Mr. Lonely

How much longer can I keep on pretending that magazines, my kindle or laptop and a glass of wine are perfectly suitable substitutes to fill the lonely void inside me?

They say that you can only learn to be happy with someone else only when you can learn to be happy by yourself. I achieved that quite a while back, when I loved getting to cook for myself and choose what to watch on TV when everyone else was out for the night. But when that odd occasional solo night turned into three nights a week, which soon turned into five or six times a week, the novelty of getting to watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey and enjoy a half bottle of Pinot Grigio by myself each night quickly wore off.IMG_0932

They say you can feel at your loneliest when you have lots of people around you – if only I could be so lucky. Just today I sent a message to a friend with a picture capturing my bored home alone life (a glass of prosecco, magazines, and an episode of the The O.C on my laptop), and he replied: ‘you’re always on your own! It’s like you live on your own!’ Obviously this message was meant to come across light-hearted, as this particular friend doesn’t know I already feel lonely, but this brief message caused me to burst out into tears and down the rest of my bubbling prosecco.

I could go down the cliché route and blame this on my female hormones or place it down to being a stereotypical needy girl, but the truth is I really might as well be living on my own. During the day or night it’s either A. a miracle if my mum or brother is in for the evening, or B. a miracle if my mum actually listens to me at the kitchen table when I come to enjoy her company – it normally ends with me asking aimless questions, just trying to enjoy human proximity, but those questions go unanswered or I get shooed away as her laptop or any phone calls consumes any life she has at home.

If I actually lived alone then it wouldn’t feel so disheartening cooking another meal for one or watching the clock tick by till someone comes home. I have my two cats (this story is really hitting rock bottom now isn’t it?), but they don’t always provide the greatest conversation or companionship. They may be vocal and lovely when they want another food pouch, but once they have a bowl full of food they cast me aside like yesterday’s cat litter.

Another route many will go down is asking: “but what about your friends!?” This is one question I dread answering and now filter my answer down to: “They’re on holiday… She’s working… Oh, and he doesn’t live in London… And yes mother, I have tried texting!” Rock bottom when your own mother seems to have a more thriving social life than her 22-year-old daughter.

I don’t want this to be a pity party post; I do try my hardest to stay afloat. Unfortunately the future I want isn’t in reach until I finish up my degree down in Exeter (something I am desperately trying to avoid and very much dreading heading back to the books, dissertation and late all night library sessions).

So till then I guess it’s just me, myself and I (and my two cats). But really, is it too much to ask to feel like you have a family life that’s active and loving or present? I guess in this century, where marriages result in divorce and where emails or phone calls dominate home life there’s not much hope. So for now, I’ll just prepare myself for another night in and slowly turn into a 22 year old Miss Havisham type figure – Charles Dickens meets lonely London suburbia, a hit seller in the making.P1000274

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Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook Feminism.

Tuesday, 23rd April 2013

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has been causing quite a political and feminist storm. After writing her book Lean In, which advises women on how to succeed in the workplace, and giving various speeches, Sandberg has found herself and her views under attack.

Sandberg is already considered one of the most powerful women in the business world, yet she believes that there should be more successful women and that the answer to solving political and economic crises is to have more women hold more positions of power.

When addressing an audience at The Times’ London office, Sandberg said that in order for women to begin gaining the equality they need to tackle gender issues, they need to start from within the home.

She feels that the home is where women need to attain more support from their husbands, boyfriends or partners: ‘In every country, women do twice as much housework as men. The workplace will not change until the home changes.’

Unfortunately, her strong ‘feminist’ views have received a fair amount of criticism from her fellow women. A disgruntled female reader of Time magazine (15 April issue) sent in a letter regarding their recent article on Sandberg, stating that gender ‘roles and aspirations are supposed to be different – it’s called compensation and equilibrium… What does Sandberg propose next, male childbearing?’

However, what Sandberg does not seem to address is that women can find arguably the best kind of support within the workplace, rather than in the home. Perhaps Sandberg should consider that the support from fellow working women, instead of a husband or partner, is much more beneficial.1_fullsize-1

In 2003 Gwen Rhys, the CEO of Networking Culture Limited, founded ‘Women in the City’, a network that Rhys quotes on the website as one that aims to ‘promote, recognise and reward female talent’. Through this network like-minded women in the business world can come together and benefit from meeting one another through lunches and networking. Rhys recalls that she felt her conception of ‘Women in the City’ was a ‘simple idea’ and that by organizing events, women who worked in the city would be able to ‘share experiences’ or ‘hear an inspirational speaker’.

The growing network says that women need not look to their other half at home for support, but instead reach out to a network of women similar to themselves. Most importantly, ‘Women in the City’ aims to: ‘Increase each woman’s impact and visibility in her organisation and sector’ and ‘empower, inspire and motivate professional businesswomen’.

The more women start to network and connect with one another through programmes such as ‘Women in the City’ and its events and lunches, the more support is found and provided. Rhys comments that through networking and even shopping trips, ‘some serious business connections are made.’

Despite Sandberg’s view that men dominate the business and political world, perhaps tackling the obstacle of gender issues should not begin within the home. If women are to ever get on top, then maybe the environment to ask for support should be where success is cultivated and thrives — within the workplace.

Link to article: http://www.spearswms.com/spears-world/salon/talking-points/46212/sheryl-sandberg-facebook-feminism.thtml