Sometimes the world seems unfathomable, and you feel like a tiny speck who has no real power to change anything. Other days, a surge of positivity pushes you through everything, and you’re grateful – to be alive, to love, to do what you do. Recently, it seems that words have deserted me. Except they haven’t. Even if I feel that I’m approaching writer’s block, I’m not.
What has happened is that the world looks scary, intimidating, and I am simply worried about the future, about now – about how the people in power get up on their stages and whip up states of fury and indignation, so much so that it seems the world is full of hate and misinformation.
‘Every person has to be dead,
Who does not believe in someone –
I believe in you,
I want everyone to be themselves,
Like you are –
For me.’ – We Need Each Other, Paula Rees and Jo Collins, Chickenshed.
Horrific acts of hate, like the shootings in Orlando, and the death of Jo Cox, make me afraid for the political and social climate of the world – because if people like Trump are allowed to run for president, and the politicians of the right are allowed to whip up us into xenophobic, racist fury – what is to stop our governments from collapsing into totalitarianism? It certainly feels like we are heading in that direction, as if more control is being taken from us, the voting public, through the thought control of the media, and the shady, capitalist interests of the current government.
Yet I’m not the kind of person who allows myself to become cynical. Always, hope is still there. I know so many kind, compassionate, and peace-loving people, that all this fear washes away, and the world is sparkling after the storm. I’m not afraid to give my opinion. In places around the world where we don’t have to be afraid to have a political opinion, of voicing that opinion, we should rejoice. The alternative is unthinkable – but the right to (kind, courteous) free speech is a sign that a country is still healthy. It’s important to have freedom of expression, and when that right becomes dangerous, revolutionary, it has become a means of resistance.
Writing and creating, however, are a means of resistance, even now. In places where free speech is curtailed, even punished, it is more urgent than ever to fight for that right. I write because I have to, because if I didn’t, I would lose my means of expression, of connecting to myself and the world, making sense of everything.
As a deaf woman, my voice is my means of challenging stereotypes, of adding to the tapestry of voices that are often hidden and denied. I know I have privilege – I’m a white, cisgender, middle class (based on parents, though I’m currently money poor), educated woman – but the fact of my gender and my deafness mean that so often, I am excluded from things that men, and hearing people, take for granted.
It is these two things – freedom of expression, and the many kind, wonderful, thoughtful people I know, that give me hope for the future, rather than becoming swept away in fear and how sinister the climate is at this moment. I can only offer my own love – my own truth and compassion, to others, in hope that we will all see a brighter, bolder, and more beautiful world.
Even if the politics of hate are surrounding us, we can do and say things to combat that. We can write, and paint, and take part in activism, give our time to causes that matter to us, that make a difference. Everything counts, because when we put love out into the world, it contributes to that bright future. Even if it just changes one person’s life.
‘We need each other – we need each other –
We need each other, each other, each other, each other –
Like songs need words.’ – Paula Rees and Jo Collins, We Need Each Other.