Posted in Blog

Epilepsy & Periods

I have a gynaecology appointment tomorrow and it’s suddenly dawned on me, I could find out I might have another condition.

I’ve suffered from seriously painful periods for years, but I’ve always just dealt with them. Within the Black community, as women we always do; many of us have severe heavy periods, that come with paralysing back pain and cramps, and because generations of women before us suffered we suffer too. Furthermore, as teenagers, visits to GPs are not even rewarded with a prescription for anything stronger than paracetamol. One of my best friends waited until her twenties to go and see a GP about her heavy periods and just suffered in silence through her teens.

As soon as I turned 18, I went on the contraceptive pill – not only because I had become sexually active, but also to help battle my period demon. And it worked – the combined pill made my periods lighter, however it made my depression worse. Thankfully, I was switched over to Cerazette, a progestogen-only pill, but this took years of negotiation with my GP, while simultaneous back-and-forthing regarding my depression and undiagnosed Epilepsy. Finally not having a period was a weight off my shoulders and when I went travelling, I changed over to an implant to ensure that I could continue to stay period free while on my travels.

The problem with Epilepsy is AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs) is that some of them conflict with contraceptives which contain hormones. Unfortunately, Keppra conflicted with my implant and I had to have it removed. I now have an IUD (non-hormone) coil, which means that I have horribly painful periods again – including sleepless nights. This provoked me to go back to the GP and demand a referral to gynaecology, because I could no longer live in agony. It took a lot of persuasion, but eventually I got a referral, however can you imagine a GP questioning a thirty year old (at the time I was still thirty) woman about her own body? And I don’t mean questioning in the sense of a tick box of symptoms, but gaslighting, to deter us from having to make these costly referrals.

There was an article in Black Ballad over the summer, however I can no longer find it regarding Black women and periods. We are made to suffer, because we’re perceived by white clinicians as strong and robust, therefore when we come into their rooms with our ailments, they don’t believe us, which has detrimental impacts upon our bodies as well as our mental health.

As somebody with Epilepsy, I shouldn’t have been gaslighted.

As somebody with Epilepsy, I shouldn’t have had to wait since FEBRUARY to have my gynaecological issues sorted out, when they have an impact on my seizures.

I could have another condition.

As a young Black woman, I shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed to ask for help to manage them.

XOXO

 

P.S. I actually thought this was really funny considering how much I hate periods:

Life on Your Period(Image source)

XOXO

Posted in Blog

My complaint to Superdrug:

If you remember, I originally posted the following complaint to Superdrug’s Twitter account on 1st October:

Hi,

On Monday 21st September 2017 I visited Superdrug on 201 Camden High St. It was raining and I had my hood up. A member of staff followed me through the store but didn’t say anything to me. I then got to the second isle of the store where the member of staff stood behind me and then asked me to put my hood down. He didn’t explain why. I did put my hood down but then put it back upon. The member of staff came back and said “excuse me, I told you to put your hood down.” I replied “yes, but you didn’t say why,” to which he replied: “well the security camera can’t see what you’re doing and it needs to see your face.” This upset me – particularly the beginning part of the sentence, so I said: “what do you mean it needs to see what I’m doing? I’m not doing anything wrong? I’m a grown woman, buying things, I’m not going to steal anything, I have money!” Some people were standing nearby and agreed with me and suggested that if the camera needs to see my face that I should turn to the camera which is what I did and then carried on shopping. The member of staff however became angry, once again told me to take off my hood and said if I didn’t I wouldn’t get served. Members of the public standing around told him that was unfair and that he should leave me alone and I again told him that I wasn’t going to steal anything. I then took my things to the checkout and was served. The member of staff turned out to be the Assistant Manager of the store and when I spoke to him before I left the store, I told him that I felt that I had been racially profiled by him, because he saw a black woman walking into the store with a hood on, who to him looked like a teenager and assumed that she was going to steal something, so followed her. He then asked me to put my hood down and was very rude about it, instead of explaining that it company policy – again, because he was under the assumption that I was there to steal something and that I was going to get aggressive. Instead of saying sorry for making me feel that way, he said sorry but he was just following company policy, which to me is NOT an apology. And if racially profiling really IS a Superdrug policy, then I’ll have to take my money elsewhere, which is a shame because I am 31 years old and I’ve been shopping at Superdrug since I was a teenager.

Thank you for taking the time to read my complaint, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Cece.

After some back and forth, I finally received this reply:

Hi Cece We really appreciate you letting us know what happened and we can completely see how you must have felt. I want to assure you that we have spoken to the area manage[sic] about this and they have advised that they will be addressing this with the store team today and taking additional appropriate action to ensure that this does not happen again. As a thank you for your feedback we would like to send you a gift voucher which you can spend in any of our stores so could you please email me back with your address so I can get this in the post for you? Alternatively, if you have a Health & Beautycard, let me know the card number and I’ll add the equivalent in points so you can use them in store or online. Thanks again for taking the time to write to us, and I’m sorry that your experience was so disappointing. If you have any questions, please get back to me or call us on 03456 710 709 and we’ll be happy to help. 

After setting up a Beautycard, I then received this final message:

I’ve added £10 worth of points to your card, these will be showing on your account no later than the 10th October. I’m sorry for all of the problems caused, if you need anything else please let me know.

I’m extremely pleased with this outcome.

When speaking to one of my best friend about the incident, who is of Pakistani descent, wasn’t surprised and reason why was because she has suffered racial profiling in the SAME store. She went to the checkout to pay for her body cream and the guy at the checkout said to her:

“how does you husband feel about you spending his money on things like this?”

She was so horrified she didn’t respond, yet simultaneously she didn’t feel like she could complain afterwards, and this is why I felt that I had to about what happened to me.

As people of colour, we are always made to feel ashamed when people ridicule us. White people – especially British people – are so quick to put in complaints when they are wronged, yet when the same thing happens to us – especially when it’s to do with our skin colour or culture – we are made to feel so ashamed (remember what I said in a previous post about microaggressions), that we don’t want to complain because the bully shames us from drawing attention to their wrongdoing.

Yesterday, I  submitted my formal complaint to my GP surgery about the Practice Nurse. I’ll keep you posted.

Now I’m off to spend my £10 worth of points! Adios! And black power!

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Unashamed PR!

Hey guys!

I have a film review website that I keep forgetting to plug! I actually did my Undergrad in Film & Literature, and I’m loving mixing Psychology and Film in these reviews!

So pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese check it out!

The Film Junkie

Thanksies!

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Why I’m No Longer Watching GrapevineTV

During the Summer, one of my best friends suggested that I check out GrapevineTV on YouTube.

After just a couple of episodes, I really didn’t connect with it and I told her straightaway, however she told me to give it a chance so I did. There were a couple of episodes that I liked, and a few people on the panel who I did connect with such, as Sensei Aishitemasu (who I follow on YouTube) and Donovan, so I kept going with it. Plus, as much I listening to podcasts, finally having PoC on my TV talking about current events – even if they all were US related – was great for my “woke-ness” journey.

However, apart from these few things that I did like, there were still so many things that I didn’t like. These were supposed to be intellectual black millenials, yet in every episode they were yelling at each other across a table while the host, Ashley Akunna stroked her hair like a lioness, rarely saying anything. These hyennas were perfectly perpetuating the stereotype of black people and never actually saying anything about the topics that they brought up. In fact, they were like a US verso of BKChat, just more stylish. (literally – these girls on GrapevineTV turn uuuuuup!)

Then, there were two episodes which began to hammer the nails into the casket for me: the first being the Erykah Badu episode where some of the guys sided with Badu and blamed child victims for sexually tempting older men with their clothing.

The second episode was one of the African vs African-American/Caribbean episodes where Ashley aggressively told Seren that African-Americans like her should work harder, if they want to get of the ghetto instead of blaming white supremacy for their hardships.

I took that personally and I took it to heart.

This forced me to stop watching, however I was still subscribed to the channel. When I received notifications about shows for Bill Crosby and R Kelly, I watched them, and I have to commend the team for doing a good job on these. The topics such as sexual assault, rape and child molestation within our community is important to talk about – particularly the psychological abuse that comes from perpetrators such as R Kelly.

But then came the NFL episode. First of all, the majority of the boys were refusing to boycott to games, which in my opinion showed the beginning of their ignorance. They felt unless the NFL players quit playing, then they weren’t going to stop watching. Ignorance. When some of the girls – including Seren brought up the idiom that the NFL is like modern day slavery, the boys laughed in their faces and told them that they didn’t understand the game, which I interpreted as modern-day sexism. Only one guy on that panel was talking sense, having spoken to Colin Kaepernick himself about his experience and his reasons behind his activism, which had convinced him to boycott the games at home, because he was intelligent enough to understand the what the system is doing to Kaepernick and what he is protesting against. 

They also had a white guy on the panel. I had a feeling when I saw him that it wouldn’t be a one off fixture.

This is show for PoC and there are members of the panel who proclaim on YouTube against integration, which in certain contexts I agree with – this being one of them. Then after the show, GrapevineTV’s Twitter account asked their viewers what we thought about the idea of having white people on the panel in the future. Straightaway I replied no, because our mainstream media is full of white people’s opinion’s. I’m here for people of colour. Other viewers agreed with me. GrapevineTV reminded me that the show was a place for intellectual millenials – reading between the lines, I could read that they meant this to mean an amalgamation of races too. Subsequent tweets then went on to say that Akunna as the sole benefactor could no longer afford to support the show on her own and Black people were “not forthcoming with their coins”.

Yet in previous episodes, Akunna herself had preached that she didn’t need the help of white people. 

The tweeter then seemed to become aggressive when viewers asked if Grapevine was looking to make a fast buck, because understandably, we were all confused: Akunna had always said that her producer was the benefactor. As far as I knew, the show hadn’t advertised any sponsors, nor asked for funding.

It then became clear that GrapevineTV didn’t really care about our opinions. They were going to go forward in the direction they wanted.

Some of my tweets were getting A LOT of retweets and GrapevineTV claimed that they received hate, but that’s a lie. The only hate shown on that day was from them – so much aggression and sarcasm. Simple responses and questions from viewers were responded to by GrapevineTV with aggression and sarcasm, because they’re incapable of having even the simplest of conversations. If you watch the show, it’s hindered by the format: they all sit around a table, where the commentary of the show seems to rely upon either the ignorance of sexism of the men who play the villains until Donovan “the hero” steps in, while the girls pipe in every now and then, and Akunna might read something from her phone to keep the conversation going. I don’t understand Akunna’s role; is she a host? Because I just see as an auxiliary bystander.

Placing white people on the panel is therefore only going to damage this sinking ship.

Sinking Ship.gif

Anyway, in the end, I had to block GrapevineTV on Twitter, and I will no longer be watching their show.

I will still be watching Seren’s channel and amidst the chaos, one of the hosts of The Nitty Gritty Show tweeted me and I am LOVING THAT at the moment!

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Parental Rejection

http://www.spring.org.uk/2016/10/rejection-parent-personality.php

I came across this article tonight after reading on Twitter that a friend of mine had finally been rejected by her father. I say finally, because it’s been a slow, drawn out process. The rest of her family have turned their backs on her following her transition (she’s transgender) and at first, her father was the bridge of support, claimed to attempt to support, to reach out to the other party, etc., etc. But then she had fears that he was pulling away – we didn’t want to believe it, especially me, having experienced it myself, but he was acting super sketchy and no longer being as supportive as he once was. 

Then tonight, he was no longer taking her calls. He’d cut her off. 

HIS OWN DAUGHTER. 

What kind of parents have children, only to reject them? Let’s forget that we’re adults, we’re still your children. Professor Ronald, co-author of the study in the article, says that it doesn’t matter what culture, race or class you come from (surprisingly, considering we’re talking about Psychology here!) rejection from a parental figure has a significant effect upon the development of your personality. Rejected children tend to be more anxious and insecure; it also makes us aggressive and angry – who do we trust? And why should we trust people? What if you let us down? 

Rohner then goes on to say:

“Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.”

According to the article, empirical research claims that the same parts of the brain activated for physical pain, are also activated for emotional pain. 

There are still days when I can’t breathe because the pain of separation is unbearable. 

I’m also finally coming to terms with being an orphan, because I never thought of my father rejecting me before. I’ve never had to deal with him walking out because I’ve always been so consumed with my mother’s failings, which the article discusses. 

Why do people even bother to have children? 

I’m sorry that this isn’t an uplifting post; I just can’t even…

I spent three days in bed with a post-stictal migraine, feeling like I’d had a stroke and not knowing what was going on, not knowing who I am, barely able to speak and the only thing I was sure of was that my parents didn’t love me. Because I get to relive that over and over again, especially when I’m too sick to escape my insecurities.  

Posted in Blog

Fenty Saves the Day

I barely had any sleep last night because:

(a) I was in quite a lot of pain. Epilepsy SUCKS.

(b) I went to bed über late watching a film about a beautiful black lady who ends up dating a psycho with beautiful eyes (The Perfect Guy, 2015), and then I had to wake up über early to buy Bon Iver tickets (so worth it! I can’t believe I’m finally going to see Bon Iver 😍😍😍😍), then go to an African Caribbean Ancestry talk. 

Therefore I looked awful, and decided that I needed to wear makeup. Bring out the Fenty! 


Just a little bit of foundation and eyeliner (the eyeliner isn’t Fenty, it’s Rimmel).

This is the first time I’ve actually worn the makeup since buying it and I bought a whole new brush and sponge set, especially for the occasion. I’m not even a girly girl, but this was pretty fucking exciting. Again, applying the foundation was an incredible moment; as you can see from my first picture, I haven’t applied a lot as you can still see some of my blemishes (I was only going to a talk, I just wanted to add some colour to my face – I looked like a zombie before!), however the coverage is perfect and just enough to make me look fresh and youthful. 

I can’t wait to use it all properly! I’m going to look like a queen! 

Posted in Blog

My Anger (which is not “Black Aggression”)

White people just really don’t get it.

The sense of displacement, the feeling of isolation and anger, to know that my ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and then my sister and I were lied to and white people continue to lie to us. The constant lies and abuse on social media that white people throw at me is unreal, because white supremacy is so insidious that white people in 2017 believe that they are intellectually superior to all Black people, regardless of levels of education.

I’ve also become passionate about the idea of segregation, because the education system, in particular is so psychologically damaging to people of colour.

For example, as a Learning Support Assistant, I learnt and taught students that the slave trade was abolished by Britain. Not true. It was the slaves rioting and striking, which forced the Government into a corner. So don’t you EVER tell a Black person that we owe you our freedom, because it’s not true. 

And Freedom! What Freedom? During the Windrush, you “invited” my grandparents over to Britain as migrants, promising milk, honey and glory after the War – you gave them shit. They couldn’t even afford to return home, so they died here in this country that doesn’t even accept their granddaughter as a British citizen, let alone them.

Why do you even keep calling them migrants? To make you feel less guilty?

In school, I learnt that Africans were complicit in capturing and selling Black people in exchange for gold, guns, tobacco and superiority. Not true. European Traders psychologically manipulated Africans for their own gain, to force them into inferiority and to help the Slave Traders chase and beat their own people into slavery. They even physically mutilated Africans “because it made them smarter”. The Europeans saw tribes of people who were intellectually superior, with their own cultures, religion, languages, education and manipulated them into passivity. African people didn’t need guns and gold. Those are lies that have been written into history books to make them look like greedy savages and feed the narrative that we’ve been trying to shake off ever since.

I was born here and I don’t want to be here, because the “hunters’ continue to glorify themselves. All through my teacher training career, I was never allowed to take credit for my work because privileged white people would take credit or constantly insult me by accusing me of plagarising my work, because a black person couldn’t possibly be so intellectual. I still suffer from the nightmares now – those privileged ghouls just keep popping up in my dreams.

People have no idea of the damage that racism does. Slavery didn’t end in the 19th century. Black people are still subjected to slavery mentally in Britain.  Native Americans have their own education system because America acknowledges the damage they’ve done psychologically. Why can’t we have that?

In my studies in Cultural Psychology, I came across this article: Psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean, which I would definitely recommend for further reading.

What breaks my heart the most, is the disdain that white British people feel – not for the system, but for the feeling of betrayal Black people feel and for us speaking up: “How dare you?” they say. “We freed you, you’re so ungrateful!” they cry. “Oh stop using the race card”, “Stop talking about race”, “I don’t see race / colour, so why do you?” Do you realise these are racial microaggressions? And cannot be dismissed. 

So I went to this “exhibition” this afternoon, in Poplar, for Black History Month marketed as an exhibition for the stories of migrants during the Windrush. This was it:

IMG_20171002_163501

I’m not going to give too much away, as I want to speak to the photographer first, but I was upset. So much so, that I had to sit down to compose myself.

I’ve spoken to my nan about the Windrush and I was looking forward to this, because her story really touched me and I was intrigued to see how others’ compared. I was pissed off that this was it for Black Caribbeans, with a piece of A4 about the photographer and in fact, there was more about the photographer than my people on that piece of paper. But “just some photos on a board” – which is actually how the librarian described it herself when I asked for directions, does not tell a story, nor does it do justice for my grandmother…. But anyway, let me not get into it, until I’ve spoken to her about her intentions.

XOXO