Siobhan S's Self-Portrait
Geoff J's Self-Portrait
Siobhan became Siobhan with a single tweet.
The moment before she typed out her new name into the then-brand-new social medium she understood that in 140 characters she had taken a leap into endless personal possibilities. Her given name, Joan, kept her stuck to the earth, like mud. No wonder she’d been depressed.
No more! Now the 24-year-old Siobhan–oh, she liked the sound of that: Shi-VAWN-–announced ecstatically to the world that she was ready for liftoff. Within a day she decided to leave her job and become a bartender.
It wasn’t as crazy as it sounded. Siobhan was Gaelic for Joan, not that most people would know that. And secondly, she was hating her mindless job writing public relations releases for a small environmental nonprofit. She’d loved it in the beginning, after her very handsome boss recruited her at a college alumni job fair.
She’d been so impressed with him–his demeanor, his commitment to their environmental cause, his respect for her work as she grew into it.
Then one day he leaned over her to see what she was writing on her computer, and his breath smelled truly awful. What a turnoff. In the weeks that followed, she began to see that all his supposedly perfect traits were figments of her imagination. She realized she didn’t really like this job.
She wished she’d gone to graduate school, but to study what? She’d lost her momentum. She was really bummed. What was she going to do with her life?
Mixology! And off she went to bartender school, then to jobs at awesome bars. In the beginning, she had to be careful about her own drinking–imbibing and serving, definitely not a good idea, especially after she got sacked at a very elegant club after just a few months. She was good at the work, though, once she’d conquered her own appetites.
She earned a reputation as a creative cocktail inventor and surprisingly organized barkeep. LGTBQ hangouts turned out to be the best places to work, not that she was gay. Or put it this way: she’d never really explored the full range of her sexuality. Gay, straight–these terms didn’t really mean anything. She understood that completely when she connected with Adriana, the owner of the club where she’d been working just a few weeks.
Siobhan ended up becoming a full partner in Adriana’s business and her life. Not only could Siobhan mix the best cocktails in town; she had a flair for social-media marketing as well. She and Adriana did not stay together all that long, personally or in business. After a couple of years, Siobhan fell–and it felt like a literal, crashing fall–out of love. She was so down that she had to get out of bartending for a while because of her drinking.
By this time she was well in her thirties and feeling old–like maybe it was time to pull herself together. She bought a small bar in a beach town, open half the year only. She hired a bartender named Geoff, got pregnant, married him, bought a bar in a year-round resort community in the mountains, had another child, took up singing, then teaching dance, and is still married to Geoff and co-managing their business after six years.
It’s been rocky a lot of the time, frankly, given her emotional highs and lows. But Geoff’s spiritual side steadies her–he’s into Gurdjieff, which is how she learned mystic dancing.
Geoff’s name is actually Jeff. He’s fine with Siobhan’s preferred spelling.
Siobhan’s relationships before Geoff had been the I-love-you-intensely/I-hate-you-completely storms of passion common to Mercurial individuals. Highly creative, open to anything, self-driven and ready to embrace something new without much contemplation, she was talented in many areas but not aimed in any one life direction. But as she matured, she began to seek more permanence, a steadier base in life from which to operate. Her instincts proved right in terms of work and love. A bar in a resort community provided the endless stream of new people to dazzle and be dazzled by. A child, then two, tethered her to needs of others.
In Geoff, she found someone whose identity was not tied up in hers. Highly Idiosyncratic, his ideas and spirituality sustained him, and his Conscientious qualities enabled him carry on a sufficiently productive life. Siobhan was exciting and different and open to unusual ideas herself. He marched to a different drummer and she couldn’t control him, which was good for both of them. He is proving to be a good partner in their unusual life, as long as she doesn’t get too emotionally demanding. That’s the challenge for them.