This year I have officially joined the WI. Having dabbled in finding a suitable group for a few years, I am now apart of Steel Belles WI in Sheffield, a very new group full of great ladies.
2015 is the centenary of the formation of the WI and as we are entering the week of the centenary celebrations I’ve been thinking about the women who inspire me and why they do. So here’s a top 4 women (in no particular order) that I think are awesome. They are all people I’d like to be when I grow up please, or at least steal aspects from…
I bought ‘Bossy Pants’, Tina Fey’s autobiography and it’s hilarious. I’ve read a huge number of funny books, but I’ve rarely laughed aloud to one as often as I did with this. In my eyes, Tina Fey can rarely do any wrong – she wrote Mean Girls, she wrote 30 Rock, created ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, she turns up in all sorts of things and is a breath of fresh air; I even really like Baby Momma and Date Night, I know I’m somewhat in the minority with the last two.
Ah, the world of internet dating.
Every so often I begin to think it’s a really good idea, that I can get to know people, communicate with them and see where things go from there. These are normally times when I get a general feeling that I could really do with a boyfriend, as I find myself eating a large amount of toast and watching Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning again.
Speaking of Grey’s Anatomy, I’ve been re-watching a fair bit (as I am prone to) and this little quote from new doctor, Maggie Pearce, jumped out at me:
Maggie: There’s a gap. Between me and most people. There’s just always has been. I used to think I was younger in school but even after school. The gap, it just got bigger. And more impossible. I wasn’t too young, I was just too different. So I know what it looks like when I say yes to Ethan. It’s fun and we’re happy for a while until it’s not. Things always get awkward and weird so I over correct and he misinterprets and then we’re not on the same page anymore cause we were always miles and miles apart with this gap between us, pretending it wasn’t there. I don’t wanna pretend. I came here to work and just stay focused on that, and I’m fine on my side of the gap. I’m a little lonely but fine. There’s just no point to me saying yes.
Now this is not entirely me, but there are some aspects that made me just think ‘Yep! That’s it!’, specifically thinking there’s a gap and me over stressing an interest in something the other person likes that I’m not so bothered about. For example, a couple of months ago I meet a man who was stupidly beautiful and as I got chatting to him I found he was into comics. I like comics, I’ve seen a fair few film adaptations but I’m by no means an expert, but I could get away with a shallow level discussion about them. But why would that be a good idea? Feigning an interest in something to get someone to like me? That’s not a good way to go ahead. I’ve done that lots with men and perhaps that’s why I’m still single. Because I wasn’t being me.
But, every so often I think ‘Come on, you’re a grown up, it shouldn’t be this hard.’
So I sign up to a site. I start off quite eager, sending off messages to people I think I’d get on with and getting excited when I get the email through saying I’ve got a new message or something. Then my enthusiasm sags as they admit to enjoying hunting with dogs or that their mum is their best friend and they do really enjoy going on holiday with her twice a year or that their favourite band is U2.
“This band behind me’ll tell you that that trophy means more to me than owt else in the whole world. But they’d be wrong! Truth is, I THOUGHT it mattered. I thought that MUSIC mattered. But does it bollocks? Not compared to how people matter. Us winning this trophy won’t mean bugger-all to most people. But us refusing it – like what we’re going to do now – well, then it becomes news, doesn’t it? [flurry of press camera shutters] You see what I mean. That way, I’ll not just be talking to myself, will I? Because over the last ten years, this bloody government has systematically destroyed an entire industry. OUR industry. And not just our industry – our communities, our homes, our lives. All in the name of “progress”. And for a few lousy bob. I’ll tell you something else you might not know, as well. A fortnight ago, this band’s pit were closed – another thousand men lost their jobs. And that’s not all they lost. Most of them lost the will to win a while ago. A few of them even lost the will to fight. But when it comes to losing the will to live, to breathe, the point is – if this lot were seals or whales, you’d all be up in bloody arms. But they’re not, are they, no, no they’re not. They’re just ordinary common-or-garden honest, decent human beings. And not one of them with an ounce of bloody hope left. Oh aye, they can knock out a bloody good tune. But what the fuck does that matter?” Click on the quote for Pete Postlethwaite in his full glory.
Well, it’s been quite a week hasn’t it?
I can’t say I was particularly confident of a major shift towards something that I would have seen as more positive than the last government, but, as I believe was the case for many of my friends, the last thing I was expecting was a Conservative majority. I am saddened, I am disappointed, I am angry, I am frustrated, I am filled with dread with what is to come.
I have mixed feelings about my national identity. I am both English and British. I was born in a cottage in Buckinghamshire. I have one Scottish grandfather who died 10 years before I was born and one Irish great grandfather who died 75 years before I was born. We’ve traced branches of our family tree back over a thousand years and, as with many English people, our family has come from all over Europe – France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Norway, Germany, Turkey, Hungary – and that’s just the people we have records for. When I was abroad I think I ended up saying either depending upon how I felt on the day. I haven’t visited Europe recently so I’m not sure how we are currently being perceived over there.
I have real struggles with national pride and nationalism. I can see why people want to have a sense of pride of where they come from. People can be house proud, proud of their hamlet, village, town or city, their county, their region, their country, that’s fine if it brings them some happiness. What I really hate is when that is then used as an excuse to say “I’m this, so I’m better than you!” Just because you were born in this time and place doesn’t make you better than anyone who wasn’t. Perhaps you are a better person than someone else, but that has nothing to do with an accident of birth, that’s to do with how you speak to people, your actions and your intentions.