Yesterday they walked together hand in hand as they took their touches for granted. The town is alive with a hive of activity. It’s occupants seem to be too busy to notice. They don’t see the interlocked fingers as sweaty palms embrace. Their gaze does not include the love before them. The open declaration inspires little in it’s wake.
Today I too walked the same crowded streets as I weaved between those too busy to take a breath. Today was different. Right now I am the main attraction as I hold on tightly to her hand. Too many stares penetrated my space. I can suddenly relate to that goldfish confined to such a small bowl, a centrepiece to feast your eyes upon. Foul language and volatile behaviour rain down upon as we continue our nervous march. We exchange a look and silently agree. We will not let go.
Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow equality will welcome us as we march in a proud parade. Our colours will shine as we are given a guard of honour by supporters, children and animals alike. We will march as one to the beat of the same drum as we leave behind our reality to pretend we too can act like them. Tomorrow we will get a taste of what the future might be as we mingle safely in our numbers. Tomorrow I can be me. I can be me safely without judgement, fear or risk. I shall consider that day to be the greatest sample of freedom I could ever be given.
Ireland is actually so bad sometimes at supporting LGBT events in smaller towns. These small towns are the ones who need the support for their LGBT groups and communities the most. These places don’t have drop in centres, LGBT cafés or gay bars. They’re not granted the funding required to enable them to get their own premises so their meeting venues are the most difficult to source. They rarely get any funding at all but have so much passion and so many ideas. This is the reality for any group outside of the cities here in Ireland so putting an event together is even harder for them and advertising it is twice as hard. Night club venues don’t want to offer a room on one of their busy nights so you need to hope that people will bother coming to your event on a night that is not usually worth going out on. There’s so many obstacles so why are our own LGBT community one of them?
It would be so easy to fill a venue if the gay people from each area actually got together and went to these events and brought along their friends or family members. Wouldn’t it be great to just sit and chill at an event full of same sex loving peers? It’s so hard to meet other LGBT people in rural areas so when groups put effort into getting an event together I like to see a good crowd at it but unfortunately that’s rarely the case. Rural based groups from all around Ireland post pictures of their events online and the main thing they usually have in common is poor attendance. Why? I love going to these events when the opportunity arises for so many different reasons yet I am constantly disappointed by the lack of support from other people. A group can’t be held responsible for a lack of public support yet the public must have their reasons too for not attending. We need each other to fill these events and keep these small groups going. Together we can make them bigger and we can help to enable them to be more progressive and successful. It would be so sad if these groups and localised events disappeared, it really would. I hope that doesn’t happen.
Today I was involved in a conversation about anger, challenging behaviour and how to deal with conflict. To be honest with you all, I am the type of person that would happily run a mile from a potential argument but I now realise that’s a habit that I must consider changing. Don’t get me wrong here: I don’t mean that I should be aggressive or irrationally challenging. That would make any situation so much worse. The advice I received today was so simple yet I never considered it before. I was told that if someone does something which upsets me I should always highlight it immediately. I shouldn’t let it slide or think that it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up for myself or defend my feelings.
The woman who gave this advice also claimed that taking this strategy on board herself changed how she valued herself and how others treated her. We all should have a massive amount of respect for ourselves because let’s face it; respecting yourself encourages others to show you the same treatment. I’m going to try telling people that they’ve upset me before they get the opportunity to do it again. It’ll be difficult to break such a long term habit so I guess the greatest challenge will be standing up to my own ideas of what I’m worth rather than the challenge of standing up to the person before me. I think a lot of the time we do not mention the ways others hurt us because we think we don’t deserve to be treated any better than that. You never deserve to have someone intentionally or even unintentionally hurt you. Speak out. You’re worth every syllable.
Hey all! I have been swamped with assignments hence my absence from WordPress and blog land. The downside – missing out on my virtual socialising, the plus side – an awesome qualification at the end of all this hard work.
I’m hoping that volunteer work is on the horizon for me pretty soon which prompted this thought process… does being butch actually decrease your job opportunities? Will this be a factor in a future employers decision regarding your potential employment? Or does this discrimination only exist in certain types of work? To be honest I’ve never been served in a shop by a butch woman. I actually haven’t encountered one elsewhere either for that matter but I am not sure if that means that butches aren’t being hired or if they’re just not applying for these jobs in particular. Even if they are applying for these jobs it must also be said that a lack of qualifications is a possible reason for them not achieving employment also. It could be any number of reasons really so it’s hard to blame discrimination alone.
Like I already mentioned, I am hoping to get some work experience through volunteer work which will revolve around caring for people who have intellectual disabilities. One thought which struck me recently was “Should I grow my hair? Should I make myself look less butch?”. I know, I know, you should always be true to yourself but I still found myself thinking about how my looks could potentially impact people’s impression of me. I was initially thinking that having longer hair may help my cause but then I got a haircut so I failed big time there. Then I wondered if my small chest is a factor when I’m presumed to be a guy but no way on earth would I be happy wearing something designed to emphasise what little breasts I do have. Wearing make-up just isn’t me… I’d probably end up looking like a drag queen to be honest.
In the end I thought to myself “Why can’t being butch be an asset for me instead of simply being something negative?”. After some research I found out that there is very little out there to help or educate people who have intellectual disabilities and identify as LGBT so this lead me to thinking that I could actually be able to offer some form of support for these people. Maybe sharing my experiences and knowledge could actually inspire understanding and compassion amongst those who have intellectual disabilities. It’s something that many heterosexual workers and volunteers may not feel equipped to handle so perhaps that could be where I can help?
I guess my point is that sometimes your sexuality and your style may be more of an asset than you first realise. Our world is undeniably becoming more accepting and even more fond of us rainbow folk and I’m glad I didn’t even entertain the idea of changing myself to fit in or be more accepted when this energy can be better put into helping to transform attitudes for the better. Right now I’m genuinely pretty excited about the possibility of speaking about a topic that remained taboo for such vulnerable people for so long. I’m feeling determined and ready to play an active role in my community.
I hope all of you are having a great week.
Take care of yourselves. 🙂
Quick post again because I’m super busy lately… Exciting times guys and gals! Tomorrow (or maybe it’s today somewhere) will be our 3rd wedding anniversary! Time has flown by so much but I couldn’t have found a better person to spend it with. It doesn’t feel like three years since we said our vows in front of our friends and family in an intimate venue followed by a buffet, cake and just enough alcohol to toast the occasion.
We’ve grown together as a couple and have grown as individuals with each other’s help. The spark is still there more than ever so that makes this anniversary even more special. Nobody could ever come close to being as amazing as she is to me.
Cherish your loved ones because they are so precious. Don’t settle for someone you like when the one who makes your heart beat faster is out there waiting for you. I found the one who makes my heart beat faster in a dirty pub that is really the very last place that you would think that true love could blossom in yet it did. ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol is our song so three guesses what will be on repeat in our house this week… Have a great love filled week everyone!
Best wishes to you all,
In follow up to my last slightly negative post here’s something a bit more positive… here’s my top five recommended boosts to your general wellbeing.
1. Take at least an hour or two every week to unwind. Sit down and enjoy doing nothing, chill out with a movie, read a book, do whatever you really enjoy doing. Your you time should preferably not include several other people shouting “shots!” as you drink yourself silly while partying the night away. That’s awesome too but it’s not really going to help you relax, is it? Spending Saturday nights in front of the tv with some munchies and a warm drink can be a welcome break from a hectic night life or from a busy week.
2. Grab your partner, best friend, Mother or sibling and do something you’d both enjoy every so often. Check out a new movie, go to a gig or restaurant or even visit a new place together. While you’re there take plenty of pictures. Making great memories matters so much more than sitting at home surrounded by pretty items that are often meaningless. Spending your time and money on experiences is a much better investment than dedicating most of your cash on random items. Less is more when it comes to stuff but you can never get enough of life and what it has to offer.
3. Remind yourself regularly of the great things you do have in your life instead of focusing so much on the things you don’t have. Chances are the things you don’t have probably won’t make you as happy as you think they will. The happiness that comes from shopping is only a temporary feeling which is not to be confused with the happiness that comes with personal contentment. Being envious of other people’s relationships, families or children is a wasted emotion because not everything is always as great as it seems on the outside. Comparing yourself or your items to others and their possessions will mean that you will never actually find real happiness because you’ll end up constantly chasing everyone else’s dreams.
4. Organise your surroundings. If your home is organised it will more than likely help your mind to feel more organised too. It helps your mind to relax when you know that the items, documents and general contents of your home are in order or at least it eases my mind! If that fails then it’ll still be a bonus to not have to face any stressful situations of not knowing where certain things are – that really wrecks my head, hence why I rank organisation as such an important thing!
5. Go for walks often. I mean a walk for pleasure not to actually get somewhere. Avoiding junk food and going for strolls is a fantastic combination that will really help your body to feel less sluggish and more energised to complete your healthier lifestyle. Throw in some water instead of fizzy drinks too or dare I suggest swapping one of your coffees for a bottle of water to refresh your body even more. Junk food tastes great but it tastes so much better when it’s a rare treat rather than a daily necessity and your body will be seriously grateful. A healthy body, healthy mind and well nourished soul will have you feeling tons better over time.
I’ve made adjustments to my life that genuinely make me feel so good so the above list is just a bit of advice from me to you based on my experiences. I thought I was doing just fine until I started changing some small things then some bigger things. Little by little one goes far. Love yourself, always.
I was a naive seventeen year old when I was in a relationship with an older woman. She seemed genuinely interested in our relationship and enjoyed being around me and my friends, even travelling over an hour to just be with us for a short while sometimes. It was not a serious relationship at all and we were both fine with that. I was still going through my “Love isn’t for me” phase back then. I started to enjoy being around her to be honest.
It’s always the things you don’t see or hear that are the most important pieces of the puzzle and that’s exactly what that relationship taught me. After we broke up a friend of mine confessed that a friend of my ex’s actually told him to warn me off of her because she was not a good person. He felt like he would have been speaking out of place and that I wouldn’t appreciate the interference so he chose to keep quiet. That didn’t bother me too much because I didn’t have any emotions invested in the whole situation so I didn’t waste much time thinking about it.
For some unknown reason the ex felt like it was a great idea to contact me and admit to sleeping with several men while we were dating. That stung! I felt surprised that she cared so little. I was actually hurt that I meant so little that it wasn’t even worth remaining faithful in our relationship. I guess I felt like an idiot for thinking that by being a good girlfriend myself that I would be rewarded with the same treatment. I blamed myself and felt ugly. I felt like faulty goods actually. I thought I must have missed some signs. I wondered was that the fact that I hadn’t slept with anyone before and wasn’t willing to sleep with her to blame. I also wondered why someone who claimed to be a lesbian had cheated on me with guys. I hated that I had thought of our relationship as “just fun” but she thought cheating on me was more fun.
Sure, it was far from serious, but it still hurt to be cheated on not once but several times. When I asked her why she did it she simply said “Because I could and it was fun.”
That whole experience made me realise that not every woman, whatever age they may be, will care as much as you do. It also showed me that cheating is all too common and it can happen to any of us for any reason. So many different things motivate people to be unfaithful and, no, it’s not your fault that you were cheated on. The young dreamer within me back then had not yet seen women as just as capable as men at being ignorant to the emotions of fellow ladies. I think a part of me even hoped that women treated each other with the care you’d place on fragile glass. Everyone is capable of hurting you. Too often we forget that. It was a hard lesson to learn but at least I learnt it quite early in life. I know that being cheated on hurts when you aren’t invested in the relationship so I’m sure it would be absolutely heartbreaking if you are.
Today I’d like to tell you all about the confusing, angst ridden ball of fire that was my girlfriend back when I was sixteen. She seemed great at first but everyone does. We met face to face but barely spoke, got talking online a few days later and suddenly I had a girlfriend. I was excited about the new relationship despite the fact that it was sort of long distance with her being almost three hours away which feels very long distance when you’re sixteen.
It turned out that she was a seriously selfish, self obsessed liar with no respect for me at all with no desire to show affection unless someone else seemed interested. She invented an eating disorder that she never actually had as well as lying about some other pretty big stuff. I think she enjoyed the attention that came with these lies but the lying cost her a lot when her friends found out the truth. I think it irritated me most that she had a job and I didn’t yet I was the one expected to pay a small fortune travelling to see her just for her to act like she couldn’t care less if I was there or not. If another woman was talking to me on Bebo (yep, Bebo was the big thing back then) she had to jump in and make her presence known by commenting with “Hey, how’s my girlfriend today?” or something equally intended to mark her territory. She told everyone that I was a great girlfriend so everyone thought our relationship was going brilliantly. Everyone except me. If I had any problems she ran a mile and didn’t want to listen but I still spent hours listening to her issues that ended up being totally fictitious. If I was randomly in her area she was always too busy to spare a few minutes for me. Needless to say that relationship didn’t last long but she did try to remain present in my life popping up every few months.
Years later she was mere background noise that I barely paid attention to anymore. I should have known that something was bound to trigger her possessive nature again and that something was my marriage. A few days before our wedding my wife got a friend request from her and before she could decide either to accept or decline she had also received a private message. This message went like this “Hi, I’m alesbianspeaks’ ex – girlfriend. I hope you’re happy with her and treat her right, like I never could, she definitely deserves it.” I would have perceived this message to be a lot more thoughtful if it wasn’t so self pitying and if it wasn’t also followed by a private message to my own account asking if I was sure I wanted to marry “this person”. She feigned interest in our wedding and the clothes we had chosen to wear before she gave up whatever she was trying to do. I didn’t allow her to penetrate my thoughts further over the days after this communication because, honestly, she was nothing more than my past to me and she belonged there. She wasn’t the worst and I accept that there was some good times with her too but I never had strong feelings for her so leaving her behind was the obvious thing to do. She hung around for another few months virtually before she decided it was time to unfriend me. Her presence didn’t bother me – I think I was beyond caring. Maybe she stayed for a while because she wanted to see if I really seemed happy. I don’t know.
Staying friends with an ex is a complicated issue that is everyone’s own decision to make but some old flames are more hassle to keep around than they’re worth. It’s okay to say see ya around to your past and move on because moving on is essential in life. A big mistake, in my opinion, is to allow an ex to control your future. Nobody should have that power except you. I don’t know anything about her life anymore and that’s perfectly fine by me. I just thought I’d tell you all about her to show you that it is easy for someone to retain power over you if you allow them to and you can only really move forward when you stop allowing this to happen.
A Gallup poll which aimed to assess the countries of the world and their attitude towards LGB people has ranked Ireland as number six and I have to admit I’m pretty impressed with that! 75 percent of people agree that Ireland is welcoming and friendly towards Gays and Lesbians. This survey collected answers from over 100,000 people from 123 different countries.
Here’s the top six…
First place – the Netherlands
Second place – Iceland
Third place – Canada
Fourth place – Spain
Fifth place – United Kingdom
Sixth place – Ireland
The biggest surprise for me was that the United States was voted into the 12th spot with 70 percent of those surveyed declaring the States to be gay friendly. Are you surprised by your country’s ranking? Do you think this accurately reflects the world as it is today? I’ve been thinking a lot about Ireland’s attitude recently and I have been giving this little country credit where it’s due because we are making progress here and our residents are opening their arms wider in welcome to increasing numbers of lgb people coming. We still have a long way to go before we reach complete acceptance but I’m grateful for how far we have already come.
I’ve a confession to make about my lesbian life… I’ve never been to a gay bar. Ever. Not once.
It’s not because I’m not interested in going to one. Well, I suppose that’s partly it because the gay bars here aren’t very gay. Gay friendly would sum it up much better because it’s mainly hen nights and fag hags that fill the bars here each weekend.
I must also tell you all that I can name at least five gay bars that have closed down throughout Ireland over the past few years. Why are they closing? Apart from the obvious answer to that question (lack of customers), I really don’t know. For whatever reason the LGBTQ community’s love of going to a gay bar has seriously declined over the past few years. Some might suggest that this is happening because we are more welcome to be open in most night clubs and pubs. Personally I’d totally disagree with that statement for so many reasons. I still hear of circumstances of discrimination and homophobia at least once every few months so surely there is still a gap in the market for the safe haven that is a gay bar? If you are actually lucky enough to find a gay gay bar.
The closest gay bar to me was over an hour away by car. I say was because it’s one of the ones that’s bitten the dust now. That hour would not be an easy or cheap trip for someone like me who doesn’t drive so to make this awkward and expensive journey to a bar filled with straight ladies that happens to have a pride flag hanging outside it just doesn’t sound worth it to me. If I could find a bar that fulfills the expectations I had for so many years after watching The L Word and Queer as Folk then I would be very impressed and I would definitely be there!
Dublin Pride was brilliant, in my opinion, but I was only seventeen when I was at it so sticking around in the hopes that I’d gain access to one of the clubs Dublin has to offer didn’t make sense back then. So if Pride can be so loud and proud with it’s numbers growing each year but gay bars are disappearing rapidly does that mean that our community is simply becoming more comfortable with the idea of fading away and blending into the background? Are we now satisfied with just having that one day to show our colours before we return to our daily lives? I was asked if it is even necessary to segregate ourselves from the heterosexual community with Prides and exclusive bars. Honestly, I don’t see it as segregation or exclusivity. I would love to see Ireland have a strong LGBTQ scene that includes a few good bars for lesbos like me who just wanna have fun! It’s still not fully accepted for a couple like us to actually act like a couple in public so until that day arrives I will happily tell everyone that I think it’s necessary for us to have gay bars and prides and festivals that allow us to be ourselves. It’s just disheartening to have to travel so far to actually get the opportunity to be ourselves but I still would hate to see that opportunity completely fade away even if it is only an opportunity to be in a gay friendly atmosphere rather than a full LGBTQ experience. I may go to a gay bar one day and if I ever do you can expect a full review! For now I’m fairly happy to be one half of the lesbian couple that seems to stand out so much in our small town but I’ll still be dreaming of a camped up, butched out, drag filled bar.