LOVE AND WAR
You are a warrior. I tell myself this as I retrieve the butter-side-down toast from the floor, knocking over the dog bowl and letting out a fart I don’t entirely trust. You are a warrior.
A nice warrior that you could invite in for a cuppa, the kind of warrior that can encourage life, not the kind that beats its chest with one hand and holds up a severed head with the other.
There are warriors and there are warriors.
Internet trolls who like to shout ‘social justice warrior’ like it’s a dirty word in upper case at people – attacking them with poor grammar and too many exclamation marks – simply for wanting to make the world kinder, might as well be shouting ‘you are terrible person for caring about things!’
Yes, you awful people for being all compassionate and stuff.
Social justice warriors, snowflakes and millennials have become such slurs and taken on such levels of derision that they now officially rank highest in ‘shameful things to be’. So much so, the word feminist has dropped down to number 9 on the leader board. Feminism can dance the can-can on the table-top shouting ‘it’s my body and you do not have permission to abuse it’ almost unnoticed.
Not true sadly, my feminist associates get trolled hard.
It seems many progressive viewpoints and new age endeavours have taken a battering the more polarised we have become in broader society.
As Elvis Costello sang in his beautiful half strangled way, ‘What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?’
Well, quite a lot actually. I mock it sometimes, guilty as charged, but I try really hard to practice it. I fail horribly, daily. Tutting and sighing and rolling my eyes are some of my unkind habits. There’s a new one too, I’ve started muttering. Muttering under my breath like a surly neighbour who’s so stuck up that her nose is getting air miles. I catch myself and stop it immediately, but now I’ve started doing it as I fall asleep. I actually woke myself up muttering ‘Numberwang’ the other night, so it’s not all sour.
Those are not traits I’m proud of. I have to work harder at developing patience and tolerance, I know it. Much harder. It gets tricky the less years you have ahead of you. “I’m halfway through my life can you please stop wittering and blocking the pavement!” But of course, it’s with oneself where the real impatience grows.
I so desperately want to be good and do good things because, not unselfishly, I think it will make me happier if the world would just become… more loving. (It’s been said that I’m a hippie with flawed ideals, because of ridiculous sentences like that one. Now you can roll your eyes.)
But if the world was more loving (or more accurately, the people who populate it) then I could get on with living my life. It’s like when you have to tidy your room before you can do any work, I can’t function in this mess. So, if everyone could sort it out please.
We have to defend ourselves against a legion of maladies on a daily basis – physical, mental, societal, political. Of course we are warriors. Emotional warriors.
Otherwise we go under.
We cannot succumb.
Fighting may make you a little crazy but…..
‘It is not the sign of a healthy mind to be well adjusted to a sick society’ – Krishnamurti
I mean, look, it’s February.
If, like me, you are single and have been for some time, you will know that you are a warrior for simply surviving the calendar. You just about deal with Jesus’s birthday and New Year’s Eve and wave bye bye to all the faux cheer and commercially driven celebrations, breathing a sigh of relief at the return of conversations about the weather rather than the ones that start with ‘what are you doing for Christmas?’ …and along comes flipping valentine’s day. It’s bad manners frankly. Regardless of how happy you are being single, all these manufactured dates in the calendar, make you an outsider. To stay unashamedly in your lane, takes a certain kind of warrior-like spirit.
Following your heart, taking time out for yourself, being good to yourself, practicing self-love, scoffed at by so many, are absolutely the right things to be doing. When I was recovering from major surgery last year, I employed a cleaner for a bit. I beat myself up about it. That I somehow didn’t deserve the help.
What kind of language is that to use about yourself? … ‘deserve’.
How about I let someone be kind to me from time to time? I could even have a massage? Wow, let’s not carried away.
Staying physically connected is pretty crucial for me. In this loneliness epidemic that we are seeing, reaching for others and engaging with healthy people is a kind of salvation, but for many it’s just not that easy.
No matter how much you enjoy solitude, it’s easy to slip into being an eccentric hoarder of periodicals and jars of marmalade that you made while wearing your fingerless gloves that you also sleep in, muttering Numberwang and disturbing all seventeen of the cats.
In the long run it makes you quite anti-social.
I am not a particularly tactile creature, unless I am head over heels in love. But.. Let’s talk about touch baby!
(this is off topic but I’ve just remembered going for the role of Janet in The Rocky Horror Show when I was fourteen years old and having to audition by singing ‘T-T-T-Touch me, I Wanna be Dirty’).
Not sure that was age appropriate in hindsight.
Anyway, I’m not talking about motivated touch.
If you make a greeting hug last seven seconds or more instead of the average one or two seconds, then, reportedly, your health improves and your life is extended. So, it’s February and the ‘love’ edition of the blog and I want to hug my friends until it’s really awkward is what I am saying.
Touch has huge health benefits, we know that, but for long-term single people, a widowed pensioner for example, the only physical contact they might have in a week is fleetingly as they place money in the palm of a shopkeeper’s hand. I can go days without seeing anyone let alone touching and I’m in my forties and have lots of lovely friends. It would be nice to be in a position to offer all the untouched elderly folks a foot rub wouldn’t it? I wonder if there’s a grant for that. I bet there is in Sweden or Iceland or New Zealand or some other country that thinks a snowflake is a uniquely beautifully formed snow crystal, and not an insult.
I said YES to a free make-up session yesterday as it’s nice to have someone gently touch your face when you are serially single. I was enjoying the many layers of caressing: primer, concealer, powder, (stuff I just don’t use) and the soft brushes on my cheeks, the finger on the lip, the gentle tuck of hair behind the ear, the tiny delicate interactions that slightly sedated me, as they covered up the many years of brow furrowing.
I dreamily left the salon unaware that they had not so much covered the lines on my forehead as exaggerated them and I looked like an actual Klingon.
No, I really looked like a Klingon.
Thanks ‘Beauty’ for showing me my true personality.
Photo is courtesy of Georgeana Error