Last week’s series of ‘Failure to Launch’ showcased Karen and her mother Geraldine, who shared their experiences living together in South Dublin while Karen worked in a law firm. Since then Karen has been living in India for a year and a half, completing a fellowship at Ashoka University and training as a meditation coach while living in an Ashram. With the passing of distance and time, this week’s follow-up interview is one of reflection and recognition between mother and daughter, and a rumination of the quality of life for younger generations in Ireland.
In part two of Failure to Launch I chatted with Karen and her mother Geraldine, who spent one year living together in their family home in South County Dublin when Karen was twenty four. The conversations took place a year and a half ago, when Karen was preparing to move to India for a fellowship and contemplating a career as a barrister. In this revealing and insightful interview we talk money, fears of the future, and the difficulties having sex when you still live at home. Karen continues to live in India, where she is living in an Ashram and training as a meditation coach. Next week’s piece will see Karen and Geraldine reflect on their own and each others answers one year on, having spent twelve months living on other sides of the world.
We watched with a mixture of bitterness and resentment as the sweet interlude of salaried jobs, minimum responsibilities and a home to call our own, before the onslaught of mortgages and babies, shrank into nothingness, meanwhile the worth of our parents’ investments, the houses we occupied, multiplied in value right under our feet.
The Irish referendum to repeal the 8th amendment and remove the legal barrier against abortion takes an issue of immense complexity and reduces it to a yes or no answer. It has taken place within the public forum, pitting one grass-roots movement against the other. Battle lines were drawn. Adversaries were marked.
The voting decisions of the Irish public were the spoils of war. Persuading others to also pick your side is a always a tricky business, one that requires certainty and conviction to keep the facts afloat. But matters of public morality elicit the resolute stubbornness of a crusade, a vertiginous unassailability that elevates its ideological underpinnings to biblical heights.
An object cannot feel pleasure, an object cannot give consent. In the aftermath the Belfast rape trial, where do we go from here?
As an Irish man it is easy to sail through life interacting with women in just three planes of relationship: familial, professional, and sexual. In this first category you have your mother, whom you love dearly and send your washing home to each week. In the second category you have work colleagues, whom you treat with professional distance and are likely to surpass in superiority once they hit the glass ceiling (we have heard plenty about how men in positions of power treat the women below them). And finally the third category, which can range from one-time sexual partners (or ‘sluts’ to quote the defendants), girlfriends or wives, or what I like to refer to as Mummy Number 2 but who you get to fuck.
The fourth category, friendship, the relationship which allows for the most equality, is reserved for the venerated ‘lad group’. No girls allowed.
Like millions of women around the world, it is impossible for me to follow the story of Harvey’s Weinstein with the same distance that is afforded to most -but not all-men. It brings up memories of sexual violence and sexual misconduct in the real world and the workplace that is all too commonplace for women. As a young girl growing up the burden of femininity is slowly impressed upon you. It begins with restrictions being placed upon your freedom and stories told by way of caution. Movies, books and newspapers lay bare the oppression and subjugation committed against women, but…
One of the sweetest parts about travelling are those irretrievable seconds when a place reveals itself for the very first time. For the first time, ideas and imaginations are replaced by real, concrete images. As my metro train emerged from the mouth of the underground tunnel Lisbon reveals itself as a city of colours; bulky apartment blocks were disguised in sunny yellows, pinks, purples and greens, colours I was more accustomed to seeing in a children’s playground.