Today, after a full on week of work & activity, I woke up with an age old pain. It’s a reminder that I can’t take things for granted. But that also time has a way of putting things back where they belong. Love has a way of breaking the silence.
Every Where Is Some Where
Throughout our lives, we will come to find ourselves in a lot of different places
a lot of different rooms
a lot of different corners
a lot of different wheres
those wheres will be unexpected. they will surprise us, scare us, change everything, change nothing, and break our hearts.
when i was younger, my father made us homeless (it was really complicated but basically us fleeing a violent domesticated living situation.) My mom, my bro and i left our home, a banged up car packed full of suitcases and some boxes. i don’t remember the packing, but i do remember the leaving. it was chilly and wet in Doncaster. In the middle of a blistery November.
The interesting thing is, when you’re made homeless – the act of being homeless doesn’t naturally give you enough points for a council house (extremely flawed, something i still detest now). So we were officially homeless.
the plan was to move in with my nan and her 1 bedroom house, and later friends whilst we figured it out. We ended up sleeping in the car a few times, and ended up in temporary accommodation which would change daily across South Yorkshire for 6 months – all whilst I was doing my GCSEs/AS Levels at school.
I remember pulling up at my nan’s super small house. There was heavy air when we parked the car in a new driveway. my mom and i were both crying, for different reasons, but also some of the same ones. and then, as sure as the first hand clicks from 12 to 1, it all seemed insane and hilarious — the clothes we brought with us, the rain, the escape from a shitty situation, the stupid little banged up car.
‘we’ll laugh about this some day’ my mom said and we both laughed. because even though it was hard to leave many (too many) years of an awful domestic violent relationship, and a home we had invested in and had happy memories too, and terrible to be soaked with rain and confusing as to what would happen next and where we would live, we were alive and together.
and at that moment, our “where” changed. it became a where of friendship and love. not just one of loss.
experience is subjective. we get to decide what’s devastating, what’s beautiful, and what we do next.
When I fell properly sick and ended up with a devastating diagnosis – whilst working at Summer Camp no less. I was put in this same place.
I wasn’t sure how long I would be around, I wondered about if I would ever be remembered, what I had done to the earth, if I had tried to make things better, if I was an OK person or not… I worried and wondered about this stuff a lot. I still worry about it. But it does make my trajectory to where I am now – make more sense.
It has long been believed that there is a fundamentally human need to have a dream life. It’s why we have fables and fairy tales, where the stories we both tell and hear – wishful and fanciful, if by their very nature apocryphal endure precisely because they appeal to a fundamental human appetite for wonder and mystery, illusion and fantasy.
At the same time they feed our craving for a kind of moral certainty, an established bank of truths. At it’s core, all storytelling is perhaps a form of fantasy. piquing the senses, provoking the mind, feeding the imagination.
Having the opportunity to listen to, re-write, present and create and make these stories for myself has been the best reminder that the best way to grow – as a maker/artist/designer/HCP/person/councillor ect is to keep on doing things: to look closely, really listen – really pay attention – to try and think both objectively with intuition and compassion: – to ultimately imagine fiercely.
Einstein once wrote that: “knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
I feel like it’s my duty, as an artist and healthcare professional and now cllr, to try to begin to map the future, to invent and make the things we need to better the world (together, collectively), things we can use to improve quality of life and time.
but along the way, i’m reminded that the process is as valuable as the product, the method as potentially revelatory as the motive.
in the books of our lives, we are both protagonist and narrator. and narrators have incredible power.
in writing this, i thought a lot about the places that shape us, and how, in turn, we shape those places in our minds. as human beings living on earth right now, we find ourselves in a very particular where. the planet is getting warmer, the internet is getting bigger, social care is perhaps one of the West’s biggest challenges, poverty is always on the increase, the stakes are as grave as ever.
Every once in a while, i get to stop and smile and get to hit pause, just because. When the clouds get darker, and the rain pours down, we need to take a moment to gather a seat on the ground.
every place, every where, is just some place, some where.
i think you can understand the fact of your own smallness in this world while still celebrating the very particular singularity of who you are and where you happen to stand. look down at your feet and decide what that means.
instead of being afraid, i’m going to try to be brave.
instead of feeling regret, i’m going to focus on getting better tomorrow.
and instead of hoping that someone else will say it, or move it, or mean it; i’ll try and do to do it myself.
Every day is a fight against the status quo if you truly want to make it better.
You don’t “find your calling,” you fight for it.