I first met David when we started college. We were opposites. He was tall and blonde, and I was small and brunette. Since then he has just gone from strength to strength, probably due to the addition of me in his life. Writing his first book at eighteen, last week having his television debut and creating this successful podcast series. So I think it’s high time we get to know a little bit more about our host.
Ruth has suffered from mental illness and she’s not afraid to talk about it. I honestly don’t think I can put into words how inspiring a conversation with her can be. Knowing that mental health is an issue that really can’t be discussed enough, it was important to me to interview her. One wintery day, we met in a café so I could pick her brain.
A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of accompanying Sarah on a trip home to Sligo. We had a wonderful few days where her Mam spoiled us with gorgeous food and even some complimentary toiletries. I really enjoyed being in her family home. In this episode, she speaks to me about having a single mother and I was very interested in hearing about it.
My parents separated when I was 10. That should be a reason to feel sorry for me, but it’s not. Although it was an important moment in my life, it didn’t have a huge negative impact on me. My parents handled their separation in the most admirable way. They prioritised myself and my sisters, making sure that our wellbeing was intact over anything else. Now, my sisters and I have a great relationship with both of my parents. And even though they’ve been separated for a number of years and they’ve both found new partners, my parents also remain great friends. Today I sit down with my Mam to really get a sense of why this is the case.
Body image is something that I’ve personally struggled with in the past. It’s not an easy thing to come to terms with, by any means. But after hearing the story of Aoife Kearns’ struggles with accepting her body type, I felt compelled to discuss it. Aoife and I once had a very honest and open discussion. A discussion which later prompted me to write about my eating disorder. Aoife has a lot to say about body image. And I was eager to listen.
When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny by Blythe Baird.
Thinking back on it, my first encounter with Róisin Chapman was on a night out. She was bubbly, very funny and extremely approachable. We became fast friends and have stayed that way ever since. What I didn’t notice that night was that Róisin didn’t have a drink in her hand. In fact, I didn’t notice until after we had been on a few nights out together. I don’t know why I’m surprised really, it’s not as though it would be something that would stick out. But Róisin only spoke to me about it when I asked her. She needed no validation, no reassurance and no one’s opinion. That was something that I truly loved. The ability to do something without making a fuss.
None of my family batted an eyelid when my sister Emma brought Thabani home to meet us over two years ago. He was a polite, humorous, normal young man who was clearly good for my sister. That was all that mattered to us. It was only when people started to question me about both mine and my family’s reactions that I realised it was a big deal for some people. When Emma later told me about some of her experiences, I was shocked. I could not believe some of the things that she’s encountered in this day and age. I thought that Emma’s perspective was a unique one. The partner of a black man, who has grown up with a privilege and a different life than him, experiencing what he has to face for the first time.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I spent ten years of my life, from the time that I was eight until I was 18, living in the country. Something that strikes me from those years is that rural Ireland still has so far to come in terms of diversity. I loved and continue to love the countryside, but it never really loved me. Although I always had supportive friends and family, harassment on the streets was something that I faced on a daily basis. My friends from Dublin try to understand, but I don’t really think they can. That’s why I so value being in the company of Catherine Devane. She’s a student, a blogger and one of my best friends. I first met her in college. She had lived her whole life in rural Ireland, specifically Dingle, only coming to Dublin at 18 and observing a huge difference. I was eager to pick her brain about that difference.
Check out Catherine’s blog.
I’m sure that everyone knows someone who suffers from anxiety. It’s not a new condition by any means. It’s defined as a type of fear that’s usually associated with the thought of a threat or something being wrong, but it can also arise from something that is happening right now. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting forty million adults aged 18 or older. These conditions are highly treatable yet only one third of those suffering will actually receive the correct treatment. I met Isabelle on the first week of college. We got to chatting and we discovered that we have a lot in common. A similar sense of humour, a similar outlook on human rights issues and a love for Marilyn Monroe. Isabelle is someone that I greatly admire. People seem to foolishly expect that an anxiety disorder is an easy thing to spot in a person, but this is not the case with Isabelle. She’s a gorgeously kind, bubbly person whose personality shines through when you talk to her. She works hard, socialises and lives an overall very glamorous life. I had a lot of questions. And I was so delighted that she was eager to answer them. What I discovered only made me admire her more.
Check out Isabelle’s blog.
I have been a fan of Ciara O’Doherty for a long time now. As an impressionable, bored teen in the country I had a major interest in the world of bloggers. I would spend hours reading their posts, keeping up to date with their social media and watching their videos. Like most of my phases, it eventually passed. But one blogger in particular always kept my interest. I first met Ciara at an event and I was so delighted to finally encounter a genuine inspiration of mine. Launching this series, it seemed only natural that I would speak to Ciara being one of my inspirations for my work and my outlook. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous interviewing someone who I admire so much but she was so lovely and relaxing. One evening, at the end of our separate busy days, we organised to meet up in the city for a glass of Prosecco and a chat.
Check out Ciara’s blog and YouTube Channel.
I get my inspiration from an awful lot of places. In general, it comes from the people around me.
Those who are regular readers of my writing will probably be delighted to know that I won’t be talking about myself for the next while.
My plan is to tell stories. Not stories that are particularly extraordinary. But the stories of everyday people in different walks of life.