I Know Where I Get My Sex Drive FromJul 23, 2020
My granny is one of 18 children. Yep, that’s not a typo, my great granny was pregnant 18 times- Like, I basically had no choice in the matter. I had to move away from home. Everyone was my bloody cousin, I had to flee before I accidentally married one!
I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to have the same conversations with my grandparents anymore - ‘Hey granny, what’s the weather like?’ ‘Awk, Yano the craic Sinead still miserable as usual’
I mean there is only a certain amount of times I can try and explain my job to them (One time I took grandad to the farm show in Belfast and people were approaching me for photos, he just thought everyone in Belfast was ‘mad as hatters’. )
Anyway, my point is I want to know my grandparents more- what they did when they were younger, how they met, what jobs they did. This makes for a deeper connection and I absolutely love hearing about their lives and comparing them to mine.
So I interviewed granny on what it was like living with 17 siblings in a 2 bedroom house
She remembers 5 or 6 beds in one room, They didn’t have showers, in fact they didn’t have a bathroom. She said they did pees and poos out in the field and there was no toilet roll! They used some sort of large leaf! They just washed with a basin and cloth, they got their hair washed by my great granny on a Saturday, ten of them lined up while she scrubs their hairs with a bar of soap.
They walked back and forth to school every day together. My great granny lived in the middle of nowhere up a massive hill ( I’ve walked this myself a few times and wow it’s intense) They left at 7 am and didn’t get home until dark around 6 pm. Great granny sent them to school with some bread each and they got those little bottles of milk at school. I quizzed her intensely after hearing this. ‘ Just bread??!!’ ‘yep just bread’. When they got home she would have a massive pot of spuds and gravy. ‘What no meat or source of protein?!’( I can hear all the PT’s disgust right now) In the summer they walked to school with no shoes. However, ironically they always had shoes on for Sunday mass!
The house had a tin roof, so, in winter you can imagine how freezing it was! They threw coats over themselves for extra warmth. She remembers icicles coming down from the roof. Sometimes they would break them off and eat them! (yummy!)
They had one radio that was run on a battery that needed to be charged. Every week they would give the breadman the battery. The breadman took it to the local bicycle shop where the battery got charged. A week later they got it back and jumped with joy.
After her telling me all this I asked her?
Did you ever feel poor?
Did you ever feel sad about living with 19 other people?
Did you ever feel like your friends had a better life?
Do you remember feeling hard done by?
Do you remember feeling frustrated?
‘No, I didn’t know I was poor, I don’t remember feeling like we needed anything else that was just life and we accepted it, we didn’t know what anyone else had, I thought we all just lived the same. I don’t remember being sad and frustrated. I mean we fought like cats and dogs but we mostly were quite content and had a lot of fun.’
My granny hadn’t got much and whatever she did have she had to share with her ten sisters. She knew no different. Times were tougher back then but somehow now anxiety and depression are at an all-time high? So why? After all, we don’t have to walk 5 miles every day in our bare feet but yet seem sadder and more anxious than ever.
I believe some of our anxiety stems from comparing what we have to others and then thinking we NEED that something else in order to be happy.
Every day we can pick up our phones and see that Susy down the road got a new range rover sport. Why don’t I have a range rover sport? She looks so happy. Maybe if I work my balls off and get a range rover sport I will be happy just like she is in her Instagram story?
I reckon if my granny had a smartphone, and seen that Geraldine down the road was using toilet roll she would begin comparing her (quite literally) shitty leaf to Geraldine’s nice soft toilet roll and she would begin a spiral of negative thoughts.
What I want you to get from this email is that we can be happy and content, If we just accept what we have and practice being grateful for it. Comparing your life to another’s will ultimately cause you resistance and pain. Take a lesson from my granny today and see that you too can choose to be happy. I’m telling you now that Susy with her range rover sport is probably looking at Sandra with her beach house. Susy is letting Sandra steal her joy by comparing her range rover sport to the beach house.
Don’t allow Susy to steal your happiness today. Choose to be happy today despite what Susy has. The power is in your hands.
Freedom is not having the finances to travel. Freedom is not having a car. Freedom is not winning the lottery. Freedom is not having a horse and cart to charge your radio battery.
Real freedom requires nothing of the world.
Free yourself from pain and stop comparing your life to another.
Sinead ‘ Everyone in my town is my Cousin’ Hegarty