Pride 2017: Rainbows, Sunshine, Boobs, and Gaymers.

On the 25th June 2016 I walked in my first London Pride parade alongside others from my company at the time. Just in front of us were a small group of people, some of them body painted as various super heroes. After a couple of hours of waiting (we were RIGHT at the back in row G) we got to talking and it turned out we had a lot in common, these wonderful people were the start of what is now a 1000+ member strong group called the LDN Gaymers. They hold quiz nights, convention trips, cinema meet ups, and loads of other awesome events and days out.

Following the event a few adds were made on Facebook and I requested to be accepted into their group. I’ve since visited a couple of conventions with them, but mostly shared geeky chat online. Living a little outside of London, and having been working way out in the sticks, I don’t visit often so I’ve missed out on a lot of their events due to time, travel, and general anxiety about going out with a bunch of new people. But when Pride came around again and I volunteered for a body painting slot with them, I would never have thought I could have had such an amazing day.

Thank you SO much to everyone that chatted with me, danced with me, cheered me from the crowd, complimented our body paint, and mostly to the Gaymers that made me feel so so welcome, I made some friends for life today and I cannot wait to spend more time with you all in the future. If you want to be a part of this amazing community head over to their website for their events and social media platforms by clicking the rainbow >>>>> rainbow

I wanted to share a day in the life of Pride so I recorded a quick timeline throughout the day:

04:30 I can’t sleep, fml.

05:30 Making pancakes, stay awake Roxanne, stay awake!

06:55 On my train into town. People are looking at my trident like I’m some sort of freak but inhabitations don’t live here sorry.

07:45 Met up with the fellow body paintees (what?) and head over to Trafalgar Sq at 08:00. I’m sleepy.

09:15 Bit of a delay getting in to the square, check my nipple pasties are crease free and begin painting with Mat from SeventaImage.

09:50 First layer of paint done! My body paint buddy Peter aka Cyclops begins his first layer and I take multiple selfies. I’m walking around London with nothing but shorts on, why can’t life always be like this?

11:00 Mera, queen of the sea, is ready to part the parade crowds.

12:00 Mera, Lady Deadpool, Nightwing, Venom, Thor, NorthStar, Cap America, D.Va, and Robin take the tube (thank you to Adam for letting me use your card to get on the train!) to our parade slot (zone B this time) fellow travellers display a mixture of emotion. We discover that just wearing pants and body paint does not make the tube any cooler, we laugh A LOT.

12:30 We join dozens of other LDN Gaymers already waiting in the cramped space next to St Johns Ambulance who kindly let Cap America sit in the van. Selfie with Kristoff, who I met as Aquaman last year!

13:00 No sign of movement, a lot of body paint is sweating off, we’re sharing water, and other more fun beverages and using the bus in front of us to hide from the sun.

13:40 We’re moving! YAY, crowds are awesome. Me and Venom are trying not to swap paint as a black smudge appears on my arm.

14:05 I see a child holding up a ‘We love you all’ rainbow sign smiling her absolute face off and I tear up (waterworks pt1). I hear a guy in the crowd say ‘Oh she has her boobs out’, ‘Yes I do!’ I reply, some people nearby cheer. I had forgotten they were even out, honestly this should be okay all the time. Can the Pride parade be every day?

14:08 I look around our group of marchers and read the signs we had voted on. The one above ‘Play With Pride’, along with, ‘Looking for Player 2?’ and ‘Equality is not a game’. (waterworks pt2- I’m an emotional bitch okay?)

14:15 Group Admin Yusif spots me and asks if I’m okay, I nod, I feel so at home with this group of people, I hold back waterworks pt3.

14:45 I start seeing people I know in the crowds and selfies commence.

15:05 A group of Muslim Pride Goers in the crowd with ‘Muslims for Gays’, ‘Allah loves all’ signs walk by us… waterworks pt3

15:12 Several good Pride sausage doggos are in the crowd getting so many strokes. I chat with Nightcrawler.

15:30 Parade over for us! We’re hot and sweaty, hungry, and needing to pee, we head to our picnic spot where some fellow Gaymers have been looking after our bags (THANK YOU!)

16:00 After replenishing and peeing, the speakers are blaring out Disney tunes. Kristoff aka Wonder (Wo)Man comes and chats to me with Aaron (who I happened to walk with in our company group last year!)

17:00 Those two go off to find Tesco and Northstar aka Adam comes to sit with me. He goes off to get some cider and I talk to the Babadook. Thor and Cap are up a tree.

18:00 Me and Adam chat about life. I feel so welcomed into their little community, we start getting through the ciders and geek out with Lorenzo over our weaboo anime faves.

19:17 A slightly drunken Adam F aka Rinzler manages to explode yoghurt all over us and I laugh as I keep finding it around my person. We try to remove Adam’s body paint. A few follow suit. Crash Bandicoot is burned, everyone is now finding tan lines, there are lots of colourful make up wipes around.

19:45 I head home to order pizza. London is BUZZING. Music is playing, there are bongos somewhere, the streets are being swept (no bins due to bomb safety!), people are singing, lots of rainbows flying. I feel my ice cold heart melting into a pool of fuzz.

21:00 I take off my nipple covers and manage to tear some skin (OUCH) before showering off (apparently not very much) of my greenness, until next time Mera. Eat pizza, play some Crash.

22:00 Well and truly KOd. Until next year Pride.

Group photo by Ronnie Aka-Haroun

BodyPaints sponsored by @mehronuk #mehronuk for @londonlgbtpride

See my blog following last years pride about being Bisexual and why I feel there needs to be more sexual orientation education at schools. ‘We’re Here, We’re Queer, And Some of Us Are Bisexual’

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May/June Reads

This was supposed to be May and then June separate but I went too far into the start of the month and was interviewing (FOR MY NEW JOB!) and stuff, then didn’t post soooo, here’s May and June!

  • #11
  • Book: The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Quick Facts: Coming of age, wizardry, cult, *racial slurs throughout*
    • Thoughts: So firstly, so different from the first of the Earthsea tales (Wizard of Earthsea), the story focuses on young Tenar as she is taken from her family and held in the desert as the protector and priestess of the home of the Nameless Ones. She uncovers the hidden secrets of the Labyrinth beneath the tombs where she comes across our dear wizard Ged, hunting for the ring of Erreth-Akbe. I loved this story, and how different Tenar’s voice was to Ged’s in book one, but I did see some of his younger self in her. It was much slower than Wizard of Earthsea which is reflective of Tenar’s feelings towards her monotonous life. I admired Tenar’s fearlessness, led by her confidence to claim the Labyrinth, and even though it was ‘hers’, she made sure to explore it, know it, and really own it.
    • I must note! There are racial slurs throughout this from supporting characters, from the description of the ‘black and vile’ wizards to the ‘potato’ comments about Manan. BUT, karma gets them… or so I think, I’m sure we find out in book 4 when Tenar returns.

  • #12
  • Book: The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Quick Facts: Coming of age, DRAGONS, wizardry
  • Thoughts: So here we meet Arren, if you’ve seen the Ghibli adaptation you’ll know him already! Our lovely Geb returns again to find the source of the ‘dying out’ magic in the world. I really really loved this one. Arren’s complete adoration and dedication for Geb is beautiful, I’m not sure if Guin has ever confirmed or not but I definitely felt a romantic love from him to Ged (the word romantic is actually used to describe his feelings for him) but without it being clear I’d not promote it as a ‘diverse’ read because of that. Ged has become old and quiet but still proves himself to be a badass. We meet more dragons in this story and learn a little more about the world of Earthsea. Reading this I can see so many influences that Paolini must have had from it, particularly with spells and the dragons.

  • #13
  • Book: Kuruz One By One by Sonesh Joshi
  • Quick Facts: Super heroes, alien planet, lots of action, culturally diverse characters
  • Thoughts: Sonesh is a good friend of mine but he obviously wanted to break my heart with this one! This is the 2nd comic of the series (with a prequel to book 1) and Joshi really amps up the action in this continuation. We see our Earth heroes and villains using their powers a little more, and see the Kuruzians forming deeper bonds with them. I love how there’s a constant battle between good and bad between the Earth ‘supers’ while they figure out their part to play in the war on the evil Slaithor. My only gripe is the lack of diversity regarding sexuality but there’s always Vol 3 Sonesh *nudges aggressively* 😉

  • #14
  • Book: Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Quick Facts: Coming of age, DRAGONS, wizardry
  • Thoughts: Compared to the first three this book was pretty underwhelming for me, I found myself skimming some parts just to skip past what seemed like pointless words. I bought the books in the first place because of Ghibli’s adaptation so I kinda saw the Therru twist coming, but, MAN, did Le Quin take her time to get there. I was hoping Tenar might DO a little more also but she was just kind of the mediator throughout the whole book. I’m glad she finally rekindled her relationship with Ged and that pulled on my heart strings a little, but generally quite underwhelming as a read. I won’t finish this month but I am currently reading The Other Wind in continuation to this book!

  • #15
  • Book: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
  • Quick Facts: MAGIC. Albino POC MC, Young female MC, POC throughout.
  • Thoughts: WOW. Honestly this was so enjoyable to read and not just for the story, Mafi’s writing is so fun and fantastical, at no point did I find myself drifting away or losing focus. The worlds she paints are so colourful and vibrant and just out of this world, from the little women in pantsuits running around the land of Still, to the two- dimensional paper land that was home to vicious paper foxes. Alice was enchanting and Mafi’s tone for her was so real and natural, she’s such a brave girl with a huge heart and an eye for adventure. Oliver was great as a supporting MC, I loved how their friendship built through lies and deception rather than smooth sailing and candy floss and rainbows. Alice in Wonderland meets The Beatles – Yellow Submarine meets the Dr Seuss Universe.
  • My favourite quote “Red was ruby, green was fluorescent, yellow was simply incandescent. Color was life. Color was everything.” -Tahereh Mafi

  • #16
  • Book: Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
  • Quick Facts: Most peculiar people/animals, folklore, magic
  • Thoughts: Everything I hoped it would be, my only gripe is that there weren’t more stories. So nostalgic, I love the writing style and I love Millard Nullings voice. The tales within the original trilogy was always interesting to me and before Tales was released I longed to hear some of the tales in full. Also the hardback cover is so beautiful, definitely worth adding to the book shelf!

Please feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking the image below!

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Another New Beginning

It is no secret that I have been really unhappy with my job over the past year. I took the role hoping for movement into a new role within the year. I worked really hard and I am disappointed that I didn’t get to where I wanted to be but I needed to move forward for my own progression (/sanity).

Nevertheless.

After years of doing jobs that feel comfortable, and safe, and easy, taking jobs because of pressure from managers, or because it felt like ‘the right move’, I decided to take a leap, listen to myself and try and move into an area I really wanted to get in to, and with the help of some amazing connections I managed to bag myself a new job with better pay, better (and clearer) progression and much more stability.

I had my last day at my hotel today and I literally felt a weight lift off from my shoulders the second I walked out of that door.

I’ve just been thinking how nervous I feel, and how scary and hard starting my new job will be, so I wanted to reflect on all of the positives and if you’re feeling stuck, in a dead end position, or just not where you want to be, repeat after me:

  • I am just as good as I believe
  • I can go for jobs that I feel may be out of reach
  • I will reach out of my comfort zone
  • I will go for what I really want
  • I will succeed
  • I believe in ME
  • I can do whatever I put my mind to
  • I learn from every experience
  • I will continue to learn
  • I will be happy

What do you need to tell yourself today for a better you tomorrow?

Please feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking the photo below ❤

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MarchApril Reads

Well again life has taken over so I’ve merged the two months and having just completed writing this up I am pretty horrified to have only managed 4 books, one of which took all of ten minutes to read. BUT! Onwards and upwards.

  • #7
  • Book: The Education of Margot Sanchez – @lilliamr
  • Quick Facts: Latina MC, coming of age.
  • Thoughts: This would be a great read for young latina women, or any young woman, wondering how they’re meant to find their place in the world when they’re trying to live up to expectations of their parents, trying to please friends- old and new, study, and find comfort in their own skin. A bit too slice of life for me personally and I thought perhaps the hinge moments fell flat at times BUT I did read through in only a few sittings so it kept me more than engaged.

  • #8
  • Book: Difficult Women – Roxane Gay @rgay
  • Quick Facts: Women, women, women.
  • Thoughts: WOW- empowering, real, raw. It’s a collection of short stories, and each and every one moved me, I had to stop at the end of each one to get through the thoughts of what could happen next in my mind. Usually not having that closure would annoy me, but after reading the last story you still get that. Each story had its own characters and with that very different voices. I loved how different they could be, or how similar. There are women that have miscarried, working women, raped women, assaulted women, women showing their dedication to their families and partners, sisters, women with power, and emotion, fat women, black women, GREAT women. Just, loved it.

  • #9
  • Book: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin @ursulakleguin
  • Quick Facts: POC MC, wizardry, coming of age, journeying.
  • Thoughts: Wizards, dragons, dark magic? SOLD! After seeing the Miyazaki adaption a few years back I’ve wanted to read the original and I really enjoyed it. I really like how Guin displays Ged’s teenage emotion as he struggles with what’s right and wrong, his pride, his friendships and his ambition. Guin always describes her characters skin, which shows an array of colour, and I cannot fail to mention the villainous, white skinned, blonde-haired savages described at the beginning of the tale- awesome. There’s three sequels (which I have since started!) so I’m looking forward to finishing the tale. I imagine Inheritance Cycle author Christopher Paolini may have had some influence from Guin’s series. Quite a light read save the dozens of place names, which I lost track of somewhere along the journey.
  • #10
  • Book: The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter
  • Quick Facts: Written in 1914 (!) but only published in 2016. Classic BP, illustrated by Quentin Blake, purely British. Children’s book.
  • Thoughts: If you grew up in England you most likely had the Beatrix Potter collection, Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Squirrel Nutkin would have been your go-to bed time stories at some point or another. Kitty-in-Boots tells the story of Kitty, the black cat, better known as Miss Catherine St.Quentin, a mischievous cat who likes to sneak off and hunt (with a gun). Cute little tale, very Potter, very English. I can’t help but love it.

 

JanuaryFebruary Reads

As always if you’re able to support me in any way please feel free to click the photo below and buy me a coffee! Thanks for reading.

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Introversion 101: Child Introverts

Introverted Children are very different from Introverted Adults, they’re learning about themselves, becoming frustrated and confused by other children around them and the way adults speak and interact with them. They wont quite understand their ‘version, and most likely won’t until they reach adulthood, so it is important that we encourage them from a young age to ensure them that the way they feel and act is not wrong and help them to flourish without a loud mouth.

Disclosure: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, these are just tips based on my own experience of my own introversion and introverted children around me.

The all-fringe-and-freckles girl above is me, I was an introverted child, I loved to read and write, explore my garden, but I also loved to sing and act on stage. I was rubbish at talking to adults, I hated meeting new grown ups, they often found me rude because I wouldn’t say thank you after they dropped me home or had me over to their home. It was never that I wasn’t thankful, I was nervous to speak, to initiate conversation, to sound silly or say it wrong. Needless to say my mum drilled politeness into me and it was something I learned to do.

It can be hard to interact with introverted children, especially if as an adult you’re extroverted yourself. So how can you help?

Do’s

  • Do engage with them. Ask questions, encourage them to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings.
  • Do try an Introvert/Extrovert quiz with your students/children/family and explain how each may think and act, there’s nothing wrong with understanding yourself and others a little better, no matter your age!
  • Do discover their interests, their hobbies, the things they enjoy doing and then focus on it. Ask them how their hobby is developing and praise them for it.
  • Do encourage them to discuss their interests with other children, this allows them to have a chance of running a conversation.
  • Do let them have their down time. If they’ve had a busy day make sure they have time to relax at points during the day, or after.
  • Do find outlets for their creativity, give them the tools and the oppurtunity to let their words out through their fingers, through song, through drama, through whatever medium they enjoy.
  • Do offer them the ‘why’ to instructions you give them, they will want to know and knowing why will stop them wondering and allow them to concentrate on the task.

Dont’s

  • Don’t think about what you can do to get them to be more like the more extroverted children around them. They will never be the same as them. That isn’t to say they won’t present the same energy, participation or confidence but they will do it in a different way.
  • Don’t force them into situations that they have expressed being uncomfortable with.
  • Don’t push them in times of conflict.  Introverts can hold a grudge and brew anger like no one’s business. Don’t assume and don’t tell them their own emotions, ask them how they feel, if they don’t want to talk, don’t force them. But make sure you come back to it later on, closure is key, don’t let them brew in their own heads too long.
  • Don’t call them OR assume they are shy or quiet, that is not for you to decide, just because they don’t scream and shout like other children it does not mean they’re shy, they’re thinking a different way, processing information differently. Give them the right outlet? They’ll shout above you all.
  • Don’t force them to make decisions, there is a lot of going through their minds as they wont just blurt out an answer, give them options.

Thanks for reading! This is the last in my Introversion 101 series for now but I may revisit later on so stay tuned!

Check out the rest of my Introversion 101 series!

 

And as always if you can spare a couple £s please feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking the photo below:

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Do I Regret University?

University was not a dream of mine, or something I had really thought about at all. And though I hate to admit it, I mainly went through pressure.

I graduated four years ago and I can’t help but feel regretful a lot of the time. I feel so behind many of my friends that chose to work full time instead of continuing to study. Though I worked 30+ hours alongside studying it was just a ‘job’. But that ‘job’ turned into a career and I’ve ended up in a position I don’t enjoy and I’m finding it hard to find what it is that I actually want. If I had worked for those three years, would I know? Would I have realised that what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to do?

So why did I go? There are a few reasons.

  • I was the eldest child and was somewhat pressured into going. My parents didn’t specifically tell me to go but neither of them had gone themselves and obviously they wanted me to do well so I was steered away from my idea of a gap year, let alone not studying at all.
  • My partner at the time was a year ahead of me and a year into their studies and I didn’t want to get left behind.
  • I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I thought killing time would help me decide.
  • Friends were going to uni and again, I did not want to be ‘left behind’.

So in the end I found a course last minute and was accepted on to it with my O.K grades and the rest is history.

I didn’t study hard, I didn’t enjoy the classes, or the books we read, or the subjects we studied, I only made a few friends and the one I knew beforehand pretty much annoyed me the entire three years. I spent a tonne of money on travelling and hundreds of text books, and wore myself to the ground working on the side.

Did I get anything from it?

I’ve been on two graduate schemes since graduating and I’ve been asked this both times. It is a question I HATE to answer because my degree doesn’t define me, but yes. My degree was simply ‘English’ and I took side courses such as drama, theatre, and Spanish language classes. So I did gain various skills, such as time management, networking, general social skills with peers and teachers alike, and general written and spoken communicational and presenation skills.

(I also must add, I was accepted on to my first grad scheme before I even did my final exams, and neither ever asked me to prove I even had a degree or went to university at all and there were others on the course that had not been to uni!) 

I didn’t move away as the Uni was reasonably close to home and I only attended one night out with uni peers the entire three years because I worked every night Wednesday-Saturday. Would it have been different if I hadn’t? Who knows.

But yes, I regret it.

All of the things listed above that I learned, I could have developed through working, whilst also establishing myself somewhere, finding where I was meant to be in the working world and earning some decent money.

And yet here I am, 25 years old, living at home with my parents because I don’t know where I want to live, struggling to find what I want to do and generally feeling pretty worthless with a huge sense of a lack of achievement. A lot of people congratulate me for being in Management roles since age 21 and I’m not saying at all that I don’t think that’s great, but when you don’t feel fulfilled by your job, it can be hard to feel positively about the position you’re in, whatever that may be.

Well that got deep…

Would I suggest you do not go to University?

No. That is always up to the individual, but make sure it is your decision and be sure to know why you are going and what you want from the 3-5 years. Why will it help you get to where you want to be? If you have a specific career path in mind and a degree will help you shoot up the ladder then by all means, use that resource. But really consider why it is important or necessary for YOU.

Let me know how you feel about going (or not) to university below and as always if you can spare a few pounds feel free to buy me a coffee but clicking the image below 🙂

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Breathe, compose, relax, repeat.

So in the constant cycle that is the life of an anxious mind, cue existential crisis.

I have just returned to work after a holiday, which never seems to get easier, and my brain is scrambled. I’m fussing over work problems at home, I am dreading getting in my car to drive to my workplace and I am worrying about what I’m doing with my life/career.

So another Dear Roxanne, from me, to me:

  • Take yourself away from work when you’re not at work. The place won’t burn down without you, your managers problems can wait- YOUR JOB IS NOT YOUR LIFE. YOUR JOB DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. YOUR LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR JOB.
  • Focus on what i enjoy, no really, plan that trip you want to go on without worrying about who will cover you while you are away. Read the book you’re trying to read, use the time you have to do it, finish editing your novel, get down the gym. Do the things.
  • That thing you keep wanting to do and try? Do it Roxanne, do it. Book those Archery classes.
  • Make that thing you joked about making into a business into an actual business, or at least begin doing it. It’s a great idea and you won’t know until you try, so go and try.
  • Pamper yourself. Chuck on a face mask when you get home tonight and enjoy it. Don’t worry about getting to sleep early because you have work tomorrow, enjoy the now, worry later.
  • Go on a walk a.k.a Pokehunt when you’re off on Sunday, catch them ‘mons.
  • Take a random day and plan a random adventure, take a drive, take a picnic, take a damned break.

Feel similarly right now? Take a breather and grab a pen and write down your wants and your needs and GO GET THEM. You’ve got this okay?