Fighting for the future: doing your best in a world that’s falling apart

I’m angry and I’m upset. So much is happening and my head is a busy place. There is too much information, and much of it doesn’t make any sense. Some of it makes me feel sick to my stomach and vulnerable again (which, for the record, I hate), some of the information in my head is simply overwhelming. Some does both. But a lot of the information in my head concerns the world around us and the passivity of everyone in it. We’re sleep-walking to a new Dark Age and nobody seems to care.

There is so much in this world that just doesn’t matter. And this is the stuff that people seem to care about. TV, celebrities, appearance, who said what, getting coffee at all costs (regardless of the environmental consequences), getting a car, buying a house, all the trappings society and the media say we need. We don’t need any of them. Our world is being run by psychopaths who are trying to control us, and nobody seems to care.

corporate-criminals

We rage against the injustice of our government, but we elected them – either through deliberate voting or abstaining from voting so fewer votes were needed for a win. If you care that much, bloody vote in the first place! Then there’s Brexit, I don’t care if you didn’t mean it to get this bad – buckle up, it’s going to get worse, much worse, and yes, those of us who voted remain did tell you so…repeatedly. You voted for Brexit, so suck it up and stop moaning you didn’t understand the ramifications. If you didn’t understand what that meant then shame on you, read a bit more before voting next time, this wasn’t a chance to protest, it was a fundamental catastrophe for this country. If you did know what you were voting for, then where is your heart, your soul, your sense of humanity? Shame on you. The Tories were never the ones to trust with this decision, if ever you needed a reminder, this, right now, this is it. They’re showing us barely concealed fascism and expecting us to lap it up. I for one will not.

Where is the outrage that Trump might actually win in the USA? Are you genuinely telling me that you’re not utterly appalled and horrified this man might be president of one of the most powerful nations on earth? This is not a soap opera, it’s real life and it could lead to a nuclear holocaust, or at the very minimum world war 3. Compare him to the Tories, and our own government starts to look pretty rosy – which tells you quite how terrifying the prospect of a Trump President is. Yet nobody seems to care, there are memes aplenty and everyone is having a giggle at the awful things he’s saying, but where is the mass outrage that this is a terrifying prospect?

The banks and governments control all the money in circulation and the big corporations pollute our earth in order to sell us cures for this poor air quality, solutions to climate change – a change they’re facilitating. Fracking is an absolute disgrace, but even though people say they care, they’re more upset when their phone breaks, or gets a tiny drop of water in it. An easily replaceable item breaks and that’s more important, or catastrophic, to many than the health of millions of people and thousands of hectares of land. Where is your anger at the government overturning local council decisions and forcefully allowing companies to pump chemicals into the ground? They’ll be poisoning the water supply for millions of people and leading to goodness knows what pressure on the NHS they’re slowly dismantling on the side. Why are you not angry about this?!

capitalism

Millions of people in our own country, as well as the world, have no food, they’re starving, yet people get angry because plans can’t be exactly as they want them, they can’t have the identical situation they’ve had for the past 10 years because things need to change and there is no way round it, but they complain anyway. Situations are not always as we’d like them to be, they do change, but this doesn’t matter, it really, really doesn’t. Eating is a basic human need, it’s a primary goal that we all take got granted every day of our lives. Many people do not have this luxury and getting food and water is an all-consuming task they need to do in order to survive. Some people do try to help, some do care, others simply watch the news and say ‘isn’t that terrible’, then go about their lives, worrying about things that don’t matter. It breaks my heart to watch the news, there is so much pain and violence in the world, and I feel completely powerless to stop it.

Standardised education makes me angry too, this one size fits all approach, is completely wrong, not everyone is the same. We don’t do that at Uni, we’re well aware it’s ludicrous, but by the time we get hold of students they think they’re stupid and don’t read books. How on earth can this mean our education system is a success? It’s demoralising children and telling them if they don’t pass ridiculous standardised tests, then they aren’t clever. Which is an appalling state of affairs. Newsflash, not all clever kids do well in test situations. I didn’t do well in exams, the only ones I ever did well in were my times tables – and the final ones at university, after I’d learned how to learn and shown I wasn’t a category or a number. And I’m old, it’s much worse now for kids, there are so many test points and hoops to jump through. It’s heart-breaking watching kids think you’re weird for reading or writing for fun. They know they need a degree but have been completely turned off learning. Learning stuff is amazing and fascinating and can solve so many problems, it’s exciting – why are kids not taught this? Learning isn’t a series of tests.

the-education-system

I’m watching my daughter learn phonics, she’s picking it up at quite a rate of knots because she’s a smart kid, regardless of the hoops she faces she’ll do fine. But she’s learning nonsense. Learning non-words is not the way to teach language, it just isn’t, it even sounds stupid to say it. I’m now teaching the generations of kids who learned phonics – they don’t read books, how on earth can this be a good thing? L was upset because she could spell and say all the words on a test but didn’t know how to write the sounds. (We’ll just leave aside the part where a 4 year old is getting a test in the first few weeks of school life…) That’s right, she was told she wasn’t doing well because even though she could spell and say all the words on the test (which at age 4 is pretty damn impressive) she was classed as having not learned the words. To say this is ridiculous is an understatement. My child cried because she felt she didn’t know something she thought she knew. I cannot begin to say how angry that made me.

Like I said, some people do care, I do, I know others who do. But I, for one, feel completely powerless right now, and even though I voted against all of the awfulness our country is now facing, I’m still having to live with the consequences of other peoples’ actions and choices. That makes me angry, but anger serves very little purpose other than to motivate. I’m stuck here, on my own, with a small person who trumps every situation around me. My world revolves around her because it has to, she matters more to me than anything else in this world. She’s part of the future of this world, and I need to be able to look her in the eye when she’s older and tell her I did my best, with everything. I do my best because she is the one person who I need to make sure is impressed with what her mum is doing and saying.

stand-up-for-yourself

I’m a very long way from perfect and there is very little I can actually do about the state of the world. But my corner of this world is somewhere I can do something about. So I will continue to be nice, even in the face of dislike, I will continue to stand up for things that matter, and I will continue to think about others and doing my best in this crappy world. Because people make the world what it is, and only we can make the world a better place. It takes one person to start a revolution, it takes just one person to be consistently kind in the face of hatred. It’s not easy, but it’s never easy doing what is right.

I’m putting L first and I’m tired, I’m lonely, I don’t have the support I actually need, and I’m unable to move forward in a situation I very much want to change because I don’t have the time or energy to overcome the panic attacks that appear whenever I think about it too much. Standing as an independent person, on your own two feet, and running your own life after being beaten down so many times is utterly exhausting and isolating. But it’s the right thing to do, even if not everyone agrees. You cannot control what others do, you can only control what you do. You have to be thoughtful, kind, considerate, think about other people as well as yourself, and think about the future of your world. We all hear about the ‘now’, living in the moment, making choices about what we want right now. The now is important, but the future is too, we can’t forget about it, and by just living in the now we’re risking the future for our kids and for generations to come. You have to be able to look the people you care about most in the eye and tell them you did your best for the future while living with them in the now.

So I’m doing my best, it’s all I can do.

Vx

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