It’s been a good few weeks since my last offering to this blog, when I was rudely attacked by a buzzard whilst running! The weeks since have been busy, work has been pretty all-consuming, we’ve had two birthdays and fathers day and I’ve been working on trying to cure or manage my apparent new-found ornithophobia, trying to nip it in the bud (turns out there are birds bloody everywhere if you just look up!) Also though, I haven’t quite known what to write about. I mentioned this to Dan who suggested writing a post about writer’s block, apparently that would be ‘meta’. I decided against this suggestion. I suspect it would be a disaster before I even began.
However, upon logging in to my wordpress and seeing that I’ve now been writing here since 2012, I realised that if only for the sake of my future self, it’s nice to try and post regularly so I can look back when I’m old, grey and forgetful at what we got up to in years gone by. And let’s face, 2020 is turning out to be an absolute corker of a year, although in very few positive ways. By march we had already almost had World War Three, there were the horrendous Australian bushfires, Brexit was looming, (on a personal note) I had fairly major jaw surgery and then the global pandemic hit. It’ll be a year that goes down in history for sure…
So now we’re in July, over half the year is gone and to be honest, I’m not really sure where we’re at. The restrictions to try and slow/prevent the slow of covid-19 have been loosened over the last few weeks but arguably, they shouldn’t have been. This leaves some of us in the strange situation of being pleased to have more of our freedoms back whilst simultaneously fearing that it was a mistake (whether it was deliberate or not is another discussion) by our government. There’s talk of a second wave this Autumn, the guidance from the government is consistently inconsistent and contradictory and I’ve been second guessing every decision we make as a family.
This week coming is the first week since March that resembles a ‘normal’ week for us. We’ve got a few outdoor play-dates lined up with friends, we’re off to my folks for a music lesson inside (now it’s allowed) and then to the woods on Friday for a work thing. And I’m torn between looking forward to experiencing a bit more normality and feeling overwhelmed already and having multiple ‘things’ in the diary!
The last few months have been strange. In some ways they’ve been so challenging, and in others, they’ve simplified life in a glorious way. But of course, I realise that it’s not even really important at all how I’ve felt in the face of the big picture. It feels selfish and close minded to ramble on about what me and my family have been up to in our little patch, more or less safe from what so many people are enduring around the world.
Thousands of people have lost their loved ones, without being able to say goodbye, and I can’t imagine how they are feeling. Then just as we were all still reeling from that, the death of George Floyd has woken many of us to the horrific systemic racism that still pervades our society both here and over the pond and the many innocent lives that have been taken and are being taken on a daily basis as a result. Like a lot of white people, I was guilty of knowing a little that it still existed (but not quite of the extent) but not doing anything. And that’s not good enough.
So I’m trying to educate myself, educate the children and find out things I can do to help protest this and bring about real meaningful change. There are numerous resources with ways we can help, real things we can do to not just say the right thing but actually act. But to name a few that are on my list for the next few weeks, I’ve just been lent ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge and am planning to watch 13th which is a documentary on Netflix which explores the ‘”intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States;”. I’ll let you know how I get on with them. My friend also shared this article which I found really practically helpful. I realise I’m late to this and that the protests were a few weeks ago but black lives still matter, even if they’re not on your own personal feed anymore. The problem hasn’t gone away. I’ll leave you (a bit abruptly I know – sorry!) with two quotes, one from Perrie Edwards and one from Michelle Obama because they sum up how I’m feeling and they are both much more eloquent than I could hope to be.
“As a white person living in the UK, it’s very easy to look at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and believe it doesn’t affect you. Feel that it’s not your place to comment or get involved… What’s not so easy is to scroll past an innocent man being pinned to the floor, struggling and begging for his last breath… How can any human being, no matter your race, age, gender, not be deeply affected by that? I have been deeply affected by it… I acknowledge my white privilege and instead of allowing it to put a muzzle on me, I will use it to speak up for what is right and what is wrong.” Perrie Edwards
“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of colour to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.” Michelle Obama