Job Hunting Sucks, Y’all

I am working back in the city today, and I really can’t be bothered. I applied for about five jobs in the last couple of weeks, and I have heard back from only one, telling me that they had decided to go with another candidate. The others have vanished from the online job forum, given to other people that are not me. Good for them. Jobs are hard to come by. Oh, in the city jobs are as abundant as the people that mill about the streets, but I am not looking for jobs in the city. I am looking for jobs back home, and back home jobs are scarce. See, for every hundred jobs, there are sixty I can’t apply for because I don’t have the appropriate degree or experience. There are another thirty that I won’t apply for because they are only casual, offering hours so meagre that it’s a wonder they don’t just spread them out over their existing staff members. The ten jobs I can apply for aren’t appealing, but it’s all there is, so I apply. And hear nothing back. Every. Time.

I am feeling a little disheartened by the whole thing actually. I mean, I applied for a call centre the other day, and that I’m itself is an indication of how desperate I am to not be at my current job. Not to discredit all the people who do work in call centres. Being shouted at by customers over the phone takes gumption. I just mean, I’m not particularly fond of people…or talking on the phone…or talking to people on the phone. And yet despite all my hang ups (boom!) I still applied, and would be.genuinely happy to work in a call centre.

Looking for work is hard. I know people who always seem to get a job as easily as breathing, and they sit there and preach about how simple it is, and how people who can’t get work straight away aren’t trying hard enough, and “why don’t you just go out and cold call, you’ll find something straight away”. Well, I’m sorry to tell you, easily employable people, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. I have skills. I have experience. I’ve worked in retail for almost a decade without stabbing anyone – and really, that is an employable skill if I ever heard one – but however good I am, it doesn’t seem to be good enough. There’s always someone better suited, more experienced, less facially pierced. (I have a lip ring, which is apparently cause to not employ a person, regardless of how good they are, or of the fact that it can be removed).

I’m not asking for much, not really. I don’t need a job that pays billions. I don’t even need the perfect job, at least not right now. All I want is full time employment that doesn’t make me want to throw myself wholeheartedly off a roof…and into a rubbish compactor…that is on fire. There’s got to be a job that like out there for me, right? Cross your fingers and toes and legs and whatever other body parts you have a mind to cross, for me. Because one way or another, I need out.

Returning Home

Last year, all I wanted to do was get out of my home town. I was feeling stifled and stuck and needed a change. I decided to move to the city, thinking it was going to make things better. I was wrong. It has been probably the worst eight months of my life, and I could sit here for hours and tell you why, but who wants to read that?

I miss home. I miss it so much that I drive back at every opportunity, usually just for the day. I will happily get in my car and drive for two hours, just to spend some time away from the city that has turned me into a tense little ball of constant rage and discontent. The anger in me has begun to scare me. It is endless, and getting worse. Everything makes me angry, from the big things to the trivial. And I can’t stand being this way. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can.

I miss the comfort of my dad’s cooking, and my favourite spot on the floor in front of his heater. I miss not having to drive for 45 minutes just to get somewhere. I miss being comfortable and familiar enough with a place to get out and go for a walk. I miss being close to my friends and family. All of the things that I couldn’t wait to get away from last year are now all the things that I long for. I guess home will always be home, no matter how much you may want to run away from it sometimes.

Living in the city hasn’t really worked out so well for me. So I have decided, that for my health (mental and physical), and for my sanity, I am going to move back home. For the last couple of weeks I have been looking for work – no luck yet, but keep your fingers crossed – and once I find a job, I will make my happy (if not triumphant) return. The lease on this place is up in August, so if I have no luck between now and then, it’s doesn’t matter so much anyway. Moving back home is inevitable at this point.

Let’s be Clear; Not Liking Men is Not the Same as Hating Men.

Guys, this is not the post I was going to write today, but I’m incensed by something I just read and, rather than commenting on the thread I read it on, I’m writing a post. This is for two reasons; firstly, I make a point to never interact with online arguments, especially if they weren’t started with me. It never does anything except make me angry, and the keyboard warriors feel stronger. Secondly, what I have to say in relation to it is longer than I can justify making a comment about. It deserves a post.

I just read a post by a woman called Gretchen, who talks about underlying ownership of women in society. It’s the same thing I’ve read countless times before; the kind of thing that women write and people love to argue about in the comments. There’s always a couple of people who sit there behind their keyboards and call out the writer because the post doesn’t agree with their particular opinions about a particular issue. And soon enough, the nasty comes out and it goes from being a simple, thoughtful post, to being a battle of the online crusaders. Neither side will change their opinions, and rather defend them with fervour and cruelty in an attempt to try and one-up their perceived opponent. It never gets anowhere and it does absolutely nothing to come to a peaceful resolution where people can speak freely, calmly and politely, and handle a situation or problem like decent, respectful human beings.

One comment in the thread made me particularly angry though, and I actually typed out a direct response before I remembered my “don’t argue on the internet” rule. I took a breath. I composed myself. I promised I wouldn’t read any more comments because I was by that point, practically seething. The comment read “are you a lesbian by chance? I see you hate men and and I see you are utterly obsessed with homosexuals. I’m just trying to find the correlation.”

Boy, am I furious now. But I’m going to try and present a calm argument here, holding back on the mean things I could say in response to that. Because nasty gets us nowhere. So, in response to you, a most impolite and ignorant man. Here goes.

Being a lesbian does not mean you hate men. Not being attracted to men, and not liking men are not the same thing. You might be a decent guy, you might even be nice looking, and still unappealing sexually to a gay woman. Hell, you might even be all of those things and sexually unappealing to a straight woman. That is not a horrible thing to say, it is just a fact, in the same way a woman is sexually unappealing to a gay man. Being gay is not a choice, and especially not one made to offend or belittle you. It is a genetic predisposition towards attraction to a particular gender. If that gender and yours are not one and the same, do not get angry and hurtful about it. Do not insist you can change it. And do not attempt to use it as a weapon against the person.

To sit there and claim that lesbians hate men simply because they don’t want to have sex with one, is both petulant and, frankly, just plain dumb. And it frustrates me that this kind of nonsense is still so prevalent in arguments about gender and sexual orientation. I mean…come on guys, I know you’re smarter than that. Or at least, I’m holding out hope.

How To Build A Girl (review)

Image result for john kite how to build a girl

I finally found it. The book I’ve been waiting to review. And let me tell you, How to Build a Girl is hands down the best book I have read in a long, long time.

Written by Caitlin Moran and set in Wolverhampton in the 1990’s, How to Build a Girl follows the life of Johanna Morrigan from the ages of 14-17, as she tries to navigate the tempestuous waters of young adulthood. It is funny, clever, filthy, and raw, and I found myself relating to this awkward, dorky, sassy teenager in more ways than one. There is something about the way Moran captures what it’s like to be a teenage girl that really resonated with me. And she doesn’t shy away from the realities of exploring sexuality either. The book frequently delves into Johanna’s masturbation habits and later, her sexual encounters, with a kind of blunt honesty that I found both refreshing and amusing.

Johanna is an aspiring writer, who leaves school to pursue her dream and turn it into a career. She lands herself a job writing music reviews for a magazine, and it is a move that thrusts her into the music scene, and into the adult lifestyle that she so desperately craves.

Enter Dolly Wilde; a drug taking, alcohol guzzling, top hat wearing cynic, who manages to charm and repel people in equal measure with her razor wit, outlandish tales, and scathing opinions. Dolly Wilde is Johanna’s greatest creation; the very embodiment of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. And it is through Dolly, and the fearlessness that she is able to enjoy whilst wearing that mask, that Johanna is able to discover herself, who she truly is and what she wants. Though she manages to get herself into some pretty interesting – and cringeworthy! – situations along the way.

An array of interesting characters are interwoven throughout; a lovable bunch of misfits that add a kind of dark humour to the book. Amongst these are Johanna’s father; a sometime drunkard who has grand plans of making it in music…if only he can get someone to play his tapes on the radio. There is her surly older brother Krissi, who doesn’t seem to reciprocate Johanna’s unfailing feelings of adoration, but who still remains her hero and one of her favourite people. And of course, her first real love, best friend and favourite person; quirky rock star, John Kite. It is this last relationship in particular that really struck a chord with me. There’s something inherently sweet and pure about their easy friendship, and the intensity with which Johanna loves this slightly dishevelled, but truly genuine soul.

This book is honest and funny and heartfelt, and everything I could want in a coming of age story, without any of the saccharine overtones. I laughed out loud, and there were even times when I felt the prickling of tears at the corners of my eyes. I loved it so much I almost want to go back and start it all over again. But, more books are yet to be read and so, for now, I will simply say that How to Build a Girl has definitely made its way into my top ten books of all time.

Deactivation, and Decluttering

I deactivated my Facebook a little over a month ago. I haven’t really been all that active on that particular social media site for a long time, only posting sporadically. And I have long since unfollowed probably half of my Facebook friends, because they annoyed me, so my news feed essentially consists of memes posted by the friends I do still follow. Which, in my case, is about as far from interesting or entertaining as it gets.

I decided to deactivate the account for those, and other reasons. Essentially, I have grown tired of it, and it serves little to no real purpose for me anymore. I was pretty much only keeping it as a convenient way to arrange group gatherings, and to keep the page for The Elegant Fox open. But even that grew tiresome. On a busy schedule, it’s not easy to find time to sew and post something every day – or even every few days! And the constant reminders from Facebook, telling me to update the page because I hadn’t posted in five whole days, grew increasingly tiresome. I have to admit, not having that constant pressure to keep my followers updated has been a pleasant change of pace for me.

Most of my social media presence is via this blog, and my Instagram. I have a Goodreads account, but I find that’s less about social interaction, and more about sticking to my reading goal for the year. The truth is, I didn’t outright delete my Facebook account, in case it becomes of use again. In any case, I’ll need to reactivate it so I can keep up with the Fox. Assuming, that is, that I don’t follow through with my plan to simply let it lapse, and go back to taking commissions only when people ask. See, here’s the thing; I hate where I live, and I am no longer particularly fond of my job. I don’t want to spend any time on any other things that bring me no joy or serve little purpose. Facebook is one of those things. And to a degree, my small business venture is another.

I love sewing. I love creating things from nothing and wearing my handmade items with pride. I love learning new skills, and putting them into practice. But the business, if you can even call it that, is far from profitable. I’m thinking, instead of dealing with the pressure that comes with expectation, simply keeping the business name registered, but not trading publicly anymore. It is the kind of thing I need to dedicate more of my time to, and working full time isn’t really conducive to full time creation.

I’ve kind of reached this point, where I am sick of doing things for the purpose of keeping other people happy. Especially because it hasn’t really worked out all that well for me. On the contrary, I feel worn out and spread thin from all the trying. So I am going to slowly, but surely remove the things from my life that no longer serve a purpose. Like a big spring clean, only it’s the wrong season and I’m decluttering my life instead of my house. Though that will come later, when I move.

I think sometimes it’s good to take stock of our lives, and work out what things are holding us back, dragging us down, or making us unhappy. And then take steps to improve those things, or rid ourselves of them. Because what’s the point of being alive, if we don’t get to enjoy living? Forgive the cliche, but it makes sense, don’t you think?

Warm Winter 

Everyone seems to hate winter. I’ve got a couple of like minded friends, who agree with me that cold weather is good weather, but for the most part, we are considered the strange ones.

It’s autumn here. The weather is cooling down at night, but it’s still been warm enough for tees and shorts during the day. That’s the perfect combination. This summer was actually ok, very few super unbearably hot days. I mean, from what I hear anyway. (I’ve spent most of the last 7.5 months working in a basement, and rarely see daylight weather.) But now that the cooler weather is coming in, I’ve noticed a kind of…mass irritability. Posts about the “shitty weather” have been creeping into my various news feeds, or “yay for spring” posts from people on the other side of the world. Come on guys, cold weather isn’t that bad!

For me, cold weather – aside from being generally more comfortable than sweating my face off – is all about good things. Roast dinners, falling asleep in front of the heater (or wood fire for those lucky enough to have one), layers of clothing, big fluffy socks, and curling up on the couch with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book. And a sleep in is never more appreciated than when you look out into a world of overcast skies and grey sleet, and know that you can stay rugged up in bed. When you think about it, winter is full of warm things.

I’m a cold weather girl, for sure. And even if no one else does, I appreciate winter for its good points.

Heart

Curse you, foolish, sentimental heart.

I would sooner tear you from my body than let your wickedness poison me any longer.

Rot. Wither and die before me, as the cavity you left in my chest weeps and bleeds.

I can do without you. I will grieve you not.

Reading Goals and Disappointments

I’ve been tracking my reading with Goodreads, and so far I’ve read 9 of my 30 book goal for 2017. I haven’t actually bought any books to read in months, as I’ve been making my way through the sloooowly diminishing pile of books that I’ve had stacked up for literally years. The stack has gotten bigger and smaller, and the books have changed over the years as I’ve made my way through them, but the stack itself is a permanent fixture in my house. Anyway, despite reading a fair bit more regularly this year than last, due in large part to getting time to read on public transport, nothing I’ve read has really jumped out at me, or stuck in my mind. I keep telling myself I will do more book reviews, but I don’t want to review any of the books I’ve read recently. It’s not that they’ve necessarily been bad, it’s just that none of them have really been all that…good.

Most of the books I’m reading are books I bought from the Book Grocer back home, when I had friends that worked there. I literally purchased bags of remaindered titles for a pittance, pretty much anything I saw that had an intriguing blurb or a pretty cover (ooops). I am currently reading Tales from the Dead of Night; a collection of short horror stories by thirteen different authors. I’ve always been a fan of the horror genre across all mediums (so long as it’s done right) and reading horror stories in bed at night is one of my favourite things in the world. Not that I’ve done that in this case, and the stories themselves have less of an effect when read on a busy, bright train car in peak hour. Nevertheless, so far the book has kept me intrigued and entertained. And it’s a hardback with a really nice cover, so points for that.

There are some decent titles in the stack at home, or so I believe. But so far the ones I’ve chosen haven’t been all that spectacular. So I’m actually thinking I might reread of some of the books I’ve read and actually shelved. Return to some old favourites and familiarise myself with the stories that I love. First on that list is going to be Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. That was the first Gaiman title I ever read and, incidentally, the first book my best friend ever lent me. American Gods was the book that started my love affair with Neil Gaiman’s writing. And with the upcoming television adaptation due at the end of the month, now is as good a time as any to get back in touch with Shadow, Mr Wednesday, and the Gods gang.

I do know that there are a couple of titles that I would like to read from the stack. Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is one that I’ve been meaning to get around to for months. And despite his more recent literary failures, I’m fairly certain there’s one of Chuck Palahniuk’s earlier works in the stack as well, from a time when his writing was actually still good. There is also one of his more recent books, Make Something Up, which I have been hesitant to read because of how little faith I have in his work these days. I should point out that, despite still being one of my favourite authors due to his earlier work, pretty much everything since and including Damned written by Chuck has been heinously awful, with Beautiful You sitting in the top three of worst books I have EVER read.

I’m hoping that the rest of the books I read this year will be better than the ones I’ve read to date, so that I can actually get around to writing some proper reviews. And, y’know, so I can actually enjoy the things I’m reading. There’s no point in setting myself a reading challenge if I’m only going to hate all the things I read. That being said, if any of you have some book recommendations, I am open to suggestion. Regardless of genre, throw some ideas my way and I might find myself enjoying my reading more!

God Help the Girl (2014)

Image result for god help the girl

Netflix scored another win the other night. Scrolling through aimlessly, as I do, and in the independent films section I found God Help the Girl. It is a British musical drama written and directed by none other than Stuart Murdoch, the man behind indie band, Belle and Sebastian. Starring the ever lovely Emily Browning, Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, and Hannah Murray (Skins and Game of Thrones), it is a sweet film, both lighthearted and serious, and full of the chill indie tunes one can expect from Murdoch.

Emily Browning plays Eve, a young woman struggling with an eating disorder, who dreams of being a musician. Whilst in hospital, she starts writing music as a way to help her deal with her emotional and mental problems, eventually finishing a tape which she sends into a radio station. Following a breakout from the hospital one night to go see a band, she meets James (Alexander); a lifeguard and musician. The two develop a friendship and, along with James’ guitar student, Cassie (Murray), they start a band.

There is nothing particularly complex about the plot; just three young adults bonding over music and the simple thrills of being young. It’s about friendship, and ambition, and the role music plays in people’s lives. The cast is small, but the music itself acts almost like another character; nudging the plot forward and conveying everything Murdoch wants to say, in verse. Which makes sense, given what he does for a living!

It was well acted, each of the characters lovable in their own way, and each with their own set of problems they have to deal with. The movie made me long for the ability to play one (or all) of my various instruments. Vaguely reminiscent of films like Song One, Begin Again, and Rudderless (three music based films you need to go out and watch right now), it was just a nice, simple film with a great soundtrack. Plus, if you’re into that kind of thing (which I am) the costumes are to die for. If you like Belle and Sebastian, and bands of that ilk, – or even if you just like quirky independent films – I recommend giving God Help the Girl a look.