Monday, 6 February 2012

Strength.

In Britain, when you're waiting around or queuing or whatever (the British national sport is queuing. Me and MG once queued for 20 minutes, in the freezing cold, 'cause it was a pretty long one so we assumed it had to be for summat good. We then realised it was people taking their toddlers to go see Father Christmas, so we queued a bit longer anyway, just for the sport), there's a pretty simple and mostly accurate way to judge a personality. The effects depend a fair bit on geography... I mean, chances are, if you try it in the north of England, you'll walk away knowing all about that lady's son, who died of brain cancer. You try that in the south, and chances are they'll clutch their bag close to their chest and shuffle quickly away, wondering whether to call a psychiatrist or the police. In Scotland or Wales, well, you just wouldn't want to try it, 'cause then you might be stuck talking to a Scottish/Welsh person. But anyway, the method. It's ingenious and you can judge a person immediately by their reaction. You can tell how educated, interesting, entertaining, shy, confident, whether they're northern or southern, almost anything. So, are you ready? The brilliant phrase which unlocks it all?

'God, this weather...?!'
And BOOM, personality unlocked. Do they answer? Do they look away quickly, after answering? Can they look you in the eye? Is their answer creative? Utter BOOM, seriously.

In the exact same way that that predictable phrase can, and is, used by a million people, all the time, in reaction to being with strangers, the reaction to telling somebody what you've been through can be pretty much predicted, too. I mean, this doesn't work in quite the same way if you're on the psych ward, banging your head against the wall, or restrained in a hospital bed with a feeding tube up your nose, but in normal situations, if you tell people that summat bad has happened to you or that you have a mental disorder, you will most definitely be held us as strong, or praised for your strength. Honestly. Well, not always, it's not a foolproof as the weather example. You'll get a lot of awkward silences and comments about what a 'mental bitch' you are, but SERIOUSLY stand up if you've been in that situation and never been told that you're 'soooooo strong' by a formerly cheerful girl, who suddenly feels inferior for feeling a touch fat or having boyfriend problems. More people sitting down than at a James gig? That's what I thought.

I'm going to tell you something that is hard to admit, even to myself. It's an ugly truth and not one I'm especially proud of nor comfortable with, but a truth nonetheless. If you said to me that you could take all the past, present and future pain, all the suffering, everything I have seen about how ugly and downright disgusting the world can be, and the damage that it continues to do to my life, and give that all to a stranger? If you could take the fear I have of being infertile from it all, or the fear that if not, my children might be taken into care due to my mental health, and give that to a stranger? If you could bring my mum the most refreshing of slumber to the most sleepless of nights, take away all the worry that there has been, is, and will be, and give that to a stranger's mother? If you could take the paralysing fear and uncertainty that I have that I might one day succeed where I have failed in the past, and leave a Becs sized hole in my family, utterly destroy everyone who has fought so hard for me, and give that to a stranger? I'd bite your hand off, I'd be so desperate.

And so, I am not strong. I've fought tooth and nail to get to where I am, but I didn't fight alone and it's not a fight that you couldn't face, either. You just haven't HAD to, it's not a choice that I would ever have made. When people carp on about how they wouldn't take away the hell, the darkest of nights, because that's made them a fucking butterfly or whatever... I don't believe them, or doubt that they've ever truly seen hell. I just don't believe you can see or live in hell and be grateful for it, I don't. Maybe one day I will be, maybe I'll look back and I'll have used my experiences to do something beautiful... I want to change the world, because I know it can be a fucking ugly place- and maybe that's something. Maybe I will change it, because I want to, because I know it can be so hideous. But even so, I just can't believe that the years of pain could ever be worthwhile; I've wasted years. Or part of some journey or other. I wasn't made or created to live the 21 years I have, I was made because my parents had sex. That's all, biology. I've had the 21 years I've had due my choices and the choices of some unsavoury people around me. That's all, environment.

I'm not destined for more, but I will be more- not because I'm a butterfly or a phoenix or whatever cliched picture you want to imagine, but because I will make sure that I am. You see, mostly, suffering is just suffering, shit is just shit, there is no wider plan. People don't hurt you because they think it's going to make you a stronger person, in fact it's more likely they degrade you to make you weaker. You have to fight and you have to change shit, not to make you strong or to prove your strength, but because that's the only way to survive. And that's what all the girls, the ones feeling inferior about their boy problems and heralding me as strong, don't understand- you do what you have to, to survive. Whether it's a boy problem or dealing with an illness. And sometimes you can't, and other people have to look after you, to make sure you do survive. But that's all it is, it's survival. It's not pretty and it's probably far less inspirational, and I'm truly sorry for that, but it is as it is.

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