Welcome to the first in the series of Wild Sisters Rising!
The village raises the child. The circle honours the woman.
(Lissa Orr ~ Wild Sister Rising)
I am delighted to introduce Gemma Tierney ~ 32 year old cat-loving, amateur cook and gardening enthusiast.
Which phase of your life are you in?
Although technically, I am in still in the maiden phase, I feel more and more strongly that I am very much a mother. I am sure that marriage and babies are not far from my future, but I have realised recently that you don’t have to have children to be a mum (I’m sure some of you parents out there will disagree). I am motherly and nurturing by nature, so whether I’m feeding the cats, tending the garden, making soup for Ben if he has the cold, or popping in on my friend who is having a crap week, I am confident that I’m now firmly planted in the mother phase.
With the benefit of hindsight and learned wisdom, what do you wish you’d known at the start of your cycling journey?
One thing I wish I’d learned earlier is self acceptance- more specifically, not putting myself in a box. For example, when I was 17, and trying to experiment with my Goth phase, I did not dare tell my goth friends that I was absolutely obsessed with musical theatre. I believed that they wouldn’t accept me, and convinced I couldn’t like both! Says who?! Like what I like, and fuck the boxes!!
What do you do for self care?
Self care is something I’ve spoke of for a long time, but only recently offered it the time, dedication and discipline it deserves. Someone recently said to me “Whatever you have confidence in, do more of that.” So my self care is cooking, baking, making DIY beauty products from herbs I’ve grown. Anything that sees me pottering in the kitchen. I also realise that if I don’t have at least one ‘slot’ of quality time with Ben, my mum and my dad (separately, one-to-one) every week, I become tetchy. And anything involving fresh air and some solitude – a long walk, a half hour weeding, a bit of time sitting in the sun.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what does that look like?
Mornings are my time for quiet, slow paced solitude. On a work day, I get up at 6.40am; on a weekend about 9am, but I’m always first up. I make a coffee and either sit at the kitchen table looking out into the garden, or actually go out, depending on the weather. One of our cats is allowed outside, so she’ll join me in the garden if I do sit out. During my coffee, I sort of plan my day in my head, but not too rigidly (I’m stepping away from lists!). After my coffee, come rain, hail or shine, I go and check the garden, bird feeders etc, and ONLY THEN am I ready for some noise in my space, so I turn the radio on (BBC Radio 2) and make some breakfast. I’ve spent about 32 years struggling to eat in the morning, but, much like self care, have ONLY JUST REALISED how important it is. A few spoons of yogurt and honey, and by this point I have been gently eased into my day. On a work day, its shower and out time; on a weekend, I take a second coffee into bed and wake Ben up, whether he likes it or not!
Which season in the year is your favourite and why?
I used to say Autumn was favourite, and I most certainly do love it – being cosy, getting the blankets out, turning the heating up and started to make TONS of soup! However, nowadays, I really do love Spring. All the signs of colour and life just remind me of new beginnings. I can’t actually decide, but I know I love the transitional seasons!
What are you reading just now?
I have literally just got a new book from the library today called ‘Stranger’; its a historic mystery… I’ll keep you posted.
Which book has been most influential on your path?
I read a book last October called ‘I Found My Tribe’. Its a gloriously uplifting book all about surrounding yourself with those who build you up and don’t zap you of energy. Everyone should read it.
What has been the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
My most valuable piece of advise came a week ago: ‘Trust your gut’. I’ve spent so many years second guessing myself, worrying what people thought, running myself ragged trying to keep everyone happy, and its brought me no joy. None! However, in recent months, I’ve had to go through something quite challenging at work, and I’ve never once doubted my actions or cared about the opinion of others, because I knew in my gut I was doing the right thing. So from now on, I shall be trusting my gut and not wasting time worrying about anyone else’s opinion!
How do you like to relax and unwind?
I think I’ve probably covered this – cooking, pottering in the kitchen, a glass of wine, a good bubble bath and a natter with Ben are perfect ways to stop my shoulders from being all hunched together through stress!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be your 3 must have items?
I’d take a notebook (I’d like to think to record my adventure, but, knowing me, I’d end up making lists of some kind!), photos of my family, and a radio. I’d be lost without my radio!
Do you have a mantra or affirmation that you live by?
I have two: “What does your gut say?” (my new one) and “Is that helpful?” (that can be used in most situations- stops you from getting into a frenzy of self doubting and negative chat; but also questions why you do certain things, and if you’re actually helping a situation/ others)
Describe your perfect day
An early rise, some time in the garden, me and Ben getting the train to somewhere near a beach, a walk along the sand, a bar lunch (I LOVE a bar lunch!!), a potter in some wee independent shops, back home where family will pop round for a few drinks, a bath and falling asleep full of food and wine!!
What does Wild Sister Rising mean to you?
I’ve generally never considered myself as ‘wild’. I’m pretty quiet, and like simple things; I tend to stick to the rules, and I hate confrontation; my hobbies and interests are pretty inoffensive.
I doubt that anyone who ever has or does know me would describe me as ‘Wild’. One thing that I am, though, is true to myself. And I always have been. And that truth has kept me going through every difficult time and setback. That’s what Wild Sister Rising means to me- continuing to rise and grow and evolve through life, while being proud to be yourself. And in this lovely circle, I have discovered a community of like minded individuals who are doing the same thing
More about Gemma :
I am a teacher, who lives in Central Scotland, with my partner, Ben, and our two cats. I love all things food or fresh air related, and am prone to the odd blether over a wee wine or two… There are few things in life that give me as much pleasure as staying up really late with those closest to me, putting the world to rights over a few drinks. Bliss!
I enjoy learning about new cultures and beliefs – through travel (although our purse strings, and the fact that I’m increasingly becoming more and more of a home bird, don’t allow as much as I would like), reading, trying new food (most things come back to food with me!), etc.
I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should, but have recently FINALLY realised the importance of mental wellbeing and self care, so at least I’m taking care of one part of me.
I have gone through quite a period of change the last few years, and, in that time, have realised more and more that I crave female friendship (the nice kind; not the competitive, two-faced kind that I had in High School, which, unfortunately, put me off for years!). My male friends are fab, but not so great at the feelings chat. And my Mum is great, but she sort of has to have my back- I want a Sisterhood!
Looking forward to getting to know you all.