Putting The Colour Back In My Days

A wonderful blog post by Journey Back to Myself – Go forth and be brave 🙂


Last night I dyed my hair, it has been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks. A few little niggles here and there, I kept pushing it away and hiding from it. Thats not me anymore, I dont feel …

Source: Putting The Colour Back In My Days

Equal but different? When Logic fails…. #yesequality #straightupforequality #MarRef

Three more sleeps. Three more sleeps until we cast our votes, in tiny booths and with a flick of a pencil decide the future happiness of almost one tenth our population. Three more sleeps. I wish I could say I’m excited but I’m not.

I’m your typical straight ally. Married, a parent, looking at this from the outside in, trying to imagine how it feels to be told on a daily basis that you’re lesser, suspect, not worthy, and a potential threat to children. No episode of the Simpsons could have foreshadowed just how enthusiastically the bleat of “won’t someone please think of the children?” would be taken up by the NO side. I wonder if, even if the vote passes, if the hurt that this generation of gay people must feel can ever fully heal. Knowing a great many of us support the cause can’t totally eradicate the knowledge of just how many sneer, denigrate, and despise them and their human connections – as father, mother, child, lover.

I read the No leaflet – four page, printed back and front, full colour booklet – yesterday. It wasn’t a pleasant experience but it was informative. Take this example of their reasoning

propaganda from the no side

Breaking it down; “we know you’ll baulk at us saying outright that gay people aren’t equal so what we can say is – they ARE equal, but not really. If you vote for equality you’ll be voting for a load of dire consequences that we can’t actually prove and aren’t going t specify but by using terms like reckless and foolish we will prey on your fears and give those wishing to vote no, a handy get-out-of-bigot-jail-free card.”

The booklet is filled with these specious non arguments. Every child is entitled to a mother and a father and terrible things will happen if they don’t get this. More, they are entitled to their biological mother in particular, as the adorable curly headed child on the No posters reminds us. Oddly enough this view isn’t espoused by the same Iona-institute admiring campaigners when it comes to the rights of single unmarried mothers, or indeed any biological non traditional family. So by process of elimination we are left with their ideal – only families with children raised by their biological, married parents, can be trusted as proper family units.

That one of the leading espousers of this cruel nonsense is himself the parent of a child being raised by a single mother with siblings from other relationships should ring some alarm bells.

I could – but won’t – rehash all the arguments. Every claim made by the No side has been comprehensively rebutted by better sources than me; what interests me is what it means when someone knows they are justifying themselves using lies but does it anyway. The NO campaign made a conscious and cynical decision to do this; they know they are lying but what they’ve done is hand conscience-absolving excuses to those who want to vote no but are self aware enough to realise it puts them in the wrong, morally. That’s what depresses me – that people know they are really just withholding equal rights out of prejudice but they do it anyway.

Yet some part of me has faith. I do. I have faith that in that final moment, when it’s just them and the ballot paper and that pencil, already blunted by the votes cast earlier, they will pause and in that pause, grace will enter. Some part of them will whisper – that truthful, inconvenient voice we call conscience – that they know they are wrong. They know they aren’t voting for the kids or the ideal of sanctified fictional family. That they are voting from fear and suspicion and that it’s not worthy, not fair, not just.

And in the moment of grace, they may just find courage, vote YES and enter the future.


Absolutely adore this poem

Austin Lysaght

The excellent and talented Austin Lysaght, and his yes campaign illustration

dublin in love

We’re loving this illustration by Austin at the Blind Elephant Collective!

Love is beards.

Love is love.

Love is quiffs.

Vote YES!


Follow Austin on Twitter

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Stolen Days; or how to make memories

Yesterday was Monday and my husband, Mr. BB, mitched off work. For non-Irish readers, that means playing hooky, skipping off, or taking a duvet day. Whatever you call it, he did it. He told his work he was doing it, because he works in the kind of company that makes some allowance for that kind of thing. And he decided we were all going to the Zoo.

I work Saturdays so we usually only have one day off together, Sunday. With the best will in the world, Sundays often get consumed by household stuff; visiting family, cleaning, gardening – it goes by so quickly, and we get so little time just to have fun. We live for bank holiday weekends.

Last week the Met office began to get excited about the prospect of a glorious, hot, sunny weekend. As it’s the end of September, this would be both an Indian summer….and the last hurrah of Summer 2013. Undoubtedly one of the best summers in 20 years, with weeks on end of sunshine. So the idea of missing the last chance to do something together, without rain, as a family was too much temptation. On Monday morning Mr. BB sent that email and off we went to Dublin Zoo.

To say the Dragon Lordling was excited really doesn’t convey the level of giddiness and wide-eyed glee that erupted. He pulled everyone out to the car, chanting “come on, everybody, come ON!” Arrival at the Zoo saw him dancing in circles, and when Daddy said “lets go find the snakes…” his little head almost exploded. The Reptile house was a huge hit; he was a little nervous going in, but once he was there he enjoyed it so much we had to pay another visit before we left. The Forest Dragon ran to the glass to say hello, obviously recognising the Dragon Lordling as his gracious overlord and master. The turtles were adorable and the python and tarantula sufficiently skin-crawling.


It was such a beautiful day, 24 degrees (that’s a heatwave in Ireland, in July, never mind at the end of September!) Having to slather the child in suncream at this time of year was slightly bizarre. We meandered around making allowances for two octogenarians and a pregnant middle aged woman. The animals were very accommodating, from the gorilla who sat against the glass and all but posed for us, to the lion who waited by the wire fence to yawn at us, showing all his teeth much to the DL’s delight. We saw baby gorillas and mud-bathing Rhinos. We ate overpriced and rather rubbery chicken in the African Plains section, and icecream by the lake.


I strolled (waddled) behind Mr BB and the DL, enjoying the sight of the big man and the very little boy, hand in hand, exclaiming over the animals and running from one compound to another. At one point they both turned to me, pointing at some sight or other, eyes shining, two big grins ear to ear, and I was as happy as I have ever been in my life.

When time came to leave, weary and sorefooted, but full of memories and joy I found myself thinking about all the days we waste. All the days we are too tired or too unmotivated to do anything much. All the days we could blow off house work, and get out together. All the memories we haven’t yet made. And I knew that today would be both a shining oasis in our lives and an inspiration for other days to come. Every childhood should have days like this, where the most unexpected treat is sprung on the best of little boys.

When we got home we had some dinner. It took a while to eat because every few minutes the DL jumped up, hugged his Daddy and shouted “group hug” at the rest of us. Granny, Grandad, Mammy Daddy and boy had to hold hands and say “group hugs” back. He then proclaimed it to have been “the loveliest day ever” and as a parting shot added “we need to do this again, Mammy!”
Yes. Yes we do.

Fat, Forty-four and Pregnant

Yes dear readers, dear ladies and gentlemen of my online acquaintance, roll up roll up and view the freak. I’m the freak, by the way. I’m the overweight, fourty four year old who as of yesterday is 19 weeks pregnant. Almost half way through.
Until last night my hair was sporting three inch roots* but I am now thankfully blond again and looking a little less like a 60 year old badly groomed granny. So I take up pen (or keyboard) to record this point in my life while I feel marginally human again. Especially as those three inches of dark roots showed no grey, hah!

Let me start by saying Mr. BB and I are delighted, ecstatic, to be pregnant again. We assumed the Dragon Lordling would be our one and only for a list of reasons starting with our long battle to get pregnant the first time, our reluctance to waste a moment of his childhood pursuing a dream that might never manifest itself and ending with my age. I mean I was the ripe old age of 41 having the DL.

Then the fates, gods and some mischievous passing spirit took a hand in things. First week in June this year I discovered that I am in fact, pregnant. Knocked up. As Mr BB put it, a combined age of 85 and we got caught out like teenagers (followed quickly by “how are we going to tell your mother?”)
But there it was, after several embarrassing trips to a very nosy chemist, the legend “pregnant, 3+ weeks” on the home pregnancy test. And there we were – in shock. To maintain a pregnancy I need a lot of drugs. Good drugs, but drugs that mean I rattle in the morning and get stuck in the bum with a needle in the evening. Mr BB was only over the trauma of having to do the injecting last time around – now we had to face into it all over again.

Then I had to have “intralipids” a wonderful procedure where an emulsion -like substance is injected into my veins to calm down my antibodies, to prevent them attacking the baby. This is a weird experience and considering I have the veins of a ninety year old mummy, another pain in the bum for everyone involved.

But we are pregnant. All the times a little dagger went into my heart at the sight of a new baby, or when people asked “when are you giving him a little brother or sister?” – I can’t help but smile now. We’re not out of the woods; we still have a long five months to go and we are only too well aware of the problems we might encounter but – we are pregnant. A second chance. a sibling for the DL, a new life. That’s the plus and it’s a huge, huge plus.
But….I’m fat forty four and pregnant. This is not easy. It’s not easy when you have a toddler, and when that toddler is a lively little man used to swinging out of Mammy. The guilt every time I have to say “no, Mammy has an “ow” in her tummy ” may give me grey hairs yet. Starting him in preschool may have taken a few years off my expected lifespan. Mr BB hasn’t had an unbroken night’s sleep since the news, as he gets up to comfort DL when he wakes or has night terrors. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep because I need to wee every three hours or so. Our house looks like a bomb site. If burglars broke in they’d tidy for us, out of pity. Our once disciplined dinner rota has degenerated to “pop in and get chips on the way home, love, I can’t face cooking!” standards. And we know it can only get worse…we remember only too well the insane exhaustion and sheer terror of having a newborn.

I do look awful. On the DL people told me I “glowed” now complete strangers give me pitying glances in the street and offer to help me across the road. I veer between feeling great and feeling like a beached whale with asthma. Sometimes in the same thirty second period. I haven’t had a date night with my husband in a long time. I eye the hard liquor in the house with an increasingly bitter attitude. Yesterday I sat and thought about a huge bowl of icecream for ten minutes, just imagining it. As I am now on the GD diet to try to stave off glucose intolerance, this isn’t a very helpful daydream.

I do sit and daydream a lot about baby though. I wanted DL with a longing that was visceral, felt at a cellular level, it coursed through my veins and pulsed through my brain. I am surprised to find I want our new bubs just as much, just as desperately. It’s a strange, heart expanding, love bomb of a moment, to think we will have two children. It’s almost too big for my head – my thoughts skitter around it and try to avoid it. I want it so much it hurts.

What also hurts are my hips. What the hell? did arthritis suddenly become a pregnancy symptom? I groan and mutter getting out of a chair in a way that has my 81 year old mother tutting and rolling her eyes. Honestly, I shuffle half the time, and when I’m not shuffling I’m wheezing. Or sighing. Or trying to keep my eyes open, because every afternoon around 4 pm my entire body decides it’s time for a nap, thank you very much. It’s like an octogenarian has possessed my body, and not a hip, modern, sky diving, hill-walking octogenarian either.

A friend told me her sister-in-law had her first at 46 and complained of much the same things. I asked hopefully “but when she had the baby, everything went back to normal ?” There was a suspiciously long pause followed by “I’m sure it probably did. Maybe not all the way back…”

Feck it. I’ll be the oldest mother at the school gates, with the zimmerframe and the horn rimmed glasses. I don’t care. I don’t even care that they’ll write “geriatric mother” on the hospital chart. One look at the scan photo, one thought about baby baths and tiny clothes, one glance at the wonder that is my son, and I know I’ll survive grey hairs, black roots, wrinkles, incontinency knickers, and the pity of strangers. I’ll be that fat forty four year old happy mother. Except of course by the time I’ll give birth I’ll be forty five.
I wonder if they’ll ever make pregnancy-safe Vodka? I think it’d be a winner…..

*(I come from the generation who was told never to dye our hair in the first trimester. I only use chemical free organic hair dye and I know even the usual stuff is now deemed safe, but that’s not the point. I can’t possibly dye my hair til the second trimester because if I do bad things will happen)

Today I was shown this blog, it was recommended as an example of a woman trying to raise her sons correctly, with respect for women. It made me so depressed, not merely because of its narrow minded content but because the person recommending it genuinely could not see anything wrong with it.
Well here we go – this is what’s wrong with it.

When a woman of any age does something that society can label slutty they attack her; the boys involved are either lauded as heroes or their actions are treated as misdemeanour’s. Her’s on the other hand are criminalised. Often by women.
When raising a boy to respect women, as I am doing, it is reductive and misogynistic to take the line that the girl should cover up, change her behaviour, conform in order to be “respected.” That is not respect.
Teaching your boy respect means to teach him that no matter how a girl is dressed, how much she flirts, how many selfies or pouts or poses she puts on facebook, she is a worthy human being and should be treated accordingly.
Telling teenage girls that it’s ok NOT to conform to the current trend of over sexualisation is fine. It’s laudable. Telling them that they should do so to gain the respect of “decent” people or teenage boys whose families over-meddle in their teenage lives, is reductive, counter productive and just plain wrong.
The entire blog is an example of what’s wrong in our society and how we are failing young women. It tries to tell girls what to do rather than tell boys what not to do to girls. That a woman wrote it is even worse; that she has a young daughter yet to experience teenager-hood makes me worried. Bring her up to demand respect and equality, and to give both to other women, regardless of how they dress or what they post on social media sites, for her own sake. Please.