Two years ago today, my Honey-dog came home to live with us. Two other dogs have joined us in the intervening years, but she is still my baby and my best beloved. I waited thirty-four years to find her and she changed our lives completely.
To love. To hear. To see, to feel, to empathise, to relate, to reflect, to encourage, to understand, to believe in and with. To listen completely. To hold people and space.
To enjoy. To reveal, to share, to think, to speak. To be still, to revel, to sing, to move, to inhale and exhale. To pay attention. To observe.
To be open. To be honest. To speak up when the spirit moves me and let the words flow through me without sticking. To admit pain and joy, bliss and sorrow. To find balance.
To witness the wonder of All That Is in all the ways that it manifests.
In four days, I will be thirty-six. That’s definitely supposed to be Grown Up Territory – I wonder when it will feel that way in here in this little space that I call me? Most of the time now, I feel as if I have things reasonably in hand, but there are inevitably occasions when my inner four year old wants to take over. Does that ever end?
Life is much the same as ever. There are many happinesses in here; so many that I have to pay attention and count them out to really appreciate them. There is also, currently, an intention towards inviting the Universe’s abundance into this space, into my space, into our family. I read a wonderful post that Jo wrote that, as is often the case for me, sounded like it was being written by my wiser, more mature, grounded self. She is speaking my words here, right down to the ‘we always have enough to get by’ but often by a seeming miracle. I decided – probably about the same time that she did, and that’s what makes the magic, people- that ‘Just Enough’ was, and is, no longer enough. Time to open up, time break down the self-prophesies and self-harming stories. Time to bring about a new perspective and invite The All to present us with new options and experiences. It can feel treacherous to open up when there is so little leeway in one’s responsible, adult financial pose, but, then again, I was given the gift of seeing a post on Facebook today which said something along the lines of “you must spend your money with the certainty that it will return to you…because it has to.” This reminds me that, when so much around me is going well and bearing fruit, I have found a strange time to lose my trust and faith in the abundance that has always come me when it was needed or asked for. I can do this little by little, step by step, and with an increasing awareness of my self-sabotaging inner monologue, I can amend my focus back into the black and away from the red.
We will be more than OK.
Relative contentment. Tired but sleeping better so starting to feel a bit more human. Aching: hip and shoulder joints of an eighty year old woman; think this will improve over time. Back on the gluten-free train but added dairy-free this time for fun. Would cheerfully maim most humans for a vast mug of tea with milk and three sugars. Detoxing following gluten and increased sugar consumption over the last three months. Losing weight. Able to read again after months of not being able to focus sufficiently. Was scary. Now nice to be able to finish a book when I start it. Strange longing to take my bike out for a bit of a spin. Covered in dogs.
New addition to the Furry Familiars – Oberon: Akita/GSD cross. Quite, quite mental. Large. Incredible cuddle-bug who parades – it’s the only word for it, honestly! – around the house displaying his magnificence. Known as Ronnie…much to confusion of Honey who’s never really sure of her name at the best of times.
Unsure about the onset of winter this year. Or even Autumn. Most unusual for me. Would really love to go on a shopping spree for clothes. Nothing majorly exciting, just jeans and sweaters etc. Unlikely to happen.
Re-learning Lamb love.
Got to see two of my favourite people this month – very happy.
I lose my temper approximately thirty-five times a day. It’s a thing with me. I’m not proud of it, and I disperse it as safely as I can, but the fact of the matter is that things aggravate me quickly and I have a short fuse. There’s a difference, though, between my short fuse and my anger. I lose my temper a lot but few things in life make me brain-meltingly angry; it takes a while for things to build up to that point, you know. There are a few things, however, that are instant triggers and where my general ‘Live and Let Live’ approach doesn’t so much fall by the wayside as get ambushed, mugged and left for dead at the mercy of the elements.
One of those triggers is a woman’s choice to terminate an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy. I have made a point of reading all the points of view, and I have listened to all the arguments and nothing has convinced me that anyone else should have a say in whether or not I continue a pregnancy other than me, and possibly, the father of what will in time become a child.
To have a hope of understanding what I’m saying here, you need to know that I’m not writing this as a militant feminist or man-hater. I’m not a rabble-rousing hussy and I’ve never been on a Slut Walk – though I admire all who have and think they’re an excellent idea. I quite often aspire to their courage and audacity. No, the only thing you need to know about me is that I am a thirty-five year old woman in full time employment, with a husband and two children. And I have had two abortions, one after each full-term pregnancy. You also need to know that I made the decision to have each termination on my own, and I never doubted myself once. Unlike many women living in Ireland, I understood that I had options, never felt the need to apologise for them and didn’t believe that a pregnancy had to result in an addition to the family. Nor did I feel that it was something that a woman should be ashamed of, or be made to feel ashamed of. In my world view, abortion is a Human Right – yes, in capitals – both for the pregnant woman and that woman’s partner/family/unborn child.
Here’s the thing: I trust myself to know what I am capable of dealing with in life and I am, as a relatively intelligent human being, comfortable with my abilities and strengths, as well as my many flaws and short-comings. As, for example, a legislating politician, the chances are high that you have never met me and, let’s face it, this is unlikely to change. I don’t go to a lot of parliamentary functions and you probably don’t hang out around Oldcourt Park very much. It’s cool; you’ll get no argument from me on that score, after all, we all have our own lives to live. But there, of course, is the crux of the matter. I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to eat for lunch, never mind passing laws that could reasonably be said to dictate the next eighteen years of your life. It’s wrong, it’s inexcusable and I wouldn’t stand for it if someone tried to pull that stunt on you.
Come on, think of it for a moment with me. What would you say if someone had the outright cheek to tell you how you should spend your money? How would you respond to someone who inflicted mental anguish on you for nine months or more? Would you feel good if someone told you that your daughter must continue with a pregnancy even though her baby would die within hours of being born? How would you react if someone told you that you weren’t allowed to buy your own house, or go on holiday, or put food on the table for you and your spouse? What would you say to the person who says that your sister can’t follow her desire to go to college but, equally, she should be ashamed to be on social welfare because she can’t get a job, and she can’t afford childcare? Do you believe that all people are emotionally, physically and financially capable of raising a child?
To my mind, when you deny a woman the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, this is what you are telling her. The Irish Government blatantly says “you are not worthy of sufficient respect or even thought and we do not care about your hopes, your dreams or your future. We know better than you and we will force our will on you whether that means you live your life in poverty, or depression, or if you pass these conditions on to your child. You have no say in your future because you made a mistake and got pregnant and because of some archaic values that the Catholic church drummed into us for years, you will be made to suffer, even if an alternative option exists.” I suppose this should not be a surprise to people who’ve watched Ireland internal record on Women’s Rights generally. Don’t get fooled for a second by our international Human Rights record; if it’s a case of sending a UN peace-keeping force, the Irish are all over it and get endless praise. If it’s promoting better health care or standard of living for its women-folk, or making amends for even some of the cruelties of the past, though, you’re out of luck.
Let me break it down for you a step further: denying a woman easy access to abortion services when she needs them is on the same footing as rape. If rape is about power and control – the forcing of a woman against her will – then making, or keeping, abortion illegal is the same thing. No human being should be made to carry a child to term that they do not want to bear. It’s cruelty, plain and simple. There are myriad reasons why a woman may feel that she doesn’t want to continue a pregnancy and the simply fact is that they are nobody else’s business. End of story.
Most importantly, it’s not just about a woman carrying a pregnancy to term; it’s as much about what happens after that. What comes of pregnancy, after all, is a life, a new human being. Isn’t that human being entitled to certain things too? Because being born is no guarantee of a good life, a good education, health care or, more basic yet, love, shelter, warmth or food. Just because someone in the State senate or the Oireachteas demands you be born doesn’t mean they’re going to give a damn about you when you arrive. So this, ultimately, is my point. Being pro-life is not the same as being Pro-birth. If we believe every foetus is a human life, and that every life is sacred, we must build a society where everyone has access to everything they need in order to live a good life. If we can’t do that, either as politicians or parents, I believe we need to reassess our standpoints. In the meantime, legislate for things that are your business, like crooked bankers and Church authorities ignoring the laws of the countries they practice in. This will help the country. Let women’s conscience decide what they do with their own bodies.
Last night, we did something I had wanted to do for a long time: we went into the city and we walked the streets and absorbed some of the energy of Saturday night in Dublin. It’s been an awfully long time since I did it, and it was such a good feeling to see what I most wanted to see – the wild and beautiful diversity of people out for the night.
It’s been really hot here on the east coast of Ireland for the last week or so. Not by the USA’s standard of hot, but by our standards, very much so. Temperatures have been reaching twenty-seven or twenty-eight degrees and, for me, that’s Hide In The Fridge weather. It makes me sleepy and lethargic, even more so than usual. My brain shuts down and my limbs weaken under the wilting weight of the humidity. The glare of the sun is too much, too bright, for someone who’s favourite time of the day is inevitably very early morning or dusk. I like the in-between times rather than the bright and obvious midday light. Finally, yesterday evening, it cooled down. Everything swung back to a comfortable sort of eighteen degrees or so – which is my kind of t-shirt weather at the best of times – and I finally felt as if I could breathe. I can hardly describe the relief of feeling as if I could move again properly!
The whole city centre seemed like it was exhaling, actually, and there were so many gorgeous people out and about. This was somewhat tempered by the fact that, compared to how it used to be, the city was empty. Driving in at about eight thirty, people were conspicuous by their very absence. I don’t believe I have ever seen Town quieter on a Saturday night. But Temple Bar had a reasonable crowd, and the posters on the hoardings made me as happy as they always do: concerts, comedy gigs, theatre productions, protests, exhibitions – it’s good to see there is still plenty afoot in Dublin, despite its abandoned weekend.
There is something distinct and special about the Saturday night energy. I love people watching and I will be quite delighted to sit in a café during the day and watch the world go by. The thing is though that a different dynamic exists. It’s all a lot more structured, a lot more for show. People have a plan, a schedule, they’ve got appointments to keep and a set list of shops to visit. They have children with them or washing to hang out when they get home; they are, in short, preoccupied. Whereas people on a Saturday night are, generally speaking, looser, freer, more alive to the music and rhythms around them. They’ve done the prep work – fixed the hair, shaved the legs – they’re rocking the new clothes they bought earlier in the day and they’re ready for whatever comes next, but most of them are also OK with whatever’s happening now. They’ve got the buzz, and it’s a wonderful thing to observe.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s also the undeniable entertainment value of women in warm weather going out for the night. The skirts get shorter, the heels get higher, the tops get smaller and smaller. There are the usual orange faces and pink necks, the fake tanned legs and the white hands, the plasters covering the blistered heels. But it’s all good because there’s an underlying hum of excitement that infuses even the passersby with an element of vivacity.
The thing is, I suppose, that it’s like looking at what life should be like. It’s the hum of the Having A Good Time, or at least Expecting To Have A Good Time and, truthfully, what more do any of us want?
Almost two years ago now, someone my heart loves deeply asked me to write things – anything – and to keep the words flowing from me. He understood that it was a healing process for me, and he told me that in writing words down, I was doing what he believed I was here, at least partially, to do. I promised him I would try.
In the time since, as my words slowly but surely faltered, I have felt more and more stuck, more and more closed off and sanded in. And I am – and have been – scared to put down words because it seems as if the only thing that ever trickles out is dissatisfaction and despair. The words that I wish would come stall in my mouth and at my finger tips, choked up with remorse and with the seeming futility of it all. I thought I had found my place in the world and that I had reached that contentment that most people only dream of. I thought that I had reached a point in my life where, even if I was alone, I was happy and whole and free.
I don’t know if I made a mistake letting someone else in. I can’t believe, given the love that I feel, that this was a bad move, an erroneous decision, something to debate even. But I am not myself. I have lost my balance, my centre. I never really believed I would feel this love again and, when TRM and I split, I wondered if it was even worth trying given that I was, in reality, obviously better off with a part time relationship even if I wanted something more permanent and solid. I couldn’t say no to something so sweet and honest and knowing, to someone who knew me so well and wanted to learn more each day, to someone who really sees me with all my goodness, flaws and strengths and loves me with all of them. We made a choice. I made a choice. I do not regret it, and I make it again every single day whole-heartedly.
But still I wonder if I am better off alone. Some deep voice inside me says that I was born to be a loner. I do more, I see more and I am more aware when I am by myself. I am a better parent when I don’t have anyone else to lean on. I have the space to move about and to breathe when I am single, although he knows from so much past experience that I need space and gives it willingly when I ask. I don’t know entirely what the problem is because I know it’s not him. It doesn’t help that I loathe my job, obviously, or that I resent the fact that I wish my days away when I should be living them. Not in some advertiser’s dream sort of living them, but in the manner of using all my days to bring something good into play. I think it is this more than anything else that kills the words in my head: this utter waste of days and months that sucks dry my enthusiasm for life in general. I know I need to get out but I do not know where I can go from here.
It may sound arrogant but I don’t want to waste my life. I know I have so much to be thankful for, and underneath this deathly weight, I am. But I know that if I leave it much longer, I will suffocate. There is so much that I want to be, and so much that I already am that is atrophying and dying. All those lessons I have learned, those experiences that I have grown from, seem like nothing at all in the face of this overwhelming boredom with what I have to live with in order to keep a roof over our heads. It’s necessary but it’s killing me; it is stealing my life.
I am going to try to ensure that this is the last post I will ever write about hating what I do with my days. We all deserve better. I know that some people can shake it all off as they walk out the office door every day, that some don’t really care what they do, or even give it much thought. I don’t know if I’m envious of them or not. I never really believed the ‘ignorance is bliss’ line, to be honest.
My words deserve something better; a finer subject. I will find it.