Lady Drawers

Last year I read this article on Bust about Ladies’ Drawing Nights, an art event hosted by New York-based artists Julia Rothman, Leah Goren and Rachel Cole. I thought the idea was delightful and wanted to join a ladies’ drawing group myself.

I love to draw, but I’m not great. I’ve never taken classes or anything and I possess very little natural ability. Drawing always seemed like one of those things you leave behind in childhood unless you’re great at it. When you’re a kid, you’re all about the drawing, every story has to be illustrated and each piece of artwork is met with great acclaim. As an adult, however, unless you’re extremely talented, drawing is not encouraged – because it’s no longer cute how terrible you are. The same goes for ballet and singing publicly but not, unfortunately, playing the guitar. Anyone who knows two chords is allowed to pick one up and start strumming.

But fuck that, I wanted to join a ladies’ drawing night and the best way to do this was to start one. I was encouraged by the article itself and also inspired by my friend Dervilia, who started a map club. Basically, she’s really into maps and wanted to join a map club but there were none, so she started her own. That’s the best way to do things. If you want something that doesn’t exist, make it yourself. This probably doesn’t apply to everything, but to clubs and groups, it definitely does.

Lady Drawers is a relaxing space for women to come together to discuss feminism and make art – at least, that’s our tagline. We also gossip and talk nonsense and listen to music and comedy (ideally written/performed by women though we’ve been slipping on that lately – Kate Nash, Robyn, Miranda Hart and Mindy Kaling have been past inspiration/entertainment). We have snacks, of course, though unlike the New York Ladies’ Drawing Night, our event is dry. There’s no reason we couldn’t drink and draw but we just don’t happen to.

It’s rare to find an all-female non-competitive dry activity so, to me, these events are pretty special. Each session has a theme to help us get started, we all vary in ability but the end results always look wonderful! You can see some of them on my Instagram, if you can sieve through the selfies and food.

If you’re thinking of setting up a club or group of your own, here are some tips to help you get started, some more useful than others.

  1. Is this something you want to do? Then you already have your first member! It’s very likely, then, that you’ll get a second member because you are not that unique.
  2. Start small, invite a few friends that you know are interested – for Lady Drawers, I posted on facebook then invited those interested (who still lived in the country) to the group.
  3. These things can be a great way to meet like-minded people if that’s your thing, but I already know enough like-minded people, to be honest. Dervilia founded the club with her friend and picked up some other enthusiasts via meetup.com. That’s a good resource if your club/group is something more niche than feminist drawing – shark dentistry or American hotel matchbooks, for example.
  4. Decide where you’ll host it – I always have Lady Drawers in my house because I have so many pencils and I enjoy wearing my pajamas, but it’s a nice idea to rotate the hosting, especially if it’s a messy activity like baking or a sex thing.
  5. Pool your resources – I have plenty of materials for drawing, but most people bring their own sketchpad and pencils. If you want to host a similar event, people could bring their favourite materials for arting and everyone could swap around.
  6. Don’t worry if it’s not an immediate success, these things take time. I tried to start a book club about three years ago and my co-founders suggested Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries as our first book, which both of them already had. To this day, I am the only one who has finished it. You can always scrap them and start afresh with new friends, right?
  7. On that note, maybe start slowly with modest expectations. The Luminaries is 848 pages and bigger than most of my handbags.
  8. Come up with a catchy name. Lady drawers is funny because we are ladies and we’re drawing but also because of PANTS.
  9. Just do it.

I know that last one is the Nike slogan but I think it’s bigger than sportswear. If you want something done, do it yourself. If you build it, they will come. These are cliches for a reason.

The greatest things are born out of passion, and some of them are born out of something “sounding pretty cool”. Go and start something you can be proud of!

Citag

They say you never forget your first love or, at least, your first crush. The first person you looked at who made you feel different, like you wanted to play tip-the-can with them… but maybe… you’d LET them catch you?

These feelings are complicated, it might take years to work out what they really mean, and even longer to admit to them. Learning the pleasures and perils of love is part of growing up and the first bloom of romance sticks with you – even if you forget the details, you remember the feeling.

What about hate, though? Do you still remember the first person you hated?

I do.

I had a teacher in Primary school – for THREE formative years – and she. was. the. worst.

Let me start off by being very  clear: She was never abusive or cruel or even a terrible teacher in the sense that we definitely learned things, and I know now that we could have had it so much worse (especially in Ireland, sensitive topic) but we didn’t know that then. For us, at least, for me, she was as bad as it got.

I was terrorized. I dreaded going to school, even though I was bright and enjoyed learning, the woman was the reason I learned the word bitch.

Remember those Nokia Blokia phones with predictive text? If you typed “bitch” it autocorrected to “citag”. Citag is not a word, so it just became code for bitch… to the extent that anyone under 12 could actually have a secret code. We thought we were pretty sneaky and clever, at least.

There was a scandalous incident in 6th class (aged 11-12 for non-Irish schoolies) where somehow our “genious” code was cracked and the teacher came across a text that read “Ms ***** is a citag”. She made everyone stand up as she interrogated them about WHAT A CITAG WAS. At this stage in my life, I might feel sorry for her, but back then, there was only hate. Emotions are so pure at that age.

I couldn’t tell you a single thing she did to me. I remember hardly anything about her except how actively I disliked her – I’ve never hated anyone that much and I don’t think I possibly could. It has so little to do with her as a person and so much more to do with the impression she left on me. I hated her, that’s what I knew, and that’s what has stuck with me.

Nobody can replace the purity of your first love, just as nobody can replace the purity of your first hate. That’s because there’s nothing left of it except the memory of that feeling. An emotion that intense at such an impressionable age leaves its mark and it might seem like you’ll never feel that way again because it’s not a real feeling, just the shadow of one, magnified over years of edited memories.

In my case, if I never feel like that again… it’s probably for the best. I have no idea where that teacher is now or what she is doing. I don’t know if she was the devil or just a normal woman with a teaching style that didn’t suit me. I’m sure, though, if I saw her again, I would be running in the opposite direction out of horror and fear before I even realised where I knew her from.

I hope I never feel that way again.

Things Nobody Does in Real Life (Pt II)

When it comes to television, suspension of disbelief is important. A certain quieting of the voice in one’s head that says “that seems unrealistic” is necessary to enjoy some of the best shows.

For the most part, I don’t find this a problem. The mind can conceive of a world in which Michael Scott becomes a regional manager of an office, or a law enforcement branch is staffed entirely by massive rides, or a ten-year-old child leaves home to hunt and capture monsters across the world.

There are some things, however, I cannot accept. The following are examples.

Character one: I have something to tell you.

Character two: I have something to tell you, too!

Character one: You go first.

Character two: Something relatively mundane.

Character one: Reaction.

Character two: What did you want to tell me?

Character one: Never mind.

Character two: Cool.

EXCUSE ME? Are you trying to kill me, Character two?! Maybe I’m extraordinarily nosy, but I can’t be the only one who would lose my shit if I was Character 2. Especially if Character one had said it was really important, which they often do, then go on to say “never mind” like it was nothing, but it was really important five minutes ago! Here’s how the conversation would go IRL.

Character 1: Reaction

Caoimhe: What did you want to tell me?

Character 1: Never mind.

Caoimhe: No, seriously, what was it?

Character 1: It’s not important.

Caoimhe: It seemed important before, I should have let you go first!

Character 1: Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing.

Caoimhe: I HAVE TO KNOW. TELL ME NOW OR I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL DELETE YOU!

I would HAVE to find out.

There are other situations where the characters’ curiosity should be aroused but they are completely disinterested, like when a character leaves suddenly without explanation. Somehow, the other characters continue on with their activity without commenting on the other person’s sudden up-and-leave. This would never happen in real life.

It usually goes something like this:

Character 1: Triggering or revealing information, maybe.

Character 2: I have to go (leaves)

Character 1 and the rest of them: We are all fine with that. Let’s get on with our day.

Yet, IRL:

Character 2: I have to go (leaves)

Caoimhe: Hang on, where are you going? Guys, where is he going?

Character 1: Who cares?

Caoimhe: He left so suddenly, that’s not normal! Don’t you think he was reacting to something you said? I think we should call and text him constantly until he tells us what’s going on. This might be the most interesting thing that has ever happened!

I might even follow him out of curiosity. Also, that was pretty rude.

Fictional characters have no curiosity. Then again, they don’t need it.

TV characters – and the viewers, by extension – are safe in the knowledge that the writer will reveal all to them by the end of the episode. In real life, we do not have this guarantee. If someone behaves mysteriously, the likeliness of their motives being revealed in 30minutes is very, very low.

So, really, we have no choice but to demand complete transparency and immediate satisfaction from everyone, otherwise, we will be tortured by the wondering.

Do not be tortured by the wondering and do not torture with the wondering. Life is not scripted and it’s not fair.

Part I: https://caoimhecreed.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/things-nobody-says-in-real-life/

 

Boring Adult Life

Adulthood sneaks up on you. You turn around one day and think “Whoa! when did I start matching my socks before putting them away?” and “I should apply for my tax back!” etc. It’s not, however, the non-stop party you might imagine.

As those of you who are already grown-ups know, adulthood is basically one long laundry cycle until you die. You are constantly putting laundry on or drying it or ironing it or putting it away or putting on ANOTHER wash just to dry it, iron it and put it away and then the laundry basket is full again so you have to put another wash on, dry it… etc.

Sure, in the meantime you can eat a whole sleeve of crackers for dinner if you feel like it and nobody will reprimand you for watching 14 hours of Netflix of a weekend, but the freedom comes at a price.

Maybe I’m just in a rut but sometimes being an adult is very boring. For example, the following is an “anecdote” from this week. Hold on to your hats.

Where I live, we don’t buy bin tags, instead, we buy the branded bin bags and put them out when they’re full. The relevant company then collects them on a Tuesday morning.

Last Tuesday, we came home in the evening to see our bin bag still outside the house. That’s strange, I thought, usually it would have been collected by now. Upon closer inspection, I found that although the bag was green – the usual colour for our general waste bags – it actually said “dry recyclables only”. But we had used it as a general waste bag! So, that explained why it wasn’t collected, but why did they change the colour, to deliberately confuse us?

I left the bag there anyway and decided to worry about it later, it was gone the next day and so I assumed one of my housemates had brought it around the back. I planned to buy general waste bags and we could put out two bags next week. I had thought I had general waste bags in the house, but I figured I had miscounted them.

I went to our local Spar and asked for general waste bags, which are sold in an envelope with “General Waste” printed on the front. I was very careful to ensure it was the right envelope, I didn’t want to be caught out again.

Once I came home, I opened the envelope to find… green bags with “dry recyclables” printed on them! This explained why I had confused the last bag, someone was putting the recycling bags in the general waste envelopes! Madness.

There was a number printed on the bag, so I called up the bin company, wondering if I should return the envelope to Spar. After I explained what had happened, the man on the line told me that they had had a problem with their printing company who had printed the wrong labels on the wrong coloured bag, but not to worry, the bags would be collected as general waste. That explained the colour confusion and it turns out that last week’s bin actually was collected.

So, the moral of the story is… Sometimes my life is so boring I really have to drag these posts out if I want to make it every Wednesday.

Or maybe it’s always question everything, even bin bag labels.

Or it’s a sad commentary on domestic life in modern Dublin.

Or maybe I think this post should be closer to 600 words.

I need to get out more.

 

New Year, New Me

My friends don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Most of them think that they are perfect the way they are (accurate) and the rest don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to make positive changes (practical) – those ones are actually perfect the way they are, too.

BUT I LOVE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

I love blank slates, fresh starts, turning over new leaves – It’s the optimist in me. And, I suppose, the fool. There’s also a part of me that knows if I don’t set goals within a timeframe – ie. within the year that’s just started, I might never get around to them. Resolutions aren’t just about eating fewer donuts and doing yoga so that by March I look like Emilia Clarke – I know that that’s unrealistic.

Because I love donuts.

Making New Year’s Resolutions is setting intentions for my year ahead. As Dwight said, in Season 7 of The Office “that’s just something I want to do, I can do that!”. Writing down my intentions for 2017 also make me accountable for my resolutions, and by publishing them here it gives everyone permission to ask me how my resolutions are going, say, pointedly, while I’m spending too much money on cakes and not writing about it. Besides, I needed a topic for this week’s blog post.

So, here are my 2017 Resolutions.

  1. Eat better. This has been on my list for many, many years, which I think says more about society and its expectations of women than it does about my inability to stick to anything… Right? Still, when you’re having a microwave potato gratin for dinner more than once a week, it’s time to make some changes. There is a great big exciting world of vegetables out there and I intend to eat more of them. I am calling on my connections at McNally Family Farm and The Market Kitchen as vegetable gurus to make it seem more exciting. VEGETABLES. YES. They have not agreed to this.
  2. Exercise. I used to have a treadmill in my room but it saw far more action as a clothes hanger than it ever did as exercise equipment. I blame the BORINGNESS of running on a treadmill. I will attempt, in the New Year, to run outside. I will also take other suggestions on exercises I could do, although Zumba gives me anxiety because I have no rhythm and I hate putting my face in water so no swimming. Other suggestions welcome though I may not take them if I don’t feel like it. I already own my own runners.
  3. Write more. I was actually doing a pretty good job of this in 2016, blogging (almost) every Wednesday, so I’ll keep that up, though I will also be doing Proper Writing and not just this nonsense. I will first have to get a desk, though, because that’s where one does Proper Writing. This nonsense is done in my bed, last minute, with one tab open on Netflix and a Lindt chocolate reindeer. Oops, resolution no. 1… Anyway, better writing habits in 2017!
  4. Stay Organised. In 2016, I bought an Erin Condren Life Planner and I’m not advertising for them or anything, but I managed to keep it up all year and was so much more organised than before. That’s still not very organised, but it was a vast improvement. I bought loads of organising stickers on Etsy which was like 93% of the appeal and OH my god was it a good excuse to buy loads of stickers I mean great way to stay organised. So, I have a new 2017 planner and I’m going to buy even more stickers this year.
  5. Visit New York. I have never been and there are SO MANY TV SHOWS set there. I intend to see NYC in 2017. If it’s still there and there’s no wall around it or anything.
  6. Save. This is tied to resolution no. 5 because I won’t be going anywhere if I don’t save money. So, I’ll be bringing my lunch to work and buying less barista-made coffee. This will cost me quite a few imaginary relationships with hot baristas but I’m hoping it will be worth it and there will be even hotter baristas in New York. This does not affect resolution no. 4, stickers are a necessity.

So, those are my intentions for 2017. I’ll do an update at some point to say how I’m getting on with them, which can be my motivation to follow them through.

No, wait, my motivation to follow them through is a better, happier me in 2017.

Yeah, that’s it.

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

Christmas Eve Traditions

Christmas is a time to cling to childhood. For our generation, life is often in flux. We take short contracts, internships, postgraduate degrees and years abroad. Life is a wonderful adventure full of opportunities and changes, but it leaves little time to build traditions and routines. The traditions we do have stem from our childhood and so many of them, for so many of us, have already been left behind.

We all think we know the “right” way to do Christmas. Every family has their traditions, their Christmas ritual that takes them from Christmas Eve to St. Stephen’s Day in the same, comforting way every year. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that this could change. Yet we are growing up, people are getting married, starting families and traditions of their own, moving away and, sadly, passing away.

Especially now, I cling harder to the elements of my youth that are still stable – Christmas Eve sandwiches and Jesus Christ Superstar in our Christmas jammies. I’m not sure where it all started with JC Superstar (as we have come to call it in our over-familiarity) but our family has three copies in rotation and we watch one every year.

This year we watched the “’70s Jesus”. The 70s version is shot in the desert and features a racially diverse cast, scaffolding in place of a set and, according to Ross, the best Jesus. I’m more of a Glenn Carter fan, myself. If 70s Jesus is so great, then why do they leave him on the cross when they drive off in their funky 70s bus, Ross? This year’s highlight was a new joke from my dad while watching the apostles eat unrisen bread at the last supper.

Jesus: Lads, what’s the difference between me and this bread? …I’ll tell you in three days 😉

Funny.

I used to visit my friend Alannah on Christmas Eve, her parents serve mulled wine and nibbles for the neighbors, that was part of my Christmas Eve routine. Alannah lives in Australia now. It would be weird to just show up at her parents’ house.

My friends and I used to meet up on Christmas Eve morning for breakfast and a walk, to make sure we were tired enough to sleep that night – if we weren’t asleep, Santa might not come. This was a tradition from our teens to our early twenties. Still, as more and more people moved abroad or out of the village or started working jobs that made us work Christmas Eve, this tradition fizzled, too.

I mean, we’re all grown-up adult grown-ups who can definitely sleep through the night on Christmas Eve. We’re tired out from all that adulthood.

Christmas Day tends to be similar in all households – food, family, food, gifts and food, but all families have their own Christmas Eve ritual, from the ordinary, such as Christmas pajamas, to the obscure, such as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash biblical musical.

Christmas jammies might be one of the strangest yet most important Irish Family Christmas Traditions. It’s just not Christmas if you’re wearing pajamas you’ve worn before. At least, I assume that’s not just us? Christmas jammies, they’re a thing, right? Anyway, even at 26, I insist on new pajamas for Christmas, which my mam (FRANta Claus as she’s known this time of year) has to buy for me, my sister and my brother. Sometimes they match, sometimes they don’t but we always cut the tags off on Christmas Eve.

This won’t always be the case. Our family will change, it might grow or shrink, people might leave and babies might be born and yeah, eventually, I’ll have to buy my own Christmas jammies. But not just yet. For this year, we were able to keep our traditions and next year I hope it will be the same.

Because next year we’ll be watching the 2000 version of Jesus Christ Superstar and Glenn Carter will slay Gethsemane and I’ll be like IN YOUR FACE, ROSS!

Merry Christmas.

 

Movie Pitches

Pitch 1: Justin Time 

Justin Timberlake has to go back in time to make sure that N*Sync break up so that he can go on to have his present stellar solo career. However, when he goes back he has so much fun with the band he remembers why he fell in love with music in the first place. He has to decide between success and friendship. Starring Justin Timberlake as himself and featuring new music from N*Sync and plenty of 90’s nostalgia. Most laughs in the film will be featured in the trailer, such as when Justin wakes up back in time and realises he has his old hair.

Pitch 2: The Author

Felicity Jones plays Joanne Rowling, a struggling single parent who spends her days in a local cafe writing a fantasy novel because it’s cheaper than heating her apartment. Her manuscript is rejected again and again but the audience knows she will go on to become the most successful author of all time. Opening credits feature panning shots of the present-day Elephant Cafe toilets which are covered in Harry Potter graffiti and trailer features Felicity as Joanne whispering to her daughter one of Dumbledore’s most famous lines “happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” while turning on an actual light.

Pitch 3: Pokemon Go/Pokemon Stay

Indie flick starring Oscar Isaac as Joel, a sensitive introvert on the edge of a nervous breakdown who becomes obsessed with Pokemon Go. His family and friends are just happy he’s getting out of the house… until he starts to see Pokemon for real. They encourage him to see a therapist but instead he connects with one of the game’s designers, played by Melanie Laurent or possibly another thin French actress. Together they work out why the game means so much to Joel, he comes out of his shell and they form a tentative relationship. Features lots of scarves and meeting on park benches as well as CGI Pokemon. Poster is Oscar looking wistful in a scarf with happy Pokemon around him.