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Why I feel sorry for Katie Hopkins

I am a fan of The Apprentice, I am interested in business and marketing and also like watching people doing ridiculous tasks running around London.  I adore Nick Hewer’s unimpressed face and can’t help but get drawn into the drama of it all!  The contestants tend to be pretty much the most egotistical folk ever and the quota of all the dickish management speak you can imagine is high.  It is all good, entertaining, finger pointing, you’re fired, TV fun.

Yet it spawned the most hated woman in the UK, Katie Hopkins.

For a few years, I have tried to ignore the woman, her pantomime baddy character seemed needy and pathetic.  I thought her brand of bitchy, sour faced meanness would quickly fizzle out, yet she is just getting bigger and more offensive as time goes on.

I strongly believe in kindness.  I think kindness is the key to a happy life and I don’t think we need to be hard faced bitches who slag others off to be successful, it pains me to write this post, as try as I might, I can’t help but resort to name calling as this woman is just so vile.

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I think you should ignore the trolls, and that is what Katie Hopkins is, a troll.  She is making a living out of saying the most controversial and hurtful things she can manage, she is a bitch for hire and it seems she will abuse anyone to get her name in the media. She makes money from upsetting people, which must be a bloody awful job, and this comes from a woman who literally talks shit for a living!

I have ignored her as much as possible, through her fat shaming, woman bashing and racist comments.  I have turned the other cheek when she has bullied, berated and hurt so many.  I switched off Celebrity Big Brother when I found out she was appearing on it and I ignore her twitter rants when they appear in my feed.

This week I have had to pay the deposit for my daughter’s school trip, our dryer broke and the scouts fees were due, it’s a tough month money wise and all I can think is that it must be the same in the Hopkins household.  The bank balance must be low and so Katie dips into her pot of insults, closes her eyes and then randomly points at a celebrity news story and comes up with some tweet to offend the maximum audience.

Where I grew up if you spoke so badly about those around you, you’d get a pasting! Has Hopkins never heard the saying ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing’? She seems to relish in picking apart the flaws of the rest of society whilst skipping along, ignorant of all of her own.

Her comments on overweight people are so simplistic, her ego filled rants of eat less, move more are just another slap in the face to anyone who struggles with weight due to medication, illness or disability.

Not only did she throw out some mightily offensive racially abusive stereotypes, she then turned her malice on Angelina Jolie.  Now I am sure Jolie isn’t sat in her multi million pound home, with her beautiful children and most handsome man in the world as her husband weeping about the words of a two bit troll, but Hopkins’ words really upset me.

Angelina bravely spoke out about her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed earlier this week, revealing that the mutation of her BRCA1 gene meant that she had a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.  As someone who talks about personal health issues, this struck a chord with me.  I thought she was courageous to use her position to speak out about ovarian cancer and her words about her children were really touching.  ‘I know my children will never have to say, “Mom died of ovarian cancer.”’ she said in the NY Times piece.

Talking openly about illness and treatment helps so many people.  When you have an illness, one of the worst things is feeling isolated and alone and to be able to read about other’s experiences really does help.  I know this because it helped me, and it is the reason why I keep blogging, keep writing and keep talking about IBD and invisible disabilities.  I do it knowing that I open myself up to nasty comments, to judgement and laughter, but I will keep doing it because I know I am doing good in the world.  No one should try to shame you into staying quiet, don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others.

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I suppose we could all make a lot of money from mocking others, I don’t think there is much skill in being a total bitch, just a huge lack of morals.  But at the end of the day, I know I do a good job, I help people deal with a really shitty time in their lives and I make a difference.  I am proud of what I do for a living, I wonder if Katie Hopkins can say the same thing?

It must be very sad and lonely to live your life making others miserable, I always tell my kids that those who bully and shout the loudest are usually those who are hurting the most and so I can’t imagine what pain Hopkins must be in to make a living out of vitriol and hate.  I feel sorry for the woman and hope one day she will realise that success isn’t about money, it is about happiness, love and respect.

Perhaps rather than regarding the woman with the hatred that she seems to thrive on, we should feel sorry for her.  

After all, it must be difficult to wake up every day and be Katie Hopkins.

 

Sam x

 

What a week!!

So, this week has been crazy!! After my post of the letter to the woman who tutted at me for using the disabled toilets went viral, the website has had over 2 million views and I have been in newspapers, websites, radio stations around the world and even had an appearance on BBC breakfast.

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I have been on BBC Sheffield, BBC WM, BBC 5 live, Spin 1038, Rother FM and Hallam FM.

I made it over to Australia and appeared on both The Telegraph and News.com as well as countless smaller news outlets.

Lots of Danish and Swedish websites ran the story too. Plus too many sites than I can mention have shared, reblogged and discussed the story as well as the Metro and Huffington Post.

I have been in the Sheffield Star, daily Mail and the Mirror.

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But please don’t think I’m bragging. I am just so pleased that my story, my little blog, my baby has made it into the lives of so many people.

From the start, what I wanted was to make a difference. To help those with Crohns and Colitis to not feel alone, to know there are others who feel the same, suffer in a similar way and that there are a community of people who care and want to make their lives better.

To know I’m part of that, that I’ve made people feel a little better is amazing. I am so proud.

Now, pride is a sin, (I remember this from my Catholic youth!) but I don’t care! I am proud that I have turned the worst two years of my life into something amazingly positive, something that has made a difference to people around the world!

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I have received messages from thousands of people telling me their stories. I am honoured that all these people feel they can share the personal details of their illnesses and feelings. I am reading every single comment and email and trying to reply to as many as I can.

I’m in shock to be honest, the past week has sent me from a blogger sat talking about poo in her office to the couch of the UK’s top breakfast show! I am a little overwhelmed by the attention but so blessed that this has happened.

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I just want to thank every one of you. Every single read, like and share is making a difference to millions of people. This issue is bigger than the IBD audience that I had originally planned it for. Messages from people with all manner of invisible disabilities have touch and I have learnt a LOT.

Moving forward from this viral publicity, I am more motivated than ever to make a difference. I am in talks with three different charities about how I can help to better the lives of my peers and I am so excited.

I know I come across as this confident, outspoken person who is fearless… Inside I am a 33 year old mum, I am a wife, sister, daughter, friend. I was a teenage mum and constantly worry and question myself. I have a chronic illness that will never leave me and I’m always exhausted. I worry people will judge me on my lack of further education and think I’m stupid. I’m a size 16 woman living in a world where women are judged my their size not their character.

But I’m also a writer.

I want to make a difference.

I want to change the world.

And so this past week has taken me, and all my flaws and weaknesses, and taken me one step closer to my goals.

Thank you so much. You’ll never know how much I appreciate every read, every like, every share, every comment.

You lot are awesome.

Thank you

✌️& ❤️

Sam xx

Your messages…

Thank you so much for all your comments, reads, shares, emails and messages. I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring and humbled and honoured to read your stories.

I am getting thousands of emails and comments. Some are deeply personal stories and are heart breaking.

I am trying my best to reply to as many as possible, please bear with me, if your issue is important and requires a reply and I haven’t come back to you in a week then please try again.

But please know that I am reading every one.

To be given the opportunity to have a glimpse into your lives and those of your loved ones is amazing.

Thank you so much. Please know that it means a LOT! I don’t take this responsibility lightly and I am very proud to be trusted with your words.

I’m learning a lot too, I thought I was well informed but your stories are teaching me so much and I’m sharing this knowledge with the world.

Every one of you is awesome.

You lot are so bad ass…

✌️& ❤️

Sam x

Too Ugly For Love? Why this isn't ok…

The people who brought you Katie Hopkins show My Fat Story have outdone themselves with their latest show “Too Ugly For Love?” a show about… well let me directly quote the TV channel for you.

“For most people looking for love can be daunting. But for singles with a secret physical affliction the search to find ‘the one’ can seem almost impossible.

This series follows 10 unique singletons,ordinary people living with extraordinary medical conditions, on their quest to find love. All these conditions can be kept secret during a date,and with that comes a whole world of dilemmas.  From alopecia, missing limbs and colostomy bags to medical anomalies such as hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating) and pyoderma gangrenosum (a rare form of skin ulcers), the singletons are agonising over the problems that these conditions are causing in their love lives.

How can you find love when you are hiding your true self? Where do you find the confidence to play the field? When should you reveal the truth to someone that you really like? And how will they react?

The longer you leave the truth, the harder it can be to come clean and the more dramatic the revelation. Follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”

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There are so many things wrong with this that I barely know where to start! So let’s begin with the title.

Too Ugly For Love? When I saw this yesterday and spluttered and swore profusely all over Facebook and twitter about it, a few people responded saying ‘Ahhh but see the question mark? They aren’t calling them ugly, they are just questioning it!’  Ohhhhh that’s ok then!! They are just asking whether the audience thinks these people are too ugly…

As I read the the biographies of the people on the show (all of whom I have no doubt are lovely, genuine people who I have NO beef with at all) I was just appalled.  There is a lady with alopecia, two gents with amputated limbs, two with ostomy bags (the biog of the show calls them colostomies but as we know, the media refuse to accept the existence of ileostomies and so who knows which they are!), a woman with keloid scarring, one with a disease that causes excessive sweating and a woman who was burnt badly.  As you read through that list, is there any part of you that would question their beauty based on their circumstances?

The title of the show is just to grab headlines, and I am not that surprised coming from a company who works with a woman who feeds off negative publicity like a grotesque leech, but I am so offended by it.

My blog is all about celebrating our inner awesomeness, about loving our amazing bodies whatever they look like and however poorly, wounded or damaged they have become.  It is about trying to show my audience that my scars, my ileostomy bag, my illness never defined me, I have openly written about my journey and how I learnt not only to accept the changes I went through, but to embrace and love my brave, heroic body that keeps going despite illness and surgery.

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The idea of a show that labels people with an ostomy ‘too ugly’ is just heartbreaking.  We all have that horrid little voice in our heads, you know the one that tells you that you’re too ugly, too fat, too stupid, too (insert shit feeling here)… Seeing a TV show like this just makes me feel like everyone thinks that about me too.  The idea that it is a question makes me think “Do people think I am too ugly for love??”

As someone who had an ileostomy bag and now has a lot of scarring including large keloid scars, I hit two of their categories.  A little voice inside me thought ‘Blimey, am I doubly ugly?’

And that is when the anger struck… I am a confident woman who does this for a living, I write about body confidence, self esteem and chronic illness and so I KNOW there are so many people out there who feel crap about themselves because of illness, scarring, surgery and more.  I am so furious that there will be people out there now questioning YET AGAIN (because believe me, we do it ALL THE TIME) how people judge them.

I haven’t watched the show and I won’t be.  I know some people will argue that I shouldn’t judge a show that I haven’t seen.  But really, I can’t bring myself to watch it, I know for a fact that when they were asking people to apply they didn’t say “Do you want to be on a show called Too Ugly For Love?”  It just feels like a way to point at the people different to you, it is that sympathy porn of The Undateables, making struggling people easy fodder for the masses and it doesn’t sit well with me.

This line in the TV show’s bumpf gets me straight away…

“follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”

I understand the feeling of wanting to hide your illness/disability away, but that is a negative thing.  To hide something means to be ashamed of it and not want the world to see.  Surely we should be helping others to learnt to accept the thing they want to hide, as a society shouldn’t we be saying ‘we are all different and that is a wonderful thing’ not watching people adopting strategies to hide their conditions!

And so I wanted to write about it, I have had so many messages on Facebook, twitter, instagram and email from people who are just disgusted by TLC UK.  I hope TLC will take on board the comments from people all over the UK who they have upset and offended by the title of this show.

And my message to anyone reading this who is less than perfect (that would be all of you!) is this…

We are all so different, some of us slim, some muscly, some obese, some carrying a few extra pounds.  There are those of us who have had surgeries that alter us in some way, who take medication that changes the way we look, there are those of us in wheelchairs, with ostomy bags, with scars.  Some of us have very visible diseases and illnesses and some have ones that are entirely invisible but make our heads and hearts hurt with the struggle…

Beauty is not perfection.  Ugly is not imperfection.

Our bodies are the only ones we have and they are with us for life, we need to learn to accept, love and celebrate the body we are in, no matter how poorly or broken it is.  I always think of my scars as the hieroglyphs of my journey, they don’t show weakness, they show what I battled through and that I came through the other side a lot stronger, wiser and filled with so much more empathy and kindness for others.

If you are surrounding yourself with people who question your physical appearance, or there are people in your life who believe you are ugly, it is not yourself you need to change, it is the people around you.

Nice, kind, good people won’t judge you for your difference.  Your true friends will love you for being you, your physical appearance means fuck all to the right people.

The person you want to fall in love with is out there, and they don’t care about whether your body is perfect, they care about whether your heart is true, your laughter genuine, your nature kind and your soul happy.  If you have to hide away who you really are, they aren’t the one.

We are all amazing beings and we need to learn to celebrate and love one another not point fingers and question their perfection.

If you are looking for perfection, you will have a long wait.  Every one of us has so many delicious imperfections that make us the person we are.

Fuck perfection.  Let’s celebrate the best parts of us and know that we are all a little broken.

I would LOVE to hear your opinion on all this, please leave comments.

 

Peace and Love

 

Sam x

 

 

2014 – what a year!

What a year! I started 2014 in Sydney with my sister and our families, we travelled up the coast and had an epic road trip.  It has also brought me a hernia, a house move, surgery to create my jpouch, a couple of weeks in hospital, a new life learning to live without my colon or ileostomy bag and one more hernia!

I have been on the radio a few times, done talks all over the UK, hit my 100K views on So Bad Ass (now up to 160K) and started a writing course.  I also visited my aunty and uncle in Spain and honeymooned in Lanzarote with Timm  I made a new friend who has a stoma… we made friends because we have no colons but stayed friends because we are awesome and he makes me laugh in a rather unladylike fashion and knows, like really knows…  I made new friends without stomas who I now feel like I have known forever and I hung out with so many old friends who made every tough part of my year easier and every lovely part of my year happier.

We bought a hot tub, I got a big tattoo, I met Chuck D and Flavor Flav, went on a nudist beach and my sister came over to the UK to visit with her family.

I renewed my wedding vows to the best husband in the whole world in the BEST WEDDING EVER surrounded by all my absolute favourite people and married by one of my best friends Violet.

2014 has had it’s ups and downs.  The wedding was amazing, it was just the most beautiful and perfect day and to get to marry my perfect bloke for the second time was the best thing ever and my total highlight of the year.

The surgery was tough, 10 days in hospital after a long, difficult surgery and now 7 months later I am still recovering and learning how to deal with my jpouch.  The past 18 months have been the toughest of my life.  Being so ill and having life changing surgeries have been at times almost too much to bear, there were times when I felt so low, so broken and in so much pain that I just didn’t know how I would cope.

I learnt that coping is the only option.  Every day, no matter how hard it is, you have to just keep plodding, just keep swimming, just keep going… Having fantastic people around you helps and I am lucky enough to have some of the best.  My amazing husband, family and friends make it all bearable in those dark moments and I can’t thank them enough.

This year has seen So Bad Ass turn from a small personal blog into something that is read all over the world and (hopefully) helps people.  All I ever wanted from this blog is to make a difference to other people, to use my pain and my journey to help other people with IBD, to use it to raise awareness, raise money for Crohns and Colitis UK and to help people everywhere to have better self esteem, body confidence and to love themselves.

You are all amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every read, every like, every tweet, every share, every kind word.  You are awesome!

Enjoy and I will see you in 2015!

 

xx

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Thanks again for an amazing year, if you fancy doing something wonderful please go to my Just Giving page and give whatever you can to Crohns and Colitis UK.

 

Have an amazing christmas and a brilliant New Year!

 

See you in 2015

 

Sam xxx

It's Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week

The 1st – 8th December is Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week, get involved by sharing, reading and talking.

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It’s the perfect time to #stoppoobeingtaboo (my favourite line as you may know!!) – let’s all talk poo. We all do it and noticing changes in your bowel habits can mean you need to see a doctor. If you have diarrhoea for more than a couple of weeks or notice blood or mucus in your stools, get to the GP and talk poo!

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260,000 people in the UK have Crohns or Colitis, there’s a good chance someone you know has one of these illnesses and I can tell you, living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD, the umbrella term for crohns and colitis) is hard. It’s an embarrassing, painful and at times heartbreaking condition. I talk openly on this blog about my journey but others might not find it so easy. So talk, be open, share…

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Tell me your IBD story…

You can get involved by reading IBD stories, sharing your own, sharing statuses and twitter posts that are using the #becrohnsandcolitisaware hashtag or mine which is #stoppoobeingtaboo.

For more information go to the Crohns and Colitis Website
Love Sam xxx

Are bloggers self important egotists?

This was originally a post on my old blog, I found it recently and thought it deserved another share, let me know what you think…Sam x

So bloggers, how big is your ego??

I recently went on a large local forum to advertise the Sheffield Bloggers Meet Up (an event I played with for a few months), just a small post saying that I was setting this group up and asking if anyone was interested…

The first reply made me raise my eyebrows, a poster said;

“The only problem with bloggers is that they only care about their own opinion, thats why they  think it’s important enough to blog.  So I doubt there are going to be many who wanna sit around with a coffee listening to other people’s opinions, when they only care about their own.”  

I ignored the post and a couple of weeks later posted a small update saying that the first meeting had gone well and the date of the next meet.

The moderator of the group then post a fairly offensive remark saying

“Yes; many bloggers do need advice, esp. from suitably-qualified mental health specialists.”  

Followed by another post by a different user who said

“Bloggers are just the 21st century equivalent of the pub bore ranting on and on about their personal opinion, not realised that no-one cares what they think. If I ran the internet I’d shut down all bloggers sites as they serve no useful purpose other than to remind us how many self-important egotists there are in this world!”

Blimey! I was genuinely shocked at the comments, I know blogging isn’t for everyone but I couldn’t understand the vitriol.

I pointed out that the poster who said bloggers were pub bores and egotists had over 1000 posts on the forum and questioned what the difference was between that and a pub bore.  He retorted that a forum was a discussion and a blog was a lecture.

When I said that I didn’t force anyone to read my blog and that it was a choice to read my opinion the same way it is a choice to read a newspaper, the lovely poster took the time to apparently read my blog and said;

“As you helpfully provided a link I’ve just had a brief look at your blog and it’s exactly the sort of egotistical self-importance I mean. I know it sounds harsh but all your blog says to me is “look at me, look at me, aren’t I interesting?” There’s nothing wrong with showing your holiday snaps or favourite recipes to friends but you have to be a bit of an egotist if you think complete strangers might be interested!”

So are bloggers all self important egotists?  I love writing and I blog about things that interest me, my life  and things that make me laugh.  I would blog if no one was reading it but as it happens, people seem to like to read my mutterings.  I suppose I do think I have something to say, something to share and maybe you could say you have to be a little egotistical to put yourself out there and think that others will find your blog interesting.

But you could say the same about every writer, author, journalist, mp, actor… Anyone in the public eye really.

I spoke to Violet Fenn from Sex, Death, Rock n Roll who said

If you think blogs are tedious and egotistical, then you are probably reading the wrong blogs.”   

The internet is a big place, and there is room for everyone.  If you don’t like blogs, don’t read them.  It’s really simple!

I think blogging is a really social thing, to me it is like an interactive magazine.  I write an article about something I find interesting and others can respond.  I used to buy a lot of magazines and would never write in about an article that I enjoyed, hated or felt strongly about as it just seemed like such a faff.  Now I buy a lot less magazines but I read a hell of a lot of blogs and at a click of a button I can comment, question or let the author know I loved or hated their work.

People blog for all manner of reasons, some for fun, some to keep up with family and friends around the world, some for business and marketing, some use it as a form of therapy and some to share their interest.  The point is that each one is doing something, they are writing, creating and sharing.  They are making connections both locally and internationally.

Isn’t that the amazing thing about the internet??  Today I have had people from 16 different countries around the world reading my blog, I have had tweets, emails and comments from them.  I have made connections with people I would never have had any contact with were it not for my blog.  I love that, I think its exciting.

So if that makes me an egotist, I suppose I’ll take that label.

I’d love to hear your thoughts (as this is a discussion, not a lecture!) so please let me know what you think.

 

Love Sam x

Choose happiness

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Sometimes I need to remind myself of this…

I am writing about happiness over on Life Labs for Psychologies Magazine, go take a look.

Sam x

100,000 thank yous

I’m a little teary and overwhelmed writing this post, you see a year ago I started this blog as a cathartic way of me to talk about my illness and treatment and over the last 12 months it has become more popular than I could ever dream.

Today I reached 100,000 views of So Bad Ass. I know compared to some of the big blogs that number may be small fry, but for me it is amazing. I’m blown away that my words have been read so many times. The level of support I’ve received is just unbelievable and through the thousands of emails and messages I have had from people either offering or asking for support and advice is phenomenal.

I am so proud of my little blog and i hope I have helped others and made a tiny difference to you all.

All I can say is thank you, thank you, 100,000 times thank you!

Here’s to the next 100K!! Please keep reading, sharing, commenting and getting in touch.

Love Sam xxxx

Flashing my bag since 2013…

All this bag flashing in the media right now and Ive been showing off my life saver for ages! Hahahaa….

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For more badassness follow me on FACEBOOK, follow me on TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE  or PINTEREST

Love Sam xx