I should have written this on Friday, but in reality it’s Sunday. The last three days, I’ll be honest, have been a bit of a blur: we’ve had a vomiting bug go around the family, which is a salutary reminder that maybe personal hygiene needs a bit of work. As the day draws to an end everything is almost back to the way it was: except, as the dust settles, I’m aware of a key difference between the person that started the weekend and the one who now finishes it here.
There’s been a lot of anger to deal with because of COVID. I try not to talk about it too much in any of my spaces except personal Twitter, where people know and understand me enough to grasp that however much you try and be kind, there are days when everything just goes Pete Tong. I also get hauled up a fair bit when I refer to people as ‘stupid’ in how they react: mostly people who should really know better. I can’t be mean like that. It’s not fair.
Today, the relevance of those comments has come home to roost.
Everybody has a Nemesis. It’s how 007 got reinvented, the basis of a billion badly-planned Fanfics and kept Dr Who’s current season absolutely stonking. In my case, that evil is ignorance. Read the instructions: do the work, put in the hours, make the effort. It’s easy to just do, but thinking is hard, painful and ultimately redemptive. For an awfully long time I never took my own advice either, but fortunately I got over myself eventually.
Calling people stupid as an insult however is going to have to change. A memory surfaced this weekend, as I was on my hands and knees clearing up after a particularly effulgent round of sickness. Trauma flashbacks, each time they take place, are easier to cope with but this one wasn’t. This one still sits in my brain, right now, making me upset as I type this. You used to be called stupid as an insult.
You had no way of replying coherently when it happened.
Next week, therefore, there will need to be some mental rearrangement. The government can become incompetent. People breaking lockdown and thinking only about themselves can be selfish. I’m not going back to delete those posts because honestly, a lot of white people are genuinely not covering themselves in glory right now, and my opinion on them isn’t going to alter that one iota.
However, the training is beginning to kick in. My counselling has taken a year to really take, but now the changes are indisputable. I need to be more kind: to myself, mostly, and then to everybody else without thinking. However, the latter won’t ever be a given until the former is properly taken care of. That meant writing this before anything else happened. It’s a public acknowledgement of progress.
Nobody’s perfect, me more than most. However, it’s improving.
Every step forward is progress.
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