I’ve Learned When To Shut Up.

It might be somewhat ironic for me to write an essay entitled “I’ve learned when to shut up” when I never actually seem to shut up but stick with me. I don’t make comments on people’s appearances, or at least I try really, really hard not to. That’s it. I’m not trying to convince you to copy me or to suggest that this makes me any happier or better or more easy-going than you. In fact I don’t really feel the need to broadcast this fact very often. I don’t take some moral high ground when it comes to personal comments, I just try not to make them.

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The Alfie Diaries-Saying Goodbye

After I had moved out of the house, I used to miss Alfie like crazy. Because I could barely ever get an opportunity to visit home, I rarely got to see any of my animals (something I hated). When Christmas came along last year, I had finally put aside a large chunk of time that I’d be able to spend at home. Amongst other things, I was very much looking forward to getting some quality time with Alfie.

When I got home, I used to spend my days catching up on writing. I’d lock myself into the office in our house and do my very best not to get distracted, but Alfie would not take no for an answer. He’d scratch and jump at the door until I let him in and then he’d pace the office, coming over to me every now and again and putting his head in my lap. I’m ashamed to say that I was quite intolerant of this and would often end up putting him outside.

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The Alfie Diaries-Comfort

When I’d had my heart broken at seventeen and began to suffer from a bout of intense depression, I was in the house more and more often. Neither of my sisters lived at home and I felt embarrassed confiding my heartbreak to my Mam, which meant that I sought refuge in Alfie an awful lot.

I often used to sit in the garden, writing in my diary or reading on an old picnic blanket. He’d run around the garden checking on our chickens, cats and horse but he’d always come back to check on me too. Sometimes he’d sit on the blanket with me, his head in my lap or he’d just watch me while I wrote furiously. He could be incredibly inconvenient, stepping on my diary or my book as I tried to distract myself from my pain, but I could never be mad at him for it.

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The Alfie Diaries-Cheekiness

There were a lot of things Alfie did that make me laugh out loud when I think about them. He was such a funny and cheeky dog and my whole family couldn’t help but love him for that.

I remember I once walked out to the hall in our house and found him standing with all four legs squished onto our tiny windowsill.  He tried to turn his head to look at me and almost fell, managing to balance himself at the last minute. I immediately collapsed into laughter for a minute before I could pull myself together enough to help him down.

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Meet “Gareth” a 20-year-old Crossdresser

Gareth is a handsome, bearded 20-year-old, studying and working. He drinks, he smokes, he has a group of guy friends around him and he meets girls on nights out. He’s also been a crossdresser since he was 10 years old.

He doesn’t see this as a big deal, but nevertheless he keeps it private. His name has been changed for the sake of this article which is what we both decided was for the best. Crossdressing is a very misunderstood form of expression, meaning that you won’t find many people who have the strength to be open about it.

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Lessons I’ve Learned From Dublin Bus

This chapter was inspired by this post written by a wonderful friend of mine, Isabelle Evans. 

I’ve been using Dublin bus almost every day for about a year and a half now. Because of my travel card, I can get loads of buses every day without spending loads of money. Believe me when I say that I take advantage of this. Here are some of the lessons that I’ve learned from the wonderful/horrific thing that is Dublin bus.

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Praise as David tells transgender story to Tubridy

There has been widespread praise for North Wexford teenager David Beattie who shared his transgender story with Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show last Friday night.

The 19-year-old journalism student told Ryan that he realised he was transgender two years ago, and he has now begun his journey to become female, and will be known as Laylah. He estimates it could take up to five years for the transition to be complete, and he still identifies as male.

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Goss.ie: Viewers applaud transgender teen’s bravery on The Late Late Show

Viewers have applauded transgender teen David Beattie for his bravery speaking about his transition on The Late Late Show.

Some may the teenager recognise from Vogue William’s documentary on the trans community where she talked to many about their transitions.

“I’ve never had bad experiences – but when I transferred to secondary school, it was very different,” he said.

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One More Week in the Life. (Part 1).

Monday. I get up early to edit episode two of “Tangerine Dreams.” After working on it for about an hour, I schedule it to go up on Wednesday. I then leave to go to college dressed in a nice outfit. After attending lectures, my friends and I get ready in one of the college bathrooms. We then walk down to a Mexican restaurant. We sit in a booth eating delicious food, drinking prosecco and chatting to one another. There’s also a lot of shameless picture taking. I’m honoured to be surrounded by all of my friends and I immensely enjoy their company. It’s so nice that everyone has made the effort to attend my birthday dinner. The restaurant then turns into a sort of nightclub with a lot of dancing and drinking and loud music. After a few hours, we all pile into a taxi and set off to travel to my apartment. My friends order a Chinese takeaway while I head straight for my bed.

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Episode 7-Audrey Dillane Discusses Marriage and Separation.

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.

Episode 6-Aoife Kearns Discusses Body Image.

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.

Episode 5-Róisin Chapman discusses abstinence from alcohol.

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.

Episode 4-Emma Beattie Discusses Racism.

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.

Episode 3-Catherine Devane Discusses Rural Ireland. 

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. 

Episode 2-Isabelle Evans Discusses Anxiety.

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.