women, desperately clinging onto my pint of wine and high-fiving everyone within reach.

I felt like a rock star.

And that’s how I think women should be made to feel every day.

Forget the princess crap – although a tiara would be nice – we would instead simply love to live on the edge with you, to be believed in like you, to be as bold and brave as you’ve been allowed to be, to run across stages barefoot; screaming and howling like Florence herself because it makes us feel good. Chuck us in the air, challenge us, swear at us (we’ll swear back) and let us be wild and free and live like the creatures we were made to be. We’re resilient you know, all it takes is for you to give us a chance to be.

Asking the men to lift women onto their shoulders in celebration was so symbolic of our fight for equal rights, because without men lending us a helping hand, we’re fighting a losing battle. You, dear gentleman, are crucial. Despite this, there are still so many who will do anything to avoid being deemed a feminist, mainly because they’re unsure of what the word even means. So if Emma (Goddess) Watson wasn’t clear enough, then I’ll try to be: a feminist is someone who wants equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. That’s it. No frills, no fancies, no shouting, no screaming; just a world where you, your mum, your niece and your brother, all have the same chance to be the best human they can be.

So although we are a long way from our end goal, I think it’s important to acknowledge the advances that we have made so far because, well, glass half full and all that. We now live in a time where The Oscars are less about manicures and more about Lopez, Streep and Arquette coming together in raptures for equal pay. A place where Amal Alamuddin is no longer referred to as George Clooney’s wife. And a world where being called a slut on the street is being challenged (finally).

Believe it or not people, times, although slowly, are a-changing. And I’m excited.

So lift up the women in your life, high onto your shoulders and celebrate them this Sunday. I don’t need to list the reasons why you should.

Have a good one.