Sometimes, I find the positivity of others just a little annoying. Being someone whose mind has been known to wonder into every crevice of possibility, the notion that only the best possible outcome is plausible seems a bit laughable to me at times. What is the point in hope, one must wonder, when it gives you more room to be let down, and hard?
But recent political events have made me doubt my engrained pessimism a bit.
‘I am not a pessimist,’ I explain calmly to my mum when called out on it. ‘I’m a realist. And that seems depressing sometimes but it’s just how it is.’
My mum is less convinced.
The thing is, there have been times in my life when my ‘realism’ has become more aggressive than needs be. One time in particular took place a few years ago. A good friend had suddenly passed away, and things at school were not easy. I found that my realism turned rapidly into pure, fiery panic. I had no means of extinguishing these furious and rampant flames. Scared of their power, I tried to extinguish them on my own. As it so prevailed, this was the petrol that my mind had feared.
I will not go into detail about that year, or the other people that got caught up in it all. But I will say that in the end, I got help. Over the years, I have grown far stronger and calmer than I could ever have imagined. That is not to say that I do not get stressed about many things. But then, who doesn’t?
I accepted that something was wrong and, despite being certain that I was beyond the aid or understanding of anyone, I received both of those things. Since I did not think that I would ever feel better, I did not go to help for me. I did it to show those that I cared about – who were being scarred by my fear – that I was trying to feel better for them. Miraculously, here I am; better.
This is obviously very personal, and I would not pen it to the public without good reason. Well, a good reason has arisen.
It has most likely sprung to your attention that the wonderful, liberal world as we know it is now under threat. There are boys in power trying to change the gorgeous progress that our generation has taken for granted. The world that our ancestors fought for, suffered for, were murdered for, feels on the verge of regression. Views that once were thought unspeakable are being verbalised as though they are no more radical than the shitty joke in a Christmas cracker.
Perhaps the repression of these views for so long is what has now ignited them. But I know a little something about feelings being ignited – things that we have not confronted forcing their way to the surface and becoming dark and palpable. This might come in the form of anxiety, or depression, or illness, or racism and sexism and the denial of damaging scientific processes (hint global warming) just because things that are real can be really bloody scary. It is all part of our human fight and flight, and it can backfire immensely onto the equality that we so rely on.
And yes, just to clarify, those people to whom I am referring are in fact just like us; humans. I cannot pretend to know why they wish to unleash a domain of supremacy and hierarchy onto good people, but they do. As a mixed race female, I feel vulnerable.
But what is vulnerability other than a feeling? I have seen many left-wing media outlets exhibiting messages of despair and my all-too-familiar pessimism. For a young, malleable mind like mine this instils hopelessness to the highest degree. The future that I was advised could be mine is hazy with doubt. It’s all a bit shit, to be honest.
Being told that this social unrest holds similarities to the uprising that preceded many disastrous events in history hooks us back into the old story of familiar cycles. You see, one lesson that I learned when I was recovering was that our minds follow deep-rooted circles of thought, that lead us over and over into the same state of paranoia.
If we apply this to history, it is as dismal and inevitable as our thoughts when we are in the depths of anxiety. It feels as though we are beyond the help of others, and are infinitely isolated.
Well, I can inform you that we are not. It is entirely possible to be released from the cyclical chain that binds us. It takes time, effort and determination, but if I did it then so can you and so can the world. Accept that everything changes. Instead of noticing what similarities this time holds with pre-war sombreness, notice what is different; we know what we can do about it.
If you are a woman, it is not the time to accept being grabbed by the pussy. It is time to shout.
If you are an ethnic minority and do not fancy being undermined for it, speak out. It is time to shout.
If you believe in global warming (I hope you believe in global warming) let it be known. It is time to shout. And try to reduce global warming, obviously.
If you are homosexual, if you have a disability, if you are different, or if you love someone who is scared, SHOUT.
I decided to donate the money that I would have spent on Christmas presents to one of the charities giving aid in Syria. After having typed just the first few letters of phrases like ‘best Syria charity’, the full sentence came up as having been searched frequently.
There are more people out there willing to help than you could possibly fathom. They may now do quiet acts, like donating at Christmas, but given the voice and the opportunity, their generosity and energy can go just as far as the fascism currently wreaking havoc in the world.
And now the realist in me indulges in a quick ‘ahem’ whilst my mind goes wild with excitement. For, of course, it is not as easy as some people telling us we can do it to make it possible. There is the issue of power, of money and of sheer ignorance that bars our gateway to success. People are very scared (me being one of them, just to clarify).
Well, we have laptops. We have words. We have our vote. We have voices. Amongst us we have glorious artists, songwriters, actors and actresses. We have mediums of creativity and loudness that our ancestors have permitted us to use leisurely. Now, we have opportunity.
It is about bloody time we use it.