Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Love Letter

I love my family. 

This is not news.  Most people love their families.  Most people also love my family.  I'm not just being biased here, ask anyone, my family are the nuts.  Ok, so maybe I am being a little biased, but it is generally acknowledged within my group of friends that my family are pretty cool.  My parents get invited on nights out and everyone who meets my Dad desperately wants him to like them.  They're just that awesome.  They've also provided me with the siblings that I'm rather fond of.

We're the type of family who don't talk about feelings too often.  Spontaneous declarations of love are treated with suspicion and caution, with the recipient usually assuming that the other person is drunk.  The fact that I've chosen to express my love for them in such a public way will probably end with them checking me into the Priory, but sometimes you just have to risk these things.


Mum



Beautiful, well put together and with an absolutely filthy sense of humour, my Mum is everything I aspire to be.  She's had more than her fair share of hard knocks in her life, but you'd never know it if you spoke to her.  She has an almost superhuman ability to shrug off the things that would make lesser mortals crumple, and then to get hysterically upset about the fact that the hoovering hasn't been done in over twelve hours.  Her bonkers mix of fierce strength and baffling neuroses is wonderfully endearing whilst, at the same time, being very easy to laugh at.  The gentle ribbing that she is forever victim of is, of course, taken completely in her stride.

I have put my Mum through so much since my teens, and it pains me to think about the hurt that I've caused her, but she has never once wavered in her complete support of me.  She truly believes that I can achieve anything and her pride in all of us is overwhelming.  No matter what we throw at her, or what we take from her, she is always there.  Usually our friend, sometimes our bank, always our rock.

I am, and forever will be, hers.


Dad


This is, to some, a very scary man.  People tend to be a bit afraid of him because he commands respect.  You can't help it.  If you know my Dad, then you care about what he thinks of you.  I'm quite lucky in that he likes me quite a bit, and I therefore have rare access to the teddy bear (or silver back gorilla) within.  

The love I get from my Dad is particularly special in that he didn't even meet me until I was three.  He took me and my older sister on without question and raised us as his own.  This effort was not always received without protest.  He has been subject to all kinds of abuse and drama from us as we've grown up but, like Mum, he has never once wavered in his support. A fan of the tough love approach, he gives us the strength we need to stand on our own two feet whilst being a constant presence for the times that we just can't manage without him.  

He also makes my Mum really, really happy and I will be forever grateful to him for that.

Squeeze


Squeeze is the grown up.  She's the maternal one with the strangely man-like practicality.  She can drive backwards with as much ease as forwards and decorates like a demon.  She's also one of the most caring people I know.  In fact, it's usually Squeeze who gets upset by how few and far between our inter-family declarations of love are.

Squeeze and I fight.  We're both incredibly sensitive and prone to taking things personally yet, no matter what insults are thrown, I know she'll always be there for me when I need her.  Each of us knows to take angry words from the other with a pinch of salt and to wait for the inevitable apology.  Because the apology always comes.  Squeeze and I simply need each other.  I'm largely the most unstable of the clan, with Squeeze coming up a close second and, because of this, each of us has an almost unspoken understanding of how the other works.  We see the things going on beneath the surface that others might miss, and are able to offer a different type of shoulder to cry on.  There are times that Squeeze has let me cry to her for hours about selfish and self absorbed problems, never once judging me for it.

Basically, she lets me go mental when I need to.

Bunny


Bunny is my beautiful freak.  The little weirdo that never fails to make me laugh while, at the same time, making my heart swell with absolute pride and admiration.  

The baby of the group, I somehow managed to ignore her up until her early teens, which is something I will never stop regretting.  She was my little sister, I was a stroppy adolescent and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with her.  If I had taken the time to really get to know her I would have found her witty, affectionate and, above all, to have an awful lot in common with me.  Forced together by a move to Cornwall and a lack of outside contact, my relationship with Bun flourished and I now think of her as a best friend, as well as a sister.  

The thing that always amazes me about Bun is her courage.  She acts helpless at times, but there is a lioness like strength inside, born out of pride.  Rather than ask for help, she will take the bad times on her own back with a quiet stoicism that never fails to astonish me.  

If Bun is crying, then you know it's really, really bad.

The Little People

Lola

Brooke and Bells

Bing and Aston

Sway (and John)
So much personality in such little bodies.  Each of these beautiful, tiny people is a complete individual, able to make us laugh, make us cry and, sometimes, make us terrified.  The wonderful fruit of my sisters' incredibly fertile loins!

Looking at these amazing creations makes me so excited about meeting my own children one day.

Thomas

I have to give a special mention to Thomas.  The man who just gives and gives.  I don't think I will ever be able to thank him enough for all the help he has given me over the last twenty eight years.  Whether money or favours, he is always there ready to hand over whatever we ask for, getting very little in return.

And last, but by no means least...


The One


The beginning of my own little family. The one who makes everyday incredible, who gives me strength I didn't know I had and the reason for the smile I wear everyday.

So, I'd just like to say thank you to my family.  You've made me who I am and you continue to amaze me every day.  The little things you do never go unappreciated.  I may not say it very often, but you're the centre of my universe.

I love you all so much xxx

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Same Sex Marriage and Me

Image courtesy of Stonewall
I am a huge supporter of the Same Sex Marriage bill, and I was thrilled at yesterday's victory in the House of Commons. The bill still has to be passed by the House of Lords, but the overwhelming majority vote yesterday means it's unlikely to be rejected. A day to remember in the history of human rights.

Unfortunately, today I had it brought home to me that there is still a long way to go before gay people are seen as equals by a lot of people. Listening to a debate about the issue on the Jeremy Vine show, a person I have always respected chose to share their views on the matter. I was horrified to learn that they simply deemed the issue as 'not that important', and saw the entire thing as a waste of the government's time. There was also a few slightly skewed opinions about homosexuality in general, but I am willing to put that down to the generation that this person grew up in. I'm not here to throw words like 'bigot' and 'homophobe' around, as trading insults does nothing for the cause.

Gay or not, the real issue of the the Same Sex Marriage bill is one of basic human rights. Of course it's important enough to be discussed in parliament. A minority, yes, but homosexual and bisexual people are a part of this country, and their rights are absolutely as important as everything else going on. It won't affect a lot of people, but to those that it does affect, it's the difference between being seen as 'unnatural' and being 'just like everyone else'.

There was a particular point given to me that marriage should only be between two people who can have children. I put forward the fact that many straight married couples are unable to have children naturally, and for whom adoption or surrogacy are the only options. Backed into a bit of a corner, the person with whom I was speaking decided that those people shouldn't have families then, either. I don't happen to think that they really believe that to be the case. Or rather, I hope that they don't. I think that they realised that this particular point held little water and panicked.

The government are currently trying to tell us that marriage, family and commitment is the key to a healthy country. How would it be fair for them to then say 'but only some of you'? Religion has the opportunity to opt out, and I expect that many will. Unfortunately, the tradition of religion is far harder to change than that of the law. You only have to consider the  issue of women bishops to see that.

Love is love. Some people love boys, some girls, some both. It may seem trivial to you, but I assure you that, for many, it is incredibly important and is seen as a real step towards acceptance and true equality.

We live in the twenty first century. The very concept of the traditional family is changing. Our ideas need to keep up.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Crowning Glory



I just sat on the floor of my bedroom, in front of my mirror, and hacked huge chunks out of my hair.

It's the sort of thing only crazy people normally do (Britney anyone?), but I'm not crazy. I did feel a little crazy doing it, but I assure you I'm not. This is a decision I've made after weeks and weeks of long, hard, borderline obsessive thinking about my hair. The random hacking is only a prelude to Mr M getting home. He is going to use his clippers to tidy it into a nice, neat number 4. All over.

You're probably wondering why the hell I would want to do that. After all, I have one of the strangest shaped heads known to man. This is not for fashion, or because I think I have any chance of pulling it off, I'm doing this for one reason and one reason only.

My hair. Is fucked.

Years and years of styling and colouring has left my hair limp, lifeless and with more colour stripes than a tequila sunrise. I've had it very short before, but always abuse it with bleach. Recently, I had an undercut shaved into the left side of my head, and the new hair that grew looked so shiny, fluffy and fresh. It was suddenly clear what I had to do. 

I'm ok with it. Those who know me will know that I'm no stranger to doing strange things with my hair. It's become something of a trademark. And the sheer lunacy of cutting your own hair off willy-nilly is unbelievablly liberating. There was one heart stopping moment of 'what the hell am I doing?' that nearly made me faint, but it passed. There was no going back, vanity was out of the window, and I liked that feeling a lot.

It did get me thinking though. I chose this. I'm at peace with it because it's something that I feel needs to be done for the health of my hair. But there are so many people that don't choose to lose their hair, who have it forced upon them. Those people have not had a chance to make their peace with it. The decision was taken from them and that must be terrifying.

As a woman, I completely understand the impact that hair has on us. After all, the entire reason I'm taking clippers to my head is because my hair looks terrible. I know it'll mean looking terrible for a bit longer, but it's a means to an end. That end being that I'll have healthy hair that looks nice. 

Our hair really is our crowning glory. 

My hair will grow back, and I'm one of the lucky ones.