As things are winding down for Christmas I’ve been sorting out things on my computer, ready to start work again in January with organised files. One of the things that needed tackling was my bookmarks which was full of every single webpage, blog post or article that I thought was interesting in 2015: so quite a lot.
When I read something that makes me stop and think, I bookmark it, thinking that soon I will email it to somebody or write about it on here. Usually, I do neither of these things. But rather than see my digital hoarding tendencies go to waste, I thought I would post the best of those things here.
In no particular order…
Whenever we hold onto items “just in case,” we’re locking our future selves into a certain way of being. One of the most beautiful things about being human is that we are constantly evolving as people. Our habits, priorities, and hobbies shift and vary as we continue through life. When you hold onto old items “just in case” you’re committing to staying in place, to having those same exact interests or to living in the same space. When you let go of those items you are giving yourself permission to be flexible and flowing, to grow and change.
Stop and think for a moment, you two gentlemen who laughed at us as we were minding our own business. Stop and think how comfortable you would feel stepping out of your front door in a dress, make up and heels. Imagine how it feels to feel that you have no choice but to put yourself out there, in public, with a man’s face and body dressed in women’s clothing. Contemplate how awkward, lonely and potentially dangerous every single mundane task becomes when you have to expose you innermost self in such a public manner, and when you have to dare to be different. Can you even begin to imagine how crushing it must feel, having tried so hard to look passable and found the courage to face complete strangers dressed in a way that makes you feel both vulnerable and conspicuous, to be laughed at in public by fellow adults?
Just imagine, if for all those humans trapped in ATUs, care pathways opened up so quickly.
Just imagine if Tizane, Chris, Stephen and Eden had four legs instead of two and had Paul O’Grady fighting their corner.
Just imagine if the clinical psychiatrist’s were open to the idea that the environment may be causing the behaviour that they are so keen on medicating.
Just imagine if the senior staff were concerned about the person reconnecting with their world.
Just imagine we loved our learning disabled as much as we love our dogs.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done is carry a sobbing 14-year-old rape survivor from the door of a women’s health clinic to the door of the van that would take her back to a women’s shelter, while a crowd of men stood around us and screamed that she could never be forgiven.
The hardest question I’ve ever been asked is, “Why are they doing this to me?”
I don’t know.
Here’s the secret: Nothing destabilizes power more than an individual that knows his or her own worth, and the campaign against selfies is ultimately a crusade against widespread self-esteem. What selfie-haters fear, deep down, is a growing army of faces they cannot monitor, an army who does not need their approval to march ahead. They fear the young, the technologically savvy, the connected. They fear a community they feel excludes them. The way that Henry wanted to silence and erase Clover, so these selfie-haters want to silence and erase the faces they don’t understand. It is that simple. Anyone who hates selfies outright is likely in the position of privilege to never have felt invisible. They fail to perceive the value that a new way of seeing can bring to so many lives.
I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses.
I don’t presume to speak for all women here because I can’t. So I’m just going to speak for me. I live my whole life in the knowledge that pretty much every single man I come into contact with is stronger than me. In every interaction, I carry that thought in the back of my head: that you could hurt me if you wanted to. I’m smart, I’m funny, I’m brave, I’m strong, I’m confident and not one of those things would stop you killing me if you decided to.