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Feline and Strange, Your life video still, videographer: Keren Chernizon

Feline and Strange: love and “Your Life”

in Dating/Music by

Dating is fun, right? I talked with a friend the other day who was happily kissing people here and there. She is fresh out of a three year relationship and spreading her wings. As long as everyone has the same expectations, dating is a blast.

What happens when there are more people in the mix?

I know poly is quite en vogue at the moment, but that’s not what I mean. As we start dating people with more life experience, things can get a bit complicated. People come with all kinds of back story.

In 2015, we ran a story called “Dating a daddy.” In it, columnist LoveLy openly and honestly talked about her experiences dating men with kids. She talked about how having a third person in the relationship took some of the excitement out of a new relationship.

Long, leisurely days spent making love and occasionally taking breaks to make some food are replaced with going to the amusement park. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the amusement park. But I am all for being able to bond in an unrestricted physical and chemical way.

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LoveLy got a lot of backlash for being real about her experiences. People said she was being immature. They said it was part of growing up and taking responsibility. She didn’t say she’d never date a daddy. She was just telling the truth about how she felt second best at a time when she should be feeling first.

Confession: shock, horror!

I have never dated a daddy. I can’t even imagine it. I think people have to accept there are different kinds of living modules. It is becoming more and more common for people to be open about not wanting kids.

I’m one of them. In my opinion, this is not a selfish act (as some would suggest). I have a dear friend with two kids who agrees with me. She knows I have made the right decision. I love her kids. I don’t hate kids in general. In fact, I seem to end up with them if they are at a party.

That doesn’t mean I am capable of taking care of them. Kids need stable support. They need commitment. That’s why I never even think of dating someone with a kid. So far I have not been able to make relationships last, and kids deserve more than that.

Why is this a forbidden subject?

Unlike me, LoveLy did say these were feelings that wouldn’t stop her dating a daddy. Truth be told, maybe I would too. I just haven’t met one I was interested in. Feline, of the music duo Feline & Strange, found herself not only dating, but marrying a man with a child from his previous marriage.

Feline and Strange at WGT 2018 Victorian Picnic in Clara Zetkin Park. Photo © Erik Braga
Feline and Strange at WGT 2018 Victorian Picnic in Clara Zetkin Park. Photo © Erik Braga

Feline is happy, but feels the vilification of the stepmother needs to stop.

“Many voices exist for the children, for the single mothers, and even some for the single dads, but none for their new partners of whom the world expects to be either the evil stepmother or to accept that the kids always and will always come first, and even their mum is more important in some way.

“It’s not easy to accept this. It’s not easy to appreciate the great gift life gives one as such, when you are feeling forgotten on a regular basis. So I made this song. Everything is easier when there is a song about it.”

In a world where women are either “helicopter mothers” (what East Germans called West German mothers) or “raven mothers” (what West Germans called East German mothers), why can’t we still be women? Women have emotions. Mothers aren’t perfect all the time. That doesn’t make them the anti-Christ.

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😭🙏 REAL LIFE: This is what a mommy mental breakdown looks like…😔 ____________________________________________________________ 🤮 I’m so sick of people just showing the perfect side of parenthood on social media, and today was one of the worst days I’ve had as a mom. I’m tired. Mentally and emotionally drained. Feeling like a failure of a mom. Feeling beyond clueless as to why my child has the world’s worst tantrums for no reason. Feeling guilty for yelling at him and even more guilty for wanting to crawl in a hole and stay there. Etc. ____________________________________________________________ ☝️ THIS is real life. THIS is the dark side of parenting they don’t tell you about in books. We are NOT perfect. Neither are our kids. We are human. We break down. We cry. We get frustrated. We lose our tempers. We need help. And at the end of the day, we are doing THE BEST WE KNOW HOW. ___________________________________________________________ 💙 Feel free to share this with a new Mom or a Mom who feels like she’s losing her everloving mind. You’re not alone, and NONE of us have it together. #MomFail #DoingTheBestICan #PrayersWelcomed

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This video of a mom “doing it badly” went viral not long ago.

Instead of trolls, she got a wave of support for being brave enough to show something besides parental perfection. It’s not easy being a mom. The rewards far outweigh the difficulties (so I hear), but it’s normal to have these feelings.

Feline & Strange’s song couldn’t come at a better time.

It expresses what many have felt and were afraid to say. Like Feline points out, there are always multiple versions of people living in parallel universes. We have to make sure that “your life” doesn’t stamp out “my life” and, therefore, “our life.”


LYRICS

Squeezed into a world that isn’t mine I try to ignore most of my life.
yes I have the choice but what shall I do when that means to say yes or no to you?

Leave me alone with your life – it isn’t mine and I’ve got no desire
to share this part of your life. It’s less than a half, it’s poor, your life

I know with me or her to save on a cliffside you wouldn’t hesitate to let me fall to death.
I could handle that but not her staining my sun with my man in my time having my fun

You’ve got that blind spot when it comes to her / Where I disappear with my urgencies.
I also had one for you but see clearly now: I will always be second anyhow

I who am nothing but your wife / Can’t stand any longer to feel eaten up!
But I’m a part now of your life / How do I get back an own life?
I know that your child is your life and I can’t demand to decide from you.
But I’m a part now of your life / Wouldn’t you like it too, our life?


I met Feline & Strange when they were organizing the making of this video, and just before they came to Leipzig for this year’s Wave-Gotik-Treffen. It was their first time here and it really changed their lives. They were so moved by the Victorian Picnic that they have started one in Berlin.

They played several times at WGT, but I only saw the performance at Absintherie Sixtina, and was blown away at the precision and theatricality. I was very impressed at what a woman and man can produce with what looks like little equipment. The songs were rich and I was glad to be there.


Cover image: Feline and Strange, “Your Life” video still.
(Videographer: Keren Chernizon)

Artist, curator and writer: maeshelle west-davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums.

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