Archives for category: Death

I don’t want to do those lists anymore. Maybe it’s a mood thing. Maybe it takes me so friggin long to log into my account that it robs me of a small parcel of my soul. This is not my bank account, there is no need for these ridiculous passwords.

Yes, ok, I started with Dyslexia despite the title. I’m finding that common these days, I say one thing and do another. I used to be so diligent about being reliable and honest. In previous years I would have been mortified to be so <insert appropriate word here>. See that? That’s me not judging myself. Trying. I’m more ‘human’ now.

I feel less like a 2D cut out, but at the same time, I feel so deflated and heavy. I started with my new counsellor today, and before I realized what I had said I was laughing. “This world is not big enough for me”.  I was detailing how my last counsellor opened up space for me, and after a few tears, this.

The truth is I am a big ideas person. Details don’t just bore me, they kill me. I know some people adore detail, I’ve met them. And while I can clean something to military precision, I still object to having to look at this spotlessly clean tap and be displeased to see a watermark. Come on! (I don’t clean anymore, that’s another post).

I’m a scientist, it’s the thing I am most qualified to do. I follow some Buddhist precepts. I never found either to be at odds, and yet people like to have you in one basket, or worse, box. These labels feel like coffins. Claustrophobic, dark and life ending. How can anyone live freely with all these labels.

Fat lot of good either of them did me. I move closer to a PTSD diagnosis, I’m resigned to it. I avoided the mental health professionals (and was rejected by them as being too sane) for my career. As long as I was working I had all the therapy I needed.

All the hidden threads are leading back to one big fucked up ball of wool. Sleeping problems, stomach problems, emotional outbursts… things that are perfectly ordinary reactions to real and present stress: joblessness and poverty will do that. I haven’t the energy for the mental gymnastics anymore.

The things that are escaping from me now I have no diligence are consistent with PTSD. Or more precisely, complex PTSD. What a shitty world. What a shitty, shitty world. I wouldn’t fair better in any other time: I’d have been burnt as a witch. What a shitty world we make for each other.

Over Christmas I learned something that helps me understand my family and by extension me,  better. Not good things, imagine if you will a Fibonacci sequence of shit. Hopefully, in the descendant, she says with a lackluster pun. I said years ago that it would all end with me. Now I know what ‘it’ is.

As I sink into yet another abyss, I reach out to support agencies for help. I hear the same refrain again and again. “Step back”, “Be kind to yourself”, “Take it easy”, “You’ve been through more in 5 years than some have in decades, don’t put so much pressure on yourself”. This is victim blaming. It’s not often I identify as a victim. But I feel it so keenly at the moment.

The pressure is not coming from within me: it is external to me and is being exerted on many thousands of people. Some of whom have buckled under the weight and have taken their own lives.

I have been close.

I am close.

I am tired.

As a person being forced to look for work that she is not well enough to do, I am being persecuted by the state. Why? Because I am poor. I can not afford to recuperate with out state assistance. As I try and address the mess that led to this disaster, I have to search for work, under the threat of losing what little money I have. This is tantamount to financial abuse.

I have worked. I have worked hard. I have paid taxes. I have raised myself up, from my externally perceived humble beginnings, educated myself, and the reward for my self sufficiency is victim blaming and abuse. Even in my addled state, I can provide better support for myself, than the agencies that I have reached out to for assistance.

Even, as the pressure mounts, and my myriad low level illnesses conspire together to create the impression that I am going to die from anxiety, I am best placed to help my self. All I need is time, or money, or a little of both. Instead, what time I might have is being permanently diverted to other less deserving things. Or more deserving but ought not to be.

Such as : Have I enough food to eat; Can I cover my rent this month; Is buying this cheap food worth the resulting pain I will end up in; Am I going to pull another muscle if I walk to the doctors and back; Will I sleep tonight; Can I squeeze another few wears out of these jeans before they finally give in.

What absolutely makes me howl, is the fact that a woman of my age, and my size being actively discriminated against in the work place, in one of the most underprivileged cities in the UK is being forced to look for work for people who will not employ her. Take my ‘free to them’ labour, yes, but not employ me for remuneration.

Where exactly am I supposed to take refuge in this mess? Am I being mindful they ask. Are you fucking kidding me? I am nothing but mindful. ‘You’ tell me? You keep telling me about how self aware I am… AM I MINDFUL? I am too mindful. I am too keenly aware of what is happening to me, and completely unable to do anything about it. This way madness lies.

Sometimes, mindfulness, in your secular sense of the word is a middle class luxury. It is a kind of mindfulness that I can not afford.

And the patronizing! Dear god above have some small mercy on me. Someone praised me learning to make my own clothes. This, I am told, is mindful. Well, it may be, if I could actually get on. Only I’m so sleep deprived that I can not follow the instructions and I dare not use the machine for fear of stitching over my fingers.

I got a text from my bank saying I was over-drawn and had an hour to put some money in. Fortunately, I had some change in a jar. I paid it in, and feeling sorry for myself, went to get some oat milk from M&S (It’s the only place that sells it in town now). I also got some mozzarella and a bag of salad to bump up my existing food supplies. I won’t get any more money for a bit, so I was really focused about what I was buying. Then I spotted a yellow sticker. And another. Then another. All in all I came out with £30 of shopping for £10. Because it’s Marksies, the meals have actual nutritional content.

I’ve been eating a lot of smash and beans.

I gave a beggar 50p. If I could not shit myself at having spent a tenner on ‘ready meals’ then I could afford that act of kindness. (Though, to be fair to myself, the deals were very good and most of the stuff I bought was to supplement what I already have at home.) After I paid I realized what I’d done. I needed every penny left to get to my Aunties tomorrow. She wants to talk about the wills we are all beneficiaries of. Just think Jarndyce and fucking Jarndyce… we will all be dead before they are settled. This is the first time the door ways of communication have been opened since grandma’s and granddad’s funerals.

I’ve been so busy looking after my dad, that I just let them get on with it. My life continues its descent into destitution: the terror I used to feel has now subsided. This is the new normal. I always have to pull money from no where when the rent is due. There is nothing left to sell. My clothes are old and thread bare, my hair is grey and frizzy, my complexion is bland, my eyes tired, and the less said about my demeanor the better.

It’s going to take a forward thinking manager to see through that and recognize my worth. I don’t know my own worth anymore… It certainly is not the £21,000 I used to be able to command. My attempts to get sick pay, have been declined and I am forced into seeking work I am not well enough to do. If I’d been able to find work when I still had juice left in the tank, then this would be a good time to find part-time work I feel capable of doing whilst ploughing through the counselling.

Presently, I can not do both. Did I make this pact before I recognised that or after? I will commit to one thing only and see it through to completion. I have spent my life fracturing my efforts, so this time I am not going to renege on my promise to myself. I’ve have a new counsellor… I start again in two weeks.

My will be done. Before my will power completely deserts me, I will focus on my therapy. When I have wrangled my past into something manageable and my future into something worth sticking about for, then I can take on the next challenge. But for now, I’ll be doing the poor person shuffle from week to week. Aside from the flashbacks, panic attacks and the lack of sleep, I feel an underlying calm. Is this acceptance or denial?

03.33… I wish it were a song title. It’s not. It’s the time. At 11.15 I’m supposed to be viewing a flat. I don’t know what’s happening really, other than I’m here writing this blog. On the 18th April, my wonderful friend, “That damned cat” passed away. She had diabetes, the kind that cannot be treated with tablets. After many vets trips, weeks begging her to get better, I knew that at 18 years old she would not. A week before or a week later, I can barely remember, my granddad passed. Three years of deaths. And I’m still here, wondering: why? Or more precisely: How!

My financial situation is so bad, it’s normal now. And I’m just treading water. Paralysed by fear. Anything I do could tip me over the edge into a more precarious position. ANYTHING. Moving is a big gamble. Here’s the thing… Now the cat is dead, I can afford to go to hospital on the bus. I bought some cigarettes, and some booze. Flipped out for a few weeks. Ate all the meat. Well, chicken and fish. Wanted to eat all the cakes, and chocolate, but everything tastes the same, synthetic, saccharine and somehow tasteless too. So I bought prepared fruit. The decadence. Had to borrow money to get through another round of “not going bankrupt this month”.

Apparently, I’ll get some money now granddad’s dead. Nan’s money was tied up in a living will… When the cat died, I thought it wouldn’t be long before I was a goner too. But it seems I’m locked into living again. My reasoning being that none of my family are getting a penny of my money. Literally over my dead body. I can think of so many people who really need, and would make the most of my money. I’m sure that if I died before I got the money, it would instantly pass to my next of kin. I don’t have one at the moment. Anyway, by the time I get the cash, they can’t have it either. I’m going on holiday till it’s spent.

My dad that was ill, nearly died again. So that’s been fun. He hasn’t been in touch for a while. He could actually be dead now, and I wouldn’t know. He says I’m next of kin, but every time he goes into hospital, I find out from my aunty. Fuck it. The other dad cut me off for not paying his phone bill. Apparently, none of the reasons I had detailed were good enough. Fuck it.

The job centre want to send me on a work programme. OVER MY DEAD BODY. They can get to fuck. I want a job, with minimum wage, and stable hours. Any job will do, but I’m not lining the pocket of fucking tescos with my tears and stress. No chance. I’m trying to set up some businesses, but I haven’t the energy. This woman is trying to get me to apply for some funding, I’m like, listen love, it takes all I have to apply for a job… Anyway, she’s trying to help, but actually it piles on the stress. She’s alright with mum, and a partner looking after her. She might have her woes but she doesn’t have mine and can’t see what the block is. There was a creative thing that looked really awesome, but it didn’t pan out. Got several more rejection letters. It’s the grey hair. I know it is. Hair dye costs money you know!

Dyslexia; grief; illness; poverty; the never-ending bullshit of living in a stupidly dysfunctional family? Pick one or two, mix it up see if you get a different result to me. I tried to get some help from some Dyslexia places, they are fucking useless. Even more disorganised than I am. My teeth need fixing, I think I have a filling coming loose… More bus fares… One return journey currently runs at 5% of my weekly income. So, I can’t go this month. I’ve paid for the hospital trip. I mean, I can. Of course I can, there is always a compromise to be made: don’t look for work, go to the dentist. Don’t buy food, go to the dentist.

Someone sent me some money, did I say? An anonymous donor? £60. A lot of money to some one in my predicament. I felt guilty for spending some of it on food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No shit. I felt guilty spending it at all to be honest. But there you go. Glad I don’t have to worry about how much fuel I’m using at the moment, that feels like a little holiday in itself. I over paid some council tax, I have two months break as a readjustment. That’s £30 I needed then like air, but need just a little less now the cat is gone.

That was expensive, getting to the vets, and contributing to her vet fees. The food, the litter… She was going through a bag of litter a week, the tray needed cleaning every day. It was full-time care, she just wanted to be in my arms. I gave her what ever she wanted. And all she wanted was to be with me. I couldn’t afford to have her cremated, so she was cremated with all the other poor pets and sprinkled on a paupers garden. My princess in the cheap seats. This is what I got my degree for… to be able to tell the world eloquently that I’m falling apart, instead of going and jacking up in a back ally somewhere. Lucky me.

I have a box of her fur, and I’d like to have a bit of a do for her, but the thing is, I can’t think. I just can not think. I have moments, flashes where I’m on fire and I get lots done, but they have to be spent on job search. Only the job search. Or bits of work I manage to scrabble together. The writing is dead. The reading is dead. I self medicate on social media networking sites. Everyone thinks I’m bonkers, but what they don’t know is I’m more switched on than them… I can prove it, all my counsellors tell me so, and the psychiatrists keep telling me I’m just stressed. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they? The level of what’s normal in my area is a bit skewed compared to the rest of the country, and we all know there is no funding in mental health.

Anyway. Here I am. Terrified to move, in case it makes a bad situation even worse. This time two years ago seems like a party at the moment.

11147065_1578526479084310_6006932785639725944_n

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2s0m2VNbVE&feature=youtu.be

 

It would be a lie to say that I was a non-smoker since I smoke nearly every week. I began eating meat again. I went out and got laid. He’s an alright bloke, but he’s not for me: maybe he just doesn’t want to be for me. Anyway, we are friends, so at least we’ve lost nothing. We met when I started drinking again. I read an article that said that will power was finite. Being jobless and in the pit of grief trying to hold onto my sanity, something had to give. So, I let it all go (again, with the letting go!).

I called a friend, snot nosed and said this was the worst impersonation of ‘Love, eat, pray’ or what ever the hell that was, that I’d ever witnessed and I’ve seen a lot of messed up puppies in my time. She laughed and said, “You’re not messed up. You’re living. Get used to it”. I decided there was little else I could do actually, so I settled in for the ride. I believe the Buddhists call it developing renunciation.

Then I finally found a freakin job. Hallelujah!

Kind of got sacked because 1) My line manager and I knew each other from a previous job and we both knew it wouldn’t last long, 2) It ended a lot quicker than we both thought it would because I almost burnt the hostel down. Strictly speaking it wasn’t my fault, but still, it was a very close call. We both learned something that day: She’s a person living in fear and my hostel days are over because I just don’t have the love for it like I used to.

I let that go too. Just slunk off and never looked back. Even when I was pleading for my job, we both looked at each other through the facades we’d built knowing that neither of us wanted me to get my job back. But I worked long enough to pile a little bit of cash up. Knowing this might be the last pile o’ cash I see for a while I thought, “fuck it”. I’m going to get drunk. My birthday month was wild. I don’t even remember living like that in my teens, I just went nuts.

As the second half of August pulled into sight I said to myself that I was going to straighten out again and start the soul destroying process of finding work. Then I got drunk and slept with my friend again. We had a big talk a few weeks later about how we were just going to be friends, then we had sex on the sofa. It’s pretty funny you know. At some points I just laughed and laughed and laughed… Grief works in mysterious ways. My friends are phenomenal that’s all I can say. They really have carried me this year, and I will say it till I’m blue in the face, I have had no choice but to let them. At first, I waved to my pride as I passed by, but then it caught me up again all refreshed and wearing new clothes.

What now then?

1) I’m still allergic to the cat.
2) I have a zero hour contract working a bar.
3) I’m still looking for better hours.
4) I stopped writing the book. I don’t have time to research it properly.
5) I created my own event. (It went down really well).
6) I won some funding to be able to put my event on again in a different venue.
7) I’m applying for further funding to take it further afield.
8) I said I’d help a friend with his events. We are gaining a lot of interest and some very serious people are asking questions.
9) I’m going to have to set up new blogs about both of these events, because other wise, I’ll lose the anonymity of this blog. Some of you have come so far with me on my inner journey, that I wouldn’t want to lose you because I couldn’t continue writing with the same level of freedom I enjoy now.

I hope you are well. I’ll post the writing I did for my event when I’ve typed it up. Till then, have a listen to this my loves…

Since my last post:

1) I’m still allergic to the cat.
2) I’m still working for the Talent Agency but not for the Cafe because:
3) my cousin died,
4) my uncle died,
5) my friend died,
6) my dad had a heart attack,
7) all my money (the tiny pittance I had) was withdrawn and I had to borrow money to pay the rent,
8) I accidentally took a lot of street drugs at a party (I don’t do drugs).

Things got very surreal and every step was like wading through mud. Or quick drying concrete. Let’s not do this couple of months ever again… Except for the friendship garden… That bit is very, very nice. In my new place I have a garden, the first I’ve had since leaving home. Really, it’s a 6 by 6 yard, but I’m turning it into a garden. And my friends are helping: pansies, broadbeans, sweet peas, strawberries, daffodils, gardenia, day lilies and my own crappy cactus that refuses to die. Apparently, there is Chard on the way from friend and a goat from another. Knowing this friend, I have no idea if she might actually bring a goat!

So, anyway, the war with life rages on as I try to stay in the slip stream. Stupid bugger that I am, I prayed for change didn’t I? Called for Kali, such a fool I am… Here is a little bit of the book:

“In a curious twist… not everyone is falling apart. Some of us are. But we are loved and this love carries us through. Grief, not to be confused with depression takes time to heal. When we are ready to move on we do, of our own accord.

What do we grieve for? Those that have passed (total of four this year for me, plus one furry brother, unless someone else sneaks in another within the next 11 days), death of our career, ending of a relationship, financial worries (who of us isn’t grieving over the loss of our financial independence during these times), losing our children’s dependence on us, but worse, so much worse than all of these, is to lose our sense of self. How truly terrifying to wake up one morning and in place of certainty find only doubt.

How do we re-establish a sense of self on such unsteady ground? We dig. We dig what at first appears to be a grave and then we fill the hole, metaphorically with our old selves. We pour into the hole all that was once useful and joyful, but that now only brings us dread. We pour our lament, thick with snot and tears, like syrup into the foundations of our new selves. We release our putrid and outworn ideas into the slop and we bury it. We lay to rest that which no longer carries us through, knowing the only thing that we really need is love.

And yes, it’s true, on your quest to find love you look back and see the grave of your past. But don’t you know, that in time, that earth will settle and when you have done roaming you will return to find this is the best place to build a new sense of self, with a heart full of love. What am I saying? This is the natural order. Don’t fight it. You are going to die one way or another, so before you push yourself to a death you can’t come back from, give into the experience and reserve some energy for your rebirth.”

Let me tell you, that little piece of monologue was hard-earned. I’ll let you know when I’m eating bean stew with strawberries for afters.

As a child and teenager I used to enter these periods and I would endure them for a short while and shake them off like water. I’d make a motivation and step through walls and climb mountains. The time I experienced the Long Dark Night of the Soul, I sincerely thought that I would not make it out alive. Until of course I shook that off also. It took years. Maybe 10, maybe 14. I still functioned, I progressed in many ways, in ways that were unexpected. And yet, on other levels, I was barely alive. I was moving through this world like a ghost.

Despite acquiring wealth, possessions, stability, a degree, a reputation as a person with integrity among friends and within my career… I felt like a fraud. At times I was angry and anti-social, at times I was classically depressed, at the lowest point I was 100% convinced that there were secret messages hidden in songs, which contained clues about how to resolve my emotional pain. Fortunately, I had an infatuation with a Muslim man who talked to his Imam about me. His Imam said I was seeking refuge in music, ever the Contrarian I said, “I’ll show you”! I wrote a poem and then silenced my stereo for the better part of 3 years.

These songs? This endless list of songs I play, they are just songs with lyrics or melodies that move me. They may be relevant to my current emotional state, they may not, they may be directed at one person, a group or solely at myself; they are all just songs. Audio glitter to sparkle dreary days and nights, there are no secret messages contained within.

There is an understanding that none of this even remotely matters. In my heart of hearts I know that I can unravel this life, right now. I could just choose to walk out of the door and disappear into the night. Thousands of people do it every year, some stay gone for days, weeks, months… some for years. Personally, I have always known that regardless of how far I travel I will always have to take myself with me. And so I ran away standing still; in comfort.

I used to engage in day dreams in absence of action. When I was trapped by my circumstances I resorted to my rich and fertile imagination. Sometimes, these fantasies bled into real life and I was dragged into a shared reality when other people strayed from my script. I hated it when people did not respond in accordance with my dreams. I used to mind read. That is to say, I used to believe that I knew what other people where thinking and feeling, and would rarely ask even reasonable questions.

Since my grandmother died, I entered a period of existential crisis. I am not depressed, I am not stressed, I am slightly numb, occasionally angry (I am not patient); I have chosen to experience this state of being as a period of waiting. I am waiting. What am I waiting for? The bodies of my enemies to pass me by? No. Sometimes our enemies have the most valuable lessons to teach us. What I am waiting for is a revelation.

I am waiting for a door, that once opened wide can not be closed, that will not be ignored. I’m waiting for the wisdom to recognise that door when I see it, rather than when I’ve gone so far passed it I’ve lost it. In the mean time I am meditating on my weaknesses and learning what to do with them. Accept them or develop them into strengths. I know that any time I can change this life, with a word, a thought, an action. I am not powerless. I might not be fully self actualising, or perhaps in going for refuge, I *am*.

These are dangerous times. The world is going crazy. We can only make it a better place by being as authentic as we can, with ourselves and other people. We have to learn that sometimes the people who smile the most tell the most damaging lies. We have to understand that other people sometimes have a vested interest in making sure we fail. It absolves them of having to take responsibility for their own lives and subsequently the consequences of their own choices.

We have the power to unravel this life, now. Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective, sometimes it requires something more radical. But we, no one else, are responsible for our current realities. The only advice I have that is of any use is this: When making decisions make sure mind, body and soul are in alignment. A sense of calm will help you know when you have made the right choice, and you will be able to act with authenticity. Be kind. Yes, to yourself and other people.

Play Your Cards To Your Heart – Groove Armada

After moving the papers on my desk around for the millionth time, trying to change my address on my student loan (from 2004) for the millionth time, looked at my bank account for the millionth time… It is fair to say that nothing has changed. For the better. After 4 months of paying bills for two homes I’m about ready to default on some payments. Even with £235 of tax refund this month.

Couldn’t care less. £70 went on two months internet supply owed to the landlord because the ISP will not put the account in my name. £60 on a night out for 3 pints and bus fares, looooooooooong story… £30 for the new ISP up front so I can have all my bills in my name (WHY!!!!!). £25 on council tax for the old house. The rest on food and rent.

Why I chose this month to have a melt down and repay a £50 debt from ten years ago I can only put down to sheer fuckery. Today I went to my doctors for my initial counselling therapy to be told that they didn’t have me down. Back home and the session is next week at a different doctors.

I think if I tried to keep doing this on my own, I really would break my mind. I am punishing myself to pay off a credit card debt I can’t afford, why? Because I was brought up to pay my debts. Never mind that these debts were incurred by my ex, or more properly my idiocy. If I hadn’t moved him in, he couldn’t have defaulted on the rent and I wouldn’t have had to borrow to pay it back, this you might have already been told (another long boring story).

So, now, I’m just flat fucking broke and full of anger. I keep telling myself I’m a fraud and people treat me… like I’m a fraud! That amazing job should have been mine, I have all the right skills, but I told myself that somehow I did not deserve to get the job. I am not worthy. I tell myself all the time that I know nothing. Sabatuer!

Oh well. One of my friends showed up and another stayed with me on-line, I was also blessed to go to a house party and was treated like a princess, taxi home to stay over night at another friends scrambled egg on toast for breakfast and a lift home. Just what I needed (except for the job you understand).

There are four jobs to apply for this week, all outside of the area that I live in, but it has to be better than this surely? Fantasising about a friend I haven’t seen in the flesh since 2008 who just sacked in a job and trotted from France to the Ukraine… I wish I had the guts… I wish I had a passport…

I’m Leaving – Mos Def.

Oh well, Praise to the 21 Taras morning and night for 21 days; 11 days in… 10 to go. Yeah, this is me not doing Buddhism, I’m a messed up middle aged kid. My friend wanted me to write about the time I went for a job in a strip club, but I don’t have the humour for it.

So, back jobless for the second time in a year, and no volunteer commitments, I have started the long slow slump in to stress and possibly depression. I’ve been to the doctors and I have to ‘opt in’ for counselling… It seems the move into a nicer more central area wasn’t quite the boost I was looking for. I might as well have stayed where I was, the neighbours are just as bad and a recession is a recession no matter where you are.

I reached out, looking for a little hope and offers came flooding in… then one by one the offers receded… There are more than just this list but they are future appointments…
1) I spent £4 traveling to visit my dad, to help him with some painting, he wasn’t in. Well, I could have had a pouch of baccy (could do with taking up smoking again), 4 cans of cheap lager, some WonderWeb for the curtains, 2 days food, fish and chips from the expensive but tasty local chippy, or 4 kilos of flour (8 loaves).

But at least you got me out of the house and every little helps. And the Park is beautiful this time of year. I would rather have actually *seen* you, than sit on the doorstep before leaving, but hey I suppose the time we arranged was more flexible for you than me. Feeling great. (Turns out he was in, he was just asleep *read passed out).

2) I’ll give you a ring, tomorrow, we’ll have a good catch up. <nothing>

3) We’ll have a girlie night in, I’ll bring some treats, when shall I come. I’m sorry I can’t come, when can I reschedule?

At least the last two didn’t cost me anything, I’m skint enough as it is. And I’ve decided I would rather just be left alone actually…  don’t bother with your platitudes. I will be OK, I have seen through worse than this, I will be employed again (maybe not until 2014 the expected end of the recession, don’t ask me how I know). I will pay off my debts and I’ll be able to get a whole load more fake ass friends.

Or perhaps, I’ll join a nut club and hang out with the mentally ill and poor again, at least you know what you’re getting folks. Honestly, but I just don’t have the energy for it. Happy clappy everything will be OK groups for when you’re recovering from a period of boo… Frig all use when you need it most. Everyone knows it. And all the do gooders pat themselves and us poor mentals on the back with a job well done… Actually, I JUST NEED A JOB (with a fair wage) we all say…………………

Oh, but I have some volunteering coming… good enough to work, but not good enough to get paid… that’s me and 2.5 million people, all told we are not working hard enough or putting enough in, striving a little less than we ought to… well that’s a fine fuck you too.

I had to turn down an invite to a gig today, because I can’t afford the £3 admission fee. A friend of mine posted an up-date saying she couldn’t afford the 35p to “upgrade from a sausage roll to a pasty”. One woman thought she was hilarious, whilst another said she felt depressed that she could only afford a 10p bag of crisps.

Look, this is miserable stuff. I had to admit to a friend that I could not longer invite people round for food because I can’t afford it. Never mind, “I can’t go out”. It’s partially my fault because I just ‘had’ to donate some money to #BLT, I love those guys. They make me feel like life is worth living.

This is what is known as Relative Poverty. Whilst we may not be starving, luxuries and some necessities are out of the question. I find myself in the fortunate position of having paid off some of my debts from the old place, I never knew moving would mean that suddenly my pay monthly would cease and all these companies would start threatening to take me to court!

Anyhoo… I can afford to heat my house (for now), I can afford to feed myself, I can just about afford to pay the rent. I live in relative safety and I know how to count my blessings, even if occasionally I do struggle to maintain a positive out look. Me and my fellow women can have affairs without threat of death, it’s not something I would choose to do, but if my ethics should slip and I get found out, the worst that might happen is a good thrashing from the other woman. Even then, I am reasonably protected against that.

Some women (yes, even in this country) are at risk of severe mutilation and disfigurement for much, much less. Some women have been stoned to death, for adultery, when in fact they were raped. So, imagine, you are living hand to mouth either because there is no food or because you can’t get access to food and then you are controlled by threat of death, repeatedly.

Suddenly our relative poverty looks like a bit of a joke and the woman was right to find the pasty update funny. Imagine that you live in a country were all the above is true and you make a mockery of all the freedoms you have by choosing to wear the veil. It disgusts me as much as women in the west who starve themselves in the name of fashion (read sexual desirability).

Imagine then, that some of your most staunch allies who are fighting with you, to free you from oppression are being called racist and are actively silenced by the so called ‘liberal left’ who love to posture about their benign magnificence when really all they are doing is getting in the way.

I stopped moderating a few on-line groups because I was regularly silenced. By women. I was called racist, I was told I was too aggressive and I was told that I was too academic. I left the group because I was getting increasingly frustrated and filled with doubt. I began to question what I knew to be true.

A day or so ago, I was engaged in a debate about the veil and I let loose my feelings yet again, expecting backlash. It didn’t come. Furthermore, someone posted a link to Anne Marie Water’s blog. It is a breath of fresh air to me. Suddenly I am not a silenced and solitary voice. Suddenly, the crazy that I feel, trying to fight my little battles in my corner of the world don’t seem so worthless. Suddenly, my integrity matters again.

And then, I received some feedback from an on-line survey, which I had forgotten about. It is full of hope and yet full of despair. But mostly it is full of promise. It might not be perfect, but there is a discussion happening and it’s increasingly including men. We owe it to support people engaged in the discussion even if we ourselves do not participate. I thought that I was tired, but I was just having a rest. I’m getting ready to climb back in the ring.