So I’m Not a Mom

Being a childless woman in your thirties isn’t always easy. I mean sure, I can sleep through the night, drink tequila on a Thursday and decide without any planning to go line dancing or ice-skating, if those were things I wanted to do. But there are downsides to my childlessness: namely, the presumptuous comments of some (of course, not all) mothers I speak to. Because I’m not one of them, I must have a wonderful life. I have such freedom, after all. I must have boundless energy. If I say I went out to the pub for a drink with friends, I’m met with ‘imagine being able to do that’. If I say that I feel a little tired because I’ve had so much overtime, I get ‘just wait till you have kids.’

I would actually love to be a mother. I have a wonderful partner and I think we’d make pretty great parents. But it’s not something that I could actively plan to do right now. I’m not financially stable enough or secure enough just yet. I’m also struggling with anxiety and I would ideally like to be in a more tranquil place before I have a child. I want my child to be comfortable and happy. I know that I would love him or her with all of my heart and that’s why I want to be ready in every way before I choose to be a parent. When I see a baby, cooing and gurgling, I melt. I always feel just the smallest pangs of regret that I can’t responsibly have a child right now. And that’s why those intimations that I somehow have this amazingly irresponsible and self-centered life hurt. They bloody hurt.

Then there’s the women who are my age who simply don’t want to have children. And that’s totally fucking fine. Not every woman has to be a mother. Not ever woman wants to be a mother. That doesn’t make her selfish or vain or proud. And what about the women who can’t have children? I can’t imagine how much senseless comments like the ones I hear on at least a weekly basis must hurt them.

Women who don’t have children are still loving, caring and compassionate. We’re not any more or any less selfish than anyone else. We have as much empathy as the next person. I remember telling someone once that I was anti-capital punishment and their response was ‘you’d think differently if you had kids’ as if I’m somehow incapable at arriving at a reasonable conclusion on the matter because I’m lacking some kind of empathy or sense of outrage that is unique to parents. Lately, I told some colleagues that I was re-reading the novel Room by Emma Donoghue. The plot is admittedly disturbing and the subject matter is dark and distressing. But it is also a well-written novel, about issues (kidnapping, rape) that occur whether we want to think about them or not. My colleagues (whom I really like, respect and get along well with) told me that they couldn’t even bring themselves to read the book. Fair enough, I thought. It is a tough read and not for everyone. But then the conversation turned into six mothers versus me. They told me that because they’re mothers, the thought of reading such a novel is particularly disturbing. I agree; it would be very difficult and you would naturally think of your own children in such a situation and that would be enough to cause you to avoid such narratives. But they didn’t stop there. I was met with comments like ‘you’ll understand when you have kids’ (which I probably just should get tattooed on my forehead) and ‘ god imagine being able to read books like that!’ I was made to feel as if I was some sadistic, voyeuristic sociopath who thrives on the suffering of fictional children. I just choose not to shield myself from difficult realities in life. Paintings by renaissance or impressionist artists can be disturbing and convey great suffering but they can still be beautiful. The same goes for literature and for movies. Appreciating them doesn’t make me some kind of psychopath.

And just because I don’t have children does not make me immune to outrage, shock, pain, compassion or disgust.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m having a go at mothers or motherhood. Most mothers I know (my friends and my sister and sister-in-law, for example) serve as great inspirations to me. They’re exactly what I aspire to be if and when I decide to have kids. Even the mothers that do pass thoughtless comments don’t do it out of malice or spite, I know that. Mothers can be wonderful, resilient, kind, beautiful, brave people. Non-mothers can be just as wonderful, just as resilient, just as kind, beautiful and brave.

We are all women, different and the same, and we need to support each other and each other’s choices.

Advertisements

I’m the Worst Sick Person

I currently have some kind of head cold/chest infection thing that is making me feel like my head is stuffed with nails and or golf balls. It sucks. But I’m also just a terrible, terrible patient. I get the sniffles? Well, it must be Ebola. I get a muscle pain? Well, it must be some degenerative condition that will render me limbless in six months. Right now, I’m lying on my sofa wailing intermittently while surrounded by tissues and cats.*

I have always been a bad sick person. I mean, you’re not really sick unless you mention it at least thirty times a day, amirite? And you can hardly be expected to help yourself, so it’s essential that someone waits on you hand and foot, serving you hot whiskey and toast while you watch re-runs of Project Runway. Fluid intake is key to a swift recovery. And I’m sure my loved ones wouldn’t want me to die right? RIGHT?

So, tell me about your weekend? *twirls hair* What ya up to? I’ll listen while crying into my whiskey.

*Well, two cats. But they’re on either side of me, so….

How to Beat the Christmas Blues

Merry Christmas my deers (heh heh). Although it seems that everyone is just a little bit merrier at this time of year, some people struggle more than normal during the festive season. If you are prone to depression or anxiety, Christmas can be a really challenging and difficult time. Here are some tips to help you beat those festive blues:

1. Be sociable

It’s so easy to hide away in this cold and dark weather. Staying inside and shutting yourself off from the world, however, can be damaging in the long term. Meeting friends and family for a meal or even a coffee will automatically make you feel better and you’ll feel good for leaving your house, if even for an hour. Aim to stick to coffee or tea instead of alcohol, which is a depressant and will ultimately make you feel quite down. Hot chocolate is always delicious 😋

2. Make your ‘alone time’ productive

It’s important to strike a balance between socializing and relaxing alone. Time by yourself is necessary and healthy. For some people, however, it can be destructive and lonely. To combat negative feelings, go for a walk somewhere quiet and pretty (this time of year is so beautiful!). Alternatively, you could colour, draw, listen to music, meditate…whatever brings you peace. Don’t let those negative thoughts overwhelm you. If you’re busy, they can’t!

3. Don’t over-indulge

I know. I know. Christmas is all about going BIG. The problem is, however, for people with anxiety, over-indulging in food and alcohol and spending too money is a huge cause of stress. You should absolutely enjoy yourself but remember: moderation is key. Your belly and your bank balance will thank you for it in January!

4. Open up

Some people feel that they can’t express their negative or depressive feelings during the festive period because they’ll be a perceived as a burden or a ‘buzz-kill.’ The truth is, your mental health is important to those that love you and opening up to them shows them that you love and trust them. Bottling up negative thoughts is not helpful to anyone. Sharing your feelings is unbelievably helpful and therapeutic.

5. Find peace in the chaos

Christmas is an insanely busy and manic time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and over-stimulated by this. Remember to take the time to unwind and switch off. Sitting in a quiet room alone for ten minutes in total silence is a wonderful way of relaxing and de-stressing. Listening to Christmas carols is one of my favourite ways to unwind. Just listen to how peaceful this is:

Carols from Kings

6. Be kind and spread the love

This time of year can become ridiculously consumerist and materialistic. It’s a lovely feeling to just be kind and thoughtful and it costs nothing! When you are kind to others, it is a wonderful and rewarding feeling that just can’t be bought. Helping out a family member, volunteering for a charity or cooking someone dinner are just some of the kind deeds you can do. The feeling of being the cause of someone’s happiness is really uplifting. You will find when you are kind, you will receive kindness in return.

There you have it guys! I hope this was helpful to some of you and I hope everybody has a peaceful Christmas 🎄

This is the worst post I’ve ever ‘written’

So hello there friends! How have you all been? I’m good! I’m getting super excited for Christmas and also not knitting. I said *not* knitting, so nothing new there. I may have just invented a new tongue twister.

Aaaanyway, I just wanted to stop by to say hello and to spread some positivity and love. I feel like Julie Andrews on Prozac because I just freakin love this time of year. Everybody “it’s the most wonderful time of the yeaaarrr” and I’m gonna stop now because I don’t quite know the lyrics so I’ll just hum instead…

So what’s new with me?

Well, I’m still working. I just got drunk at my staff party but that’s okay because it’s basically expected of me at this stage. I am busy trying to plan my wedding (I say my, because I may as well be marrying myself), I’m buying things I can’t afford, I’m learning French and I just ate two packets of crisps and I hate myself. Standard really.

What about you?? How you doin’? Wait, that sounded a little pervy. How are you? *tilts head to the side* did that sound more sincere?

Remember, you’re only as old as your bra size… and hey, if that’s like 40 FF, at least you have big boobs, right? RIGHT?

I wish I were as Brave…

2016 was the year of celebrity deaths. 2017 seems to be the year where our formally favourite celebrities have become dead to us. Numerous allegations of sexual misconduct (to say the least) have dominated headlines over the past few weeks and I have found myself devastated, shocked and furious all at once. From discussing the allegations with several people and watching as it has all unfolded on social media, I have become aware of the various reactions people have had. Most people are obviously angry and disgusted. Many people have pointed out the danger and injustice of trial by media (fair enough). Many have condemned those who have admitted to prior awareness of the abuse and chose to stay silent.

There are some, however, that seem intent on defending the perpetrators, on blaming the victims and on undermining and delegitimizing the sexual abuse. I have heard people say ‘this is only coming out now because everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.’ I suppose there is a kernel of truth to this. One victim coming forward has indeed paved the way for others to follow. Of course people feel safer and more reassured in numbers. Obviously, if someone comes forward and makes an allegation that is false, this is a huge problem. It is potentially career and life-ruining. But what about the allegations that are actually true? What about those victims who were genuinely harassed or assaulted? It’s going to prove difficult for them to prove their allegations. In the case of some celebrities, like Weinstein and Spacey, there has been no denial. They have admitted to their misconduct (although I feel that term somewhat undermines their abhorrent actions). But what about the allegations that have been made against celebrities like Ed Westwick? The ones that have been categorically denied but have come from multiple people? I guess we might never really know the truth. All I can say is that these things are often very difficult to prove. Maybe Ed Westwick is completely innocent; maybe he is a rapist. But don’t allow the amount of allegations that have been made undermine the ones that are true. The victims deserve to be heard; no matter how many of them there are. We must listen. This should not be a fad or a trend. These are lives. Lives that could have been destroyed by arrogant, powerful people.

This is a topic that it close to my heart because I have my own experience. I am not yet ready to talk about it. I am afraid, I admit it. I feel fear because I think I will be judged, condemned and maybe even blamed. I never really opened up to anyone about it, and the select few I did open up to reacted in the way I had feared they would. I put myself in a dangerous situation, I admit that, but I certainly didn’t consent to what happened after. It was by far the most frightening and humiliating experience of my life and I was frozen by fear and disgust. I didn’t react because I was terrified, ashamed and sickened. I am only ready to even admit this happened seven years later. I can’t bring myself to fully talk about it because it makes me feel disgusting and ashamed even though I know I did nothing wrong. But I do know that my story would be difficult to prove now. I have accepted that and I have to make my peace with it.

I understand these men and women. I understand why they only feel ready to come forward now and why they feel safe to do so when others are doing the same. I understand the anger, the pain, the doubt, the fear. All of it. I admire them because they are stronger people than I am.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment is not just a fad. It’s not just confined to Hollywood hotel rooms. It’s not something that can be simplified by sound bites and tweets. It happens to many people every day. No matter where or when, it is never, EVER, the victims’ fault.

I hope you guys don’t perceive me as weak because I’ve only barely touched on my own experience here. I know that if I opened up, it might help others to come forward. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid, that I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I do. And it’s not something I can wash off in the shower. It’s with me all the time; clawing away under my skin.

So please appreciate the courage of those that have come forward. I know I do.

My Fab Four 

Well hello there friends! I am just back from a fabulous break with my best friend and I feel equal parts exhausted and exhilarated. We ate, we laughed and of course, we drank. A little. Ahem. 

My eyes say ‘hello there sailor’ but my lips say ‘I was a little drunk when I did my makeup’

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been practicing acknowledging all the things I’m grateful for each evening and it really helps to remind me that I am lucky for a number of reasons. Today, I’m going to acknowledge four people who I feel very lucky to know. These gals bring me happiness and I am so grateful to have them in my life. So without further ado, here are four of my most lovely friends:

*I’m going to refer to them by their initials 

FB 

I have known F since we were both little girls knocking the shite out of each other. I don’t even know to put into words how much this girl means to me. We are both unashamedly weird, hyper and Simpsons-obsessed. We can make each other laugh by just looking at each other. She didn’t have the easiest of childhoods but she has never let this define her or obstruct her in any way. She approaches everything with positivity and enthusiasm. Her company makes me a better person and my life is made easier by having her along this journey with me. 

ROS 

I’ve also known R since I was a little girl. I have always looked at her like another sister. When I was a timid, shy child, she brought out the best in me. She was always there, championing me to be a stronger, confident person. She is wonderfully mischievous and even to this day, she brings out my inner messer. We have always been so bold in each other’s company. We couldn’t sit next to each other in primary school because we were just too naughty and we probably only graduated secondary school because we went to different ones. R is one of the best friends a girl could have in her life. She is always there for me. She doesn’t know how much her dedication to our friendship means to me. She helps me and guides me in so many ways. She is inspiring and wonderful and I adore her more than I can ever express. 

CQC 

C is a friend of F’s (try and keep up haha) that I met about eight (?) years ago. We are similar in many ways and I bonded with her instantly. She is intelligent, funny and kind. I really enjoy her company and we have the most interesting and random chats. She is the kind of person everyone needs in their life! I feel really lucky to have met her and I always look forward to seeing her. She is currently expecting a child and I couldn’t be more excited for her. She’s going to be an amazing mother. I haven’t seen her in a while and really miss her. Note to self: Next time you see her, smell her hair. 

KL 

I met K in primary school. Since then, we have been a big part of each other’s lives. She is such a strong, wonderful person and I admire so many things about her. Whenever we meet up, we’re like two kids again,  giggling and gossiping. She is just the best company. I love going out on night’s with her; she is the best fun. 

She became a mother this year and I swear her son is the most adorable baby everrrr. I am in awe of her strength and her resilience through difficult situations. I feel so lucky to know her and still be her friends after all these years and I know we have many wonderful years of friendship ahead of us. 

So there you have it, four women who inspire me and bless me with their friendship. Who do you feel grateful to know? 

So what’s new with you? 

Happy Hallowe’en my dears 🎃👻 I am finding it insanely difficult to type because of these… 

so if I make some typos you guys will know why…. worth it though.

I’m officially on midterm break, woo! I have Gatsby lying next to me..


and I have the worst head cold ever. Typical, isn’t it? I get a few days off work and I’m sick. Ugh. 

But it’s fine. I mean it could be worse… probably. I’ll be heading to a super fancy hotel at the weekend and drinking my weight in prosecco so keep an eye on my twitter and instagram if cyber-stalking me feels like a thing you’d like to do. I mean, I do it to you. 

Okay guys, it’s legitimately taken 45 minutes for me to write this much so I’m going to stop now and cry for a while. Tell me about your life, your day, your lunch, whatevs. 

Advice on a Sunday Night 

Why, hello there. Fancy meeting you here. 

Here in Ireland, it’s Sunday night which means that the majority of us are doing two things: 

  • Sobbing over a takeaway while watching trash TV 
  • Freaking out over the coming week 

For a long time, that was exactly what I would have been doing (give or take a bottle of wine and a unicorn onesie). I absolutely dreaded Mondays. I would go so far as to say that Sunday nights were filled with intense anxiety and utter fear. 

To deal with this, I really worked on identifying why I was so anxious. I also worked on identifying things in my life that I am lucky for and that I have regardless of what day of the week it is. 

If you dread Mondays and the week ahead to an extent that you feel fearful or panicked, you must ask yourself whether you are in the right job or career for you. Many of us find ourselves in jobs that we really grow to dislike. There really is nothing worse. I was in a job for over two years that I absolutely loathed. I felt I couldn’t leave it because I had moved far away to take it, it paid well and it was in my chosen career. But it made me miserable. I cried constantly, I had perpetual knots in my stomach and I was depressed beyond belief. It was a difficult decision to leave, but I did. I ended up finding a job that I adore and I feel so lucky to be able to get up every Monday morning. There was a time when I wasn’t able to, so I appreciate it more than I can express.

Some people live for the weekend (I do love my weekends!). The problem is that we often put too much stock in our weekends, to the point that we often wish away the days of the week; days where we often accomplish amazing things (in my case, beating my high score in Candy Crush. WIN-NING). I often think, when we are on our death beds or maybe someday ruefully looking back on the days we wasted, we would take any idle Thursday or Monday and live it again. All the days of our lives are a wonderful gift that we shouldn’t wish away. We will only live tomorrow’s Monday once. If you are getting up to go to work, or indeed getting up at all, you are lucky. I know, I know, try telling me that at 6 am in the freezing cold, right? But trust me, you will look back on the days that now appear mundane and pointless and you will appreciate their value. And anyway, those weekends when you relax and unwind feel so much better when you feel that you’ve truly earned them. 

So go out and kick Monday’s ass! 

Judge Not lest ye be Judged

I have often wondered about the root causes of my anxiety. It is, of course, a very personal thing; it is difficult to explain to anyone why you feel worried or agitated. Sometimes I don’t even know the answer myself. For the past few weeks, I have been trying to reflect on my anxious moments to the best of my ability. I ask myself what I feel anxious about and also why. I am starting to identify a common denominator:   

I am afraid of being judged in a negative manner. 

I can’t really blame other people for my own issues. If I am hyper-sensitive or anxious, it’s not up to every person I meet to treat me with kid-gloves. I can’t exactly wear a sandwich-board declaring my problems with anxiety. It would be wonderful though if we could all reflect on the power of our words and actions and their capacity to cause harm, as well as good. It’s something I’m trying to work on myself because I would hate to think my actions would cause anyone undue stress. 

I think it’s fair to say that much of th lie problem lies with our predisposition as a society to be incredibly judgemental. This  absolutely doesn’t help anyone who is very sensitive to criticism or who is more prone to anxiety. 

Being judgemental is natural human behaviour. It’s second nature to us. Just because we might have an opinion about something or someone, however, doesn’t mean we have to express it. Say you don’t like a co-worker’s blouse. Is there really a need to verbalise your disdain for it to your friends over lunch? It seems utterly pointless, doesn’t it? Perhaps the only purpose this kind of idle gossip serves is to bond you and your friends closer to one another. And that’s the thing; a lot of friendships are formed that way. Hey, I’m not saying I’m innocent here either! Who doesn’t like a good bitching session every now and then? But I realise the potential harm these things can do. After all, if I were to find out that I was the butt of the joke or the topic of office gossip, I would be very upset. 

And that’s the thing; I am only too aware of how judgemental people can be because it’s a trait in myself that I need to work on. I also need to work on overcoming my fear of negative judgement. I know one can’t live life planning everything they do based on the opinions of others. That would be insane. Yet I often find those doubtful thoughts creeping in throughout the day: 

That’s too much makeup; they’ll think you love yourself. 

You can’t wear that; they’ll think you’re unprofessional. 

You can’t say that; they’ll think you’re weird! 

You should go to that event or they’ll think you’re being antisocial. 

For someone with anxiety, the fear that this way of thinking causes is seemingly insurmountable.

 I’m trying my best to overcome this fear. I tell myself that people will always be judgemental. It is as natural to us as breathing. And if someone does express something negative about me, I can’t control that. I cannot control the thoughts or opinions of others to that extent. I don’t want to. I have to be the best me and if someone doesn’t like it, that doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong. I’m learning that criticism is okay. My co-workers or friends might not like my hair, my clothes, my voice…whatever. It’s normal to harbour at least some negative opinions about those around us. I’m just trying to not be so afraid of these. 

I’m trying to teach my students to express negative judgement less often. Why do we seem to express negative judgement more than positive judgement? Is it so entertaining to us? And if so, what does that say about us? Why do we bitch and gossip and what’s worse, take pleasure in it? I guess I’ll never really be able to fully understand it myself. All I can do is be a better person by trying my best not to verbalise unnecessary negative opinions about others and to also refrain from letting these same opinions from others cause me stress. 

Piece of cake, right? 🙂

Well Colour Me Surprised 

Hello my dears! 

Today, I received the news that my humble little blog was a silver medal winner in the lifestyle category at the Irish Blog Awards (there’s an actual ceremony with booze and dress up and food so it’s basically the Oscars). I am totally blown away. I really wasn’t expecting this at all! 

I just wanted to say thank you to all the wonderful, talented people who read my blog and connect with me often. I wouldn’t be anything without you all. 

So thank you, lovely, magical, attractive readers 🤗🤗

Let’s raise a glass to all us bloggers who work hard and love what we do 💪🏻🥂