It’s been a whole year since we repealed the eighth. This week last year, I was very, very worried. And nervous. And hopeful. And anxious. I was uplifted by my journey home from work the day before the vote, being handed a leaflet by canvassers who lifted my spirits. A leaflet I stuck up on the door before we rushed off to school and which is now in a box, along with a copy of the Irish Times from the Monday after the referendum and our repeal sweatshirts and badges.
I don’t think I’ve fully grasped what the campaign and vote and result really meant to me until quite recently. I needed a break from all things repeal, so while I followed the passage of the legislation and the implementation of services very closely, I listened to little analysis and read even less about what was going on. Some distance was necessary.
I’ve slowly started listening to some podcasts from around this time last year, featuring those I cheered and those I loathed. It’s been somewhat cathartic and frustrating. The same arguments come up, the same lies are repeated and the same frank and brutal truths cut through the nonsense.
Something I’ve watched many times is this short video. It was hard to watch, but covered so many of the emotions I felt. I don’t think I will ever forget 10.01pm on 25th May 2018, when I couldn’t believe that exit poll, until I did and it was all real.
As per my previous post, one project on my to-do list was sorting out my photos. I was feeling productive last night as it’s a light week in work so I gathered all the photos from broken frames, various boxes and a couple of bags and started sorting.
It was a lot harder than I expected. I found a lot of photos from college days that I’d tucked away and forgotten about completely. It was difficult looking at my younger, slimmer self. Like the Sunscreen Song told me when I was 18, I was not as fat as I imagined.
Looking at the photos was like looking at a different person, which, in many ways, I was. I am not the person I was when I was 18 and starting college, or the 23 year old I was the day I graduated, or the 25 year old visiting Barcelona, or the 28 year old getting engaged in Sorrento, or the 29 year old getting married and going on honeymoon.
My new year’s resolution was to join and gym and improve my health and, if I’m honest, my self esteem. The photos gave me pause for thought. That skinnier, younger woman wouldn’t have believe the older, softer, rounder (in many more ways than my figure) woman if I told her what paths her life would take her.
That skinnier younger woman hadn’t evolved much in her thinking on abortion rights. She knew little of the eighth amendment. She hadn’t developed the ability to see more of the world in shades of grey rather than in black and white. She didn’t give herself (or many others) much of a break. She was too hard on herself.
The photos have been sorted-ish. I haven’t seen albums I like and I don’t really feel like looking through many of them again so soon. Thirty Five is not Twenty Five, in all sorts of ways.