Under pressure

Christmas time is creeping upon us. Which means the run up to it involves : catch ups with friends and family, the Christmas themed day outs, the activities, the crafts, the traditions, the work dos, giving to those in need, the food, drink etc.

It takes it’s toll out on your bank balance.

And for a lot of families that means, It’s the most stressful time of the year.

The overwhelming feeling of pressure gets to all of us. Whether you’re rich or poor, you want to keep up with the latest gifts, and you simply don’t know where to draw the line.

People you haven’t spoken to in a while, go out and buy your loved ones presents, which then makes you feel like you have to return one back. I am simply calling it all out for what it is : greedy, materialistic and a waste of money. And you know what? Every year I am one of those people who spend too much.

Last night, I got all the presents out from ( THE BIG GUY ) and put them out into piles for each (three) of my children. The piles of presents would fit a regular sized stocking. But I suddenly got very panicked and started writing out a list of things to top up with. Things the kids didn’t actually need. Things I knew deep down I couldn’t really afford. I went to home bargains the next day and spent another £20 on Florence’s stocking presents. Yes they are lovely, overly girly, pink type things, that she will be super happy about getting. But that £20 could’ve gone towards her school lunches for next two weeks, or even a couple of emergency Costa coffee visits (priorities).

Why did I feel the need to throw away more money? I asked myself. And the reality/answer is because it’s what everyone else around me seems to do. It’s what I was brought up with. It’s the done thing. I grew up with having a Nan who was basically, Father Christmas herself. We had so many presents to open. I admit, it was really magical, but it’s also very unrealistic.

It gets even more silly because, Florence only asks for one or two things, and they’re both sat under our tree. I even have anxiety whilst typing this out. The children aren’t placing this pressure on ourselves. It’s us. We’re making ourselves suffer.

Christmas is about giving, but that isn’t necessarily meaning to give out material items, it’s giving someone attention and time, it’s giving someone reassurance that the new year will be better, it’s giving someone a well needed hug, its taking time out to give someone near or far a text to say ‘Merry Christmas’, it’s spending some precious catch up time with our older relatives.

Stop with buying the extra bits of plastic crap. I have and so should you. Not only is it really, really, really bad for the environment. It’s bad on your mental health. And it’s not going to teach your children anything. They just want to have a lovely day with their family, (a good roast dinner on top of that is a bonus) it’s spending time together, that they’ll remember. Because for me, looking back over my mountains of gifts, being in the same household with all my cousins and aunties, and uncles, and grandparents.

That was the magic. That is Christmas. Oh and Jesus if you’re into that.

Alex

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#FestiveFeminism part 4 with Mitchell

Oi oi saveloy we’re back with festive feminism. This time I’ve got the pleasure of asking my fiancé some questions on the F word.

Mitchell has come a long way over the years. And I think unfortunately that is the case, for a lot of men. It’s harder for men to jump on board with feminism, because it’s portrayed in such a bad light, and men don’t know what it really feels like to be, a woman, or what it’s like to feel the struggle. But once men, try, listen and stand with us. They get a glimpse of our struggle. I have so much respect for any guy who comes forward as a feminist. To achieve equality we need men AND women to fight the good fight.

When did you become a feminist?

I’d say a couple of years ago.

Do you feel ashamed about how you once spoke about women?

Yes. And I wish, somebody had explained sooner that this was unacceptable. Or why it was unacceptable.

How can women get men on board with feminism?

I think the word feminism, is, associated with hating men rather than it’s actual meaning, equality of the sexes. If more men understood the real meaning, it wouldn’t be such a dirty word.

Should women be paid the same as men in sport?

*heated debate which lasts 25 mins*

Where the circumstances are equal then yes.

Should sport be gendered?

There are some sports where it is necessary and others not. For example, I don’t think golf should be gendered. Or darts.

Who is your feminist role model?

You. Because you’re very passionate.

Do you think growing up in Guernsey makes it difficult to be a feminist?

Yes, because Guernsey is about 20 years behind the rest of the western world. In a lot of ways. People still hold outdated views.

Name something you once felt about women that you’re embarrassed about now?

That the were less capable of doing the same jobs.

Has having a daughter, changed your outlook on feminism and women?

Yes 100%. Because men aren’t often the victims of sexism, it’s difficult to sympathise with something you don’t understand. And having a daughter makes it a bit easier to relate to the situation.

Name one thing you think men struggle with due to gender stereotypes?

Expressing their feelings. Which explains why suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45.

What would you say or do if one of your children told you they wanted to transition?

I’d be upset to say goodbye to that child, but there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for my children so I would support them.

Why is international men’s day important?

To highlight issues specific to men. Such as suicide, male cancers, etc.

What do you think could be done to help the LGBTQ community feel more safe, and happy?

Giving them the same rights and treating them the same.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable about myself being attracted to both men & women?

No, I love you for you.

You coach a football team, have things gotten better with regards to sexism, racism, homophobia in football?

Yes. But there is still a very long way to go.

Do you think we will reach equality in our life time?

No I don’t. I think our generation will make vast improvements but I don’t see it happening soon. It will take time to eradicate differences from the past.