THE WRITER’S LIFE
My last few non-fiction posts have been about me, which might seem somewhat selfish. But I’m a writer with mental health issues, writing about being a writer with mental health problems. And it’s my blog. But I also write about the things which fuel my personal anguish, in a wider world, where I have less influence or control. Today I looked outside, at all the other people, and everything that will affect them personally today.
Today someone will lose a parent, a child, a family member, and a friend. The person they lose will say farewell to them all, and someone will have to deliver the news. Many more will live their final day, in countries fractured by conflict, while at home, relationships will fall apart.
Today someone will find out that their partner, parent or child has cancer, or a degenerative neurological disease. At home, a father no longer remembers his children.
Today someone will visit a food bank, hoping there might be some tinned fruit to put in a child’s Christmas stocking, and a parent will go without food so that their children can eat.
Today forests will be cut down to make way for palm oil, and thousands of animals will be made homeless or killed, to feed human greed, while other humans starve. People will murder their fellow humans, in the name of an unrealistic ideology.
Today we will continue to exploit oil and gas reserves, while our planet becomes more sick from the cancer of humans. We’ll add to our pollution of a planet where every living organism is now part-plastic.
Today friends will fall out over ecological and political issues, as their worlds grow further apart and left and right become polarised. Today someone will be verbally or physically abused, because of their colour, religion, gender, sexuality, or opinion; because they’re human.
All of this will all happen again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. The world spins on its axis. One man struggles, while another relaxes.
I’ve had much cruelty inflicted upon me, when I was homeless, and lately by the Department for Work and Pensions, who regard any quality of life as a luxury to be earned, when food and shelter ought to be a human right in a developed nation with one of the richest economies in the world. But I live under a fascist dictatorship, in a country with a colonial, imperial history. I’m ashamed of where I’m from and what I represent.
Mine is a human shame, and although I feel guilt and remorse for things I inflicted on my fellow humanity in the past, the penitent man inside makes living with everything more difficult. That’s what being human feels like.
But my suffering is nothing compared to countless others. So when I look at things like this, outside my own world and into the wider one, which I care about enough to make it personal, I see millions to whom my life would be a luxury.
I realised that however personally devastating my illness can be, made worse by stress and worry about money and my dad, my world is tiny and simple compared to many others out there. We can’t take time back, but we can think forward, where anything could be possible. We’re lucky to be down here, so let’s not waste our time.
We’re all different, but we’re born the same. We are one race, but the human species has a tendency to forget.
The message inside this card reads ‘Only our wings are broken.’