Some inspo for your weekend today. This one tears me up every time. And you know what’s even more glorious? I actually know that I have friends who would – and have – rush to my rescue like this, to support me through dark times. If you’re one of those friends, THANK YOU. I love you wholeheartedly <3 <3 I am one super lucky human bean.
IDK about you but last week I was in a really negative headspace, and it’s lingering through to this week (though today has been better and honestly a lot of it is probably food-caused, urgh). So I really needed a reminder that not all humans, particularly Famous Ones, are walking garbage fires.
So. In the interests of buoying my own spirits, and hopefully also yours, I present for your personal edification, Humanity Humaning Well. IDK, I feel like this needs to become a regular feature, tbh. It was pretty awesomely perspective changing to do the research for this 🙂
Any good news on your end? Any examples you’ve seen or can actively find rn of humans humanning well? Please feel free to share! 🙂 🙂
Saw the dietician last week, which was a positive experience all round. She reaffirmed that I knew what I was doing with this elimination diet, and encouragement me to keep pushing the boundaries to discover the thresholds of my tolerances so that I could eat as wide a variety of food as possible. Which is great, and last week I dutifully set about including a small dose of amines daily, to see what would happen.
Only then on Sunday we had a kid’s birthday party to attend, and I forgot to pack my own food, and rather than starve I choose to ate the homemade pizza, because PIZZA, right? And there was a green leaf salad with a vinegrette dressing, and ohmygosh, FLAVOUR.
When you can’t eat amines, you definitely miss out on a whole world of savoury/umami FLAVOUR, and I, the renowned sweet-tooth, and turning into a major savoury-craver. World = ending.
So anyway, predictably, because I’d had small daily doses followed by a modestly giant dose (we’re talking the equivalent of maybe two and a half adult slices of mushroom and capsicum pizza, the half slice also with pineapple, made with actual tomato paste (i.e. intensely-concentrated tomatoes) with maybe 2c of salad leaves with dressing?), I tipped over the edge and had insomnia most of Sunday night and spent Monday wandering around in a bit of a fog – but I realised something. I’d also been feeling groggy and off all of the previous week – and notably, despite the fact that I’d powered through 10,000 words* in just four days at the end of October, boding well for NaNoWriMo for a change**, in November, last week, I fought for about 2000 words in the last 7 days. And I mean fought.
* Look, I’m reworking an old story, so I have the old scene open next to me as I type, so it’s not really hard, thinky writing.
** November is marking/reports/finals/BLEARGH month in Australia at schools, so I don’t usually even attempt it.
Now, I have been sick the last week+ too, with a persistent chesty cough that kept me awake all Wednesday night, for example, so I’m not exactly in peak health. BUT.
Sicknesses aside, it looks like even though I can *tolerate* a small daily dose of amines (a tablespoon of grated parmesan, a couple of stalks of broccolini, some tomato sauce (ketchup) on hot chips, etc), ‘tolerate’ does not equal ‘function optimally’. And even though I’ve trained myself to write tired, writing tired and writing groggy are different – i.e. I can write tired if I have to, but I can’t, apparently, write groggy.
Which means I’m pretty much left facing the choice between food or words, knowing that if I go with ‘food’, it’ll likely knock out the words as an option for the following handful of days as well.
On the one hand, this is a sad situation to be in. On the other, it will make sticking to the diet and not cheating a whole lot easier, because you guys? I want my words.
Turns out words are a pretty powerful motivator.
So yeah. I expect I’ll be out for at least the next couple of days recovering from last week (and from being sick – nearly there, getting there, by the end of the week I should be okay again), and then we’re going out for pizza on the weekend, so that might knock me out a bit again, so we’ll see. We’ll see. Hopefully I can get back to the words again soon, because I really want another book done by the end of the year (even if it isn’t Sanctuary 3, oops O:) ).
Another poem this week, probably the last one for a while. The title pretty much sums it up, but when I first heard this several years ago it really stuck with me, and then there was a conversation in our car (not involving me) that kind of collided with it, and I wrote a poem in response – which, I guess I’m going to post below?
Happy on-coming weekend. Hold your loved ones close; reach out to a stranger and show them you care <3
A moving vehicle
ten over eighty
on a sunbright morning
a steel grey afternoon
a shining, shimmering night.
A husband, thirty-five;
A son, three and five
weeks, back seat critic.
And me. Observer.
“Go faster, Daddy! Go faster!”
Ten, we recall, over eighty.
“Can’t, son. The policeman
would tell me off.”
A pause. Consideration.
“The policeman would tell you to stop?”
“Yes, son, he would. And
if a policeman tells you to stop,
what do you do?
“You stop, Daddy.”
“You do. The policemen are there
to help you.”
crumpling in my chest
my son is white.
the policemen will always help.
[language warning at one point]
I don’t think we need a lengthy introduction here about how awful humanity can be. It’s pretty easy to look around and spot a hundred examples all within arm’s reach. Humanity can be awful. It hurts. It hurts so much there’s a term for it: Weltschmertz, which is German for ‘world pain’.
World pain. That’s pretty much it, isn’t it? When you look at the world and the horrors it contains, and it hurts, and it’s as big as the world and has heavy as the world and just a solidly immovable.
Most of us can’t do much about the pains of the world (though if you’re interested in trying, here’s a super cool organisation dedicated to helping people make the most out of their careers to address the world’s top problems), and that makes it even worse; we see the pain, we feel the pain–and we’re powerless.
Everywhere in the world, people are hurting, people are scared, and people’s lives are in danger. Maybe for some they’ve always been in danger. Maybe some people are only just now being confronted with the fragility of their present existence. Maybe some people are actively trying to take lives away; maybe the natural powers of the world itself are against them. But everywhere, people are hurting, and people are dying.
This is nothing new.
And it still hurts.
And I have no magic bullet to offer you, no empty promises, no salves or balms for wounds immeasurable.
But I do have hope.
Please, don’t scoff. I know it’s a fragile thing to offer; I know sometimes it feels hollow. But hope is what keeps us alive.
More than that: hope is what keeps us human. Because much as we like to set ourselves apart from the rest of the animal kingdom because of our incredible intellectual prowess, our ability to calculate physics and make rational plans, our creativity, our ability to imagine a different future, to hope for that future–these set us apart just as much. Fundamentally, humans are creative; I believe that’s part of why it hurts so much to see the horrors of the world. It’s not just that we’re empathising with another suffering human; it’s that some deep-seated part of us recognises that these horrors, whatever they may be, are fundamentally destructive: destructing lives, respect, dignity, communities, our sense of self.
Because that’s the other part that hurts, somewhere down behind the empathy and the sorrow: the recognition that the people causing this destruction are human too. And that can seriously mess with our sense of self; what are humans? What are we? Good? Bad? Destructive horrors? Creative miracles?
Of course, we’re both, the living paradox of the universe, the best and the worst all in one species–and sometimes even in the same person. Because all of us have our inner darknesses, and the darkness is always calling.
It calls louder when we’ve lost hope.
So I know that hope is something flimsy to hold when it seems like the world is crumbling around you; I know that hope can’t magically fix your circumstances. But I can’t honestly tell you that it won’t save your life; hope can save lives, it can improve the world. It has before, all thorughout the history of the world, and as long as there are humans doing horrible, destructive things, there will be humans doing wonderful, creative things, providing hope and lifting others up.
So here: take my hope. All of it. It’ll regrow soon enough, and I’ll have more, and I’ll pass it on to someone else again who needs it. Because that’s what humans do, right? We get knocked down, and hope restores us, and restores in us. Hope is like the seed that germinates in the deep frosts of winter, struggling upwards through the dirt, bending around rocks, seeking, seeking, never giving up until it finds the light.
There is a light. There always is. Sometimes it takes a long time to come–too long for some, such sorrow–but come it surely does. Humanity is full of soul-crippling horrors; it is also the largest collective vessel for hope in the universe.
Hope. Hope madly. Hope powerfully, by acting on those hopes. And trust, if you still can, in the creative power of people. There is a light, and we will drag each other towards it as surely as the seeds will find the sun.
Hold on. And if you can’t, hold a friend; hold me. We will drag you onwards, and together we will reach that light.
We won’t leave you behind. Hold on.
Happy Easter! Here in Aus it’s a four-day long weekend, which is fabulous, so I’m enjoying the extra time with family 🙂
One of my junior classes has just started their poetry unit for the year, so I’ve been trawling through YouTube vids for all my poet-y favourites. There are some seriously amazing spoken-word poets around, and I highly encourage you to lose an afternoon trawling for them through YouTube 😉
Sarah Kay is a good place to start. Enjoy 🙂
There are good people in the world. There are strong people in the world. There are knowledgeable, informed, active people in this world, and they are doing good things. And if we just keep being positively rebellious and rebelliously positive, every little thing will be okay. Trust David Tennant: he’s a Doctor.
I found this the other day when I was searching my old Blogger blog for something else. I wrote this in 2012, but it’s Relevant To Our Interests in this post-truth age, methinks. Hang in there, my lovelies. Be good.
The Small Person is in bed, again, at last, and I’m reading, again, but not books, because books can’t hold my attention right now when I’m restless, and tired, and vaguely guilty for the fact that my house looks like it’s lived-in and there are toys in the corner and folding on the lounge and unfinished paperwork on the table and dishes in the kitchen, though all the non-dishwasher dishes are clean and really I just need to unstack and stack. There’s a basket of wet laundry waiting to be hung out on the line like flags, colourful flags that symbolise everything we are and have been, because we wear our clothes every day and they make us, and we make them, the caterpillar suit that belongs to Small Person that is my favourite, the shirt I should have thrown out months ago but that I love, the sheets that my husband and I bought together, lie in together, change together.
All of this is calling to me, but I’m sitting here reading, and my soul is full. I’m reading about courage, and hope, and change; I’m reading about things that outrage me, things that try to excuse themselves saying they ‘didn’t mean’ to be offensive, and so therefore aren’t – to which I silently, furiously, blood-boilingly disagree, because when you are the powerful one, you don’t get to define what offends those in less powerful positions. And I’m reading about love, and life, and wanting to uproot everything you are and have and just get out, change, do something different because what you’re living is so empty, so small, so nothing.
I, too, was raised under the unconscious message that bigger is better, that more is more, and I’m not talking about the world, about acts of greed and selfishness and plastered billboards and enchanting lights and beautiful people with beautiful drinks and cars that change your life and computers that sing and dance and long slim legs and long thick hair and sparkling eyes and full breasts in bikinis and clear skin and stuff and things and more-more-more. I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about other things, unselfish things, things that help and heal and minister. Things that change the world, that can only BE big because what can small do against a world of greed, a world of pain and hurt and envy and pride, large gaps getting larger and privilege and wealth and so much poverty that I never, ever see. I’m sheltered, spoiled, I don’t even KNOW anyone who qualifies as poor, and we’re not rich and we have bills but we also have a car, and a motorbike, and a house and new furniture, a dishwasher for Mothers’ Day and fishing rods for Christmas, thousands of dollars of books and a flat-screen TV, and how dare we think that we need stuff in a world where people die so easily at the end of a gun wielded in a bar brawl, in front of their wife, with two small children at home?
And I’m doing nothing, or so it seems, because we’re told that the only things that count are BIG, that if you’re not serving overseas it doesn’t matter, that soup kitchens and street alleys are the only places you can make a difference, that unless you’re fighting to stay alive with everything you have your perspective isn’t valid, doesn’t count.
And I’m thinking all this because of what I’m reading, because the woman whose blog I’m reading has felt all this and I do too, and it’s guilt, and it’s more guilt, and I am so. sick. of guilt. Guilt is poison, a spider bite in the vegetable garden, a snake curled in the blankets of your bed, a fire-ant sting at a lavish summer picnic, ready to flood your senses without provocation, devouring, destroying, souring the taste of the cherries because cherries are expensive, and out of season, and you shouldn’t be eating them because the cost to ship them here from America ought to be prohibitive, and people in the world are dying from lack of sustenance and you’re eating things that cost a year’s worth of food for these people, and you’re enjoying it, and you must be perverse.
Sometimes, even big things aren’t enough.
But I’m reading, reading, feeling and still reading, and a sentence makes me pause. In all of this, the quiet reminder that even if we don’t feel like they do, the small things count, because we’re not in this world to fix it, it’s broken, it’s crumbled, and one day maybe we will rebuild but for now there are just as many working against as there are working for and really, ultimately, there’s nothing we can do. One day it will all be gone and we’ll start over with everyone, everyone, who wants to see that, regardless of race colour creed size shape gender age. We will all be there, and then it will be fixed.
But now, here, we’re not fixing things, no one can do that, we just can’t, we’re fighting against powers and principalities not of this world, and here, on Earth, it’s a losing battle, though ultimately it’s won. But I’m reading, and I know: that doesn’t mean that what we do doesn’t count. It’s like the starfish, which has been retold so often it’s cliche, but it matters, it still matters even if you’ve heard the story a thousand times, just like what we do. We do it so often, all that small stuff, that it becomes cliche, and we’re inured to it, and we forget that it still matters, that even though we’ve never seen a smile of ours make a difference, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t. That giving a few dollars here and there still helps, even if it’s boring, even if it’s tiny, even if it’s ‘done’.
And I’m reading, and I find the thing I didn’t realise I was looking for, the sentence that gives me hope. We’re not here to fix things, we can’t, it’s too much. Instead, all we need to do it tip the scales. We’re striving for justice, for mercy, at least I am, it’s what I burn to do with everything that I am, every time I read something that makes my blood boil it’s because I hate, I hate injustice and I hate unfairness and I hate that there are people in this world that think that privilege is okay, that power over others is God-given, that discrimination is alright. I long for justice; I ache for mercy. And in the end, that is what we are to do, all we are to do, everything we are to do: to tip the scales in their favour.
And I read this, and I remember: it only takes a grain of rice to tip the scales in the end. We don’t need ‘big’, or loud, or bright or shiny or dazzley; we just need. Everything tips the balance, one way or the other.