Facebook, feminism and fuckery: A tale of one man’s anger.

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES THREATS OF VIOLENCE TOWARD WOMEN.

Okay, so I’m angry. So angry. As per the title, there’s probably going to be a bunch of swearing and unkind language in this post, and I’m not even slightly sorry for it.

Gather round, I’m gonna tell you the story of how I got called a “man hating bitch who is easily triggered”.  It all began on Tuesday night, when I was scrolling through facebook, and found a post in one of the groups I’m in which professes to be fans of two well known youtubers who are brothers (yeah, you know who I mean). These two youtubers are very into social justice, equality and fairness, including rights for groups which are discriminated against (this is relevant, I swear). So imagine my surprise when a woman in the group posts about receiving an obscene, disturbing and threatening message from a “friend” via facebook messenger, and many people told her to block him and move on.

That part, I could deal with, it’s like sticking your head in the sand and pretending this sexist, violent, and threatening scumbag doesn’t exist in the real world, but I do get that sometimes its easier than trying to report something of that nature and hoping that some sort of acceptable outcome will evolve from it. The thing that got me really mad, was one commenter in particular who made a comment consisting of “I keep my friends list to 100 people who I know well, and also I’m a man”. That’s actually not paraphrasing at all… Can you see why I got mad?

That had the double whammy of victim blaming (by implying she had too many friends on facebook and therefore was inviting this) AND making the blunt statement that men aren’t the target of this kind of thing (Which is completely untrue). Over the next 90 minutes we commented back and forth and it got heated at points, I’m not saying I was perfect in my language. I was definitely angry and not very polite and I make no excuse for that, however what really got me boiling mad was when a third party commented that “man-hating women are so easily triggered” and the first commenter, henceforth known as Douchenozzle A latched onto that and called me a misandrist on numerous occasions, for my repeated assertions that women receiving online threats was not uncommon, should be taken seriously and should definitely be reported. Somehow this guy totally Jumped the shark into a discussion about how women can victimise men, how he has received unsolicited nude pics and therefore he is a victim too. I agreed, he is a victim, he’s a victim of unsolicited nude pics. However the woman who posted the original status that kicked this whole thing off, had been told by a male friend that he wanted to lock her up and use and torment her at his whim. I know unsolicited nudes is not cool, but there’s a huge gulf between “here’s a dick/a pair of tits/an ass” and “I want to use and torment you in a locked room.”

All of this is to say that fighting online produces no victors and will only suffice to raise one’s blood pressure to dangerous levels, but it also speaks to a frighteningly common trend in society:  the notion that threats made online are not taken seriously and are dismissed as “just words” by many people, and especially by those who the threats aren’t aimed at. We see this time and time again when it comes to any marginalised group: women, people of differing races, genders, sexualities etc. Those who aren’t being threatened are much more likely to say “well they only said it, it’s not like they actually acted on it.” But then, when a person is killed by their verbally abusive partner or the behaviour escalates in other ways people shake their heads and say “Well why didn’t they just leave the partner before it got worse?” Victims of any kind are rarely likely to catch a break from those who don’t understand what it is like to be a victim in the first place.

When I tell people that I got into yet another “facebook debate” about some issue or another, they’re likely to respond “just don’t get into it, people aren’t going to listen,” which is faulty logic. How are we to change problematic behaviour if no one says a word?  If those who opposed slavery in the US had said nothing, or the Women’s Suffrage movement had stayed quiet, there would still be huge numbers of slaves, and women wouldn’t have the vote. And frankly, I’m tired of staying quiet, for the sake of not having an argument. If I have to argue with 1,000 people about equality, then I will.

You know, being called a misandrist by a man who asserts that rape threats aren’t something to be concerned by if you’re a woman probably isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever been called, but it’s probably the most ironic. Only a true misogynist would invalidate rape threats.

As a nice little cherry on top of this bullshit soufflé, Douchenozzle A later came back to “clarify some points” by editing his posts to paint himself in a more sympathetic and less misogynistic light. Dozens of commenters called him out on it, and posted screenshots of his original statements. That part was sorta delightful, I’m not gonna lie, if that makes me a bad person then so be it.

This entire post has been brought to you by the internalised misogyny and anti feminist sentiment that has pervaded human societies for thousands of years.

Traveller’s notebook: What is it and why is it awesome?

If you’ve read my Bullet journal post you’ll know that when I discovered that particular system of organisation I fell in love pretty instantly. I was never a very organised person prior to that and in fact was well known for being flaky and unreliable. I could make excuses about having a bad memory, but frankly it was more to do with the fact that I was hopeless at maintaining a diary or appointment book.

Which is why Bullet Journalling became my Holy Grail organisation system, from the moment I bought a cheap notebook and started writing down all of the important things I needed to remember, I felt more productive, useful, smarter and happier. It’s a big call to say that a system as idiot proof as bullet journalling made me a happier person but it really did.

From bullet journalling, i spiralled down a rabbit hole of organisational and planning videos on youtube and found Traveller’s Notebooks. The concept is simple, a folio style planner with removable inserts for increased flexibility and to keep productivity simple.

Folio

Bullet journal purists will tell you that a Traveller’s Notebook is NOT a bullet journal, because it is not one notebook where you write EVERYTHING. To that I say, phooey: as long as you use signifiers, daily to do lists, and an index, you’ve got yourself a bullet journal. In saying that, I have divided my Traveller’s notebook into 3 sections, one for each insert I have.

The first section is my Health section, the second is Notes, and the third is Blog.

Health

If you’ve read any of my posts on living with a disability you’ll know by now that I have Spina Bifida. I am the first to admit that in the past, I was terrible at looking after the specific concerns that my disability brought to my life, in fact I’m still pretty bad but this section is designed to end that once and for all. The first few pages are my emergency contacts, current medications, and current diagnoses. I will obviously update those if anything changes. The reason for this is that I plan to keep this TN in my handbag, and so if anything goes wrong while I am out, and an ambulance needs to be called it will be right there. This part isn’t so much a bullet journal because it requires no to do lists, it’s a compilation of information a health professional may need in the event I have a seizure or soemthing else goes wrong medically speaking. I have also included a list of my allergies and important notes that a doctor may need.

The second one is Notes, which is pretty self explanatory, but basically it’s so that I have a place to write down brief notes that may come up in the course of my day if I’m not near my Bullet Journal or if I just need to jot something down for future reference. I plan to migrate a lot of those notes into my Bullet Journal, probably at the end of each month.

Notes

The third insert is reserved for my blog, because so far I’ve been pretty bad at uploading daily blogs and I really would like to get better at this! The plan with this section is to keep all of my blog ideas, upload schedule, resources and anything else blog related in here so that when I’m late (as usual) with an upload and I’m stressing because I forgot my wordpress password or something, it’ll be right there.

Blog

So far, I am absolutely loving this new system, as well as keeping my regular Bullet Journal for planning what I’m doing each day, tracking habits, and keeping appointments all in one spot, this notebook is just an extra “layer” of organisation to keep my life in order.

If you like the look of my traveller’s notebook the link to it on Amazon is right here. I do not make any money as a result of you clicking that link (I wish!). I also went a little crazy and bought these and also these , because I have zero self control.

If you enjoyed this post, let me know if you’d like a follow up in a few weeks to see how I’m going with the system and whether I still love it as much!

Life Lessons: Fighting Discrimination in Education

School is already a battleground, but what happens when you’re fighting disability stigma too?

So, full disclosure: its 6:20pm on Tuesday here, I woke up this morning full of intentions to write this post first thing, upload it and get on with my day…that’s not exactly what happened. Instead, I woke up, had to cancel some flights for someone who is stranded in China, had to make a bunch of phone calls for other stuff, tried to get Ed Sheeran concert tickets, failed at getting Ed Sheeran concert tickets, ate pizza, napped and woke up just now.

Having said alllll that, let’s go.

 

As some of you may know, I was born with Spina Bifida, which is a spinal birth defect and in essence means that I walk with crutches, can’t feel anything below my knees and a bunch of other complicated medical stuff that I can’t be bothered to explain. Google is your friend there guys! And because I grew up with a disability, I’ve had 26 (almost 27) years to deal with the discrimination, stares, questions and downright rudeness that that sometimes entails.

 

This blog post isn’t going to be a “poor me” whingefest, it is going to detail some discrimination that I myself, and many others like me, have faced and continue to face on the daily.

I’ll go back as far as I can remember I guess.

 

I vividly remember being in kindergarten, and telling a teacher I needed my aide to help me go to the bathroom, she accused me of being a liar and making it up to get out of class time, which led to an unfortunate accident which was VERY noticeable for everyone to see. When my grandmother came to pick me up from school and I was in tears, my grandmother spoke to the teacher and demanded to know why I had not been allowed to use the restroom, and the teacher really didn’t have an answer, and so my grandmother asked “did you stop all other children from going to the bathroom?” and the teacher replied sheepishly, “well…no.” BOOM, that’s discrimination.

 

Imagine learning that at the age of 5, the idea that if you ask to utilise an aide to do something as basic as access a bathroom, you will be denied because your teacher, who is charged with overseeing your care for 6 hours a day, thinks you might be making up the need to poop! (A little side-note to that story: I’ve long since gotten over the trauma of that incident and have even gone so far as to forgive the teacher in question. My grandmother has not, she maintains to this day that that particular teacher is an awful person).

 

When I was 12, I went to one of my very first school dances, and a boy (who I thought was very cute, FYI) asked me to dance. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, as 12 year old girls are prone to do when boys notice them. So, we danced, until one of the other girls made the snide comment that he only asked me to dance because he felt sorry for me. Now, I don’t know if that’s why he asked me to dance or not, but I do know that that girl was clearly discriminating against me (and being a straight up bitch, too). Not only was that ableist bullshit, but it was yet another incident of girls being mean to other girls, and putting them down for the sake of it. Girl hate is a whole other bag of bullshit that I might write about one day.

 

When I was in high school (from years 7-10) P.E. was a compulsory class, and guess what? Not one single teacher made an effort to be inclusive or to play sports that could be easily adapted to include a person in a wheelchair, so I was either made to sit and watch quietly on my own, or sent to the library to read a book. I like to think that in the 10 years since I stopped having to do P.E. classes they’ve gotten a bit more inclusive, and have made an effort to include those with disabilities, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that wasn’t the case.

 

The thing that sticks out for me looking back on those bloody P.E. classes was that when my parents or I dared to ask why they weren’t adapted to include me, we got blank stares and platitudes. Finally, in year 9 I told my parents not to bother anymore, I couldn’t be bothered to fight that particular battle and had told myself so often that I hated sport that I didn’t care (in hindsight, that’s not true, the few times I got to go to wheelchair sports camps I had a blast!).

 

That kind of discrimination is bloody exhausting, especially since I was a self conscious teenager and the last thing you want to be seen as by your peers is “different” and the teachers make no effort to be inclusive.

 

When I got to university, I had one very memorable professor look me up and down as I walked into the lecture hall and say “excuse me miss?” and when I replied he said “are you sure you’re in the right place?” and so I reply “this is sociology 102 right?” and he says “yes, but are you sure you’re not looking for the special education unit?” WHAT. THE. FUCK? That was in roughly 2010 or so, not 30 years ago or something. I was speechless but when I gathered my wits, I walked out and went straight to the Dean of the University and lodged a complaint. Might have been overkill, still don’t regret it. He was required to apologise directly to me, and to undertake sensitivity training (I’d be willing to bet he never did it).

 

All of these examples come directly from my time at school and university, and if I had unlimited time and space, I could write pages and pages about the shitty things people have said and done, but the whole point of this is that discrimination is so disgustingly ingrained in our society that rarely is it questioned or challenged. It’s time for that to change.

Leave a message in the comments about discrimination you’ve faced or seen and let me know how you handled it.

 

Millennials VS Everyone else: Why are Millennials depressed?

Ask a baby boomer or a gen X-er about milennials and they’ll roll their eyes and lament that Millennials are whiney, lazy and unappreciative.

According to wikipedia, baby boomers were born anywhere from 1943-1960 and are therefore anywhere from the age of 57-74 years old as of 2017, Generation X were born anywhere from 1960-1970s/1980s (the demographics on that one are a bit sketchier) and Millennials are defined as being born starting anywhere from the 1980’s-Mid 1990’s, although some sources say that its anywhere from late 1980’s up until early 2000’s.

My grandparents are baby boomers, my parents are generation X and I am a millennial (sometimes known as a Generation Y).

My grandparents often lament Millennials as whiny and lazy, as well as pointing out that they’re unemployed and use mental health as an excuse to do nothing. This trend of lambasting the newest/youngest generation is not new, it goes all the way back to Socrates, who allegedly said “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

If Socrates thought that those younger than him were bad mannered, disrespectful and preferred gossip to exercise, it’s pretty obvious that the trend of the older generations bitching about the younger generation isn’t new or innovative, nor is it a direct assault on the youngest generation, moreover it is a societal trend that has been around since recorded history.

That begs the question, what does the older generation gain from insulting the younger generation? And in the case of baby boomers, gen X and millennials, how does pointing out the rise of mental health issues in Millennials add anything to society? The short answer is, it doesn’t.

When I look at my circle of friends, nearly all of them have been on anti depressants, anti anxiety or a plethora of other drugs designed to adjust brain chemistry. To me this is a great thing, because it means these people who mean the world to me went to their doctor, spoke about their struggles and got help. But when I talk to baby boomers or Gen X-ers, I hear the argument that it just means that Millennials are weak cry babies who can’t “suck it up” or “tough it out”.

This argument is fucking toxic, and it pisses me off. It makes me so angry that I can rarely formulate a good response to the “debate” that I know is coming.

I found one study that had the following results:

  • Depression Diagnoses

○ 19% of Millennials

○ 14% of Generation Xers (ages 34-47)

○ 12% of Baby Boomers (ages 48-66)

○ 11% of aged 67 and older

  • Anxiety Diagnoses

○ 12% of Millennials

○ 8% of Generation Xers

○ 7% of Baby Boomers

○ 4% of aged 67 and older

Based on these stats, it’s pretty clear that Millennials are the most diagnosed in both categories, and that the diagnosis rate drops substantially as we go further back in generations.

There are many reasons why this could be happening but I won’t actually speculate on those because I am not a statistician, or a scientist, or anything which would qualify me to speculate on the reasons why. What I will say is that the increase in diagnoses of mental health disorders in younger people is not because they’re lazy or unappreciative or weak, it is because they were brave enough to seek help, to say to those around them or their doctor “I am struggling, I am depressed/anxious/stressed and I need help”

Millennials are by far one of the most unique generations, we’re living at home with our parents longer, moving out and then coming back, unemployed at higher rates, don’t own our own home until we’re much older, or maybe not at all, because it is much harder to get into the housing market these days. All of these concerns lead to one big factor which plays a huge role in mental health concerns: STRESS.

Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers like to point out that at “their age, I had a steady job, my own home and a family!” as though Millennials are wilfully ignoring the perks of a steady job and their own home, and the fact that their own family might be quite nice (not taking into account the perfectly valid decision that kids are not on the cards for some). It is statistically proven that getting into the housing market is much harder for Millennials than it has been in the past, and frankly, in most Australian cities the rental market is no better. Add to that, that after the economic bust in 2007-2008 (now known as the Great Recession), the job market stagnated, the cost of living rose, and the housing market became even more inaccessible and it’s no wonder that Millennials are stressed, depressed and anxious in record numbers!

All of that is to say, while it is somewhat of a cultural tradition to pile onto the youngest generation as the “laziest yet” or the “whiniest yet” it’s not helpful, it’s toxic and harmful and it’s all round a dick move.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re a Millennial and to you I say: Keep doing what you’re doing, get help if you need it, and remember that just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re any less valid in society.

If you’re one of the few Baby Boomers or Gen X-ers reading this, to you I say: Please think about what you believe about Millennials and do some research, because Millennials are just doing the best they can with the world they inherited.

 

If you’re struggling with mental health concerns, please speak to your doctor, a trusted friend or call your nearest helpline.

 

 

 

Thirteen Reasons Why: I won’t be finishing the hit Netflix series…

“13 Reasons Why” is the hit new Netflix original series that has stirred up a lot of feelings on the internet. It deals with some seriously heavy subject matter, so some trigger warnings are in order: sexual assault, suicide, death, bullying.

Also, major spoiler alerts below, so if you plan to watch it, stop reading right now.

Full disclosure, I started watching this series and got halfway through episode 6, so exactly half way through the series, before I stopped watching. When I first gave up on it, I couldn’t have told you why, I just stopped; however, now I can pinpoint why: it made me uneasy, in the extreme. Now, before you say “well duh… it’s supposed to” I want to say this, I revel in TV and movies that make me feel icky and uneasy, I love horror movies, suspenseful thrillers and shows like Law and Order: SVU which constantly deals with topics of sexual assault and the like, and I have an almost disturbing fascination with true crime shows like 48 Hours which I will binge watch at midnight. This was a different kind of discomfort. This was the kind of discomfort I felt when I hear about the kind of apathy that seems all too prevalent in society these days, when the message of “bullying is bad” is so overused that it has genuinely lost all meaning and people mock that message.

To give a brief background, the story revolves around a teenage boy named Clay, who receives a set of 7 tapes recorded by Hannah, who recently committed suicide, on each tape, there are 2 sides and each side focuses on one individual who Hannah blames in some way for her suicide.

Some of the reasons are, at face value, petty; fights between friends etc, but quickly it turns darker. Hannah is the victim of bullying and rumours, stemming from the fact that she kissed a boy, who started a rumour that she performed oral sex, among other things. As this is one of the first reasons we are presented with as to why Hannah committed suicide, I was on board with the show at that point, bullying is a leading cause of teen suicide in many developed countries, however it gets murkier and darker from that point.

It strays deeper into territory that should be dealt with carefully, especially in the context of teenagers, mental health and suicide.

As the series continues, it becomes clear that Clay isn’t the first person to hear these tapes and that they are in fact, a somewhat open secret within his high school community. It is implied that the only people who have heard them are the people who have a tape recorded about them by Hannah. Those who have heard the tapes prior to Clay have not contacted the authorities, nor have they made any notable effort to reach out to Hannah’s parents to apologise for their roles in the suicide of their daughter (whether they should or not is also an entirely different issue, suicide is a personal decision, but people should not target someone to the point where the victim feels that suicide is the only way out). It is clear that Hannah’s parents are reeling from the apparently shocking suicide of their daughter, who as far as they were concerned was a normal teenage girl. Hannah left no note to her parents detailing why she chose to end her life, and her parents find that one of the most difficult aspects to comprehend, which is a very common reaction to suicide of a family member or friend.

This is one of my bigger concerns with this show: the obvious implication that if you’re struggling in any way as a teenager, the last thing you should do is confide in your parents or another trusted adult. The show glorifies the idea that teenagers should manage these thoughts without outside help and nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who is struggling with thoughts of depression or suicide should seek help.

Suicide is never a solution. There are no caveats to that statement, no “except in the case of…” nope, none of that, suicide is not a solution. Thirteen Reasons Why seems determined to portray suicide as an appropriate way to handle bullying, isolation and trauma. The entire premise of the show is revenge, wherein Hannah tells the chilling tales of what each individual did to her and thus blames them for her actions.

I’m sure most adults recall people who bullied them in high school, or if they weren’t bullied, at the very least recall something awful someone once said, and at the time they probably thought that revenge would be a great way to address the problem, but with the benefit of hindsight few adults would say that getting revenge on a bully was the way to handle it. That’s not to say that adults have all the answers, or that adults can accurately recall what bullying feels like, however the benefit of a few years distance from an event can have a massive impact on the ways we would have handled it if we had a “do-over”.

In recent weeks this show has been controversial. From the research I’ve done it is popular among teens, and not so much among adults. This could be many factors, but my suspicion is that it is because it seems so unrealistic in some ways and hyper realistic in uncomfortable ways.

The unrealistic aspects are the fare of normal Hollywood films: one of the male characters  (who is meant to be in high school) had full sleeve tattoos and wouldn’t have looked out of place in a nightclub, which is jarring when compared to the main male character who looks much closer to the age he is meant to be portraying,  coupled with the fact that for the most part the parents are absent in the extreme, and there seems to be no consequences when the teenage main characters do things that are not only unacceptable behaviour but also occasionally illegal. This lack of consequences for behaviours such as under age drinking, drugs and sex is yet another example of why this show should not be marketed towards teens.

 

In essence, I stopped watching this show because it glorified the idea of suicide as revenge and made it seem glamorous. Suicide is the least glamorous thing a person can do. It is permanent, it traumatises those left behind immeasurably, and in the case of 13 Reasons Why, if it is done in revenge, the person who takes their own life cannot see the consequences and see if the revenge has “worked”.

 

If this article has sparked any thoughts of depression, self harm or suicide, please call lifeline (in Australia) on: 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline (Australia) on: 1800 55 1800.  If you are outside of Australia please call your nearest mental health helpline.

What Feminism Means to Me

Feminism is one of those words, you know the ones I mean, the words that are sure to arouse some sort of response in the person you’re talking to, and sometimes you can’t be sure what the response will be. Some of the most open minded men I know, who I thought were feminists baulked at the idea that I had labelled them as such.

Leaving aside the issue that I had presumed to place a label on someone else and had been summarily chastised when I had been incorrect in my assumption, I find it so interesting that there are still men in 2017 who feel that being called a feminist is somehow “icky” (for real, I know a guy who told me being a feminist was “icky” and that no one respected men who identified as feminists).

A super scientific poll (that I just conducted with 3 male friends, with rigorous methods obviously…) concluded that out of the 3 men polled, precisely none of them identified as feminist, despite the fact that I had never heard them say anything remotely anti feminist; which brings up the point, if you don’t identify as a feminist does that make you an anti feminist? Is it a movement whereby you’re either with us or you’re against us? I personally don’t think so, because I know these 3 men pretty well and know that they believe in equality and that their rejection of the feminist label doesn’t come from the belief that women aren’t equal to men in all aspects. In saying that, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ever so slightly disappointed that these 3 close friends didn’t identify as feminist, but I know that projecting my own labels is a dick move (lesson learned, see above).

But I do wonder if the word “feminist” has become dirty because of the root of the word, “feminine” has always been seen as the “lesser” and will continue to be seen as such unless something huge changes. It is slowly changing though, and for the better, more men are identifying as feminists but they are still in the minority. Even my own father, who  has a daughter, a wife and mother, doesn’t see himself as a feminist, because he doesn’t see that there is more progress to be made. A lot of women’s rights issues he puts down to different religions, cultures or politics, rather than just an all pervasive culture of “feminine is lesser”.

Feminism means a lot of things to me, and hopefully through the course of this blog I will get the opportunity to discuss as many of them as possible. I hope that eventually calling myself a “feminist” won’t result in an eye roll or being called a “filthy SJW” (Being chastised for being a Social Justice Warrior is deserving of it’s very own blog post, and who knows I might get around to in the future).

Feminism to me, will hopefully mean that one day, all women will be able to walk down any street in any city in the world without fear of being harassed or catcalled. Feminism to me, will hopefully result in the closing of the wage gap, the ability for women to access reproductive health in an affordable and timely manner, for women to feel safe and free from persecution just because of their gender.

Feminism to me is the striving for equality, and it is not the MRA movement, and the cries of “not all men”.

I hope for a future where feminism is the norm, and anything but is an abberation.

 

 

Bullet Journal 101

I’m going to be that annoying blogger who jumps on a concept bandwagon way too late and write about bullet journalling.

Seeing as the Blogosphere is saturated with posts about bullet journalling at present and has been for a good while, I’ll keep my description of the concept brief: It was first created by Ryder Carroll (you can go to his website here for a more thorough and in depth explanation of the system) to put it briefly, the idea of a bullet journal at it’s simplest is to use bullet points and signifiers to denote individual tasks, appointments and events in an organised way.

The system has become incredibly popular among people from all walks of life, from stay at home mums, to small business owners, to company CEO’s, and for as many different types of people who use the system, there are dozens more variations and individualised approaches to the journal.

I started using the bullet journal system in November of 2016 when I was participating in National Novel Writing Month and wanted to keep track of how I was progressing as well as have a convenient place to put all of my notes together for the novel I was attempting to write in 1 single month.

I used the traditional system devised by Ryder Carroll, having a monthly overview in list format, then a weekly layout, and then subsequent daily layouts to closely track my progress and collate “collections” of various things, such as major plot points, characters, and settings, which strayed from the more traditional system and incorporated more of the spreads that can be found on pinterest and all over the internet frankly.

After using the system for the entire month of November ’16, I realised that the system was perfect for me. i’ve never been a well organised person, I am a continual procrastinator, but at the same time, I love to check items off a To Do list and feel that sense of accomplishment. I began to use the journal every day and started to track important things such as tasks I needed to be certain I did every day, like taking important medications, which stopped me from wondering if I had really taken that day’s medications or whether I was thinking of how I took it yesterday.

This system is so simple it’s sort of crazy, you can divide your journal up into as many subsections as you like, and you only ever set up the page you’re using that day, so you’re not stuck with a rigid format that you can’t change after the fact, if you discover something isn’t working for you.

For example, a lot of people use a weekly layout where they put all 7 days of the week in a 2 page spread in their notebook and have all of their appointments, goals, and deadlines in that spread. My life isn’t that busy and I have been keeping my blog related deadlines in OneNote so I really wasn’t feeling the need for a weekly layout and it seemed like a waste of paper, and also it was a bit depressing to see how empty my calendar is of fun stuff to do! So in order to stay motivated I have daily layouts, and often the night before, when I’m also checking off the things in my habit tracker (I’ll get to that very soon) I think about 3 things I want to achieve the next day and write them down under a heading with the day and date, and sometimes if I’m feeling decorative, I’ll include a signifier to show what the weather is supposed to be like that day, but I often keep it really simple.

Now, back to habit trackers: these have been life changing for me, and I mean that literally. I now have a very specific set of things I do on a daily basis and I am a much happier and healthier person for it.

I am not going to show photos of my own bullet journal because frankly I’m ashamed of my messy handwriting (hopefully that is improving though, I’m doing a handwriting course and will have a review of that soon!) but basically a habit tracker is exactly what it sounds like. I have a list of eleven things I do every day, and that I check off every night. At first these were things that weren’t habits and I wanted to start incorporating them into my day, but now, months later, I do them automatically and get to pat myself on the back for it! Like I said before, I love checking things off on to-do lists, it gives me this weird sense of accomplishment, so this form of positive reinforcement works for me. It also helps to remind me to do important things like take life saving medications, which is a nice little bonus. In recent times I’ve started to switch up the things I include in each month’s habit tracker, just to see how that affects my day and how I feel, and I think I’ve finally settled on a good balance of “yeah, you should do that because it’s basic human stuff” like showering, and “you did extra well today, good job you!” like working on an extra blog post or figuring out how WordPress works above and beyond how I use it now (still definitely not there all the way on that one, it’s a learning curve.)

In simple terms, a bullet journal is one of the only organisational tools that I have stuck with for longer than 3 months and I truly think I am a better, more organised, more reliable person. Plus I don’t forget dentist appointments now…

 

Have you used a bullet journal? Do you want to know more about it? Let me know in the comments down below