I’m sure most of you have already heard but I just thought I’d put up this post regardless. Today, the 23rd of May, marks the start of a bright new future for Ireland. The majority of voters said “Yes” to same sex marriage and it feels absolutely wonderful. I woke up this morning and was still unequal but by four o’ clock all of that changed.
People of all ages came out in full force to support this referendum. It was my first time voting and I feel so proud to have made history alongside my fellow voters. My civil partner and I went out canvassing for marriage equality and were met with such mixed reactions that I really didn’t know what result to expect today. Doors were slammed in our faces and we were told by some people that they would be voting “No” to our equality.
The strangest reaction we received was from one gentleman who confidently told us that gay and lesbian people do not exist. Apparently, according to this guy, lesbians are ugly women who can’t get a man and gay men are just guys who don’t have the courage to speak to women. Obviously.
Over the past few days I’ve felt such a mixture of emotions. Seeing the pictures of people returning home from other countries, making the journey home from college and work and going out to vote both alone and with their families has really moved me. Such support is overwhelming and I will never forget how I felt when the results were announced. My partner and I had our civil partnership almost four years ago and have always felt, in a way, like we were married but now this is different. This is not in our minds or in our hearts. This is our love given the validation it deserves. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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.
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.