I wake up feeling decidedly wobbly. It’s probably just the cold, or the fact that supper was pistachio nuts and Nutella off the spoon, but I feel hopeless. This is not a time span that you can wish away. It is relentless. He is not here and he is not here and he is not here.
Loneliness opens up like a chasm in my chest. Crying feels like an admission of defeat, so I don’t and get up and do what needs to be done for the children. Lunches, laundry, love. I am so blessed with support from every angle, but images of familial contentment have began to hound me. After a wonderful supper with friends their Daddy comes home on his bike to them, flushed both with cold and the warmth they are about to give him, and ours does not.
I turn on the radio. Dear God no! America has just elected to its highest office a man who thinks that it is acceptable to face the world pretending that the dead thing on his head, that looks as if it has been cobbled together from the contents of the plug hole after a molting orangutan bath, is hair.
I’ve kind of had it with the will of the people. Brexit and Trump are indicative omens of our time. Facts and truth and considered opinion seem to be relics from a bygone age and now what is important is how things can be made to appear, like having hair in places where you clearly don’t.
The vilification of “Brexit Blocker” judges in the Daily Mail (other crappy papers also available), complete with mugshots and details of their earnings, plus their sexual and religious orientation, was also extraordinary. They were asked to advise on a legal matter, did so, and are now being publicly stoned for their expert opinion and accused of standing in the way of “The People”.
The dynamics of this situation, along with the way Trump has conducted himself and his campaign in the U.S. and then won, are national and global examples so redolent of my own small personal tragedy: of why I am here and Rob is not, that I feel hopeless all over again. We are a post truth generation. It is rhetoric over fact. It is the triumph and the Trump of fear.
Benevolent dictatorship Plato style is sounding good to me right now. Lets have Sandy Toksvig for Philosopher Queen: at least we could all laugh as the country follows the U.S. to the dogs. For pity’s sake don’t let the people decide on anything more vital than Bake Off.
In what I would like to describe as shock and horror, but is actually closer to resignation at the predictability of the will of white males everywhere, I take to the page and consider that the very fact that I am able to do is this is because I am taking advantage of the post truth generation tool: the internet – a platform that requires no qualification. I am not an expert on the law or the prison system or relationships and certainly not on politics. I am a pissed off woman telling it as I see it. It’s just a story, but then, what isn’t?
I wonder about truth. It has always seemed like a laudable principle. In the context of Brexit and the US election more of it would have been welcome. The truth sets you free apparently. But when applied as an absolute and abiding rule it too can become a blunt instrument of pain in its own right. If the truth is something you vomit up and pass off as a delicacy by dint of veracity, it will still taste like sick. On a personal level, I’m in the suck it up, keep it inside, internalisation of angst camp.
Part of me is glad that the prison phone system only works one way. After a bracing walk with the dog and a hug from one of Rob’s best mates, I have rebuilt my mental health sufficiently to avoid splurging Rob with my own fears and loss when he calls. I hide the overwhelm. We talk about Trump. I don’t tell him that I am dying alone here. What good will it do to tell it? He can’t do anything, change anything, fight for anything, love me or hold me from where he is. Talk is cheap, (or it would be if prisoners weren’t being overcharged three times over), and even more so when there is so much left unsaid, but we have nothing else today. Nothing more until the next visit in nearly two weeks time.
I receive poetry written inside from an ex offender. It is so powerful and poignant and redolent with a despair that is so bitterly familiar to me about the breakdown of his marriage, the dreadful inability to hold his children and the mountain of hours and days and years ahead, that I can’t take it anymore and I give myself over to the sobbing that must out. Something new breaks in me. We have to stop the punishment.
Liz Truss, please, help these men in your care! Don’t sit there like a smug muggle Professor Umbridge presiding over the chaos that is erupting in the correctional establishments whose numbers you actually want to increase, so that we can lock more people up in them rather than actually reducing our offending rates? (which are incidentally the worst in the world). Don’t spend your life getting into a position of power only to do with it something ineffectual and wasteful. Men are rioting and breaking out of your prisons because they have nothing left to lose (and by the way there is no way the Pentonville escapees made it out without both outside and inside help). Speak to the service users. Hear them. Don’t sit in your ivory tower forcing them to write “I must not tell lies” on their hands over and over until they bleed. They are already bleeding. And so are we on “the out” without them. That is the truth. Hear my prayer and help us, and God help America.