“When we’re together, darling, every night is Halloween…”

Hey guys! Long time, no speak!! I know it’s been a long time since I posted, but I’ve really missed you all, so I wanted to make sure that when I came back to blogging it was with a post that is really meaningful and special to me.

Naturally, I couldn’t think of a better or more… “on-brand” date than Halloween! Since I got married TWO YEARS AGO today, this is probably going to be quite a mushy ‘open letter’ type of post, so if you’re not into that type of thing, please feel free to check out some of my older Halloween content, such as this last minute “vampire” make-up tutorial! That being said, to my readers: I thought for this post I could formally introduce my husband to you, along with our love story so far. I hope you enjoy it, or at least find some comfort or joy from it in some way! To my closer friends and family who have probably heard lame renditions of this story a thousand times, I’m sorry!! 


Dear Austin,

Growing up, as a chubby, bespectacled girl with THICK, frizzy Hermione-esque hair, a massive beauty mark, no top lip, and eyebrows the size of the sun… I got bullied a lot. I never felt like I was much to look at. Even as I hit puberty, got some contacts and discovered tweezers- the effects were lasting. As I grew into a young woman, I put up with a lot from boys, because I was grateful and flattered that anyone could see me as attractive at all. Some of them treated me abysmally, and totally skewed my opinion of love. Until, as I hit 18, I had a very real doubt that it existed at all.

In actuality, I liked being single. Naturally fiercely stubborn, wildly independent, and a true introvert- being alone was familiar, and comforting. No one to disagree with me, smother me, control me… or hurt me. By 21, I had almost completely absolved any expectations of finding “the one”, or realistically, any kind of long-term romantic partner.

The day I first talked to you (I think) was the 2nd March 2016. Shortly after you sent me the first tinder message, I’d just walked into the theatre to see the film “How to be single” in the cinema with a group of girls I was close with at university. The film basically is about a girl who was so “in love with the idea of love” that when she leaves her long term partner she doesn’t know how to function alone. I related to her a lot in the way that she actually found solace and adventure in being alone. Overall, the film left me feeling fulfilled, and confident in my singledom. As I left the theatre, you had hunted me down and messaged me on all my social medias, panicking, thinking that I had gotten bored of talking to you. Luckily for you- that wasn’t the case, and I found your pursuit endearing as a pose to creepy… (haha!).

Soon, I found we were talking all day, almost every day. I remember finding out you were American, and worrying that I’d find you obnoxious, loud, or that your accent would annoy me to tears. The first phone call we had, being the romantic I am, I said “Oh, your accent doesn’t actually piss me off”. Instead of finding my frankness rude, you found it hilarious, and I felt comfortable talking to you almost instantaneously, which is extremely uncommon for me. I remember thinking, “I could actually really be friends with this guy!” every time you hung up the phone.

The next week, returning from a night out early, as one of my girlfriends was too drunk to get into the club- I was complaining to you when I accidentally dropped my location pin on messenger. I had no idea that from that, you would get the idea in your head to spontaneously drive over to see me in the middle of the night. You arrived at 4am, I was still a touch under the influence and had no makeup on but the remnants of alien themed fancy dress, my hair was in a messy bun, and I was wearing my PJs under a big coat so that you wouldn’t get lost in the city. I told you “you shouldn’t have come”, and that I looked like a toe. You said I looked beautiful. I didn’t believe you, but then you came back, and you said the same thing every weekend thereafter.

I told you I didn’t want a boyfriend. That I didn’t have time while I was finishing my Bachelors. I was too career-oriented. Too perpetually single and selfish. You knew I was lying. I remember the way you refused to take my crap “You’ve been hurt before, I get it, but I won’t stop trying”. I thought you’d looked right through my soul to pull that out of the bag.

Within a month, you told me you loved me for the first time. I thought I’d misheard you because you were drunk, and laughed it off awkwardly. The week after, you left a post-it note on my ceiling saying the same thing- only this time, I couldn’t ‘mishear’ it. I slipped a similar note into your pocket as you left my flat the next weekend.

Loving you was easy. It wasn’t scary, intense, suffocating or anxiety inducing like it was with other guys. It was natural, easy, free. Like coming home after a long day. You never let me doubt you, never let me feel insecure, and never gave up on me when I was difficult. Most amazingly of all, you made me believe in love again when I was so adamant that wasn’t on the cards for me. You made me realise how much I DESERVED to be loved.

Finishing my degree, moving back home and becoming your girlfriend felt like a whirlwind. You were spending all your free time staying with me, until my grandma’s tenant moved out and she offered to let us stay at her empty property until it was filled. Deep down, after our first weekend there, I think we both knew that this was how things were meant to be. After about a mere month of staying together, we talked about how we would love having this house to be a reality. Tentatively, with the threat of you being deployed/stationed back in the US, or someone else moving into this house, you suggested that if we got married, the military would make things easier for us to make that happen. Again, I laughed it off. In the grand scheme of things, we’d been dating roughly half a year. “He must be crazy!” I confided in my Grandma. But after talking to her, she suggested that I was afraid of the wedding, and what people would say, and not the commitment. We soon realised that while this was true, I was never afraid of a marriage with you. Living with you and being with you felt so natural and normal- and I just knew.

Not long after, we were discussing moving in together more objectively. I was upstairs in front a mirror next to our mattress on the ground, dying my hair “boring poo brown” for a job interview, and you suggested it again, this time a bit more certainly. “We could get married?” I laughed… “Yeah, we could”.  There was a lot of “WAIT WHAT?” and “Oh my god are we engaged?” before you immediately ran downstairs to ring your parents and let them know. My hair hadn’t even finished developing.

At the tender age of 21, despite our parents knowing us well enough to understand, and though they wished we’d had a longer engagement, they understood why we were rushing. Other people however, besides a select few, thought we were insane, or that I was pregnant. (Two years on and still no unplanned offspring, just a healthy relationship and too many cakes thank you very much lol!). It’s really uncommon to get married so young in the U.K, outside of religious groups and cults- so I can understand why, but I became hyper-aware of people discussing my relationship, doubting our sincerity, and being pretty negative. I’ve always been way too concerned with what people thought about me, but you helped me to realise that nothing mattered outside of our happiness. If anything, it became “me and you against the world” very quickly. It made us stronger where a lot of couples might have waivered. I knew then, that your loyalty would almost be able to rival mine, and that we would be able to tackle anything together.

We knew what we were signing up for. We knew we were young. We knew we were stupid and giddy and in love. But we also knew we would be able to grow together, to change together, to choose to love one another even when it was hardest. We’ve had times like those. But in a much greater quantity, we’ve had the best time of our lives.

We brought a fur baby into the house, and argued a great deal about parenting the most obnoxious kitten ever, but we managed so well that we have the most confident, affectionate and dog-like feline dude I’ve ever known. We’ve struggled through finances, through my battles with employment and career stability, through arguments about washing up and even Mental Health.

Through it all, I’ve never doubted your love for me. You’re my rock, my team, my player 2, my support, my lover, my best friend and my biggest fan. We are so vastly different, and yet, you compliment me in ways I never knew possible. Your extroversion, your confidence and your Labrador-like zest for life makes me smile every day. You know when I’m too shy or uncomfortable in social situations and take the focus easily and subtly (or not, as the case may sometimes be). You lift me up and try tirelessly to lift me up when I’m low. You cry enough for the both of us. You put up with me when I’m feeling sick and sorry for myself. You think I’m pretty even when I look like I’ve been sleeping in a bin for a week and a day.

But most of all, you love me for my truest, most vulnerable and natural states. I used to worry about marriage, because I thought I’d never be able to truly be myself around someone else. But the fact is, I’m more myself with you than I was before, and I don’t know how that’s possible. So that I don’t ramble on any further, I just wanted to say that I love you. It’s been two years and I’m still not over the novelty of calling you “my husband”. I don’t even mind being that 1% gross statistic that actually married someone from Tinder anymore! 😂 This piece is a testament for you, the incredible man that I’ve come to know and love on a level I never knew possible. I’m so damn grateful that it’s you that I get to grow old with. I can’t wait to annoy you for the rest of my days!

Happy Two Year Anniversary!

I love you always.

Francesca.

X


morticia addams quotes

Dear Readers,

I hope that If you’re reading this and you’re feeling lost, un-loveable or down about love, the best advice I can ever give you is to love yourself. Appreciate yourself. Meditate, look inwards and learn about what you need or desire from a romantic partner. Remember you deserve happiness, and until you find someone worthwhile, don’t give up your singlehood, because actually, it can be great. You’ll know when you find ‘your person’, because it will make your life even more fun. I promise. xx

Lets talk about marrying young…

If you’d have told me when I was 18 that I would be married in my early 20’s, I would have laughed in your face. After two abusive relationships and several bad breakups, I swore off dating seriously for the longest time. For me, at that point, I wasn’t ready to commit myself to anyone who would be anything less than Mr. Darcy himself. (lol!)
Eventually, I became the perpetually single friend, and actually- I came to terms with the idea that perhaps “true love” wasn’t on the cards for me. At the end of the day, it was never my ultimate goal in life. I have always been strong, independent and ambitious. From what I had seen from members of my generation, I wasn’t even sure a man could fit into that sphere, especially not one that was supportive, stable and not deterred by my intelligence and drive. The men I had dated casually had always told me how they loved that I was fierce and strong, and how they’d always dreamed of having a strong woman- but when it boiled down to it my success and independence made each and every single one feel insecure- and they would wind up with someone less driven. Honestly, I was ok with that. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t about to commit myself to someone who couldn’t at least support me and my big dreams.
The fact is, I don’t need a man, and in my opinion, nor should anyone. I think if it gets to the stage where you become obsessed with having someone in your life, you need to do the exact opposite, and take some time to fall in love with yourself and access the void you’re trying to fill in your own life.
>>>You should not rely on anyone else to fill in the holes in your own life and soul!<<<
Once at university during a drinking game, the group was asked to point to the person most likely to get divorced, and all but one pointed at me. The friend who I was closest to, who actually knew and understood me stood up and said how stupid that was, because he knew I would be the last to settle for anything less than a soulmate. He knew I would never marry someone who didn’t adore and support me, and vice versa. On another occasion, I was actually quite hurt by someone who told me they couldn’t imagine me being a mother. It was only on deeper reflection, I took it as a compliment, as it meant that it was apparent to others that there was more to me than just the immediate desire to breed. When I was feeling a bit down one day, I came across this article. This was something that stayed with me for a very long time, as it reiterated many points that I had always believed in.

In the 1950s, women were primarily housewives and getting married was typically the end goal. Back then, being a wife is what defined a woman, so I can understand why finding your special someone was considered an accomplishment. This is no longer the case, though. In today’s society, ladies are balancing much more than just finding a man.

Since getting married myself, especially considering I was only 21 at the time, people have assumed that my views have changed. I frequently get asked if I am pregnant, or when I plan to be, as though that is the only logical option for a married woman- As though I have already achieved my ‘end goal’.
Although marriage/engagement/childbirth are happy times to be sure, anyone can get married to anyone, and that doesn’t mean to say it will last. Anyone with a working set of reproductive organs can get pregnant. Literal animals do that every day. The whole institution should be celebrated 100%, but what I’m saying is, no one would go up to my husband and start a conversation by asking about what he’s done/is planning to do with his genitals.
Before I go any further, I just want to make that point perfectly clear. If that’s all you want from your life, then great!! It’s exciting and its tough! Please please please don’t think I’m trying to undermine or devalue what it is to be a parent. My feminism is broad and all-encompassing enough to accept and applaud you for that. I know that when I have children, I too will probably want to stay home because I hate the thought of anyone else looking after my future cubs. But for me personally, I want to have achieved in my own life so that I can inspire and teach my offspring to achieve. It’s just that I see so many young girls who get pregnant at 16 and suddenly think they are the Virgin Mary because they brought life into the world- and that’s what I am aiming to combat with this post. I want to open up a dialogue where women from all walks of life are celebrated, but it should never be assumed that basic biology is the “ultimate achievement” for women, because we are so much more than that. It is no longer the 1950’s, and women have fought tirelessly all throughout their lives to create a world in which we have much more equal opportunity. Life is short, but it can be so rich if you work hard and just give it a chance. So why then, are people still more interested in the fact that I am married, than my academic/career/other achievements or goals? When I meet women, if they have babies then great. If they’re pregnant then great- congratulations! But I’m not going to degrade them by talking about parenthood as though It’s the only interesting thing about her. A mum has interests, hobbies, opinions and things that make her who she is outside of the realm of babies- and without that I think she’d go insane!
The main reason I am even writing this blog is to forward it to people every. time. I get asked when I’m going to get pregnant. For the record, I do want children. I want 3. I love the idea of being 80, hosing dinner parties and BBQ’s and sitting outside in the sunshine surrounded by my kids and their kids and so forth. I think about it often, and can’t wait to become a mother because it is exciting. But even when I give birth myself, until I’ve raised a good human being I won’t classify basic biology as an achievement. I know that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today had I not had a mother who had experienced the world, achieved things of her own and had thousands of stories to tell me, wisdom gained outside the realm of relationships and childbirth.
The real tea is, my sister is 10 years my Junior, so I have already seen/done enough ‘parenting’ to know the reality. Children are not just a cute hobby that you take on for a couple of years while they are cute and still cuddly. They are not a vessel to save a failing relationship. They are a 20+ year commitment of blood, sweat and tears and wanting to kill the rude spotty teenager you once held in your arms. It means stopping in your tracks and turning your whole life upside down in order to raise a (hopefully!) decent human being. Again, if your children get to 18 and they are healthy, kind, respectful individuals I do think that is an achievement, but finding love and getting pregnant is not. For me, to do this, I will need to have seen enough of the world to know myself, to have achieved enough on my own and to have enjoyed life, travelled and fallen even deeper in love with my life partner to even consider children. Some women aren’t that way, they are different and motherhood is their ultimate dream. That’s ok too! But don’t assume that parenthood is all there is to life for a woman, and don’t assume that a childless woman’s life is empty or less than your own. I hate it when people say to great women who have worked hard and achieved, CEO’s, Dr’s, PhD graduates, charity workers and politicians- “but when are you going to have babies?”, as though their lives are nothing without them, and that is the only thing a woman has to look forward to.

Aside from the worlds obsession with pregnancy, I’ve lost a lot of friends through getting married. Oddly, the fact that I live with someone I love seems to have changed my relationships with many people. When I lived with 5 others at university, no one assumed I had become an entirely different person and avoided seeing me, so the fact that that’s happening now is bizarre to me. On the other hand, It’s shown me who my real friends are, because it’s shown that they are willing to grow with me, and just accept that I met my ‘forever friend’ a little bit earlier. No, I don’t really want to go out clubbing with you and doing all the stuff I used to do when I was single, because I just don’t find that appealing anymore. Honestly, I never really did, I was only doing it to be social. Since getting married i’ve realised the importance of actual meaningful conversations and transactions as a pose to that. I think some of my friends found this hard to comprehend. I can’t just tell my husband to f*ck off at the end of a 12 hour night shift because you want to hang out. Moreover, I won’t, because he’s more important than you. He’s not just some boyfriend I can pick up and drop whenever I feel like it, and I guess this offends some people, and if thats the case, then honestly, thats ok.

Another thing I also get is people looking quizzically when I talk about being strongly feminist, then also talking about my husband when I am ‘only’ 22 years old. I am a girl, who never aspired to get married, let alone at 21 years of age (now 22). However, when I met Austin, there was never a moment wherein he did not want to be on my team. He is not my ‘other half’, he is his own whole, and falling in love with him was not hard, stressful or full of nervous excitement. He never left me wondering where I stood, supported and vehemently encouraged all of my achievements. For those still confused, the definition of feminism is: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes“. In other words, equality for both/all sexes. My husband too, is a feminist. He loves the parts of me that I refused to give up, despite many a moron before him deeming them unattractive.  While circumstances (military) meant we moved faster than I would have ever imagined, I realised it was never marriage that I was afraid of- I already knew he was going to be my teammate for life. I was afraid of the wedding, and the judgement and drama that it always undoubtedly brings.
31.9.16 // Elopement
The only part of this I have struggled with so far, has been changing my name. Through getting married, for whatever reason I have lost several ‘friends’ who are seemingly intimidated by my circumstance. Also, by struggling in an abysmal graduate job market (Norfolk) that I can’t move away from, and being exceedingly proud of my lineage which could end with me- (my sister is Matthews-Allen), I felt for a short time as though I had left part of me behind. I felt hopeless, and depressed, as though I had “lost” Francesca Matthews. However, I understand now that this is natural, and was accelerated by my other struggles. Since then, this has become something that my incredible feminist husband!!! and I may review in the future, and perhaps we will become a “Matthews-Denney” household. While one day I would love to have a ‘party’, or a ‘vow renewal’ where I walk down an aisle wearing a white dress, for now, we eloped.
Because falling in love with Austin was natural, and right, like coming home in the winter to a fire roaring in the hearth.

On a less intense note, I’ve found myself suddenly interested in thing’s I thought I wouldn’t care about until I was a grandma. Gardening, HOMEWARE etc. I’ve always loved cooking, but cooking for someone who has different tastes in food is a challenge. In all, a lot of my interests have changed, but not the fundamentals of my personality. I’m still Frankii, I’ve just grown a bit, and will continue to grow alongside another person. I hate the term other half, because it infers that I would be a half without him, but i’m excited to build and grow together.

Another thing: You will argue about stupid stuff that you never thought possible to argue about. Dishes, housework, lack of attention. Living with someone is challenging enough, let alone when love/passion is involved. Prepare to have full scale arguments about toothbrushes not been left in the toothbrush cup! However, making up is also one of the best parts. You can argue about trivial stuff because you don’t have to worry that you are going to wind up single for doing so. Its surprisingly empowering!

So yes, I married young. No, that does not make me anti-feminist. No, I am not pregnant. No, I do not plan to be any time soon. Yes, I have my own goals and life ambitions. No, that does not mean that I don’t love or support my husband, because he is not fragile and insecure enough for his value as a man to feel depleted by my success. In short, let’s stop starting conversations with women, by asking them about their relationships and babies. If I am pregnant (assuming I actually like you?) I will let you know. For now, I’ll be over here arguing over dirty dishes or planning my next holiday!
As always please feel free to leave a comment, share your opinions, struggles and experiences with me regarding similar or different misogynistic/sexist assumptions, I love hearing from you, and I truly believe in the power of education through discussion and debate!
Love and Light,
Francesca xx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
disclaimer/TLDR: AGAIN If you are a young housewife/stay at home mummy reading this please know I am in no way seeking to undermine you or offend what it is that you do. I have the utmost respect for full time mums and/or women who don’t have the same desires and ambitions I do. It takes a lot of hard work and true grit to run a home/raise good, pleasant children and I know that. I am just talking about my personal experiences, and seeking to educate others not to assume that this is the only/end goal for all women because we are not all the same. When it comes to the time I do have children of my own I will probably not work either as I think I will be one of those mothers who couldn’t bare the idea of anyone else looking after my precious ones. This is why I am so adamant on achieving my own goals beforehand! But, from my past year of being unemployed post-university I found myself depressed and under-stimulated, though I know this is not true of ALL women, and that is OK. But I definitely think not all dialogue with women should begin with discussing these topics, as this would never happen when talking to a man. There is, (and should be) so much more to a woman than just her marriage and childbearing. xxxx