Perspective aint no Antidote
Life is one seriously fucked up sequence of events. If it aint cars whizzing past each and every day, its homeless people begging in your face. If it aint back-stabbing cowards getting one over on you, it’s loved ones letting you down. Hell if it aint your own reflection depressing you when you look in the mirror at night, it’s your negative attitude stopping you from pursuing your dreams.
They say life is a journey, and that may be so, but a metaphor doesn’t make things any better when times are hard. A ‘journey’ doesn’t put healthy food on the table or pay for decent running shoes… See, if we all started out on a level playing field, we may appreciate that ‘journey’ a little more and see life more as a challenge, a game even. If we were all brought into the world with X amount of money underneath us and a stable family surrounding us… Fuck it, let’s all have the same level of care and love throughout childhood too, just to really make things equal for everyone… If we all had this, then yes, let’s race to the finish line and give it our all; let’s embrace every moment and learn from every dip.
But. When some people start the race from the finishing line, whilst others begin in the sewers without so much as a torch (yet they’re still expected to compete) is it any wonder people are led astray or give up before they’ve began? Is it any wonder people turn to drugs, prostitution, homelessness or alcohol (obviously, not everyone chooses these but some do make the choice…) If times have been so shit, and only seem to be getting worse, no matter how illogical these vices seem to a motivated person, it’s easy for that line of logic to become a blur; for the grass to seem greener, for individuals to feel like they are getting more good from something than what they are.
Even those who weren’t born on the finish line; who have climbed out of the sewers and attempted to compete in this race can end up right back at the start, before the start, so far behind the start that it aint worth catching up to it again. And why the fuck would they?!
Then there’s death, and the unfairness of this.
No matter where you are in the world, always look out for those around you and never look down on anyone: You’d be surprised how easy it is to fall into a trap and cross that line yourself when things go wrong. The last time I was on this train from London, I cried all the way from Euston to Birmingham; contemplating whether to get off along the way and hit the streets… I had my reasons but I know now that, in my case, it was just a blip; a small scratch in the Vengaboys CD that is my life. Knowing this doesn’t make the pain any less real though; perspective doesn’t act as an antidote.
For me, volunteering and helping others is the closest I have to a solution. I also see it as a human obligation; something we should all do throughout life. Even small acts like offering my sofa to friends in need is something I’ve always done. Now I’m in a position where I’m being helped, and I am so in awe by this; whether I’ve been offered a spare bed, dinner or a simple drink I cannot emphasise how grateful I am to those who have proactively come to help me these last few months.
Soon, I’ll be sent to the other side of the world to help people in a developing nation, and so the cycle will continue….
It’s interesting what motivates us; how we’re all so different. For me, it’s volunteering and building this blog. It doesn’t bother me if anybody even reads this as I know that every word I write is being read by a special woman; a mentor, a lady who reinvigorated my passion for writing and whose face would light up anytime I read aloud. The most amazing thing about her was what she did for those marginalised in society; she gave the homeless a stage, victims of sexual abuse a voice, people in my home town who were living with trauma had a safe space, every week, thanks to this beautiful American tutor. She had the right idea about life: She wrote, and she helped people, she did this through a programme called Reading the World.
Every word I write, and every good deed I do, I do with her in my mind. As long as I have air in my lungs, a pen in my hand and the ability to help or inspire others, I’ll remind myself to appreciate every minute of life because, no matter what we call this ‘journey’ it will get taken from us one day. And when that day comes, I want someone to think of me like I think of Joan Behar.
No word in the English dictionary can begin to describe the truly incredible impact she’s had on me, on us or on the world. No amount of time nor perspective will ever act as an antidote for what we’ve lost.
RIP friend – and thank you.