The ghosts of oppressors past are haunting me so I have got up from my luxurious bed in an attempt to distract my school of thoughts. My tired head is rather missing the softness of my pillow yet the hamsters seem extremely chirpy to see me. Many a night they are left all alone in the dark to fend for themselves and run gleefully in their exercise wheels. Yes, the wheels do make a little bit of a racket but hey ho, they are happy.
Once upon a time, I was nicknamed sleeping beauty, for sleeping in all the time. Except, for a quite few years now, I can hardly ever sleep for nightmares and distressing thoughts. Ever since I was a young child, I have woken up in the night from some sort of terror or other. Sometimes, crying, screaming or shouting. I have oftentimes discovered a split lip or a bruised hand here and there from fighting out my dreams. My husband has described to me on numerous occasions how he had to try to calm me down.
My dreams only seem to cease when there are no triggers or reminders of the past or when I do not see my father for quite some time. Challenging times, people and memories just do not help.
I have some thinking to do but why can it not wait until I have had some quality sleep then I can be confident it is a well-made decision rather than following affairs of the heart.
Some people do not even know where exactly the heart is as I was shocked to discover a few years ago. Someone actually thought it was entirely in the left part of his or her chest… Erm, “no but why do you not know this if both of your parents are nurses?” I questioned. I then explained how it is actually in the middle of the chest and it was the left side of the heart, which has the larger muscle so it ever so slightly comes into the left side of the chest… They did not want to believe me. Their problem.
Not many people also know for a fact that XX or XY chromosomes is decreed by the man’s sperm yet men dare to blame the woman for not being able to produce a desired girl or boy. Females only have XX chromosomes and it is always linked down the maternal side hence the double X’s whereas the man has both the female (X) and male (Y) chromosomes making theirs XY. If women do not have the male (Y) chromosome, how else could they produce a boy? Only with the man’s “input” if you like!
It has nothing at all to do with the moon either! You can try and be superstitious all you like except one’s fate is not up to you but God’s will which will be done. Just as it is God’s will that I put my fingers to the keyboard now in case one of you learns something from this particular post?! 😛 Que sera, sera.
Sleep now beckons since I have succeeded in making myself chuckle, distracting and reminding myself the intrinsic beauty of mother nature and her designs, the predestination of all things bright and beautiful.
Oftentimes, I wonder where one’s home is because I have questioned myself if somewhere can really be ‘home’? As I was sent away to boarding school, ten going onto eleven years old, I lost that vital ‘homely’ and ‘family’ sense. Moreover, I do not really like to complain because…
Some people or children I dread to think do not even have a home. People here in the UK and elsewhere can be so ungrateful and inexplicably arrogant; they have a roof over their heads and free medical care. They concern themselves with having the best garment or the latest gadget when an older child overseas could be going without food for days at a time so their younger sibling does not – Their parents having passed away. It is children like them who you need to pay your respects to and be mindful of, not some sociopath looking to gain popularity to feed their ego and vanity.
Unfortunately, there is a level of such hypocrisy and ignorance amongst us also. There was a Polish family in the Valley and so there happened to be an Afghanistan family too. I scanned around me to gauge people’s reactions as I sensed an interesting moment. Most were happy to respect one another’s personal space and continue as they were yet the Polish adults clearly from their body language, facial expressions and directional glances did not want this Afghanistan family sharing the same albeit very public playground as their children or their space. One of them even tried his luck to take a photo of the women as they were in their full gear. He pretended he was looking at the menu on his camera but then he felt braver and so the camera was lifted higher and higher until he felt confident enough to brazenly photograph them.
I felt fury seething away at me yet my husband held me back from standing in front of his camera to obscure any further potential frames and to prevent him from being so disrespectful – making a point of his/their attitudes. How dare they take photos of another family and be racist about them when they are immigrants themselves?! The bloody cheek of them.
Once, someone from the very same vicinity told my husband, my children and I to go back where we came from… If only they knew that, I came from down the road to them. There was no way my family and I was going to keep quiet about these bullies so we complained to the local councillor and several others who at their next residents meeting had their voices heard on our behalf. They were rather embarrassed and somewhat apologised.
Many also tend to have one rule for themselves and another. I knew someone who did not want anything to do with anyone who was in a negative state of mind yet he did not practise what he preached “Be kind always for you never know what that person is going through”… What another hypocrite.
One of the things about being deaf is being able to relate to how a foreigner is made to feel, since we are made to feel like outcasts also. Social cleansing happens much more than people realise.
The difference between the people of the North and the south of England is clearly diversity and tolerance. In London, anything goes – everyone is different and easily tolerated whereas in the North, most people are spoilt and do not like change.
Nevertheless, I have come to sense a certain emotion being ‘at home’ in the North East of Yorkshire. Being out in the wide open, the rolling moors, and the golden beaches of which is the surfers’ paradise. Up above are birds cherishing their flight and the wind beneath their wings. Bags of Cinder Toffee testing the strength of one’s delicate teeth. The mouth-watering aroma of the traditional fish and chips, especially in Whitby… Forget Parmesan! Discovering an abundance of fossils here and there. My childhood becoming my children’s’.
The glistening in the sunlight and the relative unique sounds of the seashore reminds me how it feels to be at peace, to be in awe of Mother Nature and its designs. Trivial issues be it political or personal and wealth turn ever more meaningless. The meaning of Life is clear.
However, Italy and North Africa is also in my blood so it is only natural that I feel a certain connection to these places and their cultures. Ever since I was a child growing up in the UK, I have never felt at home or accepted, not even, for who I am. How could I ever feel “at home” amongst all the conflicting angst being imposed upon myself?
As the delight in my children’s faces matches that in my heart, I know that as long as we have one another, I determine that I will be ‘home’… For ‘home’ is where my heart is.
Donning my flip-flops (the poor things!), I walked down a long, winding and dusty road of North Africa taking in the wilderness of the countryside whilst absorbing the desert sun. Admiring those dressed in traditional Berber gear, for being proud of who they are and from whence they originated. Humanity, morality and peace were of more importance than money and status.
There was not an iota of any negativity, arrogance or hostility in the villagers’ faces or their body language but an abundance of friendliness, acceptance, respect and kindness. I could not have felt more safe or welcome being amongst such hospitality – which was extremely appreciated.
During my walk, ahead of me there was a particular field, which was covered with wild flowers that also seemed to be dancing and swaying except there was no wind. Upon closer inspection, it was an amazing show of butterflies simply bathing in Mother Nature and her designs. The sound of silence could not have been more apparent or golden.
In another field, being protected by the shade of a tree was a lonely goatherd who was perhaps keeping one eye on his goats (not literally!) in between 40 winks from under his tired but beloved cap. A song from my childhood started to play in my mind, (what we would call ‘musical tinnitus’) that yodelled for a minute or so to the tune of “Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo!” I paused for a second thinking, “What would the lonely goatherd have been like, if someone had got his goat?” 😉
As I was growing up, I always had a cactus plant or two so to see cacti being right at home, proudly growing in the wild, made me wonder just what a prickly subject it might be for some 😉 (Ouch!) Moreover, what made it even more of an idyllic scene was the vast majestic mountains. Just by looking at them from a distance, the backdrop astounded me. The enormity of Mother Nature was simply breath-taking, all this natural beauty and the various amazing designs of creation was making my heart smile.
For some reason I did not see any camels, perhaps they had got the hump? 😉 There were plenty of asses grazing though – donkeys of course. Looking around, you have to see it to believe just how much brighter it is here than in the UK yet the lingering scent of cigarettes (and alcohol) in the UK compared to just how much cleaner the air is here, is sickeningly obvious.
There was no hint of poison in the air either, potentially laying in wait to corrupt and manipulate beings further. I realised just how vital it was, to avoid any negativity and venom via other people and engineered situations. Upon determining what needed to be done in order to recover my equilibrium and to retain that sense of peace from within, right there and then, I felt a wave of relief, a sense of enlightenment, freedom and independence. Most importantly of all, a taste of happiness. I once again needed to be free, as a bird, to be me.
I then relatively reminisced how the plane journey had made me feel serene just by looking out of the window, gliding through the air, soaring high above, and the clouds, which varied from being wispy like candyfloss or as soft as a duvet. An infinity of all shades of blue from above, below (the sea) and ahead. There was no looking back and so it was, onwards and upwards.
I condemn all acts of terrorism especially where innocent people have to die.
Muslims seem to lose either way. They are constantly asked to apologise for crimes they did not commit nor supported. They are stuck between the extremists and fanatics on either sides. Most Muslims want to work providing for their family and get on with life in harmony, just like the police officer, Ahmed Merabet wanted to, who was also killed yesterday. I am certain not many people know that he was a Muslim because the media did not mention this until much later on but there was no news of what religions the others were. It does not matter to the media because it is not sensational enough and does not go with the narrative of their headlines. This police officer paid with his life trying to do his job as a just person. The far right are striving in France and this will be an opportunity for them to milk this sad situation to their advantages. Sadly the bigots will jump on the band wagon of hatred without any thoughts to the consequences.
Charlie Hebdo was founded in 1970 and since then they have been relentless in mocking everybody in a very aggressive manner. They have a long history of provoking a wide range of people based on their choices and beliefs. Many of their satirical cartoons are tasteless, violent and sexually explicit – depicting many religious figures and politicians.
In 2012 the French government condemned Charlie Hebdo for publishing caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed. They even urged the magazine to reconsider their decision in publishing the material but they refused. As a result the French government decided to take security measures to protect their embassies and consulates around the world. They also increased security around Charlie Hebdo’s offices. The magazine was determined in pursuit of what they believed is their right to mock others through “Free Speech”. While they are free to publish what they like with the exception of any anti-Semitic content, the law could not stop them or any of their provocative material but there is an unwritten rule to be respectful to others in every walk of life – regardless, in my opinion. You might be walking down an extremely narrow path and someone walks up towards you so you decide to step aside in order to let them go through first. This is what humanity is all about. Why do we have to be so nasty, oppressive and/or so hurtful towards one another?
There are those who will poke fun at disabled people – does anyone still remember Glenn Hoddle? When he remarked disabled people had been punished for their previous life (not very clever) and as a consequence he was sacked from his position as an England football manager. While there is nothing set in law to prosecute him with, the FA still acted and sacked him to show such opinions will not be tolerated.
My point being, freedom of speech is important but we need to hold back at our own discretion if we feel what we might say or do is hurtful towards others. There will always be people who want to push the boundaries and there is nothing wrong with that but freedom of speech cannot be used as an excuse to hide behind from when their actions has consequences and they should expect the same level of freedom of speech back especially when in a democratic state.
My main worry at this point in time is how society is reacting based on what the media wants us to see and believe regarding the cartoons. First it was Denmark, now France – next it will be the UK. When the World Trade Centre was targeted on the 11th of September (9/11), we suspected London would be next but not when. We also knew that the London public transport system would be targeted as that is what would have hurt the city most. If the Waging a dirty war. continues to retaliate to this sad state of affairs regarding the cartoons with the same kind of mockery that provoked all this, their offices could be next.
Any perceived anti-Semitism would be handled straightaway and the offenders promptly dealt with. Yet for any other religions, any anti views are sadly casually tolerated which I find very unfair because the same law should apply to all religions. By being respectful and mindful of others at all times would nip any anti views in the bud and would avoid that cataclysmic chain reaction of events spiralling out of anyone’s control. As for censorship? Do not even try to hide behind that excuse because no one ever sees what actually happens to the people of Palestine and other war torn countries: Waging a dirty war.
Is the Ku Klux Klan a representative of Christians? So why do many think Terrorists are representative of Muslims? Fanatics or extremists does not define their religion come what may except distorts the truth behind it – all religions which asks for submission to the one and only same god is about peace and humanity. A true believer would not stoop so low to harm another because their religion (should) forbids it. Unfortunately people not in the know or are well informed regarding a particular religion will accept that distortion all too readily. It is those who are the most sincere in their hearts that suffer the most from all this due to fanatics and others attributing excuses.
Thank you for allowing me to practise free speech – with respect comes peace.
Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.
There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.
When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.
However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world-wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.
To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.
Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publicly naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.
I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.
To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!
Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).
◾Difficulty trusting others
The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.
Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.
It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.
Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.
When it comes to kindness, there is absolutely no need to discriminate against any identifiable means because it is about humanity in general and acts of giving without any expectations of receiving in return.
For so long there has been a frustration of sorts building within me seeing the simplest things in life being taken for granted. Be it the roof over your heads, certain (branded) clothes being worn, the hot meals and comfy mattresses you lay upon, the NHS and free medicine being provided for us – the list is endless. The extremely close shave I experienced a couple of years ago taught me to take nothing for granted, now cherishing every little thing and being all around me.
“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” – Plato
For this reason, I am now trying my very best to spare a moment to remember those who may have been left outdoors, especially during those cold winter nights. Recently I, via the Tree House, have been able to appease that frustration of helplessness. In true spirit of the Tree House, this has meant this is now starting to catch on with other dwellers through their acts of kindness. So far, we have saved numerous left over meals and received donations of various kinds of cakes with which we approached homeless people and gave.
“Thank you” they gratefully say. And if they have a pet with them, they are more than happy to share with their “best friend” – Without a question.
There are those who had everything and lost it all and there are those who dedicate every minute of their remaining lives to make sure the homeless has a hot drink at least. They are among the unsung heroes of today’s societies. They are trying their very best in being the change they wish to see in the world.
So let us organise café meet ups with CAKE(!) donating to a charity of your choice, perhaps asking cafés to participate in “Suspended Coffee” schemes too. When you have a meal, please save your leftovers and seek out the homeless in order to make their day. Maybe even nominate/challenge your friends to pay it forwards too. Please?
One can only hope this act of compassion and kindness will help to keep them going, to keep the faith and to have hope. That not everyone has a stone cold heart, that they are not oblivious to everyday people. They are still someone’s child who were brought into this world for a reason.
A drop of kindness goes a very long way, much more than you realise.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”― Leo Buscaglia
Carpe Diem – every day by being true to yourselves.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; thats why they call it the present.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt.
On this exceptionally memorable date, I would like to extend my annual show of gratitude to the doctors and nurses of Charing Cross Hospital who several years ago gave me the best birthday present one could ever ask for.
A second chance to cherish life and being able to watch my beautiful children grow up of which I intend to make the most of.
I never ask for much but I would very much appreciate it if you too could show your gratitude to our NHS services, especially the Doctors and Nurses who devote and dedicate so much of their time and passion to ensure we get the best care around the clock – please could you join forces against any NHS closures and get involved?
For if Charing Cross Hospital had closed down then, I would not be around today.
And last but not least, to our beloved Tree House and its dwellers for creating such a unique place without any barriers.
It is what we all make it.
Please accept this dedicated post as a token of my gratitude for being true to yourselves.
Thank YOU, to each and every single one of you, my family and my friends – for putting up with me 😉