Scrolling though the news channels this morning was like the opening sequence to a film in which the director is trying to convey just how chaotic the world has become in the dystopian future. Except it's real life. It's right now, and though I can choose to turn off the TV, I cannot forget what I've learned and I cannot ignore it - and nor should you.
Sometimes it seems foolish to hope for the world to say ENOUGH. For those of us, who I truly feel are in the majority, to shout louder than the people who would have us cowering in fear. To drown their hate out with words and actions and love. But that's a movie scene too, isn't it? Maybe not.
The past few weeks of violence have led to seemingly endless daily updates on new occurrences of terror. Of course, it's been happening for years, and we could argue about the rights and wrongs of why it feels so close to home when we see the footage in America, Germany, Japan and France. It's too easy these days to switch off your empathy and get on with life - life that probably isn't easy either, unless you're part of the Billionaire Club. I assume everyone reading this has to work for every bite they eat and has bills to pay. The constant Responsibility Machine keeps us all moving.
By nature I'm a dreamer, I hope for better things, and I believe in magic. Life, however, has made me guarded, somewhat pessimistic. A so called 'normal' timeline for adulthood is especially hard for those in my generation and below. It's showing that nothing is certain, buying a house or feeding your family is in doubt for many. Career options are limited and working hours are endless.
But in order to help others, you must also be 'fighting fit' yourself. Physically and mentally we must be strong to keep progress moving. On a dark day, when nothing feels like it going your way, it's not only OK, but vital to put yourself first. Ask for help. Give yourself a break. Take the time to breathe and get settled.
I confess, many a tough week has been an excuse for a glass or two of wine with dinner. I bottle up my rage - It's not a good coping mechanism I know. I thought it was a great personal talent of mine that I didn't cry more than once or twice every other year. Instead I might slam a door, or three, (sorry kitchen cupboards), when I've reached boiling point. A good 5 minute rant on how everything is SO UNFAIR, and I'm back to normal, feeling like a tit because my life, though it's had its moments, in the grand ol' scheme of things is not that unjust. I'm extremely lucky. Perspective echoes in my head and guilt swarms in. But then I remember that once or twice in the past I thought that my loved ones would be better off if I was dead - so perspective can go to hell. It isn't really a great tool in helping you realise your worth.
It took breaking down the massive defensive wall I'd spent so many years building before I could see that my husband loved me exactly as I was. That it was totally fine to be vulnerable. That it was better to share my nightmare thoughts because, mostly, everything can be solved. I'm able to breathe easily. I'm not really a hideously useless human being, (unless you're the ASOS delivery man who always rings the doorbell at the crack of dawn thereby seeing me in full Blurry Eyed Glory).
As a 10 year old in a school choir with a choir master who forced us to sing 'Imagine' by John Lennon every year, I let the words flow over me without really listening. I thought it was slow and boring, and wondered why my suggestions for singing New Kids on the Block songs had been so cruelly overlooked. But Mr Lennon's song has never been so on point. A lot of dreaming and imagination is so necessary now - the man summed it up perfectly:
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
As I type there are so many atrocities being discussed, and countless people whose hearts will never heal. To make this planet a better place we need to unite our love for one another.
We must reach out to those in despair. A problem can be huge but many hands make light work, as they say. Leave judgements aside. Now is the time to get closer to everyone around you. Say hello in the street. Get to know your neighbours. Don't hide away. See the good, understand we're all in this together. Every act of kindness brings us closer to a better world. It may be optimistic wishful thinking, and it won't solve everything, but since division and fear hasn't enabled happiness anywhere, maybe that's just what we need?