I wanted to start the next 100 weeks of the Ten Things of Thankful with something wonderful and sparkling, and we did have fun last week, didn’t we? It’s not over yet, either – the winners of the boxes are soon going to get a VERY SPECIAL MESSAGE from their designated co-host, who will send them their prize, and the voting is now open for you to choose your new TToT banner (where were your entries, y’all? At this rate I might run this one again once you’ve copped on! Let me know if you’re bothered) – but there are a number of things which have me incensed, and my heart, my brain and my soul are aching from outrage and upset and I just need to write for a bit about them. There’s a thankful in that, I suppose, that I care. And that other people care enough to DO things to combat vile behaviour in whatever form it takes, in order to try to protect those who would be somehow taken advantage of. We need more kindness. We need more relationship. WE NEED MORE CONNECTION – good grief, we need more connection.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take time to recognise the humanity in the people around you. And not just in your immediate locale, but wherever you find them. Respect them, whatever their age, their gender, their class, their financial situation, their history, their nationality, their sexuality, or any other of those things which people get worked up about, thinking that ‘different’ equates to ‘less than’.
Treat them as deserving (yes, I used *that* word because in this case it’s right) of DIGNITY and of the acknowledgement that they are your human brother or sister. You don’t have to like their behaviour or even condone it. You don’t have to protect them from the consequences of their own actions, but you DO have to recognise that they are human and important and that’s fucking SOMETHING!
I’ve just read an article detailing the manner in which the current British government have been trying to institute laws which criminalise feeding the homeless in a particular part of London. A little research shows they’ve been trying to achieve this FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS. Why? Because the homeless are vile detritus to be kept away from affluence so as not to clutter up the view? To starve them to death so we don’t have to worry about them? To dehumanise them as much as possible and make way for harsher anti-poor-people laws, or anti-people-we-don’t-like-or-think-contribute-to-society laws? NO! IT’S NOT OKAY!
Prior to that I read an article by an amazing woman who spoke out
in light of the Duggar abuse scandal. She called out her childhood abuser by name, yet she still blamed herself
– little girl her – for having LET him abuse her. What the actual? That anyone should have to endure such suffering and then carry shame with them when it was NOT THEIR FAULT? That anyone should have to feel they *should* have done more to protect themselves or to let their abuser know that what was being done to them was not okay, or that they *should* have found the courage to let an adult know? Yet I know people who are in this very state of mind, NO! IT’S NOT OKAY!
And before THAT, I was aware of situations where people felt so alone and uncared for they needed to scream in writing to just feel as if they still existed. Or situations where people have been afraid to respond to other people for fear of being irrelevant or coming across as dumb. Or situations where people have denied others the right to have negative feelings because of their affluence – or the right to take positive actions because of their gender. Or situations where people have been actively penalised by bureaucracy for their mental/physical illnesses. Or situations where people have been stripped of their humanness and turned into faceless demographics – labels designed to distance the labeller from acknowledging that each person is a PERSON. NO! IT’S NOT OKAY!
And each person is VALUABLE, oh my, when are we ever, ever, ever going to learn? I know with you guys I’m preaching to the choir but WE need to set the example because there is no way that the people who dehumanise in this way are EVER going to take the initiative and figure it out by themselves. WE NEED TO BE LEADERS. We need to demonstrate compassion and connection and CARE.
We should throw banquets in the streets and invite EVERYONE. We should DAMN WELL PROTECT OUR CHILDREN, and when they go through awful things at the hands of wicked people, we need to take responsibility for finding them a way to heal so they can grow up without that constant ember of shame blistering their soul. We should encourage and support and nurture one another – whoever is near us – so that they feel valued and validated and understood, and we should role-model mercy and justice and humility so that people who see us might feel inspired by the radical idea that EVERYONE MATTERS.
And much as I hate to say it, that means that even the dickheads in life matter (though their bad behaviour should still be sanctioned as far as the law allows (and the laws should be changed to be less ‘ass’ish where it’s the case that the sanctions are ineffective), so as much as the vengeful, base part of me wishes that I could advocate Guy-Fawkes-style vigilante ‘justice’, I can’t…even the pricks are people with triumphs and challenges and hopes and dreams…they just need to somehow learn and respect that SO IS EVERYONE ELSE.
We ALL are. We all matter. YOU MATTER.
Let people know, and show them that THEY matter. Be more than a voice. I don’t care how you do it, and the ‘prize’ is a world which is better, and safer, for everyone, and that’s everything.
Sorry to soapbox but you guys are connected and you DO care. The world needs more people like you.
There are things I’m thankful for, sure, but they seem to pale in comparison to the agony of living in this world tonight. Which probably means I really, really need to find some silver linings to latch hold of, because this swirling darkness that is all I can see has horns and teeth and wicked, narrowed eyes and sulphur breath and I can’t shake the feeling that in spite of my knowledge that in the end, Love WINS, somehow at the moment, Love is in short supply and having rather an uphill struggle.
Here goes for silver linings, then.
1. It seems that divorce can be as straightforward as finding the funds to pay for it. I’ll sell things (wedding dress and rings – I’m so sure THAT’S never been done before! (ha!)) and get it done, then we can both move on to being happier human beings. I bloody hope.
2. People DO care. They do. And I see it sometimes and it counts and it helps and it matters.
3. Vince is here and it’s LOVELY having him here. He’s a fab flatmate and quite honestly we both feel as though we’ve landed on our feet with this new arrangement.
4. Books, to lose myself in. New books being written by authors I adore. Existing books gracing my bookshelf. Book swaps and loans with my BookFriend.
5. Glitterbombs, which I sent this week, and which I love to send, and which delight me by enabling me to bring some small sparkly happiness to others.
6. Exercise which I do because I enjoy it and because I want my body to be the healthiest it can be (new mindset – it’s better).
7. (Double-edged sword) The epiphany that one of the reasons I often feel sad is because I love too much and when it’s not returned, that hurts, so what I need to do is let go of the hope for return, and decide to either love without expectation, or try to dial back how much I care. Both sound wicked hard things to attempt but at least I’ve identified an issue to work on.
8. I started a new element of my career today – a complete tangent to my job – and if training is feasible then I get to do something which both honours the wishes of people or their next of kin, and enables others to maybe regain their sight. It’s a peculiar, science-class-y, stilling and very profound thing. And I tried it out for the first time and…I don’t think ‘I liked it’ is really the right thing, but I found it an important experience and I think I could make a positive contribution in this area.
9. I’m not squeamish and I’m okay around a dead body. Thank goodness. Because I wasn’t sure I would be, not having ever met one before.
10. The light and love of a friend who I suspect knows me inside out and back-to-front, and who has become utterly vital to me – I am endlessly grateful and thankful that our paths crossed and then somehow our hearts followed suit.
I don’t feel better. Not this time.
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