#Death #cycling #magicmushrooms
This Tesco delivery man didn’t want to be photographed, nevertheless, I showed him my blog and photos of many of his colleagues which he enjoyed. Because of lockdown, delivery men aren’t allowed into houses to help with shopping so I sit on the piano stool by the door and take out all items of the crates, some one by one, because they are heavy. I don’t have bags because that’s not saving the planet and rightly so, it’s an extra 40p.
While I take out each item, the delivery man tells me his story. He isn’t quite sure of his delivery man protocol because he was shielding during the last lockdown, but this lockdown he was told he wasn’t ill enough. I asked him why this was. He told me because he hadn’t had his usual consultations and that he was off his medication, “It was the medication that stuffed me up in the first place. They gave me steroids for five years and it was that gave me…” The man proceeded to tell me a list of his ailments, diseases, diagnoses, conditions, all of which I have forgotten, I’m not one for remembering labels, people YES, thoughts and feelings YES, acknowledging pain YES. But NOT labels. This delivery man was upset, angry, frustrated, exhausted and I suspect in physical pain. We’re all in some pain and/or anxiety, life is hard at the best of times, some of us are more aware than others, expressed in different forms, all pain, all dis-ease tells our unique story. My story is in the making in the book I am writing/editing, gosh it takes forever the edits.
(By the by the way, a friend asked me why I wouldn’t want a vaccine of any sort when I was a user of recreational drugs in my youth. Firstly, I don’t want bits of male foetus in me, secondly, I have worked so hard on my body with the help of the most wonderful homeopath akin to the Queen’s, and thirdly, I took recreational drugs to relieve emotional pain, but then came the physical pain and MS numbness and blurred vision, my brain couldn’t listen, and then came the therapy to help me see. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk explains this well. I’m sure Mr Van Der Kolk has a few things to say about this plandemic.)
Back to Tesco. How totally patronising, mind numbingly insulting is this email I received from them today, just take a look …
“Santa’s making a
list and checking
Have you been naughty or nice this year? Whether it was a dodgy DIY haircut or making up homework for the kids to get a little quiet time, have you had any naughty little slip-ups year?
37% I’ve accidently given a relative a dodgy home haircut
5% I’ve made up homework for the kids
48% I’ve forgotten to sing Happy Birthday while washing my hands
10% I’m guilty of sneakily cheating on a virtual quiz
Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off … I immensely value your Tesco delivery men, and am very grateful that (unlike last year) you have pickled walnuts on your shelves, but I object to this shit – fucking quizzes, happy fucking birthday hand wanking and oh, the hilarity of cutting hair when we’re not qualified. I’ve never read such tripe and been so insulted, that’s what you think I do Tesco, or even think about, this is some of the worst advertising I’ve ever come across, is it supposed to be funny? That’s what has been difficult this year? Really?
Fuck off mainstream media, fuck off mass media, just fuck off. It’s time to change Mr Tesco, no room in the bunker for you mate, stop tittle tattling over last lockdown. We have been locked in, shut down, had our human rights and livings eroded, mental health and economy devastated due to the disproportionate fear-based response to this virus. We’ve been kept in isolation, prevented from spending time with our friends and family and like the economy, most days I feel I could be on the brink of collapse.
The fight in me at least relieves symptoms, writing helps, I know this because I used to run a writing as therapy group for people with MS in the Peckham library. I was in Peckham Rye park yesterday and Alice Cooper’s song “Don’t give Up” came up on my Spotify. It helped me enormously, Alice originally wrote the track about suicide, but then Covid came and the lyrics seemed to just fit…. And, of course, suicide rates have increased and will increase, just wait until those 2020 figures come in this time next year, in my work and life communities, every week I hear of another young person having taken their life.
Here is a poem I wrote about fucking on the bowling green in Peckham Rye Park
I complained about his dick tion
But I loved his stroke
He was paralysed right down his right side
He could do double with his left
With slurred speech he told me to fuck off about my complaint about his dick tion
We walked through Peckham Rye Park
I hate walking. He loves walking with three-pronged stick
Like Jake the Peg, diddle, diddle, diddle, de
Hung to left
It was a full moon. We fucked on the bowling green
Nunhead Festival cancelled, Liz Bentley improvising in Peckham garden.
Every year, my parents and my sister would go on our annual family holiday and stay in a caravan in Cromer, Norfolk. One year, the Gibbons family joined us for a day. The Gibbons had three children, two girls the same age as my sister and I, and a younger boy. It rained all day so the nine of us spent the day in the small caravan. As far as I can remember, we played cards.
The boy, who then was probably about five, asked questions during the day, like – Why were we scared of the lightning? How did the funny little gas lights work? Why did Dad win at cards? After each question, Mr and Mrs Gibbons, stopped what they were doing, and answered the boy. I was intrigued by these parents taking so much interest in their child, I enjoyed listening to their exchanges. My parents, however, found the interruptions extremely irritating. “Bloody little nuisance,” “spoilt child,” “they’ll make him into a little monster,” that kind of thing.
I’ve talked about this memory in therapy. My childhood was one to not question, to accept, to believe teachers, to go to Sunday school. I bunked school and Sunday school, none of it made sense. Back then, I knew my parent’s irritation came from a place of envy, and being around difference. They never asked me questions, and I stopped asking them questions, years before the incident with the Gibbons.
In my early thirties, years into my therapy, I tried asking my parents questions again, I was met with defensive, sometimes angry responses. I learned my relationship with my parents, would always have such limitations, but we got on, I accepted this.
Looking at the world now, with my child’s eyes perhaps, I want to know answers that the young Master Gibbons felt able to ask. Therapy allowed me to develop my voice, even if I’m faced with an angry, defensive voice, I will continue to ask.
The more we know, of course, the less we understand, but the process of trying to understand, holds with it, human communicating, striving for what is right and true to each, even if all our truths are different. As a psychotherapist, it is OUR story that is the most relevant in understanding, our story will always differ from the next, even if we are born in the same household, as indeed my sister and I were, our experience was very different, but often the same. I wonder if she remembers this day in the caravan?
If my father hadn’t cheated on my mother, and they’d had a good relationship, perhaps I would be more trusting, believe everything I hear, be content and be a ‘good’ abiding citizen with government guidelines? But when nothing makes sense, I cannot, will not. The questions in my family were never answered, and the world’s questions may never be answered, people die with secrets, but the legacy of the burden (i.e. Jimmy Saville’s victims) will go on for lifetimes. The gut always tells us that something is up, whether in an unconscious, perhaps physical manifestation, or a feeling, all are linked.
London, where I live, moves into a new lockdown. Lockdowns were a term I remember being used by my boyfriend Keevan (partner, No. 31, in my book ‘From Essex to London in 101 Boyfriends’), when he was in prison. How can it be, I am locked up, have been locked up? What have I done? At least Keevan knew when he would be free from his imprisonment and was guilty of a crime.
Halloween, the full and blue moon and Jimmy Saville’s birthday, brought about news of the lockdown, Guy Fawkes night begins the lockdown, we think, if the Tory backbenchers go with it, will it depend on the US election?
Here is my poem and then below, lyrics of a song by Ewan MacColl (Kirsty McColl’s Dad) and Peggy Seeger, it’s a beautiful song, I recommend a listen or two.
Scene but not Herd – Liz Bentley
“Moo!” said the solitary cow
“What’s your intention?” asked the drama student with intentions to direct
The Ballard of Accounting – (Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger)
In the morning we built the city
In the afternoon walked through its streets
Everyone saw us leaving
We wandered through our days as if they would never end
All of us imagined we had endless time to spend
We hardly saw the crossroads and small attention gave
To landmarks of the journey from the cradle to the grave
Did you learn to dream in the morning?
Abandon dreams in the afternoon?
Wait without hope in the evening?
Did you stand there in the traces and let ’em feed you lies?
Did you trail along behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes?
Did you kiss the foot that kicked you, did you thank them for their scorn?
Did you ask for their forgiveness for the act of being born
Act of being born, act of being born?
Did you alter the face of the city?
Make any change in the world you found?
Or did you observe all the warnings?
Did you read the trespass notices, did you keep off the grass?
Did you shuffle up the pavements just to let your betters pass?
Did you learn to keep your mouth shut, were you seen but never heard?
Did you learn to be obedient and jump to at a word
Jump to at a word?
Did you demand any answers?
The who and the what and the reason why?
Did you ever question the setup?
Did you stand aside and let ’em choose while you took second best?
Did you let ’em skim the cream off and give you the rest?
Did you settle for the shoddy and did you think it right?
To let ’em rob you right and left and never make a fight
Never make a fight, never make a fight?
What did you learn in the morning?
What did you know in the afternoon?
Were you content in the evening?
Did they teach you how to question when you were at the school?
Did the factory help you grow, were you the maker or the tool?
Did the place where you were living enrich your life and then
Did you reach some understanding of all your fellow men
All your fellow men, all your fellow men?