Tag Archives: love

Nonna Knows Best: Why I will be voting Yes to Marriage Equality

Nina and Glove
So, the other day Nonna asked me straight out, “Are you and Damion living together?” And when I gave her the answer, her reaction really surprised me…

 

Just for a bit of background, my Nonna is 95 years old and was born in the tiny Sicilian town of Francavilla where she lived until emigrating to Australia in 1959, with five children, to join her husband (my Nonno) who had been working here for several years

 

Like most of her generation she had an extremely conservative upbringing and was brought up as a devout catholic.

 

She has never worked outside the home, never voted, and speaks very little English

(especially if she knows you can speak Italian).  She does all the stereotypical things that Italian grandmothers do. She’s got an altar, she enjoys force-feeding and she is awesome at laying on the guilt.   But most of all, she believes in the old fashioned values. 

 

So, you can see why I wasn’t keen on telling her that I was “living in sin.” Plus, I was afraid of what she might do to Damion (remember she’s Sicilian). 

 

We are very close. I am even named after her and she has lived next door to me most of my life.  Half of me was scared that she would kill me but really, I just didn’t want her to be disappointed. 

 

I admitted that, yes, we were. Hastily adding how well Damion can cook and how big the portions he serves are. Then I waited for the rant that never came…

 

Instead she said, “Oh well, as long as you love and look after each other that’s okay”  

 

Now, my Nonna is sharp as a tack. I suspect she had worked out that we were living together long before I actually admitted it.  Which had given her lots of time to get used to the idea. But I still couldn’t believe how cool she was being about it.

 

I think this has a lot to do with Damion. She loves him, and for a boyfriend of mine that is no mean feat.

 

It might have something to do with the fuss he makes of her every time they meet. Or maybe it’s because when we went to the Perth Food and Wine Show he got Gary Meagan, (her favourite judge from MasterChef Australia), to autograph his magazine with the caption, “To Nonna, keep cooking love Gary”. Either way we are both still very much alive.

 

For those who don’t know, we in Australia are about to commence a postal vote on the subject of whether or not we are in favour of changing the Marriage Act to include marriage between two consenting adults instead of only between a man and a woman.

 

I was going to write a scathing post criticising those who intend to vote no on the grounds of religious belief.

 

I intended to point out that the book of Leviticus which is widely referenced as forbidding gay marriage, also forbids those with deformity, disability or mental illness (A.k.a. me) from coming to the altar.   Then, I was going to ask if anyone was willing to admit that they agreed with this too, and then hope to God that someone did so I could prove my point that things in the Bible are a little outdated and frankly, quite insane  (which as we have learnt is not allowed in church).

 

But it did seem a little ironic to me to be asking everyone to embracet love in whatever form it takes, with a post filled with anger, hatred and sarcasm.

 

So how about this? If my Nonna at the age of 95 can move and grow with the times then can you find it in your heart to do the same?

 

In these times when Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are on the brink of nuclear world war, wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit more love in the world?

 

I had 12 years of catholic education and yet I will admit that my knowledge of the Bible is fairly limited. Although, I seem to remember that Jesus did say, “Love one another as I have loved you”.  There was no caveat that I know of where He says “unless the other has a different lifestyle to yours.”

 

Apologies if I appear to be bending Bible verses to suit my own agenda. I thought that’s what we were doing now

 

XOXO 

 

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5 Tips for Dating Someone Who is Divinely Disabled

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Last week I shared with you my top tips for dating if you are disabled. Well, somehow that post was the most successful post in “Inner musings of a funny looking kid” history.

 

So, because now I have tickets on myself; here are my top 5 tips for dating someone who is divinely disabled.

 

  1. Keep a sense of humour:

Very early on in our relationship, I went to a partner’s house for dinner. As we were preparing to eat he went to the cupboard to get the plates. I was twiddling my thumbs and so I asked him “Would you like a hand?” Now this was a polite and fair question except that he didn’t (and I assume still doesn’t) have arms. Without batting an eyelid, he looked at me (straight-faced) and said, “Actually I’d like two.” Then proceeded to laugh at the embarrassment on my face. Faux pas will happen and, having lived with our bodies for a long time, a person with a disability can usually tell the difference between a Freudian slip or innocent mistake and a deliberate attempt to offend. And, if we like you, we’ll usually let it slide.

 

Having said that though, that doesn’t mean that your date is automatically up for being the butt of your jokes. Take a cue from them.  If they find it funny, then chances are that you can too.

 

  1. There is a difference between chivalry and being patronising:

As a general rule; if you’ve seen Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire or Clarke Gable do it in a movie, i.e. Hold a door open, push a chair in or pick up the cheque, this is chivalry. Anything else is patronising unless they ask you for the help. As a matter of fact, some will say that the above gestures are also patronising but I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional display of gentlemanliness. It’s one of my favourite things about Damion.

 

A lot of disabled people are very independent and others have a carer to help them when they need it. We are out with you because we want a partner, not because the carer has the night off!

 

  1. Be prepared:

Dating us is a lot like being a Boy Scout. You need to always be prepared.   I don’t mean that you should bring a first aid kit to every date, although don’t be surprised if we need one at some point (see tips 1 and 2 for how to handle this), but rather that you need to consider the venue or activity you are planning beforehand. For example, if your date is in a wheelchair then places without stairs are a good idea and rock climbing is probably not. This will get easier the longer you know each other and if in doubt, ask.

 

I once went on a date with a guy who was unsure as to where we should go. When I suggested the Roof Top Movies, (a cinema on the top floor of an open-air car park), he declined because he didn’t want to wear a harness. I don’t know what the hell he thought roof top movies were.

 

Also, if you don’t have a disability you might not have experienced the stares that you will get when we’re out together. It is not our fault; some people are just rude.  But chances are it is always going to happen. If it’s too much for you that’s ok but please tell us before it becomes an issue.

 

  1. Do ask and do tell:

If you are curious, it is ok to ask. If you both plan on a long-term relationship, then you will more than likely learn the answers to your questions eventually though.  So use your common sense as to what is appropriate to ask at which stage of the game and remember, your date is not your research project.

 

Yes, love is blind but if your love actually is blind (for example) it is a good idea to mention this to your family/friends before you introduce us to them.  This will avoid any awkwardness during the introduction and allow everyone to make preparations that will ensure everyone is as comfortable as possible. It also gives them the chance to ask questions or air any misgivings they may have out of your love’s earshot.

This is not patronizing, its practical.

 

  1. A tip from Damion:

Keep an open mind. People with a disability may look/act different to “normal” people but they will more often than not prove to be more loving and understanding than others. Which makes for a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

 

For the record: I did not put him up to that.

 

Happy dating!

 

XOXO

5 Dating Tips for the Divinely Disabled

couple

 

Like millions of women the world over, I got my fair share of advice from others on what kind of man I needed when I finally started dating. I was told he needed to be as clever as me or I’ll get bored, a dormouse so that he didn’t mind that I did all the talking and I was even told that I needed a fella who worshipped me as much as my old dog Napoleon did. But perhaps the most unhelpful suggestion I got was that I needed, above all else, a man with a disability. coz you know, we’re in the same league.

Damion does not have a disability, but I don’t hold that against him. He is in fact the only person I’ve been out with (more than once) who does not, and he’s awesome! The only other “serious relationship” (if you could call it that) that I have ever had was with a gorgeous guy that did happen to have one. The relationship lasted for less than a year but I suspect that that had more to do with my incredibly low self-esteem, ( resulting in my constant need for reassurance) not our disabilities. Constant crying is never an attractive quality for anyone.  It is almost as unattractive as desperation.

 

On a side note, I mention the disability status of both of these men purely to make the point that this is not the deciding factor in my relationships. You would be surprised how many people ask me “what is his disability?” if ever I mention Damion. I will usually ignore the ignorance but if I do answer, you’d think I had said I was dating a 100-year-old (nothing wrong it that) and not someone who’s able-bodied. Such is the shocked reaction I encounter.

 

I have now seen both sides of the coin. That is, I have been the disabled dater and the disabled datee. When one or more of you have a disability, there are extra things to be considered, such as anything from; access to venues and how you’re going to get there, to how you’re going to shower at your partner’s house without your shower chair. Luckily though, with this being 2017, there is usually a way around everything if you want there to be.

 

I am no expert but since when has that ever stopped me? Here are my top tips for dating if you are divinely disabled:

 

1. Don’t hide your disability –  be upfront, honest and proud of your disability. If it’s too confronting to deal with on the first date, it’s unlikely to be any less so if you spring it on them in 2-dates-time. This is especially important if you are dating online. Trust me, the look of shock/disappointment that comes when your date sees that you are more disabled than they thought is not something that you really want to see.

 

I once went out with a guy who gave me that look. so, not wanting to seem any more disabled (as it was obviously an issue) I decided not to take my walking frame. This was a mistake, what I should have done was not go through with the date. Instead I wobbled around and eventually had to hold onto him for support which made us both uncomfortable. Needless to say, there was no second date.

2. You don’t have to take second best.

I had thought that because I am not perfect and my disability carries a lot of baggage, I should take anything that is offered to me and be grateful. That means  putting up with being made fun of,  or taking part in activities that I was not comfortable with, purely because I was afraid that nothing else would come along. Wrong! Sure, it is a possibility, but if you don’t find someone else straight away, at least you won’t have to shave your legs every day.

 

Similarly remember that you are not a curio. There is a myth out there that disability equals desperate and to use a phrase I heard a lady on BBC program “The Undatables” use; we are not here for a fascination fuck!

 

3. On the first date go somewhere you know.

It’s not always your choice, but if you can go somewhere you know well, then do. That way you can be familiar with where the easiest access points are and where you can sit down if you need to. Another perk to knowing the place is that, where applicable, you can peruse the menu beforehand. This avoids the awkwardness of having to ask your date to read it for you if you can’t. Although, their reaction to this request can be a good indicator as to how comfortable they are with your disability. Damion read the menu out for me on our first date.

4. Be happy with yourself first.

I know that everyone says this and it’s easier said than done, but it’s true. Unfortunately, unless your partner is as lacking in the self-esteem department as you (not recommended) or they have the patience of a saint, you won’t get the reassurance you’re after. You’ll get dumped! Try counselling and/or writing to overcome this. It worked for me

5, You gotta be in it to win it – put yourself out there.

This is not a movie, it’s real life. So, sadly, the person you’re looking for wont just appear on your doorstep and declare undying love for you. It’s frightening and yes, your disability might expose you to more rejection than you hope, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

 

If you’re shy, internet dating is a good option and you can do it in your pyjamas. It’s also good when, like me, your disability makes it difficult to socialise in the traditional way. You do have to go out in the big wide world eventually though.

 

There are lots of different sites out there but I had success with disabledsingles.com.au and more recently with Zoosk (it’s were I met Damion). There are people from all walks of life everywhere, so keep an open mind and just go with what your comfortable with.

 

Good luck and happy dating!

 

XOXO

An ode to Cecily

Cecily and I have been together since November. I don’t want to jinx it as it’s only been four months but already I can see us being together for ever.

She is the perfect partner. She’s very supportive, she will go anywhere I take her and she even tolerates my pushiness. Plus she has her own set of wheels. She’s stable and strong so I know that I can always depend on her and she will always be there to lean on.

We are taking things slowly. One step at a time. She makes me feel secure enough to know that I can always apply the brakes if I need to.

When we go out she carries my stuff and never complains at all. She always lets me choose the venue and will always give me a seat if I need one. She’s very happy to be dragged along to anything with anybody at any time. She hangs out with my friends and colleagues and she is even willing to come along when I’m with my boyfriend, without getting in the way or getting jealous. She is so good in fact that I know I will always be her one and only and she will never leave me behind.

She gives me a sense of independence that I have never felt before. The feeling that I can go anywhere and it’s very liberating!

She is a bit needy though.  She can’t go anywhere unless I’m holding onto her and she has no sense of direction. Plus she’s very easily lead but I guess you have to take the good with the bad. It would also be nice to have some conversation now and then.

She is no Beyoncé but I am so glad she has come into my life even if I did have to pay for it.

For the record, Cecily is my walking frame. What were you thinking?

Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you have someone wonderful to share it with, as I do!

XOXO