Sometimes all you have, is you.

August 30th, 2017

Next month will be a year since I came out.

A year and a half since I came out to myself, to some of my closest friends.

A year since a relationship that taught me so much about myself, so much that I thought I’d die without figuring out.

It had never seemed clear before.

I never thought I’d allow myself to get to this place.

A year since I first experienced what it really felt like, to be so full of appreciation for someone, for the life I’d chosen to live, that I was blissfully unaware of the rest of the world.

I chose this life.

It was me.

I did it myself.

I decided that my life had to change.

I decided that I had to put my happiness first.

In doing that I risked everything; my stable yet unfulfilling life was turning upside down, rattling.

An aura of self-confidence surrounds my every move now,

Because one year ago my confidence was all I could rely on.

The harsh reality that you might lose the ones you love does that to you, creates this shield.

Some may try to knock you down and you have to be sure of yourself,

And if they walk away you need someone. And that someone, sometimes all you have, is you.

Throughout it all I was glad I had a hand to hold,

I thought I’d continue to watch this link unfold,

But it stopped. I didn’t expect it to stop.

And I thought I would stop too, but I didn’t.

This was the moment I’d anticipated, but not when I’d expected it.

Sometimes all you have, is you.

But that’s life.

The world keeps spinning and life doesn’t stop for anyone.

I had to learn to appreciate it.

When you experience the highs, sometimes you have to face the lows.

And I’m grateful for that.

If I didn’t experience the ups and the downs of coming out,

Then where would I be?

Sitting at the bottom of my bed, asking myself again,

“What do you feel?”

“Nothing. Emptiness.”

I don’t look back on my journey with sadness,

I’m fucking proud of myself.

Of the person that I’ve become,

Finally able to say that I’m gay and smiling,

Not curled up in a ball in my bed, through choked up tears and a pounding head and a pain in my heart because I can’t face my life in this lie that I’m living.

It still feels surreal.

Almost one year on, and a lot has changed.

Acceptance has come my way,

Slowly but at the same time, faster than I had ever imagined.

To hear that one of my favourite people said,

“Promise me one thing; that you’ll never turn your back on her.”

When they were who I most feared would turn their back on me,

Well it makes everything worthwhile.

I’ll always be grateful for the life I have now,

That I fought so hard for.

I will always appreciate my journey.

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To feel something

Three minutes had gone by, I know because I’d been staring at my watch. Three minutes of awkward, stiff cuddling that just didn’t feel right. Three minutes of one-sided chit chat about college. “Well then, I’m gonna head home,” He said, picking his keys and passport up off the floor and swishing his hair back and forth, “I’ll see you again.” He flashed a smile and gave a quick nod and out the door he went. I sat up on the edge of the bed, and all I could think was, “Hopefully not.”

I sat there for a while that day, I wanted to give myself time to think. I was sick of this; the same old, same old. For the first time in a long time, I actually stopped and asked myself, what do you feel?

Nothing.

Emptiness.

The lack of emotion was frightening of course, but it wasn’t something I was unfamiliar with. I just chose not to notice it, I thought I could go on without it having an impact on my life. It did.

I thought this emotionless, rock of a human was just who I was. For a long time, I thought I wasn’t capable of feeling anything at all. “It’s probably just my anxiety,” I thought, or “Maybe I could be depressed.” Possibly, but no. I just wasn’t being true to myself.

Maybe I should have realised that I couldn’t keep up this act of content, but if you act out the same scene for long enough, you sometimes forget it isn’t real. It becomes a part of you, an alien part maybe, but you stop questioning it. You just start to accept it, or at least try to.

I asked myself what it was that I really wanted that day, and was mildly shocked and partly upset at my brain’s initial response. That first thought led to another, which led to another, and another. About something I’d always known to be there, but always known I could suppress. There was no suppressing it anymore.

From a very young age, I’d told myself, “This is not something you can entertain.” But something inside of me changed that day. I was sick of hiding. I was sick of being afraid. I was sick of battling with myself. I just wanted to feel something, anything, again.

I stopped doing what I felt like I should do, and started doing what I wanted to do. I stopped trying to be what people expected of me, instead focusing on being the real me. I won’t lie, there were times where I backtracked. Many “I can’t do this” moments, and I wasn’t the only one getting hurt this time.

But every time I tried to stop myself, I got more and more drawn in. There was always something pulling me back. What was it? I was unsure. I was unsure of everything, in a short few weeks it felt as though my whole life was being turned upside down. And one day, I realised what it was.

Happiness.

emotion

Just Friends

Writing doesn’t help me to evaluate or figure out my problems. You’d think it would, since I’m training to be a journalist and all, but really that’s not the case. I’ve known this since I started writing about my life ten years ago, when I kept a diary full of all the things that were bothering me. But it didn’t stop me from attempting to silence my thoughts with a pen and paper again last week.

Here in the University of Limerick, we have what’s known as the Living Bridge, I lived right beside it last year. The seats along the side are severely uncomfortable and often soaking wet, but at night time it lights up in a rainbow of colours. There’s something about sitting on that bridge that always manages to calm me down, and clear my head, I spent a lot of time there last year. I think it’s the sound of the water, it reminds me of home.

I hadn’t been there for a while. In fact, I hadn’t been there since this time last year. But last week I felt the urge to go back, I thought I needed something. I thought maybe it was space or fresh air, but I really wasn’t sure. I just felt like sitting there might help me feel better. Unfortunately for me though, it didn’t. This event ended in me scribbling down my thoughts on a piece of paper, ripping it out of my diary and throwing it in a ball on the floor. However I proceeded to pick this piece of paper up; if anyone read what I’d written they’d probably laugh hysterically and plus, I’m not a litter bug.

The realisation that came over me that day is that for once in my life, I’m not looking for a solution to my problem; I’m trying to figure out how to best deal with the solution I’ve been given. As a journalist, you’re trained to always ask more questions, to seek better answers, to always look for more. On top of that, my anxiety always has me exploring other avenues, even if I don’t want to. I can never just “be”.

What’s worse than not knowing where you stand, is knowing exactly where you stand and not being able to do anything about it. I was under the allusion for a long time that I was made of stone, but after challenging this I learned that it really wasn’t the case. The thing that always got me through the rocky periods was the idea that I was in control of my own happiness. Even when I was feeling down, I was in control and I could fix this. When I let somebody else put a smile on my face and make me laugh, I’d let my guard down; I didn’t know that I’d find it so hard to deal with the consequences.

I had this idea in my head that I’d end up falling in love with the next guy who so much as looked at me. This definitely was not the case, and I’m not sure if it’s a positive or negative thing. Two weeks ago, I had a guy kiss me on the forehead for the first time in a long time. And honestly, all I felt like doing was head-butting him. Sorry. I thought I’d have turned into a huge ball of feelings, when really I’m the opposite, I couldn’t care less. I keep making comparisons and although I want to stop, I can’t.

I’m guessing that people are sick of me talking about this, and that’s why I’ve finally succumbed to writing down my thoughts. I know that writing never helped me to solve my problems, but maybe it can help me accept the solution. This world is alien to me, I’m not used to feeling this way or being in these situations, I don’t know what to do with this. It’s hard to stay friends with somebody you feel something for, when you know that they don’t feel the same way.

I only began to think of this a few days ago when my housemate said to me, “It must be really hard for you to stay friends with him.” That’s the first time I actually stopped and thought, “Yes, this is really difficult.” But when you’re that attracted to somebodies personality, you don’t want to cut ties. So you stop what you were doing before somebody gets hurt and you end up ruining your friendship. I wasn’t meant to be hurting now; believe me, I’m beating myself up over it.

I know that you can’t change somebodies mind about you, or change how they feel about you, and I haven’t tried to. I tried to silently deal with the solution I’m faced with all semester, in the hope that eventually, any thoughts or feelings I had would vanish. They haven’t, and this has been a struggle for me.

You start every week with a “fuck it” attitude, and by two o’clock on Tuesday you’ve gotten a snapchat that makes your face light up. Being greeted with a smile, a hug and a kiss on the cheek shouldn’t affect you, but it does. It’s hard being in the same nightclub as somebody you feel something towards, knowing they’re with somebody else and you’re just, there. It’s just a feeling of inadequacy really, because you know they could have you if they wanted you, but they don’t. There’s nothing you can do, because you’re just friends.

My housemates question the other day really made me wonder why I continued to maintain this friendship when it was so hard for me, and as this semester draws to a close I’m wondering what to do next. In one sense, I’m happy that I’ll be moving to Manchester for a few months. I’ll have the opportunity to meet new people, and focus on other things. I can’t help but wonder if my mind will still be wandering elsewhere though.

There’s a part of me that wants to cut things off completely, but I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work. I could just quit while I’m ahead, but as I said, I’m curious. I always have more questions to the answers I’m provided with, I want to figure out why I invest my time in these things. I can never just “be”.

Getting over him, when he wasn’t even yours in the first place

Getting over someone can be a pain in the ass. We don’t want to do it, but we know that we have to. We can’t just sit around and be sad about some guy for the rest of our lives/semester – time is ticking and those 12 weeks of college fly by pretty quickly. It’s pretty commonplace in college, you’ve been “casually” seeing someone (see what this entails here) for a little while and then it all goes downhill, rapidly, sort of like a landslide. Maybe he went off with someone else, maybe he told you he didn’t like you, or maybe he just flat out ghosted you. I’m going to put my passive aggression away for this post, I promise.  get3

Whatever happened, you need to realise that it’s over now, life goes on and there’s no point sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. Ask yourself, will it matter in ten years? The answer will probably be no, and if that’s the case, here’s a guide to getting over a guy that was never really yours in the first place.

Step one is to realise that there’s nothing wrong with you. Even if he didn’t hit you up with the age old “It’s not you, it’s me” thing, take it into your own hands to apply it to the situation. Maybe he just didn’t want a relationship, or maybe you just weren’t his cup of tea. That can be a hard one to swallow, but do you fall in love with every guy you come into contact with? Yeah, it’s probably the same for him. We all have our preferences, and you should never change yourself for anybody.

Step two is to avoid being a hermit. Stop lurking around your room all alone for the dget4ay, it’s not helping anyone. You should probably change out of your pyjamas too. Get out there and do something, even putting on a bit of makeup is going to help you feel better about yourself. Personally, I like to head to the gym to blow off steam. Nothing like sweating out your frustrations on a treadmill while listening to Taylor Swift remixes. No, I’m not crying, I’m just sweating I swear.

Step three is to get back in the game. Whatever was going on between you two wasn’t serious, so you can thank God that you don’t have to endure the guessing game of when is considered appropriate to move on. Go out with your friends, drink tequila, throw some eyes across the dancefloor to guys that look attractive now but won’t the next day. “Why did you let me shift him?” is always a nice distraction topic with the housemates…

And step four is for when you’re out and about and have overindulged in the three Jagerbombs for a tenner deal. Delete his number, block him on snapchat, break your phone, cut off your hands, whatever. Just please God, do not contact him when you’re drunk. You’re only going to get a bad response, or even worse, no response at alget5l. Before you know it you’re stumbling home, reply-less phone in hand and banging down your door because you’ve lost your keys. When the door is eventually opened by your sleepy housemate you’ll be roaring “I HATE ALL MALES!” and storming up the stairs to ball your eyes out crying. All because he didn’t reply, because it’s 3am and he was probably asleep. Avoid the hassle, don’t text him.

Step five is to apply an inspirational quote to the situation. I’m a big fan of this one, and I like to use “What will be, will be” on the regular, an example being when I’ve ordered pizza for the third time in one week. Anyways, never a failure, always a lesson is a firm favourite of mine when it comes to this shit. Everything happens for a reason, learn from what went wrong this time. You’ll probably realise exactly what you don’t want from a guy in the future.

And finally, step six is to stick to your guns. It could be smugweeks or it could be months, but you never know when they might chance their luck with you again. If it didn’t work out the first time, there’s a reason. And I promise you, waking up feeling smug because you turned them down is better than the sea of regret you’ll be swimming in if you go back to them. Even if you change your mind by the end of the night, when you mutter “I think I want to shift John” under your breath and your housemate has to drag you home by your hair, you still managed to keep away and that’s the main thing. Go you!

So buck up and move on Princess, you’re going to have to go through a lot of frogs before you find your Prince. Why waste your college years crying about boys that don’t like you?

The Secret Life of a Commitmentphobe / Why Do I Need a Boyfriend?

I’m the girl who runs a mile at the very mention of the word feelings. I’m the girl who gets asked, “What happened with you and Jack?” and the response is always the same, “Well he told me he liked me”. I’m the girl who frunningreezes at the thought of settling down with someone. I, Michaela Deane, am a commitmentphobe.

But what’s so bad about that for now? I’m 19 years old, it’s hardly time for me to be thinking up baby names just yet. I was told going into my first year of college that I’d want, and probably need, to be free and single. So I broke up with my boyfriend, and there I had it, the single life. But it all takes a U-turn in second year when suddenly everyone’s like come on, settle down now, it’s time to find a boyfriend.

dontlikeBut why do I need to have a boyfriend so badly? And why is it so wrong for me not to want one at this current moment in time? I spent a good three years of my teenage years in relationships, so I think I’m entitled to a little alone time. People are shocked and appalled when I sigh at the mention of a potential relationship, but why is it such a big deal? This isn’t 1940, I don’t need a man hanging off my shoulder 24/7.

I’ve been lectured many a time about my unwillingness to get into a relationship. “You’re missing out on so many great opportunities” is always a popular argument. But if I’m willing to let these opportunities slide, then they can’t have been that great in the first place. If I’m letting things run their course and seeing where they go, perfect. If I find someone worth staying with, then I’ll stay with them. If my Prince Charming comes sauntering up to me in Crush some night, then that’s just fabulous, but I’m not on the lookout just yet.sigh

I’ve also been informed that people usually find their future husband in college. It’s a valid point, but I don’t think people realise that when I finish my degree I’ll only be 21. I have no plans of running off and getting married at 22, thanks very much. Maybe I’ll run off and travel to Australia, and find my future husband there instead. Who knows?

Reason #29 that I don’t want a relationship right now is quite simple – I want to focus on myself. It might sound stupid but my education is really important to me, and right now I have one aim and that’s doing the best that I can in college. Nothing wrong with being a bit of a nerd, for the time being anyways. I’m sure this phase won’t last very long.

feelzAnd as strange as it may seem, I do have feelings of some sort and like any girl, I don’t want them to get hurt. I spent a lot of my early teenage years being a dramatic, hormonal mess about boys and listening to lots of Taylor Swift. I do not want a repeat of that, especially now that I’m having the time of my life in college. I don’t want any boy related drama or disruptions, so it’s easier to steer clear. I’m a very sensitive creature deep down, I swear.

And to conclude, I swear I’m not a man hating extreme feminist. I have lots of friends who are lads, and I don’t see anything wrong with having a bit of fun. But a relationship would be too much for me right now, and it’s okay to want to be single.

I’ve definitely jinxed myself now and will end up getting in a relationship. But sure look, what will be will be.

Taking Care of a New Piercing

Because I have quite a few piercings myself, a lot of you on Twitter and Instagram come to me asking for advice on how to take care of your own piercings. When I first started on my journey of wanting to pierce every piercable part of my body, I made all of the mistakes below at least three times. So here’s a quick and general guide for you guys on how to take care of a new piercing.

  1. Expect discomfort

For at least three days after your piercing is done, it will be red, uncomfortable and you’ll probably bepier in a little bit of pain. Don’t panic and rush to the assumption that it’s infected, remember that you’ve just had a needle jammed through your skin and replaced with a metal bar – I’d be more worried if it didn’t hurt.

  1. Wash your hands before cleaning it

This is self-explanatory, the last thing you want is germs from your every-day life getting onto your piercing and causing an infection.

  1. Clean it with boiling water and sea salt

giphy (1)Cooled boiling water and sea salt, that is all. Do not use soap. Do not use table salt. And please, do not listen to your Granny who tells you that rubbing alcohol will kill all the germs. Make sure you use non-iodized sea salt as well, there’s less additives so it’s unlikely to irritate the piercing. Even if you’re offered pre-made saline solution from your piercer, I’d advise just making your own at home. It’s much cheaper and you know exactly what you’re using.

  1. Clean it three times a daygiphy (2)

Boil the water, add a quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt and then let it cool. Take a cotton bud and clean your piercing with it for a minute or two. Three times a day is a perfect amount, as both over-cleaning and under-cleaning can lead to problems.

  1. Don’t panic

I know when I was younger and had my ears pierced, any bit of pus or crust and all hell broke loose. Mum was convinced that the piercing was infected and my ear was about to fall off, and out came the rubbing alcohol to make it all worse. If you have white pus coming from your piercing, it’s actually a sign that it’s healing healthily. Don’t panic unless it’s dark yellow or green tinged.

  1. Don’t play with it

giphy (4)If I could practice what I’m preaching here, it would be great. Twisting your jewellery can irritate your piercings (despite what the unqualified piercer in the chemist told you after getting your ears pierced aged six) and touching the piercing alone can lead to infection. I know it’s tempting, but stop it. The last thing you want is to look like Rudolf for a month.

  1. Don’t change your jewellery before it’s healed

Again with not practicing what I’m preaching. Most piercers giphy (3)will tell you not to do this because if your jewellery isn’t properly sterilised it can lead to an infection, however I’m here to bring another point forward. If you’re new with piercings, you will not be able to get it back in. About a week after I had my nose pierced, I decided that I wanted to change my stud to a nose ring. I’d been warned to leave it for three months but no, I knew best. I took out the stud, only to realise that I couldn’t get the nose ring in and I had no idea how to put a screw stud back in (those of you with nose piercings will understand the impossibility). Cue literal blood, sweat and tears as my piercing closed up and I had to re-pierce it with a sewing needle and somehow jam my nose stud back in. I had an infected nose for about three months and my piercing is as straight as a roundabout, so please learn from my mistakes.

I Guess I Should Come Out

Coming out is a scary thing for anyone who has to go through it. Depending on your family and friends, they could react in a various ways and it’s something that you have no control over, you just have to let it happen. It’s something that can put a lot of stress and strain on a person’s life, and I’ve witnessed this myself watching friends who are scared beyond belief to tell their loved ones about their sexual orientation.

I remember one day when a friend of mine told me that he’d come out to his parents, and that they were totally okay with it. I never told him this, but it made my smile stretch from ear to ear and I even shed a tear or two (of happiness of course). But it also made me start to think, why do I feel all this relief? Why am I so happy that somebody is being accepted for who they are? It all seemed a bit backwards, so I’ve decided to go ahead and do this “coming out” thing myself.

I, Michaela Deane, am a person. I am not straight. Nor am I a lesbian. Nor am I bisexual or transexual or anything else. I’m a person, just like everyone else on this earth and mine or anybody elses sexual orientation shouldn’t effect anybody elses feelings towards me unless I am linked to them romantically. I’d like to think that if I brought a nice guy home to my parents, that they’d be happy for me. But I’d also like to think that if I were to bring a girl home, that they’d be happy for me too. I’d like to think that my friends wouldn’t look at me differently because of the person that I love, and if they did they wouldn’t be a friend of mine for much longer. We are all people, and we all deserve to be able to freely love who we want to.

Seeing people go through the emotional turmoil of trying to come out to their loved ones pains me, and it makes me think, why bother? If you’re straight there’s none of this coming out mullarky. Why are LGBT’s made to slap a label on themselves, just because they’re not part of the more common sexuality? If I went downstairs to my parents and said “Mum, Dad, there’s something I need to tell you.. I’m straight.” They’d look at me with a puzzled expression and probably ask if I was feeling okay. So to hell with labels, and to hell with sectioning off “LGBT’s” from society. They don’t need to labeled. They are people, we are people, we all love the same way. 

 

So here I am, “coming out” as a person who 100% supports loving whoever the hell you fall in love with. I’m coming out as somebody who wants equality for our future. I’m somebody who will want my children and grandchildren to know that I’ll love them no matter who they end up in a relationship with, as long as they’re treated with the respect they deserve. I’m coming out as somebody who will be voting yes in May, in the hope of making our country an easier place to be yourself in.

#YesEquality