Dear Twitter…

Dear Twitter

Let me get one thing straight before I start. You know that phrase, “it’s not you… it’s me”?

Well I’m fairly sure it’s you! 

I used to have so much fun with you. You were a place for great craic, plenty of banter and discussion about stuff I knew little about. I was ok with that, it was an education. I followed lots of people for lots of reasons and created my lists so I could look at writers and family and Christians etc separately if I wanted to.

I’ve spent a lot of time building my profile in your world. I’m no Nicki Minaj (on many levels) but 3000 followers is not nothing – and me trying to establish myself as some sort of writer, it’s a good place to be in.

I’ve met some clever people along the way, with differing views about differing subjects. Sometimes I was brave enough to chip in, other times I’d just sit and watch it go by. 

I remember the first time I saw #vinb. I thought the world had gone mad. I watched the programme a couple of times and quickly realised it wasn’t for me. But the hashtag was enough anyway. At first it was entertaining to see folk set their hair on fire about stuff. Then I noticed #rtept, #marian, #miriam and #twip, and it seemed some folk only appeared on Twitter when these hashtags were burning bright.

Something changed a few months ago and suddenly you weren’t so much fun anymore. A couple of topics rose to the surface and you became a place where I had to put up or shut up. Differing opinions were no longer welcome. The minority voice which in economic and social subjects was championed, was now told to be silent.

The senator, the professor, the clergymen, the I.I. director and most of that ilk get hauled over the coals every time they open their mouths. Insulted, criticised, mocked and hung out to dry. On the rare occasion someone gets a slap on the wrist for mocking, the wagons are circled… “poor you – how could anyone be so mean….?” 

Eh, yeah… that was my question, but about you – not to you.

I tried to be brave and stepped in a few times, but I was out of my depth. I watch as the overzealous fringe of Christian opinion is regularly dragged through your streets RT’d and RT’d again so everyone can have a good laugh.

In that last few days I’ve watched the RTs stack up of the clip of the New Zealand MP and his hilarious account of some of the contact he’s had from people who disagreed with him. He had the whole of the chamber in stitches laughing as he described some of the comments, he did a clever science experiment & used a Bible verse to seal the deal (completely out of context, but hey the Christians do it; so what?!). It was like an episode of Mock the Week, or is it ‘mock the weak’? 

I suppose I could just unfollow a load of people, or re-jig my lists. Grab one of my gay friends who I love (and who love me back) and ask them to assure you that I’m not homophobic. Explain how love for family, childlessness, & love for life are as much reasons for my prolife stance as any Bible verse I may wave at you. But Twitter, you steal my voice, you silence me. I sit at an empty blog post, finger poised over the keyboard and I can’t speak. I swore only a year ago that I’d never let that happen again.

When I finally realised I was a writer and said it out loud for the first time, I was determined never to let anyone convince me other wise. I was going to say what I wanted to say. But you put a stop to that. Or maybe I just let you.

Either way, you stifle me. You smother me. You make me cry. And if you were a boyfriend…. any true friend of mine would be asking me why I haven’t dumped you a long time ago.
The annoying thing is that you’re exactly like that crazy boyfriend I used to have – I’m finding it really hard to let you go, even though I know you’re bad for me and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

@auntyamo needs a break from you. Let’s see if I can live without you for a while.
I’ll miss you – a bit.

A x

P.S Thanks to all the Tweeters who noticed my recent comments about leaving and were nice enough to say ‘don’t go’. If you really can’t live without me follow @amowriting But it’s a politics free zone. God knows I need it! 

A pro-life defence – or maybe I’m just defending myself

For weeks now I’ve had a blog post about abortion rolling around my head and my heart. I’ve tried to ignore it. I threw it away several times. I’ve even said it out loud to myself to try to get it out of my system; but it hasn’t worked. I finally decided to write it and within days came the news of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and the child she was carrying. That stopped me in my tracks.

Suddenly abortion and X Case legislation were all over the news and current affairs programmes. Twitter went wild with accusation and counter accusation. I watched as people I love to follow argued and insulted each other. My stomach was sick and my heart ached every time I saw Savita’s beautiful face on the TV and the internet. And I thought to myself… “put it away Amo – this is not the time for your pale musings”.

But maybe it is time. Maybe this is exactly the time to say how I feel.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I am pro-life. What you might not know about me is that I am childless. And have no chance of ever being a mammy. (Unless by some miracle I end up adopting. But having tried already to no avail, I can’t see that happening.)

But if you know me; if you’ve read my blog, or you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I am NOT a mad fundamentalist right-wing Christian who secretly hates women! I’m not just an over emotional 40 something with no kids and no hope of ever having them! I am capable of rationally discussing abortion. The reason I’ve hesitated is that I don’t want you to hate me. I don’t want you to say the horrible things that get said to people who are anti-abortion.

I’m not a member of any pro-life organisation as, to be honest I tend to feel a bit uncomfortable with their methods. I don’t like to see images of aborted fetuses. As well as a right to life, these babies have a right to some dignity. Images of their dead bodies on display are distasteful and an insult to that body.
I heard stories of people shouting “child killers” at the march for Savita at the weekend. And though I’m convinced there was pro-choice agenda-pushing going on, I would not condone shouting at people in the street.

There is no point in me going into much debated arguments about Savita’s case. Mainly as the full details are not known. But also because my words won’t make a difference. Those who agree/disagree as to whether this was a pregnancy that went terribly and tragically wrong, or death because of a denied abortion – well I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on that am I?! But it is a tragedy and should not have happened.

The original wish for this post was to say why abortion breaks my heart. I’ve already gone on for too long, so I’ll keep it brief!
Abortion breaks my heart because I don’t have kids. I can’t, and there are people who can but don’t want to. It’s NOT a judgement on anyone. It makes me sad, not angry.
Abortion breaks my heart because it sets women against women. I don’t know if it’s anger, guilt, indignance, or what…… but this debate makes women talk about other women in such a terrible and cruel way. And I mean on both sides of the argument.
Abortion breaks my heart because of the love I have for the many kids in my life, my fabulous nieces and nephews and their kids. And others too.
Abortion breaks my heart because I believe it breaks God’s heart.

I must say one other thing. The reaction to some of the pro-life commentators has been truly awful. I tweeted during the week that we’d all prefer not to have to listen to those we disagree with but if these issues are going to be discussed on TV and Radio then all sides of the argument are entitled to a voice or there’s no point.
I’ve said before – my opinion may be in the minority. But it’s still my opinion and I’m entitled to it.

And I’m going to express it – abortion breaks my heart!

Discarded & Unnamed

Most of the time it doesn’t hurt anymore.

I go about my day to day life and I don’t even give it a thought.

Get the odd twinge, when I hear of pregnancies  but in general, not having children doesn’t often cause me much pain anymore. Usually I’m just so delighted that there’ll another little person in my life that the joy outweighs the sadness.

But today it’s tough. Today it is painful. Today it feels REALLY unfair and the whole world feels upside down. Mainly because of an article I read in the online version of the Telegraph [1]

248 human foetuses were found in a Russian forest. 248 little tiny people whose lives ended or were ended. When I read the article it was almost crushing.

I’m not going to rant about abortion or stem cell research. I disagree with abortion, anyone who know s me would know that. But I don’t have a fight in me at the moment. All I have is a pressing sadness that for some reason I don’t have a child and 248 tiny humans were packed into plastic containers and dumped in a forest.

LORD, I don’t understand. Help me not to despair about the total upside down nature of this situation. Which is mild and could be thought as nothing compared to a lot of other imbalanced and unjust situations in the world.

248… discarded and unnamed…

And I am sad.