How not to coast and associated ramblings.

This is a post in three sections. 
The first is an evangelical call for action. 
The second is lessons learned. 
The third is on why I got married.  It only took me two and a half years to figure out. 
Part 1.
Wasn’t this year fun? 
We made friends.  We built a business.  We got mentions in Elle and in Brides Magazine.  We had a baby.  (Admittedly, Clare did most of the work on the latter, but that won’t stop Aisling and I taking the credit).  We worked our socks off to bring you diverse and varied content.  We met some of you.  We did a survey, and discovered who you are, and that you want more of the same, and then some.
We can’t do this without you.
We need you to send us your submissions.  The world, being a woman, being married…it’s about more than what we three can write.  We can give you our views and our thoughts but we cannot write with the amount of power and conviction we want to bring to this blog when we’re talking in the hypothetical.
Only you can do that.  You, our readers, are the voice that makes AOW what it is.
To all of you who’ve said you’re thinking about writing us a piece, or you’re halfway through an AOP, or you’re not sure but you’d like to submit something…this is my plea to you.  Do it.  Help make this blog bigger, better wiser.  If you’re worried about your writing skills, we can help you with that.  The writing we can do…your stories, we can’t. 
Every single post we run on this site touches someone in some way.  We are determined to keep it that way.  So write.  Please.
Part 2.
I have been tired, and a bit down lately – too easily talking about my “tough year”.  Meh.  Talk to the Japanese.  Or the Greeks.  Or those living in the Horn of Africa.  Or…you know….people on our own doorstep.  They’ve had a “tough year”.  Get some perspective, Anna. 
So instead, here are some things I learned about myself this year:
I’m an initiator.  I like to be organised when I do it.  I never knew that before, not until I joined Team AOW.  I am proud that I am driven, can clearly see an end goal, and will consistently and clearly motivate a team to get there through a whole bunch of obstacles.  It is hard, talking about things you do well, and I REALLY want to write something self-deprecating here.  But I won’t. 
I recently met an amazing person with an incredible story who I think might just change my life, and I was nanoseconds away from dismissing him as dull and wandering off to another corner of the bar to talk to someone else, because of where he works and what he does.  I’m glad I didn’t.  I like to think I give people a chance and am a listener.  That’s a crock of shit.  Clearly, I’m as guilty as anyone of stereotyping and making rash decisions about people with a lack of evidence base.  I don’t like it, so I resolve to change it.           
Not being good at seemingly simple stuff is okay.  Example, driving.  “17 year olds with ASBOs do this!”  I wailed on more than one occasion.  “I have a degree.  How is this so hard?”  And then an angry bus driver would honk at me at a roundabout and I’d spend the rest of the lesson agonising about what I could have done differently to make our relationship work.  I passed after the most inordinate amount of time, and lessons, the cost of which would have covered a (very nice) car.  With a parking sensor.  When I finally passed my test, I broke down crying on my steering wheel.  It felt like the most monumental of victories. I know.  It wasn’t like I cured polio.  But to me, it sort of was. 
I went to a carol concert last week where they finished with O Holy Night which always chokes me up, and where I sang really loud, we all did, heads bowed, looking at the hymn books, sometimes stealing a glance up at the roof of the beautiful church.  Afterwards we ate mince pies, and as Mr K and I walked hand-in-gloved-hand under the Christmas fairy lights down Bow Lane, he said this, he said “I don’t care either way for religion or faith, and I never have.  But I liked the music.  The vicar was kind of funny.  And I thought, religion’s not so bad.” You know what, Mr K?  I concur. 
Part 3 (with thanks to Esme who got me chewing on this):
I had an argument a few weekends ago with Mr K.  We failed to communicate over something insignificant and the distance and forced politeness and crying (me) lasted a few days.  I couldn’t work out why I felt so repeatedly awful and as though my entire world was off-kilter.  Married couples fight all the time, right?  It’s healthy, isn’t it?  And then I realised.  Without him, I coast.     
We are both run ragged in our daily lives.  That takes a lot of our energy, rubs off the gilt, wears away at who we are and what we stand for.  We got married not because we thought we were a match made, not because we thought we could beat the odds, not because we complete each other, not because we are equal and opposite.  I don’t believe any of the above.   It’s just words, it doesn’t mean a thing to me.  We got married because know what each other can be at our best.  Every time we see each other, no matter what life has done to us, we put the fight back in each other, put the gilt back on each other, arm each other, ready to go out into the world and fight another day. 
Without him there, pushing me, reminding him what I could be, can be, I coast.  That is why I married him.  Because he refuses to let me be anything but my best.  
  Just an average Saturday chez K.  Photo by the immeasurably talented and patient Simon Bills
Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Health, Life Experience, Written By Anna
14 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 15, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Amazing. X

  2. Posted December 15, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Holy crap Anna. I'm teared up and I don't know why!

    I know I speak for all of us when I say that AOW has touched all of us in 2011. Whether its raised a chuckle or caused tears, there is no doubt our lives have been made richer by the writing of you girls and that of the readers.

    Thank you


  3. Posted December 15, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Seconding the call for more of your amazing submissions…and a little plea – we reply to every single submission we receive so if you've sent us something and we've not replied, or it's not been posted, it means we never received it (which seems to happen sometimes) so please please resend and tweet us or leave a comment to make sure we receive it this time. We absolutely never ignore an email.

    And Anna, that photo is unbelievable – how have we not seen it before?!

  4. Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Simply amazing. Your words are AMAZING.. I don't have words for how I love this blog. Bring on 2012!

    And bring on owning and being proud to own what you're good at :-D

    Also, Anna, where I live if you can't parallel park, you just don't park. I've sat in my car in the street sobbing before now because I can't get in the space, although I know it's possible I can't figure it out and there's nonother space for miles, and I just want to go home. So yeah, I feel your pain. Practice (and copious tears) makes perfect though.

    K x

  5. Kate
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    AOW is constantly putting into words those complicated feelings and thoughts I would never be able to articulate. I have chickened out of writing my own vows as I could never do them justice. Loving part 3 that is totally me and my future husband.

    Also totally understand on the driving thing, I passed my test more than 10 years ago but I don't drive regularly and last time I did I stalled three times at a junction, was constantly in the wrong gear and parked a mile away from the kerb – I am not a natural!

  6. Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I love this piece, especially the last line – he refuses to let me be anything but my best.

    Anna, I passed my test first time, at 17, after not many lessons (complete fluke). I crashed my car a fortnight later, £1,600 of damage.

    Had three small bumps in the years since, one of them reversing into the in-laws car. You are already a much better driver than me.


  7. Posted December 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant post, A.

    Here's to a prosperous new year for AOW – 2012 is going to be brilliant, I just know it!

    I'm a guilty 'have written post or three' reader so I shall pull my finger out and finish them. Who's with me, AOWettes?!

    My dad refused to let me enter my driving test until I could parallel and reverse park my car, an estate, a people carrier and, I kid you not, a tractor. In the end I passed first time, with only one minor fault.

    SJM x

  8. Esme
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I'm glad you wrote this Anna. Three cheers for those husbands that want us to be the best we can be, always.

    I'd like to second thebabywife about how AOW has touched all of us in 2011. It's been a really valuable part of my life this year and I'd like to thank all three of you for that.


  9. Posted December 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, so much, for saying such lovely things about us 'AOWettes' (Sarah-I LOVE that!)

    Anna, is that the 'duvet' picture you talked about? To.die.for. You could hide Emilia under there!


  10. Posted December 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I have made no secret of my love for this blog, because it is ace. I like how every single post is interesting and diverse and that you can be ardently disagreeing with someone's position one day and then going 'oh my god me toooooo' to them the next day.

    When it comes to driving – it took me 3 attempts to pass (I maintain this is because on my first test the examiner was evil and on the second the examiner was uber smarmy, plus I had seriously bad PMT) – however I'm a brilliant parker. James on the other hand, first passer and generally wonderful driver but can't park for toffee.

  11. Posted December 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Love this, Anna – the last part really struck a chord with me. We've also had a very tough year (not in terms of our marriage, but in terms of things that have happened, and things that have not happened), but I feel that I've also learnt a hell of a lot about myself and about M, and about our marriage. And there's a lot of comfort to be taken from that.
    I've also been brewing on a post for a while so will try and get something out at some point!
    And I'm sure you know how much I love this site – thank you, ladies. xx

  12. Posted December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Gosh a rambling comment from me can't do this post justice. So i'll keep it short. Great writing, Anna, very thought provoking. And i agree with Sarah M I shall endeavour to finish and send in my submissions… I hope AOW has an amazingly astonishingly good 2012… I have every belief it will! Hooray!


  13. Katy W
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Excellent post – and has made me choose my AOP and start thinking what to write (wish me luck – I haven't written anything apart from contracts and leases for about 10 years…)

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  • By A round up…of sorts! on February 29, 2012 at 9:29 am

    [...] thank-you to each and every one of you who has let us tell your story on these pages. Anna said it last week and I’ll say it again now-you are what makes AOW the amazing place it is and without you and [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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