I have other things to be writing today. I have more thoughts about Dumbledore – even after the shitshow that was the new Fantastic Beasts film. There’s an essay I need to write to get another scholarship cheque, and I’ve programs to write up for work, and y’know a masters dissertation to write at some point. But today, I am too angry to write any of that. Because the Dáil is debating Ireland’s post-referendum abortion legislation. So, brace yourself folks, it’s time for another abortion rant. Specially, about how very DONE I am with politicians. Particularly, Simon Harris.
I have complex feelings today.
In truth, I have complex feelings most days. But today, and all this week, I have had complex feelings about being British. Monday was November 5th – Bonfire Night – and today is November 11th – Armistice Day, and the centenary of the end of World War One. So, for a Brit living in Ireland, with 139 days until Brexit apparently becomes a reality, it’s a day for complex feelings.
My current status: emotional whirlwind. A week after the polls have closed, I almost still can’t quite believe that we won the referendum to repeal the 8th. A landslide no less. I think it’s going to take a while for that to sink in. There has been many media/internet opinions on how the campaign was won – many, sadly not emphasising the grassroots feminist aspect, and ignoring the importance of donuts, or correctly folding t-shirts. But today, I am not going to give you another hot-take – instead, in another attempt at using writing as personal therapy, I’m going to talk about genies, ants and growing up.
As any immigrant knows, there are a million little things that continue to be different from ‘home’, long after you’ve settled into the big differences. For me, mapping the seasons onto the calendar is one of them – in particular, answering the question of ‘is it spring yet?’
I had a whole post I was going to write when I got back from our trip to Seattle. It was going to be about emotional labour. About how society consistently undervalues the unpaid/low paid womyn’s work that keeps the wheel spinning. About how practising what you preach is tough, and will probably lead to you getting called out on your problematic shit. About learning from your mistakes, and owning them, and apologising like you mean it. About reflecting on yourself and growing and changing what sucks. About how that’s hard work. It was going to be interesting, and I was going to try really hard not to talk about how great I am.
But on Monday, after a great trip to Seattle and a wedding in London, I was out of energy. Jet lag, I figured. Still, I felt kinda low. Didn’t want to do anything much. Decided to play some video games. I started up an indie game from Zoe Quinn. And I can’t stop myself from crying as I realise what that painfully familiar feeling creeping over me is. I tried to ignore it. I went out to a campaign meeting, hoping that jet-lag would be enough of an excuse for my weird spacey disconnectedness. I went home with my partner, watched Game of Thrones, hoped it would be a one-off ‘bad brain day’.
As a non-resident immigrant living in the US, we had limited political agency (I retained overseas voting rights for the UK, my husband was wholly politically disenfranchised) – and we were specifically warned about getting “too involved” in anything political by our relocation team. At times, as you may imagine, this was incredibly frustrating – especially during the global clusterfuck that was 2016. So one of the things I promised myself when I moved back to Ireland was that I would get involved in the causes that matter to me. One of those things – and the one I mostly yell about on the internet – is abortion rights.
Of the many things that are difficult while living abroad, politics can be the thorniest to negotiate. My convoluted status as a non-resident, non-immigrant alien means that I can’t vote here in the US – no matter how many times Facebook exhorts me to register – and that’s an uncomfortable place to be in an election straight out of the Twilight Zone. There have been important political happenings in my home country and adopted nation too – Brexit and the Irish marriage equality referendum, most notably – which have emphasised my feelings of disconectedness.
Today, the UK gets a new prime minister: Theresa May. I’ve said earlier that I’m pretty ambivalent about this – I want to see more women in positions of power around the world, but does it really have to be *this* woman? When I was born, Britain had a female prime minister – and she was a pretty hideous woman, whose death lead to the song “Ding Dong the Witch is dead” resurfacing in the UK charts.