Now look: I love a good bandwagon as much as the next person. Probably MORE than the next person. I’ve always thought that I’d be the likeliest candidate to join a cult, such is my need to jump on said bandwagon. And I’ve come close, a few times; I was a mod and a Buddhist and a Brosette and even – for a few ill-fated years – a vegetarian. If Charles Manson had driven past one day – when I was young and impressionable and lacking in quality companionship – and said, “Hey little lady, sharpen your knives and jump on board,” I’d have offered to fucking drive. Pete Evans and his mad, staring eyes? I’d have fallen at his withered, paleolithic feet, if he’d offered me some kale and camaraderie. And, if Constance Hall had been around a decade ago, when I moved back to Perth from London with my three-month-old son and soul-gnawing loneliness, I’d have woven my floral crown and had “like a queen” tattooed across my fucking forehead before I’d even got the kid vaccinated.
Because I get it. I get what it is to want to belong. I understand the human need to find your gang, your tribe, your people, your place. I know how fucking lonely motherhood can be, and how finding just one likeminded soul can give you a reason to get up in the morning. To find a whole gang of likeminded mothers, all struggling to make sense of this new, unscripted role, and to know that they’re there to lift you up and say KEEP GOING, YOU’RE DOING GOOD, is not to be underestimated. Constance Hall and her many queens offer a fucking lifeline. They are a good thing. They are an important thing.
But they are not my thing.
Because I am not a queen.
And I have reservations about the whole queen thing, truth be told. Maybe it’s because I’m older/wiser/look ridiculous in a flower tiara. Maybe it’s because I’ve already found my tribe – a gang of women, some of whom I’ve never actually met in person, and know only by Facebook profile pictures and sassy online comments. These chicks are smart. They are wise. They are fucking funny. We talk about Netflix and Botox and wine and Top Gun and life-sized stuffed rabbits and wine and teenagers with iPhones and toddlers with swearing tendencies and job aspirations and cleaning products and wine. Call us prudish, but we emphatically don’t share the intimate details or our relationships, nor nude selfies. I love these chicks, but I don’t want to see their wobbly bits.
I consulted my gang before I wrote this post – asked them what they thought being a queen entailed. Some of them consider themselves to be queens, and that’s cool, we can work with that. Some of them are jaded with the queen thing. Most of them love the premise of being a queen – SUPPORT EACH OTHER – but are wary about the cult-like, hero-worship aspect of queendom. One thought we were talking about Queen Elizabeth II, and got pretty fucking confused. Another lives in America, and spent her day – our night – sending messages entitled WHO THE FUCK IS CONSTANCE HALL, until she thought it was a tremendous in-joke at her expense, and told us all to go fuck ourselves.
But! Here’s the gist of what we came up with: hero worshipping makes us nervous. Yeah, support each other. Be there for each other. Love each other, stand up for each and fight for each other – but don’t elevate one queen to a higher status than the others. That shit makes us nervous, ‘cos humans are, y’know, human, with flaws and foibles and ill-founded theories based on nothing but speculation and guesswork and Facebook likes. None of us really know what we’re doing, except maybe Maggie Dent, and I’m even wary of her since she told me that Ben might benefit from kinesiology. We’re all making it up as we go along, and I think that’s probably the best way to do it. Dance to the beat of your own drum, not someone else’s.
Then there’s idea of motherhood as a form of oppression. Um, guys? It’s not. It’s one of the toughest gigs in the whole world, but it’s not a patch on being shackled to a radiator in a basement and being made to breed on demand. THAT’s oppression. Most of us willingly chose this gig. We chose our roles, and we chose our life partners. And while I KNOW I complain and bitch and moan and whinge, I’m forever fucking grateful for what I’ve got. Yes, my husband has an Ebay addiction and leaves the murky water in the sink after he’s washed the dishes, but I still really fucking like him.
And listen, I know it’s quite fashionable at the moment to be all, like, LOOK AT MY BELLY ROLLS, but I’m not down with that. Be proud of your baby-breeding body – OF COURSE – but don’t be ashamed to aspire to being fit and healthy. This is a decidedly uncool thing to say, but here goes: I EXERCISE EVERY FUCKING DAY. I DO THE 5:2 FASTING DIET. Not very fucking queen-like now, am I? Sorry not sorry; I want to be the best I can be, physically and mentally. I’m getting old, yeah, but I want my kids to look at me as a role model and an inspiration. I want them to be proud of me.
There’s one more thing, and this might be an unpopular train of thought, but here goes: children don’t raise themselves. As a parent, you do need to make a modicum of effort to ensure your children grow into something other than psychopaths and serial killers and car salesmen. Like, I’m all for cutting corners, but I don’t think it’s enough to simply pop a sprog out and then fuck off to the pub wearing a t-shirt that says “Mamma Bear”. You need to make a bit of a fucking effort. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
Like all good cults – sorry, movements – queendom started with the best of intentions. It continues with the best of intentions. It raises ALL THE MONEY for good causes. I am RIGHT behind that. It makes lost, lonely mothers feel like they’re part of a gang. That is the good shit.
But I’m putting my hand up here and saying: I’m not a queen. A queen mother, maybe, but not a queen.
I’ll leave you with one final thought: CORRECT GRAMMAR IS NOT A CRIME. Let me explain what I mean by that, 'cos that makes me sound like an uptight, pedantic bitch. I'm a writer (and also an uptight, pedantic bitch). I studied English and Journalism at uni and I've spent the last two decades working with words for a living. This is my job, my profession. When people come along, call themselves writers, and say, "Grammar is for wankers," it stings, because it belittles my profession. It's kinda like telling a plumber that any fucker can fix a toilet. And, if a person with a million followers, hanging on their every mis-spelled word, sends the message that "grammar is for wankers", then where does that leave us?
Where does hero worship leave any of us?
That's all. Thanks for listening.