In the last year, Liadan Hynes' marriage fell apart. She is now working on adjusting to the new reality. In her weekly column, Things Fall Apart she is exploring the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves
Last week the Work-Wife and I went to see Caitlin Moran speak in conversation with Roisin Ingle. We made a night of it. Escaped our mutual houses and their pre-dinner/bath/bedtime routines. Stayed out afterwards.
We arrive at the venue to a sea of women of all ages; I’m not sure we spotted one man over the course of the entire evening. Already it feels like a celebration of all things women. We grab tea and chocolate and go sit tucked up on the mezzanine level; people watching. Enjoying the multitude of floral midis, printed jumpsuits, colourful earrings, excellent glasses and fabulous ankle boots on display.
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The buzz and anticipation of seeing this wonderful woman in person is palpable; floating up to us as we sit watching from above, munching on Rolos and Snack bars.
Then we’re in – to the main hall of the National Concert Hall – so the whole thing has the comforting sensation of being back on a school tour. Caitlin bounds on to the stage and it feels the same as the excitement of seeing your favourite musician when you were fifteen; the frizzon of Liam Gallagher actually being there in person. The woman is a rockstar.
Moran applauds us for repealing the eighth, and we applaud her for, well, just being herself. She gets us all to stand up and shout, ‘fuck you Piers Morgan’, which she records for Twitter. She talks about trolls, about how teenagers dress, about weight, eating, shaving, periods, porn, and female pleasure. She leaps about the stage; she dives down into the audience and hugs a woman who, during question time, is so overcome at speaking to Caitlin that she wells up. We all well up. We cheer and stomp and snort with laughter at this wonderful woman.
What it comes down to
But really, what it comes down to, is the wonderment of seeing a woman being so unabashedly, so unashamedly, herself. And at peeling away the layers of things that have been put upon us, to the point where 'ourselves' have become, in some way, unacceptable.
It seems so simple, so obvious when she says it. That we don’t want to be slapped during sex in the manner of a porn star, because actually, that is not sex; those people are working. That maybe all the shaving and plucking is, just possibly, not the best thing? All the preening, maintaining, changing, is not always necessarily what is good for us. Although if we want to do it, really want to, that is fine too.
We’re pretty sure from our vantage point that Roisin might be crying towards the end. Which we get. Because the simple sight of a woman just being unapologetically herself is so powerful, so moving.
Having to rethink your life when it turns out that you will not, in fact, be married for the rest of it, means more than just getting used to not being in a relationship. It is about figuring out the kind of life you will have and by dint, the kind of person you will be.
And once you get past the shock and the trauma, it’s something of a gift to be forced to rethink it all. To question what is actually working for you, what makes you happy. Because when things fall apart, you need to strive; to actively chase and put in your life things that make you feel good.
When things fall apart
There is no room for coasting when you need to rebuild things to get to a point of contentment. You need to climb back out of that hole – and time and energy levels dictate that you do not want to waste either on things that do not make you feel good.
So there is a reckoning. A jettisoning of sorts. An auditing of one’s life. Certain people need to go. Certain habits, often behavioural; ways of being that no longer serve you. You’re stronger now and so you are better equipped to not tolerate things you might have before. You’re braver, so you try things you might not have otherwise.
It makes you think about who you are; because who you are is so important in getting you through.
What type of person are you?
Are you the kind of person who will not crumble under it all; who will pick yourself up, or create the kinds of other relationships that will pick you up when you’re not able to do it for yourself?
Are you a person who will be ok on their own; who will carve out a life of actual happiness, contentment, with just yourself? Who will actually come to love your life, when it is just yourself?
A person who will, to some extent, enjoy a certain reinvention?
The mini breaks with your best friend you might otherwise not have taken. The closeness to family members that might otherwise have not developed. The nights out, the new friends, the plans made, that would otherwise not have happened.
And the new you, that would have otherwise gone untried, untested, and undiscovered.
Photo: Kevin Laminto via Unsplash.com
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