Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Relationships, honesty & male attitudes to pregnancy/abortion

This is a rather spontaneous entry coming out of the musings of my mind over the last few days...

Due to a situation I've found myself in with my ex-partner, Ive had reason to question how i behave in relationships and what i expect from my partner. As I've been going through various counselling courses and personal counselling myself i have changed. This has happened over the space of 3 1/2 years in which I've been with two different partners. I realise that i am incredibly honest about things I've done, experiences which have shaped me for good or bad and, although it can take a while for me to voice my feelings, i am honest about what I'm feeling and why i think I'm feeling that way. Because honesty is so important to me i expect my partner to be the same and I've kind of realised that that isn't always the case.

I was talking to my friend Gill (who i met through Cruse training and i feel is a kindred spirit who is on a similar journey to myself right now) and something she said made me stop and think. She said that to expect everyone else to have the same high values as you do is quite daunting. Or words to that effect. And she is right - i need to reflect on that as i know that i have very high expectations and values for myself and i need to really think about whether i put those thoughts onto those i love...but then there are things which i think go beyond values and come down to respect and love. If you love and respect someone and you know that something you have done will bring them immeasurable pain then you ensure that they find out about it in the kindest way possible..i guess that this isn't just about partners but about all our relationships with those we love.

In other, entirely unrelated thoughts, i was thinking about men's attitudes to abortion (this comes after watching Borgen and my brain spinning off into thinking about stuff). I am, and always have been a huge supporter of the woman's right to choose. I guess that many of us women have had pregnancy scares and these lead us to think about our options. I remember being 17 and my period being late. I hadn't had unprotected sex but then accidents can happen and i was really, really scared. In my logical mind i knew that i didn't want a baby - i was with someone i loved (who later became my husband, and then my ex-husband!) but i had my whole life ahead of me and i didn't want to be tied down. Plus, even at the age of 17 i knew that i didn't want to have children ever. Logically i knew all of these things but the minute that i thought that i could be pregnant my emotions ran riot. I began to consider what it would be like to have a baby and these were alien emotions to me. I guess I'm saying that i now believe that none of us know exactly how we feel until we are in the situation and that judging other women for making what is an extremely difficult decision is wrong. Ive never considered how the man would feel though. I'm not talking about when you are in a committed, loving relationship because i would *hope* that the man would support his partner. What if i slept with someone i didn't know that well and got pregnant? Would he want to know that i was having an abortion? How would he feel? Would it be right for him to express his desire  to keep the baby even if i wanted an abortion? These are things that i have never thought about before because I've never thought of abortion as a man's issue. I don't know how many male readers i have but id be interested in your thoughts.

On that note, and now that I'm in thoughtful mode, I'm going to begin my uni assignment. An essay of 3000 words....first essay I've written since i did my A Levels 23 years ago. Meep!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Renting v Buying, Government Cuts & Multiplex Hell...


My lovely friend Tania, who writes this blog about her food and beer adventures, has given me a friendly nudge to remind me that i haven't blogged for a while. Well, this is true and i apologise dear reader. I was hoping to post some photos from my lovely trip to Istanbul but i seem to have mislaid the cable for my camera...i will attempt to get this rectified soon.

Istanbul was fabulous in so many ways and i met some amazing people and went to awe-inspiring places. If you have never been then you should go - its quite unlike anywhere I've ever been before. but more on that when i post about it.

Since i left my job at the end of 2011 i have been really busy doing crafts, cooking and studying but since I've been back from holiday i seem to have lacked some structure to my life and have felt a little adrift. I'm not quite sure why this is but this week i have been trying to get a little more structured and have been  putting things in my diary and attempting to do them. Attempting being the operative word. Myself and Mr A have recently discovered the joy if Assassins Creed on the X-Box (i love computer games) and i am having to stay away from the game during the day as otherwise my hours just seem to disappear.

A slight blip on my journey to a new life has come in the guise of my friend, and lodger, deciding to move out and get her own place. Obviously I'm delighted for her but it leaves me in a bit of a quandary. i still have a mortgage to pay and my redundancy pay-out wont last forever so i will need to make a decision about what to do. Do i look for another lodger or sell up and rent somewhere? In an ideal world i wouldn't have a lodger but if i do have one then i much prefer it to be a friend however, most of my friends are now at the stage of having their own homes or are renting with partners. The plus side of keeping the house is that i have bricks and mortar but that comes with responsibilities - the roof needs replacing which i wont see much change out of £5k and if i have to sell in a years time (because the work that i want to do is paid far less well than what i have been used to) then i wont really see a return on that money. If i sell up and rent the monthly payments will be about the same but i wont have all the upkeep to pay for but then it worries me that i wont have a foot on the property ladder.... I'm someone who always worries about the future and if i rent then it concerns me about what i will do when i retire and have limited income for rent. When did life become so complicated??

Its my final training at Cruse this weekend and. following my tutorial a couple of weeks ago i am very confident about them taking me on as a counsellor/Bereavement Support Officer. That said in order to pass the course i need to do a stack load of work for my portfolio before Saturday...that, on top of a 3000 word essay i need to write for uni, is playing on my mind somewhat. My plan is to buckle down to some of that tonight and tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow morning I'm volunteering at St Martins Helpdesk. I'm concerned about the Helpdesk at the moment. Funding, as we all know, is being cut back and i know that this is bound to affect the Helpdesk and the services we provide. It angers me greatly that the cuts affect the poorest people in society. We deal with a lot of homeless people - now, I'm sure that many of you think that someone becomes homeless and the council will sort it out. You would think so as they have a duty of care to everyone living in the city, however this isn't the case. We recently had a family in who had been to ever government/council agency and other charity with no success until they came to us and we helped them to get housed - they actually said that without us they wouldn't have known where else to turn and would probably still be on the streets. And that's without the plethora of single men living on the streets who aren't seen as high priority. it breaks my heart that in this day and age people not only live on the streets but die. Yes, people DIE. every winter we say goodbye to someone. Its so, so sad.

In less important news i went to the cinema today (am making good use of Orange Wednesdays in an attempt to be a little more frugal) with Mr A and a couple of friends. We'd got tickets to see The Woman in Black   and i was really looking forward to it. First mistake of the day was that we didn't think about it being half-term! However we'd gone to Cineworld in Solihull so one would expect a better class of teenager (tic), how wrong we were.... The cinema was quite full when we arrived and we were sitting towards the back and the majority of the audience were teenagers. Now, i wont tar them all with the same brush as some of them were really well behaved but a large number were behaving appallingly - they were talking all the way through the film, laughing, shrieking, using their phones, kicking the backs of our chairs... one of my friends turned to the boys behind s and asked them to be quiet which they did...for a while but the general level of noise was just unacceptable. I could feel myself getting really irritated and angry - why on earth would someone pay to see a film and then talk all the way through it?? Anyway, after 20 minutes i realised that i wasn't going to be able to enjoy the film and left. The cinema were very good and gave me my money back but it did make me laugh when they asked if i had reported it to a member of staff upstairs - i pointed out that there were no members of staff around and this got me thinking about how cinemas have changed. I went to see Mark Kermode doing a talk at The Electric a few months ago where he discussed how cinemas are now just giant monopolies who don't really give us good customer service anymore. I have tried to be more selective as to what films i go and see following that talk - i don't want to give Hollywood my hard earned cash for the tripe they churn out - i want them to make films which make me think, i don't want to see Underworld 7 or whatever just because its marketed as the Must See Film... try it yourself, when watching trailers ask yourself "Does this look like a really good film or is it just the same old hogwash?" I really want to see A Dangerous Method but its not showing in Birmingham until TWO WEEKS after its release date and only the independent cinemas are showing it. This proved to me the importance of our independent cinemas - The Midlands Arts Centre (The MAC),

 the Electric

 and The Artrix in Bromsgrove

 really need our support and do a fabulous job plus you get excellent customer service! Wouldn't it be great if we could show the multi-nationals that we actually cared about our cinema-going experience by choosing to see films at the independents?