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Saturday, 13 June 2015

What's Happening?

Mum? What’s happening in the morning when I wake up for school and even though it’s far too early I get up and I get dressed in my room and then I sit in on the landing for about three days waiting for you to stop being asleep and I look at the wall and then at the floor and then at the wall and then at the floor again and then suddenly, on the floor there’s an enormous spider coming right for me and I completely freeze and can’t do an absolute thing about it and then I realise that it’s not a spider but just some fluff but the fluff is definitely moving towards me anyway?
What’s happening then?

Mum? What’s happening when Amy at school gets Alex to tell me that she doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore even though I can’t think of anything that I did to Amy at all to make her want to stop being friends with me and now, whenever I walk past her or try to say hello to her she closes her eyes for about two seconds and her neck goes all rigid and she does a little sniff even though it doesn’t seem like she needs to sniff and then she pretends that she’s laughing at something somebody said even though she’s not near enough to anyone else in the room to be able to hear funny stuff?
What’s happening then?

Mum? What’s happening when you take me out to a restaurant for a burger and in the restaurant there’s a spiral staircase in the middle of the room and stuck to the banister of the spiral staircase are lots of different coloured satin gloves that look like they are full of actual hands that don’t like the look of me and I can tell that they can tell I’m scared of them and when my burger arrives I'm absolutely not hungry and I just want to go and hide under the car without even eating my burger?
What’s happening then?

Mum? What’s happening when I wake up in the really dead and awful bit of the night at your friend’s house in a bed that I don’t understand and my hands are far too big for my arms and there is a spinning wheel in my head that’s going really fast and really slowly at the same time and I come downstairs (even though I can’t remember coming downstairs at all) and I open the door to the smoky living room and it sounds like everyone in there is talking in a different language and I suddenly feel like I'm completely on my own?
What’s happening then?

Mum? What’s happening at the supermarket when I see Ben from school with his dad but Ben doesn’t see me, and his dad keeps nearly falling over and Ben has to help him walk and when I watch Ben and his dad go outside, Ben’s dad actually does fall over and when Ben tries to help him up from the ground, Ben’s dad tries to punch Ben in the face but misses and smashes his own hand into a wall and then screams at Ben to help him up?
What’s happening then?

Mum? What's happening when we go camping and I'm supposed to be in bed but I can't sleep and I really quietly unzip the front of my tent and I can see you sitting on a bench next to a man who has a wife and the man with the wife puts his hand on your knee and then his hand goes up your skirt and, as quick as a flash you take his hand away and you try to stand up but the man's hand pulls you back down again and you do a little shake with your shoulders to try and get his hand off you and then he takes his hand off you and then the man with the wife's wife runs over to you and starts shouting at you and so does the man?
What's happening then?

Mum? What's happening at school when Mr Hilton asks the class a question about Mussolini and I put my hand up to answer but Mr Hilton asks Anna to answer the question even though Anna doesn't have her hand up and Anna gets the answer wrong and then Mr Hilton goes over to Anna's desk and, in front of everyone leans over her so that his body is really close to her body and then he puts both of his hands on both of her cheeks and tells her she's the prettiest girl he's ever seen and that she could get all the answers in the world wrong but he wouldn't care because he could just look at her forever?
What's happening then?

Mum? What's happening on the TV when there's a comedy programme which is just lots of men (and sometimes one woman) sitting at a table making jokes about things that have been in the news and then one of the men makes a joke about the one woman on the programme and the joke is about what the woman looks like or about the man that she's going out with or about how she's not very good at something and the camera stays on the woman's face for quite a long time and the woman doesn't say anything for quite a while but then just starts laughing with the men?
What's happening then?

Mum? What was happening with my friend who got really drunk one night and got in a taxi to be taken home by the taxi driver but instead of taking her home, the taxi driver beat her up and raped her and then threw her out of the taxi onto the road and when she reported it to the police, the police officer asked her about the clothes she'd chosen to wear and got a bit cross with her about how drunk she was?
What was happening then?

Mum? What's happening when I read about people like the Prime Minister and the President and the Pope on the news and the kinds of things I'm reading are that they all say that they think that things like poverty and inequality and climate change are really bad but when I read that stuff about them, something quite physical and alarming happens to me and I suddenly want to get a tank and drive it all the way to 10 Downing Street and then the White House and then the Vatican and crush the absolute fuck out of all three of those places because even though it's perfectly reasonable for those men to say that they think those things, there's no getting away from the fact that all of them inadvertently kill people because of the things that they say are right and wrong and the thought of all of that makes the bones in my body actually shake?
What's happening then?

Mum? What's happening when I think about the word 'terror' and 'terrorist' and then I start to think about good and evil and the more I think about those, the more I realise that there's no such thing as either of them, not really, and that when we talk about things like wrongness and evil, we are often just talking about some people who are very, very, very not ok in a way that is unfathomable to me and always will be, but the kinds of things they are not ok about are not unfathomable to me, and by that I mean the themes of their not ok-ness; the categories of it. And I start to think, 'well, I mean, yeah, of course. Sometimes, you want to do terrible violence and sometimes, terrible violence seems like it's the absolute answer and it sometimes might even seem beautiful because when someone or something hurts the fuck out of you, you want to hurt the fuck out of them back, but worse, and it would feel so good because the person or thing who hurt the fuck out of you first is probably the person or thing who's got more of the power than you have and to really hurt them - to really destroy them - would feel powerful and clean, but I suppose that's one reason why having a society is a good thing because it means that there can be a thing that's better than you; a thing that is bigger and calmer and more measured than you, so that if you do want to do terrible violence, you can either tell society before you do it so that society can help you, or you can be judged by society after you've done it, but that kind of thing only truly works when things inside - the mechanics - are truly working and I don't think that things are truly working because if they were, there wouldn't be far too many women and mentally ill people in prisons and women wouldn't be blamed for being raped and people of colour wouldn't have to be scared of being stopped in the street by the police for no reason and children wouldn't be terrified of going to school and people wouldn't be going to bed hungry and isolated and confused and men would be allowed to cry without it being weird and young people in care wouldn't be much more likely to not have jobs or live in poverty and families wouldn't be demonised for being from a different country and people wouldn't care more about homeless dogs than homeless humans.'
What's happening with all of that stuff?

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