A Podcast From Yo’ Girl!

Hi everyone, I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted. Okay, several minutes but… *trails off incoherently*

As some of you may know, I am a history teacher so I thought it would be a great idea to combine my love of the subject with my wit and charm (stop smirking) and my lovely best friend to bring you a history podcast like no other.

I would be super grateful if you could do one or all of the following:

Follow and rate the pod on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/whats-the-history/id1579568962

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/73iaM6CzuHDseGqKzxfUD8?si=SqRHR_4zS1S4kwgv1MjU5w&dl_branch=1

Like our Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/whatsthehistory/

We are already charting but we would love to have you come along, grab a cup of tea or wine and laugh or cry along with us as we dive into the depths of the past!

You Are What You Post Online or Be Kind and Other Things We Didn’t Learn

We tweeted it. We captioned it on Instagram. We posed, pouted and hashtagged. Be kind. An imperative we stylised and packaged until it became another lazy cliché. But did we live it? Of course not. Because that requires work.

If you cast even a cursory glance over major news sites and social media platforms, you won’t see too much of a problem. We complain, we ridicule, we speculate, we tag and we worship cats. We argue, yes, but at the very least, we see enough differences of opinion, enough people holding others accountable, enough good for the bad to be mitigated. It’s not perfect, but it’s okay.

The problems begin when you dig deeper. My daily internet consumption revolves around Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, news sites. Rinse and repeat. I rarely deviate from this cycle, except maybe to read a Wikipedia article about sea otters or the modality versus sodality parachurch dispute. I keep my content light and I keep my viewing light.

Maybe I’ve sheltered myself a little bit. I’m not naturally a confrontational person, although I do enjoy healthy debate. But I’m busy, and so my time online is spent glancing and skimming as opposed to engaging in anything particularly meaningful. The other day, as I skimmed my Twitter feed, I saw mention of a site called Tattle Life. I was bored, so I decided to have a look. And everything I thought I knew about social media changed.

I’m not naive enough to believe toxic online spaces don’t exist. I just avoid them. But when I imagined these spaces, I imagined them being filled with people who were obviously bigoted or aggressive, who wore their prejudices with pride; people you avoided at parties or in the supermarket because they exuded such virulent energy. But browsing that absolute cesspit of negativity and vitriol, I was struck by a number of things; mainly, how normal it all seemed.

For those of you who don’t know, Tattle Life is a forum, containing several different threads each discussing topics ranging from influencers and Instagram famous bloggers to current media trends and gossip. It’s like the meanest friend of Mumsnet. A thread I read on the famous Irish influencer Suzanne Jackson had hundreds of comments, pouring in only minutes apart. The comments were among the worst examples of cyber-bullying I’ve ever seen. And yes, I’m aware that sounds very SPHE teacher of me, but consider how much we hold up that the term “cyber-bully” to scrutiny. It is seen as one of the worst things you can do online. The women posting in these forums no doubt teach their kids to #BeKind and refrain from cyber bullying. And yet… the threads were relentlessly toxic pages of comments mocking this influencer’s appearance, coming up with various nicknames for her, her parents, sisters and friends, discussing her marriage, her entire life, all in the most violently spiteful manner.

And they think it’s okay. It’s acceptable. After all, influencers choose to live their lives in the open, right? They benefit from our interest and curiosity. They can’t cherry-pick what aspects of their lives we choose to discuss, can they? It’s hard to feel sorry for them when they are so content to blag freebies and show off their opulent lifestyles. Right? So it’s okay to call them names, to laugh at them, to delight when they fail, to eviscerate them in a public forum because they wore the wrong lipstick shade, or got tipsy at a public event, injected fillers into their imperfect faces or scratched their car or whatever minor transgression they committed this week. All of a sudden, two dozen comments in, the toxicity is okay. It’s allowed. Hell, it’s even funny. And we’re all doing it. Nitpicking every aspect of someone’s life and giggling conspiratorially while sipping our Chardonnay as our children sleep peacefully above us.

Step back. Step out of it. Does a thread with 267 comments tearing a woman to shreds need another comment? You have something funny to say about her knees.. is the validation from SweetiePie2011 really worth it? This is not real life but is real life. This is an echo-chamber of spiteful, toxic women who walk among us. And they probably chat with us at school-gates, they salute us in the supermarket, they like our Instagram posts only to snipe derisively at us in WhatsApp groups with their friends. This is what we have become. A society of people who will litter our Instagram feeds with posts about love and kindness and all that zen shit but will hide behind anonymous accounts to slate anyone we deem worthy of it. It unsettled me that in the sheer avalanche of negativity and derision, there was not one person, not one person, who aimed to mitigate the nastiness. It was all so normalised.

Be Kind shouldn’t be a fad. It shouldn’t be a sound bite, a hashtag, a cute post or a bandwagon. It should be an action that permeates every single interaction we have. It is more than retweets and hitting buttons. It is something to give, to do. And even if you can’t be kind, you can try not being unkind. That shouldn’t be a challenge.


I used to sit and watch you play Battlefield 1

My legs tucked under me as I drew red lines on the essays of fifteen year old girls and nodded, knowingly, at angst and sadness that was theirs and mine

I was distracted by angry German shouting, shrapnel spitting through the air, bodies pierced and punctured by 100 year old bullets from rifles I was starting to recognise: Lee-Enfield, Carcano, Springfield

Willing you, now and then, to look at me

To see me

But you were a sniper picking off enemies from a distance. Such a distance.

And you wouldn’t die for me.

‘Did you see that?’

Yes, I saw that. I saw it all.


Someone else is playing your game.

Someone else is going over the top,

Recklessly pitching grenades at enemy troops

Maybe he is the same vulnerable, dispensable soldier

Traversing no man’s land

Negotiating the unpredictable terrain of the unknown

But he prefers the Madsen

And when he paused yesterday, briefly, to move a piece of hair away from my eye with gentle, precise fingers

I almost cried

I’m baaaaack

Hello my lovelies, remember me? Okay, probably not…but I brought biscuits, which I will now eat all by myself.

So… where do I even start? I guess my life changed so much, and in all of the chaos, I lost myself a little bit. My engagement fell apart (I’ve only mentioned it a thousand times) and I got a new job so I just felt a little overwhelmed.

It’s been two years since my relationship broke up. I have zero contact with my ex, which is probably for the best. I suffered a long of PTSD, where the months and months of gaslighting and lies kind of caught up to me and I realised I could never be friends with someone who abused me so much. It’s not like he even really cared when I cut contact. In fact, I think now it’s what he wanted all along. It’s just sad that he’s a stranger to me now but c’est la vie.

Dating was amazing in the beginning. I met so many interesting men and had some wonderful experiences. Some of them are still my friends. But it got repetitive. I found I was never really fully on the same page as most guys. It was either ‘I’m not looking for anything at all’ or ‘I want a wife and kids’. I am very much the ‘I’m not exactly looking but I’ll see how it goes’ type. I don’t rule anything out because you just don’t know, do you?

I’m seeing someone now, but I am taking it in absolute baby steps and not labelling it or even discussing it. It’s a totally non-traditional thing, because I guess the ‘normal’ way didn’t really work out for me and I have all kinds of trust and commitment issues. Luckily, I’ve met a guy who is very patient, very kind and very, very hot. I’m going to brag about that because I can. And so much fun. He makes me stupidly happy and even if it’s not the most traditional of relationships, it really really works for us. Last night, I slept completely wrapped up in him and feeling safer and happier than I have in years.

And my job… well, my job is amazing! I’m still teaching and loving it. I still live where I live with my beautiful pets. I’ve tried so many new experiences over the last two years and have really begun to understand who I actually am outside of a relationship. I genuinely have never felt so happy and fulfilled. But I want to get back to blogging. It made me genuinely very zen and I enjoyed it so much so we’ll see. I guess my commitment issues extend to this now too 🙈

So, whoever you are, I want to hear about you. Come talk to me while I finish these chocolate chip cookies.

Do We Ever Really Get Our Shiz Together?

I’ll be the grand old age of thirty two in a few weeks. Thirty two seems absolutely ancient to me, considering I had always assumed I’d be at least married with three kids, multiple generations of golden retrievers and living in a house I could ill-afford but it has a veranda and it’s mine so who gives a crap?! Well…that didn’t happen. My relationship status could be described as more complicated than quantum mechanics explained through hieroglyphics, I have zero golden (or otherwise) retrievers and the only thing I own is a pair of Nikes that I’ve already scuffed because I can’t take care of pretty things (or houseplants, FYI). I don’t save money, I just had a jar of Nutella for my supper and there’s a spider living in my shower that has taken control of my bathroom to the point that I ask his permission before I pee (his name is Sebastian and he appreciates common courtesy). Basically, I’m an overgrown woman-child who probably shouldn’t be allowed to use adult scissors without supervision. In my defense, those mother effers are SHARP.

I always assumed that I would reach a certain age in my early twenties and BAM I’d level up and know how to adult. My day would consist of a seamless routine of healthy eating, classical music, being evangelical about the deliciousness of avocados, drinking half a glass of Malbec, picking up children (presumably, my own) from activities like décolletage and ballet, and cooking a tasty yet nutritious meal (see: avocados) for my appreciative family who would then serenade me with a nighttime song before bed (my hypothetical children are indeed the Von Trapps). Instead, any semblance of routine is nonexistent. I have a job, which I adore and…well, that’s it. There are no Disney children, no spinning classes, no lunchtime tipple with Sandra whom I rotate the school run with. I get up, throw on whatever clothes I’ve decided to wash, lament the rotten avocado in my dustbin, go to work (I do adore my job), come home, work some more and basically collapse. Sometimes I’ll exercise, binge watch Queer Eye and maybe make a sandwich. I’ll WhatsApp audio my friends with the fascinating details of my day ‘my favourite stapler broke…but stand down, I fixed it.’ When it comes to anything approaching adulterific (see: Oxford English Dictionary, probably), like bills or errands, I get it done but in the most chaotic and least seamless way possible. Don’t get me wrong, I have no debt, I have no major stresses or issues when it comes to my personal or financial life, but that’s not to say it isn’t difficult. I have a pile of clothes in the corner of my room that basically looks like some kind of textile Everest. I have a press of expired cans of beans that I assumed I would need in case of some kind of zombie apocalypse. My heating has been broken since Obama was in office. There is zero organization in any part of my home. I realise I’m not alone here, but I also realise there are countless people my own age who are just more…adult. They have savings, they have health insurance, they have orthodontists for crying out loud! Do you ever look at some people your age who just seem so together and think how the hell do they do it?

For me, adulthood is the realisation that you’re entirely responsible for yourself. There’s no one else who’s going to pay those bills, or get that boiler fixed. Sure, you might have a supportive partner or even parents who are always willing to lend a hand, but when push comes to shove, it’s all you boo. And it’s tough. I mean, I know that’s all part of growing up. And it’s exciting in its own frightening way. And I’m far too old now to be complaining about what are really my own responsibilities, and simple enough ones at that. It’s just…I often wonder… will I ever have this adult thing down to a fine art?

The answer is probably NO. I think, like most people, I’ll always struggle a little. When I was a child, I viewed adults as absolutely infallible. They were, in my gullible eyes, were beyond fault. I know now what I didn’t know then: that I make mistakes every day. That I’m still scared, that I’m still foolish (at times 👀) and that I’m still learning and growing. And I think that’s a lifelong thing. There is no moment in life when everything finally comes together and you’re presented with some grand prize for finally having your sh*t together. I’m maturing everyday (though do not point out a Great Tit bird to me without expecting a bashful giggle). Most importantly of all, I’m happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and really, isn’t that what matters most of all? Well, that and cats wearing top hats. So maybe I’ll never be a boss at adulting, but doesn’t the world need people like me who can’t figure out what a tracker mortgage is? DOESN’T IT?!

So tell me, can you adult good? And if so, maybe share some tips while I try and stay inside the lines while I colour.

This Post Doesn’t Even Merit a Title

WELL HELLLOOOOO THERE! I’m shouting because I’m so excited! It’s been so long… actually, it’s been so long I’m sure most of you have forgotten me and need reminding of who I actually am. Here’s a few prompts to get your head muscles tingling:

Cats, tequila, bad dancing, puns…

Remember me now?! No? Okay, that’s fine. Expect your dead squirrel in the mail in five to six working days. Lol, I kid. (It’ll be a live squirrel and he’ll do tricks for you.)

So…I don’t even know where to start. I guess I should start with a logical rundown on my life since I last posted since I know you all care so much. *tumbleweed… wolf howl… cricket*

-I love my job very much and feel very privileged to work in such an amazing school. I’m so happy there.

-I can’t really post about my love life but it’s all good. DM me hun 😘

-One of my dogs sadly passed away. Miss you everyday, Molly.

-I got an SUV and honestly, I’m too small for it but who cares. I feel like Cher in Clueless.

-I have to move house which has made me all kinds of antsy but illbefineomgihopeso

-My friends are amazing. That’s not really news, per se, but I just felt it needed to be said. They’re my big yellow umbrella.

Wow, I actually don’t really know what else to say. I’ve been so consumed with work, there hasn’t been time for much else, except the occasional glass of Malbec and gyration to Queen. Life is funny like that; sometimes you just live it. Months have flown by, I’ve been living alone (to an extent) and it’s been great. Other than a few minor stresses, I’ve been good. Some would say zen (except for when I get stuck behind slow moving traffic and then the sewer mouth is just unstoppable).

So, come say hi to me! I miss you all. I’m officially the world’s worst blogger but at least I’m excelling at mediocrity, right? You’re welcome, mom. 💕

Tell me what’s been going on in your world while I embroider like the lady of a medieval castle twerk to Kendrick Lamar.

The Breakup

The 13th of February this year was a Tuesday. My fiancé and partner of almost fifteen years was at work. We had just that week decided on our wedding venue and had signed a contract with our wedding coordinator to secure the hotel. We were to be married in December.

That evening I went swimming with my mother. My fiancé told me that he was playing football with friends. I knew he was lying but I pretended otherwise.

I came out to the car after my swim and checked my phone. A notification told me that someone I didn’t know was attempting to contact me on Facebook Messenger.

Before I opened the message, I knew. I knew what it was. I knew I was going to be told something that would change my life forever. That five seconds before I opened the message was the longest moment of my life.

For the past year and a half, my relationship with J had been horrific. He treated me so poorly. He barely spoke to me with anything other than contempt and disdain. He didn’t touch me, kiss me, hug me. He showed no interest in me or my friends. He was cold, distant, perpetually distracted. He never looked at me. I would tell him I loved him, and his eyes would stay focused on his shoes while he’d murmur ‘you don’t need to say that to me so much.’

I felt rejected beyond belief. We were engaged, yet I felt I was forcing him into a marriage he clearly didn’t want. I tried to give him space. I tried to talk to him. I cried almost every day. I had nightmares. My friends and family were concerned. I took leave from work and started a course of anti-anxiety medications. I was broken.

And yet, I didn’t leave. I don’t know why. I guess the relationship was all I had ever known. I had never been single, never known myself to exist as an adult outside of the relationship. I was frightened. I figured I’d be alone forever if I didn’t marry him. I thought we had so much in common that I’d never find the same kind of relationship with anyone. I pushed away all the negative thoughts.

I knew he was cheating on me. He alternated between being distant and cold and then guilty and loving. He was insanely possessive over his phone. He ignored me on social media. He hid me from people like he was ashamed of me.

He was a mess. I was a mess.

The human mind is an odd thing. My friends would describe me as strong, as a ‘take no bull-shit from anyone’ kind of girl. But I let this go on. I lay in bed at night beside a man I knew was being unfaithful. I didn’t have the strength to deal with it.

I did confront him. Of course I did. Many, many times. I sent him emails, I wrote him letters, I tried to sit down and talk to him calmly.

I know you’re being unfaithful. I know. Can you please have the decency to tell me yourself and not let me find out in some horrific manner that devastates me?

You’re being paranoid. God, you have so many trust issues. How is this ever going to work if you don’t trust me?!

I only learned the definition of gas-lighting this year. Basically, it refers to someone manipulating you and causing you to completely question your entire reality. Although I knew he was cheating, I still questioned myself.

Am I paranoid?

Is it my anxiety?

Am I pushing him away?

And in all of this, we were planning a wedding. It’s not one of my finer moments in life, but at least I’ve gotten out before I committed to what I can only call a pathological liar. He sat with me in the hotel we were to be married in, knowing he’d been betraying me for over a year, and signed a contract holding the venue. He sat among my friends, my family, knowing that he was hurting someone they loved in the most horrible way.

That Tuesday night, I took a deep breath before I opened the message. I knew what the message was. But I wasn’t prepared for how hurtful it would be. The woman described every painful detail of the year long affair she’d been having with my fiancé. The boy I had loved since I was fifteen years old. The only man I’d ever slept with. The person who knew me better than anybody, who saw me at my worst, at my most vulnerable. I thought he was my soulmate. My best friend.

Her message, looking back on it, was the ramblings of a woman who consumed by bitterness and resentment and completely self-centered. There was no apology. There was no acceptance of her part in all of this. She knew he was in a relationship. She blamed him and him alone. It was awful on her, she wrote. She’d been very stressed and upset by it all. There was no acknowledgement of my pain or the betrayal done to me by both of them. It was an entirely selfish message. She was twisting the knife in the cruelest of ways. He had broken it off with her that week and decided that he did, in fact, want to marry me.

Lucky fucking me, right?!

Obviously, I’m glad she told me. I’m glad she provided me with all the painful details of their relationship. It allowed me to see him for the person he really was: a liar. The worst kind of liar. And god, was he manipulative. He made me question my own sanity. I thought that there was a good chance I was actually suffering from paranoid delusions. I lay awake almost every night wondering if I was, in fact, insane.

I had a lot of questions: Where? When?


I thought we were happy. Only a few months before the affair begun, we were living hundreds of miles apart and he was pledging his undying love for me. I didn’t understand it. Weren’t we best friends? Hadn’t it always been us against the world?

Confronting him didn’t help. He was weirdly calm. He told me that he didn’t love her, never had. She wasn’t even that attractive. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He loved me, of course. He wanted to marry me.

He was deluded. He believed that now that I knew, we could move on together and build a marriage. I sat in disbelief. He seemed to think we would be okay now. That we could move on from this.

To put it into context: I had always been the biggest emotional support in his life. I cheered him on when no one else would. I gave everything of myself to him. I ruthlessly defended him to friends and family who told me he wasn’t good enough. I supported him financially when he had nothing. I was a damn good girlfriend and amazing friend to him.

And he pursued an affair with someone else. Only a few months after my aunt died from cancer. While living in her house, I might add. While having the affair, he sat with me in my doctor’s office while I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.

I had many, many questions:

Why didn’t you just leave me?

Did you laugh with her like you did with me? Did ye have private jokes?

Did you love her?

Why did you not just admit it when I gave you so many chances?

Did you ever feel guilty?

When did you actively decide to do this?

And most of all…why?!

I struggled to understand the why. I still do. Without sounding horribly shallow, the woman was not extremely attractive. She was older. A writer would describe her as homely. So maybe they had a deep, emotional connection? Well, no, that didn’t appear to be the case either. I think I would have found it easier to comprehend if it made sense. But it didn’t. I kept trying to rationalize it in a petty, immature way: I’m prettier than her, I’m smarter. I’m more accomplished, more successful. Why wasn’t that enough?

It doesn’t matter. None of that matters. If Beyoncé gets cheated on, anyone can get cheated on.

And that became my mantra:

It is not, and never was, me.

It’s him.

He tried to reassure me that he didn’t love her; that I was the one he wanted. But I was done. The betrayal was too much. I didn’t know who this person was. He was a virtual stranger to me. I remember sitting across from him and thinking ‘who the hell are you? Who is this person I’ve lived with for thirteen years?’

The final nail in the coffin came when the other woman told me that he had taken her out for dinner the previous week. It wasn’t the thoughts of them having sex, or even sitting in our car together, or kissing that killed me. It was the fact that he hadn’t brought me to dinner in years. I imagined them, laughing together, sitting in some intimate restaurant completely unaware of the pain they were inflicting on me. It was a pain like nothing I’ve ever felt.

I told him to leave the next day. A bizarre clarity came over me. I was rid of him finally. I realised in that moment something that really set me free: I didn’t love him anymore. I had loved someone else entirely. Someone I perceived as honest, dependable, trustworthy. Someone who would never hurt me. Someone who would always love me and realise how lucky he was to have such a loyal and loving girlfriend. He was not that guy. Did I want the master manipulator and liar? Um, no thanks.

Bizarrely, I found the breakup easy. I mean this when I say it: I have never been happier. I know a lot of people might think I’m being conceited. That I’m saying this to exact some kind of petty revenge, like ‘look how great I’m doing, la la la’. But that’s not the case.

My friends and I have become so much closer. My best friend’s relationship ended only two months after mine. I’ve spent so much more time surrounding myself with friends and family. I’ve widened my circle considerably. My house is rarely empty. I’ve reconnected with old friends. I’ve dated. I’ve met amazing men; men who have treated me well and who remain my friends. I’ve even had one or two short term relationships. I’m not ready for anything more just yet because I’m enjoying myself too much. But I’ve met guys who are successful, funny, smart, who quote random TV shows just like me, who make me feel sexy and special all at once. They give me what I never got from him: Time. Attention. Affection.

And I’m getting ready to properly date now. I feel like I might finally be able to commit myself to something more. I guess time will tell.

I’ve become a better person throughout all of this. I lost stones of weight. I went back blond. I got an amazing job. I feel great. I go places I never would have went before. I’m out of a horrible rut that I was stuck in for years.

And despite what he put me through, I hope my ex is happy. I really don’t wish him any ill-will. Even when people around me verbally bash him, I still find myself defending him. Old habits, and all that. He was a silly person in ways, ignorant, selfish, deceitful. But he’s not a bad person. Genuinely. I know, under it all, there was a time when he loved me. A time when we were happy. And we had fun. To this day, I still see things that I know would make him laugh. I see things that remind me of him constantly. I have fond memories of our time together but unfortunately, they’ve been tainted by his betrayal. Honestly though, whatever he does in life, and wherever he goes, I hope he’s happy. And I hope to god he never does this to another person again. Maybe someday we might even be friends.

I acknowledge that we got involved too young. We fell in love quickly and absolutely. But the fire burned out long ago and I guess we just kept hoping it would reignite again some day. We should have parted ways, but we didn’t. That’s why I would advise anyone having sincere doubts about their relationship to really, really consider whether it adds value to your life or makes you happy. Mine didn’t. And if I didn’t receive that message on that random Tuesday night, I’d probably be getting married.

To anyone who has been betrayed, or hurt like me, I’ll say this:

It’s okay. Pain is inevitable in life. But choose to see it as something cleansing, something that indicates the end of something bad. Learn from it. Let it teach you so that you can avoid its cause again. And love yourself; you really should be your own best friend.

If you read this far, thank you! I needed to get all of this out. It’s been hugely therapeutic. Whoever you are, I hope you’re having a wonderful day.