Firstly, I’m sorry. I apologize to anyone reading this blog and see it as overtly mushy and completely unnecessary. Yes, this is a blatant public display of affection which, for anyone who knows me well, knows I CANNOT stand. Cringe-worthy and awkward to say the least.
Ok, back to the point. To make a birthday ‘card’ (of sorts) so public could be viewed as narcissistic, perhaps self-entitled, and just plain odd. But I promise you, the reader who I have yet to alienate and scare off by the long-winded preface to this blog, there is a method to my madness.
My partner, Dave, got me into blogging. He’ll deny it and say it was me who ventured into it myself. But in actuality, it was his influence that got me to where I am today. A loud-mouth, blunt, out-spoken feminist blogger and activist. If you dislike my rants, blame him. If you enjoy them from time to time, he’s to thank.
But more importantly, Dave saw something in me long before I had the chance to see it for myself. He saw that I had a passion for change – a desire to make the world a better place, but do so but putting myself on the line and actually watch it happen. As an academic, we often sit back in the safety of our ‘Ivory Tower’ offices and watch the world go by as we research about societal phenomena and hope it will end up working its way to the people that need it most. This, more than anything, is the most frustrating element of being in academia: the lack of pragmatism. Dave saw this – and told me to do something about it instead of complaining.
I still complain, from time to time. But I also started writing. And tweeting. And protesting. And getting progressively angrier and angrier. Now I volunteer. I work in the community. I demand action and call out those who perpetuate injustice.
But this side of me never existed before Dave.
Dave came into my life at a particularly challenging time. I felt lost within my work, unsure of who I wanted to be at the end of my scholastic road, and was extraordinarily lonely. I met him in the most cliché of locations – at a bar. Don’t judge! The bar was merely the location, the fact that we met was fate.
It was fate in that we were meant to find each other, as those who believe in soul mates believe to be true. I needed to be brought out of my shell and he did that for me. He helped me form into the Kathleen that I am today, the Kathleen that I am proud to be, and the Kathleen that sees a bright, rewarding future ahead.
He did this by being himself: kind, considerate, compassionate, kind of silly, deeply serious, yet always supportive.
Dave, without sounding corny (any more so than I already have) is the very definition of love. As a young teenager, Dave founded a not-for-profit to help children he had never even met. As he got older, he worked to fight against child poverty and social inequity. Now, he works to help the women of New Brunswick by acting as an abortion clinic volunteer and speaking out against sexual assault within our community. His academic research focuses on the people of Somalia. He wants to better their lives in the only way he can – by bringing awareness to their plight and finding progressive ways to work with them to help them make their lives better. Collaborative work at its finest.
Dave wants the world to be a better place. If we were all a little bit more like him, I have no doubt it would be.
So on his birthday, I want to thank him for just being him and choosing me to be his partner and (without realizing it) his project. He’s made me a better person. He’s made me develop a love for life I never thought was possible. He’s made me want to do amazing things, and allowed me to see that I actually could.
Dave, thank you for being you. Never change – you are perfect as you are. Except that you’re messy – you could change that.
Happy birthday, with all the faith, hope, and love that I could ever hope to offer. Thank you for letting me spend this, and every day, with you.