In Progress: Darkness (4)

Out of darkness, there are people who give a damn. In what seems one of history’s darkest weeks, my journal was laden with inspiration from people all over the world, which reminded me how quickly the tide can change for better as well as worse.

The first was film-maker Hazel Hayes, known as ChewingSand on Youtube. I’ve watched her films and vlogs for a while now and her October video brought something home. Hayes recently created a short film ‘Happy‘, something I identified with fully, something which made me cry and something which made me realise I’m not doing too badly when it comes to being ‘happy’. However, in Hayes’ October video in an interview about this short film she discussed ‘baggage’; how we linger on the difficult moments of our past, insist on trudging forward with them still wrapped around our ankles and then ask why we are not happy. She said, we never seem to have a “bag of happy”. Her words have already begun to inspire a poem of my own on this subject. Although, still in the process of writing (strangely, baggage is not the easiest to write or rhyme about), I hope to share it with you all soon. Until then, I urge you to watch Hayes and heed her words. We continue to chase happiness and simultaneously refuse to acknowledge its existence. The need for happiness, love and affection is palpable across the world currently, I urge you to stop looking for happiness and be it if you can.

The second was from Stef Sanjati, another Youtuber, but also a blessing to the community as she educates such a young audience about transitioning and being transgender. She posted the following spoken word poem about surviving sexual assault on her channel this week called ‘I can’t feel clean‘. I am fortunate to have not been sexually assaulted, however, what chilled me to the core and made my heart bleed was what felt like a perpetual chain of young men and women relating to Stef’s story in the comments section of this video. The pain, love and support was incredibly powerful and it made me consider, especially after the Women’s March, the need for people to share their experience until love and listening ears are the only response to a sexual assault allegation. I understand, such allegations have been poisonous or misplaced but this does not warrant swift condemnation on all who make such an allegation. Those who falsify claims need love and listening ears just the same and I would rather listen to an allegation than stamp them all into the dust, forcing survivors to retreat into the bodies they no longer wish to call home. Inspired by Stef’s words I was fuelled to write something about my experience as a woman. Entitled ‘Femininity‘ it also became a spoken word – something far out of my comfort zone. As a teacher, I like to remain private so recording my voice was terrifying enough, yet in the spirit of speaking out, loud about something important, it felt necessary. I enjoyed it, I felt like words I often store inside had meaning for once and could maybe make a tiny difference in one person’s perspective. We need voices and I hope my small chime may figure in the chorus we are currently hearing.

Finally, the last person who inspired me this week was my own Granpa. He left a poem of his in my inbox. I hope I may be able to share it with you one day as it was a striking comment on current world events – as I read I was lulled into a false sense of security, to be mercilessly dragged out by the pace of his words towards the end. I was inspired because I have been writing since I was 12 or 13, some of the poems on this blog were written before my twenties. I often spend my time reading the work of others in a limbo of praise and envy. Granpa’s work showed maturity, conscious crafting and time. At the moment, I believe my writing often reflects the haste in which it was written, driven by passion and feeling more than thought and thesaurus. My Screaming Twenties is about what I create in this time where all I seem to do is fumble in and out of weeks feeling on top of the world one moment and flat the next. Perhaps, in eight years I’ll create My Thinking Thirties (shall I copyright this now?).

Out of darkness, come people who fight, survive and use their voices and words as weapons. I witnessed this far afield and close to home this week, and it gives me hope.

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