What is there to say – By @Holly_Georgious

What is there to say

It is harder writing SCABs in isolation, not because nothing is happening in the world (because we all know it is) or because we’re not learning and growing (because we are, arguably at a quicker rate than before), but because when you are stuck at home nothing really feels like it is happening, everything just feels decidedly…well normal. We have got to the point where isolation and lockdown is normality. It is no longer a shock to the system or a kink in our rope, it is just all very incredibly samey. We may miss things, like walks on the heath or swimming in the ponds, spending afternoons in a beer gardens drinking jugs of Pimm’s with friends, or going to our dad’s on Sunday morning for brunch. But the day to day, the dawn till dusk feels, just, very, ordinary. 

It is a defence, the feeling of ordinary, a tactic our brain uses to help us cope and adapt to change or challenging environments. It is survival in its purest form, our evolutionary brain kicking into gear – there is something incredibly natural about it, something native even. 

This mechanism, this evolved technique helps us survive, it’s important and needed and in every way positive. But it also makes us forget. It is the reason why I don’t think our ‘appreciation’ of the small things will last that long post lockdown, it is the reason that (some of) those who have not been directly affected by the virus are more blase about the rules and the seriousness of the epidemic, and it is the reason that we can often forget the gravitas of the situation. It is not necessarily a bad thing to feel detached, to block out the doom and gloom of reality, we all need to find our ways to cope, it is, however, dangerous. 

Generally psychologists would say that if we don’t remember we don’t learn and in doing so put ourselves at the risk of the same things happening again. This is thought to be a problem when considering past wars, as survivors later die, others question whether the event actually occurred.… interesting but I digress.) In this case however ‘forgetting’ takes a different form, the danger is not forgetting the event of COVID-19 because unless you are suffering from some sort of post traumatic amnesia or you have a neurological disorder, the event of ‘forgetting’ is near on implausible (at the current time) it is more that you forget that others may be experiencing a reality very different to yours and this lack of realisation could be deemed as insensitive, ignorant or disrespectful.

This happens a lot in life, where our experience differs to others. I am aware that my reality of living in England is very different to the reality of someone of a similar age living in Bangladesh. Or even I am aware that living in a nice area of London I have a different reality to someone living in a more deprived area of London and so (you get the point). But now, more than ever, ‘forgetting’ or I guess in a weird sense checking our privilege, is more important, because reality no longer differs between cultures or demographics but between individuals. 

It is no longer the difference between you and someone on the other side of the world, it is the difference between you and someone on the other side of the wall. It is the difference between you and the man across the road, and your best friend to the person in the queue in front of you in Sainsbury’s and woman walking past your house.

 Our individual ‘realities’ to the same situation are different and forgetting that is a dangerous thing.

It is easy to get wrapped up in your own world, your own reality. We who are lucky enough to be healthy, to live in X bedroom houses with gardens and shops at the end of their roads are living in a very different world to those who are not.

 It is easy to forget that people are dying, that there are people, people are stuck in abusive homes without an escape and that there are people, a lot of people, who cannot go outside for fresh air or sun. It is worth remembering that.

So for those who are having a hard time, who are experiencing grief and pain and fear that I cannot even begin to imagine I hope you take comfort in the below lyrics. Yes, it is Taylor Swift, but ironically her lyrics seem more poignant now than ever and I hope you find some sort of comfort I them, understanding and acknowledging that you are not alone. In this world you will never be alone:

The buttons of my coat were tangled in my hair
In doctor’s-office-lighting, I didn’t tell you I was scared
That was the first time we were there
Holy orange bottles, each night I pray to you
Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too
And I say to you

Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

I know delusion when I see it in the mirror
You like the nicer nurses, you make the best of a bad deal
I just pretend it isn’t real
I’ll paint the kitchen neon, I’ll brighten up the sky
I know I’ll never get it, there’s not a day that I won’t try
And I’ll say to you

Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

And I hate to make this all about me
But who am I supposed to talk to?
What am I supposed to do
If there’s no you?

This won’t go back to normal, if it ever was
It’s been years of hoping, and I keep saying it because
‘Cause I have to

Ooh-ah, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon

Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

Well would’ya look at that. I guess I did have something to say after all!

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