Screaming into the void

That’s what I’m doing right now. Only figuratively at least – to do so literally would risk:

  • Scaring and distracting the kids.
  • Annoying/scaring the neighbors.
  • Terrifying the cat.
  • Perturbing the hus-creature

None of which options seem like a particularly smart plan.

Especially annoying the neighbors – since we moved (in May this year) we have some truly wonderful people next door who were:

  • Pleased to see us move in.
  • Made us welcome to the street – on the very day we got the keys in fact.
  • Seem to love the kids – they have a fair number of grandkids so as and when there’s no more goddamn plague maybe there can be some block party type socialization.
  • Have recommended local workmen – one of their grandsons actually cuts our grass every two weeks.
  • Offer advice to us, in a non pushy manner, about things we need to consider/bear in mind when dealing with a 120+ year old home in America.

No, honestly, as weird as it sounds, we’ve never had to deal with an old house and it’s ‘quirks’ before. Our flat in the U.K. was built in 2006. I”ve lived through some of it growing up, but I’ve never owned it.


I’m usually pretty gosh-darned good at putting a brave face on things, it’s something of a specialty of mine. But not today. Not right now. Right now I am this close to doing my Lady Macbeth act again.

We are so close to an election that could break the world into tiny pieces. An election that will materially affect my family and I cannot vote in it.

Normally I can put a brave face on it, and remind myself that part is (hopefully) only temporary, but as it gets closer I can feel my anxiety spiking. There’s so much unknown and no one really thought The Orange One would win 2016 did they?

And 2020 is a whole damn mood on its own.

Today however is a stupidly busy day which probably isn’t helping. Today entails:

  1. Plumbing work – to try and repair major drain issues that mean that we cannot, at the moment flush toilet paper – and haven’t been able to for months – don’t ask. They have to cut a hole in a wall that we didn’t want to use, so that’s another thing to add to the money pit list because it’s in a room that will get a lot of traffic eventually. And the water is switched off so we can’t flush toilets or wash hands (thank the GODS for my hand sanitizers stash)
  2. New freezer being delivered – on the same day as plumbing work. No this was not part of the original plan. But from next week I can finally batch cook and freeze meals for some form of future planning.
  3. It’s snowing. First bloody snow of the season.
  4. It’s bin day and also garden waste collection and the bottom came out of one of the garden waste bags, and the bins aren’t yet collected and did I mention the imminent freezer delivery?

#1 Son also has his second 2:1 violin lesson in less than an hour, which means his concentration for the rest of the day will be shot and after lunch they are allowed to wear their Halloween costumes which means he will be making Pikachu noises all afternoon.


Which will almost certainly mean another email from his teacher about lack of paying attention etcetera


I’m tired. So tired. It’s bone deep at this point.

On rights

Human rights.

We are all human beings. We all deserve to be considered equal.

In recent years a number of events have occurred that are working towards this as a goal.

  • Marriage Rights for same-sex couples
  • Reproductive Rights

Just for the record, in case there was any doubt, I am firmly, pro-choice and pro same-sex marriage. Oh and also pro same-sex couples being able to adopt (and foster, but I think that might be a little easier)

Overall I am significantly privileged in my day to day life. I’m:

  1. Straight
  2. Cis
  3. Female
  4. White

Oh yes, racism rears it’s head because our recent green card experience was SO DIFFERENT to that of a colleague of the hus-creature who just so happened to not be white.

Now I’m never going to say that being a woman is easy, it’s bloody not. I’ve had enough grief and heartache simply having my medical issues taken seriously.

Now just for a second could we imagine that I was not cis?


Cis, for people who may not be aware, is the term used to describe those of us as individuals who identify with our gender assigned to us at birth.


In my case to not be cis would mean that I identified as male in a female body.

I just cannot imagine dealing with endometriosis and also knowing I was in the wrong body.

But people do. There are people who are born assigned male who know they are female, and vice versa.

And for this to be corrected in whatever manner the individual wants (and it doesn’t always mean surgery ok?) they need support. They need to have the right to seek the treatment they need.

Did you know that one of the treatments for endometriosis is the same medication that is often prescribed for transitioning individuals? I didn’t. Until I was prescribed it. Because it shuts down your ovaries. Yes, I was on a puberty blocker. Amongst other things – it also treats both aggressive breast cancer and prostate cancer.

I know? Who knew right? Bloody wonder drug it is. And also costs thousands of dollars per shot out here. But that’s a separate rant for another blog post.

Did that change my sexual orientation? No.

Did that change my gender identity? No.

Oh and yes, I was also prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) because I still needed the hormones that my body wasn’t making at the time.


And yes, I’m still on them now


Did that change my sexual orientation? No.

Did that change my gender identity? No.

I was still female. Still a woman. And recognised as such. Which put me in an interesting position of privilege.

But why am I musing on this today? Because today, one of my (previously) favourite authors – JK Rowling – has confirmed that she is a TERF.

What is a TERF? That would be a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

She believes that you can only be a woman if you were born biologically one. Likewise you can only be a man if you are born biologically one. Whatever “biologically” actually means. DNA testing has shown that there’s much more complexity to things than simple XY and XX meaning Male and Female respectively.

No. Science has proven this to not be true. And regardless – if it doesn’t affect you why does it matter?

By this I mean – you don’t have to experience something to agree with it.

Likewise just because it would never be a thing you would do, doesn’t mean you have to vilify it.

I am comfortable in my skin, in the gender I was assigned at my birth. I did not choose this. It’s the way I am wired. The way my brain works. I am lucky.

There are individuals for whom that is not the case. And they are human. They deserve rights. They deserve the same rights as everyone else. They deserve to be able to receive the medical care they need (whether self funded or otherwise) to be well. To be safe. In whatever format that takes for them. They deserve not to be persecuted for their existence.

And for those thinking “but what about bathrooms” and similar things can I ask you something? Do you have gendered bathrooms in your house? Do your neighbours? No. Because that’s insane. Transgender individuals are no more likely to assault another person than any other group. Could it happen? Of course, but not simply because they are transgender.

That would be because they are a bad person. Which has nothing to do with gender identity or sexual preference.

I do understand that it’s difficult. That there’s a sensitivity to it but with the bathroom part that’s easy – gender neutral bathrooms with locking cubicles. That way no one sees what’s in your pants. Gyms etc? Gender-neutral lockable cubicles for changing in. That way no one sees what is in your pants. No one has a urinal in their bathroom do they? They aren’t a requirement. I mean, I have no idea if they are more comfortable than peeing standing up, what with not having the prerequisite equipment, but men poop too. And to quote South Park:

You don’t take a dookie in the urinal

My gym has three lockable areas to change. Two of them have a shower. It’s never been an issue – never been too full to not change.

Hell even the building TT’s dance class is held has gender neutral toilets on every floor. And yes, it makes me happy to see it. Because that’s the minimum needed to make so many people feel safe.

So I’ve made a slightly early New Year’s Resolution.

In 2020, I intend to go to Pride. I’m going to go, and I am going to offer “Mom Hugs” to any LGBTQ+ person who needs or wants them.

This world is getting scarier by the day and if I can help in any small way I will. People shouldn’t be living in fear because of who they are.

Because let’s face it, why the hell would anyone choose to live their lives in fear? If being gay was a choice, I don’t believe anyone would choose to put themselves in the harms way that it currently is. And it shouldn’t be.

Love is love. Gay, straight, bi, ace, black, white or other. Life is life.

As ever I’m sure I haven’t expressed myself the way I intended to, but I hope at least I’ve made sense.

I will end this post by saying, if this is something that you personally disagree with. That’s fine. You do you boo. But do not legislate against other human beings simply because they differ from you. As long as it doesn’t harm anyone, agree to disagree and move on.

And vaccinate your dang kids people. That does cause harm.

Oh and here’s some reading material:

Love Lives Here

Yes, You Are Trans Enough

Oh and while I’m on this train. The Earth isn’t flat.

The aftermath

I’m saddened. Sickened. Heartbroken.

Due to the time zone differences I watched it unfold. I couldn’t even get drunk – my system rejected the buzz, so I stopped.

This morning my social media feed is full of my friends who are feeling the full gamut of emotions:

  • Fear
  • Despair
  • Terror
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Pain
  • Resignation
  • Confusion

There have even been a few quiet celebrations – and I don’t blame those people.

Where my fury lands is on those who are gloating in the face of pain and fear.

Because for so many of my friends that is what the next 5+ years represents. They are not upper class. They don’t have savings. They’ve had to use services that are being cut. They have mental health needs. They have children with special needs like I do.

I might live across the pond now, but my heart is still with them.

But I say this now. Great Britain is no longer “home”. It is where I was born. Where I was raised. The values I believe in, tolerance, respect, inclusivity, caring for your neighbour? No longer exist for me there.

The USA doesn’t feel like home yet either. So for now I remain rootless. I will continue to build a life for the kiddos and we will probably be fine.

I wish and hope with all my heart that those I love overseas are too.

To Scotland I say:

I’ve changed my mind. Should you manage independence in the face of almost certain opposition from Westminster I stand behind you.

To NI I say:

I’m sorry. I hope and pray that The Good Friday Agreement holds. I stand behind you.

To everyone else reading this I say (quoting from a friend who I’m not sure reads this blog, but if you do I hope you know who you are- you summed it up so much more eloquently than I ever could):

I work with people of all political backgrounds, belief, and upbringing. It IS possible to find common ground and work to represent everybody without compromising your own principles. What you do have to compromise are dogmatic absolutes. You will sit down and work with the MP you’d never vote for- and make positive change. You will advocate for the poorest, most disadvantaged in spaces they are never considered- and make positive change. You can lift up the voices whose principles harmonise with your own. You can create real, lasting, positive change.

It will not happen from behind tribal lines.

Things can change without compromising your core values.

Everyone cares about something.

The last 6 years have been an education for me. Everyone cares about something. Find that, make it your common ground. Forget tribal lines. Think human.

On that note, Christmas is just around the corner. If you can, think of your neighbours. Your town. People struggling. Donate something to a food bank. Give a gift to a child in poverty. Invite someone you know is struggling to Christmas dinner.

Do something kind.

And keep doing it. Especially as the weather bites down.

Because, there but for the grace of The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, go us all.

I leave you with this year’s Christmas photo of the kiddos. Because right now I need their simple belief in the goodness of the world. You’ll probably see this again, as I’m attempting to catch up on everything that has happened since late August!

I’m not political…

A very long ranty post is incoming. All views are my own. There may be facts obscured by emotions but today I am feeling all the feelings and I need to vent.

Politics.

I didn’t study it, I know very little about it. I can be gullible and credulous and I’m easily led. And I’ve been silent on this blog for way too long again generally.

But today is important.

Today: Thursday December 12th 2019 Britain has a choice to make. Between another five years of Tory rule under the floppy-haired, fridge-hiding* Bojo.


Incidentally does anyone else remember the outcry on GBBO a year or so back when Noel Fielding, a comedian hid in a fridge one episode to try and provide some tension relief? People were outraged at his apparent immaturity.

Now our PRIME MINISTER does it, live on tv, and nothing, nada. Tumbleweeds.


Or literally anyone else.

Now, anyone who knows me well in real life knows how I feel about Magic Grandpa. Oh sorry, I mean Jeremy Corbyn.

I used to truly believe in him. That first election after he took over the Labour Party? He swayed my allegiance from Lib Dem. He did. And I was actually okay with accepting my defection.

I had never planned to leave yellow. I had read a study that said all voters, sometime past the age of 30, decide that since they are no longer students (since apparently only students vote for the Liberal Democrat’s 🙄🙄🙄🙄) they need to decide upon their final party and make the permanent switch to either blue or red.

Putting aside the sheer childishness and naivety of that statement – there are how many other parties these days? It offended me to think that it was expected of me. I may have blindly clung on to yellow more than I should because of it.

Then Magic Grandpa appeared. He seemed strong, he seemed determined. To this political neophyte he seemed to have an impressive background and didn’t just blithely lick the boot** and ask for more..


** I’m looking at YOU right now BBC. Don’t think we don’t see the criminal behaviour of the last few days. Just because nothing will fucking come of it doesn’t mean we don’t see it


So I voted Labour. And watched. And hoped. And became slowly disillusioned.

The lack of leadership over Brexit. The refusal to actually be an Opposition Party. Refusing to admit what he believed about it – well that last one would have been difficult for him given how much he and Labour have been crucified in the media.

I have however made a key mistake over the last 4 years. I believed it was all about Brexit. It’s not.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I hate it. I will stand here until the end of time and shout:

I HATE BREXIT I BELIEVE IT IS BAD AND WRONG AND SHOULD BE STOPPED

Hell, it is why we emigrated!!!!

I still firmly believe that Labour should have been anti Brexit. But that’s not the important thing anymore.

Because while I have been blinded by Brexit, other, equally hideous things have been happening.

Cuts to services, vital services:

  • Schools
  • NHS
  • Local (non Tory) councils.
  • Benefits for our poorest and most vulnerable

Scandals:

  • Windrush
  • Grenfell

Food bank use has skyrocketed. People have died and are dying.

These happened under Tory rule. They’ve happened because of Tory rule. And if they get in for another term? Another full five years? Britain is going to be a mini America.

You don’t want that

I have bloody decent health insurance and we still see bills. Horrific ones. Terrifying ones. We will stay here because it’s proven to be better for the kids, but I’m still praying that America sorts it’s shit out before the kids age out of daddy’s coverage.

There’s so little social care here. It’s awful if you’re not comfy. And that’s the point. The whole point of this rant.

I’m alright Jack

Well bully for you Chad. What about Tracey down the street? You know, the nice woman with two kids and a husband who was made redundant because his job was shifted overseas because of Brexit? And now he can’t find work because he’s “too old”. Who now has to scrimp and save and worries for her house? She can’t afford childcare because it’s more than her house payment. (And that I know for a fact).

Or Jean-Luc who came here to study, made a life for himself, married and had children? Who now fears that they will be ripped away from the only home they’ve ever known? Who can’t “go back to where they came from” because they came from here.

Or Georgina? Child free by choice, single, and scared that changes are coming that will tear her world apart?

Or David? Unable to work because he has cancer but is constantly told he’s “healthy enough to work”? When he’s having chemotherapy that makes him violently ill. When he can’t walk more than 10 paces, but because he can do THAT he’s obviously well enough and should just “stop scrounging?”

Or Deborah – suffering from mental health issues and there’s no support. She can’t get a diagnosis let alone treatment because no one believes her and the services aren’t there.

Or Sam – somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum quietly attempting to live their life without offending anyone by daring to exist. Who just wants a “normal life” without hatred and fear.

Or any of the thousands of people who currently can’t get their medication. Or can’t get their kids seen.

Kids like our son who need extra support at school but can’t get it because funding has been slashed?

That’s what this government has done. And that’s why we’ve voted. I still believe deep down in my soul that Corbyn’s stand on Brexit is wrong. But it’s not just about that anymore. It’s about pulling Britain back to being somewhere decent and safe.

Remember 2012? Remember the Olympics? That Opening Ceremony? That was the last time I felt truly proud to be British.

How did we go from 2012 to 2016? From inclusivity and pride to Brexit and thuggery?

Please, today, let’s go back to 2012. Let’s be what we were. Not Colonial India but open arms.

I voted for Magic Grandpa. Despite my personal feelings and apparent political leanings:

I sucked it up and voted Labour. Because I believe that they will help the most people. Brexit or no Brexit, they will do the most good for the most people. People who are not me. People I left behind. People I love.

So today. Vote. And honestly? If you still believe the Conservatives are best for Britain? Vote for them too. If they win, let them win because they got the votes. Don’t let them win because:

My vote doesn’t count

It does. Remember, if you didn’t vote then complaining when things go to shit for you or your loved ones won’t cut any ice.

You’ve got a voice. Use it.

If I can do it from here? You can go to your local polling station.

I will admit that the hus-creature and I paid a ridiculous sum of money to ensure our votes were received in time, but that is because this election is important.

It’s going to make or break us.

Please let it make us.

May 25th 2018

Credit for this image goes to Maureen Aisling Duffy Boose and Geraldine Byrne with grateful thanks

Today is a day for massive potential change.

Ireland is voting to repeal the 8th Amendment. If repealed, this would grant the right for women to seek a termination should they need or want it. *

I am firmly pro-choice. Always have been. Always will be.

With my medical issues, pregnancy could have killed me either time. Had I been misfortunate enough to have an ectopic pregnancy I would have needed an abortion/termination of pregnancy in order to live.

You know what? I like being alive.

I am an autonomous, living, breathing human being and dammit I have rights.

Incidentally I was sick enough after delivering each baby that I could have died from post-pregnancy complications. The entire process is no cakewalk. We suffer for our offspring.

We do it willingly – but sometimes it isn’t possible. Or should not be.

My sisters in Ireland do not currently have that choice.

Please do not forget that pregnancy can kill us, the women who carry those precious bundles.

That there are reasons why any pregnancy might be unwelcome or unwanted.

Or, most tragic of all, those pregnancies which are deeply wanted, the child longed for, precious, and yet that child will stand no medical chance of living. Or will survive for a time but in great physical pain. With no quality of life.

There have been recent cases in the media that cover this point.

For all of these reasons, and many others women need to have the choice.

We are here, we matter.

We are worth more than the potential contents of our uterus.

I have fears connected with this too, as we now live in a country that is seeking, day by day, to strip American women of these same rights and I have a daughter. A daughter who is worth more than her potential as a brood mare.

I have children who I feel should be able to reach maturity and experience a loving relationship without fear of an unwanted or badly timed pregnancy – contraception is a GOOD thing y’all.

But it doesn’t always work.

I stand with Ireland today. I pray that this goes the same way as gay marriage did.

Ireland, do us proud.

Here ends my political ranting. Normal service will resume later.


* it is also the day that the GDPR comes into effect, but I have fewer strong feelings about this.