This week's un-cut version of Irish Sunday Independent piece
I'm gonna really try and make this funny. Which will be a challenge. But I enjoy this particular challenge and I think I'm actually quite good at it. It's only a new challenge. It's been in me for maybe five weeks. And in those five weeks I've had more fun than I ever had in my life. Made more friends. Enjoyed writing, which i just love. And been very silly and happy. And here is the reason why.
There's a hugely beloved song in this world. Sung from the point of view of a lover who has lost reciprocation. It describes the minutes of the days becoming like hours. And how one counts them, as one would if it was days without fags.
It describes the loneliness and anguish and crying and self-bashing we all do when a relationship, particularly a marriage, fails. The narrator tells of utter in-ability to even live and sleep at the times expected by 'normal' society.
He or she (depending upon who wrote and or sang it) seeks medical help but very unwisely ignores it. It being a song very close to my own heart I'm inclined to pay attention to what the doctor says and I lately decided to put his advice into practice. He said "Girl, you better try to have fun no matter what you do."
So. I'll try to keep the serious bits to a minimum and please be assured I have a very funny story to tell u at the end of this so you'll forget the serious bits, hopefully.
Up until the last five or so weeks, I had been a person full of grief. Don't think am saying anything every baby in the street doesn't know. There were very 'good' reasons why I carried such grief. And managed to pile on more grief year after year because of not having processed the original grief and consequently getting into more grief making situations.
Now don't get me wrong, I wrote nine album's worth of pretty decent songs with three chords, a capo and a smashed up heart. And I wouldn't change a thing. I've had the time of my life in the 30 years I've been a writer and singer of songs. Every dream I ever had came effortlessly true. Dreams I would never even have dared contemplate dreaming, came true. Too many to list here. All musical. I've had an amazing life as a mother and as an artist. And I love those aspects.
I always feel it's astonishing what songs will make people do. For example, im absolutely petri-f*****g-fied of flying. I cling to the seat in front of me and blub like a baby all the way from London to Moscow to sing maybe 2 songs. I feel like a s**t mother, leaving my kids. I feel lonely and really frightened away from the home that stablises me and makes me know where i fit in because musicians dont fit in very well to what is considered 'normal' society. I feel like a lost 3 yr old until the moment I start to sing. And while I'm singing then I know again where I fit in. And I summon my children to me behind my closed eyes and I have a song for each of them and I'm home. But by half an hour after the show I'll be back to the frightened 3 yr old who wants to be brought home safe and is lost in the big world which is not home.
Often people ask me to describe what kind of music I make. And I say " if you could describe music you wouldn't need music". Music is there to say all the stuff there aren't words for. Consequently musicians are very privileged people. We get to say the stuff 'normal' society doesn't say. We don't live by the rules 'normal' society sets out for people. We are our own bosses. It is accepted generally, that we are all half-mad. And indeed we would be a great disappointment were that not the case. Should anyone ever be bothered to do the research it would most definitely be found that in the background of any musical star you can think of there will be child-hood trauma. I have a theory too though, about artists generally. We do your madness for you. If we weren't mad, youse would all be in the nut-house. Someone has to let it out.
It's a great strain 'normal' society. Fitting in. Keeping your nose clean. Not f*****g with the s**t-stem. Being the right shaped peg in the right shaped hole. While being taught sweet fanny Adams at school as to how to actually conduct life. So to me 'normal' society is what's at the very bottom of a bottle of whatever happens to be the most 'bling' champagne Arthur day. And art is what happens when God shakes the bottle. out we all spurt, saying or painting or dancing or singing or banging or screaming or shouting or crying or laughing, all the stuff that doesn't get said.
Ireland is a particularly difficult version of 'normal' society. Because we're in a gap now between what was 'normal' and what will be. And that gap is a frightening place to be.
And the fear creates silence. And silences need to be broken, if things are to be moved on from. Things need to be talked about and considered. Even things which shock people. In fact especially the things which shock people.
What we were under Catholic theocracy we haven't quite shed yet. We won't until those of us over 35 are dead.
We all are of an Ireland which thank God our children do not know.
Consequently they love themselves. They have a great sense of how they deserve to be treated. And how valuable they are just as they are. They are able to put aside the opinions of us idiot grown-ups who are still so hung up on the old rules of what was not, but was considered, 'normal'.
So for example, they can openly come out at 12, 13, 14 and say they are gay. And be loved and appreciated by their friends for doing so. They can talk openly with each other and at school about sex and love and relationships. They don't have shame hang-ups about sexual matters such as was driven into us over-35s
When I was twelve we at school had our one and only sex-education class. As true as God an old nun we had never seen before, sort of sideways walked into the class so we couldn't really see much but the back of her. She proceeded to take a piece of chalk and on the blackboard drew a two- foot erect penis, complete with 'two veg'.
Now at this of course we girls fell into pandemonium, crying laughing on the floor. Clinging to our knickers to stop ourselves pissing. It was just too funny to see a nun do such a thing. She didn't know what to do and after failing to calm us down she ran from the class and that was the end of sex-ed.
So, there was, and still is, all this stuff that doesn't get talked about. And our progress as a nation, out of the spiritual enslavement we were in, will not be complete until all over 35 are dead as I said. So there'll still be 'flak' til then, thrown at people who are fizzing out of the bottle.
I'm writing this because a) writing is how I work through things. And b) it will by today (Sunday) have been all over the place that I was extremely distressed last week after an experience I had wherein it was suggested to me that my talking so openly about sex was mentally unsound and bad parenting. This is the kind of attitude which sent women like me in the past, to Magdalene laundries. Talking so intimately about sex is not the "boundaries why which normal society lives" is what i was told. And in my head I'm thinking "hold on, who dictated what's 'normal'?
It was said to me that I should be concerned that "people would laugh at me in a mocking way". I said " sure I've been dealing with that since I put out my first album! I've no problem with that". "and anyway, who do u mean?" "People I've been with who don't know I know you have been mocking you". I'm like "so?" Then yes it was said to me that "14 years from now" my children would be damaged emotionally because I wrote openly and crudely about sex. I reject that entirely. My children are extremely intelligent, open, un-ashamed and silly, funny people. And there is no subject at all that they would not or do not discuss openly with me. and they will know very well I did not actually shag an un-peeled banana. I merely said so for giggle-ment. But if I had I would have no shame in saying so as I don't buy into shame about anything to do with sex which is not abusive or non- consentual.
This was the same as had happened on the phone with the poor Late Late researcher. Amnt I 'mad' for being open and crude about sex. I've found the most difficult thing in my life to manage is being the kind of woman I am in the kind of Ireland we still are and will be til our grandchildren are lucky enough to get rid of us so they can have fun.
Now I'm gonna say something which is another 'forbidden'.. I have often and still often struggle with suicidal feelings when I am subjected to this 'mad' Sinead O'Connor business. It's is wrong. Degrading. Insulting. A breach of my human rights as I see it, and most disrespectful. And also dangerous as it sends a signal to other women and girls that they must fit into old Ireland's 'norms'. Which were never actually 'normal' certainly when it comes to sex.
I'm a very strong woman. But I am also over-sensitive by nature of what I do for a living and I, like every other human on earth am a kaleidoscope of sometimes glorious, sometimes agonising contradictions.
I wrote on twitter on my way home from the visit as I was crying my face off that I have been so traumatised over the years by this treatment of me as if I'm a mad-woman it has often made me wish there was a way I could die without my children knowing it was on purpose. By choice I would rather not live in Ireland. But am here because it is what is best for my children. If Ireland wasn't still in the grip of the dregs of theocracy a woman like me could live here happily. Without disrespect or humiliation.
So. To explain what this person kept referring to as my 'behaviour' (as if I'm a child and not a 44 year old woman). I was very depressed when my marriage broke up. I kept it well together at home, but when I was away working I was crying all the time. I had to stop in the middle of a song in Romania because I started crying. I really was very sad. Mainly at feeling I'm a horrible person who should never curse a poor man again by going out with one. Which is how often people feel when a marriage ends.
I woke up one day about a month ago and decided I had done enough crying and i was sick of being negative about myself and it was time to take that doctor's advice from Nothing Compares 2 U and try to have fun no matter how.
So I wrote about sex. In a jocular fashion. Making something funny out of a subject which was painful on my mind. I had fun. And from the moment the piece was published I had nothing but fun. I laughed and smiled, I forgot all about my marriage. I forgot all about what a supposedly horrible person I am. I forgot to bash myself around for being sad or horrible. I became funny. I found things funny. I met funny people over the net and twitter. I wrote more. I enjoyed writing. It got more and more mischievous the more the 'normal' people were taking it seriously.
Tweets which were obviously jokes were reported as serious and that amused me. Yes. Because I am amused by adolescent toilet humour as is every other person remotely connected with music.
Anyway. I'm not dead. Nor will I be til God gets me. Neither am I mad however, and I'm not going to place myself in the company of anyone who is going to try that 'squinting windows' 'Magdalene' mentality on me.
The reason I am not nor will be dead by my own hand, is that I say when I feel suicidal. I get bashed for that too. Which is just stupid. "oh you shouldn't let people know you feel that way they'll think you're mad and this that or the f*****g other..." " and it's bad for ur children".
F**k that! What's with all this shite we're not supposed to say? Whether sex or suicide.. As Yeats I think wrote in some poem of his.. How can we recover from what we can't remember? Well how can we recover from what is not talked about openly? There is no shame in feeling suicidal. Nor in anyone knowing that wave passes over you sometimes. No one should be judged badly for however it is they choose to make their cry of help.
I am not at all sorry that I wrote what I did on twitter. It was a cry for help and help was received. So it was worth it. I have no shame around the fact that I can be shot into suicidal feelings by certain people's treatment of me. I am no different to any other person, I therefore act as I believe any other person should be free to.
As I said earlier, I've been scoffed and mocked and laughed at and derided and treated like a lunatic for so long it doesn't bother me enough to stop being me. Yes it makes me wish I could either not live in Ireland or die. But it doesn't make me try to be something I'm not in order to get people to stop abusing me. I'm not going to try squeezing into a round hole when I'm a square peg. I always tell my daughter God put her on earth for one reason alone and that is to be HER. And I tell her it doesn't matter what anyone says she should be, not even me or her father, or brothers or anyone. Her only God-given duty is to be the precious, priceless and singular soul that God made her. Even if sometimes it hurts. A lady I know often says to me "sometimes saying yes to yourself means saying no to someone else". I drill that into my Roisin as well, as I did with Jake (24) and will with Shane (7) and Yeshua (4). And I will drill it into their children too.
I have two large crates of newspaper cuttings I have kept for my future grandchildren concerning all that has happened regarding 'the church issue' in Ireland in the last 3 years. All reports, associated documents, letters from popes etc.. And a tiny few of escapades their granny got up to.
The one cutting I'm proudest of and I can't wait for my grandchildren to be old enough to see is the headline from a fort-night ago which read "Sinead admits sex with popular fruit was messy". Because it's funny and stupid and silly and nonsense. Too many people forget how important it is to be silly. Well.. When I get depressed or suicidal from now on, I'm going to use humour to get myself out of it.
So now, the funny story I promised you. A story of Ireland if ever there was one. One of my best female friends has a sister who was married all her life to a proper arse-hole who took a job in Copenhagen for a few years when the kids were grown up and came home once a month or so for a few days.
One week-end he came home. Spent the week-end shagging his missus and then announced that he had a woman in Copenhagen and wouldn't be coming back again to his wife. Needless to say she was wrent, but after some time she met a man and fell in lust/love. At this time she was 68.
One night an ambulance had to be called because she had had a suspected heart attack during a lurve-making session in the first days of the affair. The hospital ran test after test and could find no evidence of a heart attack or any other health problem and for days just couldn't figure out what on earth had happened to her.
Finally a psychologist and a heart doctor sat with her and by the time they'd finished quizzing her they reached the conclusion that in fact she had had an orgasm! The poor woman had never in 40 years of marriage to the idiot husband, had an orgasm nor even knew what one was. Welcome to Ireland.