Fragile would be an excellent word to describe me in the face of the western world’s bullying culture. I’ve been hearing the same internal whisper over and over for the past few weeks: fortify, Brooke, fortify, says the quiet voice, barely heard above the noise.
I’ve been away from facebook for a very long time, but over the past week or two I’ve gradually dipped a toe in to see how things are going. I’ve loved reconnecting with my lost people, I won’t lie. And things have been lovely and positive for the most part, which has been a nice surprise.
But. There was that one moment. The one that derailed me, the one that had me questioning: what do I do with the way I feel about this? What do I say to myself to help it feel a little better inside? Apparently the humans have come up with a term for the ache I came across. Cancel Culture, is it? Where a person is shamed for holding a view that is not generally agreed upon (and therefore, cast out of society, via pitch fork) is the general gist of it.
In this case, I came across a post which mentioned a man ( out of respect, I’ll not name him ) who has received quite a lot of back lash in the past due to his alternate views regarding health and wellness. The post was celebrating his downfall (I can’t remember the specifics) and the comment below the post was so vicious, it actually ached within me. It really had me wondering. Are we really still there? Slavery may have been abolished, but apparently we are still bullying the innocent (which is much the same thing, in my eyes.) Many a time in my life I’ve considered becoming a hermit. Tonight, I edged ever closer.
I would consider myself an extremely forgiving and compassionate person, but I have to say: I am struggling to find compassion for the bullies of the world. I try so desperately to see the higher perspective, to be there for everyone while we muddle our way through the chop, but it’s so hard. It hurts to say that, because I really do feel that every person is beautiful in their own way, even those I don’t necessarily resonate with.
I was bullied very badly early in high school. In fact, it was so bad that the whole class cheered when I was called out of the classroom on my last day at that particular school. My Mum thought I was going to kill myself. I was happy enough to snuggle up with the joys of my imagination until it all went away. Still, it’s clearly done some damage.
Perhaps this is why the current day bullies, trolls (whatever you might call them) feel so horrible to me. Perhaps this is why I find it very difficult to wait out the course of their abuse in the hopes that they might one day learn kindness and understanding via the consequences of their bullying ways.
The interesting thing is (and here’s to the absolutely mind boggling paradox of life): I am placing the same judgement on these bullying individuals as they have placed on that poor fellow who just kinda doesn’t believe what they believe. Life, hey. I’ll leave that old chestnut with you to mull over a while.
The nature of the universe is chaos. It is not black and white, and this is where us humans do seem to struggle. We seem to need the polarities and contrasts to help us to fully experience life. The differences in life create experience, and beauty, and deep, deep life.
I just wish deep, deep life was a little gentler, sometimes.
What did I actually do for others, apart from give them my love? What did I do to help lift their burdens, to help them maximise their true life potential by easing (or helping to expand) life for them in some small, practical way. There were openings and offerings on occasion, of course, but I never did figure out how practical kindness worked when it was outwards facing and flowing.
The practical part was where I tended to get stuck. I’d have a beautiful, heart-warming idea and then I would find some excuse not to follow through. Partly it was because I was (cough: am) a massive procrastinator. More often than not, though, my practical kindness was thwarted by selfishness.
During the time I was separated from my husband — during the very little money part, during the very little time part, during the depression part — I found myself needing to accept the help of others, really for the very first time in my adult life. And, finally, I learned the importance of being there for others.
I did my Pop’s garden, today—I’m ashamed to say, for the first time (usually I’d leave it to my aunties and uncles). But today, I bought the most beautiful statue I could find at the gardening shop, plonked her in the garden bed by the back door, and pruned until a lovely halo of flowers surrounded her soft-grey concrete. Here I was using my kindness and creativity to practically help my most cherished humans. And I knew it was right.
Usually I’d just sit there on family visits, and we’d have tea, and we’d chatter and laugh, and I’d go home feeling beautifully fulfilled and very much loved. Quite selfishly fulfilled, I would say, looking back, now. Today, though, I gave back. And it truly did feel like I had come home.
My Nan was the gardener of the family. She had the softest, kindest heart, with a great big burst of generosity and passion coursing through her soul, and she loved that garden just as much as she loved her family. Roses were her favourite. And now they are mine, probably because they were hers.
So I’m going to make it my mission (well, one of them) to put all my heart and soul into that garden. For my family. Because I love them so dearly, and because they’ve given and given and given to me, in more ways than I’d ever be able to recall.
I walk the streets listening to music that makes me cry.
I suppose I will do this until I have made peace with my past and become all that I am in this moment forever onwards, but for now, this is me: and me feels achingly beautiful. Like snow.
To walk the streets in this way, releasing newly risen anger and pain, is the gasp for breath I’ve needed to take for so long. Was I holding my breath, all those years? What did I do with anger and sadness before I learned to tie them in a ribbon of apricot sun?
I am no different to the one who reads this. Each of us travel through childhood gathering scars we will carry for the rest of our lives, or at least until we face them. I am facing mine, now.
I am feeling the anger and the pain.
I am also feeling a greater love than I’ve ever known.
For the sweet little girl I was, and still am in many ways.
For the beautiful people who loved me. How they nurtured my softness, how they pained to see it tarnished by the hardness of the world.
I wrote this poem for the beautiful father of my children, today.
I wrote it on a white sheet of paper, using a fine tip pink pen and I left it beside a jar of soft pink roses on the kitchen counter. Then I snuck out of his house, with a smile, wondering what he might think when he discovered it. ☺️
I’m sharing this moment with you all because I believe beautiful moments are a gift to be cherished. I hope you do, too. ☺️
I also believe it’s important to share beautiful moments in the hopes of inspiring more beautiful moments in the world. And heaven knows we need that right now.