Another day, another award! Thanks so much to If You Tolerate This, Then Your Daughters Will Be Next for nominating me for the Liebster. As with the Very Inspiring Blog Award there are a set of rules:
1. Say 11 things about yourself
I refer you back to the 7 things I had to say about myself here, and I add:
8. I am a feminist – I think you probably all know this if you’ve read any of the posts on this blog, but I still think it’s worth saying. I don’t shave myself, I don’t wear make-up (except when my partner and I were Civil Partnered, because it was the most special day of my life) and I am passionately against stereotyping of both men and women, early sexualisation of children, the desire to implant gender “roles” in both sexes etc. I will proudly say this to anyone until it is not considered odd or wrong to say so.
9. I have suffered from mental health problems – including a nervous breakdown and suicidal thoughts. I had more than three years of therapy to help me deal with this, but this sort of thing never goes away. There is no “cure”. You learn how to manage it and can lead a full and happy life (as I hope I demonstrate). There should be no shame or stigma attached to me admitting to this.
10. I have the best siblings in the world – yes, ok, you probably think yours are too (if you’re lucky) but mine really are! They are both younger than me, but due to my disability they had to become more like big sister and brother to me quite early on. My sister calls me her “little big” sister. They held my hand when I walked along walls, they helped me across rocks to reach interesting rock pools, they collectively helped me onto the London Eye a few years ago because I was afraid my legs might not get me on quickly enough because it never stops moving. Not to mention all the emotional support we give each other and how we helped each other through our distinctly bizarre and damaging childhood. They are my rocks and I love them to pieces.
11. I love one of my cats more than the other – this feels like a very guilty thing to admit, but there are reasons! Issy (the one I love most) was my first proper pet and the first pet that D and I got together. She is the most loving cat you can imagine. We got her in France and when we moved back to the UK we had to put her into a French cattery for three months. It was a terribly hard thing to do and I didn’t stop thinking about her for all that time. What cemented my love for her was the reception I got from her when we were finally able to pick her up. She immediately climbed onto my shoulder and licked my ear. I know this sounds like something a dog would do, but an ear lick from Issy is like a kiss from a human being. She didn’t punish me/us for leaving her in the cattery for so long, she was just really happy to be back with us. Now, Bella (who came to us in the UK) is different. I love her, I really do, but she is a much more typical cat. She wants affection when she wants it, and is not a cuddly cat like Issy. I know that if she went to live with other people, as long as they petted her and fed her she would behave in just the same way. Issy, on the other hand, would miss us. You may think I’m mad to say this, but I really believe it’s true.
I am now supposed to nominate 11 blogs for the award – since I nominated 15 blogs here, I am not going to do that part – please take a look at them instead, they really are worth it.
Now I have to answer some questions from the person who nominated me:
1) What do you want to be when you grow up?
A brain surgeon – it’s so awesome!
2) What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Moving to France with my girlfriend (now my wife) when we’d only been together for a year.
3) Are you a feminist? Why (not)?
Absolutely! I refer you to my feminism paragraph above.
4) What’s the most humbling experience you’ve had in your life?
Getting a card from one of my Dad’s parishioners (he’s a C of E rector) when D and I decided to enter into a Civil Partnership. I would have expected her to be a raving homophobe, but she wrote movingly about two of her best friends, a lesbian couple who had been together for decades. One of them had recently died, and she was giving us her good wishes because we were able to do something her dear friends never were.
5) Which woman do you most admire?
Jeanette Winterson. For surviving a truly horrific childhood and terrible mental health problems and still being able to write more beautifully than anyone else I’ve ever read. She is my role model.
6) Why did you start blogging?
Because I wanted to get my writing out there and because I love debate. I am an opinionated person (yes, really! No, I know it’s hard to believe, I’m so quiet normally…) and blogging gives me a forum to air my views and sometimes have them listened to.
7) Do any of your favourite films pass the Bechdel Test?
One or two. “Better Than Chocolate” is a good example, the best lesbian film ever made in my humble opinion. Also “The Colour Purple”, which I absolutely love. There are a few that don’t though. I have a huge crush on Julia Roberts, and she rarely makes films which would pass, with “Erin Brokovich” being a rare exception.
8) Please recommend some comedians
Susan Calman, Sandi Toksvig, Dara O’Briain, Jessica Hynes and, of course, my secret wife, Sue Perkins
9) Which sexist, racist, ableist or otherwise bigoted aspect of popular culture would you most like to see mocked?
Airbrushing and photoshopping
10) In your opinion, which beauty product is the most useless?
All of them. Really.
11) In your opinion, which current governmental policy in your country is even more useless than your answer to point 10, and what can we do about it?
Squeezing the poor and the vulnerable to make up for what the rich did. Protest, sign petitions, write about it, volunteer at your local Foodbank or other charity helping to right these wrongs. Throw your pebble at the wall.
Thanks again, If you tolerate…, I really appreciate the nomination.