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.
I am tired. I am very tired.
I’m tired because I don’t remember the last time I had an evening off or a good night’s sleep. I’m tired because I’m not eating properly, or exercising, or taking care of myself, and my body is feeling that. I’m tired because I work a physically and emotionally demanding job. But mostly, I’m tired of asking people to give women the right to make their own decisions. I’m tired of asking people to vote Yes on Friday.
But I’m still doing it. So, for one last time, please vote YES in the referendum this Friday.
In November 2016 while living in Seattle, I wrote a (very) short blog post asking people to vote, particularly for those who are disenfranchised but have to live with the consequences of that vote. Now, nearly 18 months later and back in Ireland, I find myself once again asking for people to make sure they’re registered in time to vote on an issue that massively affects me but that I have no control over.
I’m talking, of course, about the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment.
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?’
A friend asked me the other day if I was settled back into Ireland. The question threw me and left me distinctly unsettled – and it took me a while to realise why. I’ve been back in Dublin since December – and I’m pretty settled. I’ve caught up with old friends, got a job, an apartment, updated my Netflix account. The usual.
I have settled back into Dublin, and it has been comfortable and easy, for the most part – like wrapping myself in warm blankets that smell like home. Because Dublin has been my home, more or less, since I was 18. I spent a year in Britain, and nearly 3 in America – so this is actually the third time I’ve moved to Dublin – once in my teens, once in my twenties and now in my thirties, and this is the time I’m probably aware of what I’m getting into. (Someday, I’ll write about the ignorant, arrogant teenager who moved here at 18. Not today though).
2016 is – thankfully – nearly over. It has been a hell of a year to be an immigrant in the US. When I moved here three years ago, I never thought for a moment that they would be inaugurating President Trump in 2017.
I swear I was leaving anyway.