This has been the strangest St Patricks Day. I know you don’t need me to tell you why. My anxiety wouldn’t let me type it out anyway (although it has supplied me with some great pitches for post apocalyptic fiction).
Today is also my daughter’s first St Patricks Day. And I’m thinking about what this all means for her – not the impact of the virus, but the impact of my mental health.
Me and my brain are not always the best of friends. I am so much better at balancing my mental health than I used to be. But it’s not great. And this whole thing isn’t helping.
Today is the last day of World Breastfeeding Week. Without doubt, breastfeeding has been the hardest part of becoming a parent for me. I’m not going to detail all the issues, because frankly I can’t be bothered, but in brief – tongue tie, nipple shields, expressing, top ups, hospital trips. But as I look down at my little one, snoozing on the boob and sleep smiling to herself, I don’t regret my decision. But it’s not always an easy decision to make.
Two months ago, my life changed immeasurably. A new person joined our family, and we became parents to a tiny Spud. It’s been quite the emotional whirlwind, and I’m not really sure I’m ready to process it yet. But she’s asleep on my chest, and I’ve my laptop balanced precariously on my knees, so here goes.
This time last year, I was stuck in Belfast, at the mercy of Sneachtageddon, writing about daffodils – and, like many others who campaigned for Repeal, I was looking forward to May with a mixture of trepidation and hope. Today, it’s unseasonably warm out – although it did just start raining – and I’m once again looking forward to May with a mixture of trepidation and hope. But this year, it’s because I’ve to finish building a new person in the next two months – and in May will be faced with the terrifying task of naming them (as well as the whole pushing a rugby ball sized thing from my vagina, but let’s not think about that too much right now). But I also have bodily autonomy, and that’s pretty amazing too.
[NB: writing this, I’ve ended up scribbling a LOT more than I thought I would, so this is probably going to be written in several parts.]
This week I’m in Seattle – partly to catch up with old friends, and partly to attend my favourite con: GeekGirlCon. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a con focused on celebrating women and girls in geek culture and building an inclusive, welcoming, intersectional space for geeks of every gender, size, colour, shape and creed. It’s my happy place. We went to a bunch of amazing panels – Afrofuturism 101, Sappho on the Silver Screen, Breaking Stereotypes with Star Wars – and there were many more we missed. Last night, myself and himself sat around with old friends and dissected the good/bad/ugly of Star Wars (midichlorians featured heavily), with a Mon Mothma mini trapped in a gelatinous cube.
All of this reminded me how much I *love* critically engaging in geek culture. It’s something I did a lot of here in Seattle that I haven’t really continued in Dublin. I miss sitting around and talking shite about Star Wars or Doctor Who (a short skirt is not a personality trait, Moffat) – without anyone gatekeeping or getting bent out of shape.
While getting coffee yesterday, I had a minor revelation about JK Rowling and Harry Potter – and so rather than spend my morning researching the Master’s thesis I’m supposed to be writing, I’m wearing my Time-Turner and ‘Feminist Killjoy’ badge and ready to ramble about Dumbledore, bravery, wokeness and White Feminism™.
On Friday, I attended the graduation ceremony for my Bsc in Psychology with the Open University. It was emotional and gratifying, finally getting some fancy robes and a glass of bubbles after years of work. Studying while working full time and still trying to be a human being is hard, but it was worth it. I can’t escape a certain sadness though. And it’s not just because the journey’s over.