Well, here we are, six years after I started this blog and it seems fitting that I recap and, in a way, start over as over the last while, the world has started to shift and my life has, in many ways, diverged onto other paths.
Yesterday, June 25th, I was delighted to be able to share my story with Declan Meehan from East Coast FM’s Morning Show and, more importantly, to chat about the importance of consent, education, access to services and raising vital funds for regional counselling services like Wexford Rape Crisis Centre. I am currently nearing the end of running 100 kilometres for WRCC. As of today, June 26th, we have managed to raise €648 of a €500 target and I’ve run 84k. So thank you to everyone who has donated and shared!
In this week’s Arklow edition of The Wicklow People , my fundraiser was featured by the wonderful Eimear Dodd, who had interviewed me over the phone the week before. I think you have to be a subscriber to access the online article but I’m attaching a screenshot of the piece here, which could get me into trouble! Please do subscribe yourself or buy the hard copy paper, out each Wednesday. I’m hoping Eimear and her editor won’t mind as it’s all for a good cause.
To donate to the fundraiser, please click on this GoFundMe link . All funds go directly to WRCC who are planning a new building to house their flagship centre and to further support their outreach clinics across the county.
So, that’s where we are at this time but for a quick fly through my story, here are some bullet points:
- I’m 39 (and a half). Shit, I’m 39.
- I grew up an only child in Arklow. Although spoiled, I was independent and hard working at school.
- My Grandad and my Uncle were the positive father figures in my life, being raised in a very matriarchal family.
- At sixteen, after a summer’s night out, I was raped by an older boy I knew who was walking me home, with no expectations, or so I thought. Only my best friend knew and she dealt with the immediate aftermath. I didn’t tell my parents for six months, by which time most of the initial layers of trauma had set into my psyche. It being 1997, services were not widely available, or even discussed. I was ashamed and felt like spoiled goods.
- At 18, I was pregnant, at 19, I delivered my little soulmate, my daughter. We’ve been almost inseparable ever since.
- I married her father at 24, it did not end well, 20 months later.
- I have a degree in English and French, a Master’s in Anglo-Irish Literture and an MLitt in “The Role and Representation of Women in the Abbey Theatre During the Formative Years of the Irish State”, all from UCD.
- I miscarried early in 2008.
- I went through a period of starving myself to be thinner and thinner and maing myself sick to purge.
- I taught in a secondary school for over a decade and loved the teaching but not the system.
- I moved my 10 year old daughter and me to Ranelagh in 2010 and worked in a lingerie shop. We loved Dublin.
- I embarked on many dysfunctional, toxic relationships for a long period in my early 30s. I had three more very unsafe, non consensual sexual experiences during this time.
- I’ve had two major breakdowns resulting in not being able to work; resorted to self harm and half-heartedly attempted suicide.
- I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (which I feel is an outdated term and doesn’t reflect my experience accurately); PTSD; severe depression and chronic migraine.
- I have run two marathons and multiple half marathons, including a couple in the Texas high summer, which nearly killed me.
- I gained a step son, who is now six and a half, when I met and fell in love with my fiancé in 2015.
- We moved back to Arklow in 2017, being outpriced out of South Dublin.
- We have six rescue dogs. We lost our beloved old spaniel, Peggy, in October, the day after my hero, my Nana, was buried at age almost 98.
- I live around the corner from my Mam, the most stylish woman I know, and my Uncle, the best dressed man I know. They do so much for us.
- I run my own tutoring school.
- I make a lot of lists and beat myself up if I don’t get through all the to dos.
- I sleep poorly and have recurrent nightmares of paralysis and powerlessness. I regularly have cold night sweats.
- At Christmas, exactly six months ago today, in fact, on St. Stephen’s Day, I was rushed to hospital after having a seizure at home, having been to the out of hours doctor five hours earlier and diagnosed with an ear infection. In the ambulance, I had two more seizures, two more in hospital, went into cardiac arrest, had multiple organ failure and was out cold for five days with bacterial meningitis, encephalitis and mastoiditis. St. Vincent’s Hospital were amazingly quick in diagnosis which saved me from long term damage, and worse.
- I have gynae issues and I am awaiting surgery. We are currently unable to conceive successfully.
- I love running; gardening; listening to audiobooks; cuddling our dogs; interiors; writing; cooking; teaching; drinking gin and travelling.
- I put too much pressure on myself, especially to be productive and “achieve”.
- I’m trying to learn how to be a better ally to people who do not have my white, middle class, straight cis woman privelege.
- Education around consent and culture seems to me to be a crucial element in preventing future generations from accepting and committing sexual harassment; sexual abuse; gender based and domestic violence; rape; misogynism; homo and transphobia; racism and intimate terroroism.
- I’ve made A LOT of mistakes and hurt many people, sometimes because of residual trauma, and sometimes, just because I can be a bitch.
- I’m a ‘fixer”. I’m bossy. I’m loud.
Onwards, le bród,