Saturday, 21 February 2015

Hot Chocolate Loving

We've had an intentional 'give the boys some one on one time' day today.  It's been such a busy month and they are so fab at going with the flow and putting up with the demands of our life, but we felt it was about time to give them something back.  

So, I found myself in a cafe drinking hot chocolate with my favourite ten year old.

Wanting to make the most of the moment, I quizzed him about what he felt his strengths were.  Giggling at the thought of talking himself up, he settled on his top strength.

Being different.

'I like being different,' he explained. 'Some people try to be like everyone else and they try to be cool but when you are just being yourself then you are cool anyway.'

I glowed inside with his wisdom.  I love the fact that he is different too.  

Then he surprised me.

'Come on then, Mum.  What are you good at?'

Oh, I wasn't there to talk about me.  I was there to give him a boost and chat about his world.  His question threw me.

'Well, I'm not sure.  I guess I'm good at cooking.' I answered, a bit feebly.

And then he looked at me, his hot chocolate moustaching around his mouth and his eyes twinkling as he interrupted my ramblings about cooking.  

'I think you're beautiful.  That's what's good about you.'

This boy who has caused me so many sleepless nights and given me so many reasons to cry, completely stumped me with his unintentional love.

And he carried on.

'And I love it that you don't stick to the rules.  You stick to the good ones, but not the bad ones.  And that makes you beautiful too.'

I was speechless.  I had no idea where this depth had come from in my little boy who is growing up to have such a big heart.

Oh yes, hot chocolate was a great idea today.  This boy who hates love and romance and valentines and girls and leaves the room when we kiss is developing into a young man who loves naturally and with all of his heart.

His heart, by the way, belongs to me at the moment.  One day I'll have to give it away but at the moment I'm making the most of cherishing it and watching it grow.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Fifty Shades of Terror

I have resisted as long as possible, but I cannot stand by silently whilst everyone else enjoys the 'harmless' fun of this film.

Fifty Shades.

This weekend the news will be full of it.  According to the BBC news website London Fire Brigade are even on standby because of concerns about people being trapped in handcuffs. 

And yet, every day around the world women and girls are exploited, abused, dominated and controlled by men such as Christian Grey.  Charming on the outside and terrifyingly evil behind closed doors, these men are warped and twisted by their passion for selfish and self-gratifying sex that knows no love or tenderness. 

Does the term 'mummy porn' make it more palatable?  Seriously?  Should 'mummies' be okay with this?  Would 'mummies' be happy if it was their daughter being exploited by such a man? 

Across the world every day paedophiles from our country (yep - England) are hiring the services of young girls in karaoke bars, brothels, massage parlours and even from street corners.  Have these girls chosen to work in such places?  Of course not.  Stolen from their homes and sometimes sold by their families, they are raped twenty or more times each night by the 'Christian Greys' of this world.  In the UK alone, one phone call every minute is made to the police (Stanko 2000) by women desperate for help because they are being abused by a 'Christian Grey'.  Domestic abuse is about power and control not about the bright lights and dazzling glamour of the alluring paedophile or rapist. It's simply unjust.

And porn fuels this injustice.  Without a doubt, porn (even so-called 'mummy porn') twists a person's view of sex.  It is the petrol behind the terrible, degrading, evil bomb of sexual violence.    And violence is what it is.  Not love.  Not cherishing.  Not 'fun'.  Try explaining to a 10 year old girl locked in a cage on the streets of Mumbai and only let out when there is a paedophile / customer waiting to rape her for 20p that this is 'fun'.  Or perhaps you could laugh along with the lady who is regularly beaten by the husband who plays mind control tricks on her like moving the food around in the cupboards or throwing away the bread when she was certain she'd bought some at the shops.

I don't care how glamorous Christian Grey is or how much of a fa├žade of riches and beauty is pasted over it, Fifty Shades of Grey is not only offensive towards women, but downright dangerous.  This is not harmless fun.  And yet women are the ones supporting it.

Come on Ladies, open your eyes to the truth behind the film. 

See the message that is barely hidden. 

Don't celebrate the abuser but stand for the women around the world who face these degrading battles every day and every night. 

Be their voice when they have nothing left but a silent whisper for help. 

Be women who uphold justice and mercy. 

This is black and white.  There are no grey areas here.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Truth Behind the Facebook Posts

I love honesty.  I appreciate authentic friendships.  I'm not one for small talk or superficiality.  Sometimes this gets me into trouble (my mum always used to say 'think before you speak' and I can still hear her whispering it in my ear on the odd occasion!).  

But social media sites are full of people pretending to be something 'better'.  We all fall into the trap.

Take this photo, for example.  Posted by me this week, it has had lots of 'likes' and comments.  It must look like we are having a whale of a time preparing for judo.

But the reality behind the fake smiles ("come on boys, smile and show Dad your new yellow belts") was that half an hour before this was taken we were all crying.  A smashed glass full of water all over the kitchen floor, a cut and bleeding finger, fighting boys, a Dad away for the week and a quick 'turnaround teatime' before judo led to my exploding at the boys like a mentos mint in a coke bottle. It was, quite seriously, one of the worst evenings we have had for a very long time.  

I was shocked by the amount of 'likes'.  How could that happen when our eyes were sore and puffy from crying?  Wasn't it obvious?

And I realised that not only was it not obvious, but it was also possible to live out a totally different life and nobody would ever know.  This gave me the heebyjeebies.  

It also made me even more resolved to pursue genuine friendships with those close to me.  I value vulnerability and honesty in my friends.  I don't want to try and keep up with the Joneses or pretend to be something I'm not and I don't want my friends to feel they can't be real either.  I may not splash all my woes across Facebook (that gets a bit boring) but I so appreciate being able to send a quick text to my close friends when life gets tough.  I know they will stand with me, sometimes holding me up.  I need them and they need me.  And I love that we support and encourage each other.

So, next time I am tempted to post an all singing, all dancing version of my amazing family (and they ARE amazing and we DO sing and dance around the kitchen quite often) I am going to remember this photograph and how uneasy it made me feel.  And I will remember that being honest is more important than being fake.

Who wants a fake family anyway?  Not me.