Tag: personal

My Childhood Secret

I write this story as an inspiration of my friend’s brave story of how she was abused as a child. I will warn you now that this will be personal, contain sexual phrases, and not for the faint hearted, but most importantly, it’s true. But I feel this story must be told to create a dialogue of abuse prevention and the importance of consent.

When I was a child I went to a special school for a few years due to my autism. It was many miles away from home so I would have to go by bus every day (and this was before motorways existed outside Dublin). This bus specifically took kids with disabilities to different schools around the city. When I was 6 there was a new kid. His name was Michael and he was 2 years older than me. He had no obvious disabilities but he was from a damaged background and it affected him, as I would find out the hard way.

I was bullied by Michael on the way to and from school most days. He said mean things to me, stole my possessions followed by threatening to throw them out the window while the bus was moving on a very busy road. One morning I accidentally sneezed on the bus floor, he stole my school bag and decided to wipe the floor with it. I still remember running into school crying about my snotty bag. Luckily the teachers were good to nice and cleaned the bag. I tried telling people that I was being bullied but nobody did anything about the problem. To this day people do not take the bullying I had seriously and  I still do not understand why nobody helped me.

However they were only trivial in comparison to the worst thing he did. On the way home one day, he manipulated me into getting involved with something that no 6 year old girl would either fully understand or wish to do. He wanted to put his hand down my trousers and touch me; in return I would put my hand down his trousers and touch his penis. Although as a 6 year old girl who was quite autistic, I knew that it wasn’t the right thing for kids to do that to each other. And I knew it wasn’t simply just innocent, accidental exploration. He did it on purpose and he understood it was sexual. Not for one second did I want to do it but he had power over me. I was touched without my consent by an older child. To put it simply: I was molested.

For some reason, I told nobody what happened for thirteen years and until this post very few knew at all. It affected how I saw things for a very long time. Being bullied made me discover that I was different to other kids. I knew I was disabled and being disabled made me weak. It depresses me to this day that if was seen as normal, I would have never been bullied. People assume because I have developed as a 22 year old college student with a potential and have loved ones in my life makes that my autism not an issue any more. Nobody understands the jealousy I had with friends, siblings, cousins and classmates because they had no reason to be bullied. Nobody knows how I felt voiceless and inferior for so long because I was voiceless and weak then. I have mentioned I was bullied a few times but people but nobody took it seriously either because it didn’t happen in the school itself or they did not believe child on child molestation was real. Nobody knows what it is like to be doubting if it ever happened because I was just a stupid little girl. But when another victim of his brought it up 3 years ago, it all came back. The pure hatred I had flowed through me, I wanted him to suffer just like I did.  Nobody knows what it is like to try to be strong and not be a fucking crybaby, fearing I will be bullied, attacked and raped because I am weirder, and it’s why I have done not one, but two forms of martial arts. Nobody knows how it makes you scared of having disabled kids because you exactly how it feels and wouldn’t wish this suffering on anybody. Nobody knows how it’s given me anxiety and self-harming tendencies.

With the stories of abuse, rape and molestation I have decided I will not go quiet into the night any more. I was molested at 6 years old. It has made me fear my past and my future. It has made me question my abilities as a person. It has made me feel like I am less of a person. It has made me feel like I am the only person who is like this. I take anti-depressants every night and I may have to go to counselling for the rest of my life.
I refuse to be quiet, I refuse to believe what I am doing is wrong, and I refuse to be dismissed by everyone because it’s not the norm simply because I wasn’t a drunk, skimpy-dressed woman abused a creepy stranger or a child abused by a respected adult with terrible secrets.

Nor will I delete this because it’s inappropriate. But that is the point. We need to get this into people’s minds that sexual abuse towards all ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, races is wrong. It is NEVER EVER the victim’s fault. If someone says they were abused, believe them. Very few make it up.

To fellow victims: You have a voice. You are not inferior to other people. You are better than your abuser. Just because “things could have been worse”, abuse stories are not a contest. You didn’t give consent and it felt bad, that’s abuse in a nutshell. And don’t forget to make your life great for yourself, because that is how you win at life.

To Michael if you ever see this: I don’t know where you are, what you look like as an adult, how your life is or even if you are alive. I haven’t seen you in 15 years and I am very grateful I haven’t. Although you made my life a living hell, my life has also been pretty great. I have done well in school, I am in a degree I like, I am good at writing articles, I have a stable family, I have friends who respect me, I am in love with a wonderful man who gives me strength and loves me for me, I even get to travel to great places. I won’t say that I want you dead or that I forgive you. But I will tell you this: I fight the fears you give me every day, and every year I get better and stronger, and I am not afraid of you. Touching and bullying me was wrong. My autism was not a reason to hurt me and it is not a weakness. It was disgusting what you did, I hope you realise that and you answer for what you have done. Sincerely, Louise Clancy.

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Erasmus Diary Prologue Part 1: Introduction

My name is Louise Clancy. I am 22 years old and I study English and Sociology at University College Cork, Ireland (well…sort of ).

With the inspiration of bloggers and vloggers, and the suggestion by my disability officer I have decided to make a series based on my expereinces on my blog and YouTube channel. It will be honest without causing offence and it will show both the positives and negatives of Erasmus.

I have 3 reasons for doing it:

  1. I wanted an easy way to fill in with what I am up to with my friends and family.
  2. I wanted to inform people who want to do a year abroad in university, especially to those with a disability.
  3. To inspire people with autism (my condition) that you can do anything as long as you are brave enough to try.

Stay tuned later this week to read about how I worked on getting my dream of living abroad into an achievable reality.

21 Facts About Bohemian Nerd Girl

Hey readers!

Tomorrow is my 21st birthday. I am excited of course!

As I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now, I realised you do not know a lot about me. This will change. Here are 21 facts about me:

1) My full name is Louise Anne Martha Clancy.
2) I was born on August 1st 1993 in Cork.
3) I have had Autism as a child which sort of became Aspergers in recent years. I was diagnosed at 3 but didn’t know until I was 13.
4) I was in a special school from 1998 to 2001, where I was subsequently held back a year to 1st class instead of 2nd class in my local primary school.
5) I once believed that half past was the start of the hour until I was 10.
6) I used to cry over broken plates.
7) I don’t like being in the same room as a butterfly.
8) I once wrote a letter to Geoffrey Rush and he wrote back a year later. I wrote again earlier this month for his birthday.
9) A family trip to Wales and England when I was 12 was my first trip abroad. My first flight was on a school tour to Rome when I was 17.
10) My hobbies include reading, listening to music, watching TV and films, writing, going for walks, shopping, volunteering, cosplay and tae kwon do.
11) I don’t like my frizzy hair as I feel I look like a cross between Weird Al Yankovic and Art Garfunkel.
12) I do BA International in English and Sociology at University College Cork.
13) I achieved bronze and silver medals in the Gaisce President’s Award at 15 and 17 years old.
14) As a child I wanted to be a Pokemon trainer when I grew up.
15) I support causes related to disability, homelessness and LGBT rights due to experiences working and learning about each.
16) I hated and avoided wearing skirts/dresses for 8 years due to a fear of being exposed and hated being the only one to wear a skirt.
17) I find it hard to talk to people I don’t know. And I hate when I’m not listened to.
18) I find the most interesting social justice figure is Aung San Suu Kyi.
19) I used to play basketball and badminton in school.
20) I am the youngest in my family and have two siblings.
21) I plan on studying abroad in Europe next year and have a masters in journalism in a different Irish university.

All The Time In The World

Hello.

My name is Louise Clancy. I will be 21 years old on August 1st. I hope to study English and Sociology  in my second year of college. I have autism and had it my whole life. As a result,  I ended up with anxiety, particularly with stressful situations, meeting people for the first time, and the biggest one of all, fear of being left behind.

I will explain the last one, as that is what this is all about. 

I live in the country.  I can’t drive. I have a lack of work experience in the short term. I have terrible eating and sleeping habits. I like watching TV and going on the Internet. (Lately I watch TV on the Internet. Dragonball Z is a current favourite). I haven’t seen my friends in weeks (some of them, months) I’m afraid of contacting them online for fear of bothering them. I have some small hobbies, but I never get around to doing them properly.  Even with my best talent which is writing, I fear I’m not as good as I should be.

In short, I’m scared of wasting my life.

I’ve noticed gradually for around 10 years, the feeling that kids are living richer lives. Not in terms of financial means, but with with time. I know people my age who go to cool parties, have achieved great things, go to amazing places. Of course, I have done these things as a teenager and a student.  I am grateful for these things. I am blessed with amazing family and friends. I have done great things (not just “look not autistic”).
However I get this feeling I could do so much more.

I know where a lot of this anxiety comes from. The first source is from death. I saw two films about dying young lately: Third Star and The Fault in Our Stars. Both address protagonists with terminal cancer and know they don’t have much time left.  In Third Star, 29 year old James (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) has cancer knowing he won’t live to see his 30th birthday. He decides to go on trip with his friends to the coast in Wales. We learn that he didn’t have the chance to advance in his career as a writer or have a family.  In The Fault In Our Stars, 16 year old Hazel had her life extended by a few years due to revolutionary drugs. She becomes reclusive by only watching TV and reading  her favourite book over and over. Her life changes after she reluctantly goes to support group and meets Augustus.

In both cases,  James and Hazel learn to make the most of the time they have left. But for the healthy like me, what’s our excuse?

The second comes from life. It feels like as a society,  we pressure ourselves to live every day as if it was our last. The bucket lists from blog like websites such as HelloGiggles and CollegeTimes, YouTube vloggers such as Louis Cole living a life your ideal self could only dream of, and worst of all, people you know showing their lovely photos of their respective adventures.  That if  all I do is watch TV and eat more than one should,  is my life less than those who meet their friends,  go to concerts, travel to interesting places, etc. Is this pressure to do this and see that making people feel bad about themselves? My answer is yes.

Seemingly, it’s no longer a matter of how long do you live, but how well do you live.

The questions I have for you readers are these:
How do you overcome your anxieties?
Do you fear of wasting your time?
What do you think makes your life worth living?

Let me know your opinions readers in the comments below.
Live long and prosper.

This Blog is One Year Old!

Today it has been a year since I started my blog Bohemian Nerd Girl (originally called Collection of Clancy). 

I have written about many things from serious topics to lots of fun stuff. I have posted original pieces for the blog, my journalism articles which have been published, my poetry and videos from Video of the Week and Fangirl Friday. Here I will discuss some blog facts:

At the time of writing this, Bohemian Nerd Girl has 4281 views from 54 countries and 36 comments from 77 posts. I have 102 followers and I am grateful for each and every one of them. 

The most successful day for views was 150 on June 3rd 2014. The top five most popular posts (excluding home/about) are:  

  1. Advice to Leaving Cert Students 2014 (252 views)
  2. 19 Facts About Benedict Cumberbatch (191 views) 
  3. Selfies and Snapchat: The Secret Exhibitionist? (Motley article) (169 views)
  4. 9 Reasons Why Tom Hiddleston is an Amazing Man (147 views) 
  5. Troll in the Dungeon: Why Online Bullies Are the Worst (138 views)

The top five countries with the most views are: 

  1. Ireland (3058 views) 
  2. United States (553 views) 
  3. United Kingdom (289 views) 
  4. Canada (58 views) 
  5. Germany (47 views)

Before I wrap up this post I just want to say thank you to all who have read, liked, followed and commented on my blog. I never thought I would get this many views in one year. It has given me a chance to raise important issues, entertain others and most importantly, practice writing so I can pursue it in the future. Happy Birthday!

You Know You Have An Irish Dad When…

Many people have talked about how fascinating “The Irish Mammy” is, but Irish Dads are rarely mentioned. So here are the most interesting aspects about “The Irish Dad”. You Know You Have An Irish Dad When…

  1. You’ve been picked up from school in a tractor at least once: This has happened to me. It’s an interesting journey but awkward to fit yourself, himself and your bulky schoolbag. You’ll also end up sitting on the tool box. 
  2. The love the GAA takes over: Although most Irish people in general love GAA, but nobody loves it more than Irish Dads. They know their ticket seller well, go to many club and inter-county matches, have great knowledge of every player and even watch counties they’re not supporting for “research purposes”. Not to mention their heightened emotions every time there’s a goal or the referee has a “blind moment” 
  3. He has a huge collection of war movies/books: I’m not just talking about four or five, but dozens. They take up most of the DVD rack and bookshelf. World War One, World War Two, Irish history, the US Civil War; you name it, they know a LOT about it. They are also pretty handy for Junior Cert history. 
  4. He is the one who teaches you to drive: Just prepare for a lot a headaches and a lot of bad driving. 
  5. He is the only one who knows how a radiator works: Ideal when your college flat bedroom never seems to be warm. 
  6. He buries the family pet: The kids are too distraught to see their dead pet, so it’s up to Dad to give it a decent sendoff. Even to this day, I still have no idea where my budgies went, nor do I want to know.
  7. He has a specific taste in music: And when I say specific, I really mean the music he listened to in his teens and twenties. So it’s more Shawaddywaddy and Bruce Springsteen than Skrillex and Beyonce in his music collection. 
  8. He does dinner time trivia: You’re just after the dinner or the supper. He mentions stuff about an old film you’ve never heard of. He then makes you guess the people who starred in said movie. This is both annoying and entertaining when he does it, and he varies in topic.
  9. He associates years by weather and/or GAA: You can ask him what he remembers of a certain year perhaps 1974 or 1982, the first thing he’ll mention is who won in the All-Ireland for hurling and football, and how good the weather was for silage. For added interest, you’ve even asked the year of your birth.
  10. He’s harder to buy for gifts: You have no idea, so you get him chocolate or mam buys the gift for you. Also, you learned to not waste your time on the gift guides in the magazines, because you know very well he won’t like any of the suggestions.  

Do any of these things apply to your Dad? Are there other Dad quirks I missed? Let me know in the comments section below. So to say this now: Happy Father’s Day, and I love you Dad.

Feet of a Dancer: One Year Later

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A year ago today was my graduation from Loreto secondary school. As an annual tradition, the song “Feet of a Dancer” written by Charlie McGettigon is played over the intercom all over the school for the sixth years. Because it was also a convent school, we had a graduation mass, where we learned the song. 

My time at Loreto was mostly positive, but I had some bad times. I wanted to go there since I was 10 years old (four years before I became a student there). Having no distinct talents or achievements of my own, I thought secondary school would be a good start to get some. 

First year was an awkward time for me. I was socially awkward. I learned I was autistic the year before. I was a bit chubbier, had acne on my face, didn’t own a good straightener, didn’t wear makeup every day. I preferred The Beatles over Beyonce. I was bullied for being autistic when I was 6 and I didn’t want to bullied again (I still don’t). I didn’t go to the discos to “meet” boys. I tended to express my anger openly if something or someone was bothering me. I was afraid of EVERYONE.  I told very few people about it, for fear of bad reaction.  I remember my first day of school. My mam drove me in. We gathered in the canteen. I met my two friends from primary school. I met a Polish girl who had no English. I tired to explain how to find her class by reading her name on the door. We were called to our classrooms and she followed me. I was assigned my seat (which was in alphabetical order) and met my first friend. A Chinese girl with a bubbly personality and a smart cookie. We spent the afternoon with our youth leaders who were assigned to us. One of them, I ended up getting to know her through volunteering and other family connections. I struggled with making friends in the first few weeks, until a girl invited me to sit with her. She was and still is the smartest lady I ever met, with a love for rugby and chocolate. Sitting next to her was a girl I saw before through our confirmation. She sang in it and we bonded over sarcasm (for someone with problems reading social cues, I learned how to read sarcasm from her). I met another girl in my class. She had a disability too, though I didn’t always see eye to eye with her at first. My friends from primary school also became friends with my friends which brought us together. As the year progressed, I became more confident after joining the basketball team and coming second from a talent show after reciting a poem. I came out to my class about my autism, and even agreed to make a speech about my past for CSPE. It went well and people were accepting. 

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In second year, I took part Gaisce for a bronze medal. I did volunteering with disabled people in the sports hall every Saturday, learned how to play guitar (which I started February of first year) and we did training exercises at the gym in the sports hall. Two of my friends did it too and I made friends with the Gaisce coaches including an SNA who’s the nicest and bravest lady I ever met, a resource teacher who was good at art, and an eccentric nun who was so cool and knew a lot about social justice. I was more confident, though I did struggle with getting along with some people at times. I also joined badminton. I kept on French, Home Ec, Business, Science, Irish, English, Maths, Geography and History. I bonded with my cooking partner and I developed a skill and love for cross-stitching and cooking. The Gaisce trip to Kerry was a great experience and I knew I wanted to do Gaisce again. 

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Third year was stressful because of the Junior Cert. However I was getting along great with the people in my year. No problems at all. I did clash with a teacher because I was not satisfied with the class progression.  The nun I mentioned earlier became my favourite person in the world and my confidant for my stress. She taught me a lot of important lessons including “Is there fire? Is there blood?” which I still use to this day. I was devastated when I learned she was moving away. But we gave her a good send-off. Luckily my Junior Cert went fine after months of grinds for Irish and Maths. (Where I almost failed both during the mocks)

third year

My fourth year was Transition Year. That was my favourite year in my time of school. It was the happiest time in my teenage years. I went to Rome on my school tour and it was one of the best trips ever. I did Silver Gaisce like I wanted to. I did badminton and swimming for physical, I volunteered with autistic kids for volunteering, and I learned Mandarin Chinese for my skill (I don’t remember much now sadly). I was part of the Young Social Innovators in school and we did a project on homophobia in schools. We made it to the Dublin showcase and I pretended to be a lesbian for a five minute skit. We also had the TY trip to Kerry where we went hiking and kayaking. That was fun, until I cut my hand after a bad fall.  I took many opportunities that year and I had so much fun (although maths was SO BORING). That year gave me the most progress as person and I felt much more confident. 

Rome

Fifth year was the start of the Leaving Cert course. I kept on Irish, English, Maths, French, Business, Biology, Geography. All higher level except maths. It wasn’t easy, but I got through it. I got to know more people because of the third years who skipped TY. I did basketball for the last time that year, and it was my best. I became a belly dancer for a year, which was a fun distraction from school. I finally got to do my Gaisce trip where I went hiking and kayaking with the TYs (why I wasn’t allowed to do it when I was in TY still mystifies me to this day). I rediscovered my love for English with the help of a great teacher, and I realised I wanted to study it in college, which was why I chose arts. 

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Sixth year was my final year. In terms of my friends and socialising, it was my best year yet. In terms of the Leaving Cert and my relationship with some authority figures, it was hell. I got in trouble many times due to stress-induced anger. At the time, I couldn’t wait to see the back of them. My solaces were my crush on Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, 18th birthday parties, and studying at Fermoy Education Centre, because I was never judged by the people in charge. I paid my fee, did my work and it was peaceful. I even got to eat at a place nearby called Café Mocha, which did great Chicken & Relish wraps with tea every Saturday while reading my John Green books. I applied to UCC in the CAO and was excited about the future. I didn’t care what job I had, what my subjects in arts were, or even if I made friends or not in college, I knew I would be happy. Although I’d miss some things. I’d miss my school friends, the general peaceful atmosphere of my peers, some of my favourite teachers. I loved the Leaving Cert sleepover where our year raised €2000 for cancer research and hospice care. I graduated on May 22nd 2013, where we went to Youghal beach and then had our mass. I got to bring the Bible up to the altar. My parents were there and I felt proud that I got through school in one piece. My classmates and I partied into the night after the mass at the pub. I got through the Leaving Cert in one piece and finished on June 13th 2013. 

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One year later, I reflect on whether or not school has served me well. Sometimes I think “God damn those exams didn’t reflect me as a person! Screw the exams! Screw the people who gave me hell! College is more relevant and served me better!” In some cases, college did serve me very well. However, this confidence that increased in my first year in college wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have the previous confidence built up from school. Transition Year helped me more ready and mature for college. School helped realise what I wanted to be in life (and suited me best) through English class. I learned more social issues, business and geography which served me well in Sociology. Renaissance History served me well in English. TY Classical Studies served me well in Greek & Roman Civilisation. Home Ec taught me how to cook, which was great for living away from home. The most important thing I learned from school is that if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.