Blimey. It’s been a while. To be fair, I have been writing a dissertation, doing an actual ‘proper’ job, and hosting a podcast. These all require a significant amount of neurodivergent/creative bandwith. All good, creative, purposeful things.
Into the mix, however, is a broken collarbone which has YET TO BE FIXED because of two (two!!) cancelled surgeries. The first one was cancelled when I was in the hospital, already wearing the surgical gown and DVT socks, and with an arrow sharpied onto my left shoulder. This might have been hilarious if it wasn’t after six months of waiting. Then there was the 18 hours of fasting and working myself up into enough of a lather to actually be able to go to the hospital in the first place! What is everyday to the people who fix collarbones, is a really big deal to those of us who need them fixed. And some of us have brains that don’t do these sorts of things very easily.
The second cancellation – just this Monday past – rather tipped me over the edge. Today is Wednesday. I am still over the edge. And since I am already over the edge, why don’t we add having no running water into the joyful blend of Solstice cheer and Christmas preparations? Yes, why not?
Let them drink… sweet sherry and prosecco!
The thing is… these things are happening to me, and I could – quite legitimately – feel personally aggrieved. Which, I do. But I am utterly, seethingly livid about the bigger picture. Yes, it’s personal, but the personal – as my feminist forebears taught us – is political.
Friends, let me present to you: The English health service. And the English water network.
The NHS because of – God – where do we even start? Yes, I am anxious and stressed and still in pain because my operation got cancelled. But it got cancelled because staff called in sick. There is not even a nanometre of leeway in the NHS to accommodate that. Chronic staff shortages, underfunding, Brexit, and a (Not even very covert) push towards privatisation have all taken a massive toll. It is on its knees. And people wonder why nurses are striking?
And the water! My God the water. England and Wales have a privatised water supply and networks. This is monopolized (quite legally btw) by a few companies who fail to invest in infrastructure so that rainfall causes flooding, burst water mains cause havoc (and NO RUNNING WATER FOR CHRISTMAS) and raw sewage is constantly released into our rivers and seas!
If I am pissed off about my own personal circumstances, it pales in comparison to the level of seething rage I feel at the immoral erosion of these two fundamental basic human rights.
Things really are a bit crap. Let’s not pretend they’re not.
And tonight is the Solstice, and I came on here to write something spiritual and hopeful and, well here it is! We can laugh about that surely? There comes a point – when everything is just a bit shite – when all there is left to do is acknowledge it, maybe indulge in a bit of dark humour, and surrender all and any control we imagined we had. This does not mean giving up the fight, only that there are fighting days, and there are surrendering days. There are times for rolling up our sleeves and doing everything we can to make things better, and there are times for filling a hot water bottle (perhaps with boiled rainwater!) and hiding under a blanket.
So into this longest, darkest night of the year, I offer this meditation:
Everything is a little bit shite, and that’s OK. Joy and Peace and Love and Hope still exist.
And a Blessing:
May you feel the deep Peace of Winter’s stillness; the cocoon of Love that surrounds you in the darkness; the joy that bubbles up from the depths of your soul; and the Hope that lies in something bigger than all of this, and all of us.
Sending Love and Peace and Hope and Joy out into the ether for all of you who are tending anything painful this Solstice.