From the anniversary of one friend's birth to that of the birth of another's relationship! Today my dear friends Jade and Tom celebrate four years together. Congratulations, you two - live long and prosper! (NB Jade calls me 'Lizzy' and I, her, 'Jane' - hence the Bingley!)
Anyway, geeky meld of Austen and Star Trek aside, it has got me thinking about my own feelings on relationships. Those of you who know me will be aware that I'm a staunch feminist - which means nothing more and nothing less than that I believe in equality and empowerment for both women and men. As such I take a lot of my inspiration from independently- and intellectually-minded women and it heartens me to see so many among my contemporaries at Warwick. We're all striving for something extraneous to the proverbial 2.4 kids and a white picket fence, and that excites me.
That's not to say I don't do relationships - I do. My ex-boyfriend and I met at twelve and were together for three years - no mean feat in an environment where everyone appeared to occilate between 'friend' and 'enemy' faster than you could say 'playground'. We had an awesome time, until he cheated on me. Yeah. It was awesome, though, beforehand.
Since I left my 'special' secondary school I've been quite circumspect and determined to make my own way in the world. In part this is a result of being confronted with the various stereotypes regarding people with disabilities and relationships. We're just not seen as sexual beings - even my PSHE teacher was adamant that we didn't have sex - and I'm writing my dissertation on the sexual and gender politics of disability in Irish and South African theatre.
Yet I wonder if these stereotypes are being unwittingly perpetuated by the very people they affect. I know that I, especially, have a tendency to hide behind my desire to be self-sufficient. Having spent so many years (indeed all my life) almost totally dependent, in a physical sense, on others, I'm acutely conscious of my fierce need to protect whatever solitude I possess. Equally, my insecurites regarding the help that I need have given rise to a fear of intimacy. I haven't wanted to burden other people with my 'stuff' (which, of course, is a technical term).
Now that's becoming less of an issue although, whether it's due to a change in my attitude or a change in circumstances (or both), I don't know. I see that it would be possible for me to have my own space and independence within a loving and equal relationship.
So, you know, if Darcy comes knocking any time soon, send him this way - with the caveat that he'd better be more than ready to dance, preferably waltz. O, and Wickhams need not apply.
Happy anniversary, Janey-Jadey!