It’s nice to be nice

I did something a bit out of character today. I launched a touchy-feely social media campaign, despite not really being a touchy-feely person, unless I have a few glasses of Sauvignon in me.

To give you a bit more detail, I posted a black and white selfie with a tick drawn on my hand (well, a check really because… you’ll see in a sec) saying I’d “checked in” (there you have it) with three people I hadn’t spoken to for a while, and nominated a few people to do the same.

Before doing this I got in touch with my friend and Twitter’s most fervent kindness advocate, author and podcaster Giles Paley-Phillips, to ask if he’d be interested in launching the campaign together.

Of course, he was, and of course, he’s since got loads of people involved, because he radiates some sort of digital magic that’s a magnet for positivity and just people being REALLY nice to each other.

I wasn’t sure what the response would be like, but so far we’ve had a few celebs get involved and more importantly, people already telling us they’ve picked up the phone to get in touch with someone to make sure they’re okay.

In fact, our Twitter notifications have been awash in utter loveliness since. And I’m a little taken aback because honestly, this sort of thing isn’t very “me”.

Unlike Giles, I’m not what anyone would describe as a natural kindness advocate on social media. In fact “sardonic bitch” would probably be more of an apt description.

I moan. I snipe. Sometimes I get into slanging matches. I’m a sniggerer who’s more likely to repost a meme that’s funny at someone else’s expense than raise awareness of a charitable cause. I can be a bit tongue-in-cheek and I’ve been known to post the odd self-indulgent selfie.

And yes, arguably launching this campaign is a tad on the self-indulgent side, but the thing is, it really does have a point.

Because I don’t know about you, but I’ve been bloody miserable lately. I won’t bore you by pointing out all the reasons people might be feeling the mental health toll of being nine months into a global pandemic but the fact is, a lot of us are.

I’ve been feeling it. I’ve had recent moments of complete deflation and apathy, where I’ve found myself wallowing in a large, grey puddle of “what’s the point?”

I’ve had periods of not looking after myself properly and accordingly, days and weeks have melted into a depressingly monotonous vacuum, simply because I was no longer getting any sort of pleasure from the everyday stuff.

When I get like that, I can feel quite lost and detached from myself.

And it’s only now that I’m coming out of that slump that I’ve really realised that getting a text or phone call out of the blue from someone unexpected helps to remind me that I exist. That I matter, even.

Giles is one of the people who regularly checks in on me. Sometimes I don’t reply. I know it’s rude – but it’s just that I can’t bring myself to generate the mental capacity to respond to such kindness and positivity when I’m feeling so bleak. But still, it makes a difference.

That’s why I think it’s important to reach out to someone to check if they’re alright, even if you suspect you won’t get a hearty conversation out of it.

One of the people I reached out to today hasn’t replied. I haven’t spoken to them for a while, but I do know they’re going through an incredibly tough time in lockdown. Perhaps they haven’t seen my message yet, or perhaps they just don’t have it in them to reply. But that’s okay. The main thing is they know someone’s remembered them.

It’s actually quite easy to get into those sort of depressive states when you scroll and scroll through social media, as I often do. It’s all too easy to become trapped in this echo chamber of feeling shit, but feeling like it’s okay to just carry on feeling like shit because hey, look, everyone else is feeling like shit too! Of course, it’s okay to not be okay. But it’s not exactly great to just accept that that’s the way it’s going to be and give in to it.

That’s why I decided to give this kindness and positivity thing a go. And you know what, I’ve already met some lovely souls on Twitter today. Making an effort to connect to people isn’t just nice for them, it’s nice for you. It feels nice to be nice.

But away from rhapsodising about the joys of making friends online, someone else I checked in with today was my dad, who has zero online presence and probably thinks Twitter is type of biscuit. The last time I’d spoken to him was about two months ago. I would say “can you believe that?” but if you knew my dad, you would believe that, but that’s beside the point. When I made myself think about who I should check up on, he popped into my head. Our conversation ended up being a grand total of four texts, but between two Bowers that’s actually not bad going.

It’s definitely a start, because I’m going to annoy him with more regular texts from now on. Well, he’ll pretend to be annoyed – but I suspect he actually quite likes hearing from me really.

To take part in the #CheckingIn campaign, contact three people you haven’t spoken to for a while, then nominate a few others to do the same. If you’re feeling really showy about it, you can post a selfie with a tick drawn on your hand and use the hashtag. Or don’t. The main thing is you actually ask someone how they’re doing.

It’s time we took our tiredness seriously

Lindsey having a sleep
Me in my natural habitat: Passed out halfway through a box of chocolates

It’s been an outrageously long time since I last wrote something here – over a year, in fact. And ironically, one of the last posts I published was called I’m So Tired.

I say “ironically” because the reason I haven’t been updating is because I’ve been too… well, tired.

Aside from work and menial tasks, I’ve been lazy, lacking in concentration and frittering away time sitting on the sofa watching Netflix with the ever-permeating justification: “I’m exhausted and I deserve some downtime.”

And, to be fair, I’ve had a lot on. Since I last posted, I’ve become a bride-to-be, bought a house and started a podcast. And through all that, I did actually start compiling a few posts – but they ended up mummified in my drafts folder, going from waiting in the wings of my consciousness to begrudgingly getting under a cranial dust sheet and staying there.

Being tired is often the excuse we give ourselves for not starting or indeed finishing the things we’d like to do and achieve. But how often do we think seriously about our tiredness and the impact it has on our lives?

Continue reading “It’s time we took our tiredness seriously”

This is why I’m embracing getting older

Time is a slippery old thing.

One moment you’re revelling in being able to use your garden furniture for more than two weekends on the trot, the next you’re overhearing the word “Christmas” pop up in conversations like the awkward dinner party guest who turns up half an hour early, just as you’re switching your hairdryer on.

Also, you become another year older. Or I did, earlier this month. And as a result I’ve been thinking about time passing and I guess, more explicitly, ageing.

Lindsey Bowers
Aged 19: Uncomfortable in my skin, uncertain of my future (Credit John Perkins)

But here’s the thing – I’ve been thinking about it in a positive way.

Continue reading “This is why I’m embracing getting older”

I’m so tired

Today I watched a video of a 22-year-old woman being smacked in the face by a stranger after she briefly reproached him for sexually harassing her and it made me feel so exhausted.

I’m tired, guys. Really tired. And I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. It’s impossible not to when you’re a woman and you read, watch and experience sexual harassment every single day.

Last night, as I was coming back home in Paris, I walked past a man who sexually/verbally harassed me. He wasn’t the first one and I can’t accept being humiliated like that, so I replied “shut up”. He then threw an ashtray at me, before rushing back to punch me, in the middle of the street, in front of dozens of people.

– Marie Laguerre

This is a subject I’ve wanted to write about for a long time but I’ve always talked myself out of it because I feared how it might make me look. I thought people might think I’m a man-hating drama queen or that it would attract exactly the kind of unwanted attention I’m going to tell you about.

But I haven’t talked myself out of it this time. Because I no longer care. I don’t care if men tweet me explaining exactly why I’ve got it all wrong. I don’t care if you secretly think I “put myself out there” and therefore deserve criticism. I simply don’t care.

Before, I was tired of the fear of being judged but now I’m just tired.

That’s probably because it’s draining, being constantly angry.

If you follow me on social media you’ll know I don’t take crap from… well, anyone. So why do I, along with so many others, take it day in, day out in the real world?

Reading Marie’s story woke something up inside of me, something that started around the time I was a student myself and was one day cornered on the street by a man who began masturbating in front of me. I was in utter shock and ran into a nearby shop and told the staff what had happened.

Continue reading “I’m so tired”

Car Crash Culture reviews: A Quiet Place

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 11.27.47

Yesterday I went to see A Quiet Place at the cinema with slight trepidation. Not because it was an absurdly sunny day to be going to the cinema but because I’m pretty shit at watching horror films.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a scary movie. I’ve completely geeked out over many of them, from the masterpieces (The Shining), to the divisive (Paranormal Activity) to the pure unapologetic (Drag Me to Hell).

But as someone who has been known to jump ten feet in the air when the person I live with unexpectedly walks into the room, I have to be in the right frame of mind to take on a horror, otherwise I’ll end up watching the entire thing through my fingers.

So, being stuck in a cinema seat with no escape made me slightly nervous. But as it turns out, it was the best film I’ve watched on the big screen in a long time and I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

Usually when a movie finishes and the end credits roll everyone gets up, eager for fresh air or a toilet break. When A Quiet Place ended, everyone in the theatre remained seated for a while, having to compose themselves for a bit. Then all around I could hear conversations confirming my own thoughts. It was bloody fantastic.


It tells the story of a family trying to survive in a world that’s been ravaged by an alien invasion. It sounds like a pretty generic formula but what makes this film so interesting – and terrifying – is the fact the monsters are blind but have an acute sense of hearing. Therefore we see a mum, dad, teenage daughter and young boy living life as silently as possible, padding barefoot on sand-softened ground, communicating via sign language and the merest of whispers. The mute life is such a killjoy, they even have to play monopoly with soft felt pieces instead of metal dogs and handbags. Ludicrous.

And without giving too much away, there’s an absolute gut-punch of a first scene which shows exactly why they don’t want to be making any noise whatsoever. These creatures do not mess around. They hunt by sound and they hunt fast.

Continue reading “Car Crash Culture reviews: A Quiet Place”

For anyone running the London Marathon this week, especially my friend Laura

This Sunday is the London Marathon and one of my best friends Laura is running it. She’s never done a marathon before and I hope she doesn’t mind me writing this here but to put it bluntly, she’s terrified.

Here she is. One of those people that looks disgustingly beautiful even when exercising. But don’t hold that against her.

I’m writing this because I’ve been getting frequent freak-out messages from her and I get it. I ran the marathon for the first time two years ago and I know exactly how she feels. It’s a big deal. It takes over everything – your body, your mind, your work and social life – and you do wonder if you’ll survive it. Seriously, as a former PE-dodging, current day prosecco-swilling miscreant, I did think about drawing up a will halfway through training for mine.

Continue reading “For anyone running the London Marathon this week, especially my friend Laura”