Friday, 18 September 2015

Do I have to go outside?

I've mentioned it before that I have anxiety issues and most of the time I'm cool but going outside isn't hard for me it's just I'd much rather not be not inside... Oh yeah, totally nailed that sentence. So I just though I'd write it out what I sometimes feel and how I cope. I think it might help me. So this is more for me than, you guys. 

So let's say I want to go out I'll start preparing at least a day before. I'll tell my husband I'm coming to see him or I'm going to town on the Monday morning and then actually manage to do it on the Tuesday or even Wednesday. My two friends and both have set times and days that we meet up and they rarely change because they know I will most probably flake on them. I hate being a flake. 

I have to ready myself to go outside by myself, like mentally prepare. Its got harder lately. I don't get to "just pop out" I wish I could, it would be the most amazing thing to just decide I'm going outside. I plan my route - even though I take the same route and visit the same places and same shops, I still plan it out in my head. I write a list on paper (I used to do it on my phone but I don't connect with typing as much as I do with actually writing), tbh I will probably write it a couple of times to make sure I've written all the things I need to do/buy. First thing in the morning I set out all my stuff; clothes, makeup, pushchair, baby food - whatever I need when I'm out I set it out neatly and check it three times. I set out half an hour early for my train because rushing stresses me out and make being outside even harder. Then while I'm out, I don't like crowded places; I will actively walk back out of a shop if it has too many people. I don't care if I needed something. I cannot do it. I'll do what I need to do and then jump back on my train home as soon as I can. Get home and then I'll be shattered for the next few days, I don't know why being outside takes so much out of me. It tires me so much. And that's a good day. Like no tears or attacks. That's most of the time, like I've gotten to the point where there is more chance that I'll just be okay with being out as long as I'm all prepared and well timed, I can be like "it's fine, everything is cool". 

Every now and again I'll be having a bad day or I am jumpy and I can feel a panic attack building, so let's say it's been a super difficult day.  I'm trying to define a "bad day"... Umm. So the last one I can remember was after the first time I was out after someone had yelled something quiet racist at me whilst driving past (I'm terrified of yelling, I can't deal with raised voices. I automatically shut down), I had been ill so I was feeling fragile, my baby was in his pushchair because I didn't think I was safe to carry him so he wasn't close, I think I was arguing with someone and I'd not slept because of it so I was pretty fragile but yeah it just sounds like a bit of a shitty day for a normal person but that is honestly enough to just make me not leave the house because I feel so vulnerable. I know its pathetic so don't start. I know it stupid and I should just pull myself together and man up but I can't, I've got better at it and I will keep getting better and if you want to have a go at me, you can go a fuck a cactus and eat a teacup. 
So yeah I have a few things I do to keep me grounded. It's taken me years to find them, I took ideas suggested to me, that didn't work and altered them so they were more me, if that makes sense. 

1) My son
This stemmed from the whole "call a friend or family member" thing instead I concentrate on my son, this is the most effective, for me; I will point out things and spell them, I'll stroke his hair, anything that keeps my focus on him; as long as I'm focused on him I can usually calm myself down. I'll play with his chubby little hands or kiss his little fat face. I'll have him in his carrier on these days, just so he is closer to me. It makes me hyper aware of my breathing and emotions because I know he can feel it and I don't want him to feel like I am so I have to calm down. It took me my entire pregnancy to get it right, I would be able to feel him get stressed and start moving about in a really jabby, sharp way so that how I knew I was upsetting him too and I couldn't take it. I felt like I was hurting my baby so I would do whatever I had to do to calm myself down. But now I can focus and it works pretty much every time. 

2) Singing 
So, breathing exercises have never worked for me, personally, sometimes they've even made it worse but I love to sing and to sing you have to control your breathing, so I sing to my son. Like I'm not saying starts screaming out AC/DC on the train but I'll quietly sing his bedtime songs to him, like 'la vie en rose', 'a wonderful world' and 'dream a little dream of me'. This usually buys me a little time and calms me down for a while or at least slows my breathing. 

3) Playdoh
I get super twitchy and my hands go into overdrive when I'm having an attack or one is building, when I was like 13-17 I would pinch my skin to the point my nails would punctured the skin or Id wring my hands until they got sore so I realised I needed to keep my hands busy. I was buying some presents for my siblings and I saw a little tub of pink playdoh and it sorta clicked in my head that this might help, so I got a tub. Depending on how bad I feeling the ball gets smaller, I find a smaller amounts easier to squish quickly in between my fingers. I call them my playdoh days. It kind of works on two levels- the smell of it makes me feel little and that's really helpful and then squishing it satisfies that urge in my hands to do something. 

These things work for me, they have taken a while to get right and they take a little time to get used to but they help me. 

On the rare days where I have to go in an emergency and I may struggle with an anxiety attack (panic attacks are different), sometimes I can get to and from where I need to go and only be tearful with my breathing, heart rate going slightly fast, other times the second I know I have go out and I start to get ready to leave the house, it starts. My hands get sweaty, my heart starts beating hard, my breathing gets faster, I feel a bit dizzy, I get edgy and I'm even more easily frightened than normal. I've noticed that my hearing gets sharper, I hear little noises that I normally wouldn't be bothered about. By the time I've reached the door, I'm almost in tears. I can usually get outside before I actually start crying. I'll get to where I need to be and be in a full blown attack. My heart goes crazy, I can hear it beating so loud in my ears. My breathing is just not working, I know in hyperventilating but I can't stop it. For me everything becomes for vivid and it some how makes it scarier. People, faces, colour, sounds and movement become terrifying. It's weird like I can see and feel everything all at once, it's like an overload. Before figured out how to deal with them I would hide in a bathroom until I calmed down. Then I started calling someone that knows how to deal with my attacks and they calm me down, my sister has always been able to deal with my attacks, idk why but she's always just been good at it. I've taught my husband what to do although he has only seen them a few time and that's usually when I have had nightmares. Now like I said I use those three things. 

I'm sure I look weird hugging my baby, squishing playdoh and singing but I honestly don't care. I realised I probably look just as weird crying against a wall, unable to breathe. I've been struggling with this kind of thing for a long time but I've gotten so much better at coping. Things like talking and facing fears/triggers have really helped me and I've had my husband by my side every step. He supports me when I'm afraid and holds my hand. He will judge a situation and see if it is better for me to not be there or to face it and he is almost always right. If I say "We need to leave now please" he will always listen. Like I remember when he took me to like a festival type thing, God I was so scared, but he held me tight and made me concentrate on him and didn't get annoyed at me when I had my eyes shut and was holding on to him for dear life. I wanted to do it, we had done some warm ups so like we had been to a few outdoor events with lots of people, I went along with him when his mates wanted to meet up and go out. That was really hard. I mean we were still in a booth and in a quieter area but I was there and I didn't feel like I was going to die. I was in a confined space, full of people I didn't know, I could barely hear myself for the music and it was relatively dim. All the things I'm terrified of. As you can tell I'm great on a night out hahahha :| it was hard but when I got home I was like "omg I did it and I'm not dead" and it helped me. 

So yeah. 

What I'm trying to say is find what works for you, have someone who helps you whether that be partner, family, friend, counsellor or whatever. Talk, facing and sharing what scares you isn't being weak, it is the strongest thing you will do. 

If you see someone hyperventilating or having an attack - gently walk up to them, keep your body language as open and soft as possible and ask them if they are okay. If they ask to be left alone, please try not to get offended- they currently feel like they may be dying. Or if you you don't feel like you should and you're in a shop or something, maybe alert a member of staff or security.  So many times people have afforded me their kindness and and time and each time I am ever grateful. I've been touched by the concern of a stranger so many times. You make a difference to my day and you honestly make it into so many of my stories. When I go home I tell my husband and he thanks god that there are people in the world who haven't lost their humanity and can empathise with strangers. 

Thank you to Leah and Cat. Both of these lovely women took time out of thier day and stopped to make sure I was okay. You are a few of the people I managed to get the name of, you guys made me feel like it's okay to be the way I am <3


Monday, 14 September 2015

My son is NOT an accessory.

So I'm 22 *plays Taylor Swift- 22 in the background* and I look young. I have a behbeh face, I have come to appreciate the fact that I don't look my age, loads of the people I went to college with, who are younger than me look grown as fuck and I'm just here like "I could be 16 or I could be 22, you'll never know", most of the time it's fine because I don't leave the house but the odd times I do, I seem to come across people that are assholes and seem to take my motherhood and appearance as an insult. 
So I've had a few incidences that have really upset me to the point where I really do not like leaving the house without my husband anymore, simply because when I'm with my husband this shit doesn't fucking happen. People see him and keep their stupid opinions and views to their hateful little gremlin selves, I'm guessing it's because he has the male version of "resting bitch" face which I have named "don't fuck with me" face, also as much as we pretend we are forward thinking, we as a society, still subconsciously believe in the ownership of women, my husband is quite clearly with me when you see us together - we kiss and hold hands, PDA is not something we shy away from. Tbf my body language is one of ownership/dominance than his, when we stand together I tend to place my 5-inch heeled foot in between his feet as a barrier between the world and him "he is mine, do not come closer" or I have my hand on his neck/shoulder as a signal of "physical contact means step off bitch", I'm insecure as fuck, what can I say? He usually just places his hand on my waist to make sure I'm not too far away as I get frightened easily. But I digress. 
I will tell you one of the things that have happened to me. Story time, boys and girls. Sit down and get comfy. 
So I'm stood on the train with my son in his carrier, which is strapped to me. And I can feel the one of only two other people in the carriage, staring at me, but it's only a short journey so I'm like "ignore it", about a minute into the journey. This middle-aged women for some reason launches into a vitriolic, hateful torrent of abuse at me. She starts of by telling me that I shouldn't be wearing heels whilst carrying a baby, that it is women like me that push new mums into depression because not all women are made of elastic and can afford to pay for a trainer to snap them back to a size 6, she goes on to accuse me of thinking my son as some sort of accessory, she spits that I obviously have never breastfed a day in my sons life and probably feed him, in her words "processed pot food" and so and so forth in this stream of thought. 
I am so honestly shocked that I cannot actually speak but I am so hurt by this strangers words, I am in tears. The only other person in the carriage was a teenager who had her headphones in and tbh I don't think she wanted to get in the way of this women and I don't blame her. I get to my stop and get off, in tears. 
If I had been able to speak I would have told that mean lady - I'm actually a size 00/0 if I want fitted clothes and a size 2-4 if I want loose, at my biggest I was a size 6 when I was pregnant so meh (I'm not advocating being skinny or saying that this is healthy, I'm just pointing out that I'm not a size 6), that the only reason I was so small had a lot to do with my normal metabolism which is super quick and I also ate super healthy and balanced when I was pregnant; not saying I didn't binge on diet coke every now and again and eat chocolate like my life depended on it, I also ate full set meals, ate a metric shit tonne of fruit and vegetables, granted I was throwing up every morning and throughout the day but I still tried. I also walked atleast 4 miles everyday until I was told otherwise by my physiotherapis, which was when I was about seven months gone because my back/hips were fucky.  Also I can fucking run in heels better than most girls can walk in flats. If I could have collected myself during this woman's abuse I would have told her that I have sacrificed my sanity, body, health and self-preservation to look after my child; I have breast-feed him on demand- whether that be every hour when he was weeks old to 4am when he started with 4 hour feeds. I've pumped enough milk for him for when I went to Paris for two days and given him formula milk as a top up not as a full time milk, because I felt this was best for him. I would have told her that I have made every single meal he has ever eaten at home, I used fresh and frozen ingredients and I make it in batches, I spend nearly 3 hours every week making his food. I had to bathe him alone after my husband went back to work, I still do. I'm the one that is up at 3-5am when he is teething. I'm the one that has been showing him flash cards of the alphabet since he was three months old and reads to him. I do almost everything for him. My whole day and in fact my whole life, revolves around his very strict  and structured routine. I would have told her that my son is not an accessory, my son is half of my life. He is my day and night job, he is my little best friend. My son is my greatest pride. My son is not an accessory. No child is an accessory. 
Just because I am a young mum, on my own does not mean, I am a single mum (shout out to the single parents who are doing right by their kids and are working hard to give them a good life; don't let any fucker look down at you- you are kickass); if you bothered to look at my hand, whilst you did your judgemental sweep of my person, you would have seen a fucking huge wedding ring, I have been with him for four years. 
Being a young mother does NOT mean I don't love my child and only see him as an accessory to my life, it does not mean I am irresponsible, it does not mean my son was unwanted and it certainly does not mean I have to change who I am - I am still me, ok? I'm also a mother. Guess what? This size 0, black, figure-hugging top from Mango, is actually the best top I own, to nurse in. Guess what? My Moschino handbag fits my sons entire day in and still has room for my Dior makeup bag. Guess what? All five pairs of my skintight skinny jeans have had some sort of my sons bodily fluids on them and it doesn't bother me. Guess what? It's also none of your fucking business. I'm not some prissy little bitch, who has no interest in raising my child. 
In the time my son has been on this planet I have looked after him by myself nearly every single one of those days. I don't get to call anyone up and say "can you take him for a while so I can nap?", after my husband went back to work I didn't get much help from him because he was shattered after work, coming home at 8pm some night but he did what he could and now does take the little monster at the weekend for as long as I want to sleep and as much as he can during the week. I didn't get anyone turning up to my house with food and a smile, but my husband got us takeaways when ever I wanted and cooked when he could. The only time I have been away from my son more than a few hours was when my husband took me to Paris for two days, and almost the whole night I was there I cried because I missed him. I have raised my son. I have put everything into being a mum. I do not deserve some damaged, pissed off middle-aged woman telling me I am a bad mother. 
Bitch, you don't even fucking know me. 
And while we are here - we always hear about how disrespectful millennials are; well I'm here to tell you in my opinion that is frick-a-fracking-snickity-snackity bullshit. You know which age group never ever gives up their seat for me whether I was pregnant or with my son? Middle-aged people. You know who will never help me when I'm boarding a train? Middle-aged people. You know who I've got abuse from? Middle-aged fucking people. Women are the worst for me. Men are just dismissive in my experience. 
But guess who always offer me their seat, who always offer to help me in any way they can see I need help? Young people. The 16-25 year olds. The ones everyone demonises. Them and people that are just near retirement age. They will always comment on how they think it is lovely that I read to my son on the train or when I'm waiting, how I spell everything I see for him, or they comment of how well behaved he is whilst I feed him, wherever I can get a space because I will not compromise on routine. Guess which age group I would put the people who help me when I'm having a panic attack on the train? Umm... Between 16-25 years old. They smile when they see me sat feeding my son his homemade baby food from a jar, that I have even made a label for. They tell me I'm a good mum and that I'm a credit to young mums. 
Not to say that I don't get dirty looks for young women who think they are better than me (because they only have had several STI's but they didn't get pregnant! Gold star for you! Don't fucking judge me and I won't judge you). 
I am the mother I want to be to my son. I am proud to be a mum. My husband is proud to call me the mother of his child. My son is a happy, healthy baby and he has been shocking all the professionals that have dealt with us. I wasn't even meant to have been pregnant, as far as I knew I couldn't get pregnant. But scan after scan, Doppler hearing after Doppler hearing, month on month, I heard the words "you are doing perfect, your baby is medically perfect- we couldn't want anything better". 
So don't have a go at me because you had a hard pregnancy; darling, just because I had a "lovely, neat bump" and "didn't even look pregnant" doesn't mean I wasn't hurling my guts up, crying because of acid reflux, rooted to the spot in agony due to a recurrent uti, sweating like a whore in church because I was constantly hot, I had several breakdowns because I felt ugly and fat and unattractive too, I went through it all too, Sweetheart. Don't fucking judge me because you can't shift those pounds of baby weight because it's not my fucking fault I have a high metabolism and am really into good home-cooked food and breast fed.And do not dare hate me because I'm in clothes that don't smell like vomit, are put together and look good on me, 5-inch heels and makeup because the chances are I only showered this morning after a week of smelling like a bin, collecting enough grease in my hair to run a kebab shop for a week and only changing my vest and shorts combo once because it had too much dried food on it. 
Like I said "bitch, you don't know me". 
Love, as always, 
Monica             xxx

Sunday, 6 September 2015

"That's fine with me"

So a few months back during a conversation, someone asked me if I'm really a Muslim because I disagree with a lot of things in Islam, just as a passing comment. 

It made me think how much of a religion do you have to adhere to and practice to consider yourself of that faith? It made me wonder how much of what I believe in resonates with Islam but most of all it made me question whether my interpretation of religion is the one I want to teach my child. 

So I believe in one God, I believe he picked a dude to tell everyone else what he wanted to tell the world, that the person God picked was a real person, he didn't do magical things and feats, he just kinda backpacked with his homies and spread the word. Sometimes things got real, other times it was chill. I believe that God has angels that he delegates to because there are way too many things to be doing. I totally believe in souls and an afterlife because I just feel like there are connections and coincidences that we feel as humans that we just can't explain, I think ghosts are real but they are souls that couldn't let go for reasons only known to them. I don't really believe in an apocalypse just because that would take forever, unless there was a kiosk system. I mean by the time you are sentenced to eternal damnation you've been in line for a few millennia. I totally recognise science as an extension of religion but I think we take it too literally (as we do religion) and expect it to be unchanging - the world has been around for too long for us to think we have anything sussed and down. Where religion seems fantastical, I feel like science can explain it and vice versa - not entirely but sometimes. I don't pray 5 times a day, and I'll tell you why - because I remember God more than times than that a day. Also I feel like if you're doing just to please God and get into heaven, you aren't doing it for the right reasons, I've seen a few grown men that ought to know better, come out of Friday prayer and go into the Asian shop near by and gossip about his next door neighbours daughter or worse go out on the lash. I don't ever ask God to get me out of a situation or help me or whatever. When I want to 'pray' or 'be with God' or what ever you want to call it, I take some time out and sit quietly and think about what is bothering me - I mean he isn't going to answer and if he is; honey, I'm sorry to break it to you but you need to see a doctor. The reason I do this is because I feel like if God made me then there must be a bit of God somewhere in me. I feel like having a bit of time and clarity for a second is being with God -for me when you die you are said to 'be at peace' or 'in heaven with God' so being at peace is being with God, for me anyway. For instance when you pray you're meant to say all of these things in Arabic, that hold ancient meaning and context which is wonderful for those who wish to use them but I personally don't connect with it and I feel like that devalues it for me. I feel like I'm mocking it by just saying it - to me it should be felt and honest. I'm sure I was fluent in Arabic I would feel differently. I do not do anything to help me get into heaven because then I would be leading a fake life. I live my life the way I see fit and I am fully prepared to take all the consequences when I die, just as I would in life. I did the crime so I deserve the eternity burning in the fiery depths of hell, whilst the damned souls of other wrongdoers scream into the pain of their sins and the devil cackles in glee, doing the time. I do not believe that God has written anything other than your birth and death because everything in the middle seems to change. People marry and remarry, individuals come in and out of your life, you change over the years. Your choices are yours. That's why when people say "where is your god now?" I do not understand. God didn't do this, a person did. God has no control over people. I mean who wants that kind of responsibility. I mean I know God is almighty and whatnot but it just seems like a lot. 
Some people need direction and I think religion can be that for them, if used appropriately and not taken to literally. I definitely think that religion was meant to use be a way of bettering yourself however I do think that people have distorted it as a way of life, regardless of what religion, all scholars from all seem to agree that religion is for the better of individuals you are meant to grow in a good way, you are meant to learn in a constructive manner and become the person you are, using these tools however people have decided to use these as reasons for war, retribution, discrimination and hatred. One book can be read by so many different people and will be interpreted in so many different ways and I feel that this is what has happened to religion. 
If everyone became more concerned with the way they conduct themselves, rather the way others conduct themselves there would be less wars and more harmony between humans. I do not think you should judge a person on their religion, sexuality or gender but their merit as a human- if they are a bad person; then they are a bad person. It may be that they are hiding behind religion or society or personal issues but it boils down to that person, being a bad person. From which ever angle you look at it with, which ever reasons you sugar coat it with, with which ever way you try to justify it you are a bad person. I don't care why you did it, you still did it.
I desperately try not to judge people I try to be as open, accepting and understanding as I can be. 
As a person with regards to how I conduct myself (now) I think there are a few things that I hold very highly in life:
1) Being a good person - whether that means being kind and helpful as possible to anyone without judgment or discrimination or it is not taking drugs and doing anyone in the vicinity. If I feel likes it's wrong then I'm not gunna do it and unless I'm responsible for you in some way I'm not gunna tell you how to live your life. I regularly give to charity and I know my husband does too. I really try not to hurt people with my actions but sometimes it happens.
2) Knowledge - I feel like there is so much in the world to know about and it is mine to know (unless I'm like wtf about it the it can stay unknown to me). Information is all around us and so readily available. God made this earth for us, so it's stands to reason that the things on it are ours - the good and the bad. I love to read and love to learn. Being able to use my brain to the capacity I can is a privilege and I appreciate it every day; especially when I go into a room and forget why I've gone in. We are human, we are flawed.
3) Cleanliness - It is not just because of my OCD that I believe in the cleanliness as a way of life it is that being clean makes me feel happy and peaceful. I love it I love to look at my son and see him nice and clean. I love looking at my husband and seen clean clothes on him. After a shower I feel human I feel better about myself cleanliness is just one of those things are use as a coping method. 

Those are the things I believe in. They are my little things in life I do not like to veer away from. 
It's interesting the things I get slated for, things that are actually really no one else's business. For instantance I don't wear a headscarf or make any attempt to cover my hair, I did used to; at one point in my life I did cover my hair but the I realised it made no difference to my "modesty". You can wear a scarf but it's not going to hide your personality, the second I open my goddamn mouth that headscarf may as well be a caterpillar. I used to get so many people saying "you should cover your hair", you should mind your own business, love; someone  said that they like me less than other people because I don't wear it, I'm pretty sure I said "that's fine with me". I don't wear lose clothing that doesn't show my body shape or burkas or whatever. But I also don't own any skirts or low cut tops (that I would wear out, in the house I wear whatever). You can cover everything and there will still be a creep that checks you out, I've seen it a million time. He can't even see anything but he's still thinking about dat ass. I wear clothes that cover my skin, at most I have the skin of my forearms, neckline and maybe my feet uncovered. I don't feel the need to. I've known girls that never leave the house and are covered even in front of their dads and brothers that are filthy minded little ladies. I already covered why I don't pray. I don't agree with the notion that homosexuality is sin - it was probably said back then as a way to make sure people were procreating, because people died young and fear was very easy to monger and thinking was exceedingly differing. I mean back then women unable to bear children were shunned. I don't drink not because it's against religion but because I don't want to, the (really vague, entirely paraphrased version) story behind drinking being a sin is that a guy got smashed, missed prayer and then it was like "no drinking or anything intoxicating that guy missed prayer and other people might". From what I can tell it doesn't taste nice, smells bad, being drunk looks like no fun, hangovers don't sound great and I don't want that. Just because it is written down somewhere that you can't drink doesn't mean you aren't going to, you still have to make the choice to listen and not do it. It's still a choice. Like any thing, you have the choice. The law says don't kill and rape, people are still coming murder and raping. You still have to make the choice not to. 
In general I'm just not very religious according to other Muslims. And "that's fine with me".
I've come to the conclusion that a lot of what I hold highly does resonate with the core beliefs, that I am a religious person but in a complete different way to what I'm expected to be by others, that I do want to teach my son what I believe but I also want him to find his own beliefs. I will always offer tools to him in all aspects of his life including religion until he is an adult, then it's his choice.
You cannot force anyone to see what you see, everyone has their own view. You can't make some feel exactly what you feel. And you sure can't compel anyone to believe in religion if it's not in their heart. 
I think most of us have phases of religion and belief. Times where we throughly believe in the existence of God and others where it seems so hopeless that you genuinely feel like anyone who is allowing this to happen to you can't be real. I feel like we are expected to believe every single little detail and adhere to every rule that we are presented with that is associated with whichever religion we follow and that just isn't possible. It's just ludicrous to demand this. 
I remember at a really tough time in my life, at a point where both the person saying it and I, were not really in the right state of mind, them turning to me saying that the reason why I was in such a situation was because I didn't believe in God and it was my own fault. I remember at the time wishing I could just die, I was so hurt and angry but now I think back on it I think in a warped way they were right. 
I needed to be shown darkness and pain to really appreciate the life I now lead. 
Back then I would have never have been able to even dream my life now. I felt so worthless and non-existent, I didn't think I deserved to be happy and that from the time I was born I was just a burden. I hated my dark skin, I hated my scars. I hated everything about me.  But now I see that I'm nothing like that. 
I'm the reason each morning a person is willing to get up and go to work to provide for me. I am the reason a child is healthy and happy. I am a reason. I am worthy, but I have worked hard to make myself so. 
What I'm trying to say is that religion is like a diet. You have to use it in a way that is beneficial to you and helps you. The second it becomes negative, you aren't doing it right.
As always, love,
Monica            xxx