#atinylife wordsmatter

Words matter.

Bit of an obvious start for a writer, I know.

And sure, Biden isn’t a UK president elect, Nor is Harris our future vice-president. So why did I watch both of their acceptance speeches and cry?

I found the transcripts online – these aren’t off-the-cuff remarks, these are crafted works of oral history. And I thought if there is a word in these speeches, it’s there because it is deliberate, chosen. But I’m scrolling through and there was a word Biden used, over and over, that isn’t in the draft.

Folks.

Yeah, maybe it’s just how Biden talks. But it is one of the best ways to describe a group of people, because it doesn’t leave anyone out.

Words matter. The words you choose, matter.

They tell people who you include, and who you are happy to leave out.

#atinylife thanksfornothing

Someone suggests an update to some legislation. It’s kind of controversial, from some angles, so they do a consultation. Over 70% of people respond and say ‘yep, sounds good.’

They decide not to update the legislation.

And if it was just this, I would be fine. I mean, it’s paperwork. It’s disappointing, it’s not surprising.

But it’s not only this. It’s the 18 month wait for your kid to be seen by someone who knows less about gender than you do. It’s the four emails a week to school because people are deliberately misgendering your child and then claiming they are entitled to their opinion that there are only two genders. It’s the memories of the times you couldn’t walk down the streets of your own village. It’s watching your child become more and more withdrawn. It’s news like this.

#atinylife big girl’s blouse

big-girls-blouse.jpegYou are a great big girl’s blouse.

This is you.

You are fiddly collars, you are pearl-shaped, impossible to handle buttons, you are flowery prints, or patterns of tiny embroidered kittens. Your cuffs float in soup.

You are restricted from running, from stretching, from growing, from being taken seriously, from working beyond middle management. You are ten per cent more expensive. You are baby sick on the shoulder. You are stained with orange squash. Whether crumpled or ironed you are still not fit to be seen.

You are more to choose from, but you only come in sizes to fit washboard stomachs (big is a deceptive descriptor). You are designed for the male gaze. You are ironed – to within an inch of your life. You are static and starched. You are floaty and flimsy.

You are tied at the back.

 

#atinylife NoOutsiders

No Outsiders?

Angela Leadsom’s use of the word ‘exposed’ in relation to lessons about LGBT people was not OK.

However, she didn’t say (as has been reported) LGBT students represent a contagion. She was glad her own children had been expected to accept the rainbow families at their primary school.

She still wasn’t right, though. Parents can’t be allowed to withdraw their kids from any of these lessons.

She also missed a golden opportunity to explain what school-based sex ed is actually like. All lessons are age appropriate. They teach children to respect different types of families: they’re not supplying Cosmo-style sex tips.

No Outsiders

 

Lessons that celebrate diversity? Every child needs those.

For older teenagers though, imagine if there were proper queer sex ed lessons. Or even just ones which taught about female pleasure. Chance would be a fine thing!   

 

#atinylife educate

‘Ug I hate that phrase. It’s so sexist.’

‘What phrase?’

Bang for your buck. It’s clearly a reference to sex workers.’

‘Is it?’

‘Isn’t it?’

‘Dunno. I thought it was about fireworks.’

‘Nah!’

‘You know, if there was a way to check…’

‘… you mean like a magical encyclopedia on your phone? OK. Let’s see…

Bang for the (or one’s) buck, which means ‘value for one’s money’, was originally a political one. Its first use was quite literal: With bang referring to ‘firepower’ or ‘weaponry’, it really did mean ‘bombs for one’s money’. The alliteration of bang and buck helps to make the phrase memorable. (Random House, via Wikipedia)”

‘There, you see. Isn’t education a wonderful thing?’Bang for your Buck

‘You’re just delighted I was wrong.’

‘Not delighted. I’m pleased for you. You’re growing.’

‘At least I can admit when I’m wrong…’

#atinylife Politics

I don’t do politics.

‘I’m so bored of politics.’

We’ve all seen this on our newsfeeds, school run, or workplace.

Well, first off, I’m grateful that I have a choice.

For so many, talking about politics is dangerous, and I don’t mean they might lose a few friends for banging on about things that they think matter.

For others, a life without politics in it is harder, if it’s not safe for you to go home anymore…

Or if ever since you were born, the colour of your skin means more than anything else you might feel, know or have to offer.a-simple-pictorial-representation-on-politics

I try to remember: from when I get up, switch on the kettle, eat, drink, send my kids to school, drive on our roads –

that’s just the first half of my morning!

It all relies on politics.

#atinylife Fear

Today I have been thinking about … fear.

These are not tinylife fears, they are fears of the bigger picture. Our whole world.fear Fears of biglife.

When people who divide, rather than unite, are given power, I fear. When men are accused of violence against women, and appear to get away with it, I fear. (What are we saying to those considering similar violences?)

When I hear about stickers promoting a Far Right group on the railings my children pass on their way to school, in this tiny village –

I fear.

When it looks like we have forgotten, or don’t seem to care,

about how far we’ve come, about where we’ve been,

I fear.

 

Today I hold my children,

and I try to be brave.

 

Because this fear is likely to deepen, to harden

and may split right open and apart.

#atinylife Hungry

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

Two days: total calories less than a thousand.

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

Straight to the bread bin, or the cereal cupboard, even the fruit bowl.

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

My stomach empty and growling. My mouth empty, and growling, snapping.

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

But it reminds me – in this country, this social class, and this life of privilege,

I don’t know what hunger is. IMG_8382

Not being able to feed your child as much as they want, as much as they need. Not even five miles away from here, I know there are mothers, deciding between their breakfast, and their children’s breakfast.

 

And just how much does this need to change?

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

 

 

tinylife will be away until August.

#atinylife Vote

Today I have been thinking about…voting.

Last week we all got dragged out to vote.

Again.

There are two halves to my village, but tensions between the communities are rare: those who have lived here for a long time, and those who moved here recently, get along mostly fine.FullSizeRender (20)

The sun shone all day. People crossed the bridge over the Tyne-river, safely, to cast their votes.

Our polling station is an ex-Temperance Hall, a piece of our narrow-minded history, now used for toddlers, lunch club. The kids came with me: I know they are safe here, their Eastern European heritage doesn’t matter, isn’t noticed.

They wanted to remain in the polling station – to see how other people voted – but we had to leave. ‘We need to go now. People want space, and peace to vote,’ I said. ‘Let’s go.’

#atinylife Darkness

Today I have been thinking about…darkness.

I’m not talking about the darkness of winter or the darkness of the depth of the night. Well I am, metaphorically. I know, I know, she kept to the positivity thing for what, two months? Darkness

When you go to bed dreading something. You wake and it’s already happening: you are powerless to stop or even impact it. When your voice on social media merely echoes the voices around you. You all know that decisions have been taken and that they are wrong, but those who represent you don’t give a damn. When those with power refuse to recognise the futility of the full circle, terror mirroring. That’s when it feels like darkness reigns.

It is difficult, at these times, to lift your eyes to glimmers of light.

But we must.

They are there.