- Keep going to the gym.
- Think carefully about what I buy and why I want to buy it.
- Return my library books on time.
- Repeal the Eighth Amendment.
I have reached peak Christmas Holidays. I woke up today with only a vague idea of the date and no idea what day it was. It’s a good feeling in some ways, but today was somewhat of a reset in terms of getting our house back to some sort of normality.
Meeting friends I only get to see once a year, and picking up exactly where we left off.
Mince pies. All the mince pies. Only having something available at certain times of the year is quite enjoyable.
Our Christmas tree getting droopier as the days go by, but keeping it up because it still looks pretty.
Every gift I received this year. All loved and appreciated.
Little Women. Enough said. A reread is also long overdue.
…and all through the house the memories of Christmas past are stirring. This is an emotional time of year for many reasons, good and bad. There are memories of amazing surprises and deep disappointment and anguish dancing in my head tonight.
The joint committee tasked with looking into the eighth amendment of our constitution, which places me in the unenviable position of being equal to any foetus residing in my uterus or fallopian tube unless I can travel to another country for healthcare, is due to issue its report next week. The report has already been leaked and I don’t think most of it will come as any surprise to many.
The three men who don’t think I deserve an abortion when my life is at risk are issuing their own report on how all pregnant people should be forced through pregnancy next week. I don’t think it comes as any surprise to those that didn’t know already that all three are white men who are practicing Catholics.
Ronan, Mattie and Peter think people who are suicidal and pregnant shouldn’t be able to access abortion care in Ireland.
Just let that sink in.
They want you to take your chances with the mental health services in Ireland, or travel to another country, or have ongoing suicidal thoughts which you may act on, rather than allow you medical care in your own country.
This, apparently, is best for mother and babies and part of the ‘love both’ mantra we’re going to hear a lot more about in the coming months.
Christmas 2008 was not a good one for me. It was the loneliest Christmas I have spent. This had almost nothing to do with the fact that the economic crash had started to shake my life along with everyone else in the country and almost everything to do with how lacking in control of my life I felt at the time. I was single, and very unhappily so, I wasn’t sure about the job I had started six months previously and I had no plans whatsoever for new year’s eve.
I tried focusing on the positive things in my life, like the fact I had a family to celebrate with, I had friends to met up with over the festive season, I had my health, I had a lovely home…..
It didn’t work. I was lonely, and it is not a good place to be. No amount of focusing on the good stuff was a consolation when I knew I was lonely and I couldn’t do much about it. Christmas can be a very emotional and fraught time of year anyway, and I think it concentrated my feelings in a way that just doesn’t happen during other times of the year.
Life is immeasurably better in many ways now. I’m not lonely very often. But I always remember that Christmas. And I think about all the lonely people, whose lives haven’t improved the way mine has. And I hope life gets less lonely for them.
Feeling lonely sucks.
A date day on Saturday.
Christmas lights everywhere.
A shorter work week thanks to a Thursday day off.
New to me Chalet School books on the way.
All Christmas shopping done, except for some extra wrapping paper.
The committee on the eighth amendment, dealing with the (very unexpected, I suspect) recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Ireland’s constitutional guarantee to ensure only those who travel can access abortion, rolls on towards its conclusion in the next week or so. Many of its members have clearly gone on a journey during this process, and hearts and minds have been changed. Most have engaged in a thoughtful, open-minded way, with three notable exceptions.
The committee chairperson, Senator Catherine Noone, has done sterling work and seeing her in action is a reminder to me of just how little I would want to be a politician. I ma far too hot headed and reactionary to ever be as patient as she has been. I’m glad to see the work of other female politicians being recognised too.
Senator Noone reads out a paragraph or two at the start of every meeting, as happens in every other Oireachtas committee meeting, reminding all those present, members and witnesses alike, of their privilege. Politicians speaking have absolute privilege when speaking to either House of the Oireachtas or to a committee convened by the Houses.
Privilege is something that I was reminded of again and again when I watched proceedings and followed updates on Twitter. The privilege of seeing parliamentary processes in action. The privilege of having political representatives who want to engage with the process. The privilege of being a woman of means who can travel for medical care abroad. The privilege of hearing all the arguments play out in public and people slowly coming to the realisation of the horror this amendment has perpetuated.
Privilege comes in many forms. The three men who didn’t want to engage with the process, tried to frustrate the process and didn’t ever intend to change their minds are privileged. They are white. They are Catholic, in a country whose parliament starts every day with a Catholic prayer. They are men. They are Irish. They have never had to weigh up their options on seeing a positive pregnancy test.
They have a very special privilege that many of us will never have. When they speak in the committee, they are absolutely privileged. This means they can say what they like. They can manipulate statistics. They can lie. They can make accusations. They did so, again and again and again. I recognise the importance of privilege in a parliamentary debate, and the importance of the checks and balances of our republic. But seeing three privileged men exercise absolute privilege in defence of a law that kills women is difficult to take.
He’s the real Santa Claus/Father Christmas. I first heard of him reading my beloved Chalet School books as a child. I was clearly a very naive child as all of the hints that Santa wasn’t real passed right over my head.
Apparently he threw some bags of gold coins into a house so the neighbours wouldn’t think the daughters of a poor man were prostitutes. If that isn’t spreading some cheer I don’t know what is.
…so this year we decided to get our Christmas tree there. We both had a day off work so off we trotted for breakfast rolls, free coffee and a bargain tree. I can recommend the trees. There were a lot to choose from, and given my not-very-satisfactory grasp of spacial relations the final selection was delegated to himself. For €30 we got a beautifully bushy tree and a voucher for €20 to spend in February. I’ll probably replace our wooden chopping boards with bamboo ones which are narrower.