Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

When I was a child I was told I needed to work hard if I wanted something. I was sent to all manner of performing arts outlets – dance, piano, acting – and was always told that I must practice if I wanted to get better, I must rehearse if I wanted to be good and I must be dedicated if I wanted to succeed. At school, my parents and my teachers told me often that I must study if I wanted to get the grades I wanted to progress. When I started working my father taught me that I should be the first one in and the last one home, my lecturers instilled in me that I must continue my education and read everything to stay ahead of the curve and be open to everyone and everything.

These people in my life showed me that hard work would eventually pay off for me and if I wanted to get where I wanted to be, I would not get there without hard work. But all these people failed me in possibly the most important area of my life, where hard work is maybe the most lacking. Love. No one ever told me that love required hard work.

I mean, it’s something you know and it something people say all the time but no one ever breaks it down to you or teaches you the lessons that we need to survive in a relationship. Well no one taught me anyway.

The thing is, we learn our relationship values from our parents, and since I’ve become an adult I’ve had to come to the conclusion that they are just winging it too. My mum was expecting her second child, was married and had a mortgage by the time she was my age and I’m struggling to keep myself alive. So, she had to be faking it too, right? What I’m trying to say is that parents can only do what they think is best, and there are pros and cons to all types of parenting.
My parents are still together after 30 years of marriage (I know!!!) it’s an amazing achievement, and they have a beautiful relationship that I aspire to have, but they had their share of ups and downs like every couple. There were a lot of financial issues in our family when I was a child but I’m only finding this stuff out now because my mum and dad (bless them) worked tirelessly to keep their problems hidden from us, to make it look to their children that they were solid and to shield us from any upset. This led to an amazing childhood full of happy memories, but it also set me up for failure when it came to relationships. I put my parent’s marriage as the benchmark to every relationship I’ve ever has. No one would ever treat me the way my Dad treated my Mum, and no one would ever take care of me the way she did to him. If I had an argument, I would immediately think we should break up because I have no experience in watching a couple hit a road block and work through it. I know that they did hit bumps in the road, but I never saw it. Our parent’s relationship, no matter what they taught us, are only one example of how things should be done.

As young girls, we are programmed to believe that a man will catch our eye across a crowded room and the surroundings will melt away as we drift over to each other on a cloud and fall in love and, wham-bam-thank-you-mam, that’s us sorted! From the films we watch, the stories we hear we are led to believe that there is a powerful force that will drive you to the person that you are meant to be with, and that once we meet that person everything else will just fall into place. When we learn the harsh reality, it can be a devastating blow. Our parent’s relationship, no matter what it taught us, is only one example of how things should be done.

Love is not enough, no matter what popular culture teaches us it’s not. Love is the foundation on which everything else should be built, but love cannot conquer all alone. How many people do you know claim to love each but treat each other with zero respect. Or love each so much they are moving forward in a toxic relationship. Love it is not the answer and certainly not the excuse for negative behaviour or for not working hard.

A relationship takes respect, compromise, compatibility and a desire to put the needs of someone else before your own at times. It means having to love someone despite their flaws, and to find someone that you can trust enough to be vulnerable with and them to be vulnerable with you. Find someone who brings out a side of you that you can’t find on your own and someone who seeks a part of your personality they feel they lack. It’s about finding a balance and accepting your differences. This is love, not catching the eye of someone so beautiful they take your breath away, but finding someone who’s laugh and smile makes you weak at the knees. Seek a partner who you become more attracted too, who you can’t keep your hands off a year on. And even more attracted to five years on.
Remember to work, and work hard. Because that is what it takes to form a partnership. It requires stepping out of ourselves to understand someone else’s thought process, about not saying something just to hurt someone else. It’s about compromise, and about carving out time for each other and keeping the spark alive.

The workload of a relationship requires two people, it literally cannot be done by one. You will fail. Share the load, help one another and communicate. I nearly lost something very special this week because we were both afraid of hard work. And the truth is that if we do work hard at the start, and make this the objective of our relationship,the work will get easier and suddenly it won’t seem so hard anymore.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your relationships? I’d love to know how you work through things with your partners!

Love, and hard work, always
A x

Learn to Let Go

One of my major problems in life is that I let myself believe I have problems. I have convinced myself that I am in some way damaged, broken and that problems in my relationships are my fault, and that I am to blame when things don’t go to plan or when things are not 100% perfect.

Over the last few weeks I have been having endless internal conversations with myself and several external conversations with my partner. These conversations have been about me and my mindset and all sorts of other deep and meaningfuls. The conclusion I have come to, when I break it all down and really examine the crux of why I’ve let myself get so negative is because I can’t let things the fuck go.

Honestly, it’s no wonder I’m living like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders when I’m walking around thinking about things some bitch said to me in 2004 and it’s come to the stage now where I need to look myself in the eye and tell myself to build a bridge and get over it!

I still find, in moments of silence, thinking about my time at school and how I would have done it all differently, and then I think about university and do the same thing and then I look at my time in London after that, and you get the point. I’ve spent most of my twenties looking back and that is not the way to live. I’ve taken away my own excitement about the future because I’m so dam focused on the past.

I had an awful time at school, I didn’t fit in and to be honest I didn’t really try to. I kept people at arm’s length and because of that, formed superficial friendships that do not exist today. A big part of that was probably down to my sexuality. I knew I was gay at 16, and I choose to suppress it and live my life as a ‘straight’ woman. But the thing is, I did that to myself, and the result is that now I punish myself and that results in me not being a very pleasant person to be around. I spent most of my time in London wanting to not be in London instead of enjoying it for what it was and having a bloody good time.

If I’ve taken one thing away from my weeks of reflection, it’s that nothing is permanent, even if it feels like a life sentence. School can only last until it’s over, University will end after three years and a bad living situation will only last until you decide you want it to change. But nothing is forever. So, let it go and enjoy it!

Let if go

Enjoy being unemployment for a short period, because when you get back into working you’ll crave free time.

Enjoy being single because there will be moments when you are in a relationship that you will wish for time alone.

Enjoy the honeymoon period of your new relationship, don’t throw something beautiful away because of useless worry – instead throw the past away.

Enjoy your partner, do not test them or burden them. Make them feel like they are special every single day.

Enjoy being young, because you are getting older every day.

Enjoy getting older, because you know more than you did yesterday.

Enjoy moments of sadness, because they remind us that we feel and they let us know when we are happy.

Enjoy your friends, they may be here in five years, they may not.

Enjoy your family. They will not always be around.

Enjoy yourself, be kind and gentle to your heart and mind.

Enjoy your present. In the end, it is really all we have.

The Lesbian and the 8 Coming Out Surprises

So, I came out relatively late in life, I was 26 so firmly in the mid-twenties bracket – not late. Mid. And there was a period of adjustment when I questioned everything about how I’d presented myself up until that point. Here’s a few of the highlights:

  1. My Walk

My walk was wrong. I didn’t walk like a lesbian so how on earth would anyone know that I was. I didn’t have that swagger that those beautiful androgynous lesbians had. You know what I’m talking about, it’s very cool, almost like a boy but still sexy. I didn’t have that, I was stuck with my straight girl walk and I’d be alone for ever because no one was going to find me attractive. Obviously.

  1. My style

Style and I, have always had an on off relationship. I knew how I wanted to look, but it just never quite came together. And I tried a lot of looks, some not good. Remember when Avril Lavigne rocked a tie over a tank top? Well only Avril Lavigne should have rocked a tie over a tank top but that’s another story.

But that aside, now that I was out I believed that I had to give a more visual que of my new status. I no longer felt comfortable wearing sexy dresses and heels when I went out, I needed to give off a more relaxed vibe that made me approachable, and not get labelled a fag-hag in the gay club.

Guess what?!  You can wear whatever the hell you want. The payoff to being brave enough to expose yourself is you can be exactly who you want to be. So dress however the hell you want. Own it guys.

  1. My Gaydar

This is me….

no-gaydar.jpg

4. Flirting

I spent a solid ten years of my post puberty life flirting with males. I’m a pro. If flirting with men was an Olympic sport, I’d have taken the gold. I can lead the conversation, I can follow, I can be whatever they need me to be, and I can make them do what I want.

Put me in front of a girl I fancy and I’m practically a mute. I guess if I was to analyse it, it’s obvious. I never really wanted a man, it was a game that I didn’t really want to finish.

I’m working on my flirting though, but it’s a process, (see point 3)

  1. Coming out again

And again. And again. And again

You have to constantly tell people because even in 2017, people assume you are straight, and then they reply:

“But you don’t look gay” “But you’re too pretty to be gay” “Do you think it’s a phase?”

*eye roll so hard I’ve lost them*

You think coming out it like a viral message to the world that you are here and you’re queer, and everyone gets the memo. But it’s not. Unless you are an all singing, all dancing, stereotypical “fits into what society believes to be” gay, then you may get comfortable saying those two little words, because they’ll be like a broken record coming from your mouth.

  1. PDA

I shocked myself with this one, I was extremely comfortable with PDA’s. I just did not give one fuck about holding a girl’s hand in public, or giving a cheeky kiss. It was so liberating.

I remember my first date with a girl, like a proper date not a drunken fumble in da club. She had been out for a long time, and was very comfortable with her sexuality, and I was a nervous wreck. But as we left the restaurant it was me that took her hand and I think it surprised us both.

I am fortunate enough to live in a country were being gay is okay, some people may not love it but I don’t have to live in fear, so for all those over the world who are hiding, and sacred and literally fear in for their lives because they were born gay, I’m going to hold a girl’s hand in public, in protest. Because if they could, they would.

  1. Gay culture

I love drags. The Drag community over the world have become my idols. They are full of life, and creativity and they are battling through their demons with laughter and

Drag queens are some of the bravest people in the world, they put themselves out there every time they glue down those man brows and don a stocking. They are a living message to live life to the fullest, in technicolour and to laugh. Laugh for days.

And boy, can they contour.

And I love being part of the whole LGBT+ community, it gives me this great sense of privilege that I was born in a time where I can be who I want to be, when I know there are people who fought for me to have this right. People who literally died for being brave, and thanks to them I can be who I am, in peace.

What surprised you about coming out?

Be Brave, A x

Under Stars

It’s 2017 and the world seems to be painted in rainbow colours. Gays are getting married, leading countries – big shout to Ireland for making the move this year – and generally people are being allowed to live their lives as openly gay and being celebrated for it. So why is it so hard for us to accept ourselves?

I remember it so clearly the moment I knew I was gay. Picture this – a open topped bouncy cast, a clear summer night, stars for days and two teenage girls lying down holding hands. I know, it’s a scene worthy of a John Hughes credit, but it was a night that I will never forget. The important thing to note about this night was that nothing happened, there was no kissing, no big dramatic reveal and certainly no hanky-panky. It was perfect night, everyone else had left the party and we were just lying there enjoying the silence. The only thing I could hear was my heart beating at 5000 beats per minutes and the word LESBIAN echoing in my head.

I was 17 and girl on girl action wasn’t new to me. I had kissed girls at parties – I went to an all-girls school so you had to get your kicks from somewhere! And in those moments, I felt excited and exhilarated but I never thought I was gay, I put it down to the sheer taboo of it all. I was kissing girls and boys were watching and it was daring and it was sexy and I thought I must just be a bit of an exhibitionist. But then I met the girl who would led me to the bouncy castle and everything changed.

I was a lezza.

I liked girls. I fancied them and I wanted to kiss them. Boys were gross.

Of course, I did what any other girl in my position would do. A girl who was raised as a catholic, in a family who were super religious, in a small Northern Ireland town that was very unforgiving – I suppressed it. I was not going to be gay, that was not my life and I ran from myself and shut myself in a closet for most of my adult life.

Let me tell you something about living in the closet, it’s dark and it’s lonely and it puts in in situations you don’t want to be in (hello all the hetro sex I endured). My advice; get your sexy gay ass out of there, honestly, it’s so fun out here now!

Oh why, oh why is it not that simple I hear you say, why can’t I come out, why can’t I tell anyone. Because the first person you must tell is yourself.

I know that sounds ridiculous, why would you tell yourself something you already know. But you don’t know, until you look yourself in the eyes and say the words out loud, then you don’t know.

The day I turned my back on my happiness and locked the closet shut was another scene John Hughes would have approved (side note; I love me a John Hughes film). Me and bouncy castle girl were standing face to face and she asked me to be with her and come out together, and be there for each other if it all went tits up (pun completely intended). And I looked her in the eyea and I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m not gay.’ In five words, I lost my best friend, my friendship circle and what could have been a great love. In five words, I was completely alone. Alone in the closet.

Guys, girls and everyone in between – take note. The moment you know that you are marching to the beat of a different drum, own it. Even if the only person you own it is the person looking back at you in the mirror. Because the closet is not a home, and it’s certainly not were the bright young things of the world should be hiding. Get out, come out, be proud!

Because if you can’t accept yourself, how the hell can you expect anyone else to accept you (Thank you RuPaul)

Love always, A