I've been married twice before. The first time was when I was 18, so as far as I'm concerned, it barely counts. How many of you would be happy (in your 30s) with the boy/girlfriend you had at 18? Being married at 18, though, does give me the option to bat my eyelashes and flick my hair when someone remarks on the fact that I don't look old enough to have teenage daughters: "I was a child bride you know...". The second time, I thought it was forever. This time (11 June) I know it's forever. I'm terrified by being in love like this, but it brings me more happiness and joy than I ever thought possible.
I'm proud of what I've achieved. It's very little, in the grand scheme of things, but I've raised two happy, healthy girls. One of my biggest sources of pride is that, just occasionally, something I've said to them in passing, sticks with them. Some small thing: how you behave to people, how you show loyalty to your friends, what equality means, your social responsibility, having someone's back, the importance of having an informed opinion. The words that mean the most to me are 'you're a good mum.'
A year ago I couldn't cook. Anything at all (other than cakes and cookies, fried breakfasts, kiddie food (fishfingers and potato waffles etc) and the occasional roast lunch.) The first time I had to cook for Himself (who's veggie) I had to have a colleague explain to me, through gales of laughter, how I cooked vegetable stir fry. Now I actively enjoy cooking. Sometimes, in the supermarket, I don't recognise the person who looks like me, but has pak choi, tofu, root ginger, rice vinegar, fresh herbs, sambal oelek and shallots in her trolley.
Warcraft was my escape from being 'me'. Online I could be Pilfkin, or I could be any character that I was playing. Gaming gave me the ability to become someone else.
I'm really bad with 'pop' culture. My family didn't have a tv until I was 11 so I read. Voraciously. We used to have to make two trips per week to the local library, where I'd max out my ticket and my mum's ticket (my sister maxed hers and my dad's). I still rarely (if ever) watch tv and I generally prefer books to films. I loathe 'celebrity culture' and have no interest in reality tv shows. I usually feel out of step with my peer group, but I'm used to this now.
My mum took me to The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the theatre when I was twelve. Twelve (for a lot of girls) is an... impressionable age. And seeing your mum flirting with men who are beautiful, who can walk on terrifyingly high heels, and have better legs that you'll ever have, is quite an experience, at such a tender age. I blame my mum for my predilection (now thankfully fixed, but that plagued my late teens and early 20s) for men in leather and eyeliner.
I adore writing. I adore talking. I need people around me. I send myself up all the time. I'm not even sure who I am some days. I'm one of the most self-obsessed people you're likely to meet (but I'm also kinda nice.)
For many years I looked like this *points up*. In my head, I still look like this now. Then daughter plays me the music she likes, which I would have liked when I looked like this, and all I can hear is frantic drumming and roaring and it makes me tired, and makes my head throb. I am no longer gorgeous and in my 20s.
All I want from life is happiness, for me and for those I love. Ideally, I'd like the world to be happy, but the older I get, the more I realise that you can't fix everything and everyone. I want to believe that if everyone made the effort, the world would be a better place. But I know that humanity isn't that easy to fix.