See what I did there? That was a pune, or play on words, because this post has nothing to do with campanology at all! Très drole. But it does have to do with change, and it does have to do with rings. My partner and I got unmarried last weekend.
When my partner and I started admitting to and exploring our different sexualities a few months ago, so much of who we thought we had been fell away. Our lives changed, we changed. I’ll spare you the details, but that change wasn’t, isn’t, always easy. I started a journal, and most of the pages are full of positive, excited things, but there are other pages smudged with tears that just have fuckfuckfuckIcan’tdothis written all over them. But I’ve sat with my feelings of hurt, of despair, of insecurity, and I’ve come out the other side a better, stronger person, and I know that I CAN do this. And that whatever “this” is, it’s totally worth the struggle. I had some good chats with my friend Allegra about this, who then wrote a great blog post about “The transformative nature of discomfort”. Well worth a gander.
Aside to this, I had been unhappy for a long while with my boring gold wedding band. I never wear gold, and I only wear pretty. It seemed to me to be less like jewellery and more like a badge, or a stripe of office – I’m married to someone, I’m taken, I’m a respectable traditionalist and allowed to have children. I’m not saying this is what I think when I see someone else wearing one – I love all you marrieds out there, I want to give you a squishy hug and bake you a cake full of rainbows and smiles; I’m just saying this is how I felt I had been labelled.
Anyway, I digress.
I can’t believe I haven’t written about this before. I have a daughter. A wonderful, clever, funny, beautiful daughter. When she was two she was bitten by a dog (our dog, and probably mostly our fault, but I still don’t want to talk about it, thanks.). She has been left with permanent scars on her face, but no worse, and thanks to some impromptu puppy therapy, no scars on her heart either. In fact, since she was about four she has been begging us to get her a dog. Begging! As parents, let me tell you that the scars left on our hearts, our conscience, our confidence, were huge. So we got her stuffed toy dogs, and hoped she’d grow out of it. Yeah right. When she was eight she was going to the library and getting out as many books about dogs, and how to look after your dog, as she could carry. When she was ten she decided she wanted to be a vet, and work for a dog rescue charity. When she was eleven, she started dragging me out to a local animal shelter so we could walk their dogs. And when she was twelve, we gave in. We got that girl a dog.
Life has been a bit of a drama recently, and I’ve not really talked to many people about it, so I thought I would write a few things down for your delectation and delight. I suspect you may read this post with the same horrified fascination with which the Romans used to watch the latest Lions vs. Christians Smackdown, but maybe you’ll enjoy it and get some good thought-food out of it.
I’ll give you some bullet points as a primer, then some more detail. Are you ready? You don’t have to take notes, it’s OK.
- Came out as queer
- Partner retaliated by also coming out as queer (but not as queer as me, ha. I win)
- Decide to open our marriage to waifs and strays
- Spend so much time talking and loving and talking we end up with serious sleep deprivation
- Invoices go unpaid so we have to raid savings to cover bills
- Have to cancel planned festival holiday because we now have no money
- Black depression and bitter disappointment in one party, and not just from the holiday cancellation
- Other party cancels fun plans to look after aforementioned party
- Shower breaks, but too soon after other major plumbing work to comfortably ask landlord to fix it
- Shit just goes wrong, OK?
- Shit goes right, depression banished, invoices start getting paid
- One party has massive meltdown as relief sets in
- Open relationship going even better than expected
You can take a tea break now, if you like.
So, early in April, I came to the scary realisation that I am bisexual. I’m not a teenager, just starting to explore my emotions, and worrying what my parents might think, I am a grown woman, emotionally mature (quiet, you), married for nearly 15 years, thinking Why Now? and WTF? and worrying what my children might think.
So, I took Boy Wonder to an IDAHOT celebration today, and we picked up this:
He studied it a bit, then tugged on my sleeve and said Mum, this isn’t right – look, they’ve got blue for boys and pink for girls. Isn’t that a bit sexist?
That’s right ladies and gentlemen (and everyone in between!), my nine year old is criticising LGBT literature for gender stereotyping. Watch this boy, he will go far!
And if you wondered what prompted that last post, here you go.
Married, mid-thirties, two kids – I’m sure you can see why I was a bit thrown. But hey, it’s all good now.
That’s all, must dash – Life beckons :D
I once heard a great storyteller who started her tale by asking her audience to imagine a birch wood in the low evening sunlight. When you look one way, the trees are black and forbidding against the sunset, but when you look the other way, they are lit gold and silver against the dark. What you see, depends on how you look at it.
Thanks to some good honest talking with my best friend (my partner, actually), I have pulled myself out of a rut and gone from being absolutely terrified and miserable about my future, to being utterly excited about it. Fear to exhilaration. Nothing has changed except my point of view.
I appreciate this cannot apply to all people or all situations – what can? – but most of the time we are our own worst enemies. Nobody tells us what we can’t do more often than ourselves. Another friend prompted me recently with “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
So, this is me encouraging you to try and let go of your fears, and look at the world a different way. Because what looks dark, might also be beautiful.
Upside down is also good :)
[Insert long boring preamble here] Various circumstances have come together and inspired me to, finally, share something people have been begging me (begging me) to share for a very long time: my very special chocolate cake recipe. I only make this cake for birthdays and special occasions, and the best bit about it is it is both gluten and dairy free, so can be eaten by many people who would otherwise be left chewing sadly on a dry flapjack. This recipe is not entirely my own – all the best recipes are shared and adapted, after all – it was given to me many years ago by a professional cake maker called Grace, who in turn adapted it from somewhere else. I have since added my own variations, but we still call it Grace’s Chocolate Cake in this house. As you are not in this house, you can call it what you like.
This is a great cake for birthdays, as it comes out fairly flat, so is easy to decorate.