A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One of those "what I've been doing lately" posts

Back again... not entirely sure if anyone... bar perhaps Graham... is reading this, but hey :)
I have discovered the wonder that is regular employment, working with adults with learning disabilities. It's good, and oddly for care/support work, has fixed hours, weekdays. Nice. I've been there just over a week now (seems like longer for some reason, but in a good way!) and I'm starting to feel like I'm an actual useful member of the team. I know most of the service users' names and I'm even getting used to their little quirks. It beats being a dinner lady any day of the week.

I've also made a couple of new friends, which is cool, especially since I was slightly worried that I'd end up depending solely on my dear housemates for company. One is Mark, who's my co-worker and works for the same agency as me (most of them work directly for the NHS)... we talk about folk music and books and anarchism and the Clangers, and vegetarianism (he's a veggie, I'm not, although I may have gotten him into my housemates' habit of referring to meat as "death"). And then at church (well, the service in the Bradford uni chapel, anyway), I met a girl called Sally who very cleverly invited herself over for lunch. I was going to invite her, really, but the house is usually such a mess that I was embarrassed, but she worked out that I lived nearby and asked if I wanted to have lunch together with her, and then I said, "Of course... but the mess..." and then we walked back and Sophia had already started cooking. So I did the washing up, we cleared the table, and passed an interesting and pleasant afternoon together. We had tea after lunch (cups of, I mean) and since we were out of milk I walked to the garage. I got outside to discover that Graham had been chatting to another guy outside for the last hour. Poor him, he'd missed lunch too!

I like Bradford. Next week I'm in a Scratch show, in the "male" chorus (girls singing tenor)... It's not quite York G&S but I'm sure I'll love it just as much with time. I still haven't - to my shame - applied for the social work course. I don't really know why I'm procrastinating, except probably that it's such a bit step and going back to uni is quite a scary prospect... also my job keeps giving me new ideas for things to do, everything from nursing to speech and language therapy. Why does everything have to be so interesting? :) So yeah, I feel happy to be here, even though it would be quite nice to drag all my York friends here too :)

Also, did I mention I've taken up knitting? It is disturbingly relaxing, and productive as well.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Role Models?

Does anyone here remember Michelle McManus? No? Oh well.

I've bought two singles in my life and voted for Pop Idol twice. The two votes were for Michelle McManus, and one of the singles was "All this Time" by, er, Michelle McManus.

She reached fame in 2003 for being a fat woman who could sing. And according to her website, she weighed "a huge twenty two stone", or 264 pounds. And boy, could she sing.

But alas, she faded from the limelight. Which is not to say she hasn't been doing anything because of course she has. Apparently she's been in the Vagina Monologues and was in a show called Discotivity at the Edinburgh Festival. Oh, and losing weight.

OK, I try not to have a prejudice against anyone who loses weight just because the thought of a diet fills me with apprehension and I actually quite like being fat, for various reasons. I can understand that being a bit more active and eating more healthily - which is how she lost the weight, according to the articles I read about it (yes, I read articles about Michelle McManus...) - is good. And it's something I am endeavouring to do although it's really not too high on my priority list.

She was a celebrity guest star on "You are what you eat" with Pretend-Doctor Gillian McKeith. Didn't watch it because I don't watch anything about dieting, it's a rule, not even when Michelle McManus is starring. And I later read about it, brazenly reading from one of those abhorrent women's magazines in a newsagent's before putting it back and walking out of the shop. I was slightly heartened that she had apparently lost the weight healthily without resorting to ridiculous measures, and of course she must be the fattest woman with her own work-out DVD, which is also rather nice... but...

The thing was, I'd predicted pessimistically to a friend that after "All this Time", Michelle would vanish from sight and then reappear with some big weight-loss story. And alas, she did. Women's magazines are full of this stuff. Apparently the "sexy" Fern Britten has just lost lots of weight too (I won't be mad Fern, I still love you, especially for the remark that you wore a bikini and realised that no-one would die of shock...).

I'm not mad that Michelle lost weight, because it's her body, not mine, and I can well understand feeling a lot better with a bit of exercise and a few more veggies (I went swimming today and still feel good...) But what I do take issue with is this quote from her website...

The first programme was the highest rated “You Are What You Eat” episode ever with 4.6 million viewers (a 23% audience share) and the follow up programme (broadcast just before Christmas in 2005) achieved a similar audience. She had become an inspiration to woman (sic) all over the country. (emphasis mine)

Sod that. She was already my inspiration. She was my inspiration because she went into the crappy judgemental world of pop, "too fat to be famous", and walked out with the crown. She was my inspiration because she made her talent matter more than what she looked like. And she seemed like a nice confident girl from Scotland who could inspire the rest of us to follow our dreams, even before we've lost weight.

It makes me sad... but apparently she's got a new single out soon, so perhaps the future looks a little brighter.

I have been reading a few Fat Acceptance blogs lately... I think I'm settling on Big Fat Deal and Shapely Prose as my favourites. I also like Joy Nash, who made this fantastic video. Enjoy.

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