Relationships and Gender roles

This blog post has been brewing in my mind for a while. It’s quite a hard piece to write as I don’t want to come across badly, judge-y or stereotypical or like I’m speaking for everyone.

So as far as LGBTQ+ goes I would associate myself with bisexual the most. It doesn’t really work and I don’t really like categorizing people or myself because it’s so rigid, and however hard you try not to there are usually certain characteristics/traits that become associated with them.

So I grew up fancying boys, then men and I only remember a couple of bouts of ever even considering fancying girls. Looking back on it now It was pretty clearly a crush on a girl but at the time I put it down to just being in awe of them. I had just met them and thought they were great. I was also happy to move on and very quickly got over whatever it was.

I had a successive run of unsuccessful dates. Met some really great guys who I got on really well with and fancied like mad but they never came to anything. I just put it down to not meeting the right one and that being that. But it was sad and It was hard that nothing seemed to stick or be able to work. I had a particularly bad run in with a couple of dates and some of the men in my life disappointing me.  Without actively thinking it I went a year or so with being happy to be single and not really looking. Then summer 2015 hit,  I spent a lot of time with quite a few number of friends and mostly girls.

I don’t think there was ever really a point where I thought, I fancy you or I want to be more than friends but I started to think slightly differently about relationships. I started to think that If I could have such a great time with another woman would it be that bad if it became a relationship? Over the summer I remember thinking of it as a woman companion. And I began to realise that that’s really all I was after. Just someone to spend my time with, someone to be there for support and comfort. It took a bloody long time for me to consider it also being a romantic thing too. Definitely resisting the thought that I could be attracted to another woman. It was not a road I wanted to go down.

Heading into Autumn I did start to fancy a girl I knew, big time. And it was the same kind of light obsession I’d had with men that I fancied. I kept totally shtum about it for the next 5/6 months because It wasn’t something I wanted to think about. But it did upset me and it was really difficult to come to terms with. A big part of me was entirely up for it, there was nothing strange about how I was feeling, it was natural, it was growing love for another person. The other half of me was like,

It means you’re a lesbian,

how can you be a lesbian now?

how can you be a vet and a lesbian?

how would any of this even work?

what would people think?

I bet they wouldn’t even be surprised,

but you’re not butch or like a boy or even that much of tom boy.

I had every stereotype and prejudice of lesbians and LGBT people going.

I’m not sure what made me take the first steps. I think hearing of people in university coming out made me think about starting to get some answers. The reception to them coming out was not a negative one.

I’d been on Tinder since the summer, hadn’t gone on any dates though and don’t actually remember really talking to any guys that much. One night over Christmas I just swapped the option around so that instead of looking for men I was looking for women. First, I was really quite excited by the number of women I found on there that were at uni. Lots of surprising ones, girls that weren’t butch, some that were, some that I knew had had relationships with men too.

I didn’t contact anyone from uni and turned off my account whenever I wasn’t using it so that no one would find me.

But flicking through all the profiles I actually started to realise that there was a bit of a pattern in who I seemed to like the look of or wanted to chat too.

‘But is this just me looking at who’s friendly and who I might get on with.’ I often thought but then.., ‘well yes, but a companion is what I’m after isn’t it?’

So yeah, the weeks went on and I chatted to a couple of girls. I felt a bit of a weight off my shoulders as I got used to the idea of it all. In this time, I started chatting to Rosie too.

I got to the point where going on a date and confirming that these feelings might actually be a thing was what I needed to do. I still wasn’t convinced that I was actually attracted to women. It was all very confusing and I wanted an answer.

It took quite a while to build up guts to meet anyone, Rosie was my first date. And I said right from the start that I have no idea what I’m doing or I might just freak out and run away. I really thought that these feelings I have now might totally disappear when I wake up the next day. That feeling continued well into dating Rosie but it became more a concern that I would end up messing her around. But ha, no, the feelings haven’t gone away.

I still have a huge part of me that regularly tells me that what I’m doing is wrong and unnatural. But the other half of me has doubled in size and strength and pushes it down. I see the relationship that I’m in and how I feel and there just can’t be anything unnatural about it at all. I also, no longer really care if it is wrong or right because I’m not prepared to change anything. I don’t spend so long thinking and trying to answer everything because I don’t think there is a clear one.

I knew within the first couple of dates with Rosie that I was onto something really good. It wasn’t just how much I was starting to like her but actually how our relationship with each other was.

A big issue for me, that I’ve always been uncomfortable with is men paying for meals and the first date and second and third sometimes! I really didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, I was over the moon with having a night out and not having to spend any money, I was grateful and thankful too. But I always from then on felt like we were not on the same line or wave. Like I now owed them something and then If I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to buy the next round and I essentially got into more debt with them it made it worse. And I think it’s feelings like this, looking back on it now that I’m in a relationship where there isn’t this almost competition to spoil.

I think this is where I can get into the realms of stereotyping and judging but I’ll say it anyway. Pretty much 100% of the men that I dated and more were definitely keen to be the more dominant, they wanted to spoil me. (1. Maybe I just chose my dates badly and 2. I was always very grateful!) But I think I just never wanted or needed that. What I was looking for was someone I could have a proper no bars held conversation about anything. I wanted to know someone really well. I didn’t want someone who wanted to look after me. And I don’t have the interest in looking after someone else either. There’s support and there’s being there and listening but then there’s also being someone’s parent. (when they’re perfectly capable of caring for themselves!)

I know of friends in relationships who would be given flowers by their partners on a regular basis for what appeared to be a thanks for reminding them to have a shower or wash the dishes or finish an assignment. And they were very clearly head over heels for each other and in no doubt their relationship was great, it just wasn’t what I was after.

This relationship with Rosie suited me perfectly because obviously being both women, it was always going to be splitting meals, we’re both driven to achieve our ambitions, we’re both able to look after ourselves but when one of us is having a bad day we’re able to talk it through.

Women are known to be better at speaking about emotions and experiences but personally, I think it’s not a feminine trait it’s the way we bring up males and females.

I know I was just very lucky to meet Rosie as soon as I did, but equally I know that If I’d have dated other girls I’d have met some that liked to be spoiled and treated and protected. I also know that if I carried on dating men I would probably find one at some point that wasn’t so keen on the protective side and was able to talk to me like I can talk to most women.

I feel very much like it’s the culture that we’re in regarding how we raise children so differently because of their sex that makes me more likely to be in a relationship with a woman than a man. If Rosie had been a Robert I’d be with him now. It’s an interesting way of thinking about it. I find that there is a difference between most girls and their willingness to be helpful and useful and most men and their not. I just think it’s the way we’ve been brought up. Maybe girls are more willing to help and be useful from a younger age but maybe also boys should be taught a little bit harder how to help.

I am being quite broad here and I’m not including everyone by any means but there is a trend. And again I’m not saying any relationship is more valid than another but I just can’t stand gender roles. Men can still treat and spoil women if they want too and women can look after men if they want to but to assume that that’s the way things are and should be I don’t like… to the extent the boys and girls are brought up differently I don’t like.

So basically I look back on the guys that I really did get on with and wonder if we could have made something of a relationship if either one of us wanted the same thing from a relationship. I feel like most of the guys must have sensed that I appreciated but didn’t really enjoy it. It almost seems like a really big shame that it was something kind of simple that stopped any progression. Obviously, it’s unlikely that they would have all worked out well long term etc etc but I wonder how many might have been a few more dates or a relationship had I been not so keen for conversation and he not so keen to treat me like a princess.

I also actually do wonder why some women like to be spoiled and why some men like to spoil. Is it what they are used to? Is it the best thing?

I’m totally biased and I know it. I obviously feel that my side of the grass is greener. I just feel that relationships are more likely to be healthier if we’re not demanding and depending on the other. But if we see the other person as a companion rather than (a cleaner lol) someone who needs to fit a traditional and expected role. How about just knowing naturally how to work as a team because we’re human and not because we’re either male or female?

But saying that, every relationship is different and people do want different things.. but why do we want different things?

Gender roles is a big no in my books at the moment. It has so many consequences to it.

I do wonder if men in gay relationships find that they are just more comfortable in the kind of relationship created by two men rather than with a women?

I think I’m always going to be able to add more to this, and discuss more!

Rebecca x

p.s

I feel there were often times when I would feel there were things appropriate and inappropriate to say. Being a vet student you do build up a bit of book of stories. I felt some guys responded badly to me talking about gross things, like it’s not they were expecting of me. I mean, also, fair lol, probably shouldn’t be talking about poo on a first date. Yeah, actually, maybe it wasn’t particularly nice of me ha. But there were times when a guy would say something a bit gross but I could be them and suddenly I wasn’t so womanly any more. Ugh. Go home. anyway!

I feel like most people can be really untidy, But leaving a mess knowing full well and happy to do so that someone else will tidy up the mess is more a male trait I think. Shoot me down if I’m wrong. But I feel most women are messy but know it’s their mess that they’ll sort out.. at some point. Men, I don’t feel are the same. More happy to be cleaned up after. That’ll be an upbringing thing too I bet. And I ain’t go time to be cleaning up someone else’s mess. Ugh. Go home.

 

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Plastic Free Month: 4 days in!

Cor Blimey.

It’s been an odd one!

I’ve not eaten anything naughty at all. literally nothing. I have had a decent amount of gin and cider though.. But that’s been necessary… because of the weather.

Cleaning

I’ve been cleaning my dishes, the table tops and my bathroom with the vinegar, bicarb and hot water concoction. They feel clean, they look clean and doesn’t feel like I’m polishing a turd. But it’s going to take a little more convincing before I would definitely switch. I’ve been making sure to use hot water too, which sometimes I don’t with washing up liquid. It’s probably just that there’s no bubbles and there’s nothing much to see.. making me think that nothing is happening. But I am loving the easiness of it all. I haven’t had to clean anything super gross or difficult yet so we shall see how it stands up to it.

Clothes washing –  I have used Soapnuts for the last couple of years anyway and I really like them. They aren’t great at cleaning the really dirty stuff ( boiler suits, scrub tops … ) however so I usually have a bottle of something else that I use when it’s needed. But for normal clothes they’re great!

Eating

Fruit and veggies sorted! Great! Easy!

I just need more flavour! With my spices hidden away I went in search of fresh ones or dried ones that I can bulk buy. But no luck. All in plastic. I have stuck with pastes in glass jars for the mean time which are good but it feels like cheating.. and I like adding a little extra sometimes which I can’t do! AH! haha. But even some of the pastes had plastic over the lid! I get why it’s done but really! ugh. I was all over the satay peanut sauce but the lid had plastic over it 😦

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So I went to Whole Foods this morning. And the whole place smelled like Bread and cheese. It was cruel.  BUT! I chatted to some of the staff and they’re happy to put meat, cheese, legumes etc into your own tupperware if you bring it along! I didn’t do it today, they had paper bags (some had plastic film in and others didn’t!) so went with those. The peanut butter though ❤

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I bought some tahini and chickpeas to attempt to make some hummus. I sound very middle class. But I cannot go a month without hummus. I’ll keep you updated on the process!

I do love Whole Foods. Some of the food is so ridiculously expensive it’s laughable but it does stock incredible things and I feel that you do get what you pay for.. most of the time. I didn’t buy any fresh stuff here, the market that I go to locally is as good and more likely to be locally produced fruit and vegetables. If it wasn’t for the fact that I remembered that this store has a bulk buy area I wouldn’t have felt the need to go today. There other smaller stores don’t have it. It was just so great to be able to pick up currants, oats, lentils, chickpeas and coffee beans without any packaging. I think it’s definitely worth supporting a shop that has that option and encouraging it in general. It all came to a really reasonable price too! I was pleasantly surprised!

I am missing milk/milk alternatives already and most of my teabags come in some kind of packaging so this is also pretty difficult and sad. I have made oat milk, but it’s not great, fine in porridge but not for drinking as is. Will possibly try more recipes out.

Meanwhile I have just been offered biscuits and chocolate and can’t eat any of it. Think I’ll have an apple.

I’ve also had a bit social life this week! (I know!) It’s been surprisingly easy to drink alcohol. bottles and cans! Boom. I did almost give the barman a heart attack when I burst out asking him to not give me the plastic cup or straw he was reaching for. Poor chap haha, I did explain. However, I also successfully managed to make my companions feel awkward and bad with their plastic cups and straws. Ha. Meh, you can’t have everything. Nice bit of guilt tripping occasionally.

Toiletries

I am loving how simple this is. I literally do not have to make a decision whether to wear or not wear make up. I can’t. End of. I do get the odd spell of dry skin which will be a problem. Might give coconut oil a go..

I have shampoo, conditioner and soap bars from Lush. I really like the shampoo bar, it feels like it’s working and smells really nice and my hair is good! But I can’t get to grips with the conditioner at all. It’s so hard and doesn’t lather at all but it seems to be going onto my hair. I don’t think they do as great a job as some of the bottled shampoos that I use. But I can’t really be surprised by that when you look at the difference in ingredients. The soap bar is great, nothing more to it!

My ‘truthpaste’ and bamboo toothbrush are okay. The paste is pretty bitter and grim but it’s growing on me. The toothbrush is great but softer than I’m used to.

Health wise, I got a blister from my flip-flips the other day and all I could think of was creating an elastic band and tissue gadget. Couldn’t be bothered to try it but it made me realise how drugs and plasters are out too.  Hayfever isn’t too bad at the moment.. and  I’m not surrounded by many cats .. so perfect! #catallergywhere?! #Nothere..

Vet life

It has been impossible to remove plastic from the research that I’m doing this month. My plastic tubes, syringes all plastic and come in plastic packaging. Made to be convenient and sterile but only for one use! Being in practise is just as bad too.

On the whole, everything is going well! haha. Just going to take some time to get used to it. Still finding hints and tips online.  Most people seem to understand what I’m doing and accept it straight up which is great (even if they think i’m weird). When I used to decline things because I was vegan/vegetarian, I always got so much grief in comparison!

All the best,

Rebecca xx

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Plastic Free Month: Day One

First day has gone relatively well!

I’ve started a block at uni that is purely for research and so today has been filled with meetings and discussions about what I need to do and all the stuff i need etc. So my first slip up was needing to use a pen!…Just the once, for like one sentence! Otherwise i’ve been using pencils! It is also my brothers birthday today and we went out for meal at lunchtime. I had orange juice that of course would have come out of a container so slip up 2.. plus it would be amazing if the the whole meal came without plastic somewhere but lets hope! Lesson learned!

But apart from that, I’ve been okay so far. I had to drive to a local grocers to pick up the fruit and vegetables for a couple of days, I’ve even baked a loaf of bread and made oat milk!

I have put all of my plastic things in the corner of my room so that I can’t use them. There were quite a few things that I hadn’t thought of like my spices! Ah! But I’ll will try and find a way to work around it! It’s so tempting when they’re simply there watching you all the time. Literally calling out “use me!”

I have already started to realise how much simpler everything is. No makeup, no creams… although no suntan lotion which is a bit worrying..

 

 

I have plastic bottles in the fridge that i’m using to have constant cold water, i’m also using all the plastic Tupperware that I have. I wont be buying any new ones but I bought these with the intention that they would last. Guess it’s opinion whether I’m being naughty or not! But i feel like there’s no point me buying new non-plastic ones when i have what I need anyway!  We shall see!

I’ve been washing up with the vinegar, bicarb, soap crystal concoction and not formed an opinion yet but the vinegar smell will take some getting used to!

My flatmate bought me some plastic free toilet roll which is amazing! I don’t have to totally rely on the flannels now. I know i’m bound to catch myself out and run out at some point so these are perfect!

Rebecca xx

Plastic Free Month – Prep 2

Today I’ve been preparing to head back up to university. I’ll be carrying out my plastic Free Month in halls.

Our local town market can be pretty amazing regarding fruit and vegetables. Very little plastic in sight.

 

I didn’t buy that much in the end. Ended up stocking up on Raspberries and Blueberries as they are so hard to come by with no plastic!

And I love tomatoes and use them in all my cooking so I’m stocked up on them too.

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I’ve dehydrated and frozen most of the raspberries and blueberries. And Have dehydrated and cooked down and frozen the tomatoes. Eee! I love the colours. Makes me so happy ha!

I also managed to find boxes of bicarbonate and citric acid and i’ve made the disinfectant/ dish washing liquid I’ll be trying for the next month. All though I added bicarb and citric into hot water … don’t recommend it. lol oops.

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Come at me Plastic-Free month!

 

The problems with plastic

Like most of us, I try to do the best I can for the environment. But I drive A LOT. Most of the time I don’t really have a choice and I’ll try to avoid as much as possible. I’ve been vegan, vegetarian, meat eater and everything in between. I’m currently neither, more just a flexible vegan who eats cheese and meat as a treat….

I usually recycle plastic and paper where I can. But I never really paid much attention to the plastic I was buying and using, especially the disposable plastics that are used once and thrown away.

The problem is how much isn’t actually being recycled or can’t be recycled.
Non-recyclable plastics are separated and landfilled. Often it can be quite misleading. It’s easy to assume that most are recyclable but this isn’t the case. And for the plastic that is recyclable it can only really be recycled once. Not many companies are willing to use recycled plastic too!

Burning plastics creates toxins which is one of the big reasons that India decided to ban disposable plastics! Bags, cups and cutlery. India is currently responsible for 60% of the plastic dumped in the oceans every year. 8.8million tons of plastic !

India’s new rule was brought into action after the illegal mass burning of plastic and other waste which has been blamed for the air pollution. Recycling glass and tin doesnt have such a toxic release. It was calculated that Theresa May’s trip to Delhi shortened her life by several hours. The pollution is 36 times more toxic than London!

 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable plastic is used and thrown away by consumers in Britain.  In 2015, only 500,000 tonnes was recycled which was 45% of recyclable goods are recycled each year… and that’s not even the non-recyclable stuff.

Where’s it all going?

A lot ends up in the oceans.

Seabirds are attracted to plastic debris because it smells like their food. The waste accumulates algae and gives off a smell similar to the krill that many marine birds feed on. Albatrosses and shearwaters rely on their sense of smell for hunting so are particularly at risk.

One study estimates that yearly about eight million tons of plastic enters the oceans annually. (enough to cover every foot of coastline in the world)..!!

It is known that birds, turtles and fish, ingest plastic. It causes damage to internal organs, gut blockages or build-ups of chemicals from the plastics in the animals’ tissue. Some birds even feed their young bits of waste.

This also happens on land in India. Cows free to roam in India scavenge and often eat plastic along with the food left out for them. Like turtles and fish it blocks their stomachs and they often become malnourished and starve because they can no longer digest efficiently enough.

More facts!

People recycled 7.5billion (57%) plastic bottles used by UK households each year. However, only about 30% of all plastic pots, tubs and trays were recycled.

The least successful recyclable plastics are plastic film products, which include carrier bags, pasta and rice bags, and the film on ready meals, only about 3% of which were believed to be recycled in 2015. 

Recycling is working and will be successful! But it needs to be done more and encouraged with less plastic used where possible. But also, some alternative ideas being raise are to create plastics that are less toxic and easier to recycle, or biodegradable. We can still have convenience but need to think more long term as well!

If we can find better alternatives, why not use them?!

Rebecca x

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https://greenallianceblog.org.uk/2017/03/14/cleaning-up-the-oceans-is-not-a-solution-to-the-plastic-problem/h ttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/09/seabirds-eat-floating-plastic-debris-because-it-smells-like-food-study-finds-algae-sulfur
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-delhi-bans-disposable-plastic-single-use-a7545541.html
http://ecologycenter.org/plastics/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/05/plastic-waste-dumped-in-uk-seas-carried-to-arctic-within-two-year
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/theresa-may-india-trip-air-pollution-shorten-life-hours-a7405201.html
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled

Veterinary Medicine

I wanted to be a veterinary surgeon from about the age of 14. A bit older than a lot of the students I’m studying with. I wanted to be a field archaeologist up until then. What drew me to both careers was the discovery and logic needed to solve cases. Not knowing what I was going to find and having to go on my knowledge and problem solving ability.

When I realized it was what I wanted to do I worked so much harder at school. I’d always done pretty well, usually in top handful of achievers in school and it carried on until a-levels. But a-levels was a really really tough two years for me. I had a lot going on in and out of school and struggled to stay positive and keep on track. I flunked my first year, spent the summer cramming for resits, got the pieces of myself a bit back together and somewhere I found motivation and determination. None of my teachers believed in what I was doing. Immediately I was fighting a battle but I think it made me fight harder.

I applied to university, but I knew I’d get nowhere on the predicted grades that I had except the gateway course at RVC, London. I’d been planning on my application and interview for essentially years. I remember being 15/16 and looking up how to get into vet school,  I had all the books too.  I remember lying in bed at night and coming up with possible interview questions and how I would answer them.

I applied and got the interview! This stunned my teachers, suddenly they were all over me and asked if i needed help with preparation. I spent so long preparing for my interview, the possible questions, what I thought, what i had learned from all the experience i had had to get and how I wanted to come across.

I look back on my interview now and I’m genuinely so impressed and proud of how I did. My nights imagining the interviewers questions seemed to pay off!  I got a conditional offer a couple of months later. I even then managed to beat my predicted grades by two.

They say getting into vet school is the hard bit. It is indeed very hard. I was lucky in being able to apply for the gateway course. I don’t think the application system is particularly fair, but I’m not going to talk about something I don’t know much about!

The gateway course is essentially for anyone from a less privileged background who is less likely to achieve the high grades and get all the experience needed. You spend an extra year doing Veterinary Bioscience which is a way of trying to build up general science knowledge before moving into the five year VetMed course. It was an extra year but entirely worth it. It was a small group of us so we got to know each other really well, the stuff we learned I was really interested in and I wish I could go back to studying the hours I did then now.!

I did really well in my first year, but saw a steady decline in my grades over the years. I met people and started enjoying more of social life in the first year of the VetMed course. I was also commuting to university every day and living at home. The commute was fine once I was used to it. My third year at university was probably the hardest year. Mentally I was struggling to cope again. The workload and hours was huge and intense. I missed doing other things, being a student and felt really isolated. I have never really been great at the work-life balance. Living at home was beginning to take it’s toll too so things were hard. I did the worst that year regarding grades, I was knackered.

Looking back, those years were hard because there was so little to look forward to. We still had three years of education and I would go months without seeing a living animal. It sounds funny but most of us are in our happiest place around animals. Being in London on a 9-5 course + the hours of studying in the evening, there was nothing to remind us of what we doing there and trying to achieve.

Fourth and fifth year, we moved up to the second campus which is a bit more green. I moved into halls on site. A lot of aspects of my life greatly improved, the lack of commuting gave me more hours, it was more sociable and I got more involved in university stuff. I did resent university a lot though. I still had two and three years ahead of me, still in masses of debt and nothing to show for it. We were starting however to learn about how to actually save and treat and help animals rather than the body systems and physiology.

I put my heart and soul into my last set of exams just before christmas 2016.  It’s such a balancing act knowing how much to do and when to take a break. But I was determined not to stress too much. I kept telling myself that If i was on track to covering all the material, then why stress? It’s definitely expectations and reality that need balancing. I was able to take the odd night off and go to a concert with Rosie or something. Something to totally break away for a few hours, a good sleep and then start fresh in the morning. This absolutely worked. I boosted my grade by 10% from the previous exam. So on that I’m hoping to increase my grades by another 10% at finals. I think my fear is qualifying and literally not knowing enough.

But veterinary is a career where you are always learning and you can’t know everything. .. even if you want to. We’re definitely a group of perfectionists in a job where we will never be perfect. Lose-lose really!

So I have now been at university for five years and am nearing the end of my fourth year of the VetMed course. In a years time I will have sat my final exams and will be waiting to see if I can qualify and graduate as a veterinary surgeon.

The next year consists of usually two week placements in different environments picking up skills and improving knowledge.

When I first started university I hadn’t really thought about the type of animals that I wanted to work with. I liked farm animals but didn’t really know much about farming so I guess I assumed pet animals.

I’m now pretty keen to do a bit of everything when I qualify. I’m hoping to find a truly mixed animal practice somewhere in Britain. Right now, I don’t know if it’s a job that i’ll stick with forever. I can’t wait to have my own clients and regular routine and have emergencies in the middle of the night. The idea of doing a morning of consults before heading out to farm to check on some calves sounds perfect to me.  But there are a huge amount of downsides to being a vet. There is a huge suicide rate amongst us. Probably put simply because we set out to do the best we can but doesn’t always happen and can’t happen.

Meeting Rosie was such a fantastic idea of mine (haha lol) .. We have such different careers and jobs that I’m able to release myself from the veterinary grip and explore elsewhere. I definitely got stuck in the rut of only learning vet related things and not making sure that I had other interests elsewhere. Exercise is absolutely important, even though I’m feeling like a flump today as I haven’t done anything significant in quite a while.  Jumping from air-bnb to hostels doesn’t fill me with the energy to run every evening.  I am pushing myself to read more, and take the odd 30-60mins out to read for fun. I’m trying to learn a bit more French, I’ve started a blog! And i love drawing when the mood takes me too.  With Rosie, i think about new things, meet new people and learn about different worlds. I once assumed my life would be all veterinary.. I’d have a vet husband and vet children and I’d work all hours saving animals. It can’t be done. I will still save animals, still lead a veterinary life but we have to remember to take time out. It’s not plain sailing when suddenly you have a difficult owner on the phone, you’re thirty minutes behind on consults and have a ton of paper work to finish before you leave.

I must say, alcohol has been a close friend to me in these past years and I have no intention of breaking off ties. 😉  Ha. A glass of wine after a couple of long and knackering shifts is one of the most beautiful offerings. not. even. joking.

But actually, this career is an amazing one, I’m really excited to get going. I could end up anywhere. I’ve had endless strange encounters with vets, clients and farmers and i’m sure they’ll continue to happen. I don’t regret at all where I am but it has been difficult. I’m in the stage now where I’m close to being treated like a vet by many and so it’s becoming so much more enjoyable with an end in sight!

You can see by my post how easy it is to get caught up in the negative and difficult times but looking through my pictures and writing this piece has made me realise how amazing my journey so far has been and how amazing it could be. I just have to take the odd step back and think – is this right for me?

Look out for yourself sometimes.

Rebecca x

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Book: The War On Women

 

I bought this book at the The Hay Festival a couple of weeks ago. I’d just been to a talk with Christina Lamb, Helena Kennedy, Rachael Jolley and Joan Bakewell discussing the author – Sue Lloyd Roberts who passed away recently and before properly finishing this book. Helena Kennedy really impressed me.

It has probably been bad timing. With the recent terror attacks and general fear and worry and pain in the world this book has certainly not lightened the mood.  I’ve really struggled to read this book, but it’s been equally as captivating. It makes daily activities like my studying and aspirations feel null, void and in vain when there is so much work that needs to be done elsewhere.

Sue Lloyd Roberts was a TV journalist and I knew very little about her before the talk. She sounds absolutely brilliant. She traveled around the world videoing and interviewing the people she met with stories to tell. She seemed to get really involved with cases and helped where she could.

So the book talks about how women are treated throughout the world, in cultures, during war, in wealthy and in un-wealthy areas.

The first chapter is on Female Genital Mutilation.

“In Britain our tradition is to respect local customs and not to insist on integration. We respect tolerance and accept cultural differences but it allows abuse to take place behind closed doors.”

I think what I found most exciting about the way Sue went about her work was that no-one seemed un-interviewable. I feel her quote above is right regarding British people. I wouldn’t feel comfortable stepping into someone else’s culture and telling them their practice is unethical, mutilation, appalling and not at all beneficial. The chapter and a chapter on arranged marriage goes on to discuss how the British government tries to avoid doing too much to stay liked or because it doesn’t see the consequences.

With FGM, Sue was not afraid to go directly to the women who carried out the cutting. It was well described in this chapter, It was an uncomfortable read (and the books carries on like it). In the past, reading about the practice I guess I just hoped it wasn’t quite the butchery I imagined.  No, it’s entirely butchery.  A shock to me was that 90% of Egyptian women have had FGM (at the time of the book being written).

The book made me think about how it is all so well hidden and going on without anyone knowing (or with everyone knowing but allowing it!). As I’m sitting here writing this, I naturally  assume other people next door, or down the road or in the next town are doing similar and just unwinding before bed. But are they? There is so much going on right this second and I’m so entirely oblivious.

Before reading the book the word rape would just resonate with me as a horrible word, meaning abuse and dark and twisted, impact, devastation. But the word appeared so often among so many chapters that by the end of the book it was almost tiresome. As if to say to men ‘can you get a hobby and find something else to do please’.  There are no words. There is no respect for women.

In the book it explains that in cultures where women are absolutely objectified, rape is commonplace and rarely punished. Something so horrendous to me and many other women and men can become the norm it appears when it is not actively taught as being wrong. It’s portrayed in the book as being a right of men to be able to, an entitlement. Over and over the same picture is shown in the chapters.

The book has a very big running theme in that all of the acts carried out against women were caused or could be prevented by men. A lot of it is dominance, submission and control of women. I really got the impression that many of the men don’t seem to think twice about what they’re doing. Like there is no conscience because they never developed one. They were brought up to think a certain way.

I have absolutely no sympathy for the criminals in this book, most of them know exactly what they are doing and deserve all the punishment coming to them but it was a question I asked myself. “How much are they actually to blame if that’s all they know and that’s what they’ve seen and been taught?”

I think it’s even sadder in many ways that in these cases these victims could have been spared if the the men had been brought up differently. The amount of pain suffered and lives wasted because of essentially a simple thing. It’s hard to find enough appropriate descriptive words. But it’s heartbreaking to read about. While reading the book I felt very much like I wanted to stand up for women and help make the world better. But then you think yeah, well, it’s all well and good me going to try and help when I’ve never experienced anything even remotely close to what was in the book. But that is what the author did.

One of the last chapters on India chilled me to the bone. I don’t often get angry but I could feel my blood boiling. I wanted to punch something. I wanted to do something. It covered the 2012 Delhi Gang rape. I think it was so poignant that after Jyoti Singh’s uncommentable ordeal and while she was in hospital before she died she apologized to her parents for causing a fuss. The idea that the victim caused the attack or is at fault runs throughout the book too.

I’m so sheltered by most of the brutal acts that happen in the world. This book has well and truly opened my eyes to a couple of them. I could talk about the book for a very long time. What Sue found out and got out of people ( The good and the bad) she interviewed is remarkable. Her ability to understand and delve into the minds of men and women has been really well emphasized. I will just heavily recommend that you read this book. And be prepared to be shocked.

Rebecca x

The stories spread so vastly over the world. I have always said to myself that I wouldn’t travel to countries that allow or don’t certain things which i disagree with. Reading the corruption that is everywhere including here in Britain of course it makes me wonder whether I ever could justify traveling again. The India chapter made me consider whether I would want to go to the tourist areas and spend money there when I visit the country. I feel like actually, I’d rather only give money to the charities there, to the people directly and not to the government that does little to help the suffering that is going on.

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