Miracles of Love

I need a miracle.

In the last year, or maybe in my recent life, I’ve fallen into my bed many a night and asked for a miracle. Asked for Charlie and Skye to have better health, that their lives wouldn’t be filled with so many trials and tribulations. I’ve begged God, whoever he may be, to cure my mother who is deeply tortured by mental health issues. I’ve closed my eyes and asked him to let me live when I was seconds from dying. Now, I’m not sure if it was God who saved me, or if it was my ridiculously stubborn will power but here I am; just being here isn’t the miracle though I think it was the details that saved me.

When I was taken into casualty I was assigned a specialist stroke nurse who was strong willed, feisty and spoke when I couldn’t. I will never forget her whispering in my ear ‘if you take this drug you will die’; I didn’t take it and I lived. Her love, care and compassion was my lifeline in my darkest hour. There were so many micro-miracles that its hard to place them all in my foggy memories; the joiner who installed a tone of rails in my house free of charge, the food which just appeared to feed my children and the constant love which would fall on me when I would least expect it.

Earlier in the year I took a trip to Italy, I went alone and spent so much time in reflection, my wee mum is sick; she is so poorly I often wonder how she opens her eyes every day. It was in Italy during some of the quietest moments of my life that I begged for a miracle. I wanted my mum to be able to annoy me again, to tell me my fake tan was too dark, to instruct me on the art of laundry or to simply sit in my home watching me live my life. Instead of feeling miraculous the allegations of sexual harassment started to tumble out across Scotland, and while far away from everyone I loved, my own memories were swirling around my brain like a storm of dark nightmares. I started to get sick. My face started to freeze and I was miles away from home. There was a night which was so dark that I wondered how much more of life a person could take when the mountains seemed so inexplicably high. I told the young hotel owner that I would be taking to my bed for a day or so and not to worry if he didn’t see me, I explained that I had been sick and I needed a rest. At eleven that night there was a loud bang on the door and his mother instructed me to drink some holy water for my pain, it wasn’t the water that brought me back to life it was her love and kindness. The next morning when I opened the shutters I kept thinking that I had been missing the answers all along. Nothing was exactly as I had planned in my life, but being so deep in my own worry had led me to miss the amazing things that happen around me every single day. I was having my own personal pity party.

I’ve recently got to know a young mum of three, a care experienced girl who beat the system and got her degree; was married and pregnant when her world came tumbling down around her. Husband left, rent was too high, benefit cuts too deep to let her survive. My sister took this family into her heart and she told me that they would fly. Homeless, alone and with nothing. We asked for a miracle. It wasn’t a blinding light, it wasn’t a lottery win; it was Councillor Cannon making sure she got the right caseworker, it was the people of Wallacewell who wouldn’t let her sink, it was in my friends who are painting and decorating her new wee home, it was in my sister who believed in her. It was in the hope that life could be more. Those were her miracles. On Friday this girl didn’t even have food in her cupboards but on Saturday night she was thanking the world for her wonderful new life. You see, she has her eyes open to what love is.

Charlie started her hormone journey today. I sat in the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids listening to her medical history as it was read out to me, heart defects, epilepsy, diabetes, depression; and now her body is going to have to battle so hard to be what it should be anyway. Just to be who she is on the inside. As I sat I kept thinking about all the current right wing press condemning these young trans people. I thought my heart would shatter. Who would pick this? I wanted to pick her up and run, run as far as I could; but she didn’t want to run, she wanted to stand up to this and to carry on. As we walked out the hospital we passed kids, some of whom were so sick they couldn’t walk and my heart felt like it was going to explode. Wandering through the corridors with Christmas trees and cheery festive music I was sure my emotions were going to betray me, seconds from tears and my stomach in knots we walked out to see a rainbow so big and bright we both stood for ages, eventually burst out laughing. You see we cant change our problems but we can change how we react to them. We can choose to let them topple us or we can decide to make our broken moments make us stronger. Dolly Parton once famously said ‘Storms make trees take deeper roots’.

To that end I’m going to be doing something to make micro-miracles for others. James (the boss) is collecting toys for local charities but I will be collecting (and begging) for small gifts for young women just like the girl in my blog. Women who have been given so little in life but who deserve a little hope. If you could donate a small, wrapped gift for a young lady then let me know. Ill be giving them to WAVES on the Southside and to the women of Wallacewell. It’s time for me to open my eyes. If you are struggling with life, and if miracles seem like a fantasy, let someone know. People in this country are getting poorer, austerity isn’t killing the debt, its killing people; but I believe in good. I believe in hope. I believe that Jo Cox was right when she said “there is more which unites us than divides us”. If you cant donate to my precious ladies that’s ok, we all have budgets but try and give something. A hello to a grumpy neighbour, five minutes babysitting to the single mum in your street, dinner to an elderly relative; change will come of that I have no fears but until then we must look out for each other. If your give a little, even if it’s just your time, then eventually you’ll be your own miracle.

Gifts can be handed in to our Glasgow Cathcart office on Clarkston Road, or alternatively shoot me an email at rosa.zambonini@parliament.scot

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Growing Up Trans and Without Practice 

For most young women some of our best memories are sitting watching our mothers and sisters making them selves glam. I loved stealing my sisters lippy and using the lovely neon eyeshadows of my mothers 80s collection. Makeup and beauty doesn’t define a woman but as a glam lover, I understand the confidence that comes with a freshly painted face or nice new blow dry. 

When Charlie came out she stared to wear makeup and wasn’t quite as adept as my younger daughter Skye. That’s when it hit me, Skye’s had her whole life free to copy me and to experiment. While wee charlie had only ever been able to sit and wish from sidelines. Thankfully she is only 14 so we have plenty of time to get her glowing like Elizabeth Arden herself; but what about the ladies who only come out later in life?

It got me to thinking. No one teaches them how to blow-dry, use GHDs or do a winged liner. It would be quite difficult to go into a shop during the early stages of transition and ask for this kind of help. Trans women face many outer beauty problems, thinner hair, facial hair, different skin types; but all of this could be tackled with a little help from a glam squad. 

There is a fabulous hairdresser in Motherwell who had invented a technique to help thicken thin hair. I’ve had a lil chat with her and we are keen to have a trans night of Glam! A safe space to see hair, makeup and skin care techniques. Trans women from all over Scotland will be welcome and it will be a completely welcoming envrionment for every woman of EVERY age.

Like I say, outer beauty doesn’t define us but I think all women deserve support and encouragement. So if you would like to come to this event or know someone who would please let me know. Please share this amongst any LGBTI groups and beyond….

Beauty is only skin deep but a little rouge never hurt anyone 😘

A Woman’s Right To Lipstick

When Emily Davison stepped in front of the horse at the Epsom Derby on the 4th of June 1913, she did it for all women. If you look at photos of her she wore feathers, she wore hats and she was very glam. She never once said “in order to be equal you have to look a certain way”. Her funeral was paid for and organised by the “WSPU” (women’s social and political union). It was pretty with flowers and the women all dressed beautifuly. 

When I first got into “politics” it was more about seeing my community improve. I was already hooked on makeup tutorials, botox and shoes. I love women and all things girly, and particularly wanted to see things improve for us females. Someone said to me you’re such a feminist. Immediately I was thinking “naw mate cause I’m wearing a bra”. However, very very quickly I realised that I was indeed a feminist and that a feminist could come in all forms; and there is a place for EVERY woman in the movement. What there wasn’t a lot of was tolerance for my sort of “feminism”.

Many men (not all, I know there’s a few good yokes out there) have it ingrained in their head that if a woman is “sexy”, possibly blond, wears makeup and loves an over priced piece of footwear then she must be there for the taking. Pretty but thick? Marilyn Monroe is a classic example of how this is a) myth and b) a tool some women employ to get a head. Marilyn read a book called “The Thinking Body”, she used this scientific book to build a “walk” that would mesmerise men and women alike. She changed her hair, she changed her voice and she changed part of her personality; but underneath it all she was a shrewd woman who knew it would get her a head. She is one of the most famous women to have ever lived.

A woman who billed herself as a “feminist” once told someone not to employ me because of  what she’d heard, how I looked etc. She had never met me, didn’t know me but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t keen on seeing me flourish. GIRLS we must be BETTER. If we want to see others flourish then we must build them up with the bricks that people throw at them. One of my best friends never shaves her arm pits, mine are as baldy as a babies bum. We love each other’s pits!!! It’s called inclusive feminism. Wear yer bra, chuck it in the bin. Let your fake boobs be cradled in la perla or let your wee swingers flow free. None of this matters in the fight for equality. 

It’s what you fight for, not what you look like while you do it, that matters. Take your lipstick and paint the world a million shades of gorgeous.