Thursday, 25 May 2017

Monday night.

This has been a week. I struggled for a long time to find the right adjective for that sentence before giving up - bizarre, tumultuous, eventful, emotional, weird... none of them were quite right.

I woke up on Tuesday morning to news that an as-yet-undefined number of people would never make it home from a pop concert, that the entire crowd had reached a pinnacle of human excitement and joy and then been attacked at its most vulnerable.

But the enormity of it all didn't quite sink in until yesterday (Wednesday). Which means I was that person blithely Instagramming something else at 8.50am on Tuesday. The news was only two hours old in my head and it didn't quite feel real. What brought it home to me was logging on at work yesterday morning and seeing a post on the intranet saying that we had colleagues who were at the concert (they're uninjured). I work for one of the biggest companies in the UK so, in hindsight, of course there were colleagues at the concert...

What made me want to record my thoughts about this was listening to the newest episode of The High Low podcast, in which one of the hosts pointed out that in many ways it's good that we're not au fait with how to behave in the aftermath of such an attack. Fluently and smoothly going through the perfect amount of time of reflection before gearing back up into business usual without stalling - that would be unsettling. The missteps and worries about sensitivity indicate that we're not accustomed to dealing with this, and for that we can only thank our intelligence services.

If you're reading this and having a terrible time of this, unable to tear yourself away from news reports, bursting into tears whenever you hear 'Manchester,' scrolling unendingly through Twitter, I've been there. I spent a week and a half after the Boston marathon bombing completely unable to do anything and in hindsight it marks the start of the nervous breakdown that had me nearly dropping out of uni eight months later. Human response is unpredictable and unreasonable - but if you feel that your response isn't 'normal' (there is no normal in this situation) and want to talk to someone about it, you can reach The Samaritans on 116 123 from any UK phone.

Ultimately, as was once pointed out to me and as I continue to believe, the biggest way to show those who would attack our way of life is to continue living it. The personal is political, and the act of living is activism. So in that spirit I'm going to go and put on a dress, and walk to work, and live my life to the absolute fullest. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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