The Big ‘C’…

I often focus my blog posts and videos around mental health and removing the stigma surrounding it but there is another massive stigma that we never ever talk about. Cancer.  In a study published in The British Journal of Cancer, it was shown that 1 in 2 people will get cancer at some point in their lives in the UK, that’s literally half the damn country and yet we try to ignore that it exists. Why?!


Of course there are the adverts on the sides of bins and on TV. I have always had a strong memory of a television advert that used to be on when I was a kid and it had a bride looking in the mirror on her wedding day in floods of tears saying “my Mum should be here”. All this aided in doing was my Mum having to deal with a sobbing toddler for the next two bloody weeks and a lightening fast dive for the remote control whenever it came on in the future! I still can’t listen to Fields of Gold without crying. But it didn’t explain what cancer was, what it really is – how it affects the people – both those suffering with it and those caring for them. That simply cannot be summed up in a two minute advert. It destroys everything. Completely.


Last year, my Grandad (who I call Dad as he raised me with my Mum and Nana), was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Initially he just couldn’t swallow things properly without being sick which he thought was his false teeth playing up, so after exhausting every other option he admitted defeat that it would cure itself and we finally managed to get him to go to the doctors. After an awful lot of tests and meetings we finally got the diagnosis that we were all dreading.


I’ll never forget that text message – I was at work with my friend and just broke down in tears in the basement when I had read it. Thankfully the girl I was on shift with was lovely which I’ll be forever grateful for, and she told me how a lot of her family had also suffered with cancer which helped to give me hope so I could continue my shift. It’s scary really, you talk to anyone and the chances are they have had someone close to them who has or is currently battling cancer.


I got through that shift and made it home but I still had so many questions. How could this happen to my Dad? He can get through anything! He has always been so healthy, it had become something of an ‘in’ joke within the family as every birthday or Christmas he would be bombarded with gifts of health food, nuts and honey etc to feed his addiction. For a man of 85 he is ridiculously well, despite the obvious we can now see.


My Dad is the strongest and bravest man I have ever met and I love him to pieces. He is so determined to beat this that he really does shame me into getting my arse into gear sometimes. When I’m lying in bed complaining I have to get up and go to work, I think about Dad and everything that he is going through and think well if that one can do it then so can I!


He has recently finished his chemotherapy and radiotherapy and is currently waiting for his scan at the end of January so that we can see if it has worked. He can’t swallow food so is being fed by a feeding tube, we like to joke and say it’s something different every day to keep him smiling “Sunday dinner today Dad, get it down you!”- after all, if you can’t smile then what can you do? I know I can make him laugh, so I damn well will.


All we can do currently is wait and hope for the best. It’s hard, devastatingly hard, to see the most important man in my life go through all of this knowing that I can do absolutely nothing to stop it. My family is everything to me and he is such a central part of that, I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. He’s my Dad, need I say more?


Thank you all for your kind words and lovely messages over these past few months, they have really helped to keep a smile on my face when all I want to do is cry. I promise I’ll keep you posted. Thanks guys.



lifestyle · mental health

Unhelpful Festive Social Comparisons

It is officially Christmas in less than a week and so we are officially in the full swing of things now as we count down the days. Christmas comes with many things, sending Christmas cards and gifts (often to people you never say two words to at any other time of the year!), carolling, and more importantly to this blog – comparing ourselves to everyone who matters!


During Christmas time being with lots of people is inevitable and so it is human nature that we are going to start to compare ourselves and our achievements to those of those people around us. There are of course those lovely people (usually older family members, or the less sympathetic parents) that feel it is their duty to highlight just how well our second cousin Ginny is doing in her new six figure jet setting career on the other side of the world… But I think that we can all agree, that this kind of social comparison is just simply not helpful nor healthy!


As much as I would love to have the perfect life that I have spent my life dreaming up and concocting inside my head, simply put I don’t. I definitely do not have that perfect life. If six year old Emmie were to look at my life now then she would sit and sob for hours after locking herself in the bathroom….(I did that a lot, sorry Mum!). But that doesn’t mean that my life isn’t a happy one!


Sure, there are down sides (lots) and there are always going to be negative periods and people in my life that only want to bring me down or make me miserable (plenty this year thank you very much 2016!) but I am proud of the life I am living. This time last year, thanks to my anxiety I could not be left alone in a room for more than a few minutes without panicking and either reaching for the phone or going to find someone to sit with me. I was stuck in relationships and friendships that were doing nothing but drain me and was generally miserable.


But now? I am living alone and renting my own place where I pay my own bills. I have my own car and have a gorgeous bunny called Gimli and adorable little tortoise called Flash to take care of. Point is, life is what you make it and despite the shit storm of naff-ness that has descended my life in 2016 I have certainly made the best of it which I something that I am keeping in mind when others start to make these pesky comparisons.


No matter what people tell you about other people in your life remember this, you have a long and unpredictable life ahead of you and this is certainly not “it” for you! There is plenty of time left for you to do whatever you want to do. As cringey and cliché as it may appear there is an awful lot of truth in it! As long as you have a goal of what you want to achieve, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed if you aren’t already there. So hey, when good old Granny is boasting about your lovely older cousin Jeff, why not be happy for him and raise a glass? After all, it could be your successes that she’s doing everybody’s tits in with next year…



“Single Parent Families Will Fail”!?

As we are still inexplicably under a Tory government, I have heard this statement far too often. The attitude that we should look down on single parent families and that they should almost be punished for daring to not fit the confines of the nuclear family. I am here to go on the record to say screw that. Such a narrow minded and cold attitude to such a complex matter is not only immature, but it is naïve and irresponsible as well – and should certainly not be one held by some of the most powerful people in the country!11695817_10153522772506060_8575958169552876715_n

A single parent family does not have to mean single Mum living in a council house that she has always dreamed of, claiming off the dole and scrounging the government out of every penny that she can for all of her eight kids! The conservatives seem to have developed an almost cartoon like portrayal of working class families, which sadly seems to include single parents.

Single parent families are not necessarily always a bad thing, and certainly do not have to mean that either parent was incapable or irresponsible to their duties as a parent. A parent may have unfortunately passed away, the family may have been through a series of abuse, or it can be down to the sad but common fact that sometimes people do just fall out of love. There doesn’t have to be a long running stream of abuse or hatred, sometimes feelings can just change, and that’s okay.

lb7During my childhood it was pretty much just always me and my Mum, that is after we got away from my abusive biological father. But even though we were a single parent family, I loved every second of it! We are so unbelievably close, a closeness that I have never observed with any children and mothers from nuclear families. I am by no means saying that this is not possible, however I don’t believe that me and my mum would have been this close if my dad had still been in the picture. I also got to spend a hell of a lot of time with my grandparents (I even call them Mum and Dad now!)  as my mum had to go to work as she was the only one to provide for us.

“Single parent” needs to stop being such a taboo phrase, would you rather the child be raised in a toxic environment, or one where they were not getting the support that they needed? Of course not, sometimes for the best care to be possible, the parents need to live apart – sadly, sometimes it is that simple. I am so thankful for these family relationships that I have developed over the years thanks to my single parent family. My Mum is, and always has been, more like a best friend than an oppressive parental figure. We respect and love each other, and always have each others back. She is the one person I can turn to for support, and I cherish my childhood that we spent together, even when though it was “just me and her”!