Do you ever sit in amongst friends and family and feel, well, apart from the conversation? Sat listening to people’s woes and think what worries their minds in nothing to worry about all. I used to feel lonely in situations like this. Now, with age and experience, I realise that I simply cannot relate to what many ordinary people go through in terms of day to day life. Worries about weight or the way one looks, opportunities they stress about engaging with and you look at them as if they are slightly removed from you, like a clear glass wall – because your worries and anxieties have been confronted before you’ve even entered the room. Finding yourself realising your starting line is way back.
I realise now, as I sit observing, that I am more comfortable in my own skin. More accepting of myself than I know the majority of the world perceives me. That I have every right to be in the room, that my life experiences are worthy of being listened to, and yet, I know, not necessarily understood or that they are worthy of respect. All of us have to earn that regardless of our status in life, though many of us know that this regard is often afforded more readily to some than others.
We all want to be listened to. We all want our lived and life experiences validated. Not all of us will be afforded that recognition in our lifetimes. With this in mind, what I’ve come to realise is that you gain this recognition when you recognise it in yourself. When you no longer feel the pull of trying to impress, to fit in. To be able to sit back, reflect and listen to what is being said and watch what is really happening in any given situation.
There’s something about being stared at, infantilised and overlooked, to always be trying to gain recognition at the table that changes you to your core. A knowing knowledge that your recognition of self is dependent on what narrative you are expected to adhere to. The emptiness and wondering of who you are as a person when you’ve spent decades fighting to be recognised as a person with their own complexities, foibles, humour and capacity to love and hurt in equal measure. Not something to be taken care of or seen as a problem.
No matter our situations in life, we all have our own paths of finding ourselves and of gaining our own self-acceptance. As I observe life, of those that are afforded opportunities at every turn, are afforded support, it’s not necessarily the richest or abundant that are afforded the chance to gain wisdom.
I am bone-weary as my body is ageing into another decade. Weary of seeing the rich and powerful playing games, literally with people’s lives, with our planet. While I’m well aware that I have had more opportunities in life than many, I can’t help wondering if a real change to make the world a better place will ever truly take place. Perhaps is the loss of naivety. Of realising we’re all human, trying to figure things out in one way or another. Yet… this anger that is prevalent I fear will be humankind’s undoing far sooner than ecological or climate change disaster.
Yet…I am hopeful too. When I look around, there are many of us who are trying to make this planet a better place to live. Many of us working to make the world a cleaner, kinder place. We have yet to realise the true power of this movement. We have the capacity to shed light on the dark scourges of this century.
Yet, I am weary…