THE HUMP MONTH

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Welcome to July.

The season of sunshine, school holidays, Wimbledon, Pimms and badly dressed Brits.

But most importantly? We have reached the midway point of the year.

Yes, people, we are six months deep into 2016 and normally, at this time of year, when the days are longer, the sun has (sort of) come out to play and holiday season is fast approaching, I would reflect on the new year’s resolutions I made in a post-Christmas haze of bubbles, glitter, balls dropping and Big Ben chiming and give them a quick jump start before we head into the second half of the show.

But this year feels different. The UK is in such a state of disarray and unrest that I feel more deflated than ever before and as though I’m still slogging through the mud at Worthy Farm, in the rain, without a coat, even though I arrived back to concrete and home comforts five days ago.

But why?

Because I live in a blue country where the two viable options for our future prime minister have been, at one point or another, Boris fucking Johnson or Michael ‘Spawn of Satan’ Gove and this scares me. I find myself living in a country where the only political party who supports the working people is crumbling before my very eyes. I live in a UK that is becoming less tolerant and, in small pockets, more racist and in the city that I know and love so well, we are still berating women for feeding their children in public, while football fans watch on, tops off, in beer gardens. I am living in a world where innocent people are being killed, while gun laws are still being not only upheld, but justified, by men and where ruining someone’s life by raping them is rewarded with a six month prison sentence. As bombs going off around the globe fails to shock me anymore, I find myself starting to wonder: where did it all go wrong?

At 27, I guess I am young, yes, and I have been told on numerous occasions that I am ‘too idealistic’ or that I ‘just don’t get it’, but the fact is, I actually do. I know fine well that we are in dire straits and that ‘our’ decision to leave the European Union is a bad one. I know that for good to happen, we have to pull together. I know, from history, that change is possible, it just takes time and effort, of which I am more than willing to put in. And, even though at times it might seem impossible or exhausting to do so, I refuse to change who I am, what I believe and I will continue to march on with an open mind and a liberal, loving heart, in spite of these strange and confusing times.

So, this July, instead of looking backwards to see whether I have achieved what I set out to at the start of the year, I want everyone to join me in looking forward with one goal: to provide light – in any capacity you can think of – in these dark times so that we can begin to sort this mess out. If this comes in the form of a peaceful protest, then raise that banner high. If you can and wish to provide aid to our fellow humans in Calais, then I will donate to your cause. Hug more, talk more and never give up hope for a brighter future because, if we don’t, then who else will?

I feel as though we, as a nation, have reached rock bottom and you know what they say happens when you get there, don’t you?

Stay hopeful, young ones. We’ve got this.

The only way is up.

THE COLLEAGUE

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People often talk about how important their friends are.

We so frequently recall fond memories of those we have known since university or school and we praise our families for being wonderful- and don’t get me wrong, these people are the people I turn to first. I do feel, however, that we need to give our work colleagues a little more credit for the crucial part that they play in our everyday lives.

Hear me out.

I get that your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover has to endure a run down of the last eight hours at the end of a long, hard day. I know that your girlfriends are the ones nursing your broken heart when things don’t quite work out as planned. Your mum and dad will no doubt be the ones to get you through a really rough patch, it was your grandparent’s job to spoil you rotten and your brother or sister are there to let you know that you’ve put on a bit of weight when no one else will. But the people you work with? They’re the ones who see you everyday, come rain or shine. On a good side of the bed day or on a bad side of the bed day. There’s no respite for those you share a desk with and they have to look at your face for at least six hours a day, whether they (or you) like it or not and this is why I feel it’s high time we celebrate these people we find ourselves spending most of our time with.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that a good work colleague is hard to come by. In fact, starting a new job is a bit like an arranged marriage: you just don’t know what you’re going to get, but what I can say, with some certainty, is that knowing that I can have snippets of great conversation and a laugh at some point between the hours of 9am and 5pm is what makes me stop hitting snooze on my alarm each day. Aside from loving what I do, of course.

More to the point though, post-education, where else do you get the chance to meet and make life-long friends anymore? As a twenty-something, you can’t just approach people in bars and ask them to hang out with you as a mate. Nor do apps intended for this purpose ever really work. Friendship groups are set in stone by 27 and work is the only place you get to meet anyone new. Yet another reason why work colleagues are the bomb.

This positive outlook on desk mates, however, isn’t always agreed upon. In fact, I’ve heard tales-a-plenty about torturous co-workers in the last few days and I recently listened to a podcast by The Pool where someone had written in to ask for advice on how to handle their god-awful neighbouring teammate who chewed really loudly at their desk and sighed a lot. First of all: really dude? personal space, please. Secondly, it made me realise how lucky I have been. Although I’ve had some awkward romantic encounters and have faced both healthy disagreements and a couple of disappointments throughout my working life, I have always managed to find people I click with within my team, company or school and it is those humans who I would like to celebrate today. The ones who put up with my incessant need to talk things through, the ones who help curb my habit of writing endless lists and those who spend hours after work chatting, just because.

So, colleagues of the world: although we might have to make small talk with one another on impromptu tube rides home, spend lunch times working next to each other instead of eating across from one another and we may get a little inappropriate at after work drinks, you are what makes the 9-5 bearable, so let’s be grateful for that.

Tomorrow, take the time to offer a colleague a cup of tea or fetch them a diet coke from the shop. If you have a bit of spare time, offer them a helping hand with something they’re working on, or just get blind drunk on prosecco after hours for no reason at all.

You never know, once you get to talking to people, you might go from being colleagues to life-long friends.

Lord knows, stranger things have happened.

#LOVEISLOVE

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Every now and again, we get a little reminder that not all human beings are on the same proverbial page as us.

Unfortunately, these reminders come in the form of death, destruction and heartache.

I mean, at what point are these people going to realise that if we all hated each other a little less and instead respected one another’s values, lifestyle choices and beliefs a little more, this world that we live in could be an even more beautiful place than it already is? A place of tolerance and peace? A place where it is okay to be gay? Because right now, we are destroying it.

As always however, in the face of pure evil, I would like to encourage you to focus on the good. I, for one, am so proud to be alive at a time where the majority of human beings disagree with this one, rogue gunman. I am so grateful to live in a country where it is okay to publicly pull together in support of the LGBT community. And I am relieved that, in 2016, many of us understand that love is simply love, regardless of age, gender or race. Just take a look at London last night, for example. I couldn’t be more proud of my city for standing up to this act of terror in such a peaceful way.

Please continue to spread messages of love and support to those families around the globe who are suffering today and every day. If we can all pull together as a human race, we are one step closer to defeating ‘them’.

Stay safe.