In July I was invited to an event hosted by School of Life and AXA. The event was to discuss taboo subjects, the art of conversation and we were to expect frank discussions. I was given this information. Some of the questions we will explore are:
‘Do you think your best times still lie ahead – or are they behind you?’
‘What’s the one thing you regret not having told someone, and why?’
‘Would you rather outlive your partner or vice versa?’
Pretty deep questions there. It was being led by an actual philosopher Dave Waters so I simply had to go. I knew no one there (scary) but it looked to be so interesting and unmissable. One of my life mottos is “feel the fear and do it anyway”, so I went.
We spent the evening discussing the taboo. Starting with fairly light discussions about the art of conversation and small talk and importance of small talk and how it can put people at ease. Can you see what was happening here. The conversation then progressed into the taboo.
What are taboo subjects? I think about anything that is remotely uncomfortable to talk about from death to divorce to mental health to illness. To family problems to financial problems to uncomfortable obsessions. Basically anything where we feel uncomfortable talking about a subject through fear of judgement. Subjects that you can only discuss with your best mate after a glass of wine and subjects that are reserved for the deepest parts of the mind.
Taboo Subjects I write about
I was invited to this event because I break the rules and I discuss many taboo subjects. Hurrah I cry, as I have always in the past got into trouble for breaking the rules. With my blog I can do whatever I want. The corporate world was always slightly uncomfortable when my rule breaking was discovered. Mrs Mummypenny is a blog all about personal finance and lifestyle. It works because I am honest and truthful and I do discuss a few taboo subjects from my life.
Talking about money is a huge taboo particularly in our British culture. One would never dream of discussing our salaries or bonus, or how much we charge per day or how much debt we have. There are a few people I know who show off about their potential wealth, but are seen as vulgar and I doubt whether what they say is the truth!
So I discuss personal finance, I break it down into bite size chunks, explain simply how things work to encourage understanding and change. If you have a problem 1) you need to recognise you have a problem 2) understand how to fix that problem (in comes me!) and then 3) fix it. Money is a huge issue in many people’s lives and is sadly often the cause of mental health issues.
How many of us are in debt? Most of have credit cards, we have been marketed to our entire lives and convinced that credit cards are free money. Including me. Since the age of 18 I have had credit cards. When I was 16 I was working in Dorothy Perkins and I used to sell people store cards and earn £1 commission for every sale and £2 for every sale where they ticked the PPI insurance box. Note to people with Store cards from the 90’s and 00’s you may well have a PPI claim!!
I have always had credit cards from the age of 18. My debt levels have varied from £2k to £20k. In the past I have lost control of my debt and I have closely managed them. There has rarely been a time when I have had no debt. What I am saying is that that we should talk about debt and how to pay it off. We should talk about the world of savings accounts, ISA’s, pensions and investments. If we talk about it every day it encourages acceptance and understanding. And I can achieve the ultimate objective of my blog to help people create value and save some money.
I talk about death. I wrote a blog post about the death of my mum 18 months ago. My mum died 24 years ago so it took a long time to address it and get it out of my head onto a word document. Even after writing the post it took me another 14 months to face the reality and press publish. When I did I felt an incredible sense of relief. The story was out there. So many people read it and contacted me afterwards to express their love for me, and so many people saying they had been through the same.
I have since written about the death of my dad too. It’s good to write about these subjects with a positive message. There could be millions of people reading it that it might help in a time of need.
I have written about depression, fear of death, alcoholism, weight issues, gall bladder problems, digestive issues, poo, bladder weakness. Writing about these subjects that others choose not to write about is powerful. If I have had a health issue it is great to discuss mostly I have found a solution and made things better. Helping people with the same issues as me. I want to help the 50% of child bearing age women who are considered over-weight or obese. I want to help the people who sink into their winter hole of depression as the nights close in. And the women who struggle to laugh uncontrollably without doing a wee.
So I write about my ‘weaknesses’ and problems and discuss why I have them, and I come up with a solution. So hopefully you can read all about it and try the same solution and improve things yourself.
Taboo Subjects coming soon
I often have people send me ideas of subjects to write about and brands come to me as a voice not restricted by not being to write about taboo subjects. So coming soon is bladder weakness, colonic treatments, divorce, will writing, more on pensions and investments. I will be writing more about my debt story. Leave me a comment if there is a subject you want me to write about, or even if you have a story you would like to share.
What Subjects are off the record?
There are a few areas that are off limits. Subjects like my husband who doesn’t want to appear in the blog. Also anything difficult concerning my children that could be dragged back to embarrass them in the future. Wider family issues wont be discussed, its not worth the reaction. And I would never discuss things shared with me on a personal level with friends.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog and my taboo subjects. More importantly I hope you can relate and get some inspiration to make a change.