Thursday 11 August 2011

Who Do You Think Me Are?

I tweeted an outrageous statement of fact on Wednesday night that people were not, as someone said, voting with their fists; rather, hurting and destroying.
This egg, whom I shall call Egg, replied rather angrily to Puffles and me with "Your oh so clever & snidey MC lets enrich our own arse values are reflected back in the rioters actions."

Was it directed at me? Puffles? Both? I'm not sure. Not a polite way of talking to anyone you do or don't know, in any case.

Egg said, "Read your profile , dont think it screams politically sharp working class urban attent├Ątur , just saying"

I don't scream, I'm not urban, and I'm not... that last thing, whatever that is.

For the non-Twits, a Twitter bio is a space of limited characters in which you may tell people about yourself. You can lie, exaggerate, tell the truth, or not say anything. It appears, then, that because I can construct a reasonable sentence with grammar and intelligence, that I like to write, am good at drawing, raise money for charity, and like vintage style, it makes me smug, clever, and middle class.

That's clearly a very silly and unfounded conclusion to reach. Does it mean the working classes are illiterate, then? No, of course not.

Anyone who does know me, even a bit, knows I've been interested in English language and literature, and was literally capable from a very young age, that I appreciate it, and like to use it to its fullest. I'm not middle class because I can use grammar correctly; I'm educated.
If you know me, you know my desire to work, and my inability to do so because of my ill-health.
You'll know, dahling, how much I simply adore the 1940s and Katharine Hepburn and rockabilly and vintage style and life (without the blitz, thank-you).
If you know me or follow me, you'll likely be aware of how difficult it has been for me to remember that, despite the anti-depressants, the codeine trouble, the operations and so much more, my life is still good at times.
Some of you know what endometriosis is and how it feels, and you know the heartache of being told nothing is wrong with you, for years and years.
And some of the women with endometriosis and I have an inexplicable bond, a closeness I've never known before.

One may glimpse a small part of another's personality, their character, their soul, even, from some of those Twitter bio words. I don't think, though, that one can tell (from my tiny window of information) the kind of upbringing, or morality, or "class", or continuous depression and chronic physical pain and umpteen prescriptions for medication, and hospital visits and operations needed for my helpfully hidden incurable disease.

Egg - you. don't. know. me.

My life isn't dramatic; it's really bloody boring, often, not least because of endometriosis doing what it does to me, and the medication I take daily to make my life bearable. I play inane free Facebook games with 19th century frontiers, and gardens of time, and slot machines to win a purple key to open the next level to occupy myself while I wait for the painkillers to work.

Rockin' the stylish privileged, spoiled life right there, yo?

Those tablets have their own effects, including drowsiness and lack of concentration. Because of all of that, I can't work. I'd LOVE to get back to my Artwork, to create and sell and be independent. But I just can't, not now. And not for a while. I should nap instead of typing this. I am woozy, wobbly, can't focus brilliantly, and have forgotten what I just proof-read in this blog not even one minute ago.

If any class, I am working class. Why? Because I was raised in a home by a Mum and Dad (who adored their children) who worked from morning until night, doing stressful, hard, low income jobs. We didn't have much spare money, if any. IF we were given pocket money, it was 20p, or 50p, and not every week. Maybe, if one of Mum's hairdressing clients was having a particularly special party, we may've been given a whole POUND each. I remember shopping with Mum for the minimum (tiny Mum! No...), and at the till, Mum would search her purse for all the copper coins to pay for the loaf of bread we needed. This was not an easy time.
We didn't have holidays abroad, ever, and it wasn't a given that Mum and Dad would even be able to afford a yearly holiday. It's a luxury, and when you don't have enough money, you don't spend on things you don't need - I know I'm stating the obvious with this, but it's what innumerable people do every day, and it's hard. And I still don't have a passport.
We were taught manners, politeness to appreciate everything, because Mum and Dad had to work bloody hard to get what we had.
We didn't expect to have a new toy just because.
We didn't expect to be allowed to do whatever we wanted.
We didn't dare disobey Dad because he had, and still has, a hell of a scary booming voice. (I love my Dad. Twits who follow me know I love my Dad. I love my Dad.)

We had rules, and (mostly) lived by them. If we did play up, we were told we were wrong to do so, and we KNEW we were wrong. And we said sorry.
We were taught to say "please" and "thank-you" when appropriate.
We were taught to offer to help someone if we thought they were in need and to hold doors open for people - "After you". I still do that, and when I do, people are surprised. Without doing the ego thing, I look younger than I am, and I think they assume I'm in my early twenties, and to see a young person show politeness is unusual. That makes me sad. When they've recovered from the shock of my manners, they thank me, and I say, "You're welcome", with a smile. And the smile is reciprocated. It's nice. It's a terrific little boost, too, because in a very small way, I've helped someone. And they've seen a miracle.

My upbringing wasn't unique, of course. I know myriad people have had similar, decent, honest, sterling nurturing from their parent(s), so it's not as if I'm (rightfully, although not literally) singing the praises of my parents as the only people in all the world - EVAH - to have done so. They taught us to be grateful for things, to know the value of love, loyalty, friendship, kindness. And they taught us well.

I was never a shouty, screamy, greedy, spiteful, confident girl. I was bullied, insecure, severely lacking in confidence at times, I grieved for my Nan, and cried at school. At home I was happy. I have the most magical memories of my childhood. I'm smiling as I think of the cats, the guinea pigs, the games, the garden, the tents made of old blankets and pegs, the home-made orange juice lollies, the paper doilies we made with aforementioned Nan. She would always tell us "there is no such thing as bored". I could be pedantic and say there is, but at home there is always something to do. Granted, you may not want to do it, but there is always something which needs doing. Washing, ironing, cleaning, gardening, writing a letter, tidying, anything.

Back to Twitter: I wasn't offended or upset by anything Egg said. A brilliant feat for me, given my intense shyness and lack of self-belief that existed for years. Opinions? Whatever you want. It's what you think. And you're no-one to me. Hence no hurt. Interesting lines of conversation to be had, though, from it. I don't think he thought I am smug; rather, he was angry or annoyed that I disagreed and didn't react with argumentative tweets. I stated my case (quite well, I think) and I wasn't personal or sarcastic.

Egg, like so many people, seems angry about the riots and looters. That people want answers or solutions or someone to admit they made a mistake in government or authority is understandable. Some people want someone to make it less bad, make it stop, and to halt the misconceptions about it being all caused by children, youths, damned YOBBOS. Given how horrific the recent riots have been for so many people, it's not astounding. Of course it's not something which can be "fixed" in a week, the damage won't be mended in a month.

It's a huge ball of intertwined lines of problems that are going to be difficult to untangle, if that's even possible. I'm not sure it is, not completely. Wibbly wobbly and all that.

Unfortunately, I don't have the answers a lot of people want, and being angry with me for having an opinion you don't like isn't the way to be, surely? Like countless others, I have ideas as to why some things may happen, and I have some understanding of the psychology behind why some people's confidence means they don't appreciate themselves, and are not worth being kind to.

There is so much more to all this than parents' responsibility or "respect" or "free" stuff. And, while I don't have answers, it's clear to anyone with sense that there are a great many causes, reasons, problems and more why any or all of this frightening confusion developed.

I HAVE been affected by the rioting, and I HAVE been affected by the looting. But if you, whomever you are reading this, do not know for certain, assumptions make you look like an arrogant prick.

Here endeth the brilliantly modest post.


  1. I've been through some flame wars in my past with some bad-mannered eggs (BNP followers, homophobes, xenophobes and recently, the armed forces). Unfortunately, I can't say I share your patience as I'm prone to be a little bellicose (after mannered debate fails).

    Such is the price to pay when opposing opinions are so close together and easily commented on. There's always going to be friction.

    Thanks for the nice read.

  2. Pure and simply I want to kick Egg - hard! How dare he! But then I've had problems lately on my own blog :( narrow minded and mean - that's all they are!
    L x


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