Bad Feminist

Over the past few weeks I have been settling into my job in an area quite different from what I thought I would find myself working in: equality and diversity (pertaining to gender/racial/sexuality/disability). Although it not related to drugs or alcohol in the least, it does fall under the category of “topics that make people uncomfortable”, and oddly enough, I am quite comfortable with those topics.

I have had to do a lot of reading to get my head around this field and to really understand what I’m workin’ with. And as far as gender equality goes, I am finding myself caught in a labyrinth of contradictions. I had nooooo idea how many different sects of feminism there was. I really thought that I understood feminism. Being a female, it seemed pretty straight forward: generally a toned down version of my childhood mantra “anything boys can do I can do better”. But the intricacies are never ending!


There’s White Feminism, Black Feminism, Individual, Collective, Choice, Liberal, Radical, Socialist, Eco, Separtist, Cultural and Social Feminism. There’s even Anti-Feminism! That’s supported by women! I honestly did not know that this existed in reality aside from the hair-sprayed granddaughters of the GOP who are paid to appear on Fox news programmes and read a script tearing down other women.

My hero.

My hero.

But you get the point, there’s a lot of different groups who, in my opinion, have the same bottom line: we just want equality, yo. (And then the one group who asserts that women do not deserve equality because God made women to be inferior…or something equally as ridiculous).

So this has gotten me thinking, which group would I fall in? I would like to classify myself as Simple Feminist. Equality for all. Equal pay for equal work. Diversity in leadership leads to diverse outcomes and increases the competitiveness of your organisation. And above all, don’t be an archaic a$$hole.


At the same time I have a more than slight inclination to start my own sect of feminism: Respectable Feminism or Smart Feminism (name pending). My reasoning is that in my position now, I am working for the improved equality of academic and professional women. Meanwhile…#ThighBrow is trending on Instagram. There are tons of voyeuristic and empty headed women who are doing more harm than good for the feminist movement. Although some sects would argue that because a woman CAN post a photo of herself in her underwear, highlighting her hip joint creases with the perfect filter, that IS feminism. And I do not want to be a “slut shamer”, but I feel like there should be a more united front. It’s a tricky subject.

BUT THEN I found myself scrolling through an article about the models who are walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this year (a not-so secret obsession of mine…I have been known to watch the show 2-3 times…all while eating cupcakes so it’s ok), and I stopped and thought, does this make me a bad feminist? Isn’t this objectifying women? Should I not like this? WHAT ELSE MAKES ME A BAD FEMINIST?

  1. I enjoy working out to angry rap music with demoralising lyrics
  2. I love Pinterest
  3. And chick flicks that portray men and women in obviously traditional roles
  4. I am a fitness fanatic and I do compare my body to an unrealistic standard
  5. When I hear girls talking in the dumb girl voice (you know what I’m talking about), I make fun of them
  6. Although I think that Gloria Steinem’s tagline “a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle” is beautifully true, in terms of my own love life, if I am the fish, I do indeed need my bicycle

Fish without a bike

I could go on. But after some serious consideration, I do not think that I am a bad feminist. I’m just a 23 year old who’s still working out my opinions on the colossal amount of $#!& that is continuously hitting the fan in this patriarchal society of ours.

And I’m still going to watch (and re-watch) the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Because I can.


A Very London Halloween

The Brits do Halloween wrong. There’s just no other way to say it. They try (as my Alabama friends would say, “bless ’em”)…but they haven’t quite figured it out yet. As we are living in Camden this year, the whole Halloween season has been much different from last year. In Camden, there are pretty much people dressed in what could be Halloween garb year ’round. Which is a hoot and a half. Who wouldn’t get a little thrill out of riding the tube with guys who have their entire face tattooed and pierced? Or grocery shopping with girls dressed full goth? And I mean a full goth unlike any you have experienced before. And so when other people started dressing up for Halloween, some of them were hard to differentiate (except of course for the classic and original Cold Fairy Princesses or Shivering Wonderwomen that adorn the streets only on Halloween or for fraternity theme parties).

We, as Americans, thoroughly enjoy Halloween. But few people actually celebrate it. The concept of taking your kids door-to-door to get free candy is not as generally accepted (to my understanding). And as we found out this year, Londoners are pretty literal when it comes to celebrating Halloween. They do not understand celebrating it on any day except for Halloween. From my experience (and that is the experience of someone who does not really get too excited about Christmas, but thoroughly enjoys the Halloween spirit), the best way to do Halloween is to celebrate all week long. There’s going to be the work Halloween party (read: work appropriate), but there’s at least two other nights of parties beyond that! If it’s on a weekend (as it was this year)…FRIDAY AND SATURDAY!! You’ve just got to spread out the days when people can have Halloween parties.

But that is not the case here.

We went out Friday night. We bought tickets to a “Spooktacular” at a German Beerhouse which included steins (a good way to start out a Halloween party). Except that we were the some of the only ones who were dressed up besides the wait staff. There were a few…but not anything like the turnout for a party by the same name in the States. We got a lot of “oh yeah…I guess it is Halloween this weekend.” And if we talked to people: “Oh yeah…you Americans do like Halloween, don’t you?” YES! YES I like Halloween but half of the fun is seeing other peoples’ clever costumes and talking to them. As fun and convenient as looking through Facebook to see clever costumes is, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy the real experience.

On the bright side, we still got to dress up like this and ride on public transport and get to experience the oddly tangible feeling of people trying very hard not to look at you. In a way, it made me understand how those people with the tattooed and pierced faces do it. I think it would be hilarious for about a day.

'Til Death' and all that

‘Til Death’ and all that

There were more people dressed up on Saturday. Which is when we decided to go to a special viewing of The Shining at the National Theatre, and dress up as Londoners. Basically, anytime we passed people dressed up, we would go “Oh yeah…I guess it is Halloween.” Oh and of course we played a Halloween drinking game: every time a girl who can’t walk in heels or is obviously uncomfortable and cold passes, you drink. Not a Halloween game for the faint hearted.

In other news, I’m training for another 10K! The Santa Run where everyone runs in a Santa suit. I haven’t yet decided if that will be helpful in the cold, or annoying and chafey. This one, Louis is doing with me. Which means that our training days are veryyyy different. I’m running 6-7k most days right now…he’s runnign 12k. I’m trying not to compare because…that’s silly. I have to take 3 steps for every one of his. But for a training programme to suggest “an easy 7 miles”?! That’s just a contradiction.

I hope that everyone had a very fun, very American Halloween!! But please remember, it’s absolutely ridiculous to start talking about Christmas for a few more weeks!!

Change Is In The Air

I find that I am most inspired by people who almost gave up, or did give up, and then got back to it and became wildly successful. People like Stephen Spielberg, who was rejected from film school three times, or Stephen King, who said that by age 14 the nail in his wall could no longer support the weight of his rejection letters…so he switched to a spike and kept goin’, and just to name a non-White Male…Oprah.

The person who most recently made me realise the inspiration of almost-broken people is Marlon James. This week he became the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker prize for a book that he admits is controversial and risky (he uses several dozen viewpoints). I watched an interview with him this morning where he discussed how he got so fed up with receiving rejection letters from publishers that he almost gave up writing, but a friend urged to go back to a draft that he had deleted from his hard drive, which then became his first published book.

I can sympathise with getting fed up with rejection letters, as that was most of what was filling my inbox recently. But I am happy to announce that after an eternity of searching (or a month and a half in real time), I have been offered and accepted a position at a university!! It’s not the research job that I had in mind, but it’s one that I’m very excited about and am going to work so hard at that I will force other doors open after this.

Unfortunately, my inbox is still being filled with rejection letters. But now, when I wake up in the morning and check my emails, I don’t feel so dejected. I do, however feel a little bit like yelling that I don’t need their validation because somebody values my lack of experience and malleable and enthusiastic youthfulness that I tried to get across in my cover letters!!!!!!!!!!!

Nana nana booboo. Stick your head in doodoo.

Nana nana booboo. Stick your head in doodoo.

So, even though I didn’t exactly have a career to give up like Marlon James did (searching for a job wasn’t anything that I could just stop doing…a girl’s gotta pay the bills), and even though everyone keeps telling me that a month and a half of being unemployed is “really not that long”, it was long enough to break me down and make me doubt myself. I had basically made a prison out of my amazing new flat, and that’s not cool. And above all, it is always nice to remind myself that I don’t have a concrete path. If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how you get there.


Expectation vs. Reality

I have a plan for everything. I’m talkin’ a 3 months in advance, hour-by-hour kind of plan. I’m genetically predisposed to this sort of dysfunction. I also have very little patience. Like hand-eye coordination, I was born without it. I am always at step 3 in my mind, before step 1 is even over.

Job Search

So when my master’s programme was wrapping up (actually, about 5 months before it was wrapping up), I already had a plan. My plan was to hand in my thesis, spend about a week recuperating, then send out my CV like somebody’s payin’ me for it. I would then have a few interviews, which in my mind, would go something like this:

I walk into a state of the art research centre and shake hands with my interviewer, they take a look at my CV and, with wide eyes they gape at me, “So you’re the one who’s completed a master’s programme?! Look at all of the experience you have! You must have been working your a$$ off for years!!” And I would nod my head, and humbly accept the corner office.

Or something along those lines. The modest version was to (quickly) land an above-entry-level-job with a steady salary and paid holiday time, get a new visa, buy a new wardrobe, book some holidays and commence life.

The reality of this glorious job searching experience has been starkly different. It has involved applying to jobs like it’s my job, but for some reason, all of these companies have decided to reinvent the wheel. I took classes on how to write a CV, attended seminars, met with career counselors, had it checked by supervisors. And what does every application say?! ‘We do not accept CV’s.’ Instead, they provide nice little boxes asking all of the questions that are answered on my CV, so that you can copy and paste/rewrite alllllll of that information on there for them. WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?! I can now recite my entire CV top to bottom. I see it in my sleep. I am thinking about learning how to translate it into a new language just to mix things up a little.

It is hard not to fall into a deep dark pit of squalor in this process of slaving away over (what seems like) thousands of insignificant applications and sending them out into the oblivion, knowing that a response of any kind is unlikely. You see, I think that going into this process, I had really (and still do) underestimate just how many people there are in this city. There are over 40 universities in London. That’s so many thousands of recent grads job searching that I couldn’t even begin to count. Regardless, there is easily a few hundred people going out for every job that I am. Did I make good grades? Yes. Do I have experience? Yes. Do these other people? Probably.

BUT I have not given up. I’m still slaving away. But I’m going to have to change somethin’ up in my schedule because right now the time that I’m waking up every morning is creeping closer and closer towards the time I woke up on the weekends when I was a teenager and didn’t have bills to pay. And, as predicted, I am rewarding myself with far too many episodes of Private Practice (I finished Grey’s Anatomy and am now watching episodes as they are released like a peasant), and I am getting far too attached to these characters. I need human interaction. And a reason to put some makeup on in the morning. But at the same time…yoga pants are so good. And why go out when you can’t spend money?! I can only sit in a cafe for so long and mooch off their “Free Wifi” without feeling obligated to buy multiple lattes. It’s just not feasible.

It’s really only been a month since I’ve been slaving away. Something is bound to turn up. I refuse to admit that I live in a world where hard work does not pay off. I’m too young for that kind of cynicism.

The Millenials’ Fast

I am proud to say that I have survived three weeks with no Internet at home, or as I like to think of it, our generation’s fasting. Living without internet is like fasting in so many ways: it develops the mind, clears the head, you can do it both as a personal challenge or when forced in times of famine or religious obligation…but if carried out for too long, or in unsafe conditions, it could kill you.

A couple of weeks ago, our terrible, horrible flatmates moved out of our old flat. And because they are terrible and horrible, they took the Internet with them. And we were given no warning that this was happening. We had no time to prepare. Cold turkey. We were right in the middle of watching a TV series, as well! AND then come to find out we weren’t going to be able to get Internet until a week after we moved into our new place!! I allowed myself a period of grief to let this reality settle.

The first weekend was rough because, in addition to having no internet, we also had no money because we had just put down our Texas-sized deposit on our London-sized flat, and so we couldn’t really afford to do anything fun. So we bought a puzzle. A 1000 piece SOB that nearly drove us to insanity.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bunch of puzzle pieces strewn around the sidewalk near our flat…

Raining Puzzles

I thought it was strange then, but I now understand why the puzzle thrower threw that puzzle. Because after staring at the same pieces for so long and not seeing any way that there is any kind of distinction between the 300 white pieces like you see in the picture, or because you’ve TRIED ALL OF THESE PIECES, WHERE THE &#^% IS IT?!?!

But we finished it.

We also got some library books, which was great for me. I got through most of Sophie’s Choice, one of my new favourites by the way. I’ve found a few of those since my thesis work has been winding down. I’ve been makin’ it through an unwritten list of mine-a sort of combination of Rory Gilmore’s reading list, every Buzzfeed article that mentions “books you have to read”, and any book which has a title or author that sounds familiar or that someone somewhere considers a Classic.

Another fun little internet-less activity of ours was to rediscover the dark and dangerous place that is the iTunes library post-Spotify. Who needs to delve into your angsty teenage stage when you can stream to your heart’s desire?! Listen to something different every day? Well, we went there. With the deal that whoever’s playlist was on, the other could act as DJ and skip whenever necessary. Because, let’s face it, I was not going to sit through any screamo, and he wasn’t going to listen to any N’Sync. It would not have made us any more patient with each other during this trying time.

It is somewhat miraculous that somehow we forgot that Candy Crush doesn’t require internet…that is definitely for the best. Both Louis and I have both gotten to a point of Crush addiction, in the past year, when you see the candies when you close your eyes. The game haunts you when you try to go to sleep at night. It’s just what happens when you play that during your daily commute (and then anytime that you have full lives after that).


As much as we were simplifying our life, there are just some things that require the Internet (like ordering groceries-because we’re not haulin’ anything that can be delivered to our door). For these, we had to meet at a café with (miserably slow) wifi and go through it all after work. Super frustrating.

But this internet-less existence was not the worst thing. As I am now in the full-time job searching position, if I did not have an explicit reason to leave the house everyday, it is possible that I could fall into a dismal kind of existence of only leaving the house to go to the gym. And how easy would it be to reward myself with an episode (or four…) of Grey’s Anatomy after each section of job application? It would happen and then I would have to do the applications at night. Which I don’t want to do.

My narrowly escaped fate.

Not to mention that with so much time on our hands, we had time to bake cookies. So I can’t complain tooooo much.

Now we have internet (and no terrible, horrible flatmates), and I am happily making up for lost time with all mobile devices going: I’m watching Private Practice on my laptop-because I caught up on Grey’s, Instagramming on my iPhone, job searching on my iPad, with Spotify pulled up and ready to go with any musical choice that strikes my fancy.

Life is better with Internet. It should be a fundamental human right, and I will never again take it for granted.


Movin’ On Up

We moved last weekend, and it was an adventure. It also took a few days to recover physically, partially because, in my infamous wisdom, I must have thought to myself, “What could make this move more fun? I know! Let’s do it hungover! AND after leg day!!” And so a task that was already guaranteed to be tiring and trying was magnified.

We learned that we have much more stuff than we thought. Doesn’t it always happen that way; you underestimate the amount of stuff that can possibly fit in your home? We thought that because we moved to London a year ago with 5 suitcases (stuffed to the brim), it couldn’t be toooooo much more. But we seriously miscalculated our (…my) ability to accumulate stuff. We now have sheets and towels (big space-takers), more shoes, dishes, food (mostly potatoes and canned goods. You know…the light stuff), a TV and books (SO MANY BOOKS!). That led to us requiring much more than the few boxes we thought we would need (and unfortunately the amount of boxes that we told the moving van guy we had). I mean really…we had our heads in the clouds.

Our Stuff

But thank goodness that, due to a combination of being a military kid, a child of divorce and having a consistent history of crazy roommates which required me to move at least once a year during all four years of college, I am practically a professional mover. I applied my methodical love of planning to tackle this project (in one night). Louis, on the other hand, ran around like a chicken with his head was cut off for a little while, acting as if we were about to be evicted and had to grab what we could as fast as possible. But, in the end we got it all sorted.

On Saturday morning we also learned something about England that we haven’t had to up until now: England’s version of a moving van. When we ordered a van, I pictured…well, a van.

A moving van.

America’s version of a moving van

As we waited downstairs with all of our stuff, with throbbing heads and empty stomachs at 9 in the morning, and THIS pulled through our gate, I almost cried.

A "moving van"

Our “moving van”

Our “moving van” driver, who was probably the most stereotypical Londoner you’ve ever seen, stepped out of this Tonka truck and, between cigarette puffs, noted that this was “quite a bit more than you said you had”. Which was when Louis saw fit to throw me under the bus: “yeah, my girlfriend has a lot more stuff than I thought.”

By some miracle, we got it all in there, and began our 30-minute journey across town (we moved from SouthEast London to NorthWest). And, because it’s London, we got rained on, but thankfully only at the end of this process. When we got it all to the lobby of our building (as the “moving van” sat parked illegally on a double red line in the middle of the high street), I realised two things:

  1. Although there is a lift, it is decidedly London-sized (i.e. teeny tiny), and has a sign posted outside that explicitly states it is only for “transporting people”…no heavy objects allowed; and
  2. That there were no stairs. Apparently the door to the stairs is down the road and around the corner. And since we weren’t about to move all of this stuff through the rain again, we made it a super speedy process: loading the heavy objects into the teeny tiny lift, trying not to be paranoid that it has a noticeable jolt every time you put a box inside, Louis running it to the flat while I make sure we don’t get robbed.

Ahh…the city life!

Overall, this was still way less painful than our move last year! Minimal lugging of suitcases through busy streets (Although we didn’t really have a choice about that because the cobblestone ate the wheels of our suitcase on that trip!).

So now we have our charming little abode that is just ours; no terrible, horrible flatmates to share it with! It is little, but it is all that we need. There is space to walk around the bed, there’s a kitchen, but you CAN’T open the oven from the bed, the shower AND ceilings are big enough for Louis to fit in. What more could we ask for?! (For those who think I am being facetious, you should see the calibre of the flats we looked at…London’s housing crisis is a real problem). We also have an (obstructed) skyline view! AND we have our own little balcony! You have to climb over the kitchen sink and out a small-ish window to get to it…but it’s ours! And it’s in the best location. Close to everything we want (pubs, shops, cafes, pubs with live music, restaurants, transportation, pubs that show the football games, a canal, our gym, pubs).

And so we have been happily settling in, and getting used to all of our little abode’s quirks (e.g. the smoke detector that screams if you look at it wrong, and which door slams if you leave which window open), and celebrating the little things (like finding where we put “that damn” x, y, z, and only taking 5 minutes to figure out what degree to turn the shower faucet to avoid being scalded or frozen).

And then we ran into the building’s caretaker. A delightful man (sarcastic tone indicated) who asked if we were renting through the letting agency nearby, I replied, yes. And he, in the most sinister way possible, responded “good luck with that.” With no further explanation except that “they’re $#!*…especially about giving the deposit back”. Well if that isn’t exactly what a cheerful new tenant wants to hear! And so now I will try not to spend the next 12 months musing over how I can make sure that I get my deposit back. Can’t do anything about it now!

At least we don’t have flatmates.


Yupp. We’ve lived in London for a year. Time flies. And now, for the first time in twenty years, I will not be starting school this month, but finishing it. This is very strange for me as I do not know how to not be a student.

But, I have submitted my thesis. My time as a student is indeed over (for now). As I stand back and assess how this year has gone, I can’t help but think of all of the London that I’ve missed out on because of our “student budget”, and the sheer amount of time I have had to spend in the library. I keep thinking of it as a year wasted, but that’s really no way to look at it. At the end of this I will have a Master’s degree, and hopefully a Distinction on my thesis, a publication, and a  job. But I’ve also learned a loooooooooOOOOOOooooooooot about myself this year.


I’ve learned that no matter how far away you move, your flaws and insecurities move with you. Moving to London did not magically make me a girl who has any desire to do more to my hair than dry it, my texting-back skills have not improved, nor has my ability to hold my alcohol, I still engage in Netflix binging, and I doubt myself on a regular basis. But I think that, maybe, it’s possible that I’ve gained some confidence. Despite getting into this (amazing) school, receiving a (huge) scholarship, and surviving (gargantuan) exams, I have been endlessly anxious about my writing skills in my thesis. The realization that I should be confident in myself came during my meeting to discuss my  “First Draft” with my supervisor (actually saved in my computer as ‘newNEW_THESIS_EDITEDfinal-NEWfinal-reallyfinal.docx’ or something to that extent). I sat in his office, preparing myself for a long night of revising ahead; but he told me that there was very little to comment on, that I am a ‘very good writer’, and that my thesis was in a publishable state. When I was thinking over (and over and over…) how that meeting would go, that was definitely nowhere in my realm of possibilities. But I should be confident! I got into the programme, and I’ve been dominating since day 1. It’s almost time to sit back and revel in my accomplishments.

I learned that you know that it’s a special kind of love that can survive a big (giant) move away from all friends and family, on top of one person completing a seriously strenuous master’s programme, and the other working a very time consuming job.

I think that Lou deserves a degree for taking a crash course, with no syllabus, and only pop quizzes in ‘How to Deal with Caroline In All Her Forms‘. He laughed off my only-half-joking screaming fits at my computer while I cursed its inability to perform tasks at the pace I wanted; he calmed me down and reassured me when I got caught in my downward spiral of thoughts concerning my bleak and uncertain future; he got on board with (most) of my self-development projects which were a weak attempt to procrastinate; and when the exhaustion from writing until there was no words left to write left me in a state that made the bed seem like the only place I wanted to be, he fed me a sippy cup of wine and suggested a walk outside, along the river, among the other people.

Before I moved here, people kept telling me that this move will “make or break” our relationship, and considering that I could not have possibly done this without him, and we’re stronger than ever, I’d say it made it.

Above all, this year has taught me that much more is possible than we let ourselves believe. I thought that getting into a Master’s programme here was impossible; that moving to London was impossible; that running a 10k was impossible; that finishing a thesis in 4 months was impossible; but I’ve done it all. It’s good to acknowledge this now, because the next steps (finding a job, and re-learning how to socialise without discussing my thesis) seem pretty impossible right now.

There are so many quotes that are fitting for this time of my life. But I think that the words of someone who I admire for many things, not the least being the ability to persevere in the face of adversity, fit best:

“Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not”  -Eminem

So I’ve submitted my 100 page thesis (and then slept for about 18 hours…which is the best kind of celebration, if you ask me), in a week I will give a presentation on it. But now…I begin the job hunt. Oh, and we’re moving to a new flat. No time for rest and relaxation over here.

More to come!

10 Things That I Have Learned Lately…

  1. There is such a thing as stupid questions! I have known this for a while, but I have learned THE funniest of them all: “How do you feel about a baby in the apartment?” BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. For a question such as this, a response such as “How do you feel about me slitting your throat? Probably about the same…” is fitting. I have done everything that a responsible modern woman has to do to avoid an unwanted situation. So I am not going to live with the consequences, no matter how amazing the apartment is. (Read: I’M NOT MOVING!!!…but somebody is….)



  2. As the sunrise gets earlier and earlier, so too does the birds’ peak time of conversation and mating. 4 am is now a time when birds choose to gather outside of my bedroom window and, seemingly, mate. It’s either that or feral cats getting it on at a second story level. Either way it is a LOAD of noise. At 4 am. 4 nights in a row. Who needs sleep?…no. I do. I need sleep. Hence, #teamnobabies
  3. Apparently summer is a time that makes men in London feel extra entitled. I have made it nearly 10 months in this giant city without being groped on the tube. And then June hits and BAM! Two cases of sexual harassment in two weeks. First, a man flipped my skirt up when I was standing on the escalator. Then, while on the last stretch of a 40 minute run, I was hit by a motorcyclists’ outstretched arm. My a$$ is now bruised. I was also standing with a friend who bent over to lock her bike outside of a pub when a man felt the need to let her know that she had “some grass on her a$$”…and then felt that it was a good idea to brush it off for her. It was not ok. NOT OK!! #everydaysexism
  4. Summer is also when the lack of air conditioning in London becomes exceedingly noticeable. And intolerable. How is this not a thing in every developed country?? I want to send the people in charge to the Deep South during June and see if they don’t want to adopt that gorgeous burst of frigid air as any door, anywhere opens.

    This image proves that

    This image proves that “AirCon” is not a new invention…therefore I do not see the hesitation in accepting it fully as a needed aspect of a society tormented by global warming…

  5. One of the best feelings in the world may very well be quitting a job that had been sucking the life out of you with its’ pointless nature and total dominance over all possibility of weekend fun. I am now at an interesting point in my life. Up ’til this point I have worked nothing but meagre jobs which I mostly hated, because I had to have a job. My next job will be something important. Something related to my field. Something that will actually further my career. That’s exciting.                                    quitting
  6. It is necessary to have an area of life that separates you from what you ‘do’. Throughout most of my master’s course I have been supplementing my lessons by reading books related to the field (aka scientific books) in my spare time. This can only last so long until I lost my mind. I require a creative outlet. And spending 95% of waking hours writing a thesis does not leave me with much brain power to write blogs (unfortunately). BUT getting back to reading literature soothes my soul. Must remember this for future scientific endeavours…
  7. In times of absurdly important projects (such as a master’s thesis), it is important to prioritize the areas in which I am working my a$$ off. For example, it is not sustainable to work my a$$ off at school, on multiple projects (including my thesis), while also maintaining a killer workout schedule and strict diet regime (all the while berating myself for any slips). Something’s gotta give. And thesis trumps all. So it’s a good thing that I’ve realized my body’s ability to bounce back relatively quickly, cuz if I’m staring at a screen, wracking my brain for words and I want a cookie, I’m eatin’ a cookie. diet
  8. Technically I already knew this, but my Facebook feed does not change just because I can no longer form a stream of words that make any sense when deep in the thesis-writing process.
  9. Likewise, more coffee does not make words come. It only makes the non-words come at a more voracious pace.        coffee
  10. Last but not least, I have learned that when studying alcohol all day (and I mean ALLLLLLLLLLL day); reading articles about it, writing a thesis about it, having international conference calls about it…it really makes you want to drink it. TGFW (Thank God For Wine)


My lack of posts lately has been due to my need to channel all of my writing energy into scientific forms. I probably won’t be back to my once-a-week goal until September, but stay tuned because things aren’t getting any less interesting on this side of the pond…

Let’s Talk About Something Important

We’re right in the midst of the UK election season, which officially lasts 38 days. That’s roughly a month of campaigning. While I cannot vote in this election, I am keeping up with the parties’ stances, so that I can persuade my boyfriend, who can vote (for the first time!), to vote with a purpose, rather than to vote for whoever is ‘probably gonna lose’. The two issues that I have a vested interest in are drug policy reform (let’s use some sense and invoke some leniency here, people) and immigration laws, for obvious reasons (Say No to Xenophobia!!!).

Meanwhile, back in the good ole USofA, election season has also kicked off…20 months early. So while hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on the seemingly dozens of presidential candidates’ campaigns (I mean really, is every person who has ever held public office running for president??), I feel like I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that many important issues will be ignored.

I predict that the two main issues no one will be able to shut up about are 1.The Economy and 2. Health Care

And while those are unarguably very important issues, they are not the issues that are plaguing the country.

The United States criminal justice system needs to be reformed. Badly. Quickly. There is an institutional racism that lies just under the surface, barely out of plain sight, throughout the entire system (police, courts, prison). This selective enforcement, discrimination and harassment has its’ roots in the “War on Drugs“. For anyone interested in the detailed and documented history of this, I can suggest some wonderful books, but I am not here to provide a history lesson today. I am here to make a lesson of the present.


Last week, my boyfriend and I were scrolling through YouTube’s most watched videos and happened upon the video posted by Fox News of the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in Muskogee County, Oklahoma. Just so there is no confusion (because there have been a few shootings of black men by white police officers in Oklahoma recently…), this was not a case of an ‘unarmed black man’. The man did have a gun. I will argue, however, that the cop used this man for target practice. He shot with excessive force (as if shooting in and of itself is not excessive force…). He shot this man five times. In the back. He then kept the gun pointed at the (obviously dead) man for the next few minutes, and refused to let a friend check on him. There was an utter lack of compassion. It was completely un-human.

The video made me physically sick. I cannot understand that kind of flippancy for another human’s life. I do understand that the job of a police officer comes with many challenges, and that there is a need to deal with the challenges in a way that laypeople cannot sympathize with (I studied criminal justice, and so my ‘understanding’ is from an academic perspective. I do not purport to fully grasp the ins and outs of police work). Additionally, I am not suggesting that there are no good cops. Policing is a necessary part of every society, and many are doing their part to keep our country safer.


What I am suggesting, is that there is a cancer that has been spreading throughout the system. Black men have been killed by cops without reason throughout America’s history. But we haven’t had access to smart phones, which can video anything and everything and then be disseminated to everyone, everywhere, throughout America’s history (or in this case, wearable body cameras). The point that I am trying to make is that this is not a phenomenon. And it is not an issue that can be solved by firing a few ‘bad apples’.

Something needs to change.

And someone needs to make it their issue in this upcoming election season. No more baseless murders protected by a failing institution need to happen before someone in power gets upset enough to demand an overhaul. Due to the complexity of the issues America is suffering, one policy change ain’t gonna cut it.

There needs to be drug policy reform. It’s all well and good if people choose to persistently and ignorantly assume that all black men are engaging in illicit drug use, everyone has the right to their opinion in America, after all. But their ignorance should not impact an entire group of people in the paramount way that it does now.

There needs to be gun law reform. Contrary to the ideas of many Texans and Alabamians whom I have spoken to, this would not consist of Obama showin’ up at your front door and takin’ your guns. But there needs to be fewer guns. Less access to guns. Guns need to be harder to get! Because it’s too easy to kill people right now. And that’s not cool.

There needs to be police reform. The entire training for police needs to be reconsidered. The culture of the boys in blue needs therapy. Hey, how about some actual therapy?! Police go through some struggles that civilians don’t. It might help to talk about it. Going to Afghanistan isn’t the only cause of PTSD. And there’s plenty of other psychological phenomena that occur from the amount of stress from this job…

So we’ve got new laws, new training, and addressing mental health. Now let’s get the people who don’t deserve to wield this power out of their current positions, and let’s move some new recruits in. I really have no suggestion on how to do this, but I’m sure someone out there does. Or could come up with one if they decide that this is an issue worthy of a brainstorming session.


This was a comment made by a fellow cop to the cop who killed an unarmed black man in South Carolina. He laughed and said his adrenaline was pumping…

I think that this is the most pressing domestic issue facing the United States of America at this time. The longer we wait to demand reform, the more black men (and black women, and hispanic men and women, and people with mental health issues…), some armed, some unarmed, will be killed across the country. Some of these stories will make national headlines. Many won’t.

This issue may not affect you directly. That’s all the more reason why you should care. People in power have a habit of not really listening to the plight of the people who it does affect. Say something. Make it an issue worth talking about. Make your local politicians and your presidential candidate of choice know that you think it’s an issue.

I will hold my breath for this reform. #ICantBreathe

Union Square protests

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The Gasp Test


You know those moments when you think something terrible is happening, and you instinctively make a sound that would make clutching your pearls or seeing your life flash before your eyes seem fitting?

If you don’t, lucky you!!

If you do know the feeling that I’m talking about, how often does it occur?

For me, I’ve realized that it is a good day if I only have that gasp 3 times. THREE!! That’s too many times per day to feel like something terrible is about to happen. Let me clarify, these three times that I gasp and see my life flash before my eyes is NOT when I accidentally look the wrong way before crossing the street and almost get run over by a speeding double-decker bus (that rarely happens anymore…).

These gasps repeatedly occur on a few occasions:

  1. When a pigeon flies towards me. And they do. Daily. I hate birds. I have recently realized that this is worse in springtime. You know what’s more terrifying than a pigeon? A sexually frustrated pigeon. Yayyyy mating season.
  2. When I’m walking somewhere and think that I’ve lost/left my phone/Oyster card/keys somewhere. Usually what has happened is that the almost-forever-lost item was a few centimeters away from where my hand initially entered the pocket that my hand was already in. Yet in that quarter of a second, I have planned who I need to call or what I need to do to get wherever I need to get. It is a miserably stressful quarter of a second!
  3. When I almost drop my phone. This has become a bit less stressful now that the worst has happened (I recently shattered my previously unblemished screen).
  4. When I almost make the train that I had just convinced myself I didn’t neeeeed to make, because hey, I’m in no big rush. But, oh the doors are still open. Ah I can make it! Speed up a smidgey. *BEEP BEEP BEEP* Doors nearly close on the tip of my nose. (Due to childhood trauma, I have a thing with automatically closing doors. I’m skittish.)
  5. When I almost drop food. I love food.

Are these overreactions? Probably. But I prefer to associate them with an unusually high stress level. Better to be crazy than dramatic, no? Or maybe they are one in the same.

How do you measure your daily stress level?