The story of us.

We met in the darkness. Do you remember? My frail body like a piece of fine china in your big, broken arms. For a while it was too dark to find our way out. We stayed immersed in the veil of darkness but eventually the light found us. We had yet to realise it. We were too busy living, something that was novel to us again. By the time we had become aware of the blinding sunshine our paths were thoroughly intertwined. Not by fate anymore but by choice. We made the unconscious decision to tackle it all together. To grow together, to leave hibernation together, to dance together. We knew we were going to be together before we had even made the decision. We were wild. Our souls were untamed. We were complicated puzzles with missing pieces but each day, we found replacement pieces. It was us against the world, mainly because we had written it that way. We were the only characters in our play. The songs were written just for us. We danced carelessly but passionately. After a while I realised I couldn’t see anyone else. Each scene was tightly scripted but with only two characters. We were these horribly flawed but beautifully open caricatures. Everyone else were merely extras in the story of us. The grey that we lived in before had disappeared and now everything was tainted with a warm hue of every colour.

You see, in the beginning the darkness brought us together but it didn’t keep us together. So many other things kept us together. Our mutual love ridiculously scandalous behaviour and our hatred of most other things kept us together. Our dark sense of humour kept us together. The spark of creativity between us kept us together. Stolen, coy glances on cold, drunken nights kept us together. Raw passion kept us together. My ability to stay two steps ahead of you kept us together. Your brutal honesty and my inability to be tactful kept us together.

And now, love keeps us together.

-Christina.

 

Team adulthood

That’s what I thought we would be. You see, my parents were optimists, they raised me to celebrate other women. They taught me to encourage, support and love other women. I guess I was naïve because I had this crazy idea that there would be a sense of community, a sense of solidarity. I thought we would pass each other in our adult lives with a nod of support and acknowledgement. There are enough men in this world who believe we can’t do what they do. With every bone you pick with me you are proving a sexist, chauvinistic man right. You are showing him that we can’t do it. We can’t even act like a team. If we can’t even support each other how can we expect the opposite sex to give us their provision?

I showed up here one day. I had these crazy ideas about my adult life, it would be different from my teenage years. The juvenile angst and animosity would have melted away and we would finally guide each other. We would celebrate each other’s strengths and help work on each other’s flaws. We would be friends. We would be comrades. We would be human beings.

I didn’t realise that there was a rule-book which some of you played by. This rulebook could not be obtained by someone like me, that, I learned pretty quickly. This rulebook was immense. It dictated all of your interactions with people like me. It taught you to tear me down, wear me down, pick holes in everything from my dress sense to my sense of humour. Just when I thought I understood these toxic rules, these laws which you were guided by, you changed them. That’s right, just when I felt like I had cracked the code, the algorithm changed. You despised me for new reasons. Your insults took a new direction, a new dimension. In some ways, the madness was impressive.

I think, you let your insecurities become something that dictated the direction your life took. This theory makes me sad. You see, a long time ago I made a decision to never punish myself for who I truly am. I took a leap of faith and decided to love myself. You hate me because I lack that self-doubt which plagues you. My unwavering confidence bothers you. It shouldn’t. If anything, it should inspire you. Inspire you to be a better you, a stronger you.

When you want to leave the dark side and celebrate each other, you know where I am, probably dancing at my desk with something sugary in my hand at 10:00am.

 

-Christina.

 

How to survive Christmas.

A warm and fuzzy guide to surviving the Christmas period after loss. All of my ridiculous tips and advice are to be taken with a giant pinch of salt- to the eyes.

 

  1. Gin

And a lot of it, just joking, mulled wine is a safer bet. This way you just look like you are getting in on the festive spirit and nobody can say anything but! Plus, mulled wine gives you that tingly, fuzzy feeling inside that warms your whole body. Nobody ever got violent on too much mulled wine. Fact. What could go wrong?

 

  1. Mince pies.

That’s right, if over-eating doesn’t make you forget the pain of Christmas then nothing will! If you don’t have crumbs all over your hideous Christmas jumper then you aren’t doing it right. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a hefty dental bill and swearing at your scales.

 

  1. A healthy dose of denial.

So what you are going to want to do is take all your emotional baggage and put it into a little metaphorical box in your head. Once you’ve done this, go right ahead and pretend it doesn’t exist. This is what healthy people do, right?

 

  1. Outbursts of anger.

I mean, why go to hours of counselling when you can just randomly take all your pent-up issues out on those you love most?
 5. Honesty. 

Make sure to tell your family and friends repeatedly how shit the holiday season is. Don’t stop there though. Tell them how much you hate the Christmas tree, the music, the decorations, your hideous jumper, the food, your aunt Sally and her dog Scotty. Christmas is the time for honesty and what is more honest than sharing your blatant hatred for the holiday?

 

One last thing, remember, if you are suffering then everyone else should be too! So spread that misery!

 

 

-Christina.

Dear Irish government..

An open letter to the Irish government, 
I was looking for the right words to describe what it has been like to watch you all play God with something that you know very little about. I thought the words would be ‘angry’ or ‘exasperated’ but really, what I feel is frustrated and heart-broken. Aside from all of the hard evidence of Orkambi’s physiological effect, it has so much more to offer. You see for you, Orkambi is an annoyance that is costing you a lot of money (much like the solid-gold pensions of Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern) but for so many people: mothers, fathers, brothers, husbands, children, the drug offers hope. If someone had offered me a drug that would improve my mother’s quality of life by even 5% I would have given a limb to ensure she got it. We are talking about the future of many children and adults alike. A drug that could make their day-to-day life easier. Can you put a price on that? You don’t have to sit at the bedside of your struggling child this Christmas eve, watching them fight for every breath. I can never explain just how soul-destroying it is to watch someone you love fade away like that. Don’t let any more CF patients fade away. It took years for organisations like Cystic Fibrosis Ireland fighting tooth and nail for basic facilities, basic healthcare needs and they did it. Don’t make us struggle for another five years before you see the light.
 
Regards,
 
A concerned citizen ashamed of her government and a heartbroken twenty-something who misses her mum.

Dear Irish government…

An open letter to the people with all the power…

 

I was looking for the right words to describe what it has been like to watch you all play God with something that you know very little about. I thought the words would be ‘angry’ or ‘exasperated’ but really, what I feel is frustrated and heart-broken. Aside from all of the hard evidence of Orkambi’s physiological effect, it has so much more to offer. You see for you, Orkambi is an annoyance that is costing you a lot of money (much like the solid-gold pensions of Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern) but for so many people: mothers, fathers, brothers, husbands, children, the drug offers hope. If someone had offered me a drug that would improve my mother’s quality of life by even 5% I would give a limb to ensure she got it. We are talking about the future of many children and adults alike. A drug that could make their day-to-day life easier. Can you put a price on that? You don’t have to sit at the bedside of your struggling child this Christmas eve, watching them fight for breath. I can never explain just how soul-destroying it is to watch someone you love fade away like that. Don’t let any more CF patients fade away. It took years for organisations like Cystic Fibrosis Ireland fighting tooth and nail for basic facilities, basic healthcare needs and they did it. Don’t make us struggle for another five years before you see the light.

 

Regards,

 

A concerned citizen ashamed of her government and a heartbroken twenty-something who misses her mum.

 

I can’t hate Christmas.

My mother was one of those painfully optimistic, glass half full kinda people. She could lose a limb and a minute later would immediately comment on how she has three others. I tried to channel that for years. I succeeded for many actually. A few weeks ago as my colleagues were discussing Christmas and I felt bitter. The kind of bitterness you can feel churning in your stomach. It is a disgusting feeling, one my mother would never approve of. You see, on Christmas day last year my gorgeous mother lost her battle to Cystic Fibrosis and on that day I vowed to forget Christmas. My mother loved Christmas cheer. She loved being inside under a fluffy blanket as the frost covered the road outside, she loved the hot drinks while she read her favourite book and the twinkling of the Christmas lights late at night. I loved all of those things too. She loved the streets of NYC on Christmas eve and battling her way through Macy’s to get to the toy section.

Last night I sat down with my dogs and a mug of tea from my mum’s favourite mug. Outside the moonlight hit the frost to create this glittery sheen. The beauty of it hit me hard. What am I doing? I love Christmas. She loved Christmas. Do I want to become one of those people who spends their life avoiding something beautiful because it hurt me once before? That is like vowing never to love again once you have had your heart broken. I don’t want to be that person and my mum would never be that person. Someone told me recently it takes nothing to forgive and forget but it takes constant effort to feel bitter every day. That resonated with me. I don’t want to feel bitter about Christmas. I want to laugh, I want to enjoy, I want to experience like my mum would want me to. I want to stick out my tongue in Time’s Square to catch snowflakes. I want to (badly) sing along to cheery Christmas tunes. I want to be what she was. I want her ridiculous optimism. I want her. That’s not going to happen so this is the next best thing. Because, the thing about my mum was. She suffered. Damn, she really suffered, but you know what? She might just have been the happiest person I had ever known. She was warm and fuzzy. She was a warm hug. She was a shelter in the pouring rain. She was home.

 

I want that.

One day, I want someone to say that I was the painfully optimistic, happy lunatic they admired.

For now, maybe I will hang those Christmas stockings. All three of them.

 

‘ It’s too cold outside for angels to fly’.

 

 

-Christina.

 

A note, inspired by us. 

I shut my eyes

Your laugh

Your smile

The demise. 

I shut my eyes

It drifts

It blurs

The cries.

I shut my eyes

I’m back

It’s Autumn

Blue skies. 

I shut my eyes

A dream

A memory 

I improvise. 

– Christina.