Now, I turn to this place. This building is intimidating, It reeks of the establishment and of power. It’s systems are confusing, some may say archaic. It was built at a time when my class and sex would have been denied a place within it because we are deemed unworthy.
I believe the intimidating nature of this place is not accidental. The clothes, the language, the obsession with hierarchy. Control and domination is symbolic of the system at large but I think the most frustrating thing, has been to sit opposite those people who tell me that things are better, that suffering has lessened for my constituents.
I would like you to come and tell those people who have been sanctioned, that things are better, or the teacher in my constituency who was recently made redundant. I would like you to come to talk to the sixteen and a half thousand people in County Durham in receipt of food parcels. To the nurses, to the junior doctors, to the firefighters, come and tell them that years of austerity have improved their practice or their profession.
And I’ll end with this Mr Speaker, we can choose, in this place to be self obsessed, to be a perpetrator of fear and greed, a monument to injustice or Mr Speaker, it can be a place that elevates equality, facilitates the power of the people, esteems and properly funds a rich network of public services so that nobody is left in the indignity of poverty.
I’d felt a little off since people have been killing each other more frequently under my nose, the country had another big choice to make, an important part of my job began to feel mundane and catastrophe struck in the form of a fire.
Then things felt a little better but I hadn’t quite shaken off that heavy cloak yet. I was talking but without really knowing what to say.
Things felt off for a couple more days.
Maybe like I wasn’t playing my part or not letting other play theirs, trying too hard, or like I’m forgetting that someone I can’t help seeing as divine, is actually encouragingly human. Or maybe like we’re all still learning, together and individually, collectively and alone. Like I wasn’t listening hard enough. Like everyone, I wanted to be doing more, helping more, in the big scale and the small.
Whether things are on the edge of working out how they were planned or there’s still a way to go, it can feel like the beam is pretty thin.
Then I had a short nap on a chest I know well and we had a swim. It wasn’t really a swim, it was a dip in the sea off the boat. But everything felt like it came back together again after that.
I’ll go to the gym and row tomorrow and it won’t be anywhere near as much fun as having a (somewhat) devoted teacher demonstrating next to me.
And now I’m here, having worked a tiringly unexciting day, trying to consolidate restoring the balance, reading about inspiration and looking forward to the next few weeks, grateful.
To love someone is to try and see everything they are and to try and understand it. To bear witness to them in all of their complexity.
Josie Long – Short Cuts – Witness.
A) of telling my sergeant to fuck off in jest and it getting me in trouble
B) of Tom getting there and being told he doesn’t actually have to be in work today or tomorrow
C) of Tom firmly telling me it’s okay and to stop worrying about an issue unknown to reality me
D) and of us looking for jobs on a farm.
Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.