Now this week’s self-care post may seem a little counter-intuitive but stick with me.
So growing up in Liverpool with an Irish grandma, a family who loves Ireland and a surrounding that is predominantly Irish, I’ve always felt a great affinity with the country. More so than with the UK. In fact, I’ve never relished my British identity but found it somewhat embarrassing. I mean the whole idea of splitting land into countries has always felt bizarre to me. Throwing our racist, religious or xenophobic views behind a flag is just pathetic. Patriotism. One of my least favourite words in the English language. A blind belief that you are worth more due to the coincidence of your birth. And the British Empire? Don’t even get me started.
So that’s not how I see my relationship with Ireland. I don’t obey it and I don’t worship it. I just feel drawn to the land. Like I’m coming home. It’s the ideas of family above everything; respecting nature; always striving to be a kind person but remembering to have a heck of a lot of fun along the way that embody the Irish spirit for me. Because that’s been my upbringing. Those are the lessons I’ve learnt from the people I love. The fact all these sentiments bind in my mind to equal Ireland is almost incomprehensible because they’re not tangible, they’re just how I live my life. It’s hard to articulate. Because my family is Irish I’ve seen those lessons as being passed down through ancestors. The people teaching me these lessons may have thought differently but that’s how I’ve always interpreted it. So I hesitate to say I’m proud to be Irish because I don’t ultimately agree with countries and I think pride can be harmful. But I’m very happy to be Irish. I’m thankful that it’s my heritage. Because it’s happenstance of birth that has created the family that I have. And they’re pretty boss to say the least. Liverpool and Ireland did that. I have no doubt in my mind. So I’m grateful for their existence.
But if we’re stepping out of the spiritual world into the physical world I do love the country’s hills and green lands and pubs. I do fully plan on spending time in Ireland every year of my life. Many of my favourite childhood memories are the other side of the Irish Sea and I hope to make more in the future. I just feel comfortable there. Whether it’s pub crawling through Dublin or staring at the Atlantic Ocean from atop the Burren in County Clare. Again, it’s because I feel so connected to my family when I’m there. Either because they’re stood right next to me or because when I breathe I know that’s where we’ve come from. This island.
You’re probably wondering where the point to my article is coming in. It’s here. Go out today for St. Patrick’s and get pissed.
I know. You didn’t see that coming. Well I like to be unpredictable. Makes life more interesting. Now why am I telling you about my Irish heritage and drinking. And how is this anything to do with self-care? Because whilst yes, alcohol will not solve life’s problems (never forget that) it is acceptable to indulge occasionally. Whether you’ve had a long, hard week at work. Whether you just want to meet up with some friends you’ve been neglecting. Whether you’re Irish or not. Go and celebrate. Because whatever it was in the past, or whatever it is to other people now, to me March 17th is about celebrating culture and heritage and family. That’s why it’s my favourite day of the year. Don’t you see? It doesn’t matter what your life or beginnings are. Everyone can celebrate their culture, heritage and family so why not do it with booze, with the Irish. You all know we’re the funnest anyway. So when you’re blinded by a sea of green today, and maybe after a Guinness or two, have a think about what those three words mean to you right now. And what you’d like them to mean always. Then maybe act on it. Or don’t. I mean, you’ll probably have a wicked hangover tomorrow anyway so you might as well get something out of the drunken fun whilst it lasts.
If someone reading this disagrees with my view of St. Patrick’s Day then that’s totally fine. It is traditionally a religious holiday, yep, we are celebrating a saint. But I’ve found since turning from Catholicism to Atheism I enjoy having other ways to connect to my history. And yeah, St. Patrick’s Day famously was a day of alcoholic abstinence. But the Irish government overturned that years ago to improve tourism and celebration of all things Irish. So whether you consider it a bit of a piss up or a serious day I wish you a boss St. Patrick’s. And I hope you spend it with people you love.
And remember to shotgun a beer.
Lisdoonvarna – Christy Moore