Channelling the things I know, but don’t yet feel

 

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“Maybe now it will actually begin to feel real. We actually did it.” I type, not for the first time. Clicking “send tweet” as the tears begin to fall. Opening Facebook, I type a similar message. The Kerry for Choice WhatsApp group is next, followed by an expletive laden text to P. My phone is buzzing so much it scares Arwen (the dog).

President Higgins signed the Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill into law. The Eighth Amendment has officially been Repealed. Yet, the joy I expect isn’t there. Relief and exhaustion are all I have. They are all I’ve had since May 25th.  

*

Shuffling isn’t my strong suit, so I split the deck in three and restack. Repeat this twice more and it’s time to draw a card. Grabbing my journal, I sit cross-legged on the floor and write the first thing that comes to mind upon the seeing what the Tarot has in store. The Nine of Wands is a recurring card. Courage. Persistence. Resilience.

Feet now planted firmly on the mat, waking my body up. Acknowledging that my body is capable of movement. It may not work like other bodies do, but it is pretty good at getting me through pain flares even though it insists on causing them in the first place.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Yoga for the body. Meditation for the mind. Tarot for channelling what I know, but don’t yet feel.

Morning ritual.

Eat.

Breathe.

Canvass.

Bathe.

Sleep.

Rinse.

Repeat.

*

My phone beeps. The messages flashing on screen as I reach to silence it. “There is nothing Catholic about supporting abortion and anyone who says differently is going to hell for murder.” reads the mildest of them, although it is accompanied by a graphic and deliberately misleading photo of an aborted foetus. I’m a few comments into my deleting spree before I realise this is my personal inbox, not the public Kerry for Choice page.

A letter in the Kerryman headlined “Catholic teaching allows us apply conscience on abortion” sent anti-choicers into overdrive. Realising they are being banned and their comments deleted, the Irish contingent pass the baton to the American contingent. Meeting the same reaction, the Americans decide to seek out my personal profile in order to spew their bile. That the letter isn’t mine doesn’t stop them.

I’m not difficult to find. Being a spokesperson for a rural pro-choice group means I’m the first name that appears when you search for Kerry for Choice. That doesn’t make the deluge of messages any less scary. I change my privacy settings, put my phone away and my game face on. There are doors to knock on.

Hands shaking and heart racing, I try to steady myself as my canvassing crew ask what is wrong. I look like I’m about to pass out.

*

I’m sat cross-legged and writing. The grass beneath my bare feet. It’s dusk; that time of evening where anything could happen, full of endless possibilities and hopes for good things yet to come.

Words scrawled across the page in handwriting only I can decipher. Lists full of meaning. Releasing fears that do not serve me. Invoking emotions and experiences that will counteract burnout, allowing me to continue doing the work that has consumed me for so long.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Tearing out the page, I strike a match and watch my intentions burn. Reciting “I intend that these things will fuel me to be of better service. To be more present.” three times, I rub my hands together washing my fears away.

Grounding myself.

Reconnecting.

Channelling the things I know, but still don’t feel.

Cathartic.

Restorative.

Energising.

Self-care.

Ritual.

*

We won Kilgarvan (Healy-Rae territory), that’s how much we won Kerry. It may not feel real, but it is. We changed the constitution. Now we must legislate.

Because that’s it, isn’t it? Our work doesn’t end with Repeal. It never will. We campaigned. We won. Yet, the fight goes on. Ensuring politicians do their jobs. Pushing back against whatever the anti-choice campaign is planning. Supporting our friends in Northern Ireland in their call for the decriminalisation of abortion.

When I put it like that, relief and exhaustion doesn’t seem so strange a reaction.