I don’t think I have the words to properly describe what that weekend was but I will try to paint the picture of it as best as I can. It was the most amazing weekend of my life and I can’t be more thankful that I had the opportunity to go. It was the 1st time in a really long time where I was at an event and I didn’t feel insecure at all. For those of you who don’t know, Pink Training is a 3 day long event run by the USI in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community and discussing current issues affecting the community and learning more about other identities that we may not know much about. I didn’t really get too excited about going. Mostly because if I get too excited about something it usually ends up going to shit. I got nervous about going to it alright. I’m not a stranger to being out and proud but it is still a secret to the likes of my parents and family. I made sure when I started college that everyone knew that I was gay, or at the time bisexual. Only one person ever seemed to have a problem with it and they have since ceased in their detest for it.
As proud of my sexuality as I am, there is still issues I always have with it and there is ways in which I hide it. I never think about my sexuality a lot and it is something I always push to the back of my mind. In fact, I thought I might like girls from the age of like 12 and didn’t think it was something I needed to waste my time thinking about so I just forgot about it. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I started to learn about what being gay really was and that I actually could be a lesbian. On a daily basis, I do tend to hide half of my sexuality because of the negative stereotypes and misunderstandings that go along with it. That is the fact that I am asexual and if I tell anyone that they just want to tell me that I’m wrong and when the right person comes along I will change my mind. They think that because I’m asexual I can’t be attracted to girls and my lesbian status is wrong. I am romantically attracted to girls and I do have sexual thoughts towards some of these girl crushes it doesn’t make me any less asexual and being asexual doesn’t make me any less of a lesbian.
So back to Pink Training. We started off by registering. We ended up getting a bag full of free things, a t-shirt which has a quote by Oscar Wilde on it that says “Be yourself;everyone else is already taken”, we got wristbands that say “I’m an LGBT ally”, and we got lanyards where we wrote our name, pronouns, and our college. The pronouns being on them was really wonderful to see because it erases the need to try and awkwardly ask and you can skip right to the stage of respecting what someone’s pronouns are from the beginning. Like if someone asked me what my pronouns are it would make me feel somewhat insecure like I think “Do I not look like a girl?” At the same time that isn’t exactly how I should be thinking because what does it mean to look like a girl but when you are the gender you are and you accept and identify yourself as that gender you just feel like everyone else should be able to see that too. It’s also the fact that as a cis female I have been mis-gendered more than once so I feel really strongly about using the correct pronouns for everyone because that mis-gendering stuff feels really shit.
After registration we got free pizza and then since we had registered so early and that was on for 2 hours we went to the room where the first talk was on in and watched them set up the speakers and microphones and stuff. While this was happening one of the guys working for USI was just playing a videos on the projecter and we were just pissing ourselves laughing. Eventually the talk was starting so we got our seats up in one of the middle rows of the lecture hall that it was on in. As eager as we were about Pink Training we weren’t eager enough to stay sitting in the front row. I loved the welcome talk so much it was really during that talk that I really started to get excited about Pink Training. Also that my love for one of the USI members is still intact and stronger than ever. We didn’t have really many talks on the Friday it was mostly and introduction so we for all of Friday we just had the welcome talk, icebreakers and then a Lip Sync Battle. On the lanyards we got a important person in the LGBT+ community written on the back of each one e.g. Laverne Cox, Ellen Degeneres,Harvey Milk etc. There was rooms marked with a photo and description of who the person was an whoever’s name was on the back of our lanyards was the room we had to go to for our icebreakers. I got the Panti Bliss room. The icebreaker was a bingo game where it had things like “Is a Ravenclaw”, “Actually likes the taste of vodka”, “Has a crush on someone at Pink Training”. The whole point of it was that we had to go talk to the other people in the room in hopes that we could say yes to one of the boxes on our bingo sheet and we could cross it off and write their name on underneath where we marked it off. It was fun actually and I usually really hate icebreakers. We went back into the main room of the Training which was the Harvery Milk room and we watched the Lip Sync Battle. We learned a lot about Harvey Milk over the weekend and before then I had never heard of him but now I’m really interested to learn even more about him because his story is really interesting and I’ve always been very curious in the LGBT+ community in the 20th century. The Lip Sync battle was amazing but due to unforeseen circumstances it was cut short and we watched the rest of the acts on Sunday. It was hosted by one of the local drag queens and I realized this weekend that I love drag queens. They just make me so happy.
When that finished up we drove back to the hostel to get ready for our first night out in Cork. Unlike most colleges we drove to the event and I think it made it much better because if we had to rely on public transport I’d say we would have missed talks because we would not have gotten up in time for the bus. Also the drives up and down were a really great part of the weekend. We got to the hostel and I was given a top bunk. I didn’t ask for one but I secretly wanted one more than anything. As soon as I got up there I think I was really happy. I was sitting up there Saturday morning and Jodi looked up at me, which was a first, and was like “I have never seen you more happy than when you’re sitting up there. Like you have not stopped smiling since you got up there.” The room was really small but luckily it was only the 6 of us from our delegation that were in the room so it wasn’t that bad. It just meant that I couldn’t always leave the room when I wanted to and I kept having to delay it because there was nowhere for me to walk. I just sat up on my bunk pretending like I was getting ready. It doesn’t take me that long to get ready anyways so it wasn’t that much of a hindrance. I did have to use alternative sides of the bed to get down that weren’t the designated ladder but I didn’t fall once (thank god). While we were getting ready one of my friends in my class sent me a message saying that she showed her friend a photo of me and she thought I was “gorgeous”, which made me feel like this was a joke message because who the fuck would think that about me. I knew it wasn’t a joke because my friend wouldn’t do that but anyways the girl was looking for my number. I knew I didn’t want to give her my number but I still wasn’t completely sure what to do so I showed it to Jodi and she read it out to the room. The entirety of my delegation was like “Message her back right fucking now and get that number!” I messaged my friend back anyway and said I didn’t feel comfortable giving her my number because I didn’t know anything about her bar her first name. Also I didn’t want to be thinking about that while I was going out because I was really hoping this weekend I would get my first ever shift but that never happened. At least some people got that lucky this weekend!!!
So we eventually called a taxi to get into town from our hostel. We had a little bit to pre drink but we had to leave so that we would be in before half past 11 because they had free entry until then. We didn’t make it in in time but entry was only €3 so it wasn’t that bad. So I had my first experience with Chambers and I fucking loooooooved it!!!!! Until I went there I thought I hated nightclubs, I still probably hate most of them but I love Chambers. The music wasn’t bad and I had waaay too much to drink that night. At least I had one drink paid for. That was by a girl that I met at BICS in April and who I referred to in that blog as Hedgehog, so I’m sticking with that as her name for the rest of this too. (Alternative title for this blog was ‘The Return of Hedgehog’ but I didn’t want this blog to be all about her, I think someone else would might a much better one than I ever could about her). I spent all night in the nightclub with my delegation, Hedgehog, and a guy who was at Pink Training that I have been friends with since I was 5 and I had not seen him since March so I was really happy that he was there. I can’t even remember what drinks I had that night but that’s mostly because I wasn’t the one who ordered them. I just gave someone money to get me whatever shot they were getting. All in all Friday was a good night. We got back to the hostel and I went up to my bunk first because somebody wasn’t ready to go to bed yet because apparently one would regret sleeping in jeans, but not me I didn’t regret it someone else felt like they would have and told me I would too. I was literally lying down covers over me and everything and then I hear that Jodi and two of the girls were going out for a cigarette and I sprung out of bed and I was like “Wait for me I want to have one too!!” After our cigarette we went back upstairs and were getting ready for bed. A teddy that Jodi had bought earlier that day was kicked out of the bed. There is a story behind this teddy and it makes me laugh so much. So when we arrived in Cork we were there a few hours before registration started so we went to the Wilton shopping centre. We went into Penneys and you know we were shopping around getting things that we needed like unicorn bracelets and some stuff we didn’t need like fake eyelashes. We were looking at the gift section of the shop where they were selling customized cups and mugs and stuff and Jodi sees this little penguin teddy there all on it’s own and it made her feel sad she was like “Where’s his family? I need to go find his family!” She looked for the family for the bones of 30 seconds and gave up but wouldn’t let go of the teddy. If she couldn’t find his family then he was coming home with her, and that’s exactly what happened. Even though when we were in the queue she did actually see a place where there was a load of these small Christmas teddies, at that point she had developed an emotional attachment to him and had to buy him at that stage because there was no turning back. She walked out of their then and was like “I don’t know why I did that. I don’t need him. I couldn’t leave him there but like why did I just buy him?” Anyways as the day progressed the teddy later became known as Fred, I think it was a very apt name. So when he got kicked out of bed Friday night I felt bad for him. Once he got the name I really felt like he became part of the delegation. Also I usually have a teddy at home so I found comfort in having one while I was there. Especially seeing as I had no person to actually cuddle with, I had to deal with what I was given. I am sure though that anyone who had someone to actually cuddle with there had a much better night than I did. I got really emotional Friday night when I went to bed after my cigarette so I kind of had a bit of a short,silent cry before I actually went to sleep and no it had nothing to do with me sleeping in an unfamiliar place or anything like that I just felt lonely in a room of 6 people.
So Saturday morning was not very fun when waking up. I was so tired but thank god all I had to was throw on a t-shirt and wipe off my make-up. I went to a lot of talks on Saturday but there is a few I regretted not going to. From the ones I did go to though I learned how to run a kick-ass society, the link between repeal the 8th and LGBT+ rights, and decoding bisexual stereotypes. I loved that bisexual talk so much because there is so many stupid stereotypes surrounding bi people and they infuriate me more than anything else so if you think that they are representative of what it means to be bisexual than I will physically fight you you fucking ignorant bastard. We then got a talk from Microsoft because they were sponsoring PT and honestly I couldn’t complain especially when I saw the speaker from Microsoft. As in Jodi, Hedgehog and I were all sitting next to each other and just weak for the speaker, she was insanely pretty and the American accent really helped, or at least it really did for Jodi. We then got a talk from a guy who had a history with the gay rights movement in Cork and really pointed out how much Cork is involved in the movement which I never realised until his talk. We then made our way back to the hostels to get ready for night 2. I decided I would wear a dress because why the fuck not? While I didn’t really feel insecure over the weekend, there was a few points where I felt less secure about myself because of someone else. Someone who I found out is the same clothes size as me, has a really fucking attractive body and then there’s me with nothing to offer anyone unless they want to cuddle a fucking human marshmallow, which no one obviously fucking does. (Sorry that sentence came off angrier than I intended it too.) The people in my delegation really liked the dress when I showed it to them and when I wearing it they said I looked nice. That was the start and end of any compliments I received during the weekend, it’s not like I expected any.
We left the hostel to go to the bar where we were meeting all the other delegates for the Pink Party. There was giant Jenga, finger food, and more importantly there was a bowling alley on the second floor. The place seemed unreal. We had to be at the bar around half 8 after getting back to the hostel at around 7 so there was no time for pre-drinking, much to everyone’s dismay except mine because I’m a lightweight. So when we got to the bar, Jodi and I went to a nearby off licence so that she could buy a naggin of vodka. It was down a not very well lit alley way and because she was nervous for just the two of us to walk down there she said “Should we get a lad to go with us?” To which I responded being “We don’t need a fucking lad!!!” So we made our way there fine but Jodi had to do a bit of a jog back because she was still a bit scared about that alley way. We got back to the bar and Jodi ordered a 7-up and we went upstairs so that she could go to the bathroom to mix it with her naggin. She was acting as if she was doing something illegal like it felt like we about to plan a heist or throw a cherry bomb down the toilet or something. We went back down and met up with the rest of our delegation and headed towards Chambers. We made it there just in time for free entry. Also I was happy I wasn’t as drunk as the Friday night because I had to show my age card, student card and lanyard and I would have not been able to do that if I was any more inebriated. I think I had the best night that night because while we were in there I got to meet the USI president and I think I died and went to heaven. I can’t remember the last time I was that incredibly happy. We didn’t even talk for that long. I told her that I saw her at the Education March a few weeks ago and I loved her speeches from that and she immediately goes “Have you contacted your local TD yet? You’d better contact them as soon as you get home. Promise me that.” I told her that I will but we’ll just leave it at that. While I was talking to her and just on cloud nine, Jodi was standing nearby with one of the other USI officers and she says to him “Look over there, look at Sandra.” He goes “What has her so happy?” Jodi just says “Because of who she’s talking to.” I think he then just rolled his eyes. I then had a shot with the USI president and another officer, I think it was sambuca. After I was done with that interaction with the USI president, which two days later I’m still on a high from, I ran straight over the Jodi and hugged her, kissed on the cheek and was like “Thank you so much!!!!!” Jodi then said that even more than when I was sitting up in the top bunk of the bed in the hostel, she had never ever seen me more happy then that moment in Chambers. I don’t know if I had ever been that happy before but I loved it. I love that the happiness hasn’t subsided yet. I also got a selfie with her so I can always relive that moment. We were in Chambers for another while and then we headed back to the hostel.
This is where I brought the happiness to a halt. I don’t know why but I got the idea into my head that I would be cuddling Jodi that night, like why would I think when I’m you know human marshmallow and all that, but I got really upset when I found out that it was not to be. I had no right to be upset. I had no reason to be upset. I just remember we were both outside our room in the hallway and as I go to the room door I just said like “Go fuck yourself Jodi!” She says to me in a sort of calm voice, “Sandra, stop it. We never said that was going to happen.You can’t get upset about this” Again I go “Just go fuck yourself”. She said “Are you going to be angry at me in the morning?” I kind of smirked because I’m not used to being angry like that and she said straight away “Ha you’re smiling, you’re not mad at me at all.” If anything I think this made me more upset and I don’t know why so I just started saying “Do whatever the fuck you want I don’t care anymore you can fuck off!” Then she said something that kind of broke my heart she was like “Do you want me to start crying?” I completely switched and I ran up to her and I was like “Please don’t cry. I’m sorry. I really don’t want you to cry I was being stupid.” I think I had said sorry but it’s hard to remember. A lot was happening in the space of a few minutes. So then I gave her a hug and she started bawling crying. All weekend I never felt any bit sick but in that moment I actually felt so sick to my stomach with myself. I felt evil. I felt like I had done the worst thing, which I did. I hurt someone who has never hurt me. It didn’t matter that I was drunk, that is no excuse. I was an utter bitch. So while I was hugging her and she was crying she tried to let go and said “I’m fine.” I said in a sad sort of soft voice, “No you’re not.” Still crying she said “You’re right, I’m not” So I hugged her for a bit longer and shortly after that she stopped crying. We did make up before we actually went to bed but I again silently cried myself to sleep but that night it was worse because I knew I had fucked up. You know what I didn’t deserve to cuddle anyone that night. I didn’t even deserve Fred, the penguin teddy, but I had him nonetheless. I don’t think I said anything about it the next day because we were so busy for most of the day so I think I kind of blocked it out. I thought about it in the car but I didn’t want to bring down the vibe of the car journey home and also I only wanted to say it to Jodi. I sent her a message when I got home because I couldn’t sleep without properly apologising. I am really sorry about what happened and I feel like I am coming very close to strike 3 in this friendship so I’m worried if I fuck up once more that’s it. She’ll say “gone good luck” to me and that’ll be it. I know I’m being a little paranoid but my biggest fear, even more than spiders or the many other things I am extremely fearful of, is losing her as a friend and I will try my hardest to make sure I don’t ever fuck up again because I fucking hate this feeling and I hate what I did. Now all I can do is apologise, prove that it won’t happen again, and try to show her that I’m not a complete fuckwad.
Sunday morning I woke up and everyone was rushing around packing their bags which I had pretty much done all of the night so I know I had time to keep lying there and not doing anything. I think I got hit twice to get the fuck up and then I got a pillow thrown at me by one of the girls and I threw it back at her and was told that if I didn’t get up straight away she would go over to my bunk and attack me. So I sat up immediately and was like “I’m up, you can’t attack me now!” I ended up just throwing my jeans on and sitting up there while I watched everyone else rush to get things done. Like I was ready to go before anyone else really. Yet none of us would have left in time for the only talk I was actually really excited to go to which was “Asexuality 101” the first of our cars that went would have gotten there half way through the talk and I didn’t go then because I’d rather have been in that talk from the start, I couldn’t walk in half way through into that talk. When Jodi knew that I was missing it I just said to her “Well there’s nothing I can really do about it now. It’s fine!” I was in the room for ages with Jodi and Hedgehog and the whole time I was still just sitting up in my bunk. Jodi was like “Are we all ready to go?” To which Hedgehog says “Sure Sandra isn’t ready to go she’s still up in bed!” So I tried to be cool and really fucking smooth and jump over the railing of my bunk on the ground below and I landed successfully. However, I really hurt my shoulders when I jumped from the bed because I was holding onto the railing of both my bed and the one across from it. So when I jumped down I felt like I was going to pull my arms out of their sockets. As soon as I landed I laid down in the bottom bunk until my shoulders stopped hurting which took a couple of minutes. It would have been nice if they were more concerned about the fact that I could have dislocated one or both of my shoulders but sure look and sure listen I was fine. I didn’t need anyone to care. It just shows what happens when I try to be smooth and show off. It ends up making me look stupid.
We got into the college in time for about half an hour of the safe spaces. Each identity had their own room so like there was a gay safe space, a bi safe space, a transgender safe space etc. So I wasn’t really in the mood to go into one of these talks alone,I wasn’t with anyone who was my orientation and I was torn between going to the lesbian space or the asexual space. I just went with Jodi into the bisexual safe space and I really loved it. The speakers in their were amazing and like I really just loved the atmosphere of the room and hearing all the different stories. If anything I think that that was the best talk of PT bar anything that went on in the main lecture hall when we were all together. We had the rest of the Lip Sync battle and it kind of woke us up a bit. Then it was followed by the very emotional goodbye talk. As in the president of USI started to cry towards the end of her speech and I fucking lost it. I couldn’t deal. Also just the idea that Pink Training was ending I was an emotional wreck leaving that lecture hall. We then went and got a group photo taken with us all in our different colour t-shirts that we were given which were made up of the colours the rainbow. We got our lunch and then decided to head off after saying a few goodbyes. We went out to the car and we were there for a bit before we actually left but in a few ways I was very happy to be heading home. We stopped for McDonalds in Mallow on the way home and I found out that I had some sort of drink Saturday night that had brandy in it and I didn’t even know. To be fair I feel like my memory of this weekend is really bad. I honestly think that I drank too much and it’s taking me far longer to remember all the little details that I usually do after a night out.
As relieved as I was to finally get home, it was still a sad time especially since there was no one in my house when I got back. Also as soon as I walked in the door all I could hear was voices inside my head. It started off with just the voices of who I was just in the car with and then it became voices of everything that happened over the weekend whether they were conversations I had been involved in or not, I could just hear all of these different voices and some I did not recognise. They started getting louder and louder and I felt like I was going to break down. All I wanted to do was hit my head and try to get my brain to shut up, but luckily I resisted. Thankfully my mom called about 45 minutes into my crisis and while I didn’t tell her what happened, it did get the voice to start to quiet down and eventually disappear.
I waited for one of my roommates to come home and talked to her for a bit before I went to bed. I slept for 11 hours. When I awoke the Monday morning I think I felt really happy. I never wake up happy unless I have plans in which I’m really excited for. I didn’t get into college until like 20 past 11. I had a really good day at college, even better than usual. I did only go to one of the three classes I had but that’s a normal Monday recently. Jodi actually went to college even though I really thought that she wouldn’t because she didn’t have to be in. We actually saw a lot of each other today which I thought was really weird because I thought that she would definitely have had enough of me after the weekend. In the smoking area I actually congratulated her on surviving the weekend with me. I brought up the fact that I was going to write this blog and she told me not to write some things in this and I respected that and told her I wouldn’t. The main reason being that all throughout Pink Training it was always said that not everyone wants what they were doing at Pink Training out on the internet because the whole point of the Training was that it was a safe space where everyone’s privacy should be respected so that’s why I kept some things out of this. Another big reason being is that she is my friend and if she really doesn’t want me to write something on here then I won’t because what good would that do anyone. It’s not like these things I would’ve have written had any relation to me. She is the only one who has the right to share them. However, she did tell me also tell me not to write about our fight because it would just make her cry, and that’s the only thing I said no to her on. That fight was all my fault. It was me being a complete bitch. This is part of my therapy process. I can’t only deal with the good parts of the weekend, the one bad thing that happened needs to be mentioned too so that it is out of my system and I can actually move on from it because if I don’t I could overthink about it for months and really bring myself down about it. However, today despite those post PT blues we both got on as normal and I made her laugh a lot which is always my favourite thing to do especially since the most difficult thing for me to do is to get Jodi to properly laugh out loud at something I say instead of just a giggle or something like she usually does. So she was on Facebook and a post came up about Pokemon of which she knows very little about. It was about having hope in yourself because something as useless as a Magikarp can turn into something as strong as a Gyarados. So she found this funny but didn’t fully understand it so I described Magikarp in a way I knew would make her laugh, I said “All Magikarp fucking did was flop around, he did fuck all!!” While saying that I was moving my hands like a fish would moves it’s fins when it’s out of water and flopping all around the place. I gave her a hug when she was leaving and she tried to break off that hug but because today wasn’t the best day for her I knew she needed a longer hug so I didn’t let go for a little bit after that. When she was getting her bag and going to leave she said that she did really need that hug. I honestly think that was the only long hug where it wasn’t because I was being needy, I was actually trying to do it selflessly because I think she needed it more than I did.
I have come away from Pink Training a bit confused like I was when I started college last year. I feel like I could actually be bisexual, with more preference towards women. I’d still be asexual though so like dicks still repulse me more than anything on this entire planet. So maybe I’m not really bisexual but that’s for me to continue to try and figure out. I’m really proud after coming away from Pink Training with questions because I really thought I was at the point where I was dead certain on what I identified as. That’s the thing though sexuality can be fluid so this will probably be a constant thing I question for the rest of my life but at least now, compared to a few years ago, I actually do know that there is women I’m attracted to and I know a few things about them that I’m attracted to. Pink Training is just to help me progress through this journey of sexuality.#ProgressInPink