The news is appalling. The news is insane. I see a picture of happy, smiling Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in Mr Trump’s gold plated lift- Adolf and his John the Baptist- and it’s good news that Reince Priebus will be his chief of staff, because Steven Bannon would have been worse. To use Daily Express language, the High Court decided that the rights of a true born Englishman cannot be taken away by Royal Prerogative without the consent of Parliament- and the Daily Express called that “The day democracy died”; and Farage called for a march to intimidate the Supreme Court in the appeal. The Daily Mail called the judges “Enemies of the People”.
Weather forecast: light cloud. Actual weather: constant drizzle. I cycled to the dentist’s, where I was told to sign with my finger on an Ipad as they had no stylus for it. My hand was cold from cycling. My signature looks like the scrawl of the non-dominant hand of someone with Parkinson’s, and my fragile self-respect takes a hit. My signature should be beautiful.
I read in the Financial Times that we may have to pay £770m more to the EU because of the Brexited Sterling exchange rate- poetic retribution, if not poetic justice- and that a European foreign minister cannot bear to be in the same room as Boris Johnson who has snubbed the Council of Ministers addressing the emergency that is Trump’s election, claiming that the meeting “created an air of panic”.
I glance at someone’s Times, and see, “One in the eye for Homer over origin of Cyclops”. In among the horror, something mean and disrespectful: two great achievements of the human spirit, to be named with Shakespeare, Goethe and, say, Murasaki Shikibu (not to be entirely Eurocentric), subject to the joke “One in the eye for Homer”. The joke offends and disgusts me. It is almost as bad as grinning Farage in that lift.
I trust too little, I think, but when the dentist insists on giving an appointment in a year’s time, rather than six months or nine months, saying this is because I am a low risk patient and the X-ray shows no sign of decay, I wonder whether it is really because he is paid so little for an NHS consultation.
The news means climate catastrophe, reduction in world trade, destruction of jobs and control consolidated in the hands of the wealthiest; and for me, the continuing demonisation of benefit claimants and even greater likelihood that the welfare state will not continue to support me. It means I am in the shit, because I don’t think I am fit for any job I could find bearable and have no other resource.
So I will celebrate. I will celebrate and delight in every glimmer of hope in the darkness. I will celebrate my effectiveness, and that needs explained.
I do not trust myself. I have a strong inner critic, that says it should be easy for me to get work and that I am useless and stupid for not getting it. It is like an over-exposed photograph: I can’t distinguish what I should reasonably feel shame for, and what I could not have avoided.
The most important thing for me is to manage my feelings. It is important to me because of the way I have grown up with feelings, blocking them out, fearing (from experience as a child) that my feelings are dangerous. The monster will get me is a childish belief, hard to overturn.
So I am proud of finding the way to feel safe, in part: to make it possible that I could just withdraw to my living room, and doing so. I feel safe enough. It has taken effort to create this safety. I have done what I needed to do.
Yesterday I feared that my strong feeling of sadness would make me do something embarrassing; and so placing myself in that risky situation took courage. I have little trust. I extended myself, and it went well, and I am pleased.
I will not minimise the depth of the difficulty. I find my feelings very difficult. I feel accepting them is the way forward. I feel better able to do this, and therefore better able to see clearly what my feelings are. This might mitigate the rage and terror I feel at feelings; yet-
that is a thought about how I might move forward, what further steps I might take, and that will lead me to fantasies of achieving what the inner critic wants me to achieve- propitiating her, rather than seeing reality clearly. No. I will celebrate this simply for itself, one isolated instance of trust, action, something good happening rather than a Step Forward which I can build on.
That rage and terror, initially, was for my good. All this is protective. Knowing this, Celebrating it, might reduce the levels, but whatever it will make me feel better, and that is something to be desired simply for itself. So, I will celebrate it.
I know I want
some outlet for my love and creativity to gush forth, doing good. So there is a long term goal. I don’t know how to make it happen, but some things might appear to advance it.
I will celebrate the strength of feeling. It survives under all my struggles to suppress it. There is power, if I could cease to struggle against myself. I will accept the feeling and attempt to recognise it.
All this is good- even my Resistance, my No, which is my defining characteristic, where most of my energy goes. There is strength and self-love.
Celebrate all of this, for this is Good; and, knowing it is Good, it may do as it will.