I recently asked my Instagram followers to send me ideas for blog posts they’d like to see here, and one of my favorite ideas was to do a post sharing 5 random facts about me. I liked this idea because I love learning random things about the people I follow. So, I thought why not do it myself?
1. My Travels
I spent 3 months in South Africa the summer after my leaving cert. Instead of heading off on the typical 6th year holiday, I went with a friend to volunteer in an orphanage on the outskirts of Cape Town. While I was there I got mugged a lot. But it was loads of fun too – a real coming of age experience!
When Rosie was small I was part of an organization called Global Brigades, I joined as a volunteer but after a couple of years became the Chairperson of the Irish branch of the organization. While I was involved with GB, I traveled to Ghana and Honduras to work with indigenous communities on micro finance projects.
Then after college I did an internship with the environmental organization Friends of The Earth. Through FOE I got to spend two weeks in the arctic circle, Norway, at a youth climate activism convention. I also visited Brussels a good few times to have team building weekends with our EU partners, and I got to attend the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.
I absolutely adore travelling. One of the hardest things about becoming a Mummy at the age of 19 was watching my friends go off and travel the world while I stayed at home, alone, with a newborn. Still, I got to travel to some amazing places and plan on doing A LOT more travelling in my forties when she’s an adult.
2. My Run-In With Terrorism
OK so technically I wasn’t involved in an actual terrorist attack, but I thought I had been! I was on a flight from Paris to Dublin when I was about 15. Somebody was flicking through one of the in-flight magazines when they came across a note scrawled on one of the pages. It said that there was a bomb on the plane.
Now, keep in mind that this was only a couple of years after 9-11. So, unsurprisingly chaos ensued. We were forced to circle in the air for what felt like hours. Then fighter jets joined us and flanked the plane while we were re-directed to a military airbase in Scotland. There, we were met by Interpol and interviewed one by one, had our finger prints taken, and each given one phone call home. We had to wait for hours and hours sitting on the floor of the airbase while every inch of the plane was swept for a bomb. It turns out, it was all a hoax.
We got home that night feeling relieved, but traumatized. Thankfully, I’ve never felt fear like it since. The full news story is here.
3. I Used To Be Horse-Mad
For as long back as I can remember, I’ve ridden horses. My whole family are a bit horse-mad and there was never really any question about whether or not I’d follow in this particular tradition. I was actually quite good too and competed a lot.
My first ever pony was called Muirin. She was honestly the most beautiful, graceful creature alive. After Muirin, we had Bailey who was basically an insane animal whose sole mission in life was to quite literally hop the electric fence and gallop off into the village. He wasn’t popular. But he was spunky and I loved him for it.
I had to stop riding in my late teens when a bad fall basically destroyed my right knee. For years, it would dislocate every few months. The agony! By the time I had gotten my injury sorted out and my knee was strong again, I had put on too much weight to ride. To this day, while I’ve learned to fully accept and love my body, I feel intensely sad that I can’t ride anymore.
4. My Political Past
Now this is something that I’m not necessarily ashamed of, but I don’t shout about it from the rooftops. I used to work for RENUA, the far right political party. IN MY DEFENSE, they weren’t a far right party when I was involved and they CERTAINLY weren’t “pro-life”.
I did my degree in International Relations in DCU and, having finished up my internship in Friends of the Earth, I was keen to get involved in politics. I love the idea of working in Leinster House and spending my days with people who would make history through their political careers. At the time, there weren’t any openings in other parties, and RENUA had just launched as the “party of the future”.
I was taken on as a member of the communications team but quickly promoted to membership coordinator. It was my job to run a comprehensive CRM system, look after all membership related business, organise events and liaise with campaign teams and candidates across the country. I really loved the responsibility and f**k me, did I work hard!
We ran in the 2016 general election and honestly, the election nearly broke me. For the rest of my life, no matter what I might think about a particular politician, I’ll always have the ultimate respect for their ability to endure elections. If I wasn’t getting phone calls at 1 am from farmers in Kerry who accidentally deleted an email from me and don’t know how to get it back, I was having to referee between campaign managers who wanted to have a dick measuring competition.
It was extremely trying and I ran myself into the ground before long. Although I had a huge amount of respect for many of the people I worked with, being in such a male dominated organization really got to me. When the election was over and the results were in, I politely declined any further involvement and never looked back. This time in my life definitely contributed to my depression too.
5. I Smoke Cannabis For Chronic Pain
So you may or may not know that I have a chronic pain condition called Endometriosis. It flares up hugely around my period and can be so agonizing that I can’t walk. More specifically, it feels like being stabbed by a serrated knife in my anus. Yep. My anus.
A few months ago I decided to give cannabis a try. I’ve read so much about the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain conditions in Canada and the US, where medical cannabis is legal. And considering the fact that I haven’t come across a pain killer that dulls the pain effectively without sedating me, the legal issue wasn’t enough to put me off.
I’ve honestly been amazed by the difference in my endo since I started using weed. I smoke one joint every evening for about a week before my period is due. It’s not enough to turn me into a giggling mess and has less of an effect on me than a full glass of wine. And yet, since I started doing this I haven’t experienced any endo pain whatsoever. Every single period has been completely pain free. It’s nuts.
Now, this is not an advertisement for smoking weed. It’s illegal. I am breaking the law. But as somebody who exists in a health system that considers weight loss to be the only form of medical treatment I should be even thinking about, and someone who has been living with an untreated chronic condition for years, the illegality is worth it to me. Each to their own, but I’ll be smoking weed for every period for the foreseeable future!