Pieces of Me

Bits and pieces of my life and of my heart.


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It’s not Me. It’s You.

This week is World Mental Health Week. Everywhere on social media people are posting their experiences, work, advice and support. This is a good thing, as, in my opinion as a mental health provider, we have reached an epidemic with the broken health of our minds, our bodies and our souls. I defy you to find one person who is not negatively effected by anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, suicide ideation and hopelessness. I see it in the work that I do and in the people I love, and I see it in me.

I use social media a lot. I have a Facebook account, Instagram account, Twitter, SnapChat and obviously a little blog. I love social media for all the positives it has brought to my life. I have made lifetime friends, found love,  found support and in the face of heartbreak found a community made up of strong, fierce, kick ass women who rallied around me and held me close when I could barely walk.

It has not all been unicorn and rainbows. Every so often a dark cloud came in the guise of a hateful message telling me what was wrong with everything about me. These messages are unwarranted and nasty and stayed with me for a while until I managed to wriggle free of their clutches. I chose to wish their senders good wishes, metaphorically speaking of course, and move on with being my fabulous self.

You get knocked down, you get back up again until you don’t.

This week I have been knocked clean and unceremoniously flat on my powerlifting ass. A man decided to take it upon himself on Mental Health Awareness Day to dump on me his abusive, misogynistic “opinion” of me, with cause, I only assume, to put me back firmly in my place.

He is offended by my Snapchatting, it seems. He is offended by my choice of social gatherings, the way I speak, the way I look, the way I parent. My very existence offends him so much that he wrapped his “opinion” of me in a World Mental Health Day bow and flung it straight in my face.

He was after all, “doing me a favour”. On World Mental Health Day no less.

I blocked him, as you do, but not before I took to my SnapChat account to say something kinda like this.

When you choose to attack personally someone that you do not know it says more about you than it does about me. When you take time out of your day to sit at your computer to hurl toxic abusive, misogynistic paragraphs at someone you may as well be looking in the mirror. The words you used to describe me? Let me break them down for you in a way that you may properly understand.

Self absorbed: This would describe someone who has such an inflated opinion of himself that he believes sending women messages telling them what is wrong with them is somehow doing them a favour.

Vain: See above.

Full of Myself: See above.

Also, FYI, the three things mean the same thing.

A bad parent: You told me you have two sons. Way to go, Dad for being the kind of role model that teaches boys how to abuse women.

Way. To. Go.

And last but not least your lovely sentiment of your love for all things mental health. Dude. If this is your idea of what positive mental health is and how you can contribute to it on WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, then you are much more of an asshole that I gave you credit for.

Let me tell you something about me that you clearly missed all these months stalking me on SnapChat.

I am a fierce, confident, hella strong force to be reckoned with. I am this way because I have had to fight tooth and nail to dodge toxic assholes like you my entire life. Men who tell me I am weak because I have a period, that I don’t deserve equal pay because I needed maternity leave. Men who have sexually assaulted me, emotionally assaulted me and now SnapChat assaulted me. I have been sent dick pics and such bullshit sexual messages that  I have lost count. Men who tell me they have equal say over my body and who would prefer I die in the name of all that they believe.

You weren’t the least bit original. Soz!

You won’t change me. You may knock me. I may stay down for a while waiting for my bruises to heal but you better believe that when they do I will rise stronger and fiercer than I was before because that is the difference between people like you and people like me. When you send messages to someone you don’t know telling them all you think is wrong with them you fall down a hole that is near impossible to climb out of.

The ironic thing is, only someone like me has the ability to drag you out of it when you finally realise that it’s always been about you and never about me.

Cosy up. I reckon you will be waiting down there a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonnie and Clyde.

When I was sick with cancer I had this fear that took up residence inside of me. This fear kept me awake at night for months not being able to sleep without the light on. I couldn’t breathe. My heart would beat wildly and I would allow my mind go to the places that none of us like to visit. What if I died? Who would love my boy? Would I be missed? Have I been happy in my life, really happy?
The further I got from my first all clear scan, the less I felt this fear. Life is good that way. Time does heals most things, you just have to wait it out.

Last night this fear returned. Full force. My heart is still racing, my light is still on and I feel vulnerable. My sleep was broken, my dreams scattered and as much as I love to run, I just cannot make my legs work.

Fear is a bitch. Anxiety too. Together they are like the Bonnie and Clyde of my feelings. All go, all passion, driven, focused, never giving in. Even in the light of day they stay, taunting me, laughing at me, filling my head with all kinds of nonsense.

When I was sick I wrote. Blog after blog. It was the only way that I could calm myself, purge myself, help myself. After I was sick life happened and I needed this purging less and less. Why is it now that this fear returns? Someone close to me is sick. Sick how I was sick. Maybe her fear is becoming mine? Maybe the all clear bubble has burst? Maybe this is normal? (God, I pray to be normal, whatever that means). Last night sucked. It sucked big. My Bonnie and Clyde causing all sorts of trouble. To me, to my head, my heart, my soul. “Just breathe”, I keep telling myself. Whatever you do don’t forget to breathe…

Writing helps. My heart beats a little slower. Breathing too, it calms the nerves. I know exactly what it is I am afraid of. I have always known. Maybe a post for another day. Today I just want to ease the fear. Today I wish it to take a back seat so that I can be loving, kind and patient with those I love. I wish to get the most out of my day, and somehow get these legs of mine to work so I can do the best thing I know to rid myself of these feelings. I need to run. I need to move. I have been able to outsmart Bonnie and Clyde before. Why not today?


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Lone Ranger

This morning one of my neighbours, I have no idea who, referred to me as a “Lone Ranger”. This was in relation to my recent run in with Irish Water meter protesters that stopped Irish Water from installing a meter in my home when I had given them permission to do so.I was live on air challenging the men who intimidated me both physically and verbally when this neighbour of mine, anonymously texted in.

Lone Ranger.

That’s the guy with the horse, Silver, Hi Hoing all over the place, right? But I know how this neighbour was implying it and exactly what they meant.

I have two schools of thought on this. My first thinking, my very first reaction when the text was read out to me, and all the thousands that listen, was one of aloneness. After all, calling someone “lone” anything implies that you are all on your own, over there in the corner all by yourself, not a part of the collective massive (my neighbours), and that in and of itself can be a very difficult place to be.

This aloneness is not unfamiliar to me. I am by definition a “lone” parent. That means I parent all by myself, all of the time, and with this comes loneliness that you wouldn’t believe. This way of being forces me to dig deep, to strive hard, to stand my corner, fight my ground. This way of being makes me fiercely independent, incredibly passionate and extremely opinionated about things that need to be challenged and need to be changed. Does this make me different to some? I suppose it does. I am never content in sitting on my heels allowing someone to speak for me. I could never get a good night sleep if I was afraid to speak my truth. Does this alienate me from some people? I would be lying to say that it didn’t and even a bigger liar if I said it didn’t hurt sometimes being this way.

My life, that Monday in question would have been a lot easier if I had stayed in my home and allowed a group of people dictate what happened on my property. My life would have been a lot easier if I had not put myself in harms way. My life would have been a lot easier if I had decided to not involve the Gardai, not spoken up to my neighbours, not written my blog post, not gone on 96FM, and not have challenged the lies spoken about me and the incident this morning. Instead of all of those really difficult things I could have shut my curtains, shut my mouth and my neighbours wouldn’t have to text in to radio shows calling me names. But here is the thing. I would rather not live at all if I had to live my life being afraid of what other people think of me. Does it hurt when I am not invited to the party? Of course it does but that is a hurt I can live with. The hurt that is a million times worse is that voice inside that screams in pain when I am not being true to who I am. That pain is unbearable. That pain does the most damage, both to me and to those I choose to love. I would rather be a Lone Ranger a million times over than spend one second allowing the crowd decide for me, and if I have to keep shouting and keep fighting for what I believe in, then so be it.

To the neighbour who called me a Lone Ranger, I say Thank you. Thank you for seeing in me the ability to take a stand even when it is scary. Even when it is lonely and yes, even if I am the only one.
I will be able to sleep soundly tonight in the knowledge that I took a stand and that is more important to me than ever following a crowd.

Hi Ho Silver!


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And then it hit me…

Something happened to me this weekend. Something big. Something profound. Something sad. Something relieving. One of those somethings that when it happens to you and when you realise that it has, you will never quite be the same again.

I will never quite be the same again.

I have been able to bear children for as long as I remember. First it was the aching pains and the banging headaches that came with my teenage years. God, how I hated pms and all that came with it but it was always for the greater good. It was always for this amazing ability gifted to the fairer sex.  Yes. I know men have babies too, but not in the way that we do as women. Not in the grow a tiny human in your body way and push it out of a hole the size of a pea way. This all done screaming hell on earth resulting in the most fabulous of feelings that the english language, or any language for that matter,  on this planet can do justice to.

The feeling of love for your tiny human.

The feeling of joy. Happiness. Wonderment. Fear. Excitement, and the knowing that you have just started a journey that will last the rest of your life.

I have done this one time. I have an amazing son and I love him fiercely. Being his Mum is by far the greatest thing that I have ever done and every day it brings with it a new experience. The thing is, I always believed that I would do it more than once.

Growing up I always thought I would have kids. That’s more than one. I hoped I would have boys and girls, after all, who on earth would I leave my 100 pairs of shoes to if I didn’t have a daughter? The boy would have to come first. I always fancied an older brother growing up so I always thought it would be cool for my daughter to have that experience, so I was bang on track when my beautiful boy made his appearance first.

Those of you who know me and read this blog will know that things did not work out with my sons Father. It is water under the bridge now and we have both moved on, but during that difficult and painful time I told myself that the next time would be different. The next time I would choose a man who wanted to have tiny humans with me and who would hold my hand and wipe my brow when I pushed that human out of a pea hole and who wanted to be a parent with me and life would be just fine.

Life happens when you are busy making plans and mine was no different. I went about my days being the best Mum I could be, providing that best life I could for my son and trying to make the most of all that I had. I studied. I worked. I dated. I fought cancer (and won). I made new friends and made a new relationship and all the while forgot, or never noticed that my life was whizzing by. That the years were adding up and that some things that I took for granted were starting to slip from my grasp.

Until this weekend that is.

Something has been niggling at me lately. Something deep inside. Like an itch that I  couldn’t scratch. It bothered me sure, but not enough to keep me awake at night or enough to drive my head bananas. It was just this feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but I was OK with how it felt so I just kept keeping on.

I run. I love it. Most of my light bulb moments have come to me while I run. This one was no different. There I was running through a wooded area yesterday feeling awake and strong when all of a sudden it hit me bang smack in the centre of my being, nearly taking my breath away. That feeling, that knowing that I had and couldn’t quite put my finger on for all those months finally let itself be heard.

I am not going to have any more children.

I am not going to have my little girl.

My son is it for me and he  will be enough.

It’s like this knowing that I have. I am finding so hard to put into words. I am 43 yrs old. How that has happened, I have no idea. In the blink of an eye I am coming to the end of my child bearing years, and I have to tell you I shed quite a few tears about this last night when I tried to explain how I am feeling to my very wonderful boyfriend.

I wasn’t crying because I have a deep desire to have more children. I am a Mum. It’s not that. I was crying, and still am in a way for this thing my body can do that I always took for granted being able to do, not working anymore. It has always been a fundamental part of what makes Me, Me. God, I cannot tell you how many times I have peed on a blue stick willing it not to be blue!! I guess I always thought that this would be the case. I thought I had more sticks to pee on and I am having a really hard time accepting that I don’t.

I know. I can hear those of you older than Me saying there is so much more to life. That in a way the best is yet to come but I guess I am not ready to be there with you, except that I am. Biologically I am there. And in my life I am there. I know that I am done, yet I have no idea what to do with all the feelings that come with the knowing.

Am I making any sense at all?

Who I am now? I guess that is the question that is left in the space where the niggling was. In the space where the knowing was. Who am I now? And how do I let go?

How do I let go of something that I really believed I would do again but I ran out of time without even noticing? How do I make the transition into the next phase of my life? Do I just do it? I have no choice really, do I? It happens to us all. I guess it will happen to me with a little kicking and screaming and that will have to be OK.

Won’t it?