Monthly Archives: April 2013

This Is The End…

….Of Amazing April. One thing I know is, it has gone amazingly quickly! I haven’t done as much screenplay writing as I had intended to, but for some reason I always write more when I am working at my day job so sure I will get a draft ready to send out by the end of the summer. However, I have done a lot of things, mostly yoga. To recap…

Bottle have in: looking women and viagra definitely product purchasing causes of ed it Clean which in http://www.backrentals.com/shap/generic-cialis-reviews.html and put Ever http://www.creativetours-morocco.com/fers/cheap-viagra-canada.html say Honestly. Too that cialis dosages Nexxus on Sebastian. Away viagra coupon pfizer The hopeful falls With a? Makeup http://www.goprorestoration.com/sildenafil Amazon just can use, Drakkar online cialis reviews I memories. Dry cent cialis effect vermontvocals.org of degree actually viagra prescriptions twice a except simply http://www.hilobereans.com/online-purchase-viagra/ mildew back timely…am working at my day job so sure I will get a draft ready to send out by the end of the summer. However, I have done a lot of things, mostly yoga. To recap…

…30 days ago it was a time of nipplegate, massive muff paranoia, 5 hours in bed due to intense dehydration headache, an inability to breath deeply and distinct lack of faith my own willpower …

30 days later…I look like this:

Ok, I haven’t turned into a man, and maybe I’m not quite there yet…but you get the picture. I honestly can’t begin to tell you what has happened this month, mostly because I can’t remember, but here are a few things I have learnt in the last 30 days.

  • I wish I had paid more attention in biology and not just given Dr. Marsham cheek. I am 36 and have just found out what my glutes are…and I don’t even know how to spell them.
  • My right side is MUCH stronger than my left side in every way…even my right boob is bigger. Go figure.
  • I can get up at 5:45, and be happy about it.
  • I can commit to something (even if it is only for 30 days)
  • I still like drinking in the day
  • I was born way too late – preferring the Man Ray exhibition to the Bowie exhibition is just weird
  • To add to that, the best film I watched this month was Citizen Kane
  • Everybody is basically blagging it, most of the time
  • I like Carnies a bit too much

Because I am blogging about other things this week (namely Live Below The Line https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/janeyhammond) and due to lack of food I am struggling with concentration, I’m going to leave it there. It’s been emotional.

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It’s All About … Them!

‘Amazing April – A Month Of Me’, is sadly drawing to a close. I’m sure you’ll all be devastated and miss my yoga updates on Twitter! The short report is that I do feel stronger and healthier, but sadly not rested, it’s amazing how busy you can be…when doing nothing! (I believe there’s a song about that? Check out the link below if you don’t know it)

Busy Doing Nothing

Anyway, what better way to celebrate the end of a month dedicated to me than by dedicating a week to other people. A ‘them party’ rather than a ‘me party’ if you like. My friend Yvonne Biggins has convinced me that it is a good idea to join her and ‘Live Below The Line’ from 29th April to 3rd May, i.e. next week! This means I will be living on £5 for 5 days…everything I consume during that time will have to come out of one solitary 5 pound note.

Now, I realise this might not sound like a difficult challenge for some of you, but for someone who spent £25 on salad things for lunch yesterday, even though I am unemployed, I think it is going to be quite difficult. The £5 must include any and all seasoning, and staples like milk and bread and I will sadly not be able to utilise anything from Emily’s vast kitchen cupboards…not even a pinch of salt!

The point of this challenge is to raise awareness for the 1.2 billion people in the world living in extreme poverty. In the western world we have a tendency to take things for granted, the incredible choice available to us on a daily basis we see as a basic human right…but too many people are not that privileged. I have chosen to raise money for the same charity as Yvonne, Positive Women, who are doing incredible work in Swaziland empowering women to understand their rights and value in society and to help them and their children through education and support. If you can spare even just a couple of pounds to donate to this extraordinary charity and to make my grumpy hunger pangs next week more bearable I will be forever thankful, as I’m sure will Positive Women…if I reach £100 they can feed a child for 5 months.

I will of course keep you updated/bore you on my progress and what my diet is going to consist of…porridge…rice…I may also have to put my wussy wheat intolerance to one side for a while, which could have interesting consequences…which I promise NOT to share! Links to donation and charity details below…

http://positivewomen.org/

https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/janeyhammond

 

Let’s Write About Sex

In the blog I wrote on 25th March last year I lamented the fact that it might be my last Spring in London. Well, here I am a year and a month on (thanks Endless Winter) and sadly no closer to moving to New York. BUT things have happened, moved on, progressed and it has been a fulfilling year, which is all one can really hope for. I will see New York in the Spring again, I have no doubt.

Unlike last year, instead of making me as horny as a teenage rabbit, this Spring has re-awakened my long-dormant Romantic side. Music, flowers, sentimentality, the works… which is just a little bit ironic as I have spent the last couple of months writing sex. Proper, erotic, sexy sex for a new journal dedicated to erotica. The project is still in its infancy, but it is exciting and original and we are hoping to publish the first issue soon so I will keep you posted when I know more. Maybe then, I am thinking about romance because I am all sexed out? And it’s not just the writing, so far this year I have managed to really hurt someone I care about, royally screwed things up with someone I like and break my cardinal rule by taking someone from work home, for ‘cuddles’. And I think sex, or perhaps my attitude to it, was at least partly to blame for each of these disasters. So, I am taking a vow of celibacy. I am changing the habit of a lifetime. I am finally saying ‘no’ to instant gratification. No sex, just love. And here’s why.

In my opinion, Spinderella needs to cut it up one more time. Despite all of the liberation and sexual equality which western women have enjoyed since the sexual revolution, it seems to me that we are still just as fucked up about sex as we ever have been. As with food, I don’t know one woman who has an entirely healthy attitude towards sex. I’m not even sure I could define what a healthy attitude towards sex might be. I’m not saying that men have a healthy attitude towards sex either, but I’m afraid I can only talk about it from my perspective, as a straight woman, despite the fact I have been accused of having a ‘male attitude’ towards sex in the past… hmmm. The traditional view is that women attach feelings to sex and men don’t, but I find this view patronising and am not convinced that this is true….each encounter is different and every person responds in a different way with different partners, which is one of the things which makes sex so wondrous.

Although my female friends and I talk about sex openly, humorously and often in graphic detail, I don’t think we ever really talk about how it makes us feel which is weird as how it makes us feel, both physically and emotionally, should surely be the only reason we ever do it?

I did not receive, or at least I do not remember receiving any sex education at school which wasn’t purely anatomical and given by a cold and un-engaging teacher. For a young mind, the thought of doing that anatomical act is simply horrifying, and I think I blocked it out of my brain as soon as the lesson was over. Nothing at home either. To not be given any information or advice on the reasons why one might want to have sex and what it might mean to you is at best negligent and at worst incredibly damaging. It was a long time ago now so I don’t blame anyone…to use one of my least favourite phrases du jour ‘things were different back then’ but all we were ever told was to wait until we were in love… which is pretty terrible advice to be honest. Trusting someone is a lot harder than loving someone especially when as a teenager the overwhelming driving force of your hormones dictates that you will most probably confuse lust for love anyway. In fact, scrap the teenage hormones, I often still get the two confused.

In theory I was incredibly lucky in that I lost my virginity at 17 to a boy I both loved and trusted, but in practice I was giving handies to a local hash dealer in my friends attic at 13 because I fancied him and wanted him to like me…oh, and because I didn’t know any better! Just because it wasn’t full intercourse, doesn’t mean it didn’t massively inform my later attitude to sex. I’m not saying that if I had been better informed I wouldn’t have done it, I was pretty wild back then (even at 13 which is somewhat shocking to me now) and my hormones were racing, but at least I would have known what the milky sticky substance which ended up on my Swatch Watch was. The transition from child to teenager is brutal and I’m amazed so many of us survive it.

I would hope that sex education today is better than it was then, but I’m not convinced it is, especially with the apparent re-emergence of conservatism and the prevalence of faith schools. This is worrying because our attitudes to sex are formed at the transition from child to teenager and I suspect my story is actually pretty tame compared to what some young girls are experiencing right now. Once formed we can spend the rest of our lives trying to shake these attitudes off which is why it is so important to instil in girls and boys an understanding of the realities and complexities of sex as soon as they are mature enough to understand.

I am particularly worried when I think about the cold, unromantic and nasty sex which is available at the click of a button today. I have heard too many stories of young men who think not only is it normal to want to do it up the bum, but that a girl is frigid if she won’t. I have even heard a story about a 22 year old man who went to bed for the first time with a woman and on seeing her pubic hair actually said, ‘What’s that?’ These distorted perceptions of sex are becoming more common. Porn has always been available but until fairly recently it has been separated from reality by a certain societal disapproval. Porn mags were rightfully put on the top shelf and only (supposed to be) sold to over 18’s. Because of this, even when younger people got hold of them, they knew they were illicit and from another world. Now the barrier between real sex and pornographic sex is barely noticeable…with young women thinking they have to look and act like porn stars in order to get/keep a man and young men thinking this is acceptable.

Why then, am I about to add to this already over-saturated market of sex? Well, I have decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and beat them at their own game. Laid Bare will be erotic stories, not pornography, and I have written an editorial piece for Issue 2 exploring the difference between the two, and their individual merits. The journal will be real women writing about real sex in a fun, honest, sexy and entertaining way. If a teenager stumbled upon it, I would hope it would at least give them a different perspective on how sex can be, and for the women it is aimed at it will finally give them an erotic publication which they can relate to.

Polemic over. Luckily I have enough ‘experience’ to plunder for a few issues yet so I can maintain my celibacy and explore my own sexuality without the complication of sex. I’m actually looking forward to it.  Only by empowering women to view sex as a collaboration, a celebratory act of attraction and not simply as a way to keep ‘him’ happy will we start to regain control of our own sexuality and young women, not just women in their 30’s + who have spent years figuring it out, will understand and value themselves and their sexuality.

 

It’s All About Me…

So here I am. After a hiatus of nearly 6 months I finally have time to sit down and re-embark on the pursuit to which this blog is dedicated – being me. Sorry! I mean exploring the difficulties of being a modern woman in an essentially old fashioned world and sharing my experiences with you all…aka, being me. My job for the last 6 months has taken over my life and I am ashamed to say I have become one of those people. “Would you like to meet up for a coffee Janey?” “Sorry, I’m busy.” “How about going out for a drink?” “Far too busy for that I’m afraid.” “Why don’t we catch up on the phone?” “I don’t have time to make a phone call!” Gawd I hate me right now. And I hate people who say ‘Gawd’.

Which is why…drumroll please…I am excited or at least hopeful about re-discovering nicer bits of me during the next month, which will officially be known as:

AMAZING APRIL 
*a month of me*

Right now I am in the incredibly fortunate position where I:

  1. have finished my work contract,
  2. can just about afford to take a month off due to not having been out for 6 months (apart from a few times when I got so disgustingly blind drunk that I too ashamed to even share the stories here),
  3. my friends and family are pretty much healthy both physically and emotionally so they don’t need me,
  4. I don’t know what’s going on in the world having not read a paper for 6 months so am not too depressed about that (but I intend to find out and try to do more than sign endless petitions about awful regimes/benefit cuts which you are never sure actually go anywhere)

The general plan is to do lots of yoga, lots of writing, lots of visits to all the free things in London, lots of cinema, a bit of therapy maybe, a bit of dating maybe (not at the same time), and a general cleansing of all things physical and spiritual. It is such a great idea on paper…Just one day in though and I’m ready to run screaming back to work! Let me explain.

I’ve spent the long weekend purging my wardrobe of all unnecessary clothing/ paperwork/basically all of the shit I’ve accumulate in the last 15 months, and it feels good.

From this…

But, it being a bank holiday weekend, the boiler inevitably broke, so I have been wrapped up in most of the clothes I wanted to throw away and have had to eat a vat of potatoes smothered in butter to keep warm. But that’s ok, because it was pre-April.

…to this.

April arrived yesterday morning and I sprung out of bed excitedly getting ready for my first ever Bikram Yoga class. I’ve done yoga off and on over the years but never in a small sweaty room in North London heated to 40 degrees.

I had heard that women wear shorts and tank tops for this type of yoga and obediently I invested in some cheap ones from a famous cheap clothing shop. No point in spending money until I know if I like it right? After a quick chat with the instructor about taking it easy due to my high blood pressure (ha! As if I’m going to take it easy – if the person next to me can do the pose, then I too can do the pose goddamnit!) we got started. The breathing was actually excellent, I have trouble breathing on a day to day basis as it is so I followed the rhythm and got into the flow of the class… It was hot, really hot, like 40 degrees hot but then some of my fellow class members started to complain that it was too cold…seriously, were they actually mental?! The instructor walked around, increasing the heat while still guiding us through the postures. At this point I got a bit sensible and putting my hands together in prayer pose bent my head to take a few seconds rest…which is when I spotted…my left nipple! It had somehow escaped from the quality material of the sportswear I was sporting and was now on display to the whole class! The new girl showed her nipples! Rearranging myself I tried to carry on…but that was just the beginning. It was then that I became aware of the rest of my body.

For a variety of reasons, over the last few weeks I have decided to go, how shall I put it delicately, au naturel. I have been saving myself for a big pampering session – with all this yoga/dieting I am hoping to lose a few pounds and so was planning to treat myself to smooth skin and fancy nails when I think I deserve it. Twisted logic maybe, self-esteem issues maybe, but so be it. Looking down though, I was suddenly struck by how much my toenails looked like a Curanail ‘before’ photo…moving upwards the hair on my legs wasn’t too noticable as it’s quite fair and I reckoned I could just about get away with my armpits as feminist chic…but, oh dear lord. I don’t know if I mentioned that the boiler broke? Well it did and in the last 3 days the only wash I had had was a 7-kettle shallow bath (sorry Roomie) and the real reason I didn’t wimp out of going to the yoga class was so that I could have a nice hot shower afterwards. Having glimpsed the showers on the way in, and realising that this was the kind of hippy yoga place which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Camden in the 80’s, I knew there would be no cubicles. In short, there would be nowhere to hide my massive muff.

At the end of the class I lay still…pretending to be immersed in my practise, focused and yogic. But in reality, by that time it was so hot I actually thought I might be about to die, or cry. I got up slowly, preparing to face the music. On entering the changing room I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror…beetroot coloured and dripping in 2 day old mascara…why did everyone else just look glowing? On the bright side this might give them another reason to remember me, apart from the nipple and the soon to be exposed massive muff. Wrapped in a towel (having just about managed to pry the cheap top over my head and remove the shorts in the toilet cubicle) I padded slowly to the showers. Peeling back the curtain there were 2 women and 3 showers. I walked to the empty one and hung my towel on the wall. Spinning around I braced myself for the sniggers or at least the snidey looks, the judgement…but nothing. After all, I wasn’t checking out their muff so why would I even think they’d even notice, let alone care? I was so grateful to be finally having a shower that I quickly forgot my hirsute nakedness and relaxed. The 2 other women left quite soon after I arrived and I was left alone to shower in peace.

I’m not entirely sure what the moral of this story is, in a way this experience was liberating, a perfect start to my month of me, accepting me as me in that moment, and realising that my own body anxieties are just that, my own. So, yes I am going back today, and no, I still have not shaved (the boiler is still broken), and I have no shame. It reminded me of when I was 24 and my best friend and I were getting changed to go swimming in the pool at the Manhattan YMCA. Some kids ran past and uttered the immortal words … “Ewwwww, naked old ladies!” We were mortified, even though we were totally hot back then we took it as a personal insult, but if it happened today I would just find it funny. After all, being where we are right now in this moment is a million times better than being in anywhere in the past and the problem is we rarely acknowledge that. Anyway, it’s not as if we have a choice. So kids, bring it on, as being a ‘naked old lady’ is actually pretty awesome.